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Monday, June 26, 2017

Matters of geography


The steppe north of the Black Sea in Ukraine has basically always been considered part of Europe, and just over 100 years ago some guy with a map decided that the steppe between the eastern coast of the Black Sea in Russia and the Ural River in western Kazakhstan should also be Europe.

So nowadays, right or wrong, it's generally accepted that the entire steppe region west of the Ural River, known as the Pontic-Caspian steppe, is in Eastern Europe. Here's a map courtesy of Wikipedia showing how the official boundary between Eastern Europe and Asia has shifted since the 18th century.


But this decision wasn't entirely arbitrary, because the current boundary between Eastern Europe and Asia by and large follows several major geographic barriers, including the Caucasus Mountains, the Caspian Sea and the Ural Mountains. It'd be hard to argue that these barriers haven't had a profound impact across the ages on the character of Europe and its people, and this has probably been known for well over a couple hundred years.


For instance, if we're to trust the most common interpretations of the works of ancient geographers like Hecataeus and Herodotus, then their worlds in some important ways resembled the typical Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of West Eurasian genetic variation. And it seems that they had a pretty good idea where both the strong continental boundaries and fuzzy areas were located.

Below, on the geographic map inspired by Herodotus, Europa or Europe is delineated from much of Asia by the Black Sea, the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian Sea, while on the genetic map, most European and Asian populations form two, more or less parallel, clusters fairly cleanly separated by empty space (this was first noted in Lazaridis et al. 2013). Indeed, this empty space is the work of the Black Sea, the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian Sea acting as rather effective barriers to gene flow between Eastern Europe and Asia (see Yunusbayev et al. 2012).


However, on the genetic map, the Iranic Scythians of the Asian steppes straddle my somewhat arbitrary red line separating Europa and Asia, and this is echoed on the Herodotus map by Iranic and related peoples like the Massagetae and Issedones, who inhabit the seemingly undefined part of the world between Europa and Asia east of the Caspian Sea (Mare Caspium).

Nothing really ground breaking, but pretty cool stuff.

On a related note, I've seen the term "mainland Europe" used recently in at least one of the big ancient DNA papers to describe the part of Europe west of the Pontic-Caspian steppe. It seems that the authors wanted to underline the fairly stark genetic difference that existed between most of Europe and the steppe just prior to the expansion of Yamnaya and related steppe herder groups that initiated the formation of the present-day European gene pool.

I can see why they did this, but to my mind they got things backwards. That's because the term mainland implies the opposite of island and/or peninsula, and of course the part of Europe west of the Pontic-Caspian steppe is a relatively narrow strip of land surrounded by water, so it's a peninsula. Let's visualize these two models on a map of Europe courtesy of Wikipedia:


I understand that my model might result in heart palpitations for some readers, especially those from Western Europe, who generally see their part of Europe as core Europe, but I feel that it makes good sense from a purely geographic POV.

See also...

Europeans: genetically homogeneous on a global scale

64 comments:

Ryan said...

Wouldn't everything west of the Caucasus be a peninsula since the Bosporus opened?

Davidski said...

Wouldn't everything west of the Caucasus be a peninsula since the Bosporus opened?

Don't know, don't really care; just pointing out the irony of calling Europe west of the steppe "mainland Europe".

André de Vasconcelos said...

It's because the cultural heart of Europe is in the West, not in the East. It's also where most Europeans live. It's pretty natural that'd be the focus, regardless of being ironic or not

bellbeakerblogger said...

Any idea on when the Olalde genomes are going to be released?

Garvan said...

This is the meaning of "Mainland Europe" in English as spoken in England and Ireland.

"Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe, or, by Europeans, simply the Continent, is the continuous continent of Europe, excluding surrounding islands"

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continental_Europe

I have never see the term used as described in the post above.



Samuel Andrews said...

As much as a lot of us here like to try to think of continents and the idea of "European people" and "Asian people" as man made concepts we have to admit genes correlate really well with "Europe" and "Middle East"(what was Asia to the ancient Greek world).

Turks are in the same large genetic cluster as Armenians and Assyrians. Greeks are in the same large genetic cluster as Albanians and South Slavs.

Davidski said...

@BBB

Any idea on when the Olalde genomes are going to be released?

No idea.

Samuel Andrews said...

@everyone,

Did ancient writers think of Iranian speakers in the Middle East(Bacti, Persian) and Europe(Sycthian) as related/similar people?

Anthro Survey said...

@Davidski

Interesting take from a geographic p.o.v and, yes, clustering tends to reflect geography and its barriers, broadly speaking.

From a purely autosomal genetics standpoint, though, the heart of Europe is the conventional Central-West region: South Germany, Austria, France, SW, and Hungary.

My reasoning is such: these regions solidly fall within the European genetic continuum formed in the Bronze Age. Folks there have that "balance" of the three cardinal ancestries. Plus, these historically enjoyed a consistently high population density and total population.

They've also been the cultural heart, for the most part, since Bell Beaker times. So this is where I disagree with Andre----far western regions like Charente, Brittany, Ireland, Galicia, etc. have had relatively peripheral roles.

Northern Italy can also be considered a core region due to its huge cultural impact over the millenia. Genetically speaking, it's EEF-heavy but it received its steppe package and got IE-ized much earlier than Iberia, despite clustering similarly today.

Rob said...

@ Anthro

Why do you think Italy got IE'd "much earlier" than Iberia ? It looks like it only became IE after 2000 BC, odd BB inidividual in the north excepted

Anthro Survey said...

@Rob

Iberian contemporaries to the Bell Beaker individual from Parma are nearly all "Sardinian-like" and we have a ton of Iberian samples.

From a statistics standpoint, if N.Italy was just like that at the time, what would be the odds of digging up such a kurganized individual?

Secondly, history tends to recapitulate itself. N. Italy had historically strong affinities to France and signficiant ties to Europe north of the Alps.

Just look back at how wisely spoken non-IE languages were in Iberia when the Romans were conquering it and compare.

Rob said...

Yeah but that BB individual in northern Italy was probably a minority. Most surrounds were probably like the Remedellos. He most likely represents an abortive move from Central Europe, and limited to north Italy at that. Indeed, BB in Italy was a flash in the pan
The real bulk movement came much later with Polada and even some Unetice individuals . That's a widely know fact; so italy like Iberia was only IE after 2000 BC

qed

Vara said...

@Samuel

"They are also all trained by careful discipline of various sorts to become skilful warriors. And this is the reason why the Persians, who are originally of Scythian extraction, are very skilful in war." - Ammianus Marcellinus

EastPole said...

@Samuel Andrews

“Did ancient writers think of Iranian speakers in the Middle East(Bacti, Persian) and Europe(Sycthian) as related/similar people?”

No, nothing in the Herodotus suggests that Scythians in Europe were related in any way to Iranians, Persians etc.

Iranian Scythians in Europe is a modern concept based on Ossetian language being related to Iranian, and some pseudoscience.

Samuel Andrews said...

@EastPole,

"Iranian Scythians in Europe is a modern concept"

Sycthians were Iranians not Slavs, deal with it.

Anthro Survey said...

@Rob

It's highly unlikely that he was a minority. Besides, we have to compare like to like. Bell Beaker Iberians have much more modest steppe ancestry. So modest that formal stats had to be called in, judging by an ambiguous ADMIXTURE result only showing "EHG". Yes, the software has its peculiarities, but still. Analogous to Hittities, I'm betting.

Even if the bulk actually arrived ~2000 BC, it's still took place earlier than comparable processes in Iberia. The other detail is that the Parma beaker was r1b U-152 and it's not unreasonable to attribute the Hg's prevalence to Beaker groups.

There is an element of speculation in what I'm proposing,of course, but everything is pointing in that direction. To say that N.Italy got IEzed and underwent cultural genetic and cultural shifts roughly simultaneously with Iberia or even Gascony is not parsimoious. Not to the extent the OOI theories (about to be debunked for good) of course, though. :-)

Anthro Survey said...

@EastPole

I think Sam is simply talking linguistics. Obviously, Scythians were quite different to the populations of modern-day Iran and probably even to those of Trasoxiana/Khurasan. Iranian plateau barely has steppe ancestry to this day---something on the order of 10-15%. On the other hand, eastern Iranics score 35-45%.

You should also know that the notion of present-day Zagros-peoximal Iran being front and center of the Iranic world is bogus and agenda-driven. Dates back to Shah's era. Not grounded historically. Iranocentrists you encounter on YT are just as bad as Afrocentrists and should be treated as trolls.

Anthro Survey said...

Modern day Iran*----Populations contemporaneous to Scythians residing within the boundaries of present-day Iran.

EastPole said...

@Samuel Andrews

“Sycthians were Iranians not Slavs, deal with it.”

Which Scythians, when and where were Iranians and what is the evidence for this? In particular what is the genetic evidence of migrations from Iran to Poland?

Ryan said...

I don't think we can really generalize for when Italy and Iberian became IE. It depends on where in each of those peninsulas we're talking about (and how did this become the post about peninsulas in general lol). There were and are some pretty late holdouts (the Basque certainly aren't IE speakers). I think the relative position of Lusitanian as roughly para-Italo-Celtic gives us good evidence that Lustanian, Celtic and Italic languages split up at the same time, and that the first IE speakers arrived in Iberia at precisely the same time as the first IE speakers showing up in Italy.

My bet would be on the Urnfield as the first group to spread IE languages to Iberia and Italy (and Britain) around ~1,300 BCE or maybe slightly earlier. I don't think the non-Iberian Bell Beakers were primarily IE speakers, but rather spoke something Vasconic with a strong IE substrate. I think if you track the spread of cremations as a burial practice - and particularly as an elite burial practice - you'll be tracking the spread of IE languages and associated religious practices from proto-Italo-Celtic.

On the Slav/Scythian thing - Balto-Slavic is a satem language with shared sound shifts with Iranian languages. I don't think it's a stretch to say there was pretty close contact there.

Emanuela said...

Europe sans the islands off the coast is called Mainland Europe. No big deal if they confuse this term. Those papers have bigger problems than this. There are some core parts of this continent though. Religious and intellectual capitals are Italy and Greece. Mainland France is the sociocultural core, while the Ukraine-North Caucasus region is the ethnogenetic core of Europe.

Davidski said...

@Garvan & Emanuela

Thanks, I updated the post to say that mainland implies the opposite of island and/or peninsula.

By the way, this is what Wikipedia says about peninsula.

A peninsula is a piece of land surrounded by water on the majority of its border, while being connected to a mainland from which it extends.

So I think my proposal is at least technically correct.

Rob said...

@ AnthroS

"It's highly unlikely that he was a minority"

Have you read much about Italian Bell Beaker ?
Firstly, *within* Italian BB, we could envisage a mixture of central _Euro (stepep derived) and south-west Euro (non-steppe)_ beaker users.
Secondly, amidst the overall north Italian landscape, BB users co-existed with several other non-BB groups, before disappearing with "sharp discontinuity' with the emergence of Polada culture. And that's not even mentioning the arrival of IE groups via the Balkans.

(e.g. see Northern Italy around 2200 cal BC – From Copper Age to Early Bronze Age: continuity and/or discontinuity?. Leonardi et al)


"Even if the bulk actually arrived ~2000 BC, it's still took place earlier than comparable processes in Iberia. The other detail is that the Parma beaker was r1b U-152 and it's not unreasonable to attribute the Hg's prevalence to Beaker group"

It would also be not unreasonable- and more likely in fact, to point out that we have not demonstrated that modern Italian , or the bulk of it, descends specifically from these BB groups. Given that most later shifts came from around the middle Danube / Alpine region, it is quite likely that they, too, brought U152.

You should probably also be aware that stray early (pre-2000BC) R1b-L51 individuals probably also made it to Iberia, going on the basis of single inhumed individuals with beaker daggers, etc. They just haven;t been sampled in any of the studies to date.


I would think Ryan's assessment is rather closer to reality, as much as it might irk fans of simple linear, fantasmical narratives. It should already be clear by now.

JohnP said...

There were more land briges apart from the Italy-Greece-Anatolia-Levant.
The Iberia-West North Africa-East North Africa-Levant one.
The Eastern Europe-Steppe-Caucasus one.
The Eastern Europe-Steppe-North India one.

The image would be of a circle with a bridge in the middle and with a bifurcation at the top bridge.

Nirjhar007 said...

Samara is in Asia.

Davidski said...

Samara is on the Pontic-Caspian steppe and west of the Ural River, so it's in Europe.

That probably won't change anytime soon.

Nirjhar007 said...

Just look at the location it is closer to Kazakhstan ! .
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samara_Oblast#/media/File:Samara_in_Russia.svg

Davidski said...

Western Kazakhstan west of the Ural River is officially in Europe.

Ir Pegasus said...

Samara is in Europe. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samara,_Russia , geographically & geologically.

Nirjhar007 said...

Not in EU! Kazakhstan is in Asia, I don't think western part is a different nation ! BTW non IE Uralic is still spoken there.

Davidski said...

If you go to Western Kazakhstan, you can get a photo taken at the place where Europe meets Asia, standing with one leg in Europe and the other in Asia. Lots of people do it apparently.

Nirjhar007 said...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volga_Finns#/media/File:Muromian-map.png

Nirjhar007 said...

Near Samara https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mordovia non IE official language

Nirjhar007 said...

Specifically these dudes inhabit Kurgan homeland ;) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mordvins historually Volga Finns

Davidski said...

The Iranic Sarmatians from near the Volga, already sampled and looking a lot like Yamnaya, are older than these Volga Finns.

And of course, there is no evidence of anything Uralic in most places where Yamnaya and Corded Ware went.

You've got really shitty arguments. Get better ones.

Nirjhar007 said...

LOL as if you guys knows about the unknown languages spoken there in bronze age!.. Get lost...

Ir Pegasus said...

@Nirjhar007 You try to imagine the border. But geography is not imagination.
See https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limites_de_l%27Europe
See https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%93%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B8%D1%86%D0%B0_%D0%BC%D0%B5%D0%B6%D0%B4%D1%83_%D0%95%D0%B2%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%BF%D0%BE%D0%B9_%D0%B8_%D0%90%D0%B7%D0%B8%D0%B5%D0%B9

Nirjhar007 said...

https://books.google.co.in/books?id=GNsyCwAAQBAJ&pg=PA87&lpg=PA87&dq=uralic%20toponyms%20volga&source=bl&ots=ap2_NTimLQ&sig=Ya8azOUs9077TUAedRIzz2EfNs4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiXgd_QkN7UAhUHtY8KHTSyCy8Q6AEIODAD#v=onepage&q=uralic%20toponyms%20volga&f=false

There some of the substratum evidence, Scythians are only attested there in Iron age, so we cannot know what languages were spoken there in bronze age
also we have no clue on Scythian languages either, just few speculations here and there. Some have even compared it with Caucasian languages.

Nirjhar007 said...

The point is that Samara is closer to Asia as well, in border between Asia and Europe.

Nirjhar007 said...

Historically it was also a place of non IE people, and non IE still spoken today. So it will be like saying Indo-Europeans originated from S India or something lol

Shaikorth said...

@Nirjhar

Historically Samara was a part of the Scythian (Iranic) zone until it was taken by Turkic peoples, who still are the largest non-Russian minorities there.

batman said...

Historically Samara was a meeting-spot of travellets and traders, as this region is one of the very oldest crossroads of Eurasia - connecting the Ladoga-Volga waterway to the Caspian and the Aral seas - and the first silk- and spoce-routes to India and China - as well as the southern routes towards the Black Sea and the Med, along the Tana (slavic: 'Don').

The Uralic languages did obviously spread along the borral forrest along the Volga and north of the Caspian - unto Mongolia.

South of the upper Volga and along lower Volga there were both uralic and IE speakers - as the goat- and boat-keeping N1-tribes were completed by the IE cattlefarmers and horsebreeders ('highlanders', R1a). Somewhat later the larger cattle arrived to, alongside a branch of 'lowlanders' (R1b) - as the steppes east of Poland/Moldova and Ukraine became fertile, all the way to Samara, Kazakstan and Bactria.

There IE substrate spread into the open fields of these steppes along with the various agriculture that succeeded to populate the vast, open steppes - turning them as grassy green as the European moors, heaths, lowlands and meadowlands.

Consequently there was an Uralian and an IE toungue respectively - from Iberia to Siberia and Bactria - as the neolithic turned eneolithic.

First at the end od BA did this demography really change, as the Achamenid invasions brougth warfare, massacres and new y-lines, as well as babylonian (elamo-semittic) tongues, to the IE agriculturalists north of Taurus and Karakorum.

Since then the lands surrounding the Caspian sea have seen many wars and 'migrational waves'including Greeks as well as Sino-Tibetan etnicities and languages.

Thus there's no clearcut answer to WHAT toungue the various 'Persians' and their contemporary 'Scythians' did use at various times.

The same goes for the Arismaspi, the Issedones and the Hyperboreans - who along with the Sami, the Mari and the Samojeds where parts of the Hyperborean antiquity - populating what Ptolemy called Skytia and Tacitus Sarmatia.

Which both of them, as well as Mercator and Bleeuw placed 'east of Europe'.

Untill the 18th century most mappers named the most eastern waters of 'The Ocean Sea' (The Atlantic) as the eastern borders of Au-ro-pa. Thus Mercator have 'Asia' starting at the mounth of the river Neva, as well as the river Don and the Caucasian mountain-range.

---

The well irrigated parts of the Don and the lower Volga became the nature-given centres of travel and transport, as well as etnic and cultural inter-change, between east and west -
as well as north and south. Thus we may view the Massagetae and the Thyssagetae as offsprings of the european cattlefarming, paralell to the Cymry and the Tauri of ancient Ukraine, later known as Bul-gahrs...


Strategically placed at the end of Eurasias biggest watereway, the lush land of Samara did obviously become a hub from where the arctical Europens could reach, interact and mix with the tropical asians and build the linguistic bridges nessecary for a IE substrate to spread along the entire continent - connecting east and west as well as
RE-joining the arctic and the tropic populations of the paleolihic world - to form cultures that could grow, more and less simultanioysly, to become 'common civilizations' - built on a five-stepped social structure and a consequent breeding-pattern of 'balanced growth' - as idealized in the monumental pyramids, as step upon step...

Mark B. said...

I just read someone claim that if a person were walking from west to east through 'the Urals,' he might easily ask where the mountains were. The suggestion was that the impression that people have of the Urals being any kind of barrier to population movement was wrong. Never having been there, I can't say for sure.

epoch2013 said...

@Mark B

During the ice age there were huge lakes in Siberia and huge polar deserts that functioned as barriers. The reconstruction of the ice age ecology is still ongoing but when people model Iranian or Caucasian HG's as part ANE that makes somehow sense as there was a corridor between Lake Baikal and the South Caspian.

Gaspar said...

While I accept the "what is Europe", one needs to also determine Europe's neighbours. What is the caucasus, Anatolia or what is east of Europe called.

Does the cuacasus in this map indicated from europe to the modern border of Syria and Iraq ?
Where does Anatolia begin and end?

Without answering these questions then one can use a scenario where north-caucasus plus south caucasus also is Europe

RAGERAGE said...

@Vara
It means "Parthians" who were originally of Scythian extraction, are very skilful in war. Not Persians. Also the quotation is about Alans.

"Thus the Halani ... the young men grow up in the habit of riding from their earliest boyhood and regard it as contemptible to go on foot; and by various forms of training they are all skilled warriors. From the same causes the Persians* also, who are Scythians by origin, are highly expert in fighting."

Check the foot note in translation.
"* That is, the Parthians; for their Scythian origin, cf. Q. Curtius, VI.2.11, etc."

andrew said...

David Anthony in "The Horse, the Wheel, Culture and Language" supported this dividing line based upon archaeological cultures.

The known historical forces that break down this division are basically the Turkic and then Mongolia migrations from East to West, and the earlier Tocharian migration from West to East, and Russian expansion from West to East in the last 500 years or less. Prior to the Tocharians, Y-DNA R* is probably an East to West migration in the Mesolithic era.

Vara said...

@RAGERAGE

Doesn't matter Ammianus was familiar with both Parthians and Persians, and he used Persians in that sentence indicating that they are similar. And yes the Parthians spoke a language similar to Persian with Eastern Iranian influience. Are you going to tell me that Scythians were Turks next?


@EastPole

I thought Sarmatism was dead.

>No, nothing in the Herodotus suggests that Scythians in Europe were related in any way to Iranians, Persians etc.

"There is yet another story, to which account I myself especially incline. It is to this effect. The nomadic Scythians inhabiting Asia, when hard pressed in war by the Massagetae, fled across the Araxes1 river to the Cimmerian country (for the country which the Scythians now inhabit is said to have belonged to the Cimmerians before)"

>Which Scythians, when and where were Iranians and what is the evidence for this? In particular what is the genetic evidence of migrations from Iran to Poland?

It was a migration from Central Asia post Srubna, not Iran. The Alans were only elites among the Germans and Slavs, and might be the reason why G2a was linked to the Merovingians.

Anyway, we have the languages of the Scythians and their descendants; Khotanese, Pashto and Ossetian. All of these languages are Iranian not Slavic, not Turkic.

batman said...

Epoch2013,

"During the ice age there were huge lakes in Siberia and huge polar deserts that functioned as barriers."

Besides wide parts of northern Russia/Khazakstan the glaciers once covered most of the Himalayas as well as the mountainranges to the west - all along the 45th paralell, from Karakorum to the highlands of Anatolia, Balkan, Appenines, Central Massif and the Pyreenees. Before the Eem interstadial most of Switzerland, Tirol and Austria were covered in ice - north to the Tatra and Harz mountains.

The lower landscapes were ice-free though, which made it possible for mammal populations - humans included - to roam across Eurasia, from northern Spain to southern Siberia, already during the Eem-period.

Since then the general melting of these glaciers picked up speed, resulting in the enigmatic fluxes in climate as the last, remaining glaciers started breaking up and run down to the seas and waters surrounding the North Atlantic. Which were a major cause of the extreme, mass-extinctive cold-dips that occured at the very end of the million years long ice-time (Pleistocene).

Known as the LGM and the Younger Dryas we have dates like 23.000 - 17.000 years BP and 13.000 to 12.000 years BP to date the two WORST cold-periods known on the paleo-climatical record - today covering the last 15 million years.

We know some if not every region where human survived the LGM. AFAIK all of them are located in the milder part of northern Eurasia, i.e. the Atlantic facade.

We also know that both mammoths and men disappeared from the colder east of Eurasia during the LGM. Moreover we know that a European mammoth went extinct during the LGM, while a tribe of the more sturdy, uralian mammoths survived - by moving west, where they survived both north and south of the Baltic Ocean, untill the Younger Dryas.

Today we have traces of human beings surviving the same periods within the Baltic Ocean, too - but then to disappear during the Younger Dryas. Except from the straight of Oresund, where the Gulfstream would keep populations of elks and reindeers, seals and heering alive - along with a small population of caucasian 'eskimos'.

Finally we know that the last cold-dip was the crucial one, where the final bottleneck of the human genome of northern Eurasia were RE-SET, as the result of a (severe) bottleneck.

Glacial geology, paleo-biology and due chemistry have proven that the Yonger Dryas was THE critical point of survival for the human kind in northern Eurasia. The crisis hit all the larger land-animlas of northern Eurasia, as more than 40 of some 60 mammal species went extinct.

The remaining few where grossly decimated and hardly made it. North Eurasian Humans included - as no archeological digs have succeeded to prove any post-LGM site to have survived the Younger Dryas. Not even in France, southern England or the Channel Islands...

We know some if not every region where human survived the LGM. AFAIK all of them are located in the milder part of northern Eurasia, i.e. the Atlantic facade.

We also know that both mammoths and men disappeared from the colder east of Eurasia during the LGM. Moreover we know that a European mammoth went extinct during the LGM, while a tribe of the more sturdy, uralian mammoths survived - by moving west, where they survived both north and south of the Baltic Ocean, untill the Younger Dryas.

Today we have traces of human beings surviving the same periods within the Baltic Ocean, too - but then to disappear during the Younger Dryas. Except from the straight of Oresund, where the Gulfstream would keep populations of elks and reindeers, salmons and seals alive - along with a small population of highly adapted arctic humans...

batman said...

# "The reconstruction of the ice age ecology is still ongoing but when people model Iranian or Caucasian HG's as part ANE that makes somehow sense as there was a corridor between Lake Baikal and the South Caspian."


There were "corridors" inbetween glaciers and m,ountain-ranges all over Eurasia during the middle and late Paleolithic. As far as we know there were only one 'kind' of North-Eurasian "Hunter-Gatherers". That they divided into patrilinear dynasties - as offshots from y-dna CF, creating the various "HG-populations" as the first dynaties of y-dna GHIJK1/K2, respectively.

As the larger and more place-bound agriculture developed the y-dna R1a and R1b start spreading with great success, as old plains, tundra and irrigated desserts became productive grasslands. All over Eurasia, from Ireland to India and Kina - as the R1a/b "Farmers" managed to find their ways amongst the older "Hunter-Gatherers".

As the gross majority of both R1-branches are known to share the IE language and symbolism with most of the older dynasties (G,H,I,J) we may induce that the rapid, frog-leap spread of cattle-farming was due to a genetic, cultural and linguistical relationship between the older hunters and the younger farmers.

Since the analyzis of Kostenki 17 it's been clear that the Eurasian "Farmers" share origin with the Eurasian "HG". Moreover, they both are the final off-springs of (minimum) A surviving line of Paleolithic Eurasians. Following the destiny of the mammoths we're also the most close to where this population(s) could have survived - and re-established themselves as a "house-of-origin" to the y-lines that re-populated the arctic world AFTER the Younger Dryas - starting some 11.950 cal-C-14 yrs ago.

Looking at the basics of the I-E mythologies that's pretty much how they all describe their ancestral origin, from a common, archaic pantheon whos male and female ancestors both survived a exeptional and extreme, climatical catastrophe - involving a lot of moving water, liquid as well as solid and plasmatic...

Gökhan said...

Bordering continents according to modern concepts (like europe) based on genetic impact is very dangerous. Otherwise we find ourselves ignoring time and place... Modern europe have got its own genetics and mixed with steppes, near east and partialy north african genetics since paleothic ages. That would not change the borders of continents but borders in our minds which hlp us to understand the dynamics of populaiton genetics, cultural evolution and cultural interaction . As we know being ie speaker would not make anyone european this discusion senseless.

Rob said...

Quit spamming Batman

Gökhan said...

And about scithians. If eastern schitians are not proto-turks what else proto-turks? What kind of genetic contribution you looking for to find proto-turks? Half euroasian and half west euroasian eastern schitians are best candidate for proto-turk and unfortunatly we can not know which language they were speak by looking on thier genetics.

Synome said...

@Gökhan

Proto Turks were probably east Asian related. Scythians have the bulk of evidence pointing to them being Iranian speakers. While Scythians may have been involved in the ethnogenesis of the Turks as we know them today, that's probably not where the proto Turkic language came from.

JohnP said...

There are 4 kinds of Scythians. Turks descended from Scythians mixed with Altaic mongoloids, also known as "East Scythians" or "Sakah"/"Sakai".
If genetics is not enough, the Turkic religion, Tengrism, has Indo-European roots.

Read this paper for more:
"Ancestry and demography and descendants of Iron Age nomads of the Eurasian Steppe"

batman said...

Rob,

Sure. The day you quit daydreaming.

MaxT said...

@AnthroSurvey
"Iranian plateau barely has steppe ancestry to this day---something on the order of 10-15%."

Are you saying there was only small-scale steppe migration to Iranian plateau? Steppe admixture in ancient Iran could have been high once but decreased over time, considering their neighbors eastern Iranics in Central Asia and Indo-Aryans in South Asia have high steppe admixture, so we can't rule out large-scale migration from steppe to Iranian plateau based on admixtures in modern population.

Davidski said...

@Gökhan

If eastern schitians are not proto-turks what else proto-turks?

There are various theories about Turkic origins, but I haven't seen any reliable sources claiming that eastern Scythians were Turkic.

Anthro Survey said...

@Rob

The Polada culture occupies a time block a full millennium earlier than confidently attested-to IE-speaking cultures in Iberia It's also not that far, temporally, from the Parma Bell Beaker,btw.

"Secondly, amidst the overall north Italian landscape, BB users co-existed with several other non-BB groups, before disappearing with "sharp discontinuity' with the emergence of Polada culture."

That has to be thoroughly verified with ancient DNA. Kinda like we learned that Iberians didn't replace Central Europeans---Bell Beaker complex initiated there via cultural diffusion.

Besides, this was the case in Britain, too. Bell-Beaker Brits are more steppic than modern Brits, presumably because some EEF stragglers were eventually integrated w/the rest. It doesn't negate the notion that groups w/a cultural and genetic package from C. Europe became the pre-eminent power holders.

And again, we should compare BB from Parma to those from Iberia, not Padanic EEF groups to Iberian BBs. And among BBs in Iberia, the steppic impact was marginal, genetically. You may wish to believe the Parma guy was an outlier, but what are the odds of pulling such candy out of the bag on a first draw? We'll see when more samples vindicate my position.

At any rate, Polada's impact was not insubstantial and largely furthered the process. After all, migration patterns across space tended to recapitulate themselves before steamship, locomotive or air travel. I can state with 95% confidence that Polada-era Po Valley was much more steppic than Iberia---more steppe ancestry per capita----and am willing to go all in(where are casinos when you need them?).

Since demographic changes often correlate with linguistic and cultural ones, it's still a relatively safe bet North Italy was IEzed earlier too.

Anthro Survey said...

Additionally @Ryan:

Urnfields were confined to Catalonia, for the most part.

Lusitanic's connection to Italo-Celtic is disputed.

I never suggested that the first major IE languages in Italy were Italic or proper Celtic. Why forget about Ligurian? Or the North Picene language?

Also, if you believe BBs coming from C. Europe spoke Vasconic, do you at least believe N.Italy reached its present steppe ancestry per capita earlier than Iberia? Also, what about the Polada culture preceding Urnfield? Horseman tradition and cultural practices mirroring those of Central Europe. Even if it doesn't get points for langauge, Padania probably still scores higher on earlier DNA and material culture changes.

I'd like to reiterate again that my parsimonious suppositions are limited to the Po Valley, northern Marche and Tuscany. Northern Italy. A distinct geno-cultural interaction zone with strong historical affinities to Mainland Europe(conventional). Not very peninsular.

Anthro Survey said...

@Max:
Nothing seems to be pointing in that direction---genomically or in terms of symbolic&material culture. In short, peri-Zagros areas like Elam were urbanized, densely populated and quite advanced. As such, there was incredible cultural continuity after Persians arrived and no reason to believe in a major replacement. Ask Kurti.

If you're talking about areas EAST of the Dasht-i-Kavir, it's another matter and my estimate need not apply. It's only restricted to peri-Zagros areas. Modern Iran is ultimately centered around those politically and in terms of population density, not around its Khorasan province.

I do believe it was considerably higher around places like Tus and Nishaybur but those have been historically connected to places like Bukhara, Balkh, Samarkand, and so on.

If anything, steppic ancestry is higher now than it was in the past for at least two reasons---1)Turkic impact. Yes, the non-ENA ancestry was steppic. Anatolian Turks score ~10% more steppe than Armenians largely for that reason. 2) Continued migrations of Iranics from areas more proximal to the Iranic urheimat.

Rob said...

@ AnthroS

Yes we could bet that northern Italy was more steppic than *all of Iberia* was; but that's sort of comparing apples with oranges because of the differential areas we are comparing.

It also depends on one's (often arbitrary) definition of what an "I.E. culture" is, and which model of IE'zation one backs.

"That has to be thoroughly verified with ancient DNA. Kinda like we learned that Iberians didn't replace Central Europeans---Bell Beaker complex initiated there via cultural diffusion"

Sorry to pick, but that isn't correct, because BB didn't come from Iberia. So of course Iberians didn't replace anyone.


* "Besides, this was the case in Britain, too. Bell-Beaker Brits are more steppic than modern Brits, presumably because some EEF stragglers were eventually integrated w/the rest. It doesn't negate the notion that groups w/a cultural and genetic package from C. Europe became the pre-eminent power holders."

Well not quite. Britain is a different scenario. The Bronze Age follows the Beaker period, we knew this even without aDNA. The Bronze Age in Danube-Germany follows BB more or less seamlessly.

The situation is different in Slovakia or southwest Poland, for example, where Carpathian influences in the sense of Unetice become manifest.
Similarly in SE France, there is a lack of linear evolution from the BB period to the Bronze Age, because the local variety of BB was "replaced" by an alpine BB group.
Italy is even more complex, as the transition sequences from Remedello - to BB - to Polada, etc is still not 100% clear, but probably not genetically linear.

Thus any sweeping statements aren't likely to be correct. As I said, the simple picture currently held will give way to the more sophisticated models I propound when aDNA from post-Beaker periods. We're already seeing it with Wielbark culture - haplogroups Gs, Is, E's; as I predicted.

*"but what are the odds of pulling such candy out of the bag on a first draw?"

From a sample of 1, the odds are high. The BB in north Italy would b more like that in Hungary - a hodge-podge, methinks

Anthro Survey said...

@Rob:
"Yes we could bet that northern Italy was more steppic than *all of Iberia* was; but that's sort of comparing apples with oranges because of the differential areas we are comparing."

This would indeed be the case if I was comparing Iberia to Italy as a whole, but since Iberia and N.Italy exhibit and (likely exhibited) comparable homogeneity, amongst people as well as fauna and flora it's a fairly fair comparison. There's also an interesting reason why the two are oft compared. Had it not been for some Roman-age or perhaps Etruscan-age influx, N.Italy cluster would sit where modern Iberia sits---well, a tad north,at the tail end of the French(but not France_SW). I just argue Iberia reached this point later in time.

Btw, speaking of climate, fauna and flora, N.Italy bears a closer resemblance to Central Europe than most of Iberia does. This holds true down to the Abruzzese appenines. Considerably. Any good reason for folks not to have moved there en masse earlier on?

"It also depends on one's (often arbitrary) definition of what an "I.E. culture" is, and which model of IE'zation one backs. "

It does. Let me simplify it a bit: degree of cultural change per unit of time w/respect to preceding Chalcolithic. North Italy seems to have had become closer to Central Europe sooner than Iberia had.

You don't believe in the conventional theory stipulating an initial cultural diffusion from Iberia followed by a demic explosion out of central Europe? Explain---because I am genuinely curious about this.

"From a sample of 1, the odds are high. The BB in north Italy would be more like that in Hungary - a hodge-podge, methinks"

If its steppe % was atypical and 2-3 SDs from the mean of Padanic BBs, the odds of it being picked would surely be low.
A hodge-podge scenario is reasonable, but what do you think the center of mass would be? Surely not near Remedello/Sardinia. Btw, in the case of Hungary, they were all at least as steppe-shifted as modern S. Europeans.

In Southern Europe, w/respect to steppe ancestry, N.Italy, SE France and peri-Danubian areas of the Balkans took the cake in crossing the finish line first. Iberia, South Italy, areas of the Balkans not w/in Danube drainage basin, and maybe even SW France lag behind. Just a prediction.

Rob said...

@ Anthro

RE: North Italy - yep agree with everything, put that way.

RE BB:
One can't be 100% sure, and there hasn't been any consensus although the from the West hypothesis certainly prevails to this day among archaeologists.

It's hard to say anything definitive because it steppe contact began as Single Grave groups arrived to the the Rhine region c. 2800 BC. They forged a new network with Megalithic communities from France & the enclosure sites in the Estremadura, with an early (CWC/SGC), middle (AOC- GP flint) and final/ developed (B.B.) phase.
What we know currently is that some steppe groups (mostly R1b L21) had arrived to Britain & Ireland by 2400 BC. A solid appearance of R1b in Iberia appears to have taken hundreds of years more. Yet, BB -style burials do appear there also as early as 25/2400 BC, but not as many as in northern France, Britain & Germany.

For R1b enthusiasts keen on the details, a lot more samples will be needed. Curiously, a good man at A.G. has rumoured that the final publication of Oldade might contain some more BB samples, including the site at Sion (which is very important given its stratigraphic spread). It would be awesome if that's true.