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Thread: Re-integrating Archaeology: A Contribution to aDNA Studies and the Migration . . .

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    Re-integrating Archaeology: A Contribution to aDNA Studies and the Migration . . .

    First off, anybody out there got the full paper, Re-integrating Archaeology: A Contribution to aDNA Studies and the Migration Discourse on the 3rd Millennium BC in Europe, he or she can send my way? I really don't want to pay $25 just to read it.

    Anyway, the abstract puts me in mind of a couple of things: 1) Gimbutas' idea of an overarching Kurgan culture; and 2) a Bell Beaker paper from Salanova from a few years ago that mentioned the same sort of thing, i.e., a single grave, warrior element in Bell Beaker that stood out from the rest.

    I saw the discussion on this paper at Eurogenes, but I find the discussions there really tedious to follow and some of the participants tiring in the extreme. That's not meant to reflect badly on Generalissimo; he's sharp and his blog a good source of news; but some of the people who post there I just can't read.
     


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    Quote Originally Posted by rms2 View Post
    First off, anybody out there got the full paper, Re-integrating Archaeology: A Contribution to aDNA Studies and the Migration Discourse on the 3rd Millennium BC in Europe, he or she can send my way? I really don't want to pay $25 just to read it.

    Anyway, the abstract puts me in mind of a couple of things: 1) Gimbutas' idea of an overarching Kurgan culture; and 2) a Bell Beaker paper from Salanova from a few years ago that mentioned the same sort of thing, i.e., a single grave, warrior element in Bell Beaker that stood out from the rest.

    I saw the discussion on this paper at Eurogenes, but I find the discussions there really tedious to follow and some of the participants tiring in the extreme. That's not meant to reflect badly on Generalissimo; he's sharp and his blog a good source of news; but some of the people who post there I just can't read.
    See the following link: https://sci-hub.tw/10.1017/ppr.2019.4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernard View Post
    Thanks!

    Maybe we could all read this and discuss it now.
     


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    I just finished reading the paper for the first time. I'm not saying I agree with every detail, but overall I think Furholt is onto something valuable. Several years ago, before aDNA from Bell Beaker began to appear, a number of us noticed the pretty obvious stark dichotomy in that culture between early Iberian, Neolithic farmer-style collective burials of people who were physically short in stature, longheaded, and slight in build, and later Bell Beaker burials in single graves of mostly men who were tall for the period and had robust skeletons and the tendency to be roundheaded. Based on that, some of us predicted that these two different types of Bell Beaker people would produce different ancient dna test results. Olalde et al came along and proved us right.

    Recently I have taken to calling single grave Bell Beaker people Kurgan Bell Beaker in order to set them apart from the early Iberian, Neolithic farmer type of Bell Beaker people. Similarly, Rich Rocca has called the single grave BB people Steppe Bell Beaker people.

    Honestly, I like Furholt's "SGBR" (Single Grave Burial Ritual) better than either of those, and, of course, it encompasses more than just Bell Beaker, which I also think is a good idea.

    From pages 3-4.

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Furholt
    THE SGBR COMPLEX

    Instead of seeing the 3rd millennium BC in Europe through the lens of monothetic, distinct archaeological cultures, each with their own specific set of burial ritual, the polythetic perspective reveals a wider complex of new elements of burial ritual transcending the borders of these entities. This is a complex of burials that highlights individual interments, gender differentiation, male warriors, and mostly strict rules of orientation of the dead (Fig. 1), as opposed to the mainly collective burials of the preceding periods and neighbouring regions. I would like to name it the ‘Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Single Grave Burial Ritual Complex’ (SGBR). SGBR appears in Central Europe and southern Scandinavia around 2900 BC, arrives on the British Isles a few hundred years later, and prevails until cremation burials take
    over, somewhen after 1400 BC.
    Figure 1 on page 4 is a great illustrative graphic.

    Fig. 1_page 4_Furholt et al 2019_Reintegrating Archaeology_Single Grave Burial Ritual SGBR.jpg
    Last edited by rms2; 06-25-2019 at 04:25 PM.
     


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    I noticed (but just cannot find again) a few years ago in a paper Jean Manco drew my attention to that individual beaker burials in Spain (post-2500/2400 beaker phase) were considered in that paper as very much a variant of the CW/single grave culture. Whatever that paper was, it was ahead of the curve in being pretty strident that single bell beaker burials were just some kind of variant of single grave/CW which had developed somewhere and gone on to expand Europe-wide. I think the basis of that thinking is pottery (which is usually a female craft) is not the key aspect of beaker culture - despite it being named after a pot type and the pottery being a useful tracker. The key aspect was the change in burial type and what these burials represented in terms of a sudden social change. We know anyway that CW/single grave did have variations in burial details - primarily orientation - and that the beaker type orientation and body positioning, although not the majority one, was regionally used by CW/SG/battle axe groups in south Poland, southern Sweden, Dnieper and (I think) Moravia. So the classic beaker single burial was not outside the range of burial options within the greater CW culture. The geographically scattered use of the beaker type orientation in greater CW culture seem to indicate to me that it was considered a valid alternative to the classic E-W CW orientation widely in the CW world and could spring up randomly.

    It may be that the E-W orientation is just one single large central European sub-set of CW but Furholt seems to indicate that classic A-Horizon CW culture was a convergence of several disparate groups who were interacting a generation or so after dispersal. So it may be wrong to think of E-W burial as the original. It may have been that it was a development of the A horizon in the 2nd or 3rd generation and some groups were peripheral to that A-horizon network. I tend to think beaker comes from a CW/SG group that was somehow peripheral to the network that created the A-horizon (which seems to be R1a dominated anyway).

    Another hunch I have about the preference for N-S with males on their left side is that it left a right handed bowmans draw hand free. Perhaps the males were posed holding their bows and so it would be more visually effective keeping the right hand side upmost. Certainly in one of the N-S burying CW groups - south Poland - they also had an unusual amount of archery equipment. So perhaps it was a preferred pose for archers in the CW world and it is relatively rare because archery was rare in the standard A-horizon E-W orientated burials that we consider classic CW.

    That does lead onto a possibility that the beaker people emerged out of CW elements involved in activities that included archery. It kind of reminds me a little (despite no actual connection) of the Ice Man. He is thought by some to have been involved in both hunting and copper trading. The movement involved in both might have made the two activities compatible, as would some forms of mobile herding. I also cant help wondering if archery could have been almost a necessity for people who lived outside the core farming areas that had been cleared of woods for millennia. If you were living in or had to pass through areas that were still full of dangerous predators like Wolves, bears etc then you can see the attraction of not having to rely on a close combat weapon. Those archery using CW people in the Carpathians might be a case in point. The Carpathians long remained a pretty wild place, heavily wooded and full of large dangerous animals. A lot of trading would surely have involved crossing dangerous marginal/wooded areas that lay in between the safer cleared core farming lands. So the debate between whether the archery was a hunting or fighting thing may be missing a point. It could have been a crucial self defense weapon against animals in the less tamed areas of the landscape. It then became a symbol of hardiness and making dangerous journeys beyond the normal core that most people live in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rms2 View Post
    I just finished reading the paper for the first time. I'm not saying I agree with every detail, but overall I think Furholt is onto something valuable. Several years ago, before aDNA from Bell Beaker began to appear, a number of noticed the pretty obvious stark dichotomy in that culture between early Iberian, Neolithic farmer-style collective burials of people who were physically shorty in stature, longheaded, and slight in build, and later Bell Beaker burials in single graves of (mostly men) were tall for the period and who had robust skeletons and the tendency to be roundheaded. Based on that, some of us predicted that these two different types of Bell Beaker people would produce different ancient dna test results. Olalde et al came along and proved us right.

    Recently I have taken to calling single grave Bell Beaker people Kurgan Bell Beaker in order to set them apart from the early Iberian, Neolithic farmer type of Bell Beaker people. Similarly, Rich Rocca has called the single grave BB people Steppe Bell Beaker people.

    Honestly, I like Furholt's "SGBR" (Single Grave Burial Ritual) better than either of those, and, of course, in encompasses more than just Bell Beaker, which I also think is a good idea.

    From pages 3-4.



    Figure 1 on page 4 is a great illustrative graphic.

    Fig. 1_page 4_Furholt et al 2019_Reintegrating Archaeology_Single Grave Burial Ritual SGBR.jpg
    Totally agree. As I just posted above, some CW people buried using the bell beaker pose. So, I dont think details like that should cloud us from the overall picture that this was a major change to single or individualised burial (even when they are inserted into old collective monuments). Pottery differences should also not blind us to the overall similarity to all the individual burying groups. Pottery is a poor indicator in a patriarchal society given that its a female craft and the females often traveled some distance to marry. In fact you just have to look at the pottery other than bell beakers that were used by the beaker people (called companion ware and other terms) to see that the beaker people were taking on pottery influences from many surrounding cultures - presumably because women moved to marry. Ive always though of classic CW and classic bell beaker burials as mirror images - basically identical though reversed. You sometimes just have to go with your gut and that pair of cultures always seemed extremely similar to me despite differences in detail. I could never understand why our late friend Jean M was very against a connection between CW and BB - I suppose it was because she had gone deep down the stelae people path so it had to be one or the other not both.

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    Speaking of blurring the lines between Beaker and Corded Ware.

    Continental Beaker and Corded Ware Burial Patterns from p. 11 of Heise_Heads North or East_modif.jpg

    I really like Furholt's "SGBR". It lends itself well to mnemonic devices. In my head I'm using SiGBeRT and letting that final upper case "T" stand for Tradition.
    Last edited by rms2; 06-25-2019 at 04:44 PM.
     


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernard View Post
    I couldnt have written a paper myself that would fit any closer to my own views. Absolutely love that paper. His warning about the SPEED of genetic change is very valid. When we sample the beaker period we usually sample obvious beaker people. We dont sample crappy little cremation pits with no finds etc that date to the same period and may be the graves of the substrate population. If you sample clearcut beaker burials you will find migrants and there fairly recent descendants. But sampling beaker people and sampling the beaker age 2600-1900BC are two different things. If you do the first alone, the genetic turnover will look immediate. In reality it probably took most of that 6 or 700 year span of the beaker period to outbreed to locals. We know the result is that modern people are far more like the beaker people than the neolithic farmers. But IMO the process/pace has not been shown. When you invade a low density area with a relatively small number of people, the clever thing to do is make the natives your clients and possibly squeeze them for protection etc. The stupid thing to do is wipe out everyone and then have to wait many generations till you breed enough people to work the land. Kill everyone and a chunk of the invaders will have to become tillers and toilers on the land. Leave the natives in place at a much reduced status level and you have an agricultural workforce you can tax, extract tribute from etc and live a parasitic existence living off their labour having tons of children who will survive better than your underlings. You will eventually outbreed them. However, if you go for genocide you and several generations of your descendants will be toiling on the land in a landscape of regenerating forest.

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    The report mentioning the cases where there are mothers with children who are not their own is suggestive to me of the fostering practice of early Irish society where your sons might be brought up by another friendly allied family of status (perhaps a cousin of some degree) between the ages of perhaps 10 and 16 (I cant exactly remember the ages) to cement the bond between clans or chiefdoms and I suppose learn about their ways. It may also have been away of bringing up your kids in your own language and culture if your wife was foreign and would not have been able to pass that on.

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    From page 3:

    Quote Originally Posted by Furholt
    This view [i.e., the textbook view that emphasizes differences between CW and BB], however, overlooks a large bundle of shared characteristics: single burials, strict orientation rules and gender differentiation, the central role of weapons in male graves and drinking vessels (beakers) in general. Only in the details do the two ‘groups’ diverge, namely the choice of orientation and the choice on which side to rest the dead according to their gender.
    And even those last-named differences weren't always different. Sometimes CW people followed Beaker practices and Beaker followed CW practices.

    From page 2:

    Quote Originally Posted by Furholt
    Nevertheless, in this paper I want to point out the heuristic advantages of a polythetic perspective on the archaeological material of the 3rd millennium BC. I will argue that this will provide a more differentiated picture which is better suited to capture the dynamics of social processes connected to human mobility and social group composition. This perspective results in the definition of a new complex of burial rituals emerging in the 3rd millennium BC, which is connected to different styles of material culture and shows the strongest affinity to individuals with genetic steppe ancestry. This is seen as a contribution to the ongoing debate about migration narratives, which has evolved around the aDNA data.
    I think this is a better approach. With it, the Bell Beaker mystery is not such a mystery, because it is no surprise that the SGBR element in it is genetically the way it is: it's that way everywhere it appears in the 3rd millennium BC. It is therefore no surprise that the non-SGBR element is not the same as the SGBR element.
    Last edited by rms2; 06-25-2019 at 06:33 PM.
     


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