Origin of DOM2 closing in on the Pontic-Caspian steppes


Open access Ancient DNA shows domestic horses were introduced in the southern Caucasus and Anatolia during the Bronze Age by Guimaraes et al. Sci Adv. (2020) Vol. 6, no. 38, eabb0030.

Here is a good summary:

Our study of ancient equid remains from Anatolia and the southern Caucasus covering ~9000 years of the Holocene analyzed the dynamics over time of mitochondrial lineages and tested the hypothesis that Anatolia was a center of horse domestication. We were able to identify mitotypes characteristic of local Anatolian wild horses, which were regularly exploited in the early and middle Holocene. However, we identified a

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West Yamnaya settlers like Early Bell Beakers: R1b-P310 and R1b-Z2103


Informal report by Bulgarian archaeologist Svetoslav Stamov in 7/8 TV, from data collected by the Reich Lab for their future paper on South-Eastern Europe.

As can be seen from the TV captions below, this is the earliest R1b-P310 from Yamnaya or Yamnaya-related individuals in Early Bronze Age contexts from Bulgaria. In fact, its appearance together with a R1b-Z2103 lineage (and another undefined R1b-M269) shows once again that the earliest R1b-L23 bottlenecks were associated with Proto-Indo-Europeans.

Lacking a precise periodization, location, or proper cultural context in the spreadsheet, it is impossible to know whether they belong to Khvalynsk-related cultures … Read the rest “West Yamnaya settlers like Early Bell Beakers: R1b-P310 and R1b-Z2103”

“Local” Tollense Valley warriors linked to Germanic peoples


Recently published paper Genomic Data from an Ancient European Battlefield Indicates On-Going Strong Selection on a Genomic Region Associated with Lactase Persistence Over the Last 3,000 Years, by Burger et al., submitted to Current Biology, available at CellPress SneakPeek.

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

Tollense sample shows no structure

Multiple lines of evidence point to little or no genetic structure in the population from which the Tollense individuals were sampled. First, all individuals fall within the range of Central and northern European variation when projected onto a principle component analysis (PCA) trained on modern samples and their spread matches that

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Tug of war between Balto-Slavic and West Uralic (II)


It is firmly established since (at least) the 1980s that Balto-Slavic, Baltic and Slavic show a strong Uralic substrate, even though many details are still the subject of ongoing controversies. Here is how the Baltic linguistic area was described in Thomason’s Language Contact (2001):

Overall, the Baltic area has the same characteristics as the Balkan area: areal linguistic features are distributed differentially among the languages, and the features themselves vary in details of their structure. As for the sources of the Baltic features, some can be traced to Uralic and some to Indo-European, especially Germanic. The Indo-European languages most

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Demic vs. cultural diffusion and patrilineal Megalithic societies


Recent paper A dynastic elite in monumental Neolithic society, by Cassidy et al. Nature (2020) 582:384–388.

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

Neolithic Admixture

We sampled remains from all of the major Irish Neolithic funerary traditions: court tombs, portal tombs, passage tombs, Linkardstown-type burials and natural sites. Within this dataset, the earliest Neolithic human remains from the island—interred at Poulnabrone portal tomb14—are of majority ‘Early_Farmer’ ancestry (as defined by ADMIXTURE modelling), and show no evidence of inbreeding, which implies that, from the very onset, agriculture was accompanied by large-scale maritime colonization. Our ADMIXTURE and ChromoPainter analyses do not distinguish between

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Vikings, Vikings, Vikings! “eastern” ancestry in the whole Baltic Iron Age


Open access Population genomics of the Viking world, by Margaryan et al. bioRxiv (2019), with a huge new sampling from the Viking Age.

#EDIT (16 SEP 2020): The paper has been published in Nature.

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine, modified for clarity):

To understand the genetic structure and influence of the Viking expansion, we sequenced the genomes of 442 ancient humans from across Europe and Greenland ranging from the Bronze Age (c. 2400 BC) to the early Modern period (c. 1600 CE), with particular emphasis on the Viking Age. We find that the period preceding the Viking Age was

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Neolithic spread of “Eurasian” Lactase Persistence among Saharan pastoralists


New paper (behind paywall) Sahelian pastoralism from the perspective of variants associated with lactase persistence, by Priehodová et al. Am J Phys Anthropol (2020) e24116.

Interesting excerpts from the discussion (emphasis mine, minor modifications for clarity):

Our investigation of LP variant frequencies revealed new and interesting results related to the origins of pastoralism and subsequent gene flow between pastoralists and farmers in the Sahel/Savannah belt of Africa.

  • We observed a clear distinction between regions west and east of Lake Chad: while variant −13910*T prevails in the western Sahel, where we found it only in pastoralists such as the Fulani,
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Epigravettian migrations 3,000 years before Villabruna


Open access Early Alpine human occupation backdates westward human migration in Late Glacial Europe, by Bortolini et al. bioRxiv (2020).

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

To understand the full extent of the role played by demic processes in this key transition in Late Glacial Europe we focused on the left hemimandible of an individual found at Riparo Tagliente (Tagliente2) associated with Late Epigravettian evidence. During the LGM and the Late Glacial, the Adriatic Sea basin played a critical role in shaping the economy and mobility of Epigravettian groups. Geomorphological and sedimentological processes linked to the extension of Alpine glaciers and

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Xiongnu Y-DNA connects Huns & Avars to Scytho-Siberians


Recent paper (behind paywall) Genetic evidence suggests a sense of family, parity and conquest in the Xiongnu Iron Age nomads of Mongolia, by Keyser, Zvénigorosky, Gonzalez, et al. Human Genetics (2020).

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

Site and bodies

The Tamir Ulaan Khoshuu (TUK) cemetery is located near the confluence of the Tamir River and the Orkhon River in the Arkhangai Aimag (Central Mongolia), about four hundred kilometers west of the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar. It encompasses an area of 22 hectares located on a prominent granitic outcrop and comprises a total of 397 graves, delimited by stone circles. (…)

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Basic framework of language contact-induced change


The standard textbook for studying language contact, as far as I know, was Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics, by Sarah Grey Thomason & Terrence Kaufman, UCP (1991, c1988). The reader will surely recognize many of this text’s proposals of language contacts in my books.

Posts of the Language Contact series (reverse chronology):

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