Afanasievo brought domesticated bovids to the Altai; new Tianshanbeilu chronology


Article in press (behind paywall) Mitochondrial DNA of domesticated sheep confirms pastoralist component of Afanasievo subsistence economy in the Altai Mountains (3300–2900 cal BC), by Hermes et al. Archaeological Research in Asia (2020).

Interesting excerpts:

Previous zooarchaeological research at Afanasievo settlement and mortuary sites argues for the exploitation of both domesticated and wild cattle, sheep, and goats (Derevianko and Molodin, 1994; Gryaznov, 1999; Kosintsev, 2005; Kosintsev and Stepanova, 2010; Pogozheva, 2006). However, the biogeographic distribution of Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica) and argali sheep (Ovis ammon) includes the Altai (Baskin and Danell, 2003), while aurochsen (Bos primigenius) were also likely

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East Slovakia Yamnaya settlers and links with Niche-Graves


Prehistoric populations did not set stable regional boundaries, but rather dynamic local ones in constant flow and change of interaction strategies. Semi-nomadic groups like the Yamnaya and early mobile Corded Ware communities had an even more variable control of pasture lands – at least until they settled down and became “locals” in certain territories. Nevertheless, the Carpathians – like the Caucasus Mountains – might be a priori regarded as a more stable natural border, that could help populations of the same language keep strong cultural and kinship ties.

The upcoming samples from the Carpathian Basin, announced in Szécsényi-Nagy’s oral communication, … Read the rest “East Slovakia Yamnaya settlers and links with Niche-Graves”

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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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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“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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N-Z1936 thrived around the Urals in the Middle Ages


New preprint Early Medieval Genetic Data from Ural Region Evaluated in the Light of Archaeological Evidence of Ancient Hungarians, by Csaky et al. bioRxiv (2020).

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

Based on linguistic evidences, the Hungarian language, belonging to the Ugric branch of the Uralic language family, was developed at the eastern side of Ural Mountains between 1000-500 BC. According to the written and linguistic sources and archaeological arguments, after the 6th century AD, part of the predecessors of Hungarians moved to the Western Urals (Cis-Ural region) from their ancient homeland. Around the first third of 9th century

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