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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Hallstatt effect (?)

Just to see what would happen, I ran a subset of the highest coverage Bronze Age samples from what are now Britain and Ireland in my new Celtic vs Germanic Principal Component Analysis (PCA). Look for the Britain_&_Ireland_BA cluster. The relevant datasheet is available here.

Perhaps it's not a coincidence that the likely Celtic-speaking Iron Age individuals from present-day England (labeled England_IA) are positioned between these older British and Irish samples and the two ancients from Iron Age burials in present-day Bylany, Czechia, associated with the Hallstatt culture (marked with black stars). That's because the Hallstatt people are generally considered to have been the earliest speakers of Celtic languages.

Hence, what the PCA might be showing is a genetic shift in the British and Irish Isles caused by the arrival of Hallstatt Celts in Northwestern Europe.

Interestingly, the present-day English samples appear to be a mixture of Britain_&_Ireland_BA, England_IA and England_Anglo-Saxon. However, a subset of these samples is also heavily shifted "east" towards one of the Hallstatt individuals and present-day Dutch, suggesting that they harbor extra admixture from continental Europe.

This isn't easy to make out on my plot, because of the clutter, but I can assure you that it's true. Keep in mind that you can plug the datasheet into the PAST program (freely available here) to have a much closer look at the PCA and even change the color coding.

To check whether England_IA can be modeled as a mixture of Britain_&_Ireland_BA and Hallstatt with formal methods, I ran an analysis with the qpAdm software using all of the publicly available Bronze Age samples from present-day Britain and Ireland. The standard errors are high, likely because Britain_&_Ireland_BA and Hallstatt are closely related, but, overall, we can probably say that the model does limp across the line.

Britain_&_Ireland_BA 0.555±0.172
Hallstatt 0.445±0.172
chisq 18.513
tail prob 0.100973
Full output

However, the really important thing about this output is that England_IA cannot be modeled as simply Britain_&_Ireland_BA (the chisq and tail prob are way off). Thus, even though the Hallstatt samples from Bylany don't appear to be ideal proxies for the admixture in England_IA that is lacking in Britain_&_Ireland_BA, the signal they produce does suggest that a closely related population arrived in the British Isles during or after the Bronze Age to give rise to England_IA.

See also...

Celtic probably not from the west

Celtic vs Germanic Europe


John Thomas said...

So, are the ultimate roots of the English are in central Europe?

Samuel Andrews said...


I'd say no. Germanic tribes originated in Scandinavia. The Anglo Saxons lived on the North sea coast, the Beaker folk probably used the North Sea coast as their launching paid into Britain.

Ric Hern said...

Was there some Hallstatt in Ireland ? Or does Ireland still look separated ?

Ric Hern said...

The arrival of P-Celtic maybe...

Garvan said...

mickeydodds1 said...
So, are the ultimate roots of the English are in central Europe?

The English never existed as a population in Europe, so I would say their “roots” are in England. I understand your question, but that is not how I think of my own roots.

Garvan said...

Are there any suitable Atlantic coast samples from Spain or France to try in this setup? I read that Southern Britain received refugees from the Iberia, Gaul and Belgae between about 200 BC and AD 43, as the Roman empire expanded.

Davidski said...


I just discovered that the England_IA samples can be modeled as Scotland_LBA and also as Scotland_MBA (just barely), without any ancestry from Hallstatt needed.

But most of these Scottish samples are practically overlapping with Hallstatt in terms of dates, and come from the tail end of the Urnfield culture. So I'm not sure what to make of that.

Folker said...

Celtic is an IA language or group of languages. It didn't existed before. So both Q and P Celtic were diffused by Hallstatt or La Tène populations.
David's results are very interesting, and in line with the traditional view on Celts history.

zardos said...

@Folker: The way you say it is definitely wrong. As little as we know for sure, Celts didnt come out of nowhere! And even if there was a Hallstatt culture related massive expansion and conquest, we still dont know their relationship to the presumably closely related conquered people.
In any case there must have been a Proto-Celtic population. I always considered a relation of the Urnfield phenomenon with Western Centum speakers and Italo-Celts in particular.

weure said...

'The tail of Urnfield', nice description, I guess it's also known as the Elp culture (Northern Low Lands, NW Germany, into Jutland).

Ryan said...

Thanks for doing this David.

"I just discovered that the England_IA samples can be modeled as Scotland_LBA and also as Scotland_MBA (just barely), without any ancestry from Hallstatt needed."

"But most of these Scottish samples are practically overlapping with Hallstatt in terms of dates, and come from the tail end of the Urnfield culture. So I'm not sure what to make of that."

Maybe the roots of Brythonic languages are in the Urnfield culture and Gaelic languages come from Hallstat?

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

Aren't those England_IA samples from a Roman context?

André de Vasconcelos said...

David, where would earlier Bell Beaker samples plot on this PCA? Might there be a relation with modern Brits and earlier BB folk?

bellbeakerblogger said...

Are there IA samples from other places like Catalonia or Transylvania to test this?

Ryan said...

Andre - the Green area is the local Bell Beaker populations in the British Isles.

André de Vasconcelos said...


Urgh, you're right, of course. How distracted of me.

The position of Hallstatt makes me think populations like the Gauls were probably considerably closer to modern SW Euros than to their British contemporaneous counterparts. How would modern French be modelled using Hallstatt and Germanic/Lombard samples (alongside something a bit more mediterranean to account for the western shift, like French Basque for instance)?

andrew said...

I've been a voice in the wilderness arguing for this scenario for a very long time. It is nice to see some confirmation.

"But most of these Scottish samples are practically overlapping with Hallstatt in terms of dates, and come from the tail end of the Urnfield culture. So I'm not sure what to make of that."

Urnfield and Hallstatt are probably in genetic continuity with each other and Urnfield probably spoke either proto-Celtic or proto-Italo-Celtic or pre-Celtic. So, I don't think that the Scottish samples change the analysis much.

The Halstatt percentage in your model seems awfully high for such a subtle difference, however. Is that because both source populations are very similar to each other?

Bogdan said...

From what I have read, the Scots only started to bury their dead with family members placed in crouched position, under houses, foundations and/or other sites as evidence of stakeholders to the land etc around 1000 BC or so. More Tumulous than Urnfield? That practice seems to change to cremation at the tail end of Urnfield, more into Hallstatt, perhaps brought about by new belief systems that were not actually new. -It still takes a while for changes to get up to Scotland...

Ric Hern said...

Barbed Wire Beaker Culture with some additional Tumulus and Urnfield Cultural influence. Helversum can be linked to Wessex in Southern Britain so maybe the related Elp Culture can be linked to Scotland...?

weure said...

@Ric it's quite clear that Elp-culture of Sögel-Wohlde Kreis or Kummerkeramik had a kind of 'proto-Celtic' character.

I despise the Nordicist thoughts of Ernst Sprockhoff, but may be he has got a point in this quote:

"No one bothers about the name "Celts" for the bearers of the Bronze Age culture of Lower Saxony, which was partly superseded, partly overruled or incorporated by the Teutons, since it was not really used at that time and wan't a settled name yet. Because the older Bronze Age of Lower Saxony belongs on the whole, to what is called Tumulus Bronze Age, but it forms an already independent northern group." (google translate)

Ric Hern said...

@ weure

Yes. I wonder how much related was the Unetice Culture to Bell Beaker genetically ? Looks like there was significant contact between these two and that later cultures like Tumulus and Urnfield developed out of this interaction...

John Johnson said...

Fascinating stuff. I've long felt that Bell Beaker culture was too early from a linguistic time depth point of view to be proto-Celtic. Rather it was perhaps pre-Proto-Italo-Celtic or maybe even Proto-Italo-Celtic towards its later phases. Then around the time of the Urnfield culture you would have had a divergence leading to proto-Italic and Proto-Celtic. Again we see the traditional models are backed somewhat via aDNA as well as some of the migration myths that say Celts have a 'Scythia' connection as seen from the older post here where there appears to be Scythian influence within the Hallstatt culture. Most of the IE proto daughter families that had their language groups eventually dominate are likely emerging around 1500-1000 BC for the first time.

alobrix said...

This PCA plot explains 79% of variance between these populations, for the sake of simplicity it is a PC1 versus PC1 plot.

Southwestern and northwestern european peoples with a celtic heritage, their bronze age parent populations, and Hallstatt from Bohemia.

What do you think about it?

andrew said...

Britain_&_Ireland_BA 0.555±0.172
Hallstatt 0.445±0.172:

The more I think about it, the more this model just doesn't ring true in a narrative sense. There is simply nothing in the archaeology or other genetic data to suggest a 45% Celtic gene pool influx in the Bronze Age collapse to early Iron Age period associated with the rise of Celtic culture in the places where it appeared. Using Y-DNA R1a as a proxy for Eastern and Central European Indo-European migration, it should be more like a 10% admixture plus or minus 5% or so, not 45%, in the relevant time period, similar to the ethnically Turkish migration into Anatolia in magnitude.

With a smaller percentage of admixture you should need a source population that is more differentiated from Britain & Ireland BA and Halstatt are from each other to get a shift in the gene pool that looks naively comparable to a 45% Halstatt admixture. Perhaps the Halstatt individuals are diluted relative to a more pure and more distinctive population from the Urnfeld culture by local Western Europeans who would have been a mix of Bell Beaker and first wave farmer with a bit of WHG sprinkled in prior to the Urnfield culture's expansion.

Davidski said...


The qpAdm model is just showing that England_IA has significant Hallstatt-related ancestry that Britain_&_Ireland_BA overall lacks.

However, as per my comment above, there appears to have been a shift towards this type of ancestry in England and Scotland already during the MBA and LBA, so the population turnover during the IA may indeed have been limited to ~10%.

In other words, there may have been a ~50% population turnover in Britain since the EBA, but only ~10% since the MLBA.

And it's possible that the Hallstatt people who moved into Britain carried some R1a lineages, like R1a-Z93 for instance, because they are found in Britain today. But they are rare, and may have been introduced by Sarmatians and/or other eastern peoples during the Roman Period.

Also, keep in mind that the singleton Hallstatt male sample belongs to R1b-P312 and is very similar to Western European Beakers, so it seems likely that Hallstatt Celts were, by and large, derived from the Beaker gene pool, and rich in R1b-M269.

Ric Hern said...

@ Davidski

That is why I wonder how much Beaker like Unetice Culture was ? It looks to me if Steppe related Beaker people after reaching the Atlantic some backmigrated into Hungary and Czechia forming the Early Unetice which then expanded Northwestwards again coming into contact with their relatives in the Northwest...?

Davidski said...


The singleton Proto-Unetice/late Corded Ware sample from Poland belongs to R1a. And then most Unetice proper males belong to I2, probably due to some sort of founder effect, or a series of them.

So there's no obvious Beaker connection there to early Unetice, although it's likely that the Unetice population by and large did have Beaker ancestry.

Nirjhar007 said...

@ JJ
Nobody spoke “pre-Italo-Celtic” in Ireland.
Let’s stop inventing stuff up and accept the long recognised Basconic substrate in Celtic .
I am sure my friend Billy- Bob would agree . Yeehaaw

Ric Hern said...

@ Davidski


Davidski said...


I'm pretty sure that the academic consensus that forms over the next few years in regards to these issues will be more in tune with JJ's sentiments here rather than yours.

In other words, it'll be generally accepted that Celtic speech derived from the Hallstatt culture replaced more or less closely related Indo-European languages in the British and Irish Isles during the Iron Age, and not that the British Beakers and later Bronze Age groups spoke something non-Indo-European related to Basque.

And you won't be able to stop this, no matter how much you rage against it online, including at this blog.

MaxT said...


Do you know when that horse study is coming out? I thought it would be out by now, thanks.

weure said...

So in the end Unetice>Elp>Isles LBA is a real possibility!?

It could have spread some R1b U106 lines too.

Ian Mac Donald (quote Radboud on Anthrogenica):

"It may well be that the Elp culture acted as the springboard to spread many U106 clades into western Europe, but we'd have to look in detail at which clades have both a spread around that time and a geographical migration from east to west."

Cossue said...

Vasconic subtratum theory is a one man theory summarized by Theo Vennemann in his Europa Vasconica - Europa Semitica, and as long as I know is a rather fringe theory in linguistics (how many Vasconic words are there in French, English? Some biblio? Scholars studying the theory? Papers? Debates, controversies? Or just post saying it is a established theory?).

I first: against:
- Lakarra, J. A. Sobre el Europeo Antiguo y la reconstrucción del Protovasco (
- Kitson, P. R., "British and European river-names" (

Also, why no love for the "Semitic" part?

John Johnson said...

@ Nirjy

Judging by your avatar it looks like you tend to favor theories that keep getting their ass handed to them. All aboard the hay wagon for you while playing old Susanna with a sitar or your knee....moving on.

@ Davidski

Yes and what people like Nirj fail to understand is that with the initial spread of these archaic IE cultures there would have been a blanketing of various IE languages that are now lost and would have eventually been beaten out by more dominant ones. Which are more accepted substrate theories anyway when compared to Venneman's Vasconic substrate theory which has received nothing but criticism over the years:

Folker said...

I don't see anything in your comment which is contradiction with what I said.
The fact that Celtic cultures are IA doesn't mean that they have no roots in BA culture. As a matter of fact, there is a relative consensus about seeing Urnfield Culture as proto-Celtic.
BBs probably spoke a dialect of Late PIE, with perhaps an evolution to a form of Italo-Celtic. The similarities with the Anatolian branch are pleading for an evolution of Italic in the vicinity of Balkans in the late IIId millenium. Since BBs are appearing in Pannonia in the mid IIId millenium, it does make sense. By the way, the differences between different Celtic languages can be explained by influences of other IE languages probably spoken before IA in Western Europe.

Ryan said...

I'm still in the Vasconic camp, though I realize the evidence for it has been weakened considerably.

@Cossue - "how many Vasconic words are there in French, English"

The theory is it's a substrate on the Celtic languages of the Altantic fringe, not that it's a substrate in English or French. At least get the theory right. There's barely any Welsh words in English and we know damned well Welsh was a substrate in England.

@David - I wouldn't turn my nose up at the broader interpretation of Vasconic substratum theory if I were you. It fits your interpretation of the data pretty well. After all, people in pre-IE Europe spoke something. Your dispute is over where and when that substrate entered western IE languages (ie was the Atlantic Bronze Age IE speaking or not, were late Bell Beakers IE speaking or not).

The Atlantic Bronze Age and late Bell Beakers could have been firmly IE-speaking and had substrate similar to Vasconic from the non-steppe part of their heritage. And what better candidate is there for such a language other than Vasconic?

Unless you're suggesting pre-IE Europe was mute... :3

Samuel Andrews said...

Even, if proto-Celts and pre-Celtic Brits were like genetic brothers we can differentiate them with Y DNA. British Bell Beaker/Bronze age had 80%+ R1b L21. Hallstatt did not.

The amount of pre-Celtic ancestry in the British Isles can roughly be measured by R1b L21 frequencies. If, proto-Celtic were mostly of Beaker-origin they should have R1b U152 or another kind of R1b P312. R1b L21 however is the only excessively popular P312 clade in the British Isles.

Point is, I got doubts proto-Celtic impact in the British Isles was significant. Just look at Bretons in France. They've got 80%+ R1b, I bet almost all of it is R1b L21.

mike said...

Remember that Celtic is a language while the belief an archaeological culture spoke a language is often an attempt at deduction with no hard evidence if there is no writing. You are probably safer testing bodies of people who are certain to have been Celtic speakers in late periods than picking a culture that classical archaeological theory has suggested is Celtic and then projecting that forwards. Work back from certain Celtic speakers, not forward from theoretical Celtic cultures like urnfield. Golden rule of archaeology is Work from what you know into what you don’t know, not the other way around.

mike said...

I have my doubts that a neat and tidy correlation of of autosomal signal and the details of evolution of Celtic will exist. The impact of Hallstatt and LaTene cultures in some Celtic speaking areas is so slight that it’s pointless reanimating the classical model. What we see in the material culture is constant emulation of high status objects and ideas without evidence of invasion in terms of replication of the lower status/less mobile aspects of life like house type, domestic pottery, burial mode etc. That is what we mostly see in the elites of westeen and central Europe c2000-750BC. This best fits the several mechanisms that would allow non invasive friendly contact with only trickle movement that can be seen in later sources on the social structure of the celts; constant low level relay type contact, clientship, trade, elite marriage, elite hostage giving, mutual fosterage of elite children away from their marital parents , human dowries of soldiers, mercenaries, extra-tribal free movement of skilled and learned specialist classes etc. That stuff would be a more or less constant process, felt strongest among those on the main communication routes and much less so among those off the beaten track. The collective linguistic effect could have been very powerful on the elite and promoted conversion of dialect or at least hugely slowed divergence.

Primitive (ogham) Irish still spoken around 500AD in Ireland was essentially still proto-Celtic even though it was probably 1500 years younger than it. The celts seem to have had a social structure that was peculiarly good at preventing linguistic divergence and that should not be forgotten when the linguistic clock is considered.

Nirjhar007 said...

@ Johnston

Err, I admit I am not an expert here, but Vasconic substrate in Celtic is considered by Linguists, and that’s a different issue to Vennemans theory of a pan-Vasconic Western Europe since the ice age expanding from Iberia. And is it that hard to think that a group from 2500 BCE might speak a different language to another, over 1000 years later, despite similar genetics ? What do you suppose the Etruscans would look like ..

Btw, I am not an OIT supporter, but thanks for judging on the basis of ethnicity.

@ Dave
Maybe, we will see how all the pieces get together.

Nirjhar007 said...


Obviously there was no population change but elite mobility and marked social change occurred. For example, in 2200 BCE all Central European BB cemeteries end, and the shift from Dutch BB to Elp culture entailed a regional population replacement. Even further afield, there is evidence of Urnfield then Hallstatt chief burials in Iberia and Britain. The end of the LBA saw a collapse of former Bronze Age chiefs and rise of new Iron Age ones in Ireland.

So, it’s not a situation pan-Celtic chiefs humming in synchrony for eons, as you suggest (sounds like a hangover from Immobilist and “Celtic from the west” theories, and is in any case empirically incorrect).

In other words, contrary to the theories of elite dominance concocted on this blog for Anatolia and South Asia, here is an instance where we have evidence of elite conquest and movements.

Davidski said...


Latest news from ancient Iberia...

Every man in Spain was wiped out 4500 years ago by hostile invaders

Ryan said...

@David - Looking forward to that paper. Makes it less likely in my view though that Basque survived that sort of a wipe out though.

Davidski said...


Makes it less likely in my view though that Basque survived that sort of a wipe out though.

But it seems like it did, and it's probably not a coincidence that it did so in a mountainous area.

The other option is that proto-Basque arrived in Iberia with these invaders from the east. But I seriously doubt that this is going to be one of the options entertained in the forthcoming paper.

The reasonable conclusion, and the one that you're likely to see in the paper, is that in spite of this massive patrilineal upheaval, and against all odds, a few non-Indo-European languages survived in Iberia into the Iron Age, and Basque somehow made it into the modern era.

Mikkel said...

Davidski: "Latest news from ancient Iberia...

Every man in Spain was wiped out 4500 years ago by hostile invaders"

Anyone got a way to jump the paywall?

Davidski said...

I can't access the full article, but it sounds like the paper or preprint will be out very soon.

Ryan said...

@David - "The other option is that proto-Basque arrived in Iberia with these invaders from the east."

That's what I suspect (and have for a while), but I agree the paper will assume not.

There's also the Iberian language itself to explain.

Ryan said...

Key words in your statement there being "against all odds." If you have to add that, it's not the most likely conclusion, is it?

Slumbery said...


"The other option is that proto-Basque arrived in Iberia with these invaders from the east. "

Or they had nothing to do with the event either way. First because one need a very dense sampling to claim a complete wipe for the entire of Spain, so I suspect that title is exaggerated. Second because Basques might very well arrived even later than 4500 BP.

Davidski said...

Yeah, obviously, the title is way out there, because it's extremely unlikely that every single man in Spain was killed during the Bronze Age by these newcomers.

EastPole said...

So the theory Yamnaya R1b –> Western Europe looks more and more real. It is discussed here:

Thank God R1a stopped that murderous expansion of Yamnaya R1b tribes and preserved some diversity in Eastern Europe. The world would be dull without it.

Nirjhar007 said...

@ Dave

a few non-Indo-European languages survived in Iberia into the Iron Age, and Basque somehow made it into the modern era

Nope. Iberia was full of non-IE languages- Tartessian, Basque , Acquitanian, Iberian..
The late entrant Celtic was surrounded by them !.
This is Wikipedia level stuff mate...

Davidski said...


This is Wikipedia level stuff mate...

Then start using it.

Here's a linguistic map of Iron Age Iberia from Wikipedia. Indo-European is the dominant language group.

Matt said...

@Ryan, it's possible for that to be the case, as after all, the only IE we have surviving in Iberia by the time of Roman conquest (and records) is forms of Celtic, an Iron Age replacement or homogenisation of earlier dialects.

Though we have to bear in mind that models of linguistic replacement don't necessarily really make sense when we think about IE in Western Europe as a linguistic community which would have evolved together. Not necessarily the case that speakers in Iberia went incommunicado from those in Central Europe and both could evolve towards proto-Celtic together. Seems to me there is no necessary "need" for replacement to get to Celtic dialects in either Britain or Iberia, and the concept of a Celtic urheimat or expansion may be wrongheaded. (More or less what Mike has said upthread). Dna evidence on mobility at this time will help with this, though very finescaled differences so hard to evidence - as Sam notes y dna diversification some evidence against elite population movements, at least of a mass+elite character to effect significant population change.

The dispute I have with Vasconic Substrate (of any sort of date; pre-BA or this pre-IA variant) is that isn't really any evidence *for* that idea; Vasconic Substrate is considered lacking in any positive evidence by scholars, and I get slightly annoyed at the bias shown by certain persons to make it seem bigger than it is within the linguistic community.

Ric Hern said...

I agree with Mike.

It looks like Northern Bell Beaker people practiced some Consernatism after the formation of their Culture in Central Europe. As they spread West from there they seemed to have wiped out most the previous inhabitants and not assimilated much. This could also point to Conservatism of Language and could easily stretch the formation of Proto-Celtic a few more centuries into the distant past contrary to popular belief....

Nothing really indicate that a Language could not have been Conservative at some time during its formation...

Nirjhar007 said...

@ Dave

Yeah -spatially, & in the Iron Age.
Not numerically.
Don’t you see: one expansive Celtic language through the inland (Lusitanian is now just considered a locally abberant Celtic), and several non-IE, divergent idioms.
(A great illustrationües_paleohispàniques-ang.jpg )

You see the majority of languages in Iberia are non -IE. Are they all “a few lucky survivors” or later migrants (from where ? DF27 Baquea can have only come from Iberia or France, right ?).

Anyhow that is my take, which i think is reasonable, so claims of mental illness are not warranted.

Btw speaking of new papers, got any news on more steppe or Asia aDNA ?

John Johnson said...

@ Nirj

"...thanks for judging me..."

Well one good turn deserves another. Anyway....

Its hard to understand your position now because you're saying linguists back Vasconic in Celtic yet are trying to separate the theory from Veneman who is basically the main proponent of linguistic elements derived from said language family found in other IE languages throughout Europe. There are very few other linguists that would even touch Vasconic with a 36 foot long pole because of all the criticism Veneman, the poster child for this theory has received throughout the years. So you'll have to elaborate more on what you mean here....

And BTW, Etruscan's position is likely not a Neolithic survivor language or earlier like some may consider Vasconic derived languages. Rather its origins likely originate from Lemnos or around that area and enters Italy around the time of Villanovan II. Its more likely a relatively late intruder than something in the area where its known from historical times left over from older times. There's a thread on Anthrogenica that does a good job of discussing this. I suggest you track it down.

velvetgunther said...

"Yeah, obviously, the title is way out there, because it's extremely unlikely that every single man in Spain was killed during the Bronze Age by these newcomers."

Even science publications resort to dramatic clickbait headlines. Those Iberian guys did not have to be killed, they just left few or no descendants. More likely, some were killed, some were enslaved, and all the fertile women went to the invaders.

André de Vasconcelos said...

Lusitanian wasn't just "a locally abberant Celtic", there's evidence that suggests some group from beyond the Pyrenees was in north-central Portugal in the late bronze age (Lusitanians also seemed to be mostly a bronze age culture, with iron being adopted at a relatively later stage), an area later considered typically Lusitanian.
Václav Blažek's paper on the language concludes with:

"The etymological and grammatical analysis of the lexical and onomastic corpus
of Lusitanian, which is at our disposal, indicates that this language belongs
into the circle of the Western Indo-European languages, with closest cognates
with the Italic and Celtic languages, but undoubtedly different from them, representing its own group comparable with the statute of Italic, Celtic, Germanic,

Whether it really arrived in the Beakers in the Bronze Age, late Bronze, with Celts, no one can say for sure, but their celticisation seems rather incomplete and probably a result of mesetan celtic cultural influence, rather than a previously inherited style

EastPole said...

There is a Spanish article about Reich’s presentation:

“However, the team found a dramatic change in the Y chromosomes , which are only carried by men. "There is a complete replacement of the Y chromosome," Reich said. The DNA of the original males disappeared from the set of genes. "That means that the men who entered had preferential access to local women, over and over again," Reich said.” (Google translated)

Samuel Andrews said...

The admixture event in Iberia between 'Steppe' invaders & natives was a repeat of what happened earlier somewhere in central/eastern Europe between Steppe invaders & natives. There was equal contribution by both native & Steppe gene pools but only Steppe (R1b L151) Y DNA survived.

Clearly, the same cultural practices are responsible for both events. If, Europe had more land west of Iberia, they'd keep moving west. Eventually, you'd have a population with 10% Steppe ancestry but 100% Steppe Y DNA.

This paper's theory I think explains what cultural practise caused these confusing Y DNA replacements to happen: Patrlinial clan groups.

Cultural hitchhiking and competition between patrilineal kin groups\

Samuel Andrews said...

I don't like to characterize & stero-type pre-historic people or box them into narratives. But, frankly I'm happen that our DNA has echoes of patriarchy. These echoes aren't quite. They're wicked loud!! The Y DNA replacements that we see in ancient DNA are pretty dang impressive. Very, very Powerful forces made them happen.

The social sciences has way too many leftist post-modernist. Here's a giant middle finger for them coming straight from their ancestors' graves. I get so tired of their crap. They're always politicizing history.

If, western European historians want to talk about their peoples' origins they're gonna be forced to mention this stuff. I know they're spin it like they always do. They're add Bronze age western Europe as another example of evil men oppressing women. The part I like, is it has a permanent imprint on the DNA of most of the people who will be saying it.

Ryan said...

@David, @Nirjhar - the map's half and half, okay? Let's not argue about who was dominant. It was clearly pretty mixed.

I think what else is notable though is that there are no IE languages present that plausibly predate the Urnfield Culture's arrival.

Davidski said...


It's not half, half. Non-Indo-European languages are restricted to eastern Iberia. Here's the relevant Wikipedia entry...

And Aquitanian (proto-Basque) might be a very late arrival in northeast Iberia...

Bob Floy said...

Nirjhar only comes here to knit-pick whatever is being said at this blog and cause trouble, because he's upset that his pet theory(OIT and various watered-down versions of the same)ended up in the trash can. He's not here because he cares about the truth, he just tries to diminish the role of the Indo-European expansions whenever he sees an opportunity.

Leucuuo said...

@Davidski, nevertheless, Late Basquisation remains a fringe or "minority" view (as the Wikipedia article you have referenced says). The conventional view follows the earliest historical accounts of SW Europe – in the early Iron Age i.e. following the founding of Phoenician colonies in the western Mediterranean from the 11th century BCE onwards. (The first being Gades, later known as Cadiz, which I think is still regarded as the oldest city in Europe.) The Phoenicians were followed by the Greeks colonies, around the river Eber (modern Ebro), which was the basis of the Greek exonym Iberes (for the native people) and Iberia (originally only the areas that we know as Valencia and Catalonia). The earliest (Greek) documentary sources testify to both the ethnolinguistic relatedness of the Iberes in the east, the Aquitani (to their immediate north) and the Vascones. The same sources indicate that these three did not speak languages that could be classified as Celtic, Italic, Lusitanian, Greek or any other Indo-European languages (other than Celticised peoples like the Celtiberi). Neither did they speak a Semitic language (like Phoenician). (The Iberes proper naturally had the greatest contact of these peoples with the Mediterranean world, as shown by their still only partly deciphered scripts, which appear to have been influenced by the scripts of both the Phoenicians and Greeks. But are cleatly not used to record either language, or one related to it.) Neither is there (afaik) any suggestion of some kind of Indo-European substrate under Basque. Hence the hypothesis that Vasconic speakers arrived in SW Europe after/simultaneously with IE speakers might seem unparsimonous?

Nirjhar007 said...

@ Johnston
Yes we have all heard the origin myth of etruscans.
It will be funny if they are also steppe rich and R1b, and R1 continues to be absent from Anatolian and Greeks .

@ Matt
Isn’t there a Germanic homeland, Slavic homeland, Indo-Aryan homeland
But no Celtic homeland ? You feel such an idea is wrong . Hhmm ....

@ Ryan
Yes Celtic seems late arrival
One IE language vs 3 or 4 non-IE..

@ Andre
Well that is one interpretation, and an older one at that

C.f - “ Dagmar Wodtko argues that it is hard to identify Lusitanian personal or place-names that are without question not Celtic.[10] Some argue that the p- in PORCOM does not alone mark Lusitanian as not Celtic,[11] and that it could be classed as a Celtic dialect, but one that preserved Indo-European *p (or possibly an already phonetically weakened [ɸ], written P as an archaism). This is based largely on numerous apparently Celtic personal, deity, and place names.”
So Lusitanian is Celtic, as no one would presume that all Celtic was 100% homogeneous.

@ Matt.
Interesting idea. It seems Ryan & you are invoking peer-polity interaction, and I don’t really disagree.
However, I had a look at a book about England - seems like significant migrations of Hallstatt chiefs occurred.
“Hallstatt immigration was not confined to the coast. Inland sites were numerous ..Another is at Park Brow where Hallstatt invaders seem to have destroyed a village of Bronze Age round huts with rectangular longhouses...”

Then I look ed Myres et al. England has a whopping 76% of R1b-L51, yet only 30% is the bell Beaker L-21 (correct me if I am wrong here, as you guys are the experts). Yes, the dilution could be due to Romans, and Germanics , but surely some would be from the (real) Celts from the continent.

@ Billy Bob. Thanks for the comments. Deep, as usual.

@ Ryan
Sorry, maybe I did not write properly. I don’t mean in terms of space, but diversity – one Celtic language zone in Iberia, and 3 non-IE languages around it (Tartessian, Iberian, Basques-Aquitanian).
It is a shame we don’t also have inscriptions from Britain until the late Celticization of Ireland…

Davidski said...


Yes we have all heard the origin myth of etruscans.

It will be funny if they are also steppe rich and R1b, and R1 continues to be absent from Anatolian and Greeks.

Yeah, just as funny as your prediction of no ASI in Harappans.

You really don't know when to quit, even after so many fails.

Maybe you should team up with Alberto and write a fantasy novel in which Harappans spoke Proto-Indo-European, and hired the Botai people to spread it to Europe. Or something like that based on Alberto's wacky posts here from the last few years.

But who'd read it, let alone pay for it? Maybe just the five or six regulars at Alberto's new blog.

Nirjhar007 said...

@ Dave
Did I say there’d be no ASI? .
That would be way off.

Still, there was no population replacement like you predicted.So nobody’s perfect.

Yes Dave, your blog is very popular. I am a big fan too, and especially enjoy the creative interpolations, and fact-liberal reconstructions.

Davidski said...


Did I say there’d be no ASI? That would be way off.

Yes, you did, and indeed it was way off.

A Yamnaya-like population in Harappa?

Yes, I was laughing when you claimed that, and we can all laugh now. HAHAHAHA!!!

André de Vasconcelos said...


You need to do more than to pull a quote on Lusitanian language from wikipedia, the issues with Lusitanian aren't just the *p (although this is the main one), it's also in vocabulary, toponyms (many -briga names have an non-celtic IE root prefix), personal names and the fact that it is a substractum in places where Celtic was also spoken, notably in places inhabited by Gallaecian and Asturian tribes (broadly NW Iberia).

Most evidence seems to point toward an older language, probably an early split from a proto/para-celtic language that arrived before proper celts got there - my personal opinion in the late bronze age, rather than beaker period which seems way too early

Davidski said...

Hey Nirjhar, tell us again about the R1a in Globular Amphora and Maykop. LOL

John Johnson said...

@ Nirj

"...etruscans....steppe rich and R1b....."

Yeesh, and there it is. Another curve ball statement that will likely culminate into a swing a miss when the actual data comes out.

For your sake, I hope you're doing this for the lutz, but if not, I honestly have to say you are probably one of the poorest educated people on these topics I have run into in a while. I mean, you could point out more legitimate tangible criticism relating to some of these frameworks of prehistoric language dispersal but instead you pull for the weakest positions you really could every single time. Not too smart m8.

Actually this guy reminds me a bit of that other guy over at the anthrogenica thread discussing the Hittite aDNA paper and constantly throwing out ergativity as the reason the whole PCS theory does not work. It was amusing to an extant but at the same time I really started feeling bad for the guy.

Ryan said...

@David - do we have Iron Age / Late Bronze Age samples from Lusitanians and Celtiberians? A lot of the scuttlebutt here should be testable.

Bob Floy said...


"For your sake, I hope you're doing this for the lutz..."

No, he's serious and he's been doing this for years now.
And as David points out, he dosen't know when to quit, just keeps coming back to do the same thing, no matter how many times he fails, with this unwarranted cockiness that would be off-putting even if he were right. At least it's easy to predict what he'll say; in any topic that gets discussed here, Nirjhar will find the angle that reduces the contribution of steppe people the most, and push it until he can't anymore. For a long time, according to him, South Asia's R1a and Indo-Aryan languages originated with the IVC, and, he promised to leave the internet forever if he turned out to be wrong. But he's still here! It's almost like he's a person of low character who can't admit when they're wrong, or something like that.

Davidski said...


Do we have Iron Age / Late Bronze Age samples from Lusitanians and Celtiberians?

We don't.

Davidski said...


Has it ever crossed your mind to try things a different way after so many bold but failed theories and predictions?

You know, sort of like what hamsters do in lab experiments when they change their behavior for food rewards?

For instance, instead of being constantly wrong and arrogant about being wrong, have you considered coming up with coherent, realistic arguments and being cautious in the way you present them?

It might be an idea if you want to convince anyone that you're not just a troll and indeed if you want to keep posting here. Think about it.

Qarlos said...

@Ryan @Davidski

esp005 from Cueva de los Lagos in La Rioja region (Four millennia of Iberian biomolecular prehistory..., Valdiosera et al.) could be a proto-Celtiberian:

'Although the human remains recovered from the interior of the cave come from uncontrolled excavation and thus lacks context, both the settlement and the burial are associated to the Cogotas culture of the Late Bronze Age, whose most characteristic element is the type of ceramic decoration termed Boquique'.

Las Cogotas culture is the inmediate predecessor of Celtiberian in Central Iberia, and so Celtiberian-like if we don't assume the latest possible arrival of celtic people to Iberia.

Davidski said...

OK, well Iberia_BA:esp005 is in the Global25 datasheets.

Bogdan said...


“Work back from certain Celtic speakers, not forward from theoretical Celtic cultures like urnfield. Golden rule of archaeology is Work from what you know into what you don’t know, not the other way around.”

I like your thoughts, keep em’ coming..

In my opinion, trying to unravel linguistic signals from myriads of linear strings connected to knots and webs within a gigantic ball of twine is so complex and susceptible to errors right now, it’s not even interesting.... Corroborating and or proving/disproving with aDNA to the archeological evidence gathered thus far and in future, is so much more profound and precient. Also, a lot more potential capital to fund such future efforts...

Bogdan said...


“Barbed Wire Beaker Culture with some additional Tumulus and Urnfield Cultural influence. Helversum can be linked to Wessex in Southern Britain so maybe the related Elp Culture can be linked to Scotland...?”

I don’t believe in so many Wiki attempts at cultural distinctions. I am inclined to believe Europeans are for the most part, basically a homogenous people hell bent on killing and displacing each other from lands for past 4000 years or so... In my thought, Elp / Hilversum peoples never actually existed..

Ric Hern said...

@ Bogdan

Yes. When we look at related people today we see some running after the next most popular invention and others try to be different from the norm. This seems to be the case in Europe aswell since at least the Late Bronze Age....

weure said...

'Thus, even though the Hallstatt samples from Bylany don't appear to be ideal proxies for the admixture in England_IA that is lacking in Britain_&_Ireland_BA, the signal they produce does suggest that a closely related population arrived in the British Isles during or after the Bronze Age to give rise to England_IA.'

In this respects is this overview based on G25 done by Capitalis interesting:

The W-Czech Beakers seems to be an important signal of Indo-European or call it proto-Celtic/Urkeltentum component. It's a kind of basic layer for people from what is labeled Celtic area's as Wales and Cornwall and what is labeled Germanic as the Low Lands and Germany pretty much alike!!

IMO due to the 'proto-Celtic' Nordwestblock (Elp culture), the Nordwestblock was a bridgehead to the Isles.

Is this the missing link!?