search this blog

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The staging point, obviously

The quotes below refer to a couple of individuals buried in the Yampil Barrow Complex, in the forest-steppes of western Ukraine, who were featured recently in the Juras et al. paper on the maternal ancestry of the Corded Ware people (see here). In that paper they were labeled Late Eneolithic poz090 and Yamnaya poz224, respectively. Emphasis is mine:

The central burial of the oldest barrow, feature 1B was accompanied by a spill of yellow loess (on the east side) and the remains of wooden roofing located at the original ground level. The pit was rather irregular in shape, subrectangular, and was narrower than the neighbouring excavation of grave 1a. The adult male buried in it had been laid supine with the upper limbs slightly bent at the elbows and extended along the trunk and the lower limbs crouched with the knees turned upwards. Neither the skeleton nor the pit bottom were sprinkled with ochre (only trace amounts of a red colourant were found in the remains of a mat). This ritual is on the one hand close to the YC (Yamnaya Culture) rite and on the other to the Eneolithic burials of the ‘post-Stog’ type [Ivanova 2015: 282, 283].


Only in grave IV/8 was an intentional item of furnishing discovered: a regular blade knife insert made of good quality Dniester flint. Such tools are not a typical component of YC inventories [razumov 2011: 146, 147]. They are, however, a frequent element of grave goods offered to males in Corded Ware Culture (CWC) graves, a large number of which is known from Małopolska [Włodarczak 2006:30-32].

The radiocarbon measurements and funerary rite traits indicate that the graves from Prydnistryanske were dug in the older and middle phases of YC development, while the age of the youngest ones still stays in the first half of the 3rd millennium BC.

The source is a report from 2015 authored by many of the co-authors of Juras et al., titled Podolia as a cultural contact area in the 4th/3rd-2nd millennium BC (see here).

Until the Late Eneolithic this part of the North Pontic region was occupied by the Trypillia people, who were the quintessential "Old European" farmers (scroll down to the last abstract here). So judging by the burial characteristics and eastern mitochondrial haplotypes of poz090 and poz224, it's clear that they weren't indigenous to the region, but rather migrants, or the recent descendants of migrants, from the steppes. And, in all likelihood, people like them gave rise to the Corded Ware Culture of Northern Europe.

Obviously, I'm not arguing anything that wasn't already argued well enough in the Juras et al. paper, but I thought I'd emphasize it with some juicy archaeological details that many of you might not be aware of.

See also...

Late PIE ground zero now obvious; location of PIE homeland still uncertain, but...


EastPole said...

There are some clues which may link the origin of Corded Ware with influences from Eneolithic i.e. Post-Stog and Tripolye cultures: millet and metallurgy. There some interesting articles in Volume 22 (2017) of BALTIC-PONTIC STUDIES

“Communities settling the Pontic forest-steppe grew more interested in millet in the second half of the 5th millennium bC This is true of both steppe Eneolithic cultures, corresponding to eastern Eurasian – ‘nomadic’ – civilization experience (dereivka and lower mikhailovka i cultures), and – being a border case between the mentioned ones – the Tripolye culture of stage b (‘ploshchadka’ one).


The effects of the studies raised in this article set new – of major importance for the Yampil Programme – trends in the study of the culture-formation role of the ybC in relation to the settlement environments of the 4th/3rd and the first half of the 3rd millennium bC in the baltic drainage basin, chiefly the ‘Vistula-Oder’ groups of the Corded ware culture The ‘yampil diet’ record poses questions about the scale of its ‘Corded’ reception The reception marker could be evidence for the share of millet in ‘Corded diet’3. This is especially true for the CWC eastern segment – ‘Central European Corded Ware culture’, and within it, the Małopolska and Kujawy-wielkopolska groups.”


“The new materials presented (Fig 13) show that the earlier presented and subjected to study, Carpathian Volhynia Early Bronze Age centre of Metallurgy of the Corded Ware culture [Klochko, Klochko 2013] took shape in the dniester drainage basin on the basis of Tripolye culture metallurgy, whereas in the Early bronze age its south-east part (foremost in the region of the Yampil Barrow Cemetery Complex) was exploited by autochthons of the Yamnaya and Catacomb cultures.
Moreover, in the Middle and Late Bronze Age, local metallurgy continued to be developed by the cultures of Babino, Komarov, Noua, Gava-Holihrad and Chernoles. Importantly, Dniester copper was also exploited during the Iron Age and the Middle Ages”


So I don’t think it is proven beyond doubt that Yamnaya was PIE, and CWC derives from Yamnaya. CWC derives from Western Yamnaya and Western Yamnaya was a mix of Estern Yamnaya (i.e. Yamnaya proper) and Eneolithic cultures Post-Stog/Tripolye. We don’t know who spoke PIE Eastern Yamnaya or Post-Stog.

You can make good beer or vodka from millet. Tocharian word for millet is the same as Slavic ‘proso’(re. what I wrote in previous tread about alcohol in PIE culture and religion).

Davidski said...


Yamnaya can't be PIE because it's too late to be PIE. It can only really be late PIE. And Corded Ware can only be early IE.

Archaic PIE was on the steppe during the Eneolithic. Most plausible candidate cultures? Sredny Stog, Khvalynsk and Repin come to mind.

old europe said...

@eastpole ( in case you did not read my previous post)

Here is an interesting study on eneolithic ukraine (SS culture)

You can read this about SS and Khvalynsk:

Similarity of the Khvalynsk ceramics with pottery of the Late Lower Don and Early Sredniy Stog cultures, as well as with separate vessels of the Orlovka culture allow me to assume, that its formation was connected with human migration about 5200-5150 BC, caused by gradual climate dryness. Probably, that aridity forced a part of the Early Sredniy Stog population from the steppe Don region to move in northern areas along valleys of the Don, Medveditsa and Volga. Some population reached the Voronezh basin and left materials at the Universitetskaja 3, Cherkasskaja and Kopanischenskaja sites (fig.123). Vessels with lower necks at these settlements are very similar to the oldest Sredniy Stog pottery (the fourth layer of Razdorskoe).

On the right bank of Volga the migrants met the local population of the Neolithic Orlovka culture, and probably assimilated its separate groups, as well as some southern groups of the Samara culture. As a result of those complicated processes the Khvalynsk culture was formed. According to the dates of Khvalynsk 2 cemetery (Table 18), that process came to the end about 5150-5100 BC.

Seems that caspian steppe culture (khvalynsk and after it Yamnaya) were formed from a movement eastward of SS culture.

But according to the same author this is the origin of SS

Quote from the conclusion

"The transition from the Neolithic to Eneolithic in the Eastern European steppe was connected with the intensive contacts of people of the Azov-Dnieper, Low Don, Pricaspiy, Samara, Orlovka and Sredniy Stog cultures with the Balkan population and first with the Hamangia culture. The results of these contacts were some imports: adornments from copper, cornelian, marine shells and pots in the steppe sites and plates from the bone and nacre, pendants from teeth of red deer in the Hamangia graves. The Hamangia infuence in the burial rites of the steppe population was very important and caused to use stone in graves and above them, pits with alcove, new adornments of burial clothes. The strongest impact we have fxed for the population in northern area of the Sea of Azov, where the radical changes in the burial rite and the formation of a new Sredniy Stog culture took place. It was connected with the adoption of new religious elements connected with the formation of the centre of steppe metal working."

For an evaluation of the importance of Baden and Globular amphora culture on the steppe ( till the Don region) see this

Ric Hern said...

@ Old Europe

When reading this there is a few question marks...

The few pottery remains could be due to trade...but the Suvorovo Culture seems to fit the bill when looking at who was trading with who and how Baden like objects reached so far East...maybe trade up the Mures River into the Steppe...? It actally links nicely with Podolia...

andrew said...

"a regular blade knife insert made of good quality Dniester lint.:

I'm not familiar with lint knife technology. Maybe this explains why socks are always missing from the dryer. ;)

EastPole said...

“Yamnaya can't be PIE because it's too late to be PIE. It can only really be late PIE. And Corded Ware can only be early IE.

Archaic PIE was on the steppe during the Eneolithic. Most plausible candidate cultures? Sredny Stog, Khvalynsk and Repin come to mind.”

I am not sure about it. Wikipedia says:

“PIE is estimated to have been spoken as a single language from 4500 BC to 2500 BC[2] during the Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age, though estimates vary by more than a thousand years.”

PIE probably started to expand around 3500 BC after they got horses and wagons. Before that they had to live on relatively small area not greater than 500000 km2.

Sredny Stog culture ended at around 3500 BC, when the Yamna culture expanded westward replacing Sredny Stog.
The question is: did Yamnaya bring PIE language or got PIE language from Sredny Stog when mixed with it?

@old europe
Thank you for the links but without genetics I don’t think we can link all those cultures with languages. Imagine for example that all Repin was R1b-Z2103 (like Afanasievo, which came from Repin, East Yamanya and Catacomb). So was Repin PIE or was East Yamnaya PIE? Was R1b-Z2103 a PIE marker? What do you think?

Samuel Andrews said...

"Sredny Stog culture ended at around 3500 BC, when the Yamna culture expanded westward replacing Sredny Stog.
The question is: did Yamnaya bring PIE language or got PIE language from Sredny Stog when mixed with it?"

The R1a M417+ Sredny Stog goy from 4000 BC traced his lineage recently back to Russia. Not not too long before 4000 BC Sredny Stog and Yamnaya's ancestors lived side by side in Russia.

So, I think both Sredny Stog and Yamnaya spoke PIE.

Davidski said...


I'm not familiar with lint knife technology. Maybe this explains why socks are always missing from the dryer.

Yep, fixed.

Bogdan said...

Why is there an apparent paucity of Yamna steppe derived R1a remains (relative to Yamna steppe derived R1b) in the Hungarian plain during the EBA? And conversely less Rb1 further north and east of Carpathians at that time? Did steppe derived R1a take all the pretty S. Ukraine area girls and high tail it up into the northern steppe forests before-hand, leaving their R1b brethren with nothing else but to carry on W/SW or what? Or is it the other way around?

Joke aside, why is there a seemingly major split between these Yamna R1a/b peoples at the axis of the “most Western” steppe areas (in particular further west, lower and up Dunube lands during the EBA?) Why is there a paucity of R1a infiltrating through? The eastern and northern Carpathians with its various gaps are not exactly impenetrable by pastoral people’s...

Something is not right between these various Yamna R1a/b pastoralists at this particular axis at same time EBA and despite trying to obtain as much published insight as possible, including through this blog ( which is excellent and @ Davidski, let me know how I can contribute monetarily to support), I’m just not finding it. Seems to me this is a huge unresolved issue with not a lot of discussion on causes why...

Ric Hern said...

@ Bogdan

Maybe R1a Men liked Colder areas more ? Or R1b Men liked Mining more ? Or R1b Men figured out that a change is as good as a Holiday ?

Or Maybe R1a lived in a more climatically stable environment and was not hit as hard as R1b further to the East and they didn't see the need to uproot as early as R1b ?

Or R1a lived a more Semi-nomadic lifestyle than R1b who seems to be more Nomadic earlier on ?

Bogdan said...

@ Ric Hern

I’ll buy your last two suggestions and suggest that during the EBA, more eastern steppe folk/clan/tribes, more rich in Y R1b basically drove more western steppe Y R1a folk/clan/tribes N/NW/NE (ie. basically out of the way) from the natural steppe corridor that extended west into Danube plain...