Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Prehistoric European Quick Hits

* The prehistoric record of tsunamis in Southwest Iberia helps to explain the archaeological record and suggests a possible Iberian tsunami as the source of the Atlantis myth.

* Maju notes the availability of a new collection of papers regarding the early Balkan Neolithic.  The was a launching pad from which much of the process of bringing farming and herding to Europe originated and in turn provides a way to discern its sources in turn.

* Bell Beaker blogger notes a polemic arguing that the Iberian expansion theory of Bell Beaker expansion isn't necessarily as strong, vis-a-vis a central European origin and dispersal in light of the archaeological evidence as has frequently been asserted.  The paper is thin on evidence, looking mostly to dates of Central European cemeteries without detailed discussion, and reinterpreting existing evidence, neither of which are powerful when going up against a prevailing paradigm in the field.  But, it does not mention evidence from the European Y-DNA R1b phylogeny that does tend to support a central European origin and makes the arguments there worth examining more closely.

* Bell Beaker blogger also continues to explore the links between ancient beer brewing and mystical or magic lore in prehistoric Europe, with a linguistic slant.

* Another intriguing Bell Beaker blogger post explores the potential roots of European pottery traditions in the far East and Jomon pottery traditions and links it to Y-DNA R expansion.

* And, Bell Beaker blogger also has a nice post on trade across the Strait of Gibraltar, before and after the Bell Beaker period, in goods like ivory and ostrich egg shells.

* Dienekes' Anthropology blog has picked up on a paper also discussed at Marginal Revolution (where I commented noting various adjustments that could be made to obtain a more accurate measurment) making back of napkin estimates of the potential genetic impact of capital punishment from 1500-1750 CE on the murder rate in Britain.  The murder rate fell tenfold in that period which also experienced many executions.

* Another paper notes at the same blog discusses the arrival of wheat in Britain thousands of years before farming commenced there.

* And, Dienekes comes to some conclusions from his own analysis of Armenian genetics.

* Scandinavian rock art suggests that ancient Swedes may have personally gone all the way to Cyprus to trade copper and tin for amber without a middle man in the Bronze Age.

* Eurogenes notes the important discovery of ancient Y-DNA R1a1 paired with mtDNA H in NW Russian towards Finland in hunter gatherer populations from ca. 4000 BCE.  This is one of several new ancient data points (another being the paper discussed here) that really reinforce the theory that Y-DNA R1a1 paired with mtDNA H in Europe arrived with Indo-Europeans from NW Russia as part of the Corded Ware culture in the Copper Age, and that R1b in Europe paired with mtDNA H might derive in the same period from further South around the Pontic-Caspian Steppe.  The autosomal data from the Pontic-Caspian steppe is a good fit for a major component (perhaps 75% replacement in Central Europe) of Europe's DNA.

* Eurogenes also discusses a new linguistics paper on a European steppe origin for the Indo-European languages.

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