Demographically complex Near East hints at Anatolian and Indo-Aryan arrival

New papers Genomic History of Neolithic to Bronze Age Anatolia, Northern Levant, and Southern Caucasus, by Skourtanioti et al., and (open access) The Genomic History of the Bronze Age Southern Levant, by Agranat-Tamir et al., both in Cell (2020) 181(5).

Interesting excerpts from Skourtanioti et al. (2020) (emphasis mine):

Genetic Continuity in Anatolia

We focused on the three Late Chalcolithic groups with sufficiently large sample size and who are the earliest in time among the LC-LBA groups: ÇamlıbelTarlası_LC (n = 9), İkiztepe_LC (n = 11), and Arslantepe_LC (n = 17). Taking individual estimates from all these individuals together

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Sea Peoples behind Philistines were Aegeans, including R1b-M269 lineages

New open access paper Ancient DNA sheds light on the genetic origins of early Iron Age Philistines, by Feldman et al. Science Advances (2019) 5(7):eaax0061.

Interesting excerpts (modified for clarity, emphasis mine):

Here, we report genome-wide data from human remains excavated at the ancient seaport of Ashkelon, forming a genetic time series encompassing the Bronze to Iron Age transition. We find that all three Ashkelon populations derive most of their ancestry from the local Levantine gene pool. The early Iron Age population was distinct in its high genetic affinity to European-derived populations and in the high variation of that

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A Song of Sheep and Horses, revised edition, now available as printed books

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As I said 6 months ago, 2019 is a tough year to write a blog, because this was going to be a complex regional election year and therefore a time of political promises, hence tenure offers too. Now the preliminary offers have been made, elections have passed, but the timing has slightly shifted toward 2020. So I may have the time, but not really any benefit of dedicating too much effort to the blog, and a lot of potential benefit of dedicating any time to evaluable scientific work.

On the other hand, I saw some potential benefit for … Read the rest “A Song of Sheep and Horses, revised edition, now available as printed books”

A Game of Thrones in Indo-European: proto-languages in Westeros and Essos, and population genomics

game-of-thrones-westeros-essos-map

I think proto-languages can be applied to basically any appropriate prehistoric setting, and especially to science fiction and fantasy settings. I often viewed the lack of interest for them as based on the idea that they are not fantastic enough, that they would render a fantastic world too realistic to allow for an adequate immersion of the reader (or viewer) into a new world.

With time, I have become more and more convinced that most authors don’t use proto-languages (or tweaked versions of them) simply because they can’t, and resort to the easier way: inventing some rules … Read the rest “A Game of Thrones in Indo-European: proto-languages in Westeros and Essos, and population genomics”

Happy new year 2019…and enjoy our new books!

song-sheep-horses-header

Sorry for the last weeks of silence, I have been rather busy lately. I am having more projects going on, and (because of that) I also wanted to finish a project I have been working on for many months already.

I have therefore decided to publish a provisional version of the text, in the hope that it will be useful in the following months, when I won’t be able to update it as often as I would like to:

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Migrations in the Levant region during the Chalcolithic, also marked by distinct Y-DNA

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Open access Ancient DNA from Chalcolithic Israel reveals the role of population mixture in cultural transformation, by Harney et al. Nature Communications (2018).

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine, reference numbers deleted for clarity):

Introduction

The material culture of the Late Chalcolithic period in the southern Levant contrasts qualitatively with that of earlier and later periods in the same region. The Late Chalcolithic in the Levant is characterized by increases in the density of settlements, introduction of sanctuaries, utilization of ossuaries in secondary burials, and expansion of public ritual practices as well as an efflorescence of symbolic motifs sculpted and

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