Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

The Indo-Eurpean wave into Europe from the Armenian Highland

Posted by Fredsvenn on November 28, 2014

Alania/Aran

Alemania/Armenia

Germany/Armenia

Hermann/Arminius

Væren/Aries

The populing of Europa (Old Europe and the IE), and its connection with en/an (Ensi/An) or as/ar (Aser/Arian)

So archeology shows that perhaps the Caucasus was a technological trigger for two massive expansions into the heart of Europe during the Copper Age, which are now showing very clearly in latest aDNA data from Central Europe.

One of these expansions took an anti-clockwise route and arrived in Central Europe from the west, and can be associated with the Bell Beakers and typically Western European (ie. heavily Mediterranean) genetic structure.

The other expansion came from the east, and can be associated with the Corded Ware (inc. Single Grave and Battle Axe) and Unetice cultures, and typically Baltic (ie. more hunter-gatherer like) genetic structure.

These two waves basically replaced the descendents of the LBK culture in Central Europe, who by all accounts were typically Southwest Asian genetically.

This doesn’t leave any room for a Bronze Age invasion of Europe by the Indo-Europeans from West Asia. Although certainly the Caucasus might have played a key role in outfitting the early Indo-Europeans with the technology they needed to expand from Europe during the Copper Age.

The Armenian hypothesis

The Armenian hypothesis of the Proto-Indo-European Urheimat, based on the Glottalic theory suggests that the Proto-Indo-European language was spoken during the 4th millennium BC in the Armenian Highland. It is an Indo-Hittite model and does not include the Anatolian languages in its scenario.

The phonological peculiarities proposed in the Glottalic theory would be best preserved in the Armenian language and the Germanic languages, the former assuming the role of the dialect which remained in situ, implied to be particularly archaic in spite of its late attestation.

The Proto-Greek language would be practically equivalent to Mycenaean Greek and date to the 17th century BC, closely associating Greek migration to Greece with the Indo-Aryan migration to India at about the same time (viz., Indo-European expansion at the transition to the Late Bronze Age, including the possibility of Indo-European Kassites).

Decem and Taihun

In 1981, Hopper proposed to divide all Indo-European languages into Decem and Taihun groups, according to the pronunciation of the numeral ’10’, by analogy with the Centum-Satem isogloss, which is based on the pronunciation of the numeral ‘100’.

The Armenian, Germanic, Anatolian, and Tocharian subfamilies belong to the Taihun group because the numeral ’10’ begins from the voiceless t there. All other Indo-European languages belong to the Decem group because the numeral 10 begins from the voiced d in them.

Previously R1b was called Italic, Celtic, Germanic/ Hittite, Armenian, but are now called Italo/Celtic, Germanic; Hittite, Armenian, Tocharian.

(ca. 3400-2000 BC)

The Kura–Araxes culture or the early trans-Caucasian culture was a civilization that existed from 3400 BC until about 2000 BC, which has traditionally been regarded as the date of its end, but it may have disappeared as early as 2600 or 2700 BC.

The period between the 4th and 3rd millennia B.C. was the time of great cataclysmic events in the Caucasus; its cultural advances were influenced by changes within its boundaries as well as interactions with the outside world.

The most significant occurrence of this epoch was the appearance of a large number of peoples of Mesopotamian cultural identity who contributed to speeding up the rhythm of its cultural development, adding “explosive” character to its progress.

During this period the South Caucasus experienced two powerful waves of Middle Eastern expansion: the first at the time of Late Neolithic culture of Sioni in the 4th-5th millennia B.C., and the second at the period of Tsopi culture in the Late Neolithic Age, at the end of the 5th and the first half of the 4th millennium B.C., which is known as the Uruk expansion era.

Later, in the second half of the 4th and throughout the 3 rd millennium B.C., during the Early Bronze Age the Kura-Araxes culture of the Caucasus spread throughout the greater part of the Caucasus, Eastern Anatolia, northern parts of Iran, Middle East and even Europe.

The name of the culture is derived from the Kura and Araxes river valleys. Its territory corresponds to parts of modern Armenia, Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Dagestan, Georgia, Ingushetia and North Ossetia. It may have given rise to the later Khirbet Kerak ware culture found in Syria and Canaan after the fall of the Akkadian Empire.

The earliest evidence for the is culture is found on the Ararat plain; thence it spread northward in Caucasus by 3000 BC (but never reaching Colchis), and during the next millennium it proceeded westward to the Erzurum plain, southwest to Cilicia, and to the southeast into an area below the Urmia basin and Lake Van, and finally down to the borders of present day Syria. Altogether, the early Trans-Caucasian culture, at its greatest spread, enveloped a vast area approximately 1,000 km by 500 km.

The Uruk culture are tied both to the Southern Levant and then to the Trancausia area and possibly inspiring both Kura-Axes and Maykop development. There are some very early branches of M269 in the Near East as well as the non M269 R1b-V88 that may have expanded into Africa from there.

The Kura-Axes and Maykop area became the core of the Circumpontic Metallugy Province. We have M269 L23xL51 in the Caucasus and Anatolia and L51 types of R1b showing up with Beakers, metallurgists, in Western Euroope.

(ca. 3700 BC—3000 BC)

The Maykop culture (also spelled Maikop), ca. 3700 BC—3000 BC, was a major Bronze Age archaeological culture in the Western Caucasus region of Southern Russia.

It extends along the area from the Taman Peninsula at the Kerch Strait to near the modern border of Dagestan and southwards to the Kura River. The culture takes its name from a royal burial found in Maykop kurgan in the Kuban River valley.

In the south it borders the approximately contemporaneous Kura-Araxes culture (3500—2200 BC), which extends into eastern Anatolia and apparently influenced it. To the north is the Yamna culture, including the Novotitorovka culture (3300—2700), which it overlaps in territorial extent. It is contemporaneous with the late Uruk period in Mesopotamia.

The Maykop kurgan was extremely rich in gold and silver artifacts; unusual for the time. The Maykop culture is believed to be one of the first to use the wheel. Its inhumation practices were characteristically Indo-European, typically in a pit, sometimes stone-lined, topped with a kurgan (or tumulus). Stone cairns replace kurgans in later interments.

(ca. 3600–2300 BC)

The Yamna culture (“Pit [Grave] Culture”) is a late copper age/early Bronze Age culture of the Southern Bug/Dniester/Ural region (the Pontic steppe), dating to the 36th–23rd centuries BC. The name also appears in English as Pit Grave Culture or Ochre Grave Culture.

The Yamna culture was preceded by the Sredny Stog culture, Khvalynsk culture and Dnieper-Donets culture, while succeeded by the Catacomb culture and the Srubna culture.

The culture was predominantly nomadic, with some agriculture practiced near rivers and a few hillforts. Characteristic for the culture are the inhumations in kurgans (tumuli) in pit graves with the dead body placed in a supine position with bent knees. The bodies were covered in ochre. Multiple graves have been found in these kurgans, often as later insertions.

Significantly, animal grave offerings were made (cattle, sheep, goats and horse), a feature associated with Proto-Indo-Europeans (including Proto-Indo-Iranians).

The earliest remains in Eastern Europe of a wheeled cart were found in the “Storozhova mohyla” kurgan (Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, excavated by Trenozhkin A.I.) associated with the Yamna culture.

The Yamna culture is identified with the late Proto-Indo-Europeans (PIE) in the Kurgan hypothesis of Marija Gimbutas. It is the strongest candidate for the Urheimat (homeland) of the Proto-Indo-European language, along with the preceding Sredny Stog culture, now that archaeological evidence of the culture and its migrations has been closely tied to the evidence from linguistics.

Pavel Dolukhanov argues that the emergence of the Pit-Grave culture represents a social development of various local Bronze Age cultures, representing “an expression of social stratification and the emergence of chiefdom-type nomadic social structures”, which in turn intensified inter-group contacts between essentially heterogeneous social groups.

It is said to have originated in the middle Volga based Khvalynsk culture and the middle Dnieper based Sredny Stog culture. In its western range, it is succeeded by the Catacomb culture; in the east, by the Poltavka culture and the Srubna culture.

(ca. 2800–2200 BC)

The Catacomb culture (ca. 2800–2200 BC) refers to a group of related cultures in the early Bronze Age occupying essentially what is present-day Ukraine. It was preceded by the Yamna culture, and was succeeded by the Srubna culture from ca. the 17th century BC.

The culture was the first to introduce corded pottery decorations into the steppes and shows a profuse use of the polished battle axe, providing a link to the West. Parallels with the Afanasevo culture, including provoked cranial deformations, provide a link to the East.

The linguistic composition of the Catacomb culture is unclear. Within the context of the Kurgan hypothesis expounded by Marija Gimbutas, an Indo-European component is hard to deny, particularly in the later stages. Placing the ancestors of the Greek, Armenian and Paleo-Balkan dialects here is tempting, as it would neatly explain certain shared features.

More recently, the Ukrainian archaeologist V. Kulbaka has argued that the Late Yamna cultures of ca. 3200–2800 BC, esp. the Budzhak, Starosilsk, and Novotitarovka groups, might represent the Greek-Armenian-“Aryan”(=Indo-Iranian) ancestors (Graeco-Aryan, Graeco-Armenian), and the Catacomb culture that of the “unified” (to ca. 2500 BC) and then “differentiated” Indo-Iranians.

Grigoryev’s (1998) version of the Armenian hypothesis connects Catacomb culture with Indo-Aryans, because catacomb burial ritual had roots in South-Western Turkmenistan from the early 4th millennium (Parkhai cemetery). The same opinion is supported by Leo Klejn in his various publications.

(ca. 5500–4500 BC)

The Linear Pottery culture is a major archaeological horizon of the European Neolithic, flourishing circa 5500–4500 BC. It is abbreviated as LBK (from German: Linearbandkeramik), and is also known as the Linear Band Ware, Linear Ware, Linear Ceramics or Incised Ware culture, and falls within the Danubian I culture of V. Gordon Childe.

In 2005 scientists successfully sequenced mtDNA coding region 15997–16409 derived from 24 7,500- to 7,000-year-old human remains associated with the LBK culture. Of those remains, 22 were from locations in Germany near the Harz Mountains and the upper Rhine Valley, while one was from Austria and one from Hungary.

The scientists did not reveal the detailed hypervariable segment I (HVSI) sequences for all the samples, but identified that seven of the samples belonged to H or V branch of the mtDNA phylogenetic tree, six belonged to the N1a branch, five belonged to the T branch, four belonged to the K(U8) branch, one belonged to the J branch, and one belonged to the U3 branch. All branches are extant in the current European population.

Comparison of the N1a HVSI sequences with sequences of living individuals found three of them to correspond with those of individuals currently living in Europe. Two of the sequences corresponded to ancestral nodes predicted to exist or to have existed on the European branch of the phylogenetic tree. One of the sequences is related to European populations, but with no apparent descendants amongst the modern population.

The N1a evidence supports the notion that the descendants of LBK culture have lived in Europe for more than 7,000 years and have become an integral part of the current European population. The lack of mtDNA haplogroup U5 supports the notion that U5 at this time is uniquely associated with mesolithic European cultures.

A 2010 study of ancient DNA suggested the LBK population had affinities to modern-day populations from the Near East and Anatolia. The study also found some unique features, such as the prevalence of the now-rare Y-haplogroup F* and mitochondrial haplogroup frequencies.

(ca. 4300 BC–ca 2800 BC)

The Funnel(-neck-)beaker culture, short TRB or TBK from (German) Trichter(rand)becherkultur (ca 4300 BC–ca 2800 BC) was an archaeological culture in north-central Europe. It developed as a technological merger of local neolithic and mesolithic techno-complexes between the lower Elbe and middle Vistula rivers, introducing farming and husbandry as a major source of food to the pottery-using hunter-gatherers north of this line.

In the late 4th millennium BC, the Globular Amphora culture (KAK) replaced most of the eastern and subsequently also the southern TRB groups, reducing the TRB area to modern northern Germany and southern Scandinavia. The younger TRB in these areas was superseded by the Single Grave culture (EGK) at about 2800 BC. The north-central European megaliths were built primarily during the TRB era.

It has been suggested that the Funnelbeaker culture was the origin of the gene allowing adults of Northern European descent to digest lactose. It was claimed that in the area formerly inhabited by this culture, prevalence of the gene is virtually universal.

A paper published in 2007 by Burger et al. indicated that the genetic variant that causes lactose persistence in most Europeans (-13,910*T) was rare or absent in early farmers from central Europe. A study published by Yuval Itan and colleagues in 2010 clearly shows this. A study published in 2009, also by Itan et al., suggests that the Linear Pottery culture (also known as Linearbandkeramik or LBK), which preceded the TRB culture by some 1,500 years, was the culture in which this trait started to co-evolve with the culture of dairying.

Ancient DNA extracted from three individuals ascribed to a TRB horizon in Gökhem, Sweden, were found to possess mtDNA haplogroups H, J, and T.

(ca. 3400–2800 BC)

The Globular Amphora Culture (GAC), German Kugelamphoren-Kultur (KAK), ca. 3400–2800 BC, is an archaeological culture preceding the central area occupied by the Corded Ware culture. Somewhat to the south and west, it was bordered by the Baden culture. To the northeast was the Narva culture. It occupied much of the same area as the earlier Funnelbeaker culture.

The name was coined by Gustaf Kossinna because of the characteristic pottery, globular-shaped pots with two to four handles. The Globular Amphora culture is thought to be of Indo-European origin and was succeeded by the Corded Ware culture.

The inclusion of animals in the grave is seen as an intrusive cultural element by Marija Gimbutas. The practice of suttee, hypotised by Gimbutas is also seen as a highly intrusive cultural element.

The supporters of the Kurgan hypothesis point to these distinctive burial practices and state this may represent one of the earliest migrations of Indo-Europeans into Central Europe. In this context and given its area of occupation, this culture has been claimed as the underlying culture of a Germanic-Baltic-Slavic continuum.

(ca. 2900–2450/2350 BC)

The Corded Ware culture (German: Schnurkeramik; French: ceramique cordée; in Middle Europe c. 2900–2450/2350 BC), alternatively characterized as the Battle Axe culture or Single Grave culture, is an enormous European archaeological horizon that begins in the late Neolithic (Stone Age), flourishes through the Copper Age and culminates in the early Bronze Age.

Around 2400 BC the people of the Corded Ware replaced their predecessors and expanded to Danubian and Nordic areas of western Germany. A related branch invaded Denmark and southern Sweden.

There have been many different views concerning the origin of the Corded Ware culture. There is broadly a division between archaeologists who see an influence from pastoral societies of the steppes north of the Black Sea and those who think that Corded Ware springs from central Europe. In both camps, there are many differing views. The recent tendency has been to seek a middle way.

In places a continuity between Funnelbeaker and Corded Ware can be demonstrated, whereas in other areas Corded Ware heralds a new culture and physical type. On most of the immense, continental expanse that it covered, the culture was clearly intrusive, and therefore represents one of the most impressive and revolutionary cultural changes attested by archeology. The degree to which cultural change generally represents immigration is a matter of debate, and such debate has figured strongly in discussions of Corded Ware.

The prototypal Corded Ware culture, German Schnurkeramikkultur, is found in Central Europe, mainly Germany and Poland, and refers to the characteristic pottery of the era: twisted cord was impressed into the wet clay to create various decorative patterns and motifs. It is known mostly from its burials, and both sexes received the characteristic cord-decorated pottery. Whether made of flax or hemp, they had rope.

In summary, Corded Ware does not represent a single monolithic entity, but rather a diffusion of technological and cultural innovations of different, contemporaneous peoples, living in close proximity to each other and leaving different archaeological remains.

Corded Ware culture is associated with some of the Indo-European family of languages by many scholars and believed to be related to the Catacomb culture. The mtDNA and Y-DNA sequences retrieved are typical of PIE steppe people.

(ca. 2800 – 1800 BC)

The Bell-Beaker culture (sometimes shortened to Beaker culture, Beaker people, or Beaker folk; German: Glockenbecherkultur), ca. 2800 – 1800 BC, is the term for a widely scattered ‘archaeological culture’ of prehistoric Western Europe starting in the late Neolithic or Chalcolithic and running into the early Bronze Age. The term was coined by John Abercromby, based on the culture’s distinctive pottery drinking vessels.

The Bell Beaker culture is understood not only as a particular pottery type, but as a complete and complex cultural phenomenon involving other artefact styles such as weaponry and ornamentation, as well as shared ideological, cultural and religious ideas.

The Bell Beaker period marks a period of unprecedented cultural contact in Atlantic and Western Europe on a scale not seen previously, nor again seen in succeeding periods. This contrasted the situation in Central and Eastern Europe where the slightly earlier Corded Ware Culture had already established wide-ranging contacts within those regions.

There have been numerous proposals by archaeologists as to the origins of the Bell Beaker culture, and debates continued on for decades. Several regions of origin have been postulated, notably the Iberian Peninsula, the Netherlands and Central Europe.

Similarly, scholars have postulated various mechanisms of spread, including migrations of populations (“folk migrations”), smaller warrior groups, individuals (craftsmen), or a diffusion of ideas and object exchange.

Recent analyses have made significant inroads to understanding the Beaker phenomenon, mostly by analysing each of its components separately. They have concluded that the Bell Beaker phenomenon was a synthesis of elements, representing “an idea and style uniting different regions with different cultural traditions and background.”

Radiocarbon dating seems to support that the earliest “Maritime” Bell Beaker design style is encountered in Iberia, specifically in the vibrant copper-using communities of the Tagus estuary in Portugal around 2800-2700 BC and spread from there to many parts of western Europe. An overview of all available sources from southern Germany concluded that Bell Beaker was a new and independent culture in that area, contemporary with the Corded Ware culture.

The inspiration for the Maritime Bell Beaker is argued to have been the small and earlier Copoz beakers that have impressed decoration and which are found widely around the Tagus estuary in Portugal.

Turek sees late Neolithic precursors in northern Africa, arguing the Maritime style emerged as a result of seaborne contacts between Iberia and Morocco in the first half of the third millennium BCE. However, radiocarbon dating from North African sites is lacking for the most part.

AOO and AOC Beakers appear to have evolved continually from pre-Beaker period in the lower Rhine and North Sea regions, at least for Northern and Central Europe.

Furthermore, the burial ritual which typified Bell Beaker sites was intrusive into Western Europe. Individual burials, often under tumuli burials, with the inclusion of weapons contrast markedly to the preceding Neolithic traditions of often collective, weaponless burials in Atlantic/Western Europe. Such an arrangement is rather derivative of Corded Ware traditions, although instead of ‘battle-axes’, Bell Beaker individuals used copper daggers.

Overall, all these elements (Iberian-derived maritime ceramic styles, AOC and AOO ceramic styles, and ‘eastern’ burial ritual symbolism) appear to have first fused in the Lower Rhine region.

Early papers publishing results on European-wide Y-DNA marker frequencies, such as those of Semino (2000) and Rosser (2000), correlated haplogroup R1b-M269 with the earliest episodes of European colonization by Anatomically Modern Humans (AMH).

The peak frequencies of M269 in Iberia (especially the Basque region) and the Atlantic façade were postulated to represent signatures of re-colonization of the European West following the Last Glacial Maximum.

However, even prior to recent criticisms and refinements, the idea that Iberian R1b carrying males repopulated most of Western Europe was not consistent with findings which revealed that Italian M269 lineages are not derivative of Iberian ones.

More recently, data and calculations from Myres et al. (2011), Cruciani et al. (2011) Arredi et al. (2007), and Balaresque et al. (2010) suggest a Late Neolithic entry of M269 into Europe.

These hypotheses appear to be corroborated by more direct evidence from ancient DNA. For example, Early Neolithic Y-DNA from Spain did not reveal any R1b, but rather E-V13 and G2a, whilst a similar study from a French pre-Beaker Neolithic site revealed haplgroup G2a and I-P37.

It is only later, from a German Bell Beaker site dated to the third millennium BCE, that the first evidence for R1b is detected. Ancient Y-DNA results for the remains of Beaker people from Iberia have yet to be obtained.

From a mitochondrial DNA perspective, haplogroup H, which has high (~ 40%) throughout Europe, has received similar attention. Early studies by Richards et al (2000) purported that it arose 28 – 23,000 years ago (kya), spreading into Europe ~ 20 kya, before then re-expanding from an Iberian glacial refuge ~ 15 kya, calculations subsequently corroborated by Pereira et al. (2005).

However, a larger study by Roostalu et al. (2007), incorporating more data from the Near East, suggested that whilst Hg H did begin to expand c. 20 kya, this was limited to the Near East, Caucasus and Southeastern Europe. Rather its subsequent spread further west occurred later, in the post-glacial period from a postulated South Caucasian refugium.

This hypothesis has been supported by a recent ancient DNA analysis study, which links the expansion of mtDNA Hg H in Western Europe with the Bell Beaker phenomenon.

Whilst such studies are insightful, even if the dates postulated by authors are correct, they do not necessarily imply that the spread of a particular genetic marker represents a distinct population, ‘tribe’ or language group. As such, ‘genetic studies’ have often drawn criticisms not only from archaeologists and cultural anthropologists, but also from fellow population geneticists.

Bell Beaker has been suggested as a candidate for an early Indo-European culture; more specifically, an ancestral proto-Celtic, a branch of the Western Indo-European languages, with the other branches Italic languages, Germanic languages and the Balto-Slavic group. The exact relationships between these branches are under discussion.

The earliest archaeological culture that may justifiably be considered as Proto-Celtic is the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture of central Europe from the last quarter of the second millennium BC. By the Iron Age Hallstatt culture of around 800 BC these people had become fully Celtic.

The Urnfield culture (c. 1300 BC – 750 BC) was a late Bronze Age culture of central Europe. The name comes from the custom of cremating the dead and placing their ashes in urns which were then buried in fields.

The Urnfield culture followed the Tumulus culture and was succeeded by the Hallstatt culture. Linguistic evidence and continuity with the following Hallstatt culture suggests that the people of this culture spoke an early form of Celtic even proto-Celtic originally.

Zooming in on Central Europe scientists distinguish three intermediate stages between the Bell Beaker culture and the Hallstatt culture: the Únětice, or Unetice, culture (circa 2300 until 1600 BCE), the Tumulus culture (approximately 1600 until 1200 BCE) and finally the Urnfield culture (roughly from 1200 until 750 BCE).

(ca. 2300–1600 BC)

The Únětice culture is an archaeological culture of the Central European Bronze Age, dated roughly to about 2300–1600 BC. The eponymous site for this culture, village Únětice, is located in Central Czech Republic, northwest of Prague.

Today, this archaeological culture is known from Czech Republic and Slovakia from approximately 1400 sites, from Poland (550 sites) and Germany (approximately 500 sites and loose finds locations). The Únětice culture is also known from north-eastern Austria (in association with the so-called the Böheimkirchen Group), and from western Ukraine.

The culture is distinguished by its characteristic metal objects including ingot torcs, flat axes, flat triangular daggers, bracelets with spiral-ends, disk- and paddle-headed pins and curl rings which are distributed over a wide area of Central Europe and beyond.

The ingots are found in hoards that can contain over six hundred pieces. Axe-hoards are common as well, the hoard of Dieskau (Saxony) contained 293 flanged axes. Thus, axes might have served as ingots as well. After about 2000 BC, this hoarding tradition dies out and is only resumed in the urnfield period.

These hoards have formerly been interpreted as a form storage by itinerant bronze-founders or riches hidden because of enemy action. This is likely as even today weapons are hoarded underground to hide them from the enemy and axes were the primary weapon. Hoards containing mainly jewellery are typical for the Adlerberg-group.

Archaeological evidence suggests that the Únětice metal industry, though active and innovative, was concerned with producing weapons and ornaments mainly as status symbols for leading persons, rather than for widespread domestic use or for equipping large fighting forces – developments which would wait until later periods in European history. But the Adlerberg cemetery of Hofheim/Taunus, (Germany) contained the burial of a male who had died from an arrow-shot, the stone arrow-head still being located in his arm.

(2500-1200 BCE)

The Conquest of Western Europe

The R1b conquest of Europe happened in two phases. For nearly two millennia, starting from circa 4200 BCE, steppe people limited their conquest to the rich Chalcolithic civilisations of the Carpathians and the Balkans. These societies possessed the world’s largest towns, notably the tell settlements of the Cucuteni-Tripolye culture.

Nothing incited the R1b conquerors to move further into Western Europe at such an early stage, because most of the land north and west of the Alps was still sparsely populated woodland. The Neolithic did not reach the British Isles and Scandinavia before circa 4000 BCE. Even northern France and most of the Alpine region had been farming or herding for less than a millennium and were still quite primitive compared to Southeast Europe and the Middle East.

North-west Europe remained a tribal society of hunter-gatherers practising only limited agriculture for centuries after the conquest of the Balkans by the Indo-Europeans. Why would our R1b “conquistadors” leave the comfort of the wealthy and populous Danubian civilisations for the harsh living conditions that lie beyond ? Bronze Age people coveted tin, copper, and gold, of which the Balkans had plenty, but that no one had yet discovered in Western Europe.

R1b-L51 is thought to have arrived in Central Europe (Hungary, Austria, Bohemia) around 2500 BCE, approximately two millennia after the shift to the Neolithic in these regions. Agrarian towns had started to develop. Gold and copper had begun to be mined. The prospects of a conquest were now far more appealing.

The archeological and genetic evidence (distribution of R1b subclades) point at several consecutive waves towards eastern and central Germany between 2800 BCE and 2300 BCE. The Unetice culture was probably the first culture in which R1b-L11 lineages played a major role.

It is interesting to note that the Unetice period happen to correspond to the end of the Maykop (2500 BCE) and Kemi Oba (2200 BCE) cultures on the northern shores of the Black Sea, and their replacement by cultures descended from the northern steppes.

It can therefore be envisaged that the (mostly) R1b population from the northern half of the Black Sea migrated westward due to pressure from other Indo-European people (R1a) from the north, for example that of the burgeoning Proto-Indo-Iranian branch, linked to the contemporary Poltavka and Abashevo cultures.

It is doubtful that the Bell Beaker culture (2800-1900 BCE) in Western Europe was already Indo-European because its attributes are in perfect continuity with the native Megalithic cultures. The Beaker phenomenon started during the Late Neolithic and Early Chalcolithic in Portugal and propagated to the north-east towards Germany.

During the same period Bronze Age steppe cultures spread from Germany in the opposite direction towards Iberia, France and Britain. It is more likely that the beakers and horses found across Western Europe during that period were the result of trade with neighbouring Indo-European cultures, including the first wave of R1b into Central Europe.

It is equally possible that the Beaker people were R1b merchants or explorers who travelled across Western Europe and brought back tales of riches poorly defended by Stone Age people and waiting to be conquered by the more advanced Indo-Europeans, with their bronze weapons and horses.

(5000-1500 BC)

Cardium Pottery or Cardial Ware is a Neolithic decorative style that gets its name from the imprinting of the clay with the shell of the cockle, an edible marine mollusk, formerly Cardium edulis, now Cerastoderma edule. These forms of pottery are in turn used to define the Neolithic culture which produced and spread them, mostly commonly called the “Cardial Culture”.

This pottery style gives its name to the main culture of the Mediterranean Neolithic: Cardium Pottery Culture or Cardial Culture, or Impressed Ware Culture, which eventually extended from the Adriatic sea to the Atlantic coasts of Portugal and south to Morocco.

The earliest Impressed Ware sites, dating to 6400-6200 BC, are in Epirus and Corfu. Settlements then appear in Albania and Dalmatia on the eastern Adriatic coast dating to between 6100 and 5900 BC.

The earliest date in Italy comes from Coppa Nevigata on the Adriatic coast of southern Italy, perhaps as early as 6000 cal BC. Also during Su Carroppu civilization in Sardinia, already in its early stages (low strata into Su Coloru cave, c. 6000 BC) early examples of cardial pottery appear.

Northward and westward all secure radiocarbon dates are identical to those for Iberia c. 5500 cal B.C., which indicates a rapid spread of Cardial and related cultures: 2,000 km from the gulf of Genoa to the estuary of the Mondego in probably no more than 100–200 years. This suggests a seafaring expansion by planting colonies along the coast.

Older Neolithic cultures existed already at this time in eastern Greece and Crete, apparently having arrived from the Levant, but they appear distinct from the Cardial or Impressed Ware culture. The ceramic tradition in the central Balkans also remained distinct from that along the Adriatic coastline in both style and manufacturing techniques for almost 1,000 years from the 6th millennium BC.

Early Neolithic impressed pottery is found in the Levant, and certain parts of Anatolia, including Mezraa-Teleilat, and in North Africa at Tunus-Redeyef, Tunisia. So the first Cardial settlers in the Adriatic may have come directly from the Levant.

Of course it might equally well have come directly from North Africa, and impressed-pottery also appears in Egypt. Along the East Mediterranean coast Impressed Ware has been found in North Syria, Palestine and Lebanon.

It has now been proven by the testing of Neolithic remains in various parts of Europe that haplogroup G2a was one of the lineages of Neolithic farmers and herders who migrated from Anatolia to Europe between 9,000 and 6,000 years ago.

In this scenario migrants from the eastern Mediterranean would have brought with them sheep and goats, which were domesticated south of the Caucasus about 12,000 years ago. This would explain why haplogroup G is more common in mountainous areas, be it in Europe or in Asia.

The geographic continuity of G2a from Anatolia to Thessaly to the Italian peninsula, Sardinia, south-central France and Iberia already suggested that G2a could be connected to the Printed-Cardium Pottery culture (5000-1500 BCE).

Ancient DNA tests conducted on skeletons from a LBK site in Germany (who were L30+) as well as Printed-Cardium Pottery sites from Languedoc-Roussilon in southern France and from Catalonia in Spain all confirmed that Neolithic farmers in Europe belonged primarily to haplogroup G2a. Other haplogroups found so far in Neolithic Europe include E-V13, F and I2a1 (P37.2).

Ötzi the Iceman (see famous individuals below), who lived in the Italian Alps during the Chalcolithic, belonged to haplogroup G2a2a2 (L91), a relatively rare subclade found nowadays in the Middle East, southern Europe (especially Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica) and North Africa.

G2a2 (PF3146) is otherwise found at low frequencies all the way from the Levant to Western Europe. In conclusion, Neolithic farmers in Europe would have belonged to G2a, G2a2 (+ subclades) and G2a3 (and at least the M406 subclade).

Ertebølle-Ellerbek groups

Uruk migrants in the Caucasus

Haplogroup R1b (Y-DNA) – Eupedia

The story of R1b: it’s complicated

Haplogroup E1b1b

Haplogroup G2a (Y-DNA)

Haplogroup J2

Haplogroup R1b

Haplogroup R1a

Kura–Araxes culture

Shengavit Settlement

Maykop culture

Yamna culture

Catacomb culture

Linear Pottery culture

Funnelbeaker culture

Globular Amphora culture

Corded Ware culture

Beaker culture

Únětice culture

Tumulus culture

Urnfield culture

 

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