December 17, 2013

Reconstruction of 5,500-year old "Stonehenge Man"

I don't see any mention of DNA in the article The face of prehistoric Britain: Forensic scientist uses Neolithic man's 5,500-year-old skull to create lifelike image as part of new £27m Stonehenge centre, so it's not clear whether the pigmentation attributed to "Stonehenge Man" is the artist's imagination or based on solid evidence.

From the article:
He is the star attraction of Stonehenge's new £27million modern visitor centre that has taken decades to produce. 
A Neolithic man has been brought to life after the most advanced forensic reconstruction of a face, based on a 5,500-year-old skeleton buried in a long barrow 1.5 miles from Stonehenge. 
The new face of the model, which has been carefully reconstructed to show people what life was like

26 comments:

Jim said...

"so it's not clear whether the pigmentation attributed to "Stonehenge Man" is the artist's imagination or based on solid evidence."

Ya think? Is the author positing some kind of introgression from an orangutan population?

pconroy said...

Yeah, pigmentation seems off?!

Crimson Guard said...

This article is better for the Neolithic man :

"The reconstructed head of an early Neolithic man is based on the skeleton of an adult male excavated in 1863 from a long barrow at Winterbourne Stoke, Wiltshire. It had been stored in the Duckworth Laboratory at Cambridge University before it was loaned to English Heritage for the new exhibition. He is shown upright in the display with the reconstructed head beside him.

The reconstruction of his face, using forensic evidence derived from skeletal analysis, depicts a man of 25-40 years old, of slender build, born about 5,500 years ago – roughly 500 years before the circular ditch and banks, the first monument at Stonehenge, were built."

"Radiocarbon dating shows that the man died between 3630 and 3360BC. His teeth showed that he was born away from chalk areas, perhaps somewhere in south west Britain or west Wales, and moved to the chalk geology later in life."

"Curators say they have made “a qualified guess” about the colour of his hair (dark brown) and eyes (hazel), as well as his appearance."

http://www.culture24.org.uk/history-and-heritage/archaeology/megaliths-and-prehistoric-archaeology/art462074

Grognard said...

The long barrow skulls are extremely nordic by nature so that's likely accurate.

ZeGrammarNazi said...

Looks like the artist played a lot of Skyrim before doing the reconstruction.

Crimson Guard said...

Long Barrow skulls are actually extremely Mediterranean. The reconstruction's pigmentation of dark hair and hazel eyes is not Nordic either.

barakobama said...

I highly doubt that the typical stone Henge person was that pale(definitely not red hair) not because pale features had not developed yet. Neolithic British and Irish were not the main ancestors of modern ones. Modern British and Irish probably mainly descend from Indo European groups that arrived into west Europe from east Europe about 5,000ybp with Y DNA R1b1a2a1a L11.

I know very little about ancient Irish tradition. But I do know that some Irish monks like a 1,000 years ago wrote books about the religion and stories of their ancestors. There was one book I am pretty sure called the book of invasions. According to that book modern Irish descend from the 7th and last invasion of Ireland(correct me if I am wrong). The people who lived in Ireland before them according to the book had all black hair, dark eyes, and very pale skin.

That is the exact pigmentation ~5,100-5,300 year old farmer Otzi had and who Otzi and Neolithic farmer Gok4's closet modern relatives have.

The Stone henge people would have probably been genetically most like Otzi and fellow megalithic farmer Gok4. The stone henge people's closest modern relatives are probably Basque and Sardinia.

I would bet they had pale skin, dark hair, and dark eyes. Like that Irish book which could mean it is not all myth.

In my opinion very pale features in Europe like they gave the Stone henge man. Descend from the Mesolithic-Palaeolithic people of Europe. The only pigmentation genes from Mesolithic European. Comes from northern Spain and is "some 8,000 years old(others have said 7,000ybp) named La Brana-1 and he had blue eyes. So my opinion has some evidence.

Very pale features were probably reintroduced in to west Europe with migration of Indo European R1b L11 Germanic's, Italic's, and Celts from east Europe. Which can explain the higher amount of hunter gatherer descended autosomal DNA in modern central and northern Europeans than farers Otzi ad Gok4.

This is all just hypothesis. I could be completely wrong. That Stone henge man looks more like a modern Brit R1b P312 Celts.

Grognard said...

They are med in your fantasy world where greece colonized europe, that's the only place that's true. There's almost 60% blue eyes in england among natives, and even higher in ireland.

Baltic and Celtic culture had very similar burials, and had nordid or nordic skull shapes.


Mediterranean skull type is a derived type not a principal component, anyway. It's basically nordic skull that's reduced and mixed with other sources. These skulls are much larger and have 0% in common with any mediterranean culture.

This reconstruction doesn't have dark hair, either, it has reddish brown hair. Blondism in not the exclusive color for scandinavia, the likely oldest populations on west coast of norway tend to have dark hair and sometimes relatively dark skin.

Fanty said...

"The only pigmentation genes from Mesolithic European. Comes from northern Spain and is "some 8,000 years old(others have said 7,000ybp) named La Brana-1 and he had blue eyes. So my opinion has some evidence.
"

Yeah. Technically we have 2.

We have the pigmentaton of a guy with neolithic farmer genes (the Iceman) = dark hair and dark eyes.

And we have a mesolithic hunter gatherer = light eyes (likely hair color not published)

combined with the fact that modern day Sardinia is the darkest spot of Europe(even less fair hair/eyes than Turkey) it indeed may indicate and the lightest area in Europe is a circle around the baltic sea (Sweden, SW Finland, Baltic states, northern Poland) it is really sugestive for:

Farmer: dark hair, dark eyes
Hunter/gatherer: fair hair, light eyes

Skando Nordic phenotype beeing an example of a mixture: Farmer like skull with hunter/gatherer like pigmentation.

apostateimpressions said...

Why on earth would a Briton 5000 years ago who had been through the LGM be any less Nordic in pigmentation than that? Is he more Nordic than you? Get over it!

Bill Lipton said...

yDNA R1b is the coastal DNA, but there is a link to R1a1 -- it's explained in several books ... but the math of stonehenge and its connection are in the 2012 book "GENESIS OF GENESIS" which links Stonehenge, the Pyramids, and the extraordinary ages of the Patriarchs in the Book of Genesis.

aeolius said...

In the old Sc-Fi classic"The Day the Earth Stood Still" The figure and ground get reversed. For it is Klaatu the human who is the servant and Gort the alien who is the Master.
So with today's announcement of Neanderthal burial, I wonder if it were the Neanderthal who were the more advanced and the OoA humans the
students. It is those places where there was synergistic Interactions, culturally as well as sexually which became the centers of advance.

Maria Marta said...

He (kind of looks) like Pierce Brosnan. Wishful thinking?

Tom Bridgeland said...

I wonder why in these reconstructions ancient people are always shown as messy, uncouth looking individuals. Plenty of evidence of adornment in the record. Why not well-kempt beards and hair, and well-made clothing?

Simon_W said...

Barak, but your Mediterranean Basques are overwhelmingly R1b-L11, as are the formerly Iberian ( = non-IE) Catalans and the formerly Aquitanian ( = non-IE) southwestern French, whereas the formerly Celtiberian (IE) and Lusitanian (IE) parts of Spain and Portugal have a somewhat reduced incidence of R1b. That observation is hard to reconcile with an IE origin of R1b-L11. Obviously some of it eventually became associated with Celts and Germanics, but I think that was secondary.

As for the north European autosomal component, I think a moderate revival may have happened in the late neolithic cultures of central Europe, under the influence of northern Europe - as evidenced by the recent mt-DNA study of central Germany. The Funnel Beaker cultural groups and closely related groups in central Europe were culturally speaking a symbiosis of Danubian and northern influences, even though at that time there were still Sardinian-like groups in southern Sweden. But the relative paucity of R1a in Scandinavia makes it hard to believe that the strong north European component we presently see there was reintroduced by IE groups from the east. Rather, there were also parts of Scandinavia, where more hunter-gatherers survived and became aculturated, but so far we don't have enough autosomal a-DNA to prove that.

And this north European autosomal influence from northern Europe need not have been IE. It may have been indoeuropeanized later, in central Europe.

Also it must be stressed that we still don't have autosomal a-DNA from the British Isles, it's possible that a little more of the hunter gatherer genes survived in this remote and late neolithicized part of Europe. On the other hand the Mediterranean autosomal component is still a little stronger there than further to the east.

Simon_W said...

Furthermore, I forgot, the Bell Beaker folks of central Germany, who are known at least for having had R1b-M269, didn't have the eastern European mt-DNA that could be found in the Corded Ware and Unetice people, although they had quite a bit of the "hunter gatherer"-haplogroups.

eurologist said...

Daniel Day-Lewis might have been a better-suited stand-in.

Creative said...

As part of a tourist attraction I would have expected this choice of pigmentation, in the end the locals want to identify with the fellow. But at first glance I also thought his head looks medish, like the "Jesus" reconstruction or the St Nicholas reconstruction. On the other hand, I have seen Irishmen with similar bulky heads.

mike said...

light eyes reach 70% in Ireland and its always seemed likely this was a mesolithic substrate in the Neolithic population. There is simply non post-Neolithic scenario where a non-dominant aspect like light eyes could come in in the small groups that seem to have arrived post-Neolithic in the Celtic fringe of the eyes and created 70% light eyes in places like Ireland and in Britain. That light eyes are most common in areas like Ireland and the west highlands of Scotland makes a later arrival very unlikely indeed. It is likely that light eyes were absorbed by farmers from hunters as they passed through NW Europe into the isles and within the isles themselves. Remember that the spread to the isles only happened after a long halt in the progress of the spread of farming short of northern Europe so absorbtion of hunter genes may have started there. The original farmers may have been Med. at origin point but by the time they were in the isles and settled they probably were only a minority of that type -especially given 700 years of settlement on the isles by farmers had taken place by the time of this Stonehenge man. So, in short, I think its entirely credible that he had a light pigment. Reddish hair is also a very isles thing and probably of hunter gatherer extraction. The La Brana man shows that the western strain of hunters had blue eyes.

mike said...

light eyes reach 70% in Ireland and its always seemed likely this was a mesolithic substrate in the Neolithic population. There is simply non post-Neolithic scenario where a non-dominant aspect like light eyes could come in in the small groups that seem to have arrived post-Neolithic in the Celtic fringe of the eyes and created 70% light eyes in places like Ireland and in Britain. That light eyes are most common in areas like Ireland and the west highlands of Scotland makes a later arrival very unlikely indeed. It is likely that light eyes were absorbed by farmers from hunters as they passed through NW Europe into the isles and within the isles themselves. Remember that the spread to the isles only happened after a long halt in the progress of the spread of farming short of northern Europe so absorbtion of hunter genes may have started there. The original farmers may have been Med. at origin point but by the time they were in the isles and settled they probably were only a minority of that type -especially given 700 years of settlement on the isles by farmers had taken place by the time of this Stonehenge man. So, in short, I think its entirely credible that he had a light pigment. Reddish hair is also a very isles thing and probably of hunter gatherer extraction. The La Brana man shows the western Eurpean strain was blue eyed and I fully expect the sort of Celtic fringe elevated light eyes, ultra pale skin, freckles and red hair was part of the local western European hunter input.

AdygheChabadi said...

Whether it is or is not accurate, this is one of the most human looking reconstructions I have ever seen. Kudos to the artist for actually making the person look "real".

Anthony said...

Looks so realistic, I almost wonder if the reconstructors found someone with a similarly-shaped skull, tousled their hair a bit, took a photo, then retouched the coloring a bit.

Kurti said...

wasn't Ötzi described by genetic data to have been brown haired and brown eyed too? Just like this reconstruction.

But that doesn't look very "dark brown" to me. His hair looks more Red-brownish.

Kurti said...

I still don't get where the people got the information that Ötzi had Black hair.

According to the scientific sources I know Ötzi is described as brown haired and brown eyed. It is likely that the majority of farmers were darker haired than the H&G but I doubt that light hair was exclusive to them.

This is the newest and most realistic reconstruction of Ötzi.
http://www.heute.at/news/oesterreich/art23655,666336

truth said...

A bit off topic, but for Dienekes info, I don't know if you can do something with this new available DNA samples of genetic isolates from Northeast Italy :

http://www.isita-org.com/anthro-digit/Other_data_Europe.html

Janet P. Reedman said...

His hair doesn't look dark brown to me (and I have seen him 'in person'), it's certainly not dark brown in the way my own is (I am of Irish ancestry with very dark hair with a coppery tint and hazel brown eyes.) He has a long, fairly gracile skull which I would definitely place in the Atlanto group...certainly not Nordic. Megalith builders were not from the north (barring the Funnel Beaker people which is something else again), they are from the western seaboard. Monuments such as Newgrange has highly Iberian characteristics while its sister mound Knowth is very Breton.
I don't know where people get this idea that 'celtic' people mostly have red or fair hair...they don't. They may have higher reddism that some other places but it is still low, with dark brown being far and away the predominant cover.