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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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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Early arrival of Steppe ancestry in Switzerland


Open access paper Ancient genomes reveal social and genetic structure of Late Neolithic Switzerland by Furtwängler et al. Nat. Commun. (2020).

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

The ancient individuals from this study originate from 13 Neolithic and Early Bronze Age sites in Switzerland, Southern Germany, and the Alsace region in France. All samples taken from the individuals were radiocarbon dated.

The arrival of Steppe ancestry

Two distinct clusters can be identified and were also confirmed by ADMIXTURE analysis, one consisting of individuals dating to 4770–2500 calBCE, and one comprising individuals dating to 2900–1750 calBCE. The oldest individuals from the sites of

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Yamnaya-like Chemurchek links Afanasievo with Iron Age Tocharians


New preprint by the Jena-Reich labs, The Genomic Formation of Human Populations in East Asia, by Wang et al. bioRxiv (2020).

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

Mongolia Neolithic cluster

The three most ancient individuals of the Mongolia ‘East’ cluster are from the Kherlen River region of eastern Mongolia (Tamsag-Bulag culture) and date to 6000-4300 BCE (this places them in the Early Neolithic period, which in Northeast Asia is defined by the use of pottery and not by agriculture). These individuals are genetically similar to previously reported Neolithic individuals from the cis-Baikal region and have minimal evidence of West Eurasian-related admixture

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Fully Steppe-like Proto-Corded Ware Late Trypillians


The genotypes from Human auditory ossicles as an alternative optimal source of ancient DNA, by Sirak et al. Genome Res. (2020), have been finally published by the Reich Lab, so we can get a sneak peek into what’s coming in future papers about the origins of R1a-rich Proto-Corded Ware and R1b-rich Italo-Venetic peoples.

NOTE. To avoid adding potential errors, I have merged the Reich Lab’s Curated Dataset (v. 42.4, March 1 2020) with these new samples before performing the qpAdm analyses. If you find something different with your files, you should probably check out this simple setting first. Read the rest “Fully Steppe-like Proto-Corded Ware Late Trypillians”

Visualizing phylogenetic trees of ancient DNA in a map


Yesterday the Eaton Lab at Columbia University announced on Twitter a nifty little tool by Carlos Alonso Maya-Lastra called TreeToM, which accepts Newick trees and CSV latitude/longitude data to explore phylogeny and geography interactively, with no coding required.

I thought it could complement nicely my All Ancient DNA Dataset, particularly for those newly described SNPs (FTDNA private variants, etc.) that have not been incorporated yet into SNP Tracker.

Here are two examples with snippets to copy&paste to the appropriate boxes in TreeToM. Feel free to add others in the comments:… Read the rest “Visualizing phylogenetic trees of ancient DNA in a map”

R1b-L23-rich Bell Beaker-derived Italic peoples from the West vs. Etruscans from the East


New paper (behind paywall) Ancient Rome: A genetic crossroads of Europe and the Mediterranean, by Antonio et al. Science (2019).

The paper offers a lot of interesting data concerning the Roman Empire and more recent periods, but I will focus on Italic and Etruscan origins.

NOTE. I have updated prehistoric maps with Y-DNA and mtDNA data, and also the PCA of ancient Eurasian samples by period including the recently published samples, now with added sample names to find them easily by searching the PDFs.

Apennine homeland problem

The traditional question of Italic vs. Etruscan origins from a cultural-historical … Read the rest “R1b-L23-rich Bell Beaker-derived Italic peoples from the West vs. Etruscans from the East”

“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”