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Monday, October 30, 2017

On the wrong end of a steppe herder's cudgel (?)

From a new paper at the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology:

In this study, we examine trauma on human remains from the Tripolye site of Verteba Cave in western Ukraine. The remains of 36 individuals, including 25 crania, were buried in the gypsum cave as secondary interments. The frequency of cranial trauma is 30-44% among the 25 crania, six males, four females and one adult of indeterminate sex displayed cranial trauma. Of the 18 total fractures, 10 were significantly large and penetrating suggesting lethal force. Over half of the trauma is located on the posterior aspect of the crania, suggesting the victims were attacked from behind. Sixteen of the fractures observed were perimortem and two were antemortem. The distribution and characteristics of the fractures suggest that some of the Tripolye individuals buried at Verteba Cave were victims of a lethal surprise attack.


Recent paleogenomic studies have indicated that the nomadic pastoralists of the Pontic-Caspian steppe were involved in large-scale population movements at precisely this time, expanding westward farther into continental Europe (Haak et al., 2015). Such a massive population movement likely resulted in lethally violent interactions between indigenous populations and the newly arriving migrants.

Madden et al., Violence at Verteba Cave, Ukraine: New Insights into the Late Neolithic Intergroup Conflict, International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, online: 27 October 2017, DOI: 10.1002/oa.2633

See also...

Ancient herders from the Pontic-Caspian steppe crashed into India: no ifs or buts

Massive migration from the steppe is a source for Indo-European languages in Europe (Haak et al. 2015 preprint)

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


Ric Hern said...

@ Davidski

What is the precise date of this massacre ?

Ric Hern said...

Was this maybe ritual sacrifice ? All those cranial trauma from behind doesn't sound like Indo-European Warrior to me.....

Ric Hern said...

The Mayan Sacrifices comes to mind.

Sofia Aurora said...

Sorry to spoil it for you guys but i saw the article first and reffered it:

It's the fifth comment starting from the end of comments' line!

capra internetensis said...

Sounds like an ordinary raid on a village or camp - surprise attack at night or dawn and kill everyone when they are unprepared. Bog standard for Neolithic societies (think early historic New Guinea or North America), no need for any ritual stuff. The attackers could have been distant raiders, but they could just have been farmers from the next village over.

Rob said...

In such a strewn context, one really needs to date individuals directly
They could be medieval Mongol victims for all we know
We also know violence was endemic amongst MNLN communities
It also claims that aDNA has shown Usatavo is a steppe culture, but no such aDNA exists

Davidski said...

Remains from the studied layers have been dated. The layers are well separated and studied.

There's no real chance that the remains are from later than the Eneolithic.

Clearly, the remains show signs of being attacked. The only mystery is who was doing the attacking.

Rob said...

There are secondary internments of disarticulated remains .
Do you think the Slavic BBs were an isolated incident ?

Davidski said...

There are no grounds to suggest that any of the studied remains here could be from the Medieval period.

Romulus the I2a L233+ Proto Balto-Slav, layer of Corded Ware Women said...

The Verteba samples from Mathieson 2017 all predate the Yamnaya but contain Yamnaya like admixture (both ehg and chg). Most are from 5000-4000 B.C. but there is a more recent one from 3700 B.C. with relatively elevated Yamnaya admix.

Sofia Aurora said...

The Yamnaya does not equal Proto-Indoeuropean exclusively!
Proto-Indoeuropeans exist at least since 4500 BC till 2300 BC.
It could be any pre-Yamnaya steppe group that attacked them and my mind goes to the Suvorovo-Novodanilovka groups.
The typical Indo-European raids find a very good exampld here.
Sudden attacks, devastating, immensly fast with almost zero time to counter-attack or at least run!
Brings in mind Hotnitsa, Brailita, Yanatsite, Bolgrad, etc.

Sofia Aurora said...


The Suvorovo was different only in some artistic themes in its material culture and different because it had more Mediterraneans than Pontic Steppe Proto-Europoids buried in its kurgans than the rest of the Suvorovo-Novodanilovka groups.
As a matter of fact even the various Yamnaya groups varied one another e.g. the Jabukka cluster of former Yugoslavia and the Csongrad cluster in Hungary!

Dear Rob when you write that Gimbutas' constructions are baseless ..Sci-Fi history do you reckon that it might be a conspiracy?
Because last time i checked it is the Kurgan hypothesis that solved the Proto-Indoeuropean issues!
And without Gimbutas, Mallory, Mair, Anthony and of course Roger Pearson, the Publisher of the Journal of Indo-European studies, THERE WOULD NOT BE A KURGAN THEORY to verify the Proto-Indoeuropean roots!!
Where were all these geneticists and archaeologists when Renfrew, Ivanov, Makkay, Alinei, Hausler and others for 40 years they have been fighting the kurgan theory with every absurd scenario you can imagine e.g. the Anatolian hypothesis, the Armenian hypothesis, the Upper Palaeolithic continuity hypothesis etc etc.???
Who kept the flame alight?
The.."Dark Lords of the Sith"?
(since you mentioned Sci-Fi)

Rob said...

Sofia stop mixing up irrelevant issues and tangential side points
I'm not advocating the post-modernist "immobilism" nor do i think PIE expanded with multi-culti unicorns building bridges of love
I'm simply pointing out that the notion that the S-N destroyed old Europe highly dubious. Organically they might be composed of similar elements of steppe people, but their social relations with the old world & own organisation were of a wholly different character than later Uamnaya groups. They lacked the means and motives; and if one examines the stratigraphic cycles of violence, raids, depopulation & cultural successors of the lower Danube region, there is quite a different reality as to what happened between 45-4000 BC cf what Gimbutas described.

zardos said...

Do they have classifyable artefacts like arrowheads from different material cultures? That would help...

Sofia Aurora said...

The pre-Yamnaya steppe groups were not homogeneous because they were few in numbers but they did destroy everything they found in their way e.g. the Lower Danube area, eastern Hungary (see Tunde Horvath and Attila Peto in their book "the Kurgan studies" from the BAR series) and gradually they did change some stylistic aspect of their culture but their ethos and moral values remain pretty much the same and that's why even by adopting the local pottery and some decorative pattern they differ so much from the indigenous populations.
You are correct that the Yamnaya groups differed but i believe that this is because they were more radical and conservative.
The Late Khvalynsk and Repino groups that formed the Yamnaya cultural horizon were the classical Proto-Indoeuropeans that we know from linguistics and they differed from almost any other late steppe group e.g. Late Sredni Stog, Kemi Oba, Usatovo, Upper Mariopol etc.
The point is that in Verteba i don't think that there was a Yamnaya group that did it.
Chronologically speaking it might be one of the Suvorovo-Novodanilovka groups (there is a similar pattern of destruction and murder in Devnya and Porodin) but it could be also a desperate Late Sredni Stog group pushed around by the newcomers of the Yamnaya phase in the steppe.
Perhaps the authors might continue the research and find who were the destroyers (or if they already know i wish they could make a second article on the matter

Rob said...

@ Sofia
"but they did destroy everything they found in their way"
I don't think anyone has proposed such a scenario for the expansion of IE, at least not the last couple of decades.

Rob said...

The end of CT was brought about by GAC.
One merely needs to look at the pentiful diagrams available.

Sofia Aurora said...


The pre-Yamnaya steppe groups, at least the first ones which expanded caused a variety of damage from destroying hamlets to entire cultures e.g. Gumelnitsa, Maritsa, Dikitly, etc.
They were less destructfull in Hungary but generally sites like Decea Muresului, Csongrad Ketosalom, Suvodol etc.
After some centuries they amalgamated into the Cernavoda I culture and when Usatovo and Foltesti groups started to move downwards so did the Cernavoda I which became Cernavoda III.
The first wave of Proto-Aryans were violent and there are bews sites destroyed just outside Varna like the newly found Avren-Bobata.
Even in Shkodra in Albania kurgan populations attacked and destroy Old European sites.
There is a new steppe group route (that was followed and later on from the Yamnaya groups) and has given us 178 kurgans dated at 3125 BC with one dead and up to four inside them.
Sylvia Deskaj and Michael Galaty had done the " Shkodra prehistoric archaeological project" i.e. PASH Project under the Sponsorships of Millsaps.
Finally the Usatovo is a steppe group and Anthony in his "Horse, Wheel and Language" had explained it thoroughly.

Rob said...

Sofia, your chronology is way off and your understanding of events simplistic
The end of Varna like groups was c. 42/4000 BC. Kurgans don't appear in Epirus and Albania until 2900 BC, and most are even later than that.
If steppe groups "invaded" old Europe in 4200 BC, why did they wait 1000 years before settling ? Clearly, you and Co. are missing something

Rob said...

PASH project report "elaboration of tumulus burial through the Late Bronze Age.

Rob said...

"The earliest tumuli of Albania are dated to the transitional phase between the local Early and Middle Bronze Age (2100-1700)"


Sofia Aurora said...


That's what i am saying Rob.
That even primal pre-Yamnaya steppe groups were violent enough and they did not lack the means or the mendality that we see in the Yamnaya groups!
You are way and i mean way too wrong when you say that the oldest Albabian kurgans are dated at 2100 BC.
The Pash internet page clearly mentions that in their three years research (2010-2013) 144 tumuli were discovered in Shkodra of Albania dated at 3000 BC.
Please don't lie

Rob said...

@ Sofia

Here's the link

I'm must be missing where you're saying that 144 Tumuli were found which date to 3000 BC

It says : "We have intensively surveyed 2368 tracts covering 15.208 square kilometers in the areas of Shkrel and Shtoj, surface collected seven late prehistoric archaeological sites, including the hill top settlement of Zagorës and the large hill fort at Gajtan, and surveyed 144 burial mounds (tumuli). "

"We have conducted excavations at three sites – Kodër Boks, Gajtan, and Zagorës – and four burial mounds. Radiocarbon dates point to an initial occupation of the region’s hill forts in the Late Neolithic, circa 4600 BC and elaboration of tumulus burial through the Late Bronze Age'

3000 BC is mentioned "The ultimate goal of PASH is to explain the origins of Mediterranean social inequality, beginning in the Late Copper Age, before about 3000 BC" - in context of inequality developing in Mediterranean.

So hill forts in Chalcolithic and Tumuli and LBA
But please point to where it says all those Tumuli are from 3000 Bc, as I admit, I might have missed it. That would be a major breakthrough indeed.

Sofia Aurora said...


It your heart out my "omniscient" friend:


At 2014 more kurgans were discovered by PASH reaching the number of 178!


Rob you were insulting me in every comment you wrote and looked down at me by characterizing me "incoherent" cause i was tangentially taking isolated points and drew conclusions and that i was seeing correlations behind things that they were not there!

Probably you refer to my post about the sudden turning of the tables upside down not only in the Indoeuropean issues but in science generally the last 6 years and that that upside down covers all the aspects of human activity.
In order to analyse why i am saying this and how do i verify it we will need a personal conversation of hours upon hours!!!
Since the scope of Eurogenes' blog is not that i want usurp its hospitality with existential and philosophical analysis!!
But just because Rob you might be narrowminded and unable to see beyond a specific fragmented area of cognitive landscape that does not mean that you have the right to insult or underestimate others who do just because you don't understand them or you disagree with them!

Finally you have proven how up to the point and coherent you are with your LIES about an issue that you don't have a clue i.e. the PASH project, and how arrogant you are when because you are shallow and narrowminded try by lying to defame people whose ideas and argumentation patterns you don't even comprehend!

Sofia Aurora said...

P.S. In the article from Wiley Deskaj used 3 different ways of measuring the chronological period of the kurgans!
Their date?

3125 BC at least!!

Of course others were younger

Rob said...

@ Sophia

You present as a screeching conspiracy theorist, so it;s hard to take you seriously.
And you're still not understanding the article, which states "Exact dates of construction have been difficult to obtain since absolute dating methods were not part of
the previous archaeological program in the region. ..tumuli were built in the Early Bronze Age, with mounds added or added to throughout the Middle and Late Bronze
and Iron Ages."

I'm quite aware that tumuli appear in the region in the Bronze Age (To be sure, tumuli appear in Vucedol, Mala Gruda, etc. ), I have said so myself

But your claim that 144 3000 BC tumuli have been found is your own imagination. You're looking at cumulative number of tumuli over thousands of years.

Moreover, they are a distinctive type of ritual than the steppe "The former monument was not apparently used for burial; rather it represents some kind of long-term ritual installation, used (probably discontinuously) from the Final Neolithic through the Late Roman period (i.e., over the course of several thousand years). Cenotaphs are, in fact,
known in the region, "
We're looking here in stead at a Mediterranean tradition, not steppe. It's simialr to the R-tumuli at LEfkandi, and other areas of Greece.
The tumulus with an actual inhumed person "The latter tumulus produced a single, rock-built
central grave that had been disturbed, but contained the remains
of three individuals, two adults and one sub-adult.
An AMS radiocarbon date on two adult teeth produced results
of 1740–1610 cal. B.C.E. and 1885–1690 cal. B.C.E.,
at the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age."

Sofia Aurora said...

Oh! and mr. Wise guy a final treat for you:

Liking it or not there is a new route of kurgan invation and only in Shkodra they are numerous!
At 3125 BC we can talk about differentiated Indoeuropean peoples e.g. proto-Illyrians or proto-Greeks. They are proto-Indoeuropeans who at the Final Neolithic/Eneolithic invaded and conquered the area. The defensive character of the locals, the cease of their culture and the appearance of new ethnic elements who after the consolidation of their power raised their first kurgans and implied their own livehood patterns.
That tradition continued till 1100 BC when kurgans of the Glasinac and Dolensko type substituted the former ones. It is the time that Illyrians came down to the borders of Epirus.
The Shkodra kurgans have striking similarities with the MiddleHelladic ones and they might, I say MIGHT solve the problem of the origin of Greeks.
The strange thing is that Shkodra is at the very north of Albania but has common identity with the kurgans of southern Albania (Valare, Vodine, Bostritsa) and Greece.

Sofia Aurora said...



the kurgans were not cenotaphs!
Some were used as landmarks but they were TOMBS!!
And NO the reason for some missing parts in the excavation was due to the destruction of the tumuli by modern day farming.

Thd kurgans of Shkodra resemble the mainland MiddleHelladic kurgans and not the kurgans of the Ionian sea that you reffer (and again you are lying because in Greece both types of kurgan burials were tumuli and not "cenotaphic signs"!
There were tumuli used as landmarks but that happened everywhere in the kurgan world!
We live in 2017!
The ancestral mounds session in Lyon that you reffer is DONKEY YEARS AGO!
Change the channel from yesterday!

P.S. The Shkodra findings are keep coming and new papers will appear!
The dates that you DELIBERETLY reffer were from 2013 initial survey!!

The tumuli were part of the presentations and announcements!

Rob you don't have a clue what you are talking about so PLEASE STOP LYING PRETENDING THAT YOU KNOW!!

P.S.2 A correction:
I wrote that in 3125 BC we can talk about differentiated Indoeuropean peoples.
I meant to write WE CAN'T TALK about differentiated Indoeuropean peoples.

Rob said...

Oh dear, you really are struggling

That's from the article *you* just referenced. It's from 2017

Again: " the former monument was not for burial; rather it represents some kind of long-term ritual installation, used (probably discontinuously) from the Final Neolithic [ie late 3000s BC] through the Late Roman period (i.e., over the course of several thousand years). Cenotaphs are, in fact,
known in the region,.... "

"The latter tumulus produced a single, rock-built
central grave that had been disturbed, but contained the remains
of three individuals, two adults and one sub-adult.
An AMS radiocarbon date on two adult teeth produced results of 1740–1610 cal. B.C.E. and 1885–1690 cal. B.C.E., at the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age."

Just like the previous article you ranted about , it seems you haven't even read them

Sofia Aurora said...



I have n't even read the papers you say?

Lad before i mentioned it you did not even know that there was a thing like the PASH project and now you are an expert?

Deskaj says about the continuous use of the tumuli from 3000 BC till the Roman times!
Where is the problem with that?
You said "The earliest tumuli in Albania appear at 2100-1700 BC" and now you wanna say what?

That these tumuli were cenotaphs in order to cover your ignorance?

Mallory and Gei have made researches upon researches and they have witnessed that kurgans sometimes were used as landmarks, or as memorials to an event. But these were exceptions!
Kurgans were burial grounds and not signnarks and labels!

The human remains that you refer to were from the Middle Bronze Age but what are you trying to say?

That the tumuli from 3000 BC were not tumuli and that they were cenotaphs?

Did you read that most of the tumuli WERE DESTROYED due to recent rural and urban activity in Albania OR YOU PROBABLY MISSED THAT PART TOO?

Did you read that the research is far from complete and that new datings might give dates EARLIER than even 3125 BC?

Oh! but these must be..."cenotaphs" too so Rob's narcicism could be satisfied, right Rob old boy?

Lad honestly if you believe that the kurgans which only from Shkodra are till now 178 and keep rising their numbers were cenotaphs and became graves only after 2100 then you literally can not read english!

Without the research been completed yet and with parallles of the Shkodra kurgans with Gyrokaster's and Elbasan ones on one hand and Greek kurgans from ProtoHelladic III -MiddleHelladic on the other what do you not understand?

The Aryans that moved to Shkodra and not only (there are new finds from Shala unpublished yet so stay tuned) ended the locals there conquered the place and built their forts, kurgans shrines etc.
The thing is that these CONTINUOUS presence there moved downwards!
And with having kurgans dated at 3125 BC there is a chance that they might be the group that created the proto-Greek ethnos (among other paleo-balkan Aryans too).
Thus that eternal argument that there is no mediate source for the coming of the Greeks to the Greek peninsula and the Yamnaya phenomenon might find its solution here.
Many scholars like Hammond, Finley, Wyatt, Sakelariou etc. always advocated the western Balkans as the way that the proto-Greeks entered and not the eastern Balkans (which they assumed that Anatolian type Aryans lived and entered Greece too).

If by only a douzin of kurgans an entire phase was created i.e. the Suvorovo-Novodanilovka why can't we say that a new route of steppe intruders entered from Former Yugoslavia to Albania and then to Greece?
Especially since we have numerous kurgans that date from 3125 BC at least?
I never said that all kurgans were built at 3000 BC but these which did where more UNIMAGINABLY MORE than enough to qualify!

P.S. Hey Rob!
If you have a problem with the name we can decide not to call it a kurgan or Yamnaya route what so ever!
We can call it the "Robian culture" or since you like the Baltic-Pontic Studies journal so much..."The Robbak culture" to sound the same as the..."Budzak culture" which does nit express the Yamnaya culture and that's why it had to be...labeled differently!

All you pretenders who for decades you have trying to debase the kurgan hypothesis by destroying its archaeological manifestations by presenting them as "rants, wishfull thinking, not-viable assumptions" etc. etc.
The baalberge, the Globular Amphorae even the Afanasievo cultures you tried to debase
And by doing so you were saying "the kurgan theory does not have enough archaeological or anthropological evidence in order to solve the puzzle of the Proto-Indoeuropean issue"!!!


It always had but you did not wish to accept it. There was always an angle to degrade the kurganists UNTILL GENETICS SHUT YOUR MOUTHS ONCE AND FOR ALL!

Rob said...


Right here above "has given us 178 kurgans dates at 3125 BC"

And what's with the capitals ?

Ric Hern said...

@ Rob

What "correct" time period will you put the 5.9 Kiloyear Event ?

Rob said...

@ Sofia

You're correct- I don't understand you. Because you're not making any sense. I never claimed there's no such thing as Yamnaya culture . Everything you write is just garbled mania

Ric Hern said...

@ Rob

And if correctly dated, how did this 5.9 Kiloyear Event impact populations in Europe and the Steppe ?

Sofia Aurora said...


Only a fool will accept that such an invasion was the result of only four routes and three waves that the archaeologists had to accept with a heavy heart.

The Aryan routes were more, many more than four and the waves more than three. The Shkodra kurgans might be one of them because they are at the right place the right time!

And oh Rob!
Please by all means inform us, guide us with your divine intellect, elighten us about the PASH project!

P.S. I understand the discomfort of all these crypto-Nordicists when new Yannaya and generally kurgan evidence comes up and it is evident i.e. archaeological, anthropological etc. that is the womb of the Aryans.

At the end of the day genetics deal with blood and it's a volatile science. It can radically change its results with a single discovery in a single day!

But when you find weapons, armory, kurgans etc. it's difficult to say that they are UFO!

Thus i sympathise Rob that the Proto-Aryan fatherland is not in Thule, Hyperborea or Atlantis and that Ahrensburg or Fosna or even the Corded Ware culture are not thd source of the Aryans as he would have liked.

Unfortunatelly for crypto-Nordicists such as him and "steppe retards" like me (as he called me in one of his comments) it seems that it was us who were right!

Rob said...

It must have made an impact because there is a wave of depopulation and cultural change proceeding from Anatolia (4500 BC) to SEE (4000 BC), bringing an end to the classic Balkan Chalcolithic south of the Danube and their S-N clients. , and rise of new power centres in Hungary and the Caucasus

Sofia Aurora said...

Another lie!
I said that from 2010-2013 there were 144 kurgans. In 2014 new kurgans were discovered. The former research had found kurgans dated at 3000 BC and the latter at 3125 BC AT LEAST!

I never said that all kurgans were from 3000 BC. I wrote that KURGANS WERE FOUND IN SHKODRA DATED F-R-O-M 3000 BC

Now we know that there are 178 kurgans that SOME date from 3125 BC.

The capitals are coming along with my effort to emphasize things that i have said to you 40000 times but you pretend you did not read

Sofia Aurora said...

And i was correct that you can't read and understand English!

I never said that you claimed Yamnaya does not exist.
I wrote that you and your kind tried to undermine the Yamnaya and the Steppe hypothesis.
I offered in my posts evidence i.e. clues, researches, matrix, articles!
You brought insults, narcicisn and sterile verbalism.
You are a sycofant and an arrogant dude who wants to speak about an issue that he did not know 3 days ago (lol)!

Sofia Aurora said...


So it was a climatic event that caused the downfall of Old Europe COMING FROM ANATOLIA!!

Sorry to spoil it for you but in Greece there is no increase in population number that you imply.
Even in 4000 BC Mesolithic populations were continuing to live in caves and open areas along with proto-farmers.
Many of the..."numerous proto-farmers" were Mesolithics adopting the Neolithic lifestyle.
Mixbreeds of classical Meds with Proto-Europoids of the Lepenski Vir type are numerous.
You can visit anytime the Anthropological Museum of Athens and see the skulls and post-cranial remains for yourself

Rob said...

@ Sofia
So it was a climatic event that caused the downfall of Old Europe COMING FROM ANATOLIA!!
Sorry to spoil it for you but in Greece there is no increase in population number"

Yet again you make no sense, if there was a climactic event causing, at least in part, depopulation, why should we expect an increase in population in Greece ? All markers point to the very opposite.

Sofia Aurora said...


Because the deterioration of climate in Anatolia and Near East should have created refugees at the "Gates of Europe" which is Greece. Such a thing did not happen when you say.
It happened around 7600 BC.
There is a site called

and has many things about the period that interests you.
It has english articles and it focuses on Attica (but conclusions can be drawn about the general situation)

Rob said...

I appreciate the links, but I just dont think you're quite gelling the evidence
Eg: there clear aDNA evidence of shift in Anatolia at this point, and clear archaeological and ecological evidence of demographic drops in Anatolia . Why should they move to Greece when they can just die, mr Bond ?

Rob said...

Climatic changes and social transformations in the Near East and
North Africa during the ‘long’ 4th millennium BC: A comparative study
of environmental and archaeological evidence

Sofia Aurora said...

But they were always bad climatic situations like just before the LGM or the 8000 years BC event. There were always movements at crises like these because people try to escape from their current situation.

Ric Hern said...

Verteba extermination maybe R1b related in some or other way ? Maybe the illusive migration of Western European R1b ?

Sofia Aurora said...


The link does not download.
Can you post the page which has it in Anthropogenica please?

Ric Hern said...

To the Northeast not far from Verteba were I2a Globular Amphora people....So maybe Globular Amphora exterminated them ?