Monday, November 9, 2015

Waiting For The Next Big Paper

There have been a number of interesting papers on historical genetics and prehistory in the past couple of weeks that I haven't covered because I've been spending lots of days litigating cases in court and in arbitration forums for my clients.

But, a fair amount of interest in the field is devoted to the next big ancient DNA paper which a number of conference announcements discussed by Bell Beaker blogger suggest is coming sometime soon this autumn (in the Northern hemisphere) that will finally shed light on the genetics of the Western European Bell Beaker phenomena.

Of course, it could turn out that the blogging community had read too much into the tea leaves.  But, if such a paper is released, it could resolve a lot of the biggest remaining questions in historical genetics and prehistory.  Western European ancient DNA has been covered much less comprehensively than Central and Eastern Europe in recent autosomal ancient DNA studies, but the archaeology of Western Europe is pretty comprehensive and the technology can now do amazing things with lower quality remains, so there is good reason to be hopeful that the rumored new paper or two will be far more than hype.

Frustratingly, some of these conferences took place in October, but the content of the presentations has nonetheless apparently escaped the Internet's grasp.  But, this does argue against any major breakthrough papers.

This information, in turn, will also shed a lot of light on the question of when, how and from where the Indo-European languages and any predecessor languages arrived in Western Europe, although since pots are not people, new data can only strengthen or weaken arguments about historical linguistics, rather than resolve them definitively.


Davidski said...

Haak communicated at the recent conference in Wales that the Bell Beaker paper, or two papers, will be out next year. He didn't reveal any new results.

But apparently before then we might see a paper clarifying where the Caucasus-like ancestry in Khvalynsk/Yamnaya came from.

It's no secret that lots of ancient samples from Bulgaria, Greece (inc. Mycenaeans), and the Caucasus have been analyzed at the various labs, and papers are in preparation, or maybe even in press.

bellbeakerblogger said...

I hope it is as you say! Again reading tea leaves, I think there has already been some broadcasting or hinting towards population renewal as a few who have had previous positions <formally are now asking different questions.

I bet new answers will bring even more questions.

andrew said...

Thanks for the news. New Bell Beaker, Balkan and Caucasus papers would all be extremely welcome.