February 11, 2011

Mesolithic mtDNA haplogroup U5a from Luxembourg

Yet another U5a from pre-Neolithic Europe.

From the paper:
Le squelette mésolithique découvert à Reuland-
Loschbour (Fig. 1-2) est conservé au Musée national
d’histoire naturelle de Luxembourg, sous le numéro
20.5.1943. L’inhumation « LSB1 » de l’Homme de
Loschbour est une sépulture primaire datée d’environ 6 000 ans BC (Before Christ), par mesures radio - chronologiques sur le crâne [OxA-7338 : 7 205+/- 50BP (Before Present) soit 6 220-5 990 cal BC] et sur les 2 côtes d’aurochs accompagnant le squelette [GrN- 7115 : 7 115+/-45BP soit 6 070-5 890 cal BC].
This was a 1.6m tall, hyperdolichocephalic, robust, ~60kg male, with an age of 34-47 years. As the authors correctly point out:

Les haplogroupes U5 (65 %) et U4 sont les plus communs (>80%) parmi les chasseurs-cueilleurs d’Europe centrale et orientale (BRAMANTI et al. 2009). L’Homme de Loschbour, d’haplogroupe U5a, fait parfaitement le lien entre ceux-ci et l’Homme de Gough’s Cave (Cheddar Gorge, Somerset, Angleterre), daté de 7 150 BC et également d’haplogroupe U5a. Ces haplogroupes sont plus rares dans toutes ces régions, suite à l’arrivée des premiers agriculteurs de la Culture Linear Band Keramik (BRAMANTI et al. 2009), diffusant des Balkans, et probablement aussi pour d’autres raisons comme la dilution avec d’autres haplogroupes européens anciens présents au moins depuis l’expansion succédant au dernier maximum glaciaire. Actuellement, 11% de la population européenne globale appartiennent au clan U5. Les types U5, U5a et U5b ne représentent plus qu’environ 5 à 7 % de la population d’Europe occidentale, mais restent très fréquents (refuge ?) au Nord de l’Europe, principalement chez les Saami ou Lapons (40 % de la population), les Finlandais et les Estoniens ; ils ont également des représentants en Afrique du Nord (composante méridionale de l’expansion à la fonte des glaces ?) et au Proche Orient, probablement par migration inverse (voir MANCO 2009-2010 ; PONTIKOS 2010).

Bull. Soc. Préhist. Luxembourgeoise 31, 2009, 7-30.

De l’ocre sur le crâne mésolithique (haplogroupe U5a) de Reuland-Loschbour(Grand-Duché de Luxembourg) ?

Dominique Delsate, Jean Michel Guinet et Steven Saverwyns

Summary: A red colored area is present on the left portion of the frontal bone of the mesolithic man from Loschbour. After a preliminary report of the bio-anthropological study of the skeleton, with genetic typing of mitochondrial DNA, we present our attempts to determine the nature of the pigment, by the methods of Raman spectroscopy and elemental analysis by energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). Ochre is proven, and its presence is discussed.


German Dziebel said...

Dienekes, do you have a link to this paper?

pconroy said...


Interesting - corrobates all previous research.

BTW, are they referencing you and Jean Manco, at the end of the excerpt:
"(voir MANCO 2009-2010 ; PONTIKOS 2010)"???

If so congrats!

Jean said...

Looks like this paper is not online. I'm impressed that you got hold of it. Thanks!

Jim Bowery said...

[sarcasm]Obviously a result of head binding.[/sarcasm]

Anonymous said...

Another paper blinded by Eurocentrism.

How can anyone know where the mtDNA haplogroups originated if no effort is made to find out the haplogroups or at least their HVR 1 and HVR 2 of similarly aged human specimens from the Near East, West Asia and North Africa? Looking at your faeces might tell you about your health status but it doesn't say much about the health status of others.

More studies are needed to find origin points for all haplogroups found in Europe, North Africa, West Asia or the Near East particularly the last two considering that is where all the ancestors of all Europeans of all ages, Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic and modern come from, their Eden. Disappointing all people are doing is just going around in circles. We know from the murdered man from Cheddar in England that a man of his age was U5a, but do we know where Cheddar man came from, where his people came from and how long had they been in that part of Europe prior to Britain separating from the European mainland. No, we know is his approximate age, how long ago he died, that he was disfigured facially, that he was murdered, his flesh removed and probably eaten and his mtDNA haplogroup.

Jean said...


Don't you think you are being a little hard on the tiny country of Luxembourg? How can it afford to conduct a major study of ancient DNA across half the world? I'm impressed that it has come up with one aDNA result. That is on a par with Ireland and England.

I think we can take it as read that Europeans are genetically a sub-set of Africans, if we accept (as I do) the "out-of-Africa" position. We can also take it as read that the overwhelming majority of that sub-set did not arrive direct from Africa, since the Mediterranean was too great a barrier for so long, but came into Europe via the Near East.

Some input came along a more northerly trajectory from Asia (such as Uralic-speakers and Huns), and it's an open question whether any input from the Near East came via North Africa in the Neolithic, but the Near East was the chief staging post.

Anonymous said...

Ponto, specifically to which parts of the paper is your objection?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marnie said...

"More studies are needed to find origin points for all haplogroups found in Europe, North Africa, West Asia or the Near East particularly the last two considering that is where all the ancestors of all Europeans of all ages, Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic and modern come from, their Eden."

Il y plusiers etudes, deja fait, qui inclus le Moyen-Orient. Le chose, Ponto, mon Gar, est que vous ne le lisez pas.

Anonymous said...

"Ponto, mon Gar, est que vous ne le lisez pas".

Elle m'a fait comprendre le sens que je ne pouvais pas trouver.

Anonymous said...

Marnie and Ponto,

All haplogroup origin times and places in the academic literature are educated guesses at best, and they will likely always remain that way. What is really important isn't the origin time and place of haplogroups but the proportion of haplogroups in a specific age and place, and it is much more possible to scientifically find out than origin time and place (thanks to statistics and ancient DNA studies).

Anonymous said...

Wondering where they are getting U5a from, as they didn't check for any of the substitutions specific to U5a, only 16192 and 16270 which define U5. Did I miss something in the paper? It's available on academia.edu now, btw.