Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

The story of R1b: It’s complicated

Posted by Fredsvenn on August 2, 2014

Haplogroup R1b (Y-DNA) - Eupedia

Distribution of haplogroup R1b in Europe

Distribution map of haplogroup R1b in the Old World (Eurasia and Africa) - Eupedia

Ancient DNA is painting a remarkable picture of the period of European prehistory known as the late Neolithic/early Bronze Age. It’s showing that after the collapse of genetically Near Eastern-like farming populations of middle Neolithic Central Europe – probably as a result of climate fluctuations, disease, famine and increasing violence – the vacuum was filled by genetically much more European-like groups from the eastern and western peripheries of Neolithic Europe.

First came the settlers from the east, belonging to the vast archeological horizon known as the Corded Ware Culture (CWC). About three hundred years later they were joined in Central Europe by migrants from the Atlantic Fringe, belonging to the Bell Beaker Culture (BBC). During the early Bronze Age, the CWC disappeared, and was replaced by the Unetice Culture (UC), which briefly overlapped with the late BBC.

Ancient DNA recovered to date suggests that the Bell Beakers were genetically the archetypal Western Europeans, characterized by Western European-specific mtDNA H subclades and Y-chromosome haplogroup R1b. Interestingly, R1b has also been found among remains of aboriginals from the Canary Islands, just off the coast of northwest Africa. It might be a stretch to attribute this directly to the Bell Beakers, but they were certainly capable sailors, so perhaps not?

On the other hand, the CWC and UC populations appear to have been Eastern Europeans to the core, carrying relatively low levels of mtDNA H, and showing strong mtDNA affinity to Bronze Age Kurgan groups of Kazakhstan and South Siberia.

The story of R1b: It’s complicated

Haplogroup R1b

Genetic studies

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