The importance of archaeology before population genomics


Recent paper First encounters in the north: cultural diversity and gene flow in Early Mesolithic Scandinavia, by Manninen et al. Antiquity (2021).

The authors criticize the model laid out in Günther et al. (2018), whereby the origin of the previously defined Mesolithic Scandinavian hunter-gatherer genetic group (SHG) was defined as an admixture between genetically defined WHG and EHG populations that migrated into Scandinavia from two separate Ice Age refugia: the south (WHG) and north (EHG). This dualistic model was further associated with two specific lithic blade technologies present in Early Mesolithic Scandinavia (Sørensen et al. 2013), as summarized … Read the rest “The importance of archaeology before population genomics”

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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De-Neolithisation of Corded Ware groups in the Eastern Baltic


New paper (behind paywall), Fishers of the Corded Ware culture in the Eastern Baltic, by Piličiauskas et al. Acta Archaeologica (2020) 91(1):95-120.

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):


Traditionally the people of the Corded Ware culture (hereafter CWC) were considered mobile stock breeders who brought animal husbandry into the eastern Baltic, ca. 2800-2400 cal BC; a viewpoint substantiated by reconstructed settlement patterns and a lack of substantial structures at CWC sites, which despite being located in various environments have largely yielded little material culture. Indeed, the zooarchaeological evidence alongside the stable isotope data obtained from human bone collagen have generally

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Survival of hunter-gatherer ancestry in West-Central European Neolithic


Recent papers on France and neighbouring regions, Ancient genome-wide DNA from France highlights the complexity of interactions between Mesolithic hunter-gatherers and Neolithic farmers, by Rivollat et al. Science Advances (2020) 6(22), and Ancient genomes from present-day France unveil 7,000 years of its demographic history, by Brunel et al. PNAS (2020).

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

I. Survival of HG ancestry in Central Europe

From Rivollat et al. (2020):

Here, we present newly typed genome-wide data from 101 individuals from 12 sites from modern-day France and Germany (3 Late Mesolithic and 98 Neolithic, 7000–3000 cal BCE (…)

We explored

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Afanasievo ancestry reached Lake Baikal; Nganasan ancestry origins still at large


New paper (behind paywall) Paleolithic to Bronze Age Siberians Reveal Connections with First Americans and across Eurasia, by Yu et al. Cell (2020)

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine, paragraphs subdivided for clarity):

Population Structure (PCA)

Most of the Lake Baikal individuals occupied the space on a “ANE-NEA” cline running between “Northeast Asian” (NEA) ancestry represented by Neolithic hunter-gathers from the Devil’s Gate in the Russian Far East (Sikora et al., 2019, Siska et al., 2017), and the ANE ancestry represented by Upper Paleolithic Siberian individuals MA1, AfontovaGora 2 (AG2), and AfontovaGora 3 (AG3) (Fu et al., 2016, Raghavan et al.,

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“Steppe ancestry” step by step (2019): Mesolithic to Early Bronze Age Eurasia


The recent update on the Indo-Anatolian homeland in the Middle Volga region and its evolution as the Indo-Tocharian homeland in the Don–Volga area as described in Anthony (2019) has, at last, a strong scientific foundation, as it relies on previous linguistic and archaeological theories, now coupled with ancient phylogeography and genomic ancestry.

There are still some inconsistencies in the interpretation of the so-called “Steppe ancestry”, though, despite the one and a half years that have passed since we first had access to the closest Pontic–Caspian steppe source populations. Even my post “Steppe ancestry” step by step from a year ago … Read the rest ““Steppe ancestry” step by step (2019): Mesolithic to Early Bronze Age Eurasia”

Corded Ware and Bell Beaker related groups defined by patrilocality and female exogamy


Two new interesting papers concerning Corded Ware and Bell Beaker peoples appeared last week, supporting yet again what is already well-known since 2015 about West Uralic and North-West Indo-European speakers and their expansion.

Below are relevant excerpts (emphasis mine) and comments.

#UPDATE (27 OCT 2019): I have updated Y-DNA and mtDNA maps of Corded Ware, Bell Beaker, EBA, MBA, and LBA migrations. I have also updated PCA plots, which now include the newly reported samples and those from the Tollense valley, and I have tried some qpAdm models (see below).

I. Corded Ware and

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Bell Beakers and Mycenaeans from Yamnaya; Corded Ware from the forest steppe


I have recently written about the spread of Pre-Yamnaya or Yamnaya ancestry and Corded Ware-related ancestry throughout Eurasia, using exclusively analyses published by professional geneticists, and filling in the gaps and contradictory data with the most reasonable interpretations. I did so consciously, to avoid any suspicion that I was interspersing my own data or cherry picking results.

Now I’m finished recapitulating the known public data, and the only way forward is the assessment of these populations using the available datasets and free tools.

Understanding the complexities of qpAdm is fairly difficult without a proper genetic and statistical background, which I … Read the rest “Bell Beakers and Mycenaeans from Yamnaya; Corded Ware from the forest steppe”

Baltic Finns in the Bronze Age, of hg. R1a-Z283 and Corded Ware ancestry


Open access The Arrival of Siberian Ancestry Connecting the Eastern Baltic to Uralic Speakers further East, by Saag et al. Current Biology (2019).

Interesting excerpts:

In this study, we present new genomic data from Estonian Late Bronze Age stone-cist graves (1200–400 BC) (EstBA) and Pre-Roman Iron Age tarand cemeteries (800/500 BC–50 AD) (EstIA). The cultural background of stone-cist graves indicates strong connections both to the west and the east [20, 21]. The Iron Age (IA) tarands have been proposed to mirror “houses of the dead” found among Uralic peoples of the Volga-Kama region [22].

(…) The 33 individuals included

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