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Thread: Late Neolithic Mass Grave: Unravelling the genetics of a Massacre

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    Late Neolithic Mass Grave: Unravelling the genetics of a Massacre

    Unraveling ancestry, kinship, and violence in a Late Neolithic mass grave

    Schroeder et al; 2019


    The third millennium BCE was a period of major cultural and demographic changes in Europe that signaled the beginning of the Bronze Age. People from the Pontic steppe expanded westward, leading to the formation of the Corded Ware complex and transforming the genetic landscape of Europe. At the time, the Globular Amphora culture (3300–2700 BCE) existed over large parts of Central and Eastern Europe, but little is known about their interaction with neighboring Corded Ware groups and steppe societies. Here we present a detailed study of a Late Neolithic mass grave from southern Poland belonging to the Globular Amphora culture and containing the remains of 15 men, women, and children, all killed by blows to the head.
    Although the reason for the massacre is unknown, it is possible that it was connected with the expansion of Corded Ware groups, which may have resulted in competition for resources and violent conflict. Together with the archaeological evidence, these analyses provide an unprecedented level of insight into the kinship structure and social behavior of a Late Neolithic community.
    The reasons behind the burial could be related intra-farmer warfare or general violence. Strangely, the remains seemed to be buried with related kins rather than being randomly distributed. This isn't characteristic of Steppe culture but I could be wrong.

    Interestingly, the older males/fathers are mostly missing from the grave, suggesting that it might have been them who buried their kin. The only father present in the grave is individual 10, whose partner and son are placed together opposite him in the grave. In addition, there is a young boy (individual 7), aged 2–2.5 y, whose parents are not in the grave, but he is placed next to other individuals to whom he is closely related through various second-degree relationships. Finally, there is individual 3, an adult female, who does not seem to be genetically related to anyone in the group. However, her position in the grave close to individual 4, a young man, suggests that she may have been as close to him in life as she was in death. These biological data and burial arrangements show that the social relationships held to be most significant in these societies were identical with genetic and reproductive relationships. However, they also demonstrate that nuclear families were nested in larger, extended family groups, either permanently or for parts of the year.

    They all had I2a2 as the main uni-paternal marker. A subclade of the main WHG Y-DNA halogroup.

    Analyses of ancient genomes can provide detailed information on the kinship structures and social organization of past communities (8⇓–10). At Koszyce, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis revealed the presence of six different maternal lineages, whereas analysis of the nonrecombining region of the Y chromosome showed that all males carried the same Y chromosome haplotype: I2a-L801
    F2.large.jpg

    Genetic affinities of the Koszyce individuals and other GAC groups (here including Złota) analyzed in this study.
    F3.medium.gif
    Last edited by Diictodon; 05-07-2019 at 06:15 PM.

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    Aside from the fascinating local story, the new finding is that...

    "The five individuals from Książnice (Złota group) show evidence for additional gene flow, most likely from an eastern source."

    ... to the tune of ~7.4% EHG or 9.6% Yamnaya ancestry. Steppe ancestry seems to have been lacking in the Wilczyce (Złota group) though. I think the only Złota male belonged to I2a as well. This would lend some support for the generally accepted belief that Złota was a GAC group with incoming steppe influences.
    Paternal: R1b-U152 >> L2 >> FGC10543, Pietro della Rocca, b. 1559, Agira, Sicily, Italy
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    Paternal Great (x3) Grandfather: R1b-U106 >> L48 >> CTS2509, Filippo Ensabella, b.~1836, Agira, Sicily, Italy

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    And it gives us a glimp of the situation when the CW pastoralist rushed in.... were they the attackers? At that time the Northern Plain and Southern Scandinavia were full of GAC/TRB groups. How did they cope with the Steppe influx? Was there a situation of co-existence? More often violence to each other? We don’t know. We only know that in the end in Northern Europa about the half of the genes are related to these CW people....still the genes of the TRB and GAC genes didn’t evaporate, they have left their HG/ENF blend mark too....
    Last edited by Finn; 05-07-2019 at 08:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by R.Rocca View Post
    Aside from the fascinating local story, the new finding is that...

    "The five individuals from Książnice (Złota group) show evidence for additional gene flow, most likely from an eastern source."

    ... to the tune of ~7.4% EHG or 9.6% Yamnaya ancestry. Steppe ancestry seems to have been lacking in the Wilczyce (Złota group) though. I think the only Złota male belonged to I2a as well. This would lend some support for the generally accepted belief that Złota was a GAC group with incoming steppe influences.
    Interesting. Before the field of Archeo-genetics got going, many archaeologist hypothesised that GAC may had harboured steppe related people (although material culture does not seem to support that). Even Gimbutas postulated that GAC may be one the first cultures to face earliest intrusion of CW/'Kurgan' peoples. Before the publication of this paper, I always thought GAC harboured no Steppe_EMBA/EHG related ancestry. When I see steppe related ancestry in some GAC aDNA samples, I previous thought Perhaps the computational algorithms in ADMIXTURE runs and Gedmatch cacs like Gedrosia 12 (amateur stuff I know) were just compensating the relatively high WHG that lacked high levels of Steppe admixture and low PIE by using modern WHG-rich populations like basques (based on the lack more proximate sources). Perhaps they should used Iron Gates instead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finn View Post
    And it gives us a glimp of the situation when the CW pastoralist rushed in.... were they the attackers? At that time the Northern Plain and Southern Scandinavia were full of GAC/TRB groups. How did they cope with the Steppe influx? Was there a situation of co-existence? More often violence to each other? We don’t know. We only know that in the end in Northern Europa about the half of the genes are related to these CW people....still the genes of the TRB and GAC genes didn’t evaporate, they have left their HG/ENF blend mark too....
    Off-topic but I do believe that globular amphora culture/TRB did leave their mark on modern North European populations and the played a pivotal role in the formation of the Steppe_MLBA, both in terms of genetics and in phenotype. Although Genetiker is generally not a reliable source for aDNA studies (he comes with ludicrous conclusions such as blond Peruvian mummies proving solutreans crossed the Atlantic), his SNP-prediction kits do help in highlight whether a population had traits associated with a characterisitc phenotype. Apparently, GAC samples show a high rate of blondism and alleles homozygous for blue eyes. It does kinda make sense to me as Early Yamnaya aDNA had an abyssmal level of alleles associated with blondism and based on SNP predictions had brown eyes. As Corded Ware became 70% Steppe_Eneolithic (EHG/CHG) and 30% GAC, perhaps there was a selective sweep for traits associated with lighter skin pigmentation and lighter eyes/hair, with the Bell Beaker population being the peak result of those selective sweeps.
    Last edited by Diictodon; 05-07-2019 at 09:02 PM.

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    Reminescent of the LBK massacre from two millenia earlier. Are they sure it was CCW groups who did this? It could easily be rival GAC farmers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diictodon View Post
    Off-topic but I do believe that globular amphora culture/TRB did leave their mark on modern North European populations and the played a pivotal role in the formation of the Steppe_MLBA, both in terms of genetics and in phenotype. Although Genetiker is generally not a reliable source for aDNA studies (he comes with ludicrous conclusions such as blond Peruvian mummies proving solutreans crossed the Atlantic), his SNP-prediction kits do help in highlight whether a population had traits associated with a characterisitc phenotype. Apparently, GAC samples show a high rate of blondism and alleles homozygous for blue eyes. It does kinda make sense to me as Early Yamnaya aDNA had an abyssmal level of alleles associated with blondism and based on SNP predictions had brown eyes. As Corded Ware became 70% Steppe_Eneolithic (EHG/CHG) and 30% GAC, perhaps there was a selective sweep for traits associated with lighter skin pigmentation and lighter eyes/hair, with the Bell Beaker population being the peak result of those selective sweeps.
    These particular GAC samples all seem to be surprisingly dark haired and brown eyed, so I guess there must have been a selective sweep 3-3.5 Kya.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diictodon View Post
    Off-topic but I do believe that globular amphora culture/TRB did leave their mark on modern North European populations and the played a pivotal role in the formation of the Steppe_MLBA, both in terms of genetics and in phenotype. Although Genetiker is generally not a reliable source for aDNA studies (he comes with ludicrous conclusions such as blond Peruvian mummies proving solutreans crossed the Atlantic), his SNP-prediction kits do help in highlight whether a population had traits associated with a characterisitc phenotype. Apparently, GAC samples show a high rate of blondism and alleles homozygous for blue eyes. It does kinda make sense to me as Early Yamnaya aDNA had an abyssmal level of alleles associated with blondism and based on SNP predictions had brown eyes. As Corded Ware became 70% Steppe_Eneolithic (EHG/CHG) and 30% GAC, perhaps there was a selective sweep for traits associated with lighter skin pigmentation and lighter eyes/hair, with the Bell Beaker population being the peak result of those selective sweeps.
    agree Sintashta/Andronovo likely comes out of a back migration to the steppe stemming from the TRB/ GAC zone. This explains the higher level of EEF and WHG in MLBA steppe in comparison with the EBA steppe. But in reality the influence of the norther farmers on the steppe goes back a millennium and more earlier. The gran-grand father of Corded Ware R1a M417 in Sredni Stog ( or Dereivka or Skelya according to the various archeological theories) is basically 50% EEF ( mediated trough Cucuteni) and 50% steppe eneolithic with a cultural package likely also from the west ( like corded pottery and battle axes a typical feature of neolithic europe). And the 50% EEf in Sredni Stog is likely for the most part emanating from the northern european plain. Recent discoveries have demonstrated that the booming CT population in 4200/3800 BC was caused not only by a demographic growth in situ but also from an introgression of TRB populations from the west.

    as an off topic: in addition to the fact that Sredni Stog looks like proto CW we may also note that sample I6561 looks also in his autosomal profile pretty much like an average german Bell beaker. That means that the Dneper contact zone between Cucuteni and Sredni Stog will be the most likely "platform" from which stemmed the steppe introgression into "old europe" . We will find likely sample R1b L-51 in the time frame 4000/3500 somewhere in between the Danube and the Dneper ( my bet is Cernavoda).

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    Also to remember that north west caucasus dolmen culture likely comes from the Funnel Beaker

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...2n_4fOeR-0absH




    From the abstract:

    The Novosvobodnaya culture is known as a Bronze Age archaeological culture in the North Caucasus region of Southern Russia. It dates back to the middle of the 4th millennium B.C. and seems to have occurred during the time of the Maikop culture. There are now two hypotheses about the emergence of the Novosvobodnaya culture. One hypothesis suggests that the Novosvobodnaya culture was a phase of the Maikop culture, whereas the other one classifies it as an independent event based on the material culture items found in graves. Comparison between Novosvobodnaya pottery and Funnelbeaker (TR pottery from Germany has allowed researchers to suggest that the Novosvobodnaya culture developed under the influence of TRB . Nevertheless, the origin of the Novosvobodnaya culture remains a matter of debate. We applied next-generation sequencing to study ~5000-year-old human remains from the Klady kurgan grave in Novosvobodnaya stanitsa (now the Republic of Adygea, Russia). A total of 58,771,105 reads were generated using Illumina GAIIx with a coverage depth of 13.4x over the mitochondrial (mt) DNA genome. The mtDNA haplogroup affiliation was determined as V7, suggesting a role of the TRB culture in the development of the Novosvobodnaya culture

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    Quote Originally Posted by pegasus View Post
    Reminescent of the LBK massacre from two millenia earlier. Are they sure it was CCW groups who did this? It could easily be rival GAC farmers.
    Yeah i have not seen evidences yet that CWC tribes did it. CWC probably committed such kind of massacres but killing other tribes and families was not really something new which PIE people brought to this region. It sounds all a bit dramaticized
    Last edited by Coldmountains; 05-07-2019 at 11:08 PM.
    Y-DNA: R1a> R-M417> R-Z645> R-Z93> R-Z94> R-Y3 (Sredny Stog culture)> R-L657> R-Y4(Andronovo)> R-Y6> R-Y5> R-Y920* (Pashtun)

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