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View Full Version : Z220 in ancient DNA from the Tollense battlefield: the North side of the NS Cluster



razyn
09-05-2020, 03:55 AM
We haven't had a new thread, for quite a while, about the branch of DF27 that used to be called "the North-South Cluster," based on a recognizable STR signature (and a few years before DF27 itself was discovered, and named). I have a perspective on the topic that isn't very widely shared, so I feel some obligation to bring several posts together in one thread. I hope I can juggle several urls to do that in a logical way.

I'll start with a new post, in which one of the Tollense bodies has been identified as Z220+. This comment was not posted in a DF27 forum, but its author ADW_1981 regularly contributes on our threads. https://anthrogenica.com/showthread.php?8066-Genetic-Genealogy-amp-Ancient-DNA-in-the-News-(DISCUSSION-ONLY)&p=698321&viewfull=1#post698321

I won't belabor that topic, which may continue to be discussed where it appeared. But for the identification of Z220 as the level at which the NS Cluster becomes recognizable, I'll link to an earlier discussion here. I posted this in the context of finding the obituaries of two members of the Zenker family -- who were enormously helpful in getting that part of the DF27 haplotree sorted, six or more years ago. https://anthrogenica.com/showthread.php?1275-DF27-Z295-CTS4065&p=556776&viewfull=1#post556776

The Tollense Battlefield remains are not early enough to prove much about the origin, or the direction of migration, of our Z220 ancestors. But any aDNA that identifies a subclade of DF27 is interesting, at present. The nature of the DF27 mutation (like that of U152) keeps it from being identified in the targeted testing of highly degraded ancient samples. So, we search a little farther downstream, where we can find Z220 (or L2), and take what we can get.

Here is some background on Tollense itself. I have yet to study it closely, but as Wikipedia entries go, it is highly informative and current: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tollense_valley_battlefield

Webb
09-05-2020, 01:39 PM
This is a very good catch!!!

ADW_1981
09-05-2020, 03:38 PM
Is there a more granular approach to digging out more informative SNPs than what Yleaf is able to determine? Since we know quite a bit about Z220 and certainly by 1300 BC, many downstream men were roaming around west-central Europe.

After doing some scanning of other threads when the first paper was released on Tollense, there was some suggesting that it was a major battle between two groups (and some mercenaries), one being local and the other being from central Europe. The R1b results and a central European connection are very plausible now that we see another male is identified under L2+. Both these groups are very common in the central European region.

Was it a battle over resources? Probably so, but which? This bridge granting access to the amber route?

razyn
09-08-2020, 02:30 PM
Well it seems that the identification of sample WEZ59 as Z220+ (based on the long ISOGG term for it, which I suppose was based on an earlier version of the ISOGG tree and now means something else) was incorrect. Anyway a Z220 negative call has been found in its BAM file. https://anthrogenica.com/showthread.php?21610-Bronze-Age-genomes-from-Tollense-Valley-Burger-et-al-2020&p=698844&viewfull=1#post698844

It's still P312* and like many such calls, could well be DF27+ (or anything else downstream of P312 that couldn't be read, or the call wasn't believed). Also, "downstream" may be a poor metaphor when applied to the remains of hundreds of guys whose bodies piled up in a river and were silted over, thereby preserved for 3,000 years.

ADW_1981
09-08-2020, 04:42 PM
Well it seems that the identification of sample WEZ59 as Z220+ (based on the long ISOGG term for it, which I suppose was based on an earlier version of the ISOGG tree and now means something else) was incorrect. Anyway a Z220 negative call has been found in its BAM file. https://anthrogenica.com/showthread.php?21610-Bronze-Age-genomes-from-Tollense-Valley-Burger-et-al-2020&p=698844&viewfull=1#post698844

It's still P312* and like many such calls, could well be DF27+ (or anything else downstream of P312 that couldn't be read, or the call wasn't believed). Also, "downstream" may be a poor metaphor when applied to the remains of hundreds of guys whose bodies piled up in a river and were silted over, thereby preserved for 3,000 years.

I think it was due to a Z274+ call? I am not aware of any Z274+ Z220- person living today so it could be a dead branch? Just like this guy, perhaps dead with no descendants. I agree it's a bit disappointing.

Webb
09-08-2020, 06:27 PM
I think it was due to a Z274+ call? I am not aware of any Z274+ Z220- person living today so it could be a dead branch? Just like this guy, perhaps dead with no descendants. I agree it's a bit disappointing.

DF17 is below Z274/Z272 also, as it is Z220/Z209's brother. I went through the whole FTDNA project , just in case something has changed in the last year or so, but you are correct as in there is no Z274* to be found.

alan
09-08-2020, 07:06 PM
I havent really read anything much about the battle, the remains etc. No more than what ive seen in basic summaries in magazines etc. I am a bit too busy and I suspect to have a good crack at understanding it may take me down a rabbit hole I dont have time for. But I will make a couple of basic comments now.

I dont know the details of the geography/physical site but battles at fords etc are thought to have been common. Fords being the natural gate into a territory.

Secondly, it seems that the bodies were part strewn on the shore and part deep enough in the water so they couldnt strip the bodies in the latter area. That pattern would to me seem to be a natural post-battle one and tends to rule out the idea that the dead warriors were a ritual deposit to some water god.

As regards who fought in the battle, there is clearly not enough data to be sure what the opponents were politically. One possibility I would raise is that they were simply neighbouring v similar tribes but that one of them had the protection of a more southerly group (by being their clients). Part of such clientship deals were that the tribe you were a client of had to protect you. Sort of protection racket style. So, it is possible IMO that the battle was between two fairly local tribes, one of whom was a client/had the protection of a powerful more southerly group. Perhaps because there was some strong trade relationship. Just one possibility among several.

The fact the bodies were left as they fell, even the ones that did not sink, and the fact that the accessible ones were stripped does suggest that the remains are the remains of the defeated. It also suggests that nobody who cared about the dead men ever got access to the area again. The most likely explanation is obviously that the locals won and let the invading army rot. However, its also not impossible that the locals (and a foreign element who they were clients of/protected by) were defeated so badly that remnants of their fighters and and non-combatants fled never to return or were enslaved and sold and their lands taken. I have not read into it in depth but there are a lot of scenarios possible IMO.

Dewsloth
09-08-2020, 07:43 PM
The fact the bodies were left as they fell, even the ones that did not sink, and the fact that the accessible ones were stripped does suggest that the remains are the remains of the defeated. It also suggests that nobody who cared about the dead men ever got access to the area again. The most likely explanation is obviously that the locals won and let the invading army rot. However, its also not impossible that the locals (and a foreign element who they were clients of/protected by) were defeated so badly that remnants of their fighters and and non-combatants fled never to return or were enslaved and sold and their lands taken. I have not read into it in depth but there are a lot of scenarios possible IMO.

I'm going to assume that wherever the "local winners" lived, it probably wasn't immediately downstream where all the bodies collected in the water.

Riverman
09-08-2020, 09:02 PM
I havent really read anything much about the battle, the remains etc. No more than what ive seen in basic summaries in magazines etc. I am a bit too busy and I suspect to have a good crack at understanding it may take me down a rabbit hole I dont have time for. But I will make a couple of basic comments now.

I dont know the details of the geography/physical site but battles at fords etc are thought to have been common. Fords being the natural gate into a territory.

Secondly, it seems that the bodies were part strewn on the shore and part deep enough in the water so they couldnt strip the bodies in the latter area. That pattern would to me seem to be a natural post-battle one and tends to rule out the idea that the dead warriors were a ritual deposit to some water god.

As regards who fought in the battle, there is clearly not enough data to be sure what the opponents were politically. One possibility I would raise is that they were simply neighbouring v similar tribes but that one of them had the protection of a more southerly group (by being their clients). Part of such clientship deals were that the tribe you were a client of had to protect you. Sort of protection racket style. So, it is possible IMO that the battle was between two fairly local tribes, one of whom was a client/had the protection of a powerful more southerly group. Perhaps because there was some strong trade relationship. Just one possibility among several.

The fact the bodies were left as they fell, even the ones that did not sink, and the fact that the accessible ones were stripped does suggest that the remains are the remains of the defeated. It also suggests that nobody who cared about the dead men ever got access to the area again. The most likely explanation is obviously that the locals won and let the invading army rot. However, its also not impossible that the locals (and a foreign element who they were clients of/protected by) were defeated so badly that remnants of their fighters and and non-combatants fled never to return or were enslaved and sold and their lands taken. I have not read into it in depth but there are a lot of scenarios possible IMO.

I came largely to similar conclusions, like expressed in another thread and this post in particular:
https://anthrogenica.com/showthread.php?21610-Bronze-Age-genomes-from-Tollense-Valley-Burger-et-al-2020&p=699065&viewfull=1#post699065

Two things to add which are important on its own: The only outlier with R1a/North Eastern shift was one of those which ended up in deeper water, so probably its just a single warrior or from a small group, or from a larger tribe or ally which participated, but they were the winners and took most other bodies away.

The other is that without testing local warrior burials, we don't know the profile of the locals - its even possible alliances met at this battlefield of which almost nobody was "truly local", even though I don't think that's likely.

Another one is that the main paternal haplotypes found so far are all not what you would expect of a Pre-Germanic group, nor were they particularly successful even in the wider region, not even to the relative South. So it seems to me we deal with an unknown people which were somehow related to Celts possibly, but were largely replaced later. They made, as a group, no big lasting impression on the macro-region. I guess that some of the lineages were at that time much wider spread and its clear to me that at that point in time, we deal with big alliances of clans, chieftains and tribes, so no strict distinction by haplogroups possible any more.


I'm going to assume that wherever the "local winners" lived, it probably wasn't immediately downstream where all the bodies collected in the water.

Considering the population density of the time, the numbers of warriors, the elaborated equipment and so on, we don't deal with locals even if I sometimes wrote about "locals", but rather about major alliances which mustered troops from far away, over wide regional groupings. This was, like some authors put it, no brawl between neighbouring peasants. I'm pretty sure we still have only a very small fraction of all the dead and many won't be recovered at all, because their remains have rotten completely on the surface. This was a huge war effort for that time and a big, irreplaceable loss. Like the losers might have been defeated for long, probably forever.
But, at some point archaeologists might be lucky, because if at least some renowned warriors were put to rest with all honours by their kinsmen and allies, they might appear somewhere. Like groups of young warriors were buried just in the region of the battlefield, some spoke about "brotherhoods". But the fallen warriors would have the same dating and similar wounds, probably someone makes a lucky find of that kind which can be connected to the battlefield. However, considering how many remains are lost or will never be found, this would be like the lucky punch for archaeologists.

alexfritz
09-08-2020, 09:36 PM
looks like the majority of the retrived deaths were locals
https://www.academia.edu/34119122/Multi_isotope_proveniencing_of_human_remains_from_ a_Bronze_Age_battlefield_in_the_Tollense_Valley_in _northeast_Germany

maybe the wrong thread

ADW_1981
09-08-2020, 10:07 PM
I'm going to assume that wherever the "local winners" lived, it probably wasn't immediately downstream where all the bodies collected in the water.

Most of the bodies are cited as from "excavations", one is a "dive find", and another is labeled "stray". I guess this means that 15 of them were just left on the ground. Curious to know why some were tossed in the river and others not.

Dewsloth
09-08-2020, 10:51 PM
Most of the bodies are cited as from "excavations", one is a "dive find", and another is labeled "stray". I guess this means that 15 of them were just left on the ground. Curious to know why some were tossed in the river and others not.

I thought some of those from excavations were deposited in the old riverbed (dumped in the river, then stopped moving downstream). Maybe I'm misremembering.

alan
09-09-2020, 10:33 PM
I mentioned the idea that it could have been a relatively local clash between tribes or factions of the same tribe but that one side had a foreign protector via clientship. Another possibility is that it was a fight for the kingshop among a tribe and that one faction or perhaps both used the mechanism of calling on the tribe he had been fostered into as a child (before returning) to help him win the struggle. This was common in agnatic clan societies where royal rivals for kingship might be brothers or first cousins and drawing on foster parents of his youth to fight on your side was common. The clientship or fosterage thing giving foreign allies to a faction is much more likely that mercenaries which is a bit of an anachronism or a speculative invasion by an entirely foreign force into an obscure area.

alan
09-10-2020, 07:16 AM
Arguably Ireland in the early Christian Era was no more developed than these later Bronze Age societies in this area. We know from Irish laws of this era that the smallest petty kings had armies of around 700 men and that typically a few petty kingdoms would for a small over kingdom. So an army of 2000 men would not have been uncommon. So, I think the surprise that a few thousand men were fighting at Tollense is probably misplaced. Armies of course would have probably been mostly just ordinary peopler from the kingdom/extended clan with a minority of Better armed nobles (likely often on horses) who were not directly farming. The nobles May have had a small core of full time foot warriors almost like A body guard too. Other complicating factors of course are armies could been composed of clans/tribes in clientship arrangements. Also help from familial ties nor based on male lineage (marriage, former foster tribe) could bring in extra fighting men. So it’s likely a lot more complex than some sort of Bronze Age version of the Roman v Germanics Teutoburger Wald battle

alan
09-10-2020, 07:41 AM
Arguably Ireland in the early Christian Era was no more developed than these later Bronze Age societies in this area. We know from Irish laws of this era that the smallest petty kings had armies of around 700 men and that typically a few petty kingdoms would form a small over kingdom. So an army of 2000 men would not have been uncommon. So, I think the surprise that a few thousand men were fighting at Tollense is probably misplaced.

Armies of course would have probably been mostly just ordinary people from the kingdom/extended clan with a minority of Better armed nobles (likely often on horses) who were not directly involved in hands-on farming but lived off tribute from their clients and tenants. The nobles likely also had a small core of full time foot warriors almost like A body guard too.

Other complicating factors of course are armies could been composed of multiple lclans/tribes in clientship arrangements. Also help from familial ties not based on male lineage/relationships (marriage, former foster tribe) could bring in extra allies and fighting men. So it’s likely a lot more complex than some sort of Bronze Age version of the Roman v Germanics Teutoburger Wald battle.

I think the battle of Magh Rath in the 600s AD in Ireland is a good example of a large battle where complex alliances and soldiers from widespread areas were involved due to all sorts of political and social relationships. That involved confederations, alliances and even involved oversees allies from Scotland as well as at least some exiled Anglo-Saxon and Frankish nobles and retainers. In the round, this sort of picture could have produced the kind of genetic stuff we see at Tollense. Most stuff on the web on the battle of Magh Rath (Moira) is total nonsense including Wikipedia which had a terrible entry. This is the only thing worth reading on the web and it shows the very cosmopolitan nature of the army. https://www.academia.edu/11750667/A_Frankish_aristocrat_at_the_battle_of_Mag_Rath

Riverman
09-10-2020, 09:07 AM
So it’s likely a lot more complex than some sort of Bronze Age version of the Roman v Germanics Teutoburger Wald battle

I think its not like Teutoburger Wald concerning one big class of ethnic tribals vs one professional foreign army, but there are other parallels:
- The trap. This too might have been a surprise attack, there too the column might have been long, in a narrow path along the river, attacked from higher ground.
- Like in the battle of the Teutoburger Wald, more and more locals might have joined the battle. Because for the Teutboburger it was noted, that when the nearby tribes heard the Romans were losing, more and more came to join the onslaught, which were not ready before, because they wanted to take their share of the booty and glory.
Like people which didn't wanted to risk the fight before, but when they heard the former favorite is losing, they wanted to join and not miss the once in a lifetime chance to crash some Roman skulls and get some valuables. Could have been similar hear, after the news of the ongoing defeat reached more tribes, more and more did join the hunt for the survivors. I would guess that not just along the Tollense dead would be lying, but the whole region would have become a big hunting ground with more and more locals, even simple farmers with the simplest of weapons, seeing their chance to participate in such a "glorious endeavour".
We know that from other cases too and I wonder how many dead were really around and how many men of the losing army made it home.

alan
09-10-2020, 09:29 AM
I think its not like Teutoburger Wald concerning one big class of ethnic tribals vs one professional foreign army, but there are other parallels:
- The trap. This too might have been a surprise attack, there too the column might have been long, in a narrow path along the river, attacked from higher ground.
- Like in the battle of the Teutoburger Wald, more and more locals might have joined the battle. Because for the Teutboburger it was noted, that when the nearby tribes heard the Romans were losing, more and more came to join the onslaught, which were not ready before, because they wanted to take their share of the booty and glory.
Like people which didn't wanted to risk the fight before, but when they heard the former favorite is losing, they wanted to join and not miss the once in a lifetime chance to crash some Roman skulls and get some valuables. Could have been similar hear, after the news of the ongoing defeat reached more tribes, more and more did join the hunt for the survivors. I would guess that not just along the Tollense dead would be lying, but the whole region would have become a big hunting ground with more and more locals, even simple farmers with the simplest of weapons, seeing their chance to participate in such a "glorious endeavour".
We know that from other cases too and I wonder how many dead were really around and how many men of the losing army made it home.

It often seems that unexpected triumphs and serious mass slaughters occur when invaders get lured into a bottleneck near water, boxed in and escape is tricky. I think otherwise the norm would be to flee once the battle was clearly turning against you. But in a geographical bottleneck serous wipe outs of armies could take place. Probably a relatively rare event requiring an epic fail in knowledge by the attackers but these mass slaughters in bottlenecks are often famous - probably due to rarity. Think Teutoburger Wald. Also Scottish victories against English at Bannockburn and Stirling Bridge. Apparently the defeat of the Angles by the Picts at Nechtansmere was also a similar trap in a watery bottleneck. Several of the rare big victories of the Irish against the British in the 16th and 17th century had this element too. Like the battles of Yellow Ford, Benburb and Bendoora, the first two of which left 1000s lying dead.

Riverman
09-10-2020, 10:15 AM
Absolutely, sometimes though the attacker could use the same advantages, with one of the most prominent historical examples being the Battle of Lake Trasimene:

Hannibal's victory over the Roman army at Lake Trasimene remains, in terms of the number of men involved, the largest ambush in military history.

Particularly important:

The Romans were pursuing so rapidly that they were unable to carry out proper reconnaissance.

I imagine the situation at Tollense being almost exactly the same:

The morning of June 21, the Roman troops marched eastward along the road running near the northern edge of the lake. Eager for battle, Flaminius pushed his men hard and hurried up the column in the rear. Hannibal then sent a small skirmish force to draw the vanguard away from the front of the line, in order to split the Roman forces. Once all the Romans had at last marched through the foggy, narrow defile and entered the plains skirting the lake, trumpets were blown, signalling the general attack.


The Carthaginian cavalry and infantry swept down from their concealed positions in the surrounding hills, blocked the road and engaged the unsuspecting Romans from three sides. Surprised and outmanoeuvred, the Romans did not have time to draw up in battle array, and were forced to fight a desperate hand-to-hand battle in open order. The Romans were quickly split into three parts. The westernmost was attacked by the Carthaginian cavalry and forced into the lake, leaving the other two groups with no way to retreat. The centre, including Flaminius, stood its ground, but was cut down by Hannibal's Gauls after three hours of heavy combat.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Lake_Trasimene

The numbers of casualties are particularly interesting, with so little for Hannibal's forces, and so many for the Romans, even though they didn't give in and fought to the death for the most part.

So while I think the attackers were lured into the trap, one cannot be absolutely sure who was who before not having tested local warrior burials and more from the deeper ground, which were left untouched from both sides.

alan
09-10-2020, 11:49 AM
But overall I dont think armies of this apparent scale and consisting of a mix of local levy of ordinary men, nobles, exotic elements and strange outlier individuals is at all a problem to fit into what was likely the structure of society at the time. Nor are the numbers that extraordinary IMO. Just a big battle between one or two tribal confederations with clientship arrangements and other groups. To put it into context, Irish early christian laws and other records suggest armies of 2-3000 on each side occasionally were raised for big power struggles and included a complex mix of people. Another thing to note is the petty kingdoms which the irish laws say raised 700 men were the often just perhaps a fifth of an Irish county in size and groupings of them into overkingdoms were likely just three or four of those petty kingdoms i.e.3000 men in a geogrphical area the size of less than one Irish county (there are 32 Irish counties). So, a battle like that could be thought on geographical terms to be kind of like a large chunk of one Irish country v another army from a territory of similar size. It seems that such overkindom territories were thought to be able to raise 2-3000 men in Irish records. In those days the total adult population of an Irish overkindom like that might have been only 10000 or so. The battle of Moira was really a battle between a couple of allied overkingdoms plus other allies fighting a similar sized ememy. So, total numbers of this large battle may have been around 4-6000 on each side IMO. So, you can see that the size of the battle of Tollense need not have been anything amazing. A large battle but not with numbers that couldnt be supported by surprisingly small territories.

ArmandoR1b
09-18-2020, 01:24 AM
I ran WEZ59 through an analysis. It is ancestral (negative) for Z220 hg19 position 16310705. It is derived (positive) for Z272 (https://www.yfull.com/tree/R-Z272/) hg19 position 22440376. I wish people would stop using longhand names. It causes too much confusion.

A.D.
10-01-2020, 10:59 PM
talking of Y DNA mix in Ireland. Recent discoveries (Cassey et al Dublin) have shown that what has been described as "Irish God Kings" from neolithic graves in the Boyne Valley and Sligo were I2 and from mesolithic people and some had blue eyes. They also seem to have been inbred. The O'Niell chiefs (the flight of the Earls) seem to be I2 many centuries later. Another interesting thing I came across is a YouTube channel 'Pre History Decoded a Dr Sweatman thinks that Pictish carvings are of a Mesolithic version of the zodiac. I think the British DNA project shows Pictish clans to be a defineable cluster of R1b. But legend puts Pictish succession comes from the female side. This is from an island on the fringe of Europe I think it is fair to assume it is at-least as complicated in central Europe. The Iliad has people from all over the place fighting at Troy so the idea was believable to the ancient Greeks. A little of topic but I think has some relevance.