There has been some renewed interest lately in the origin of Proto-Anatolians, because of the recent lecture by Petra Goedegebuure, associate professor of Hittitology at the University of Chicago: Anatolians on the Move: From Kurgans to Kanesh, given at the Oriental Institute (Feb 5 2020).
I will try to comment on her lecture with a critical view of some of her ideas, keeping in mind reasons for one or the other potential routes, which we can for the moment simplify as Gimbutas’ (1965, 1993) eastern route through the Caucasus vs. Anthony’s (2007, 2015) … Read the rest “Proto-Anatolians: from the Southern Caucasus or the Balkans?”
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):
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
… Read the rest “Migrations in the Levant region during the Chalcolithic, also marked by distinct Y-DNA”
New paper (behind paywall) Ancient goat genomes reveal mosaic domestication in the Fertile Crescent, by Daly et al. Science (2018) 361(6397):85-88.
Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):
Thus, our data favor a process of Near Eastern animal domestication that is dispersed in space and time, rather than radiating from a central core (3, 11). This resonates with archaeozoological evidence for disparate early management strategies from early Anatolian, Iranian, and Levantine Neolithic sites (12, 13). Interestingly, our finding of divergent goat genomes within the Neolithic echoes genetic investigation of early farmers. Northwestern Anatolian and Iranian human Neolithic genomes are also divergent (14–16),
… Read the rest “Expansion of domesticated goat echoes expansion of early farmers”
Craft production at Köhne Shahar, a Kura-Araxes settlement in Iranian Azerbaijan, by Alizadeh et al. J Anthropol Arch (2018) 51:127-143.
Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):
Kura-Araxes communities first emerged throughout the southern Caucasus in the mid-4th millennium BC (Sagona, 1984; Rothman, 2005; Kohl, 2009) or possibly earlier in Nakhchivan (Marro et al., 2014; Palumbi and Chataigner, 2014: 250; Marro et al., 2015; Palumbi and Chataigner, 2015). By the late 4th-early 3rd millennium BC, their characteristic material culture, particularly hand-made black burnished pottery, spread throughout much of Southwest Asia after 2900 BCE (Fig. 1). The widespread dissemination of this material
… Read the rest “Kura-Araxes implicated in the transformation of regional trade in the Near East”
Radical ‘royals’? Burial practices at Başur Höyük and the emergence of early states in Mesopotamia, by Hasset and Sağlamtimur, Antiquity (2018) 92:640-654.
The discovery of sacrificial burials attending a ‘royal’ burial in a cist tomb at Early Bronze Age Arslantepe in Anatolia (Frangipane 2006; Erdal 2012) has dramatically broadened the known range of social responses to the political upheaval of the early third millennium BC. Following the longstanding interpretation of human sacrifice at the Royal Cemetery of Ur just a few hundred years later (Woolley 1934), this raises new questions about the role of human sacrifice in
… Read the rest “Human sacrifice as means of social control and power display in Upper Mesopotamia (early 3rd mill. BC)”
BioRxiv preprint now published (behind paywall) Ancient genomes from North Africa evidence prehistoric migrations to the Maghreb from both the Levant and Europe, by Fregel et al., PNAS (2018).
NOTE. I think one of the important changes in this version compared to the preprint is the addition of the recent Iberomaurusian samples.
Abstract (emphasis mine):
The extent to which prehistoric migrations of farmers influenced the genetic pool of western North Africans remains unclear. Archaeological evidence suggests that the Neolithization process may have happened through the adoption of innovations by local Epipaleolithic communities or by demic diffusion from the
… Read the rest “Ancient genomes from North Africa evidence Neolithic migrations to the Maghreb”
Some interesting excerpts from Wang et al. (2018):
An interesting observation is that steppe zone individuals directly north of the Caucasus (Eneolithic Samara and Eneolithic steppe) had initially not received any gene flow from Anatolian farmers. Instead, the ancestry profile in Eneolithic steppe individuals shows an even mixture of EHG and CHG ancestry, which argues for an effective cultural and genetic border between the contemporaneous Eneolithic populations in the North Caucasus, notably Steppe and Caucasus. Due to the temporal limitations of our dataset, we currently cannot determine whether this ancestry is stemming from an existing natural genetic
… Read the rest “Steppe and Caucasus Eneolithic: the new keystones of the EHG-CHG-ANE ancestry in steppe groups”
Ecological Niche and Least-Cost Path Analyses to Estimate Optimal Migration Routes of Initial Upper Palaeolithic Populations to Eurasia, by Kondo et al. (2018), from The Middle and Upper Paleolithic Archeology of the Levant and Beyond, Replacement of Neanderthals by Modern Humans Series. Chapter downloadable at Academia.edu.
This paper presents a computer-based method to estimate optimal migration routes of early human population groups by a combination of ecological niche analysis and least-cost path analysis. In the proposed method, niche probability is predicted by MaxEnt, an ecological niche model based on the maximum entropy theory. Location of known
… Read the rest “Optimal Migration Routes of Initial Upper Palaeolithic Populations to Eurasia”