Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

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  • The Fertile Crescent

    The Fertile Crescent is a term for an old fertile area north, east and west of the Arabian Desert in Southwest Asia. The Mesopotamian valley and the Nile valley fall under this term even though the mountain zone around Mesopotamia is the natural zone for the transition in a historical sense.

    As a result of a number of unique geographical factors the Fertile Crescent have an impressive history of early human agricultural activity and culture. Besides the numerous archaeological sites with remains of skeletons and cultural relics the area is known primarily for its excavation sites linked to agricultural origins and development of the Neolithic era.

    It was here, in the forested mountain slopes of the periphery of this area, that agriculture originated in an ecologically restricted environment. The western zone and areas around the upper Euphrates gave growth to the first known Neolithic farming communities with small, round houses , also referred to as Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) cultures, which dates to just after 10,000 BC and include areas such as Jericho, the world’s oldest city.

    During the subsequent PPNB from 9000 BC these communities developed into larger villages with farming and animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, with settlement in the two-story, rectangular house. Man now entered in symbiosis with grain and livestock species, with no opportunity to return to hunter – gatherer societies.

    The area west and north of the plains of the Euphrates and Tigris also saw the emergence of early complex societies in the much later Bronze Age (about 4000 BC). There is evidence of written culture and early state formation in this northern steppe area, although the written formation of the states relatively quickly shifted its center of gravity into the Mesopotamian valley and developed there. The area is therefore in very many writers been named “The Cradle of Civilization.”

    The area has experienced a series of upheavals and new formation of states. When Turkey was formed in the aftermath of the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians perpetrated by the Young Turks during the First World War it is estimated that two-thirds to three-quarters of all Armenians and Assyrians in the region died, and the Pontic Greeks was pushed to Greece.

    Israel was created out of the Ottoman Empire and the conquering of the Palestinian terretories. The existence of large Arab nation states from the Maghreb to the Levant has since represented a potential threat to Israel which should be neutralised when opportunities arise.

    This line of thinking was at the heart of David Ben Gurion’s policies in the 1950s which sought to exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims in the Lebanon for the fruits of acquiring regional influence by the dismembering the country and the possible acquisition of additional territory.

    The Christians are now being systematically targeted for genocide in Syria according to Vatican and other sources with contacts on the ground among the besieged Christian community.

    According to reports by the Vatican’s Fides News Agency collected by the Centre for the Study of Interventionism, the US-backed Free Syrian Army rebels and ever more radical spin-off factions are sacking Christian churches, shooting Christians dead in the street, broadcasting ultimatums that all Christians must be cleansed from the rebel-held villages, and even shooting priests.

    It is now time that the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians is being recognized, that the Israeli occupation, settlements and violence against the Palestinians stop, and that the various minorities in the area start to live their lifes in peace – without violence and threats from majority populations, or from the West, and then specificially from the US.

    War in the Fertile Crescent

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Prehistoric Populations

Prehistoric Populations



Basal Eurasian


E-M215 (E1b1b)


Haplogroup T

Ancient North Eurasian (ANE)

Caucasus hunter-gatherer (CHG)

Western Hunter-Gatherers (WHG)

Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG)

Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherer (SHG)

Early European Farmers (EEF)

Western Steppe Herders (WSH)

The settlement of the Americas

The Upward Sun River site

The Polulating of Siberia

North-Eastern Technocomplex



The genetic history of Europe since the Upper Paleolithic is inseparable from that of wider Western Eurasia. By about 50,000 years ago (50 ka) a basal West Eurasian lineage had emerged (alongside a separate East Asian lineage) out of the undifferentiated “non-African” lineage of 70 ka. Both basal East and West Eurasians acquired Neanderthal admixture in Europe and Asia.

European early modern humans (EEMH) lineages between 40 and 26 ka (Aurignacian) were still part of a large Western Eurasian “meta-population”, related to Central and Western Asian populations. Divergence into genetically distinct sub-populations within Western Eurasia is a result of increased selection pressure and founder effects during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, Gravettian).

By the end of the LGM, after 20 ka, A Western European lineage, dubbed West European Hunter-Gatherer (WHG) emerges from the Solutrean refugium during the European Mesolithic. These mesolithic hunter-gatherer cultures are substantially replaced in the Neolithic Revolution by the arrival of Early European Farmers (EEF) lineages derived from mesolithic populations of West Asia (Anatolia and the Caucasus).

In the European Bronze Age, there were again substantial population replacements in parts of Europe by the intrusion of Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) lineages from the Pontic–Caspian steppes. These Bronze Age population replacements are associated with the Beaker culture archaeologically and with the Indo-European expansion linguistically.

As a result of the population movements during the Mesolithic to Bronze Age, modern European populations are distinguished by differences in WHG, EEF and ANE ancestry. Admixture rates varied geographically; in the late Neolithic, WHG ancestry in farmers in Hungary was at around 10%, in Germany around 25% and in Iberia as high as 50%.

The contribution of EEF is more significant in Mediterranean Europe, and declines towards northern and northeastern Europe, where WHG ancestry is stronger; the Sardinians are characterized by almost pure derivation from EEF. ANE ancestry is found through throughout Europe, with maxima of about 20% found in Baltic people and Finns.


A hunter-gatherer is a human living in a society in which most or all food is obtained by foraging (collecting wild plants and pursuing wild animals). Hunter-gatherer societies stand in contrast to agricultural societies, which rely mainly on domesticated species.

Hunting and gathering was humanity’s first and most successful adaptation, occupying at least 90 percent of human history. Following the invention of agriculture, hunter-gatherers who did not change have been displaced or conquered by farming or pastoralist groups in most parts of the world.

Only a few contemporary societies are classified as hunter-gatherers, and many supplement their foraging activity with horticulture or pastoralism. Contrary to common misconception, hunter-gatherers are mostly well-fed, rather than starving.

During the 1970s, Lewis Binford suggested that early humans obtained food via scavenging, not hunting. Early humans in the Lower Paleolithic lived in forests and woodlands, which allowed them to collect seafood, eggs, nuts, and fruits besides scavenging.

Rather than killing large animals for meat, according to this view, they used carcasses of such animals that had either been killed by predators or that had died of natural causes.

Archaeological and genetic data suggest that the source populations of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers survived in sparsely wooded areas and dispersed through areas of high primary productivity while avoiding dense forest cover.

According to the endurance running hypothesis, long-distance running as in persistence hunting, a method still practiced by some hunter-gatherer groups in modern times, was likely the driving evolutionary force leading to the evolution of certain human characteristics.

This hypothesis does not necessarily contradict the scavenging hypothesis: both subsistence strategies could have been in use sequentially, alternating or even simultaneously.

\Hunting and gathering was presumably the subsistence strategy employed by human societies beginning some 1.8 million years ago, by Homo erectus, and from its appearance some 0.2 million years ago by Homo sapiens.

Prehistoric hunter-gatherers lived in groups that consisted of several families resulting in a size of a few dozen people. It remained the only mode of subsistence until the end of the Mesolithic period some 10,000 years ago, and after this was replaced only gradually with the spread of the Neolithic Revolution.

Starting at the transition between the Middle to Upper Paleolithic period, some 80,000 to 70,000 years ago, some hunter-gatherers bands began to specialize, concentrating on hunting a smaller selection of (often larger) game and gathering a smaller selection of food. This specialization of work also involved creating specialized tools such as fishing nets, hooks, and bone harpoons.

The transition into the subsequent Neolithic period is chiefly defined by the unprecedented development of nascent agricultural practices. Agriculture originated as early as 12,000 years ago in the Middle East, and also independently originated in many other areas including Southeast Asia, parts of Africa, Mesoamerica, and the Andes.

Forest gardening was also being used as a food production system in various parts of the world over this period. Forest gardens originated in prehistoric times along jungle-clad river banks and in the wet foothills of monsoon regions.

In the gradual process of families improving their immediate environment, useful tree and vine species were identified, protected and improved, whilst undesirable species were eliminated. Eventually superior introduced species were selected and incorporated into the gardens.

Many groups continued their hunter-gatherer ways of life, although their numbers have continually declined, partly as a result of pressure from growing agricultural and pastoral communities. Many of them reside in the developing world, either in arid regions or tropical forests.

Areas that were formerly available to hunter-gatherers were—and continue to be—encroached upon by the settlements of agriculturalists. In the resulting competition for land use, hunter-gatherer societies either adopted these practices or moved to other areas.

In addition, Jared Diamond has blamed a decline in the availability of wild foods, particularly animal resources. In North and South America, for example, most large mammal species had gone extinct by the end of the Pleistocene—according to Diamond, because of overexploitation by humans, one of several explanations offered for the Quaternary extinction event there.

As the number and size of agricultural societies increased, they expanded into lands traditionally used by hunter-gatherers. This process of agriculture-driven expansion led to the development of the first forms of government in agricultural centers, such as the Fertile Crescent, Ancient India, Ancient China, Olmec, Sub-Saharan Africa and Norte Chico.

As a result of the now near-universal human reliance upon agriculture, the few contemporary hunter-gatherer cultures usually live in areas unsuitable for agricultural use. Archaeologists can use evidence such as stone tool use to track hunter-gatherer activities, including mobility.

Basal Eurasian

Basal Eurasian is a hypothetical lineage, which exists in greatest amount among ancient Near East individuals. Basal Eurasians may have been present in the Near East, as anatomically modern humans resided in the Levant approximately 100,000 years ago and African-related tools in Arabia were likely developed by modern humans; hence, they may have settled in the Levant or Arabia.

Basal Eurasians are the sibling group that diverged from the main lineage of all other non-African groups (e.g., Australian Aborigines, New Guineans, Europeans, East Asians), prior to their divergence from one another.

The areas of the Near East where Basal Eurasians resided may have been areas where contact with Neanderthals, who were known to have lived in West Eurasia, were not made. The admixture of the main lineage of all other non-Africans with Neanderthals likely occurred 50,000-60,000 years ago, after it diverged from Basal Eurasians.

The scenario of a non-Neanderthal-admixed modern human population, which is basal to other Eurasians, and resided in Africa, is plausible. In particular, North Africa is a strong candidate as a location for the emergence of Basal Eurasians as it shares notable connection with Eurasia.

Natufians, who share craniometric affinity with North Africans and were of the Y-chromosomal haplogroup E, are of Basal Eurasian ancestry. Basal Eurasians had little to possibly no Neanderthal admixture.

However, Natufians do not share a greater amount of alleles with Sub-Saharan Africans than other ancient Eurasians, and the Basal Eurasian ancestry in Natufians is consistent with originating from the same population as Neolithic Iranians and Mesolithic Iranians.

Mesolithic Iranians (66±13%), Neolithic Iranians (48±6%), and Epipaleolithic Natufians (44±8% or 63%) share Basal Eurasian ancestry. Another estimate given for Holocene-era Near Easterners (e.g., Mesolithic Caucasian Hunter Gatherers, Mesolithic Iranians, Neolithic Iranians, Natufians) is that they possess up to 50% Basal Eurasian ancestry.

Additionally, while the Taforalt individuals were considered likely direct descendants of Basal Eurasians, they were shown to not be genetically closer to Basal Eurasians than Holocene-era Iranians. High levels of Basal Eurasian ancestry were found in ancient Middle Eastern genomes, which negatively correlated with Neanderthal ancestry.

Basal Eurasians may have less Neanderthal ancestry than other ancestral Eurasian lineages, and the extent to which Basal Eurasian ancestry is present may explain the extent to which Neanderthal ancestry is present in Middle Eastern genomes.

For example, a high level of Basal Eurasian or Sub-Saharan African ancestry could be the underlying reason for the low level of Neanderthal ancestry in Qatari Bedouin in comparison to Europeans or other Middle Eastern populations.

The most parsimonious explanations for similar or less Neanderthal introgression in Middle Eastern populations, compared to other Eurasian populations, are the presence of Sub-Saharan African ancestry as well as the presence of Basal Eurasian ancestry, which has little to no signatures of Neanderthal introgression.

Bedouin, who have the greatest amount of autochthonous Arab genetic ancestry, may be the direct descendants of Basal Eurasians. Early European Farmers (EEFs), who had some Western European Hunter-Gatherer-related ancestry and originated in the Near East, also derive approximately 44% of their ancestry from Basal Eurasians.

Ust’-Ishim is an approximately 45,000 year old Eurasian without Basal Eurasian ancestry. The later Villabruna Cluster of Western Hunter Gatherers do not have high levels of Basal Eurasian ancestry.


Taforalt or Grotte des Pigeons is a cave in northern Oujda, Morocco, and possibly the oldest cemetery in North Africa (Humphrey et al. 2012). There is archaeological evidence for Iberomaurusian occupation at the site between 23,200 and 12,600 calendar years ago, as well as evidence for Aterian occupation as old as 85,000 years. It contained at least 34 Iberomaurusian adolescent and adult human skeletons, as well as younger ones, from the Upper Palaeolithic between 15,100 and 14,000 calendar years ago.

In 2018, van de Loosdrecht et al. performed the first aDNA tests on the ancient Taforalt individuals, directly dated to between 15,100 and 13,900 cal BP. The Taforalt samples are the oldest human DNA samples from Africa yet recovered.

DNA analysis was performed on seven individuals: six males and one female. Only five of individuals, including four of the males, with higher coverage genomes were used in the nuclear DNA analysis. Nuclear DNA analysis reveals that the Taforalt individuals were all closely related to each other, showing evidence of a population bottleneck event in their past.”

The Taforalt genomes were found to be composed of three major components: a Holocene Levantine component, a Hadza hunter-gatherer component from Tanzania, and a West African component. The Taforalt individuals show closest genetic affinity for ancient Epipaleolithic Natufian individuals, with slightly better affinity for the Natufians than later Neolithic Levantines.

A two-way admixture scenario using Natufian and modern West African samples as reference populations inferred that the Taforalt individuals bore 63.5% Natufian-related and 36.5% West African-related ancestries, with no evidence for additional gene flow from the Epigravettian culture of Upper Paleolithic Europe. The Taforalt individuals also show evidence of limited Neanderthal ancestry.

When compared against modern populations, the Taforalt individuals form a distinct cluster and do not cluster genetically with any modern population; however, they were found to cluster between modern North Africans and East Africans. The Taforalt individuals also exhibit higher levels of Sub-Saharan and Hadza-related ancestry than do modern North Africans.

mtDNA analysis shows that the Taforalt individuals belonged to mtDNA haplogroups U6a and M1b. The age of U5 is estimated at between 25,000 and 35,000 years old, roughly corresponding to the Gravettian culture. Approximately 11% of Europeans (10% of European-Americans) have some variant of haplogroup U5.

Additionally, haplogroup U5 is found in small frequencies and at much lower diversity in the Near East and parts of northern Africa (areas with sizable U6 concentrations), suggesting back-migration of people from Europe toward the south.

Y-DNA analysis shows that the Taforalt males all belonged to Y-DNA haplogroup E1b1b1a1 (M78), which is closely related to the E1b1b1b (M123) subhaplogroup that has been observed in skeletal remains belonging to the Epipaleolithic Natufian and Pre-Pottery Neolithic cultures of the Levant.

Since the Natufian samples, which are chronologically younger than the Taforalt samples by several thousands of years, were inferred to lack substantial African ancestry, the researchers also hypothesized that a Maghreb center of evolution for the Natufian-related ancestry could only be plausible if the admixture that was inferred for the Taforalt individuals either occurred after the population ancestral to the Natufians had moved into the Levant or if that admixture event was a locally-confined phenomenon at Taforalt.

Phenotypic analysis was performed on four of the Taforalt individuals with higher genomic coverage. The Taforalt individuals tested did not carry either of the derived SLC24A5 alleles associated with lighter skin color, the derived OCA2 allele associated with blue eye color, or the derived MCM6 allele associated with lactase persistence. However, they were found to carry the ancestral SLC24A4 allele associated with dark eye color.

E-M215 (E1b1b)

E-M215, also known as E1b1b and formerly E3b, is a division of the macro-haplogroup E-M96. E-M96 is one of the two main branches of the older and ancestral haplogroup DE, the other main branch being haplogroup D. The E-M96 clade is divided into two main subclades: the more common E-P147, and the less common E-M75.

E-P147 (also known as E1) is by far the most numerous and widely distributed branch of E-M96. It has two primary branches: E-M132 (E1a) and E-P177 (E1b). Within Haplogroup E-P177, Haplogroup E-P2 (E1b1) – a subclade of E-P177 – is not only the most frequent variant of E-M96, but is also the most common Y-DNA lineage in Africa. It is also the only subclade of E-M96 found in significant numbers in West Asia and Europe.

A prolific primary branch of E-P2, Haplogroup E-M215 (E1b1b) is distributed in high frequencies from East Africa, through North Africa into Western Asia and Southern Europe. It is also found at significant levels among populations native to Southern Africa and throughout Western Europe.

The E-M215 haplogroup has two ancient branches that contain all the known modern E-M215, E-M35 and E-M281 subclades. Of the latter two E-M215 subhaplogroups, the only branch that has been confirmed in a native population outside of Ethiopia is E-M35. E-M35 in turn has two known branches, E-V68 and E-Z827, which contain by far the majority of all modern E-M215 subclade bearers.

The E-V68 and E-V257 subclades have been found at highest frequencies in North Africa and the Horn of Africa, and also at lower percentages in parts of the Middle East and Europe, and in isolated populations of Southern Africa.

The origins of E-M215 were dated by Cruciani in 2007 to about 22,400 years ago in the Horn of Africa. E-M35 was dated by Batini in 2015 to between 15,400 and 20,500 years ago. In June 2015, Trombetta et al. reported a previously unappreciated large difference in the age between haplogroup E-M215 (38.6 kya; 95% CI 31.4–45.9 kya) and its sub-haplogroup E-M35 (25.0 kya; 95% CI 20.0–30.0 kya) and estimated its origin to be in Northeast Africa, where the node separating the E-V38 and E-M215 branches occurs about 47,500 years ago (95% CI: 41.3–56.8 ka).

The ancient dispersals of the major E-M35 lineages. The map shows the supposed earliest movements of E-M215 lineages as described in the most recent articles. All major sub-branches of E-M35 are thought to have originated in the same general area as the parent clade: in North Africa, the Horn of Africa, or nearby areas of the Near East.

Some branches of E-M35 are assumed to have left Africa thousands of years ago, whereas others may have arrived from the Near East. For example, the spread of the haplogroup is associated with the Neolithic Revolution, believing that the structure and regional pattern of E-M35 subclades potentially give “reagents with which to infer specific episodes of population histories associated with the Neolithic agricultural expansion”.

E-M78 (called E1b1b1a1 in that paper) is estimatged to have been in Europe longer than 10,000 years. Accordingly, human remains excavated in a Spanish funeral cave dating from approximately 7,000 years ago were shown to be in this haplogroup. Two more E-M78 have been found in the Neolithic Sopot and Lengyel cultures too.

Concerning E-M35 in Europe within this scheme, Underhill & Kivisild (2007) have remarked that E-M215 seems to represent a late-Pleistocene migration from North Africa to Europe over the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.

While this proposal remains uncontested, it has more recently been proposed that there is also evidence for additional migration of E-M215 carrying men directly from North Africa to southwestern Europe, via a maritime route.

Natufian skeletal remains from the ancient Levant predominantly carried the Y-DNA haplogroup E1b1b. Of the five Natufian specimens analysed for paternal lineages, three belonged to the E1b1b1b2 (xE1b1b1b2a, E1b1b1b2b), E1b1 (xE1b1a1, E1b1b1b1) and E1b1b1b2 (xE1b1b1b2a, E1b1b1b2b) subclades (60%).

Haplogroup E1b1b was also found at moderate frequencies among fossils from the ensuing Pre-Pottery Neolithic B culture, with the E1b1b1 and E1b1b1b2 (xE1b1b1b2a, E1b1b1b2b) subclades observed in two of seven PPNB specimens (~29%).

The scientists suggest that the Levantine early farmers may have spread southward into East Africa, bringing along Western Eurasian and Basal Eurasian ancestral components separate from that which would arrive later in North Africa.

Additionally, haplogroup E1b1b1 has been found in an ancient Egyptian mummy excavated at the Abusir el-Meleq archaeological site in Middle Egypt, which dates from a period between the late New Kingdom and the Roman era.

Fossils at the Iberomaurusian site of Ifri n’Amr or Moussa in Morocco, which have been dated to around 5,000 BCE, also carried haplotypes related to the E1b1b1b1a (E-M81) subclade. These ancient individuals bore an autochthonous Maghrebi genomic component that peaks among modern North Africans, indicating that they were ancestral to populations in the area.

The E1b1b haplogroup has likewise been observed in ancient Guanche fossils excavated in Gran Canaria and Tenerife on the Canary Islands, which have been radiocarbon-dated to between the 7th and 11th centuries CE. The clade-bearing individuals that were analysed for paternal DNA were inhumed at the Tenerife site, with all of these specimens found to belong to the E1b1b1b1a1 or E-M183 subclade (3/3; 100%).

Loosdrecht et al. (2018) analysed genome-wide data from seven ancient Iberomaurusian individuals from the Grotte des Pigeons near Taforalt in eastern Morocco. The fossils were directly dated to between 15,100 and 13,900 calibrated years before present.

The scientists found that five male specimens with sufficient nuclear DNA preservation belonged to the E1b1b1a1 (M78) subclade, with one skeleton bearing the E1b1b1a1b1 parent lineage to E-V13, another male specimen belonged to E1b1b (M215*).


The Natufian culture is a Late Epipaleolithic archaeological culture that existed from around 12,000 to 9,500 BC or 13,050 to 7,550 BC in the Levant. The culture was unusual in that it supported a sedentary or semi-sedentary population even before the introduction of agriculture.

The Natufian communities may be the ancestors of the builders of the first Neolithic settlements of the region, which may have been the earliest in the world. Natufians founded a settlement where Jericho is today, which may therefore be the longest continuously inhabited urban area on Earth.

Some evidence suggests deliberate cultivation of cereals, specifically rye, by the Natufian culture, at Tell Abu Hureyra, the site of earliest evidence of agriculture in the world. The world’s oldest evidence of bread-making has been found at Shubayqa 1, a 14,500-year-old site in Jordan’s northeastern desert. In addition, the oldest known evidence of beer, dating to approximately 13,000 BP, was found at the Raqefet Cave in Mount Carmel near Haifa in Israel.

Generally, though, Natufians exploited wild cereals. Animals hunted included gazelles. According to Christy G. Turner II, there is archaeological and physical anthropological evidence for a relationship between the modern Semitic-speaking populations of the Levant and the Natufians. Archaeogenetics have revealed derivation of later (Neolithic to Bronze Age) Levantines primarily from Natufians, besides substantial admixture from Chalcholithic Anatolians.

According to ancient DNA analyses on Natufian skeletal remains from present-day northern Israel, the Natufians carried the Y-DNA (paternal) haplogroups E1b1b1b2 (xE1b1b1b2a, E1b1b1b2b: 2/5; 40%), CT (2/5; 40%), and E1b1(xE1b1a1, E1b1b1b1: 1/5; 20%).

In terms of autosomal DNA, these Natufians carried around 50% of the Basal Eurasian (BE) and 50% of Western Eurasian Unknown Hunter Gather (UHG) components. However, they were slightly distinct from the northern Anatolian populations that contributed to the peopling of Europe, who had higher Western Hunter Gatherer (WHG) inferred ancestry.

Natufians were strongly genetically differentiated from Neolithic Iranian farmers from the Zagros Mountains, who were a mix of Basal Eurasians (up to 62%) and Ancient North Eurasians (ANE). This might suggest that different strains of Basal Eurasians contributed to Natufians and Zagros farmers, as both Natufians and Zagros farmers descended from different populations of local hunter gatherers.

Contact between Natufians, other Neolithic Levantines, Caucasus Hunter Gatherers (CHG), Anatolian and Iranian farmers is believed to have decreased genetic variability among later populations in the Middle East.

The scientists suggest that the Levantine early farmers may have spread southward into East Africa, bringing along Western Eurasian and Basal Eurasian ancestral components separate from that which would arrive later in North Africa.

According to their results, the Natufians shared no genetic affinity to present-day sub-Saharan Africans. However the scientists state that they were unable to test for affinity in the Natufians to early North African populations using present-day North Africans as a reference because present-day North Africans owe most of their ancestry to back-migration from Eurasia.

Ancient DNA analysis has confirmed ancestral ties between the Natufian culture bearers and the makers of the Epipaleolithic Iberomaurusian culture of the Maghreb, the Pre-Pottery Neolithic culture of the Levant, the Early Neolithic Ifri n’Amr or Moussa culture of the Maghreb, the Savanna Pastoral Neolithic culture of East Africa, the Late Neolithic Kelif el Boroud culture of the Maghreb, and the Ancient Egyptian culture of the Nile Valley, with fossils associated with these early cultures all sharing a common genomic component.

A 2018 analysis of autosomal DNA using modern populations as a reference, found the Natufians to have a predominant mixture of ancestral components from Western Eurasia and North Africa as well as a small (ca 6.8%) East African-related ancestry (showing affinities to the Omotic peoples of southern Ethiopia).

It is suggested that this East African component may have been associated with the spread of Y-haplogroup E (particularly Y-haplogroup E-M215, also known as “E1b1b”) lineages to Western Eurasia. 

Haplogroup T is found among the later middle Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) inhabitants from the ‘Ain Ghazal archaeological site (in modern Jordan). It was not found among the early and middle PPNB populations.

It is thought that the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B population is mostly composed of two different populations: members of early Natufian civilisation and a population resulting from immigration from the north, i.e. north-eastern Anatolia.

However, Natufians have been found to belong mostly to the E1b1b1b2 lineage – which is found among 60% of the whole PPNB population and 75% of the ‘Ain Ghazal population, being present in all three middle PPNB stages.

Later middle PPNB populations in the Southern Levant were already witnessing severe changes in climate that would have been exacerbated by large population demands on local resources. Beginning at 8.9 cal ka BP we see a significant decrease in population in highland Jordan, ultimately leading to the complete abandonment of almost all central settlements in this region.

The 9th millennium Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) period in the Levant represents a major transformation in prehistoric lifeways from small bands of mobile hunter–gatherers to large settled farming and herding villages in the Mediterranean zone, the process having been initiated some 2–3 millennia earlier.

‘Ain Ghazal (” Spring of the Gazelles”) is situated in a relatively rich environmental setting immediately adjacent to the Wadi Zarqa, the longest drainage system in highland Jordan. It is located at an elevation of about 720m within the ecotone between the oak-park woodland to the west and the open steppe-desert to the east.

Evidence recovered from the excavations suggests that much of the surrounding countryside was forested and offered the inhabitants a wide variety of economic resources. Arable land is plentiful within the site’s immediate environs.

These variables are atypical of many major neolithic sites in the Near East, several of which are located in marginal environments. Yet despite its apparent richness, the area of ‘Ain Ghazal is climatically and environmentally sensitive because of its proximity throughout the Holocene to the fluctuating steppe-forest border.

The Ain Ghazal settlement first appear in the middle PPNB, which is split into two phases. Phase 1 starts 10300 yBP and ends 9950 yBP, phase 2 ends 9550 yBP.

The estimated population of the middle PPNB site from ‘Ain Ghazal is of 259-1,349 individuals with an area of 3.01-4.7 ha. Is argued that at its founding at the commencement of the middle PPNB ‘Ain Ghazal was likely 2 ha in size and grew to 5 ha by the end of the middle PPNB. At this point in time their estimated population was 600-750 people or 125-150 people per hectare.

Haplogroup T

Haplogroup T-M184, also known as Haplogroup T, is found at high levels in isolated pockets as far apart as Central Asia, Northeast and Eastern India, Northern Asia, Central Africa, and South Africa. T-M184 is unusual in that it is both geographically widespread and relatively rare (considering that it originated around 40,000 years ago).

As a primary branch of haplogroup LT (a.k.a. K1), the basal, undivergent haplogroup T* currently has the alternate phylogenetic name of K1b and is a sibling of haplogroup L* (a.k.a. K1a). (Before 2008, haplogroup T and its subclades were known as haplogroup K2. The name K2 has since been reassigned to a primary subclade of haplogroup K.) 

Haplogroup T emerged from haplogroup K, the ancestor of most of the Eurasian haplogroups (L, N, O, P, Q, R and T), some time between 45,000 and 35,000 years ago. The vast majority of modern members of haplogroup T belong to the T1a branch, which developed during the late glacial period, between 25,000 and 15,000 years ago, possibily in the vicinity of the Iranian Plateau.

Although haplogroup T is more common today in East Africa than anywhere else, it almost certainly spread from the Fertile Crescent with the rise of agriculture. Indeed, the oldest subclades and the greatest diversity of T is found in the Middle East, especially around the Fertile Crescent. The higher frequency of T in East Africa would be due to a founder effect among Neolithic farmers or pastoralists from the Middle East.

By the end of the last glacial period, 12,000 years ago, haplogroup T had already differentiated into subclades such as T1a1a, T1a2, T1a3a and T1a3b. Deeper subclades developed in the Near East during the Early Neolithic period for several millennia before early farmers started expanding beyond the Near East.

Since the discovery of haplogroup J-P209 it has generally been recognized that it shows signs of having originated in or near West Asia. The frequency and diversity of both its major branches, J-M267 and J-M172, in that region makes them candidates as genetic markers of the spread of farming technology during the Neolithic, which is proposed to have had a major impact upon human populations.

One theory is that haplogroup T spread alongside J1 as herder-hunters in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period, leaving the Zagros mountains between 9,000 and 10,000 BCE, reaching the Egypt and the southern Arabian peninsula around 7,000 BCE, then propagating from there to the Horn of Africa, and later on to Madagascar.

However, considering that J1 peaks in Yemen and Sudan, while T1 is most common in southern Egypt, Eritrea and Somalia, the two may not necessarily have spread together. They might instead have spread as separate nomadic tribes of herders who colonised the Red Sea region during the Neolithic, a period than spanned over several millennia.

Nevertheless both are found in all the Arabian peninsula, all the way from Egypt to Somalia, and in Madagascar. This contrasts with other Near Eastern haplogroups like G2a and J2, which are conspicuously absent from East Africa, and rare in the Arabian peninsula.

T1 is the most common descent of T-M184 haplogroup, being the lineage of more than 95% of all Eurasian T-M184 members. One of their descent lineages is found in high frequencies among northern Somali clans.

However, it appears to have originated somewhere around the northern Mediterranean Basin, perhaps somewhere between Greece to the Zagros mountains. The subclade probably arrived with the very first farmers.

The basal T1* subclade appears to have spread from northeastern Anatolia, into the Levant at least, with the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B culture (PPNB). Although it is rare in modern populations, T1* has been found in a Berber individual from Tunisia, a male in Syria, and one sequence among ethnic Macedonians in Macedonia.

Nowadays, T1a subclades dating from the Neolithic found in East Africa include Y16247 (downstream of CTS2214) and Y16897. Other subclades dating from the Bronze Age (see below) are present as well, such as Y15711 and Y21004, both downstream of CTS2214.

Haplogroup T has two primary branches: T1 (T-L206) and T2 (T-PH110). T1 (T-L206) – the numerically dominant primary branch of T-M184 – appears to have originated in Western Asia, and possibly spread from there into the East Africa, South Asia, Southern Europe and adjoining regions.

T1* may have expanded with the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B culture (PPNB). Most males who now belong to haplogroup T-L206 carry the subclade T-M70 (T1a), a primary branch of T-M206. Now most commonly found in North Africa and the Middle East.

The presence of haplogroup T on the African continent may, like R1* representatives, point to an older introduction from Asia. The Levant rather than the Arabian Peninsula appears to have been the main route of entry, as the Egyptian and Anatolian haplotypes are considerably older in age (13,700 BP and 9,000 BP, respectively) than those found in Oman (only 1,600 BP).

The spotty modern distribution pattern of haplogroup T-M184 within Africa may therefore represent the traces of a more widespread early local presence of the clade. Later expansions of populations carrying the E1b1b, E1b1a, G and J NRY lineages may have overwhelmed the T-M184 clade-bearers in certain localities.

In the Caucasus and Anatolia it makes up to 4% of the population in southeast and northwest Caucasus as well as in southeast and western Anatolia, peaking up to 20% in Armenians from Sasun. In Eastern Africa it makes up to 4% of the population on Upper Egypt peaking up to 10% in Luxor.

In Middle East it makes up to 4% of the population around the Zagros Mountains and the Persian Gulf as well as around the Taurus Mountains and the Levant basin, peaking up to 10% in Kerman, Bakhtiaris, Assyrians from Azerbaijan, Abudhabians, Armenians from Historical Southwestern Armenia and Druzes from Galilee. 

Haplogroup T is rare almost everywhere in Europe. According to Mendez et al. (2011), “the occurrence in Europe of lineages belonging to both T1a1 (old T1a) and T1a2 (old T1b) subclades probably reflects multiple episodes of gene flow. T1a1* haplogroups in Europe likely reflect older gene flow”.

It makes up to 4% of the population on Central Italy, Western Sicily, Northwest Corsica, Northwestern Iberian Peninsula, Western Andalucia, Western Alps, Eastern Crete, and Macedonia, frequencies up to 10% in Ibiza, Miranda de I Douro, Eastern Oviedo, Cádiz, Badajoz, Balagna, Norma and Ragusa, and peaking at 20% in Sciacca, L’Aquila and some German regions.

T-M184 was found in 1.7% (10/591) of a pool of six samples of males from southwestern Russia, but it was completely absent from a pool of eight samples totalling 637 individuals from the northern half of European Russia. The Russians from the southwest were from the following cities: Roslavl, Livny, Pristen, Repyevka, and Belgorod; and Kuban Cossacks from the Republic of Adygea.

Ancient North Eurasian (ANE)

In archaeogenetics, the term Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) is the name given to an ancestral component that represents descent from the people similar to the Mal’ta–Buret’ culture or a population closely related to them.

The ANE lineage is defined by association with MA-1, or “Mal’ta boy”, the remains of an individual who lived during the Last Glacial Maximum, 24,000 years ago, discovered in the 1920s. Populations genetically similar to MA-1 were an important genetic contributor to Native Americans, Europeans, Central Asians, South Asians, and some East Asians, in order of significance.

Lazaridis et al. (2016:10) note “a cline of ANE ancestry across the east-west extent of Eurasia.” Flegontov et al. (2016) found that the global maximum of ANE ancestry occurs in modern-day Native Americans, Kets and Selkup. Additionally it has been reported in ancient Bronze-age-steppe Yamnaya and Afanasevo cultures.

42% of South American Native American ancestry originates from ANE peoples, while between 14% and 38% of North American Native American ancestry may originate from gene flow from the Mal’ta Buret people.

This difference is caused by the penetration of posterior Siberian migrations into the Americas, with the lowest percentages of ANE ancestry found in Eskimos and Alaskan Natives, as these groups are the result of migrations into the Americas roughly 5,000 years ago. The other gene flow in Native Americans appears to have an Eastern Eurasian origin.

Gene sequencing of another south-central Siberian people (Afontova Gora-2) dating to approximately 17,000 years ago, revealed similar autosomal genetic signatures to that of Mal’ta boy-1, suggesting that the region was continuously occupied by humans throughout the Last Glacial Maximum.

Genomic studies also indicate that ANE was introduced to Western Europe by way of the Yamna/Yamnaya culture, long after the Paleolithic. The ANE genetic component is visible in tests of the Yamnaya people, and seems to make up 50% of their ancestry indirectly.

It is also reported in modern-day Europeans (7%–25% ANE admixture directly from Yamnaya), but not of Europeans predating the Bronze Age. Additional ANE ancestry is found in European populations through paleolithic interactions with Eastern Hunter-Gatherers, which resulted in populations such as Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherers.

The derived allele of the KITLG SNP rs12821256 is associated with, and likely causal for, blond hair in Europeans. The earliest known individual with this allele is the Siberian ANE individual Afontova Gora 3, which is dated to 16130-15749 BCE.

This allele is also present in one hunter-gatherer from each of Samara, Motala and Ukraine (I0124, I0014 and I1763), as well as several later individuals with Steppe ancestry. Since the allele is found in populations with EHG but not Western Hunter-Gatherer ancestry, it suggests that its origin is in the Ancient North Eurasian population.

The genetic component ANE descends from Ancient South Eurasian. Think of it like this: we have the East-West Eurasian split around 50kya, but you can infer a further split ]of an “Ancient South Eurasian” population from the main East Eurasian trunk shortly after the East-West split, and ANE splits from the West Eurasian branch apparently around 35-40kya, judging by Yana RHS.

So beginning ~35kya we have ANE holding down central and northern Siberia, Ancient West Eurasians (Gravettians) anchored west of the Urals and north of the Caucasus, ASE was probably already dispersed around the Bay of Bengal, Sundaland, and Sahul, and the “main” East Eurasian branch presumably anchored around mainland China.

Groups derived from the Ancient North Eurasians:

Eastern European Hunter-Gatherer (EHG) is a lineage derived predominantly (75%) from ANE. It is represented by two individuals from Karelia, one of Y-haplogroup R1a-M417, dated c. 8.4 kya, the other of Y-haplogroup J, dated c. 7.2 kya; and one individual from Samara, of Y-haplogroup R1b-P297, dated c. 7.6 kya. This lineage is closely related to the ANE sample from Afontova Gora, dated c. 18 kya.

After the end of the Last Glacial Maximum, the WHG and EHG lineages merged in Eastern Europe, accounting for early presence of ANE-derived ancestry in Mesolithic Europe. Evidence suggests that as Ancient North Eurasians migrated West from Eastern Siberia, they absorbed Western Hunter-Gatherers and other West Eurasian populations as well.

Caucasian Hunter-Gatherer (CHG) is represented by the Satsurblia individual dated ~13 kya (from the Satsurblia cave in Georgia), and carried 36% ANE-derived admixture. While the rest of their ancestry is derived from the Dzudzuana cave individual dated ~26 kya, which lacked ANE-admixture, Dzudzuana affinity in the Caucasus decreased with the arrival of ANE at ~13 kya Satsurblia.

Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherer (SHG) is represented by several individuals buried at Motala, Sweden ca. 6000 BC. They were descended from Western Hunter-Gatherers who initially settled Scandinavia from the south, and later populations of EHG who entered Scandinavia from the north through the coast of Norway.

Iran Neolithic (Iran_N) individuals dated ~8.5 kya carried 50% ANE-derived admixture and 50% Dzudzuana-related admixture, marking them as different from other Near-Eastern and Anatolian Neolithics who didn’t have ANE admixture. Iran Neolithics were later replaced by Iran Chalcolithics, who were a mixture of Iran Neolithic and Near Eastern Levant Neolithic.

Ancient Beringian/Ancestral Native American are specific archaeogenetic lineages, based on the genome of an infant found at the Upward Sun River site (dubbed USR1), dated to 11,500 years ago. The AB lineage diverged from the Ancestral Native American (ANA) lineage about 20,000 years ago.

The ANA lineage was estimated as been formed 20,000 ago by a mixture of and Ancient North Eurasian (42-43%) and East Eurasian (57-58%) lineage consistent with the model of the peopling of the Americas via Beringia during the Last Glacial Maximum.

West Siberian Hunter-Gatherer (WSG) are a specific archaeogenetic lineage, first reported in a genetic study published in Science in September 2019. WSGs were found to be of about 30% EHG ancestry, 50% ANE ancestry, and 20% East Asian ancestry.

Caucasus hunter-gatherer (CHG)

Caucasus hunter-gatherer (CHG), also called Satsurblia Cluster is the name of an anatomically modern human genetic lineage, first identified in a 2015 study, based on the population genetics of several modern Western Eurasian (European, Caucasian and Near Eastern) populations.

CHG ancestry was also found as represented in ancient DNA, in a Upper Palaeolithic specimen from Satsurblia cave (dated ca. 11000 BC), and in a Mesolithic one from Kotias Klde cave, in western Georgia (dated ca. 6000 BC).

The CHG lineage descended from a population that split off the base Western Eurasian lineage very early, around 45,000 years ago, pre-dating the split that led to differentiated populations that descended separately to Ust’-Ishim man, Oase1 and European hunter-gatherers. The Caucasus hunter-gatherers managed to survive in isolation through the Last Glacial Maximum as a distinct population.

Eastern Hunter-Gatherers are believed to have received admixture from CHGs, leading to the formation of Western Steppe Herders (WSHs). WSHs formed the Yamnaya culture and expanded massively throughout Europe during the Early Neolithic and Early Bronze Age.

The 2015 study by Jones et al. analysed “Eurasian steppe ancestry” – which is associated with the Ancient North Eurasian lineage – among modern European populations, which is linked to the Indo-European expansion. In comparison to modern human populations, the Satsurblia individual is closest to modern populations from the South Caucasus.

The study detected a split between CHG and so-called “Western European Hunter-Gatherer” (WHG) lineages, about 45,000 years ago, the presumed time of the original peopling of Europe. CHG separated from the “Early Anatolian Farmers” (EAF) lineage later, at 25,000 years ago, during the Last Glacial Maximum.

(CHG was extrapolated from, among other sources, the genomes of two fossils from western Georgia – one about 13,300 years old (Late Upper Paleolithic) and the other 9,700 years (Mesolithic), which were compared to the 13,700 year-old Bichon man genome (found in Switzerland).

Jones et al. (2015) analyzed genomes from males from western Georgia, in the Caucasus, from the Late Upper Palaeolithic (13,300 years old) and the Mesolithic (9,700 years old). These two males carried Y-DNA haplogroup: J* and J2a, later refined to J1-Y6305*, and J2-Y12379*, and mitochondrial haplogroups of K3 and H13c, respectively.

The researchers found that these Caucasus hunters were probably the source of the Near Eastern DNA in the Yamnaya. Their genomes showed that a continued mixture of the Caucasians with Middle Eastern populations took place up to 25,000 years ago, when the coldest period in the last Ice Age started.

Yardumian et al. (2017) in a population genetics study on the Svans of northwestern Georgia found significant heterogeneity in mt-DNA, with common haplogroups including U1‐U7, H, K, and W6, while Y-DNA haplogroups were less diverse, 78% of Svan males being bearers of Y-haplogroup G2a.

Wang et al. (2019) analysed genetic data of the North Caucasus of fossils dated between the 4th and 1st millennia BC and found correlation with modern groups of the South Caucasus, concluding that “unlike today – the Caucasus acted as a bridge rather than an insurmountable barrier to human movement”.

According to Lazaridis et al. (2016), “a population related to the people of the Iran Chalcolithic contributed ~ 43 % of the ancestry of early Bronze Age populations of the steppe.” These Iranian Chacolithic people were a mixture of “the Neolithic people of western Iran, the Levant, and Caucasus Hunter Gatherers”.

The Near East population were most likely hunter-gatherers from the Caucasus (CHG), though one study suggested that farmers dated to the Chalcolithic era from what is now Iran may be a better fit for the Yamanya’s Near Eastern descent.

Lazaridis et al. (2016) proposes a different people, likely from Iran, as the source for the Middle Eastern ancestry of the Yamnaya people, finding that “a population related to the people of the Iran Chalcolithic contributed ~43% of the ancestry of early Bronze Age populations of the steppe”.

That study asserts that these Iranian Chalcolithic people were a mixture of “the Neolithic people of western Iran, the Levant, and Caucasus Hunter Gatherers”. However, a different analysis, carried out by Gallego-Llorente et al. (2016), concludes that Iranian populations are not a likelier source of the ‘southern’ component in the Yamnaya than Caucasus hunter-gatherers.

The CHG lineage was found to have contributed significantly to the Yamnaya lineage of Chalcolithic pastoralists in the Pontic steppe, which in turn expanded into Europe from about 5,000 years ago (Indo-European expansion). CHG admixture was also found in South Asia, in a possible marker of the Indo-Aryan migration there.

The proto-Indo-Europeans, i.e. the Yamnaya people and the related cultures, seem to have been a mix from Eastern European Hunter-Gatherers (EHGs); and people related to the near east, such as Caucasus hunter-gatherers and Iran Chalcolithic people, with a Caucasian hunter-gatherer component. Each of those two populations contributed about half the Yamnaya DNA.

According to co-author Andrea Manica of the University of Cambridge: The question of where the Yamnaya come from has been something of a mystery up to now … we can now answer that, as we’ve found that their genetic make-up is a mix of Eastern European hunter-gatherers and a population from this pocket of Caucasus hunter-gatherers who weathered much of the last Ice Age in apparent isolation.

According to Jones et al. (2015), Caucasus hunter-gatherers (CHG) “genomes significantly contributed to the Yamnaya steppe herders who migrated into Europe ~3,000 BCE, supporting a formative Caucasus influence on this important Early Bronze age culture. CHG left their imprint on modern populations from the Caucasus and also central and south Asia possibly marking the arrival of Indo-Aryan languages.”

There was probably a migration of populations from the Near East and Caucasus to Europe during the Mesolithic, around 14,000 years ago, much earlier than the migrations associated with the Neolithic Revolution. A few specimens from the Villabruna Cluster also show genetic affinities for East Asians that are derived from gene flow.

The light skin pigmentation characteristic of modern Europeans is estimated to have spread across Europe in a “selective sweep” during the Mesolithic (19,000 to 11,000 years ago). The associated TYRP1 alleles, SLC24A5 and SLC45A2, emerge around 19,000 years ago – during the LGM and most likely in the Caucasus. The HERC2 variation for blue eyes first appears around 13,000 to 14,000 years ago in Italy and the Caucasus.

Caucasus Hunter Gatherers coexisted with the formation of the Yamna culture, since Samara hunter-gatherers featured only Eastern European Hunter Gatherer (EHG) ancestry and no CHG ancestry, whereas Yamna samples had up to 43% of CHG ancestry.

Margaryan et al. (2017) analysing South Caucasian ancient mitochondrial DNA found continuity in descent in the maternal line for 8,000 years. The same study also found a rapid increase of the population at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum, about 18,000 years ago.

Modern Armenians were found to derive from an admixture event in the Bronze Age (3rd to 2nd millennia BCE), which combined various Eurasian lineages. Since the time of the Bronze Age collapse, about 1200 BCE, Armenians have remained genetically isolated as a population, with a higher genetic affinity to Neolithic Anatolians, the Neolithic Levant, and Neolithic European farmers than to modern Near Eastern populations.

Western Hunter-Gatherer (WHG)

In archaeogenetics, the term Western Hunter-Gatherer, West European Hunter-Gatherer or Western European Hunter-Gatherer, is the name given to a distinct ancestral component that represents descent from Mesolithic hunter-gatherers of Western, Southern and Central Europe. The term is often abbreviated as WHG. During the Mesolithic, the WHGs inhabited an area stretching from the British Isles in the west to the Carpathians in the east.

It has been suggested that WHGs had dark skin and blue eyes. However, Bronze Age hunter-gatherers of the eastern Baltic, who were mostly of WHG ancestry, display high frequencies of the derived alleles for SLC45A2 and SLC24A5, which code for light skin.

Along with Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherers (SHG) and Eastern Hunter-Gatherers (EHG), the WHGs constituted one of the three main genetic groups in the postglacial period of early Holocene Europe. The border between WHGs and EHGs ran roughly from the lower Danube, northward along the western forests of the Dnieper towards the western Baltic Sea.

Genetic studies indicate that the WHGs were a mix of Upper Paleolithic people (Cro-Magnon) of the Grotte du Bichon and EHGs, who carried 75% Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) ancestry.[citation needed] SHGs were in turn an equal mix of WHGs and EHGs.

Once widely dispersed throughout Europe, the WHGs were largely displaced by successive expansions of Early European Farmers (EEFs) during the early Neolithic, but experience a male-driven resurgence during the Middle Neolithic.

During the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, Western Steppe Herders (WSHs) from the Pontic-Caspian steppe embarked on a massive expansion, which further displaced the WHGs. Among modern-day populations, WHG ancestry is most common among populations of the eastern Baltic.

Western Hunter-Gatherers (WHG) were identified as a distinct ancestral component in a study published in Nature in 2014. They were found to have contributed ancestry to all modern Europeans, including Early European Farmers (EEF), who were however mostly of Near Eastearn descent. It was suggested that WHGs separated from eastern Eurasians around 40,000 BC, and from Ancient North Eurasians (ANE) around 22,000 BC.

A genetic study published in Nature in June 2015 found that WHG ancestry in Western Europe had a resurgence from the Early Neolithic to the Middle Neolithic. A genetic study published in Nature in November 2015 found that most Europeans could be modeled as a mixture of WHG, EEF and peoples from the Yamnaya culture of the Pontic-Caspian steppe.

A genetic study published in Nature in July 2016 found that WHGs were a mix of Eastern Hunter-Gatherers (EHGs) and the Upper Paleolithic people (Cro-Magnon) of the Grotte du Bichon in Switzerland. EHGs in turn derived 75% of their ancestry from ANEs. Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherers (SHGs) were found to be a mix of EHGs and WHGs.

A 2017 genetic study published in Current Biology in February 2017 determined that the people of the Mesolithic Kunda culture and the Narva culture of the eastern Baltic were a mix of WHG and EHG, showing the closest affinity with WHG.

Samples from the Ukrainian Mesolithic and Neolithic were found to cluster tightly together between WHG and EHG, suggesting genetic continuity in the Dnieper Rapids for a period of 4,000 years. The Ukrainian samples belonged exclusively to the maternal haplogroup U, which is found in around 80% of all European hunter-gatherer samples.

A genetic study published in Current Biology in July 2017 found that people of the Pit–Comb Ware culture (CCC) of the eastern Baltic were closely related to EHG, unlike earlier hunter-gatherers in the area, who were more closely related to WHG.

A genetic study published in PLOS Biology in January 2018 analyzed 13 SHGs and found all of them to be of WHG ancestry. SHGs from western and northern Scandinavia had less WHG ancestry (ca 51%) than individuals from eastern Scandinavia (ca. 62%).

The authors of the study suggested that the SHGs were a mix of WHGs who hade migrated into Scandinavia from the south, and EHGs who had later migrated into Scandinavia from the northeast along the Norwegian coast.

The WHGs who entered Scandinavia are believed to have belonged to the Ahrensburg culture. EHGs and WHGs displayed lower allele frequences of SLC45A2 and SLC24A5, which cause depigmentation, and OCA/Herc2, which causes light eye color, than SHGs.

In a genetic study published in Nature Communications in January 2018 found that members of the Kunda culture and Narva culture were closely related with WHG, while the Pit–Comb Ware culture was more closely related to EHG.

Southern areas of the eastern Baltic were found to be more closely related to WHG than northern and eastern areas. Unlike most WHGs, the WHGs of the eastern Baltic did not receive European farmer admixture during the Neolithic. Modern populations of the eastern Baltic thus harbors a larger amount of WHG ancestry than any other population in Europe.

A study published in Nature in February 2018 included an analysis of a large number of individuals of prehistoric Europe. The remains of 11 WHGs from the Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic in Western Europe, Central Europe and the Balkans was analyzed. Of the 9 samples of Y-DNA extraced, six belonged to I haplotypes (particularly subclades of I2a), one belonged to C1a2, one belonged to R, and one possibly belonged to J.

Of the 11 samples of mtDNA extraced, nine belonged to U51b haplotypes, one belonged to U5a2c, and one belonged to an U2 haplotype. These results suggested that WHGs were once widely distributed from the Atlantic coast in the West, to Sicily in the South, to the Balkans in the Southeast, for more than 6000 years.

The study also included an analysis of a large number of individuals of prehistoric Eastern Europe. Thirty-seven samples were collected from Mesolithic and Neolithic Ukraine (9500-6000 BC). These were determined to be an intermediate between EHG and SHG, although WHG ancestry in this population increased during the Neolithic.

Samples of Y-DNA extracted from these individuals belonged exclusively to R haplotypes (particularly subclades of R1b1) and I haplotypes (particularly subclades of I2). mtDNA belonged almost exclusively to U (particularly subclades of U5 and U4).

A large number of individuals from the Zvejnieki burial ground, which mostly belonged to the Kunda culture and Narva culture in the eastern Baltic, were analyzed. These individuals were mostly of WHG descent in the earlier phases, but over time EHG ancestry became predominant. The Y-DNA of this site belonged almost exclusively to haplotypes of haplogroup R1b1a1a and I2a1. The mtDNA belonged exclusively to haplogroup U (particularly subclades of U2, U4 and U5).

Forty individuals from three sites of the Iron Gates Mesolithic in the Balkans were also analyzed. These individuals were estimated to be of 85% WHG and 15% EHG descent. The males at these sites carried exclusively haplogroup R1b1a and I (mostly subclades of I2a) haplotypes. mtDNA belonged mostly to U (particularly subclades of U5 and U4).

People of the Balkan Neolithic were found to harbor 98% Anatolian ancestry and 2% WGH ancestry. By the Chalcolithic, people of the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture were found to harbor about 20% hunter-gatherer ancestry, which was intermediate between EHG and WHG. People of the Globular Amphora culture were found to harbor ca. 25% WHG ancestry, which is significantly higher than Middle Neolithic groups of Central Europe.

Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG)

In archaeogenetics, the term Eastern Hunter-Gatherer, East European Hunter-Gatherer, or Eastern European Hunter-Gatherer, is the name given to a distinct ancestral component that represents descent from Mesolithic hunter-gatherers of Eastern Europe.

The term is often abbreviated as EHG. During the Mesolithic, the EHGs inhabited an area stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Urals and downwards to the Pontic-Caspian steppe. The EHGs are believed to have been light-skinned and brown eyed.

Along with Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherers (SHG) and Western Hunter-Gatherers (WHG), the EHGs constituted one of the three main genetic groups in the postglacial period of early Holocene Europe. The border between WHGs and EHGs ran roughly from the lower Danube, northward along the western forests of the Dnieper towards the western Baltic Sea.

EHGs are believed to have been of about 75% Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) descent, and to have contributed significantly to the ancestry of the WHGs and SHGs (who were a mixture of WHG and EHG). During the Neolithic and early Eneolithic, EHGs on the Pontic-Caspian steppe formed the Yamnaya culture, perhaps after some admixture with Caucasus hunter-gatherers (CHGs).

The genetic cluster formed from this admixture is known as Western Steppe Herder (WSH). The Yamnaya culture is supposed to have embarked on a massive expansion leading to the spread of Indo-European languages throughout large parts of Eurasia.

In their groundbreaking genetic study, Haak et al. (2015) identified the Eastern Hunter-Gatherers (EHG) as a distinct genetic cluster in samples of two males. The EHG male buried in Karelia ca. 5500-5000 BC was found to be carrying R1a1 and C1g.

The EHG male buried in Samara ca. 5650-5550 BC was found to be carrying R1b1 and U5a1d. The authors of the study also identifed a Western Hunter-Gatherer (WHG) cluster and a Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherer (SHG) cluster, with SHG being intermediate between WHG and EHG.

It was suggested that EHGs harbored mixed ancestry from Ancient North Eurasians (ANEs) and WHGs. The people of the Yamnaya culture were found to be a mix of EHG and Near Eastern populations.

During the 3rd millenium BC, the Yamnaya people embarked on a massive expansion throughout Europe, which significantly altered the genetic landscape of the continent. The expansion gave rise to cultures such as Corded Ware, and was possibly the source of the distribution of Indo-European languages in Europe.

EHGs may have mixed with Near Eastern populations, which formed the Yamnaya culture,as early as the Eneolithic (5200-4000 BC). Researchers have found that EHGs may have derived 75% of their ancestry from ANEs. WHGs were in turn a mix of EHGs and the Upper Paleolithic people (Cro-Magnon) of the Grotte du Bichon in Switzerland. SHGs were determined to be a mix of EHGs and WHGs.

The people of the Mesolithic Kunda culture and the Narva culture of the eastern Baltic were a mix of WHG and EHG, showing the closest affinity with WHG. Samples from the Ukrainian Mesolithic and Neolithic were found to cluster tightly together between WHG and EHG, suggesting genetic continuity in the Dnieper Rapids for a period of 4,000 years. The Ukrainian samples belonged exclusively to the maternal haplogroup U, which is found in around 80% of all European hunter-gatherer samples.

Meanwhile the people of the Pit–Comb Ware culture (CCC) of the eastern Baltic appear to be closely related to EHG. This is in contrast to earlier hunter-gatherers in the area, who were more closely related to WHG.

The was demonstrated using a sample of Y-DNA extracted from a Pit–Comb Ware individual. This belonged to R1a15-YP172.[clarification needed] The four samples of mtDNA extracted constituted two samples of U5b1d1, one sample of U5a2d, and one sample of U4a.

In January 2018 researchers published details of an analysis of 13 SHGs and found all of them to be of EHG ancestry. SHGs from western and northern Scandinavia had more EHG ancestry (ca 49%) than individuals from eastern Scandinavia (ca. 38%).

The authors of the study suggested that the SHGs were a mix of WHGs who had migrated into Scandinavia from the south, and EHGs who had later migrated into Scandinavia from the northeast along the Norwegian coast. EHGs and WHGs displayed lower allele frequences of SLC45A2 and SLC24A5, which cause depigmentation, and OCA/Herc2, which causes light eye color, than SHGs.

Members of the Kunda culture and Narva culture were also found to be more closely related with WHG, while the Pit–Comb Ware culture was more closely related to EHG. Northern and eastern areas of the eastern Baltic were found to be more closely related to EHG than southern areas.

The study noted that EHGs, like SHGs and Baltic hunter-gatherers, carried high frequencies of the derived alleles for SLC24A5 and SLC45A2, which are codings for light skin.

In an analysis of a large number of individuals of prehistoric Eastern Europe, thirty-seven samples were collected from Mesolithic and Neolithic Ukraine (9500-6000 BC). These were determined to be an intermediate between EHG and SHG.

Samples of Y-DNA extracted from these individuals belonged exclusively to R haplotypes (particularly subclades of R1b1 and R1a) and I haplotypes (particlarly subclades of I2). mtDNA belonged almost exclusively to U (particularly subclades of U5 and U4).

A large number of individuals from the Zvejnieki burial ground, which mostly belonged to the Kunda culture and Narva culture in the eastern Baltic, were analyzed. These individuals were mostly of WHG descent in the earlier phases, but over time EHG ancestry became predominant. The Y-DNA of this site belonged almost exclusively to haplotypes of haplogroup R1b1a1a and I2a1. The mtDNA belonged exclusively to haplogroup U (particularly subclades of U2, U4 and U5).

Forty individuals from three sites of the Iron Gates Mesolithic in the Balkans were also analyzed. These individuals were estimated to be of 85% WHG and 15% EHG descent. The males at these sites carried exclusively R1b1a and I (mostly subclades of I2a) haplotypes. mtDNA belonged mostly to U (particularly subclades of U5 and U4).

People of the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture were found to harbor about 20% hunter-gatherer ancestry, which was intermediate between EHG and WHG.

In a genetic study published in Science in September 2019, a new ancestral component called West Siberian Hunter-Gatherer (WSG) was discovered. WSGs were found to be of about 30% EHG ancestry, 50% ANE ancestry, and 20% East Asian ancestry.

Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherer (SHG)

 In archaeogenetics, the term Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherer (SHG) is the name given to a distinct ancestral component that represents descent from Mesolithic hunter-gatherers of Scandinavia.

Genomic data suggest tht SHGs had light skin and blue to light brown eye color. This is strikingly different from WHGs and EHGs, who are believed to have been blue eyed and dark skinned, and brown-eyed and light-skinned, respectively.

Genetic studies suggest that the SHGs were a mix of Western Hunter-Gatherers (WHGs) initially populating Scandinavia from the south during the Holocene, and Eastern Hunter-Gatherers (EHGs), who later entered Scandinavia from the north along the Norwegian coast.

During the Neolithic, they admixed further with Early European Farmers (EEFs) and Western Steppe Herders (WSHs). Genetic continuity has been detected between the SHGs and members of the Pitted Ware culture, and to a certain degree, between SHGs and modern northern Europeans. The Sami people on the other hand, have been found to be completely unrelated to PWC.

Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherers (SHG) were identified as a distinct ancestral component in a study published in Nature in 2014. A number of remains examined at Motala, Sweden, and a separate group of remains from 5,000 year-old hunter-gatherers of the Pitted Ware culture (PWC), were identified as belonging to SHG. An SHG individual from Motala was identified as being of 81% Western Hunter-Gatherer (WHG) ancestry, and 19% Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) ancestry.

In a genetic study published in Nature in March 2015, the remains of six SHGs buried at Motala between ca. 6000 BC and 5700 BC. Of the four males surveyed, three carried the paternal haplogroup I2a1 or various subclades of it, while the other carried I2c. With regards to mtDNA, four individuals carried subclades of U5a, while two carried U2e1.

The study found SHGs to constitute one of the three main hunter-gatherer populations of Europe during the Holocene. The two other groups were WHGs and EHGs (Eastern Hunter-Gatherers), between whom SHGs formed a distinct cluster.

SHGs living between 6000 BC and 3000 BC were found to largely genetically homogenous, with little admixture occurring among them during this period. EHGs were found to be more closely related to SHGs than WHGs.

In a genetic study published in Nature in November 2015, the six SHGs from Motala were subjected to further analysis. The study found it possible to model SHGs as a mixture of WHGs and EHGs. SHGs appeared to have persisted in Scandinavia until after 5,000 years ago. Results from studies of SHGs were found to be surprising.

The Motala SHGs were found to be closely related to WHGs. In three samples, the haplotype carrying the derived allele of rs3827760 in the EDAR gene, which is today common in East Asia, but largely absent in modern-day Europe outside Scandinavia. This haplotype is not of East Asian origin however. Most of the Motala SHGs were found to have the depigmentation alleles SLC45A2 and SLC24A5.

A genetic study published in Nature in July 2016 found SHGs to be a mix of EHGs and WHGs. WHGs were in turn a mix of EHGs and the Upper Paleolithic people (Cro-Magnon) of the Grotte du Bichon in Switzerland. EHGs derived 75% of their ancestry from ANEs.

In a genetic study published in PLOS Biology in January 2018, the remains of seven SHGs were examined. All three samples of Y-DNA extracted belonged to subclades of I2. With respects to mtDNA, four samples belonged to U5a1 haplotypes, while three samples belonged U4a2 haplotypes. All samples from western and northern Scandinavia carried U5a1 haplotypes, while all the samples from eastern Scandinavia except from one carried U4a2 haplotypes.

The authors of the study suggested that SHGs were descended from a WHG population that had entered Scandinavia from the south, and an EHG population which had entered Scandinavia from the northeast along the coast.

The WHGs who entered Scandinavia are believed to have belonged to the Ahrensburg culture. These WHGs and EHGs had subsequently mixed, and the SHGs gradually developed their distinct character.

The SHGs from western and northern Scandinavia had less more EHG ancestry (ca 49%) than individuals from eastern Scandinavia (ca. 38%). The SHGs were found to have a genetic adaption to high latitude environments, including high frequencies of low pigmentation variants and genes designed for adaption to the cold and physical performance.

SHGs displayed a high frequency of the depigmentation alleles SLC45A2 and SLC24A5, and the OCA/Herc2, which effects eye pigmentation. These genes were much less common among WHGs and EHGs.

A surprising continuity was displayed between SHGs and modern populations of Northern Europe in certain respects. Most notably, the presence of the protein TMEM131 among SHGs and modern Northern Europeans was detected. This protein may be involved in long-term adaptation to the cold.

In a genetic study published in Nature Communications in January 2018, the remains of an SHG female at Motala, Sweden between 5750 BC and 5650 BC was analyzed. She was found to be carrying U5a2d and “substantial ANE ancestry”.

The study found that Mesolithic hunter-gatherers of the eastern Baltic also carried high frequencies of the HERC2, SLC45A2 and SLC24A5 alleles. They however harbored less EHG ancestry than SHGs. Genetic continuity between the SHGs and the Pitted Ware culture of the Neolithic was detected.

The results further underpinned previous suggestion that SHGs were descended from northward migration of WHGs and a subsequent southward migration of EHGs. A certain degree of continuity between SHGs and northern Europeans was detected. The Sami people on the other hand have been found to be completely unrelated to PWC.

A study published in Nature in February 2018 included an analysis of a large number of individuals of prehistoric Eastern Europe. Thirty-seven samples were collected from Mesolithic and Neolithic Ukraine (9500-6000 BC). These were determined to be an intermediate between EHG and SHG.

Samples of Y-DNA extracted from these individuals belonged exclusively to R haplotypes (particularly subclades of R1b1 and R1a)) and I haplotypes (particlarly subclades of I2). mtDNA belonged almost exclusively to U (particularly subclades of U5 and U4).

Early European Farmers (EEF)

High frequencies of EEF ancestry in Southern Europe might explain the shortness of Southern Europeans as compared to Northern Europeans, who carry increased levels of WSH ancestry.

In archaeogenetics, the terms Early European Farmers (EEF), First European Farmers (FEF), and Neolithic European Farmers, are names given to a distinct ancestral component that represents descent from early Neolithic farmers of Europe.

Ancestors of EEFs are believed to have split of from Western Hunter-Gatherers (WHGs) around 43,000 BC, and to have split from Caucasian Hunter-Gatherers (CHGs) around 23,000 BC. They appear to have migrated from Anatolia to Europe in large numbers during the Early Neolithic, during which they admixed slightly with WHGs.

Large parts of Northern Europe and Eastern Europe do not appear to have been settled by EEFs. The Y-DNA of EEFs was typically types of haplogroup G2a, and to a lesser extent H, T, J, C1a2 and E1b1, while their mtDNA was diverse. During the Middle Neolithic there was a male-driven resurgence of WHG ancestry among the EEFs, leading to increasing frequencies of the paternal haplogroup I2 among them.

During the Chalcolithic and early Bronze Age, the EEFs were overwhelmed by successive invasions Western Steppe Herders (WSHs) from the Pontic-Caspian steppe, who were Eastern Hunter-Gatherers (EHG) with possible CHG admixture.

These invasions led to EEF Y-DNA in Europe being almost entirely replaced with EHG/WSH Y-DNA (mainly R1b and R1a). EEF mtDNA however remained frequent, suggesting admixture between ESH/WSH males and EEF females.

Through subsequent migrations of WSHs into Northern Europe and back into the Eurasian Steppe, EEF mtDNA was brought to new corners of Eurasia. EEF ancestry remains throughout Europe, ranging from 90% near the Mediterranean to 30% near the Baltic.

Early European Farmers (EEFs) were identified as a distinct ancestral component in a study published in Nature in 2014. Along with Ancient North Eurasians (ANEs) and Western Hunter-Gatherers, EEFs were determined to be one of the three major ancestral populations of modern-Europeans.

EEF ancestry in modern Europe ranged from 30% in the Baltic States to 90% near the Mediterranean Sea. EEFs were determined to be largely of Near Eastern origin, with slight WHG admixture.

It was through their EEF ancestors that most modern Southern Europeans acquired their WHG ancestry. About 44% of EEF ancestry was determined to come from a “Basal Eurasian” population that split prior to the diversification of other non-African lineages. Ötzi was identified as EEF.

A groundbreaking genetic study published in Nature in June 2015 found that amount of WHG ancestry among EEFs had significantly during the Neolithic, documenting a WHG resurgence. It was found that EEF Y-DNA was typically types haplogroup G2a, while their mtDNA was diverse.

During the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, G2a nearly disappears from Europe and is replaced with types of R1b and R1a, indicating a massive migration of people out of the Pontic-Caspian steppe. It has been suggested that this migration might be connected to the spread of Indo-European languages in Europe.

A genetic study published in Nature Communications in November 2015, found that the ancestors of the EEF had split off from WHG around 43,000 BC, possibly through a migration of WHG into Europe.

Around 23,000 BC, EEFs ancestors had again split into EEFs and Caucasian Hunter-Gatherers (CHGs). CHG admixture has been detected among people of the Yamnaya culture, who expanded massively throughout Europe from around 3,000 BC.[d]

A genetic study published in Nature in November 2015 found EEFs to be closely genetically related to Neolithic farmers of Anatolia. EEFs were found to have 7–11% more WHG ancestry than their Anatolian relatives.

This suggested that the EEFs belonged to a common ancestral population before their expansion into Europe. With regards Y-DNA, EEF males typically carried types of G2a. The study found that most Europeans could be modeled as a mixture of WHGs, EEFs and descendants of the Yamnaya culture.

A genetic study published in Nature in 2018 found that the EEFs had initially spread agriculture throughout Europe largely without admixture with local WHGs. It was noted that this process had occurred through “a massive movement of people”. During the Middle Neolithic however, there was a resurgence of WHG ancestry in Central Europe and Iberia, which was primarily male driven.

Western Steppe Herders (WSH)

In archaeogenetics, the term Western Steppe Herders (WSH), or Steppe Pastoralists, is the name given to a distinct ancestral component that represents descent from the Yamnaya culture of the Pontic-Caspian steppe. This ancestry is often referred to as Yamnaya Ancestry, Steppe Ancestry or Steppe-Related Ancestry.

WSHs are considered descended from Eastern Hunter-Gatherers (EHGs) who received some admixture from Caucasian Hunter-Gatherers (CHGs) during the Neolithic. The Y-DNA of the WSHs was mostly types of R1a and R1b, which are EHG lineages, suggesting that CHG admixture among the WSHs came through EHG males mixing with CHG females.

Around 3,000 BC, people of the Yamnaya culture, who belonged to the WSH cluster, embarked on a massive expansion throughout Eurasia, which might have resulted in the dispersal of Indo-European languages. WSH ancestry from this period is often referred to as Steppe Early and Middle Bronze Age (Steppe EMBA) ancestry.

This expansion led to the rise of the Corded Ware culture, whose members were of about 75% WSH ancestry, and the virtual disappearance of the Y-DNA of Early European Farmers (EEFs) from the European gene pool, significantly altering the cultural and genetic landscape of Europe.

During the Bronze Age, Corded Ware people with admixture from Central Europe remigrated onto the steppe, forming a type of WSH ancestry often referred to as Steppe Middle and Late Bronze Age (Steppe MLBA) ancestry.

Through the Sintashta culture, Andronovo culture and Srubnaya culture, Steppe MLBA was carried into Central Asia and South Asia along with Indo-Iranian languages, leaving a long-lasting cultural and genetic legacy.

The modern population of Europe can largely be modeled as a mixture of WHG (Western Hunter-Gatherer), EEF and WSH. In Europe, WSH ancestry peaks among Norwegians (ca. 50%), while in South Asia, it peaks among the Kalash people (ca. 50%) and Brahmins.

A ground-breaking study published in Nature in March 2015 found the ancestry of the people of the Yamnaya culture to be a mix of Eastern Hunter-Gatherer and another unidentified population. All seven Yamnaya males surveyed were found to belong to subclade R-M269 of haplogroup R1b. R1b had earlier been detected among EHGs living further north.

The study found that people of the Corded Ware culture were of approximately 75% WSH ancestry, being descended from Yamnaya people who had mixed with Middle Neolithic Europeans.

This suggested that the Yamnaya people embarked on a massive expansion ca. 3,000 BC, which might have played a role in the dispersal of Indo-European languages in Europe.

At this time, Y-DNA haplogroups common among Early European Farmers (EEFs), such as G2a, disappear almost entirely in Central Europe, and is replaced by haplotypes of R1b and R1a, which are common among WSH. EEF mtDNA decreases significantly as well, and is replaced by WSH types, suggesting that the Yamnaya expansion was carried out by both males and females.

In the aftermath of the Yamnaya expansion there appears to have been a resurgence of EEF and Western Hunter-Gatherer (WHG) ancestry in Central Europe, as this is detected in samples from the Bell Beaker culture and its successor the Unetice culture. The Bell Beaker culture had about 50% WSH ancestry.

All modern European populations can be modeled as a mixture of WHG, EEF and WSH. WSH ancestry is more common in Northern Europe than Southern Europe. Of modern populations surveyed in the study, Norwegians were found to have the largest amount of WSH ancestry, which among them exceeded 50%.

A genetic study published in Nature in June 2015 examined the Y-DNA of five Yamnaya males. Four belonged to types of R1b1a2, while one belonged to I2a2a1b1b. The study found that the Neolithic farmers of Central Europe had been “largely replaced” by Yamnaya people around 3,000 BC. This replacement altered not only the genetic landscape, but also the cultural landscape of Europe in many respects.

It was discovered that the people of the contemporary Afanasievo culture of southern Siberia were “genetically indistinguishable” from the Yamnaya and thus largely of WSH ancestry. People of the Corded Ware culture, the Bell Beaker culture, the Unetice culture and the Nordic Bronze Age displayed close genetic affinity to WSH.

The authors of the study suggested that the Sintashta culture of Central Asia emerged as a result of an eastward migration from Central Europe of Corded Ware people with both WSH and European Neolithic farmer ancestry.

A genetic study published in Nature Communications in November 2015, found that the WSHs were descended from admixture between EHGs and Caucasian Hunter-Gatherers (CHGs). CHGs were found to have split of from WHGs ca. 43,000 BC, and to have split off from EEFs ca. 23,000 BC.

A genetic study published in Nature in November 2015 found that the people of the Poltavka culture, Potapovka culture and Srubnaya culture were closely related and largely of WSH descent, although the Srubnaya carried more EEF ancestry (about 17%) than the rest. Like in Yamnaya, males of Poltavka mostly carried types of R1b, while Srubnaya males carried types of R1a. The study found that most modern Europeans could be modelled as a mixture between WHG, EEF and WSH.

A genetic study published in Nature in July 2016 found that WSHs were a mixture of EHGs and “a population related to people of the Iran Chalcolithic”. EHGs were modeled as being of 75% Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) descent.

A significant presence of WSH ancestry among populations of South Asia was detected. Here WSH ancestry peaked at 50% among the Kalash people, which is a level similar to modern populations of Northern Europe.

A genetic study published in Nature in August 2017 examined the genetic origins of the Mycenaeans and the Minoans. Contrary to the Minoans, the Mycenaeans were found to harbor about 15% WSH ancestry.

It was found that Mycenaeans could be modelled as a mixture of WSH and Minoan ancestry. This suggests that the Mycenaeans arrived in Greece as a southern wing of the Indo-European migrations.

A genetic study published in Nature in February 2018 examined the entry of WSH ancestry into the British Isles. WSH ancestry was found to have been carried into the British Isles by the Bell Beaker culture in the 3rd millennium BC.

The migrations of Bell Beakers were accompanied with “a replacement of ~90% of Britain’s gene pool within a few hundred years”. The gene pool in the British Isles had previously been dominated by EEFs with slight WHG admixture.

Y-DNA in parts of the modern British Isles belongs almost entirely to R-M269, a WSH lineage, which is thought to have been brought to the isles with Bell Beakers.

A genetic study published in Nature in February 2018 noted that the modern population of Europe can largely be modeled as a mixture between EHG, WHG, WSH and EEF.

The study examined individuals from the Globular Amphora culture, who bordered the Yamnaya. Globular Amphora culture people were found to have no WSH ancestry, suggesting that cultural differences and genetic differences were connected.

Notably, WSH ancestry was detected among two individuals buried in modern-day Bulgaria ca. 4,500 BC. This showed that WSH ancestry appeared outside of the steppe 2,000 years earlier than previously believed.

A genetic study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America in November 2018 examined the presence of WSH ancestry in the Mongolian Plateau. A number of remains from Late Bronze Age individuals buried around Lake Baikal were studied.

These individuals had only 7% WSH ancestry, suggesting that pastoralism was adopted on the Eastern Steppe through cultural transmission rather than genetic displacement.

The study found that WSH ancestry found among Late Bronze Age populations of the south Siberia such as the Karasuk culture was transmitted through the Andronovo culture rather than the earlier Afanasievo culture, whose genetic legacy in the region by this time was virtually non-existent.

A genetic study published in Nature Communications in February 2019 compared the genetic origins of the Yamnaya culture and the Maikop culture. It found that most of the EEF ancestry found among the Yamnaya culture was derived from the Globular Amphora culture and the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture of Eastern Europe.

Total EEF ancestry among the Yamnaya has been estimated at 10-18%. Given the high amount of EEF ancestry in the Maikop culture, this makes it impossible for the Maikop culture to have been a major source of CHG ancestry among the WSHs. Admixture from the CHGs into the WSHs must thus have happened at an earlier date.

A genetic study published in Science in March 2019 analyzed the process by which WSH ancestry entered the Iberian Peninsula. The earliest evidence of WSH ancestry here was found from an individual living in Iberia in 2,200 BC in close proximity with native populations.

By 2,000 BC, the native Y-DNA of Iberia (H, G2 and I2) had been almost entirely replaced with single WSH lineage, R-M269. mtDNA in Iberia at this time was however still mostly of native origin, affirming that the entry of WSH ancestry in Iberia was primarily male-driven.

A genetic study published in Science in September 2019 found a large amount of WSH ancestry among Indo-European-speaking populations throughout Eurasia. This lent support to the theory that the Yamnaya people were Indo-European-speaking.

The study found people of the Corded Ware, Srubnaya, Sintashta and Andronovo cultures to be a closely related group almost wholly of WSH ancestry, but with slight European Middle Neolithic admixture.

These results further underpinned the notion that the Sintashta culture emerged as an eastward migration of Corded Ware peoples with mostly WSH ancestry back into the steppe. Among early WSHs, R1b is the most common Y-DNA lineage, while R1a (particularly R1a1a1b2) is common among later groups of Central Asia, such as Andronovo and Srubnaya.

West Siberian Hunter-Gatherers (WSGs), a distinct archaeogenetic lineage, was discovered in the study. These were found to be of about 30% EHG ancestry, 50% ANE ancestry, and 20% East Asian ancestry. It was noticed that WSHs during their expansion towards the east gained a slight (ca. 8%) admixture from WSGs.

It was found that there was a significant infusion of WSH ancestry into Central Asia and South Asia during the Bronze Age. WSH ancestry was found have been almost completely absent from earlier samples in southern Central Asia in the 3rd millennium BC.

During the expansion of WSHs from Central Asia towards South Asia in the Bronze Age, an increase in South Asian agriculturalist ancestry among WSHs was noticed. Among South Asian populations, WSH ancestry is particularly high among Brahmins and Bhumihars. WSH ancestry was thus expected to have spread into India with the Vedic culture.

In February 2019, an analysis by David W. Anthony of the recent genetic data on WSHs was published in the Journal of Indo-European Studies. An updated version of this analysis was later published in the book Dispersals and Diversification: Linguistic and Archaeological Perspectives on the Early Stages of Indo-European, by BRILL.

Anthony notes that WSHs display genetic continuity between the paternal lineages of the Dnieper-Donets culture and the Yamnaya culture, as the males of both cultures have been found to have been mostly carriers of R1b, and to a lesser extent I2.

While the mtDNA of the Dnieper-Donets people is exclusively types of U, which is associated with EHGs and WHGs, the mtDNA of the Yamnaya also includes types frequent among CHGs and EEFs.

Anthony notes that WSH had earlier been found among the Sredny Stog culture and the Khvalynsk culture, who preceded the Yamnaya culture on the Pontic–Caspian steppe. The Sredny Stog were mostly WSH with slight EEF admixture, while the Khvalynsk living further east were purely WSH.

Anthony also notes that unlike their Khvalynsk predecessors, the Y-DNA of the Yamnaya is exclusively EHG and WHG. This implies that the leading clans of the Yamnaya were of EHG and WHG origin.

Because the slight EEF ancestry of the WSHs has been found to be derived from Central Europe, and because there is no CHG Y-DNA detected among the Yamnaya, Anthony notes that it is impossible for the Maikop culture to have contributed much to the culture or CHG ancestry of the WSHs.

Anthony suggests that admixture between EHGs and CHGs occurred on the eastern Pontic-Caspian steppe around 5,000 BC, while admixture with EEFs happened in the southern parts of the Pontic-Caspian steppe sometime later.

On this basis, Anthony concludes that the Indo-European languages whom the WSHs brought with them were originally spoken by the EHGs of Eastern Europe.

As Yamnaya Y-DNA is exclusively of the EHG and WHG type, Anthony notes that the admixture must have occurred between EHG and WHG males, and CHG and EEF females. Anthony cites this as additional evidence that the Indo-European languages were initially spoken among EHGs living in Eastern Europe.

Physical anthropologists have determined that the Yamnaya people and their successors were tall, massively built and Europoid. This has been confirmed by genetic studies of WSHs, who are found to have been much taller than Neolithic populations of Central Europe.

They were light skinned, and had mostly brown eyes and brown hair. It has been suggested that the increased height of modern populations of Northern Europe as compared to those of Southern Europe can be ascribed to increased WSH ancestry among Northern Europeans.

The settlement of the Americas

Haplogroup P, also known as P and K2b2, is a branch of K2b, which is a branch of Haplogroup K2. Haplogroup K2b is thought to be less than 3,000 years younger than K, and less than 10,000 years younger than F, meaning it probably is around 50,000 years old.

Haplogroup K2b1and haplogroup P are the only primary clades of K2b. Whereas K2b1, its subclades and P* are virtually restricted geographically to South East Asia and Oceania in a striking contrast, P1 and its primary subclades Q and R now make up “the most frequent haplogroup in Europe, the Americas, and Central Asia and South Asia.

The estimated dates for the branching of K, K2, K2b and P point to a rapid diversification of K2, into K2a and K2b, followed by K2b1 and P, likely occurred in Southeast Asia. This was followed by the relatively rapid westward expansion of P1 – the immediate ancestor of both Haplogroups Q and R.

The only primary branches (clades) of P are P1 and P2. Even though P1* is now more common among individuals in Eastern Siberia and Central Asia, the above distributions tend to suggest that P* emerged in South East Asia. P1 is, in turn, the parent node of Haplogroup Q  and Haplogroup R, which now include most males among Europeans, Native Americans, South Asians and Central Asians.

Q-M242 is the predominant Y-DNA haplogroup among Native Americans and several peoples of Central Asia and Northern Siberia. It is also the predominant Y-DNA of the Akha tribe in northern Thailand and the Dayak people of Indonesia.

Haplogroup R, or R-M207, have been found since pre-history in Europe, Central Asia and South Asia. Others have long been present, at lower levels, in parts of West Asia and Africa. Some authorities have also suggested, more controversially, that R-M207 has long been present among Native Americans in North America – a theory that has not yet been widely accepted.

The settlement of the Americas began when Paleolithic hunter-gatherers entered North America from the North Asian Mammoth steppe via the Beringia land bridge, which had formed between northeastern Siberia and western Alaska due to the lowering of sea level during the Last Glacial Maximum.

These populations expanded south of the Laurentide Ice Sheet and spread rapidly throughout both North and South America, by 14,000 years ago. The earliest populations in the Americas, before roughly 10,000 years ago, are known as Paleo-Indians.

The peopling of the Americas is a long-standing open question, and while advances in archaeology, Pleistocene geology, physical anthropology, and DNA analysis have shed progressively more light on the subject, significant questions remain unresolved.

While there is general agreement that the Americas were first settled from Asia, the pattern of migration, its timing, and the place(s) of origin in Eurasia of the peoples who migrated to the Americas remain unclear.

The prevalent migration models outline different time frames for the Asian migration from the Bering Straits and subsequent dispersal of the founding population throughout the continent.

Indigenous peoples of the Americas have been linked to Siberian populations by linguistic factors, the distribution of blood types, and in genetic composition as reflected by molecular data, such as DNA.

The “Clovis first theory” refers to the 1950s hypothesis that the Clovis culture represents the earliest human presence in the Americas, beginning about 13,000 years ago; evidence of pre-Clovis cultures has accumulated since 2000, pushing back the possible date of the first peopling of the Americas to about 13,200–15,500 years ago.

The Clovis culture is a prehistoric Paleoamerican culture, named for distinct stone tools found in close association with Pleistocene fauna at Blackwater Locality No. 1 near Clovis, New Mexico, in the 1920s and 1930s.

It appears around 11,500–11,000 uncalibrated RCYBP at the end of the last glacial period, and is characterized by the manufacture of “Clovis points” and distinctive bone and ivory tools. Archaeologists’ most precise determinations at present suggest this radiocarbon age is equal to roughly 13,200 to 12,900 calendar years ago. Clovis people are considered to be the ancestors of most of the indigenous cultures of the Americas.

The only human burial that has been directly associated with tools from the Clovis culture included the remains of an infant boy researchers named Anzick-1. Paleogenetic analyses of Anzick-1’s ancient nuclear, mitochondrial, and Y-chromosome DNA reveal that Anzick-1 is closely related to modern Native American populations, which lends support to the Beringia hypothesis for the settlement of the Americas.

The Clovis culture was replaced by several more localized regional societies from the Younger Dryas cold-climate period onward. Post-Clovis cultures include the Folsom tradition, Gainey, Suwannee-Simpson, Plainview-Goshen, Cumberland, and Redstone. Each of these is thought to derive directly from Clovis, in some cases apparently differing only in the length of the fluting on their projectile points.

Although this is generally held to be the result of normal cultural change through time, numerous other reasons have been suggested as driving forces to explain changes in the archaeological record, such as the Younger Dryas postglacial climate change which exhibited numerous faunal extinctions

After the discovery of several Clovis sites in eastern North America in the 1930s, the Clovis people came to be regarded as the first human inhabitants who created a widespread culture in the New World.

However, this theory has been challenged, in the opinion of many archaeologists, by several archaeological discoveries, including sites such as Cactus Hill in Virginia, Paisley Caves in the Summer Lake Basin of Oregon, the Topper site in Allendale County, South Carolina, Meadowcroft Rockshelter in Pennsylvania, the Friedkin site in Texas, Cueva Fell in Chile, and especially, Monte Verde, also in Chile.

The oldest claimed human archaeological site in the Americas is the Pedra Furada hearths, a site in Brazil that precedes the Clovis culture and the other sites already mentioned by 19,000 to 30,000 years.

This claim has become an issue of contention between North American archaeologists and their South American and European counterparts, who disagree on whether it is conclusively proven to be an older human site.

The Upward Sun River site

The Ancient Beringian (AB) is a specific archaeogenetic lineage, based on the genome of an infant found at the Upward Sun River site (dubbed USR1), dated to 11,500 years ago. The discovery was made from archaeogenetic analyses on the remains of two female infants discovered in 2013 at the Upward Sun River site (USR). The USR site is affiliated with the Denali Complex, a dispersed archaeological culture of the American Arctic.

The genomic analysis of nuclear DNA of the older of the two infants (USR1) was done at the Centre for Geogenetics at the University of Copenhagen’s Natural History Museum of Denmark. Results from the team’s genetic analysis were published in January 2018 in the scientific journal Nature.

The 2018 study suggests that the AB lineage was replaced by or absorbed in a back-migration of North Native American (NNA) to Alaska. The modern Athabaskan populations are derived from an admixture of this NNA back-migration and a Paleo-Siberian (Early Paleo-Eskimo) lineage before about 2500 years ago.

The analysis compared the infant’s genomes with both ancient and contemporary genomes. The results suggested that the pre-Ancestral Native American (ANA) lineage derived from the proto-Mongoloid lineage after 36 kya, with gene flow until about 25.000 years ago. During 25.000–20.000 years ago, this lineage was substantially mixed with the Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) lineage, to form the ANA lineage by 20.000 years ago.

The AB lineage diverged from the ANA lineage about 20,000 years ago. The ANA lineage was estimated as having been formed by a mixture of Proto-Mongoloid or East Eurasian (57-58%) and Ancient North Eurasian (42-43%) lineages between 20,000 and 25,000 years ago, consistent with the model of the peopling of the Americas via Beringia during the Last Glacial Maximum.

The AB lineage derived from ANA and persisted without significant admixture in Alaska until the time of USR1, some 8000 years later. The lineage of other Paleo-Indians diverged form AB at ca. 20.000–18.000 years ago, and further divided into NNA and South Native American (SNA) lineages between 17.5 kya and 14.6 kya, reflecting the dispersal associated with the early peopling of the Americas.

The Upward Sun River site, or Xaasaa Na’, is a Late Pleistocene archaeological site associated with the Paleo-Arctic Tradition, located in the Tanana River Valley, Alaska. Dated to around 11,500 BP, Upward Sun River is the site of the oldest human remains discovered on the American side of Beringia.

The site was first discovered in 2006. The layer with the human remains at Upward Sun River is most similar to the level 6 layer from Ushki Lake, Kamchatka. Both sites are the only Beringian burials found so far from that period. The name of the site, Upward Sun River, is a direct translation of the Middle Tanana (Athabascan languages) name for the site, Xaasaa Na’. The Middle Tanana name was recorded from the mother of a mother-daughter pair, two of the last remaining speakers of Middle Tanana, during an interview in the 1960s.

The first excavation at Upward Sun River in 2010 yielded the cremated remains of a 3-year-old individual. The individual had been cremated inside a hearth, which was then filled in, with an abandonment of the site quickly afterwards. This individual was given the name Xaasaa Cheege Ts’eniin (Upward Sun River Mouth Child) by the local Healy Lake Tribe and is referred to by archaeologists as USR3. Researchers were unable to recover DNA from this individual.

In a 2013 excavation of the site, researchers discovered the remains of two female infants in a layer directly underneath the cremated individual. The two individuals were covered in red ochre and buried together in a pit burial with grave goods, including four decorated antler rods, two lithic dart points and bifaces. The antler rods and dart points were likely part of a weapon system.

The two individuals were given the names Xach’itee’aanenh t’eede gaay (Sunrise child-girl) and Yełkaanenh t’eede gaay (Dawn twilight child-girl) by the local people and are referred to by archaeologists as USR1 and USR2, respectively.

One of the individuals (USR2) was a prenatal, possibly stillborn 30-week-old fetus, while the other (USR1) was a 6- to 12-week-old infant. The prenatal individual is the only prenate and youngest Late Pleistocene individual to be recovered in the Americas. All three died during the summer. Their teeth show features most similar to those found in Native Americans and Northeast Asians.

In 2015, researchers were able to extract the entire mitochondrial genome from both individuals. In 2018, researchers successfully sequenced the nuclear DNA from the petrous bone of both individuals, yielding around 17-fold coverage from USR1 and low coverage from USR2. Based on osteological analysis, the two infants were previously thought to be female; this assessment is corroborated by evidence from DNA analysis.

When compared with ancient populations, USR1 and USR2 show closest genetic affinity to Shuká Káa from On Your Knees Cave. USR1 shows extra genetic affinity for Siberians and East Asians in a way that is not found in later ancient individuals from the Americas such as Anzick-1, Kennewick Man, or the woman from the Lucy Islands dated to around 6,000 years ago.

USR1 belongs to a population that predates the hypothesized splitting of ancient Native American populations into the Northern Native American and Southern Native American branches and does not cluster genetically with either, later population. USR1 forms a distinct clade with the individual from Cave 2 of the Trail Creek Caves on the Seward Peninsula.

When compared with modern populations, USR1 shows closest genetic affinity to modern Native Americans, then Siberians and East Asians. USR1 does not cluster genetically with any modern Native American population. The genetic distance from USR1 to Mal’ta boy is the same as that from modern Native American populations to Mal’ta boy.

USR1 shows additional genetic affinity for Denisovans that is not matched by modern Native Americans; this additional Denisovan affinity is likely due to sampling variation from an ancient population with higher levels of heterogenous Denisovan admixture.

Nuclear DNA analysis suggests that USR1 and USR2 are closely related, probably somewhere roughly in the range from half-siblings to first cousins. However, mtDNA analysis shows that the two infants are not maternally related. The two infants carry mtDNA lineages that are only found in the Americas.

USR1, the 6- to 12-week-old infant, comes from C1b. The prenatal infant, USR2, carries a basal lineage of Haplogroup B2 that is also matched by the individual from Trial Creek Cave; this specific mtDNA lineage is different from the derived B2 lineage generally found the Americas.

Both individuals represent the northernmost discovery of these mtDNA lineages and show that the mtDNA diversity in the ancient population is higher than in the modern, lending credence to the Beringia Standstill Hypothesis.

USR1 is thought to be representative of a hypothesized ancient population referred to as Ancient Beringian. Ancient Beringian is now considered to be composed of three individuals: USR1, USR2 and the 9,000 year-old individual from Trail Creek Cave.

This genetic clustering is matched by the archaeological evidence, as the Upper Sun River Site and Trail Creek Cave, despite being located over 750 km (466 mi) away from each other, both share similarities in artefact technology.

Based on DNA analysis of USR1, the Ancient Beringians are hypothesized to have split off from East Asians around 36,000 years ago, with continuous gene flow occurring until around 25,000 years ago. The Ancient Beringians are also hypothesized to have diverged from the ancestors of Native Americans around 22,000 to 18,100 years ago.

Phenotypic analysis shows that USR1 does not carry the derived EDAR allele commonly found in modern East Asians and Native Americans. However, USR1 does carry the derived rs174570 FADS2 allele that was targeted by a selective sweep.

The Polulating of Siberia

During the Last Glacial Maximum (about 26,500 to 19,000 years ago), hunter-gatherer populations made their way from Siberia to North America through a land bridge at what is now Bering Strait. It was submerged at the end of the last Ice Age (that lasted from about 126,000 to 11,700 years ago).

Far northeastern Siberia has been occupied by humans for more than 40.000 years. Yet, owing to a scarcity of early archaeological sites and human remains, its population history and relationship to ancient and modern populations across Eurasia and the Americas are poorly understood.

Indigenous Americans, who include Alaska Natives, Canadian First Nations, and Native Americans, descend from humans who crossed an ancient land bridge connecting Siberia in Russia to Alaska tens of thousands of years ago. But scientists are unclear when and where these early migrants moved from place to place.

Two new studies shed light on this mystery and uncover the most closely related Native American ancestor outside North America. In the first study, researchers led by Eske Willerslev, a geneticist at the University of Copenhagen, sequenced the whole genomes of 34 individuals who lived in Siberia, the land bridge Beringia, and Alaska from 600 to nearly 32,000 years ago.

The oldest individuals in the sample—two men who lived in far northern Siberia—represent the earliest known humans from that part of the world. There are no direct genetic traces of these men in any of the other groups the team surveyed, suggesting their culture likely died out about 23,000 years ago when the region became too cold to be inhabitable.

Elsewhere on the Eurasian continent, however, a group arose that would eventually move into Siberia, splinter, and cross Beringia into North America, the DNA analysis reveals. A woman known as Kolyma1, who lived in northeastern Siberia about 10,000 years ago, shares about two-thirds of her genome with living Native Americans.

It’s the closest we have ever gotten to a Native American ancestor outside the Americas. Still, the relation is nevertheless distant. Based on the time it would have taken for key mutations to pop up, the ancestors of today’s Native Americans splintered off from these ancient Siberians about 24,000 years ago, roughly matching up with previous archaeological and genetic evidence for when the peopling of the Americas occurred.

Additional DNA evidence suggests a third wave of migrants, the Neo-Siberians, moved into northeastern Siberia from the south sometime after 10,000 years ago. These migrants mixed with the ancient Siberians, planting the genetic roots of many of the area’s present-day populations.

Analyses of genomes reveal complex patterns of past population admixture and replacement events throughout northeastern Siberia, with evidence for at least three large-scale human migrations into the region.

The region got initialy peopled by a previously unknown Palaeolithic population of Ancient North Siberians (ANS), who are distantly related to early West Eurasian hunter-gatherers. Then East Asian-related peoples arrived, which gave rise to Ancient Palaeo-Siberians (AP), who are closely related to contemporary communities from far-northeastern Siberia (such as the Koryaks), as well as Native Americans. The last big event was a Holocene migration of other East Asian-related peoples, who we name Neo-Siberians, and from whom many contemporary Siberians are descended.

Each of these population expansions largely replaced the earlier inhabitants, and ultimately generated the mosaic genetic make-up of contemporary peoples who inhabit a vast area across northern Eurasia and the Americas.

The earliest and northernmost Pleistocene inhabitants, a previously unknown population of Ancient North Siberians (ANS), represented by Yana Rhinoceros Horn Site (Yana RHS), are represented by found to be ~31.600 year old.

Radiocarbon dating has revealed a surprisingly early date of 27,000 years BP for human occupation at the site. This age is twice that of other known human occupations in any Arctic region. Prior to the discovery of Yana, the earliest known occupation of this Arctic region was the Berelekh site, dated to about 13,000 – 14,000 years BP.

The Yana RHS site is located near the mouth of the Yana River in Siberia, 500 km north of the Arctic Circle. First excavated in 2001, the site offers the earliest direct evidence of humans in north-eastern Siberia, with finds also including bone items and stone tools.

Artifacts found at the Yana RHS site include tools like foreshafts made of rhinoceros horn and mammoth tusk, and hundreds of stone artifacts including choppers, scrapers and other biface tools. No evidence of a blade technology has been found. The key human remains were fragments of two tiny human milk teeth, shed by males.

This site shows that people adapted to this harsh, high-latitude, Late Pleistocene environment much earlier than previously thought. In addition, the site’s location near the Bering Land Bridge and its early occupation date may ultimately offer clues to help resolve some of the questions about the first peopling of the Americas.

The people, known as the Ancient North Siberians, endured extreme conditions during the late Pleistocene (often referred to as the Ice Age) and survived by hunting woolly mammoths, woolly rhinoceroses, and bison. They are described as the ‘missing link’ in the Native American ancestry.

The ANS were a significant part of human history, they diversified almost at the same time as the ancestors of modern-day Asians and Europeans and it’s likely that at one point they occupied large regions of the northern hemisphere.

The ANS were a significant part of human history, they diversified almost at the same time as the ancestors of modern-day Asians and Europeans and it’s likely that at one point they occupied large regions of the northern hemisphere.

They diverged ~38 kya from Western Eurasians, soon after the latter split from East Asians. By about 50.000 years ago a basal West Eurasian lineage had emerged (alongside a separate East Asian lineage) out of the undifferentiated “non-African” lineage of 70.000 years ago.

About 200,000-300,000 years ago, homo sapiens — the modern humans — evolved from their early hominid predecessors in Africa. They migrated out of Africa about 70,000-100,000 years ago to parts of Europe and Asia.

Both basal East and West Eurasians acquired Neanderthal, an extinct species or subspecies of archaic humans who lived in Eurasia until about 40,000 years ago, admixture in Europe and Asia. East Asians have a secondary set of Denisovians genomes, which is not found, for example, in other regions.

Denisovians, or Denisova hominins, are an extinct species or subspecies of archaic human that ranged across Asia during the Lower and Middle Paleolithic (potentially surviving as late as 30–14,500 years ago in New Guinea).

Denisovans are known from few remains, and, consequently, most of what is known about them comes from DNA evidence. Pending consensus on their taxonomic status, they have been referred to as Homo denisova, H. altaiensis, or H. sapiens denisova.

The first Denisovan individual was identified in 2010 based on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) extracted from a juvenile female finger bone from the Siberian Denisova Cave. Nuclear DNA (nDNA) indicates close affinities with Neanderthals.

Though their remains have been identified in only two locations, traces of Denisovan DNA in modern humans suggest they ranged across East Asia. Three distinct populations of Denisovans have been identified in, respectively, Siberia and East Asia, New Guinea and nearby islands, and Oceania and to a lesser extent across Asia.

Using exponential distribution analysis on haplotype lengths, Jacobs calculated introgression into modern humans occurred about 29,900 years ago with the second population; and 45,700 years ago in the third population. Such a late date for the second population could indicate survival as late as 14,500 years ago, which would make them the latest surviving archaic human species.

As a racial classification specifier, East Asian is used for ethnic groups and subgroups descended from the region, which consists of China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea and Taiwan. The major ethnic groups that form the core of East Asia are the Han, Korean and Yamato. Other ethnic groups of East Asia include the Bai, Hui, Tibetans, Manchus, Ryukyuan, Ainu, Zhuang and Mongols.

The major East Asian language families are the Sinitic, Japonic, and Koreanic families. Other language families include the Tibeto-Burman, Ainu languages, Mongolic, Tungusic, Turkic, Miao–Yao, Tai–Kadai, Austronesian and Mon–Khmer.

The Mal’ta–Buret’ culture is an archaeological culture of the Upper Paleolithic (c. 24,000 to 15,000 BP) on the upper Angara River in the area west of Lake Baikal in the Irkutsk Oblast, Siberia, Russian Federation. The type sites are named for the villages of Mal’ta, Usolsky District and Buret’, Bokhansky District (both in Irkutsk Oblast).

A boy whose remains were found near Mal’ta is usually known by the abbreviation MA-1 (or MA1). Discovered in the 1920s, the remains have been dated to 24,000 BP. Until his findings, the Upper Paleolithic societies of Northern Asia were virtually unknown. 

MA-1 is the only known example of basal Y-DNA R* (R-M207*) – that is, the only member of haplogroup R* that did not belong to haplogroups R1, R2 or secondary subclades of these. The mitochondrial DNA of MA-1 belonged to an unresolved subclade of haplogroup U.

MA-1 belonged to a population related to the genetic ancestors of Siberians, American Indians, and Bronze Age Yamnaya and Botai people of the Eurasian steppe. In particular, modern-day Native Americans, Kets, Mansi, and Selkup have been found to harbour a lot of ancestry related to MA-1.

A people similar to MA1 and Afontova Gora were important genetic contributors to Native Americans, Siberians, Europeans, Caucasians, Central Asians, with smaller contributions to Middle Easterners and some East Asians. There is a cline of ANE ancestry across the east-west extent of Eurasia. The global maximum of ANE ancestry occurs in modern-day Kets, Mansi, Native Americans, and Selkups.

Additionally it has been reported in ancient Bronze-age-steppe Yamnaya and Afanasevo cultures. Between 14 and 38 percent of Native American ancestry may originate from gene flow from the Mal’ta Buret people, while the other geneflow in Native Americans appears to have an Eastern Eurasian origin.

The term Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) has been given in genetic literature to an ancestral component that represents descent from the people similar to the Mal’ta–Buret’ culture or a population closely related to them. The genetic component ANE descends from Ancient South Eurasian.

West Siberian Hunter-Gatherer (WSG) are a specific archaeogenetic lineage, first reported in a genetic study published in Science in September 2019. WSGs were found to be of about 30% EHG ancestry, 50% ANE ancestry, and 20% East Asian ancestry.

A 2016 genomic study shows that the Mal’ta people have no genetic connections to the Dolní Věstonice people, an Upper Paleolithic archaeological site near the village of Dolní Věstonice, Moravia in the Czech Republic, on the base of Děvín Mountain 549 metres (1,801 ft), dating to approximately 26,000 BP, as supported by radiocarbon dating, from the Gravettian culture.

MA1 is also related to two older Upper Paleolithic Siberian individals found near Yana river called Ancient North Siberians (ANS) and to Tianyuan man, the remains of one of the earliest modern humans to inhabit East Asia, from Upper Paleolithic China.

In 2007, researchers found 34 bone fragments belonging to a single individual at the Tianyuan Cave near Beijing, China. Radiocarbon dating shows the bones to be between 42,000 and 39,000 years old, which may be slightly younger than the only other finds of bones of a similar age at the Niah Caves in Sarawak on Borneo.

Tianyuan man is considered an early modern human. It lacks several mandibular features common among western Eurasian late archaic humans, showing its divergence. Based on the rate of dental occlusal attrition, it is estimated he died in his 40s or 50s.

DNA tests published in 2013 revealed that Tianyuan man is related “to many present-day Asians and Native Americans”. He had also clearly diverged genetically from the ancestors of modern Europeans. He belonged to mitochondrial DNA haplogroup B.

Tianyuan man exhibits a unique genetic affinity for GoyetQ116-1 from Goyet Caves that is not found in any other ancient individual from West Eurasia. His Y haplogroup was K2b according to David Reich Lab’s data.

He shares more alleles with today’s people from the Surui and Karitiana tribes in Brazil than other Native American populations, suggesting a population related to Tianyuan man was once widespread in eastern Asia.

The ANS adapted to extreme environments very quickly, and were highly mobile. They also possessed the mosaic genetic make-up of modern-day people inhabiting across northern Eurasia and the Americas.

They were ancestors both to the first humans who inhabited the Americas (the first Peoples) and to a subsequent Siberian group, who largely replaced them by peoples with ancestry related to present-day East Asians between 20.000-11.000 years ago.

This new mixture gave rise to ancestral Native Americans and to Ancient Paleosiberians (AP) represented by a 9800 years ago skeleton from Kolyma River. AP got 75 per cent their DNA from East Asians, while for the first people inthe Americas it was 63 per cent.

AP are closely related to the Siberian ancestors of Native Americans. The two groups are estimated to have diverged about 24,000 years ago. There are evidence for a refuge during the last glacial maximum (LGM) in southeastern Beringia, suggesting Beringia as a possible location for the admixture forming both ancestral Native Americans and AP.

Between 11.000 and 4000 years ago, AP were in turn largely replaced by another group of peoples with ancestry from East Asia, the Neosiberians, from which many contemporary Siberians derive, restricting their AP-like ancestry to north-east Siberia, represented by an individual from Ol’skaya, Magadan (ca. 1000 BC), who closely resembles present-day Koryaks and Itelmens.

There are gene flow events in both directions across the Bering Strait during this time, influencing the genetic composition of Inuit, as well as Na Dene-speaking Northern Native Americans, whose Siberian-related ancestry components is closely related to AP.

Analyses reveal that the population history of northeastern Siberia was highly dynamic
throughout the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. The pattern observed in northeastern
Siberia, with earlier, once widespread populations being replaced by distinct peoples,
seems to have taken place across northern Eurasia, as far west as Scandinavia.

Any member of those peoples of northeastern Siberia who are believed to be remnants of earlier and more extensive populations pushed into this area by later Neosiberians are known as Paleo-Siberian, and include the Chukchi, Koryak, Itelmen (Kamchadal), Nivkh (Gilyak), Yukaghir, and Ket (qq.v.).

The Chukchi and Koryak are traditional reindeer breeders and hunters; maritime groups are sea-mammal hunters and fishers. The Itelmen and Nivkh are primarily coastal sedentary hunters and fishers, and the Yukaghir are hunters, fishers, and reindeer herders.

Several Paleo-Siberian groups that share a common mode of life but differ linguistically are located in far eastern Siberia. The Chukchi, Koryak, and Itelmen (Kamchadal) belong to a group known as Luorawetlan, which is distinct from the Eskimo-Aleut group.

The languages of the Nivkh (Gilyak) along the lower Amur and on Sakhalin Island, of the Yukaghir of the Kolyma Lowland, and of the Ket of the middle Yenisey are completely isolated, though it is likely that Yukaghir is a relative of the Uralic languages.

The Uralic group, which is widely disseminated in the Eurasian forest and tundra zones, has complex origins. Finnic peoples inhabit the European section: the Mordvin, Mari (formerly Cheremis), Udmurt (Votyak) and Komi (Zyryan), and the closely related Komi-Permyaks live around the upper Volga and in the Urals, while Karelians, Finns, and Veps inhabit the northwest. The Mansi (Vogul) and Khanty (Ostyak) are spread thinly over the lower Ob basin (see Khanty and Mansi).

The Samoyedic group also has few members dispersed over a vast area: the Nenets in the tundra and forest tundra from the Kola Peninsula to the Yenisey, the Selkup around the middle Ob, and the Nganasan mainly in the Taymyr Peninsula.

The vast majority of the genetic makeup of present day Siberians comes from this last push. The new migrants mixed with the AP, planting the genetic roots of many of the area’s present-day populations. This is also the reason you don’t have any very close connection between contemporary Siberians and Native Americans.

Archaeological records suggest the ancestors of the Paleo-Eskimos moved into modern-day Alaska and the Canadian Arctic about 5000 years ago. Paleo-Eskimos originating in Siberia crossed Beringia about 5000 years ago, mixing with indigenous Americans from a previous wave of Siberian migrants, as well as a much later lineage called Neo-Eskimos, the team concludes.

This tangled family tree underpins the ancestry of modern speakers of indigenous Na-Dene and Eskimo-Aleut languages. Based on the DNA analysis, the group that gave rise to Kolyma1, may be the ancestors, or very close relations, of the Paleo-Eskimos.

In the Cis-Baikal area, 13 Early Neolithic hunter-gatherers from Shamanka (ca. 5200–4200 BC) are representatives of Ancient East Asian (AEA) ancestry, closely related to individuals from the Devil’s Gate Cave (ca. 6000–5500 BC). Among reported haplogroups, there are seven samples likely all N1a2-L666, and one C2a1a1a-F3918.

Cis-Baikal populations are replaced likely during the Late Neolithic, with samples from Early Bronze Age (ca. 2200–1800 BC) evidencing an almost full population replacement with a resurgence of AP ancestry (up to 50%)—probably from a population migrating from the east and north—and influence from West Eurasian steppe ANE ancestry (ca. 10%) in the Altai region, represented by BA individuals from Afanasevo. Reported haplogroups are all Q1a2a-L712, with one Q1a2a1-L715 and one Q1a2a1c probably suggesting these subclades as those expanding in the EBA.

AP ancestry is also found in modern Kets (ca. 40%), speaking a Yeniseian language, with genetic links to Palaeoeskimos, thus connecting Yeniseian genetically with Na-Dene-speaking peoples.

The main reported haplogroup of Na-Dene peoples is Q1a2-M25 (ca. 90%), which suggests that its lineages expanded with ancestral Dene-Yeniseian speakers through north Eurasia, most likely during the Late Neolithic.

Yeniseians, on the other hand, belong to haplogroup Q1b1a-L54 (formed ca. 16100 BC, TMRCA ca. 14000 BC), which may point to the dispersal of certain Palaeosiberian languages with these particular lineages during the Palaeolithic.

It is unclear which lineage may have spread with AEA ancestry through northern Siberia, along the inner Asian Palaeolithic EHG–ANE–AEA cline, and when, although possibly some N1a1-Tat subclade (formed ca. 13900 BC, TMRCA ca. 9800 BC).

In particular, the split into an eastern N1a1a2-Y23747 (TMRCA ca. 4500 BC), found among modern Japanese and Chinese, and a western N1a1a1-F1419 (TMRCA ca. 8800 BC), found among Khakassians and northern Indians, suggests a split around Lake Baikal.

Similarly, its subclade N1a1a1a-L708 (formed ca. 8800 BC, TMRCA ca. 5400 BC) shows a wide Northern Eurasian distribution in the regions east of the Urals. In particular, although basal N1a1a1a-L708 subclades can be found today around the Urals without a particular linguistic connection, its subclade N1a1a1a1a-L1026/L392 (formed ca. 4300 BC, TMRCA ca. 2900 BC) seems to represent expansions through Siberia from around Lake Baikal, often associated with Altaic-speaking peoples.

This ancient Altaic connection is reflected in the finding of hg. N1a1a1a1a4-M2019 (formed ca. 4300 BC, TMRCA ca. 1700 BC) through Arctic populations, from Estonians to Tungusic speakers from Yakutia, from Chinese to Hungarians.

Different expansions of these lineages include, among modern Northern Eurasian populations: N1a1a1a1a2-Z1936 (TMRCA ca. 2300 BC) connects N1a1a1a1a2a1c-Y13850 among peoples from the Trans-Urals region with N1a1a1a1a2a-Z1934 in Palaeo-Arctic populations of the Cis-Urals, possibly through a Northern Eurasian forest–taiga route.

SNP Y6058 (formed ca. 5300 BC, TMRCA ca. 2900 BC) connects hg. N1a1a1a1a3-Y16323 (TMRCA ca. 2900 BC) of Mongolic speakers and Chukchi of with Mordvinic and later Balto-Finnic speakers of hg. N1a1a1a1a1-CTS10760 (TMRCA ca. 2100 BC), possibly through more southern forest-steppe–steppe routes of expansion, given the appearance of N1a1a1a1a1c-B479 among Tungusic speakers and Nenets.

Late northern Siberian nomadic peoples close to the Arctic region are known to be easily subject to exogamy practices due to their mobility, and are thus associated with plurilingualism and eventual acculturation within few generations of admixture.

Therefore, it will remain unclear to what extent Palaeo-Laplandic from Lovozero or the language of northern nomadic peoples who adopted Mari-Permic, Ugric or Samoyedic languages remained related to Chukotko-Kamchatkan family thousands of years later, or spoke West Siberian languages like Yeniseian, or other Eurasiatic dialects.

Three samples from the west Siberian forest zone (ca. 6200–4000 BC) are representatives of a mixture of ancestry called “west Siberian hunter-gatherer” (WSHG) ancestry, made up of EHG (ca. 30%), ANE (ca. 50%), and AEA-related ancestry (ca. 20%).

This ancestry was also present in the southern steppe and in Turan (BMAC), and formed ca. 80% of the ancestry of an early 3rd millennium BC agropastoralist from Dali, Kazakhstan, contributing to multiple outliers from 2nd millennium sites in Kazakhstan and Turan.

The widespread presence of this ancestry in west Siberia is compatible with its association with hunter-gatherers of Kelteminar and other central Asian sub-Neolithic cultures. The presence of an ancestral cline EHG–ANE–AEA ancestry in inner Asia is also supported by the west–to–east gradient formed in the PCA.

This ancestral WSHG ancestry, separated from other ancient and present-day populations, is found in Botai (ca. 3600–3100 BC), Okunevo (ca. 2500–1800 BC), central steppe EMBA samples from Sjolpan (ca. 2550 BC), Takhirbai and Gregorievka (ca. 2150 BC), as well as Cis-Baikal EN and EBA populations.

Of the three Botai samples published, one (ca. 3600–3100 BC) R1b1a1a-M73, while another (ca. 3300–3100 BC) shows haplogroup N-M231 (Narasimhan et al. 2018). Another individual of hg. R1b1a1-P297 is found in the Bol’shemysskaya culture (ca. 4500–3500 BC).

The presence of R1b1a1-P297, and R1b1a1a-M73 in particular, is linked to the previous expansion of the North-Eastern Technocomplex, during the Early and Middle Mesolithic, and thus likely associated with the creation of an ancestral Altaic-speaking population in inner Asia closely related to peoples with WSHG ancestry.

North-Eastern Technocomplex

Human development is a long and steady process that began with stone tool making.  Because of this skill, humans were able to adapt to climate changes, discover new territories, and invent new technologies.

“Pressure knapping” is the common term for one method of creating stone tools, where a larger device or blade specifically made for this purpose is use to press out the stone tool.  Pressure knapping was invented in different locations and at different points in time, representing the adoption of the Neolithic way of life in the Old world.

Blade production by pressure technique is a marker of a particular craft tradition that emerged in the Mongolian area ca. 20,000 years ago, and spread from east to west during the last glacial maximum, reaching the Baltic Sea and Scandinavia in the Mesolithic.

In the north, the population of the final Palaeolithic Swiderian culture of deer hunters, which had developed in Poland on the sand dunes left behind by retreating glaciers, migrated during the Palaeolithic–Mesolithic transition at the turn of the 11th–10th millennium BC to the north-east following the retreating tundra, which is evidenced by a centuries-long settlement break before a new populations arrived.

Morphological similarities in the tanged points of the East European Swiderian points with Kunda and Butovo cultures supports groups migrating north during the Late Pleistocene / Early Holocene.

Post-Swiderian cultures developed in particular the surface pressure flaking technology further, and technical differences with Swiderian cultures include single platform cores, pressure blade debitage, inset technology, etc.

The culture expanded in the Baltic and in the east European forest zone, north of the (then unstable) Pontic–Caspian area, especially during the Early Mesolithic (ca. 9000–8300 BC) and Middle Mesolithic (ca. 8300–6000 BC), although the earliest date for similar material is currently set at the end of the 11th millennium BC.

The Kunda culture developed around the eastern Baltic, from the Polish Plains to the Gulf of Finland; the Butovo culture in the Volga and Oka regions; and the Veretye culture in the eastern part of Lake Onega.

During the Early Mesolithic period, human settlement shifted from the major river valleys to the inland lake regions, and changes are seen in the extraction and processing of lithic raw materials, technology, and tool morphology.

There is a rich bone and antler inventory—harpoons with large, widely spaced barbs, slotted and needle-shaped points, daggers, etc.—and a less diverse lithic inventory—flint end-scrapers and blade inserts, rarely tanged points.

A typical feature is the use of imported high-quality Cretaceous flint, originating from areas to the south, in the forest zone of western Russia. In the Middle Mesolithic, settlements concentrate in inland lake basins, the most extensively excavated site being Zvejnieki II, in the northern region of the Kunda culture. Compared to the previous period, there is a richer lithic inventory, dominated by side- and end-scrapers, inserts, and some burins, and mainly local raw material is used.

Mesolithic arrowheads from Butovo show that they were made using a standard operation chain, with sophisticated technology, and some of them were treated with special care. They were mainly used for hunting, for a short time, but use-wear and traces of repair in some specimens suggest they were used for a long time.

These arrowheads show more differences than common traits with Dubensee and Maglemose cultures of western and central Europe. Slotted bone points with flint inserts appearing in Denmark and Scania in the second part of the Boreal period differ in the position and morphology from East European artefacts.


Knapping is the shaping of flint, chert, obsidian or other conchoidal fracturing stone through the process of lithic reduction to manufacture stone tools, strikers for flintlock firearms, or to produce flat-faced stones for building or facing walls, and flushwork decoration.

The original Germanic term knopp meant to strike, shape, or work, so it could theoretically have referred equally well to making statues or dice. Modern usage is more specific, referring almost exclusively to the hand-tool pressure-flaking process pictured.

Flintknapping or knapping is done in a variety of ways depending on the purpose of the final product. For stone tools and flintlock strikers, chert is worked using a fabricator such as a hammerstone to remove lithic flakes from a nucleus or core of tool stone. Stone tools can then be further refined using wood, bone, and antler tools to perform pressure flaking.

For building work a hammer or pick is used to split chert nodules supported on the lap. Often the chert nodule will be split in half to create two cherts with a flat circular face for use in walls constructed of lime. More sophisticated knapping is employed to produce near-perfect cubes which are used as bricks.

In cultures that have not adopted metalworking technologies, the production of stone tools by knappers is common, but in modern cultures the making of such tools is the domain of experimental archaeologists and hobbyists. Archaeologists usually undertake the task so that they can better understand how prehistoric stone tools were made.

The specific context of the processes of neolithization is particularly significant for understanding the emergence and the development of the pressure knapping technique in Central Asia as well as the reasons linked to its adoption and application in different cultural entities.

The technological study of the major lithic assemblages recovered from Upper Paleolithic to Chalcolithic contexts across dispersed parts of Central Asia points out significant results that also enriches this discussion for the neighboring regions of Russia, the Caucasus, Iran, and Afghanistan.

The emergence of the use of the pressure knapping technique during the Early Holocene in this part of Asia was associated with the appearance of microblade technology and, to some extent, bladelet production. The pressure technique appeared in Mesolithic hunter-gatherer groups that contrast sharply with the previous Paleolithic stone reduction traditions.

There are mainly two different traditions. The first, the Yubetsu method, is closely related to the technical tradition from the Far East (Sibero-Sino-Mongolia area), while the second one, linked to a bullet-shaped core and the more classical method, is most often associated with geometrical microliths.

A microlith is a small stone tool usually made of flint or chert and typically a centimetre or so in length and half a centimetre wide. They were made by humans and were used to form the points of hunting weapons, such as in spear points and (in later periods) arrowheads, and other artifacts and are found throughout Australia, Africa, Asia and Europe from around 35,000 to 3,000 years ago.

They were utilised with wood, bone, resin and fiber to form a composite tool or weapon, and traces of wood to which microliths were attached have been found in Sweden, Denmark and England. An average of between six and eighteen microliths may often have been used in one spear or harpoon, but only one or two in an arrow.

Microliths are produced from either a small blade (microblade) or a larger blade-like piece of flint by abrupt or truncated retouching, which leaves a very typical piece of waste, called a microburin. The microliths themselves are sufficiently worked so as to be distinguishable from workshop waste or accidents.

Two families of microliths are usually defined: laminar and geometric.  Laminar microliths are slightly larger, and are associated with the end of the Upper Paleolithic and the beginning of the Epipaleolithic era; geometric microliths are characteristic of the Mesolithic and the Neolithic.

Geometric microliths may be triangular, trapezoid or lunate. Microlith production generally declined following the introduction of agriculture (8000 BCE) but continued later in cultures with a deeply rooted hunting tradition.

Laminar microliths date from at least the Gravettian culture or possibly the start of the Upper Paleolithic era, and they are found all through the Mesolithic and Neolithic eras. “Noailles” burins and micro-gravettes indicate that the production of microliths had already started in the Gravettian culture. This style of flint working flourished during the Magdalenian period and persisted in numerous Epipaleolithic traditions all around the Mediterranean basin.

Geometric microliths, though rare, are present as trapezoids in Northwest Africa in the Iberomaurusian. They later appear in Europe in the Magdalenian initially as elongated triangles and later as trapezoids (although the microburin technique is seen from the Perigordian), they are mostly seen during the Epipaleolithic and the Neolithic. They remained in existence even into the Copper Age and Bronze Age, competing with “leafed” and then metallic arrowheads.

An assemblage of microliths can be used to date an archeological site. Laminar microliths are common artifacts from the Upper Paleolithic and the Epipaleolithic, to such a degree that numerous studies have used them as markers to date different phases of prehistoric cultures.

During the Epipaleolithic and the Mesolithic, the presence of laminar or geometric microliths serves to date the deposits of different cultural traditions. For instance, in the Atlas Mountains of northwest Africa, the end of the Upper Paleolithic period coincides with the end of the Aterian tradition of producing laminar microliths, and deposits can be dated by the presence or absence of these artifacts.

In the Near East, the laminar microliths of the Kebarian culture were superseded by the geometric microliths of the Natufian tradition a little more than 11,000 years ago. This pattern is repeated throughout the Mediterranean basin and across Europe in general.

A similar thing is found in England, where the preponderance of elongated microliths, as opposed to other frequently occurring forms, has permitted the Mesolithic to be separated into two phases: the Earlier Mesolithic of about 8300–6700 BCE, or the ancient and laminar Mesolithic, and the Later Mesolithic, or the recent and geometric Mesolithic. Deposits can be thus dated based upon the assemblage of artifacts found.

With the appearance of agropastoral Neolithic societies like the Jeitun culture in Southern Turkmenistan (7th-6th millennia B.C.), the pressure knapping technique was used for the production of regular blades employing the bullet-shaped core method.

A more interesting and specific case in Central Asia is found among three societies involved in the process of neolithization. The Kel’teminar culture (Uzbekistan, 7th-4th millennia B.C.) illustrates the beginning of the settlement process; the subsistence strategies were marked by a focus not only on hunting and gathering but also with the appearance of domestic cattle.

Its technical tradition came mainly from the local Mesolithic background. The lithic industry has evidence of several production systems (microblades, bladelets, and blades) employing at least two techniques: a very well-controlled indirect percussion and the bullet-shaped core method using a pressure technique.

The Atbasar culture (Kazakhstan, 5th-4th millennia B.C.) developed from the local Mesolithic, retaining microblade production using the pressure knapping technique (bullet-shaped cores). The introduction of few regular blades (detached by indirect percussion or pressure knapping technique?) and new formal tools can be observed.

The Hissar culture (Tajikistan, 7th-4th millennia B.C.) shows the exploitation of both domestic and wild animals, with a higher proportion of the latter, suggesting a short-distance form of mobile pastoralism. The lithic assemblage presents the continuation of the earlier Mesolithic tradition (pressure microblade technology according to the Yubetsu method) together with the introduction of new Neolithic components such as a blade production using the indirect percussion.

During the Chalcolithic/Eneolithic period, pressure knapping tends to disappear gradually from Central Asia. Following the emergence of the first Bronze Age communities, it is seen only in the shaping process of bifacial tools and projectile points.


Caucasus hunter-gatherer (CHG)

Western Hunter-Gatherers (WHG)

Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG)

Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherer (SHG)

Early European Farmers (EEF)

Ancient North Eurasian (ANE)

Western Steppe Herders (WSH)

Modern Human Genetic History

Archaeogenetic Lineages

Genetic History of Europe

Caucasian Race

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