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Thread: Atlantic Bronze Age - a deeper understanding of it

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    Atlantic Bronze Age - a deeper understanding of it

    This detailed pretty up to date summary gives a reasonable summary. As I have read and posted before, it shows that Atlantic Iberia was isolated from the north Atlantic for over 1000 years after the early beaker copper age. After this very long period of separation it joined the late bronze age Atlantic network late and left early compared to France and the isles. It was a rather brief phase. The mainstay was northern France and the isles where the connections were far older and lasted longer. Broadly speaking the Atlantic network seems to have been based on NW France and the isles taking up central European influences and putting their own spin on them and trading them. The short phase where Atlantic Iberia is within this network really represents Iberia connecting with this much older and stronger northern Atlantic network for a time, mainly as a reciever. Finally the main flow of influences was TO Iberia i.e. north to south and there is very limited evidence for the reverse. So, if there was any linguistic flow it was likely north to south. So, in detail, it looks extraordinarily unlikely that Celtic spread out from Iberia. Of course Atlantic Iberia is quite distinct in its R1b clades from the rest of the Atlantic world to the north in NW France and the isles which is consistent with the much more sustained connections involving those two areas and is consistant with the high L21 in that area.

    http://www.academia.edu/1262855/Iber..._Mediterranean

    Another thing that recently interested me was a paper on Huelva which is probably the ancient Tartessos. Koch has suggested it was Celtic speaking. However, if you read the results of excavations at Huelva this seems incredibly unlikely. There is nothing remotely Celtic about the material excavated there. If it became Celtic it was only later when Celtic tribes may have gained some control after 600BC. So, the idea that it represents the origin or an important early zone in the development of Celtic and spreading of it really does not fit at all. It seems much more likely to me that the native Atlantic Iberian language was Lusitanian and that it had developed in-situ since the beaker period.

    http://www.uhu.es/pablo.hidalgo/doce...f%20huelva.pdf

    Finally I am intrigued by the possibility that knowledge of sails in the Atlantic, which does seem much earlier than in the Nordic world, could have come from the period of initial appearance of the Phoenicians in SW Iberia at a time when the north Atlantic network also extended suddenly to Atlantic Iberia. Was there a connection I wonder? Could that techology have suddenly made it more possible to sail from NW Iberia to Brittany directly thus avoiding the dangerous waters of Biscay. That certainly was later the pattern as the A'Coruna Roman lighthouse shows by its northern orientation and uselessness for traffic coming from Biscay. We have a model of a sailed boat in Ireland c. 100BC and we know from early sources that this route was sailed by the 6th century AD and it is implicit in metalwork distribution that it was happening from c. 1000BC give or take. The ships of the Bronze Age before that known around the English channel did not have sails.

    Can it be a coincidence that the sail-using Phoenician traders at Huelva/Tartessos and Cadiz briefly overlapped with the Atlantic network of this period. The papers above do not look at this possible nautical technological reason for the sudden long distance connections with the north Atlantic in this era but I think it could be the real reason.
    Last edited by alan; 08-28-2013 at 11:01 PM.

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    "More for you along those lines comes from a study of copper imports to Sweden. Johan Ling et al., Moving metals II: provenancing Scandinavian Bronze Age artefacts by lead isotope and elemental analyses, Journal of Archaeological Science, available online 2 August 2013.

    New lead isotope & chemical data of 71 Swedish metals dated to the Nordic Bronze Age. The main sources of copper are ores from the Iberian Peninsula, Sardinia and Austria. A new picture of flows between Sweden and BA Europe emerges are presented here.
    This is the result of a project "Extraction of copper in Sweden during the Bronze Age? Possibility, myth or reality?" at the University of Gothenburg: http://www.historiskastudier.gu.se/e...he_bronze_age+"

    This was posted by JeanM in a thread under DF27 and might be very relevant.
    Last edited by Webb; 08-28-2013 at 11:10 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alan View Post
    This detailed pretty up to date summary gives a reasonable summary. As I have read and posted before, it shows that Atlantic Iberia was isolated from the north Atlantic for over 1000 years after the early beaker copper age. After this very long period of separation it joined the late bronze age Atlantic network late and left early compared to France and the isles. It was a rather brief phase. The mainstay was northern France and the isles where the connections were far older and lasted longer. Broadly speaking the Atlantic network seems to have been based on NW France and the isles taking up central European influences and putting their own spin on them and trading them. The short phase where Atlantic Iberia is within this network really represents Iberia connecting with this much older and stronger northern Atlantic network for a time, mainly as a reciever. Finally the main flow of influences was TO Iberia i.e. north to south and there is very limited evidence for the reverse. So, if there was any linguistic flow it was likely north to south. So, in detail, it looks extraordinarily unlikely that Celtic spread out from Iberia. Of course Atlantic Iberia is quite distinct in its R1b clades from the rest of the Atlantic world to the north in NW France and the isles which is consistent with the much more sustained connections involving those two areas and is consistant with the high L21 in that area.

    http://www.academia.edu/1262855/Iber..._Mediterranean

    Another thing that recently interested me was a paper on Huelva which is probably the ancient Tartessos. Koch has suggested it was Celtic speaking. However, if you read the results of excavations at Huelva this seems incredibly unlikely. There is nothing remotely Celtic about the material excavated there. If it became Celtic it was only later when Celtic tribes may have gained some control after 600BC. So, the idea that it represents the origin or an important early zone in the development of Celtic and spreading of it really does not fit at all. It seems much more likely to me that the native Atlantic Iberian language was Lusitanian and that it had developed in-situ since the beaker period.

    http://www.uhu.es/pablo.hidalgo/doce...f%20huelva.pdf

    Finally I am intrigued by the possibility that knowledge of sails in the Atlantic, which does seem much earlier than in the Nordic world, could have come from the period of initial appearance of the Phoenicians in SW Iberia at a time when the north Atlantic network also extended suddenly to Atlantic Iberia. Was there a connection I wonder? Could that techology have suddenly made it more possible to sail from NW Iberia to Brittany directly thus avoiding the dangerous waters of Biscay. That certainly was later the pattern as the A'Coruna Roman lighthouse shows by its northern orientation and uselessness for traffic coming from Biscay. We have a model of a sailed boat in Ireland c. 100BC and we know from early sources that this route was sailed by the 6th century AD and it is implicit in metalwork distribution that it was happening from c. 1000BC give or take. The ships of the Bronze Age before that known around the English channel did not have sails.

    Can it be a coincidence that the sail-using Phoenician traders at Huelva/Tartessos and Cadiz briefly overlapped with the Atlantic network of this period. The papers above do not look at this possible nautical technological reason for the sudden long distance connections with the north Atlantic in this era but I think it could be the real reason.
    That should read 6th century BC. it wont let me edit for some reason.

    I dont know if this is a new idea or not. I havent read all of Cunliffes many books because they are too expensive. It would be surprising if noone has suggested this before but the web has very little useful information on this. I wouldnt be surprised if my speculation is correct because recent decades have often identified technological or environomental drivers as responsible for sudden changes in the archaeological record. The sail may not be the only driver for the period of participation of Iberia in the Atlantic network but it may have been an important pre-requisite. Atlantic Iberia suffered from being isolated by the rough seas of Biscay from a more extensive maritime network and that would not have been overcome until the technology to allow the leap to NW France was possible.

    These ramblings have also given me some pause for thought about the maritime aspect of beaker networks. Its one thing sailng the Med. but the Atlantic is vastly more difficult. This has made me more convinced that Atlantic maritme networks may have been more confined to coast hugging, river and only short hops into the open sea. The Atlantic Iberia to NW France leap avoiding Biscay would have been a barrier or major limitation without sails. This could be a core explanation for the massive clade difference between the NW Atlantic and Atlantic Iberia. That problem for connection between the areas may have only been relieved by the use of sail c. 1000BC, just the sort of time when the Atlantic network extends to Iberia and also the time when the first Phoenician contacts brought knowledge of the sail to south-west Iberia. That the Atlantic Bronze Age trade mainly brought northern types to the south rather than the other way could relate to it initially being driven by Iberian's gaining the sail and perhaps trading raw materials for finished products.

    Anyway, from a genetic and linguistic point of view this makes a lot of sense. The clade pattern would therefore appear to have been established predominantly in the low-contact pre-sail period, probably in the beaker phase and shortly after. By the time long period of Atlantic Iberian isolation from the north between beaker and c. 1000BC was over, the clade pattern was well established and it was close to impossible to make much of a dent in it. Certainly in NW France and the isles elites had pretty well been in control and interacting with each other constantly since the beaker period. So, it is a nice fit for the clade pattern that makes sense.

    When lookled at in detail the idea that Celtic actually emerged in Iberia really does not work. Its far more likely that something like Lusitanian prevailed in this area which was isolated and apparently fairly underdeveloped until 1000BC. I think Celtic is more likely an overlay in Atlantic Iberia that dates to the late Bronze Age. I could certainly see that happening at nodal points like Galicia and SW Iberia during the Late Bronze Age phase of contact with the north, perhaps leaving less nodal parts of Atlantic Iberia in between retaining Lusitanian dialects. I would probably expect a small rise of L21 arising from this period of contact around Galicia and SW Iberia but nothing spectacular. I would see this as northern derived.

    That of course raises the question of where L21 originated. They must have had first in advantage in the isles and northern France at least but they clearly didnt in Iberia. I see the Basque peak as a retreat area, possibly from elements in centre-west coastal France in the Late Bronze Age or later. I think the closest we get to seeing the likely early L21 zone is the trade triangle of beaker period metalwork we see between northern France, Ireland and Britain. This remained a very closely linked area throughout the Bronze Age. This can be seen to extend through less nodal area as far as the Rhine and a 'maritory' including the English channel has been suggested at times in the Bronze Age. This at times even extended influence to Holland and NW Germany. I think this fits L21's distribution, allowing for a later whole being knocked into its eastern distribution similar to what we see in SE England. The very parallel cline in L21 in northern France and in southern England does suggest parallel histories IMO.

    This still does not give a simple answer as to how L21 got its first-in advantage in the beaker period in northern France and the isles. Northern France is complex in terms of the beaker period. Its been described as a meeting point between Iberian and north-western beaker elements. It has both more NW style beaker single burials and reuse of Neolithic megalithic tombs. The latter is not really reliable evidence as it probably shows more conservatism than introduction from outside. NW France would have had a particularly powerful Neolithic megalithic tradition judging from the remains there. What we need to consider is the probable unlikelihood of pre-sail movements direct over open seas from Atlantic Iberia to the isles or even NW France. Land, riverine, coast hugging and only short open water movements seem likely.

    So, we need to consider the dates and nature of the beaker elements surrounding the high L21 zone. Clearly we see beaker in Britain by 2500BC and in Ireland shortly after. So, we need to consider only places with beaker before that point in time and who could reach Britain realistically within the limitations of the maritime transport of the time by short crossings. I think although the answer is not clear, it may lie in the non-DF27 P312* element. This seems close to absent in Iberia but I have heard suggestions that there may be more true P312* elsewhere. Do we have any preliminary observations on where true P312* is present?
    Last edited by alan; 08-30-2013 at 11:36 AM.

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    What you are saying seems to be supported in the autosomal results from the People of the British Isles Project. Spain Cluster 15 does not seem to be a factor at all in British Isles autosomal dna, while France 17 and 16, especially the former, are significant there.

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    What jumps out at me is that the France NW cluster is much more common there than in any part of Britain. These clusters are of course artificial composites. All it really demonstrates as far as I am concerned is that some part of Britain were closer to NW France than others in terms of their overall human history from the ice age to today. Ultimately geography is probably the main factor in these clusters and their distribution. Some places just had repeated connections through many periods. NW France and the western half of southern England is one example. Ireland and western Scotland is another even more profoundly strongly linked zone. Rather than one period of contact they have repeated links again and again throughout prehistory and early history. I imagine that as well as some males moving, lots of marriage partners crossed the short stretches of water as part of the constant networking between these areas that is implied in the archaeological record and known from early historical ones.

    Quote Originally Posted by rms2 View Post
    What you are saying seems to be supported in the autosomal results from the People of the British Isles Project. Spain Cluster 15 does not seem to be a factor at all in British Isles autosomal dna, while France 17 and 16, especially the former, are significant there.

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    Have you read/seen any of Bob Quinn's Atlantean Irish stuff? I haven't myself but he covers a lot of maritime stuff, as far as I can tell he claims North Africa plays a big role.

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    No. That north African stuff is fantasy really.

    Quote Originally Posted by rossa View Post
    Have you read/seen any of Bob Quinn's Atlantean Irish stuff? I haven't myself but he covers a lot of maritime stuff, as far as I can tell he claims North Africa plays a big role.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alan View Post
    No. That north African stuff is fantasy really.
    I avoided it myself as after reading other peoples inetrpretation of it (Irish are descended form berbers, gaelic and the Berber language are similar etc), but I think one thing he focuses on is sails (supposedly similar ones in Ireland and North Africa) and I wonder if he is taking two places with similar ideas and taking that to be that oen comes from the other instead of looking for a third source.

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    Most of these ideas are pretty crazy but it only recently struck me how much earlier the sail seems to have been used in the west than in northern Europe. In fact I think it could be the key to why Iberia connects up to the north Atlantic c. 1000BC. It seems way too much of a coincidence that the sail-using Phoenicians arrived in SW Iberia around this time. I think the sail idea may have spread up the Atlantic west at this time. Certainly the early to mid Bronze Age boats didnt have sails in Britain but it by the iron age they certainly did and there is also indirect evidence for it in late Bronze Age. So I think the Phoenician idea works. They perhaps spread it to SW Iberia and from there to NW Iberia and NW France and the isles. Perhaps they are the common link with Africa. However, direct contact is just crazy and fits into the old ideas of making certain peoples exotic and unique. DNA has kind of blown these ideas away.

    Quote Originally Posted by rossa View Post
    I avoided it myself as after reading other peoples inetrpretation of it (Irish are descended form berbers, gaelic and the Berber language are similar etc), but I think one thing he focuses on is sails (supposedly similar ones in Ireland and North Africa) and I wonder if he is taking two places with similar ideas and taking that to be that oen comes from the other instead of looking for a third source.

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