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Thread: Early R1b-Zarzian hunter gatherers in Iran?

  1. #11
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    lol. Had to happen sooner or later. I think we just got off on the wrong foot somewhere. I am not Eurocentric and never thought a northern origin that likely for a number of reasons but I think its best to consider all options. I just post in a thinking out loud way. Just putting ideas out there to see if they would stand up. I find it the best way to find out what works and doesnt because people are sure to tell you if they dont.

    Its completely impossible for most mortals to understand all periods in all places so this hobby drags me and I suppose everyone to have to look into areas they are not familiar with the Palaeolithic to copper age of the circumCaspian area although I still need to work a bit on the Neolithic of the east side. So, this hobby is a learning process for me, including the archaeology. Its taken me months of my spare time to get to grips with the whol I now will be far better at questions about the Caspian area in pub quizes! There is just an incredible amount of data across Eurasia on archaeology, climate, the seas etc etc and it takes quite some time to read around it.

    It takes me a long time to even convince myself of anything but I think at least now I have convinced myself to my own satisfaction of the early part of the R and R1 and early R1b story at least broadly speaking. It was important for me to work out the likely starting points. Without that its impossible to then look at the options for P297. The next thing for me then is to look at the archaeology of south-north movements at the end of the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic etc. The bookends for that period are most likely about 95000BC to 6000BC in the period when P297 arose but before farming became a big factor. I need now to look at the possible indications of input into more northern areas in that span, probably spreading from somewhere between the SE shores of the Caspian and the Caucasus although as the rock carvings in Azerbaijan show, marine travel was an option from the upper Palaeolithic.

    I am so impressed by those carvings and the way they bring to life the late Palaeolithic hunters around the south Caspian area. I realise that they are perhaps not litterally those of our ancestors but I imagine that groups could easily move all around the south Caspian shoreline in that period, sometimes forced to do so by sea level changes etc so I think they were probably similar peoples which indeed is what the archaeology suggests. I am a bit dissapointed by the lack of a good single collection of images on the web. I hear they just opened up a museum devoted to the rock carvings which are an Unesco site. If it is every confirmed that R roots are in south Caspian hunters I think I will get some prints of them framed!

    Quote Originally Posted by newtoboard View Post
    Glad to see we finally agree on something.

    It actually looks the southern part of Iran received farming first (especially if Mehrgarh is dated to 7000 BC and considering the lack of typical North Iranian lineages in the South Asian and South Central Asian gene pool).

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  3. #12
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    In terms of the title of the thread I am not 100% sure if Zarzian is the best term for those hunters or at least it should be noted that there were a number of epipalaeolithic groups of broadly similar type in both north Iran and the Caucasus that could have been linked to the early R1 story. The action of the sea would have moved them around the south Caspian shores, so they seem likely to be closely related, which indeed is what the epipalaeolithic archaeology suggests. it will probably never be possible to recover the detail of the movements given that the shores of the Caspian Sea of the LGM are now under the middle of the sea and the land between those shores and the maximum, which presents the shorelines of the LGM to 12000BC would mainly be buried under marine depostits now on dryland. So, as I have explained before, this makes the settlement traces of shoreline life of the whole period from 20-odd thousand BC to 12000BC close to impossible to recover except where maybe erosion on shores or unusually deep development works penetrate though the post-LGM marine deposits. The best chance of understanding of these groups is probably to be found on the high inland terraces left by the maximum of the Caspian Sea dating to around 12000BC. The below map probably gives a good impression of where the peoples living on the shores of the south Caspian c. 15000-12000BC would have been located and also where the best probability of remains surviving area.

    http://paleogeo.org/Flood_big_en.jpg

    Broadly speaking most of the shores of that period that look relevant appear to be in norIran and the Caucasus. There is also the fascinating possibility of groups being divided by the barriers. I wonder about the north Caucasus area sort of cut off between the mountsins of the Caucasus and the the spillway to the north. Not exactly totally trapped though as they could still come around the steep shore of the east Caucasus southward. Then there is another possibility that the link between the Aral and Caspian sea could have isolated a group on its north side. This though would have been in the era where R1* gave rise to early R1b (P25) and R1a clades so it is possible that the different patterning between the two could date to this sort of period when groups were kind of pushed apart by the expanded seas and in some cases isolated from each other. Michal has mentioned a theory about a spread of R1b up the east side of the Caspian but I wonder if this is not as likely a scenario for R1a given its probably later links with the Caspian-Urals area.
    I dont know the details of these terrace but I know they are known in north Iran and the Caucasus, including around the rock carvings in Azerbaijan.

  4. #13
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    I have been reading Hunters in Transition, which I suspect is Michal's core source for his idea of a move up the east side of the Caspian to the Urals. Its a magnificent book which I havent read in years. Although rather old now its still the best overview of the period in English for that area and at least a base to work on. I actually think Michal may well be onto something with his idea.

    Having convinced myself of a south Caspian location for R1 and earliest R1b and a, there are basically only two obvious land routes into the north side of the sea - either up the eastern or western shores. One problem with the western route at the end of Palaeolithic anyway is that the cultures of that period in the Ukraine steppes are connected from an early date with those around the west of the Black Sea and later also to those of the Baltic and seem extremely unlikely to be R related. I would expect the Ukraine steppe area to have had a hunter-gather population that shared a lot in common with SE and Baltic Europe. That seems hugely unlikely to be R related.

    There is also the issue that the main clade in the north, P297, has its earliest subclade with a fairly easterly distribution and I suspect an origin close to the Urals. So, Michal really may be onto something. The attraction of the eastern side of the Caspian went from very little beyond immediate shore-side settlement to something more attractive in the wetter phase in the Mesolithic period. According to Zvelebil the cultures of the end of the palaeolithic on the east side of the Caspian at the west end of north central Asia look derived from south Caspian ones around Iran.

    I notice when I google Yangelskaya culture that its already been talked about a lot on the web-almost all the hits are hobbiest DNA sites, although more in relation to R1a than R1b. No reason it couldnt be both of course. The modern clades in the area all date to much later so we cannot be sure. I hadnt really considered this in detail before as my researches were basically moving from west to east and hadnt quite reached the east Caspian. I suppose my question is why link it with R1a rather than R1b? After all the oldest P297 clade M73 could nicely fit that sort of model. While R1a could have been involved, there are not clades as old as M73 or with such a nice potential fit in distribution. Funny enough I have wondered about L23xL51 also having some peaks around the Urals in pre-Russian populations. That is much more speculative however, and a lot later in time than M73 is.

    M73 doesnt get the attemtion it deserves IMO. Its lack in SE or east central Europe and SW Asia strongly suggests a location near the Ural area. If it had been further west during the early steppe waves it would have been well represented in the Balkans and east-central Europe. Its distribution to the west basically stops at the Ukrainians of east Moldova and its strenght in the Urals area and east is noticeable. I would say its lack in the Balkans shows it was west of the Dneiper-Don areas and towards the Urals in the period c. 4500-4000BC.

    As the oldest P297 clade that needs to be taken as a serious indicator of an origin of the M73 SNP close to the Urals. The P297* part of the trail is lost completely and suggests a location in non-farming area up to c. 9000-5000BC give or take a millenium. The non-farming area of that time includes northern Iran and adjacent areas as well as the steppes. Northern Iran is the hotspot of P25* and M73* has a hotpsot around the Urals. So, P297* looks like it could have been involved in south Caspian hunters who moved north in the period between the latter two SNPs c. 9000-5000BC. You could argue that M73 could represent the late period of those hunters with arrival of farming influences in that area in the second half of that period.

    That would seem the most simple explanation for the pattern without getting too much into complex special pleading. So, having finally made my mind up on a south Caspian refuge in the LGM, I can really see Michals point. He might well be right. My reading had not made it quite far enough to the east to see that clearly but it does make a lot of sense. The exact position of R* elements, R1* and early R1b on the south Caspian shores doesnt really matter IMO as they likely were all connected along the shoreline from the SE Caucasus to NE Iran in the period 25000-10000BC.

    I am going to have a dig about to see if more recent research backs up Zvelebil's ideas of a late Palaeolithic to Neolithic migration up the east side of the Caspian. I tend to avoid Anthony's opinions on things like this until I read other papers first and only look at him after I have done that so I can make my own mind up. I just think Anthony often makes stuff seem more clearcut than they are to create a flowing narrative. His book doesnt have a current rival book on the same subject unlike in 20 odd years back when we had the Mallory-Renfrew books out at the same time. That makes his book appear like the IE bible which I dont think is healthy given that Russians and Ukranians have some really good experts with different spins on this but lost mainly by a language barrier. Mallory also avoided the overdone narrative style of Anthony which I think tends to drive Anthony towards brushing over of doubt a lot more than Mallory ever did.
    Last edited by alan; 08-11-2013 at 02:19 PM.

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  6. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by alan View Post
    In terms of the title of the thread I am not 100% sure if Zarzian is the best term for those hunters or at least it should be noted that there were a number of epipalaeolithic groups of broadly similar type in both north Iran and the Caucasus that could have been linked to the early R1 story. The action of the sea would have moved them around the south Caspian shores, so they seem likely to be closely related, which indeed is what the epipalaeolithic archaeology suggests. it will probably never be possible to recover the detail of the movements given that the shores of the Caspian Sea of the LGM are now under the middle of the sea and the land between those shores and the maximum, which presents the shorelines of the LGM to 12000BC would mainly be buried under marine depostits now on dryland. So, as I have explained before, this makes the settlement traces of shoreline life of the whole period from 20-odd thousand BC to 12000BC close to impossible to recover except where maybe erosion on shores or unusually deep development works penetrate though the post-LGM marine deposits. The best chance of understanding of these groups is probably to be found on the high inland terraces left by the maximum of the Caspian Sea dating to around 12000BC. The below map probably gives a good impression of where the peoples living on the shores of the south Caspian c. 15000-12000BC would have been located and also where the best probability of remains surviving area.

    http://paleogeo.org/Flood_big_en.jpg

    Broadly speaking most of the shores of that period that look relevant appear to be in norIran and the Caucasus. There is also the fascinating possibility of groups being divided by the barriers. I wonder about the north Caucasus area sort of cut off between the mountsins of the Caucasus and the the spillway to the north. Not exactly totally trapped though as they could still come around the steep shore of the east Caucasus southward. Then there is another possibility that the link between the Aral and Caspian sea could have isolated a group on its north side. This though would have been in the era where R1* gave rise to early R1b (P25) and R1a clades so it is possible that the different patterning between the two could date to this sort of period when groups were kind of pushed apart by the expanded seas and in some cases isolated from each other. Michal has mentioned a theory about a spread of R1b up the east side of the Caspian but I wonder if this is not as likely a scenario for R1a given its probably later links with the Caspian-Urals area.
    I dont know the details of these terrace but I know they are known in north Iran and the Caucasus, including around the rock carvings in Azerbaijan.
    I would be curious to hear his ideas on R1a's spread. He seems to rule out a western route so I can't think of any other route for R1a.

  7. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by alan View Post
    I have been reading Hunters in Transition, which I suspect is Michal's core source for his idea of a move up the east side of the Caspian to the Urals.
    It is certainly what I cite for the cultural link between the two regions. I also point to the same material found in connection with the famed petroglyphs of boats at Gobustan on the coast of the Caspian. I had already deduced that the people concerned most likely crossed the Caspian by boat, simply because the terrain makes that the most attractive option, and that such crossings in the Mesolithic made the best sense of the R1b/R1a pattern we see. I still have my notes from 2009, which I circulated to a couple of people for comment before I plunged into public with the idea. Makes me feel quite nostalgic.
    Last edited by Jean M; 08-11-2013 at 05:26 PM.

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  9. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Jean M View Post
    It is certainly what I cite for the cultural link between the two regions. I also point to the same material found in connection with the famed petroglyphs of boats at Gobustan on the coast of the Caspian. I had already deduced that the people concerned most likely crossed the Caspian by boat, simply because the terrain makes that the most attractive option, and that such crossings in the Mesolithic made the best sense of the R1b/R1a pattern we see. I still have my notes from 2009, which I circulated to a couple of people for comment before I plunged into public with the idea. Makes me feel quite nostalgic.
    Do you see both R1a/R1b traveling together or did one make the journey north first?

    Is there any support for movements across the Caspian in the east-west direction (might explain R1b-L23 in Central Asia being close to Caucasian R1b and the presence of Y-DNA L1c in the Caucasus.)?

  10. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by newtoboard View Post
    I would be curious to hear his ideas on R1a's spread. He seems to rule out a western route so I can't think of any other route for R1a.
    I would indeed exclude the Western route, but only if this is dated to the early Neolithic period. Some earlier R1a migrations through Anatolia are still possible (though not very likely, IMO).

    At the moment, I suspect that a very small group of R1a* people has arrived to Eastern Europe from Central Asia, and this would need to have happened very early (i.e. before 10-8 ky BC). However, we simply have not enough confirmed cases of R1a*, R1a1* and R1a1a* to say something more in this regard. I know that Underhillís data suggest a relatively high frequency of those rare R1a species in West Asia (including Iran, Turkey and even Egypt), but he also reported a surprisingly high level of R1a1* in Scandinavia (Sweden and Norway), yet upon some closer investigation all three R1a1* cases from Sweden turned out to be very dubious, to say the least. Most importantly, we havenít found a single FTDNA customer from West Asia (or Scandinavia) who would be R1a(xM417), so I need to remain sceptical as to the West Asian origin of R1a (at least until some cases confirmed with both SNPs and STRs are reported).

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    Quote Originally Posted by newtoboard View Post
    Do you see both R1a/R1b traveling together or did one make the journey north first?
    Here's an old image of mine. It is out-of-date in details of R1b subclades, but you get the idea. I am guessing that R1* made seasonal crossings from a winter refuge in the southern Caspian to summer hunting on the steppe over many generations. Eventually the mutations would occur that created R1b and R1a. It would be just chance which side of the Caspian their descendants happened to decide to settle all year round.

    I must stress that this is speculative. We need ancient DNA.

    Click to enlarge:

    SpecR1b.jpg
    Last edited by Jean M; 08-11-2013 at 06:19 PM.

  12. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jean M View Post
    Here's an old image of mine. It is out-of-date in details of R1b subclades, but you get the idea.
    Your scenario is actually much closer to what Alan has recently suggested, but I will wait for your book before making any specific comments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michał View Post
    I will wait for your book before making any specific comments.
    Won't be long now! By the way, the speculative map of R1b that I posted above is not in the book. I am only posting it now to illustrate the cross-Caspian idea.

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