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Thread: L51 into Europe West of the Steppe Via Corded Ware

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    Remember that trade routes, including amber trade routes, are not quite the same as migration routes. I wonder about the idea of migration routes into the west that began as far away as the Volga.

    One of the routes Gimbutas mentioned was the Dniester-San-Vistula, which to me makes far more sense for R1b-L51 as a migration route than a route that begins on the Volga, heads way to the north, and winds up on the Baltic.

    A couple of things: first, the Corded Ware of the Baltic has been all R1a-M417 thus far. I realize that could change. Second, the Baltic itself was a source of amber, as it still is today, but why would anyone but small bands of traders swing way to the north, through forest, swamp, and taiga as a route west?

    I know Kristiansen, whom I really respect, mentioned the idea that the steppe people who headed west were primarily warbands of young males, but that cannot be entirely right, because Corded Ware still had 60-80% steppe DNA long after the culture began c. 3000. Steppe women must have come along for the steppe DNA to have remained that high.

    So, who was hauling women and children, ox-drawn wagons, livestock, and horses far up into the heavily forested and swampy north country?

    I get the impression some of these routes are the products of staring at a map of the region, perhaps with some of the trade routes in mind, without really knowing what the area is like.

    When the pioneers settled Tennessee, they didn't swing all the way down from distant New England, New York, or Pennsylvania. They came mainly from nearby North Carolina and Virginia.

    Any route from or across the steppe is possible, but personally I think the actual evidence indicates that the steppe people who formed the backbone of Corded Ware probably did not come from an enormous distance all the way across the steppe, and I doubt they made some circuitous trek northward across the taiga to the Baltic first. It seems to me the evidence indicates they came up the Dniester/Prut interfluve into Małopolska, where the oldest Pre-Corded Ware burials are found, those of the CWC-X horizon. There probably was some coming and going by way of the Dnieper across the steppe to Volhynia, as well.

    Besides, thus far most of the R1b-L51 in Corded Ware has been found in Małopolska, which looks like the gateway to the west. It would not surprise me if male remains from those Pre-Corded burials in Małopolska, at Hubinek and Średnia, 3000-2900 BC, were R1b-L51, as well.

    Could individuals or small groups have come from as far away as the Volga? Sure. But I don't see any evidence of a major migration stream from there, and certainly not one that brought L51 to the west.

    But who knows?
    Last edited by rms2; 02-25-2021 at 10:21 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rms2 View Post
    Remember that trade routes, including amber trade routes, are not quite the same as migration routes. I wonder about the idea of migration routes into the west that began as far away as the Volga.

    Why ? - if L51 were regular traders with the Baltic they would know this well. Why confuse trade vs migration with L51 ? they clearly IMHO did both at some time

    One of the routes Gimbutas mentioned was the Dniester-San-Vistula, which to me makes far more sense for R1b-L51 as a migration route than a route that begins on the Volga, heads way to the north, and winds up on the Baltic.

    Yes, one opinion & fair comment. But depending on if L51 at Samara-Kazan were traders - metlaurgists - or Steppes nomads. What we do know without doubt is that R1b-L23-Z2103 + I2 were indeed Steppes nomads. So far there isn't excessive evidence that L51 were Steppes nomads. The Area between Samara & Kazan is Forest Zone not open flat Steppe


    A couple of things: first, the Corded Ware of the Baltic has been all R1a-M417 thus far. I realize that could change. Second, the Baltic itself was a source of amber, as it still is today, but why would anyone but small bands of traders swing way to the north, through forest, swamp, and taiga as a route west?

    Swamp? - what I see in maps is a navigable waterway along the Volga and joining up with the Divinar River that actually reaches the Baltic at Riga Latvia (vs the Gimbutas drawing suggesting Lithuania at the Poland border). And add to this the FACT that amber from the Baltic shows up regularly in Volosovo graves. It had to be traded by someone.

    I know Kristiansen, whom I really respect, mentioned the idea that the steppe people who headed west were primarily warbands of young males, but that cannot be entirely right, because Corded Ware still had 60-80% steppe DNA long after the culture began c. 3000. Steppe women must have come along for the steppe DNA to have remained that high.

    So, who was hauling women and children, ox-drawn wagons, livestock, and horses far up into the heavily forested and swampy north country?

    Good question ! - but who ? - we know Z2103 + I2 did. But why must L51 have been Steppe nomads ? that is your assumption as there aren't any aBurials (yet) that actually say L51 were Steppes nomads (unless we count the one known Afanasievo burial (which I don't)

    I get the impression some of these routes are the products of staring at a map of the region, perhaps with some of the trade routes in mind, without really knowing what the area is like.

    So Gimbutas is highly praised when her words agree with your current POV but she clearly is capable of staring too long at maps when her work doesn't agree. I think Gimbutas actually had some idea of the regions involved.

    When the pioneers settled Tennessee, they didn't swing all the way down from distant New England, New York, or Pennsylvania. They came mainly from nearby North Carolina and Virginia.

    What has American migrations got to do with this ? - seems a very tenuous connection

    Any route from or across the steppe is possible, but personally I think the actual evidence indicates that the steppe people who formed the backbone of Corded Ware probably did not come from an enormous distance all the way across the steppe, and I doubt they made some circuitous trek northward across the taiga to the Baltic first. It seems to me the evidence indicates they came up the Dniester/Prut interfluve into Małopolska, where the oldest Pre-Corded Ware burials are found, those of the CWC-X horizon. There probably was some coming and going by way of the Dnieper across the steppe to Volhynia, as well.

    Great that we can have various interpretations and thoughts on this as long as we don't confuse greater cordedware R1a peoples with a small R1b group.

    Besides, thus far most of the R1b-L51 in Corded Ware has been found in Małopolska, which looks like the gateway to the west. It would not surprise me if male remains from those Pre-Corded burials in Małopolska, at Hubinek and Średnia, 3000-2900 BC, were R1b-L51, as well.

    Could individuals or small groups have come from as far away as the Volga? Sure. But I don't see any evidence of a major migration stream from there, and certainly not one that brought L51 to the west.

    Again, good that we can each hold different views and share them. Even Marija Gimbutas

    But who knows?

    Yes, well said !

    See italicized comments in the quote area above.
    Last edited by dsm; 02-25-2021 at 11:02 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsm View Post
    See italicized comments in the quote area above.
    Honestly, that is not a good way to reply, because you've inserted your comments into my post as if I made them.

    You should have quoted me, responded below my closed quote box, then quoted me again in a separate box, and then responded.

    Now to respond to you, I've got to perform surgery on that post. Hardly worth it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsm View Post
    See italicized comments in the quote area above.
    Here they are one by one.

    Quote Originally Posted by dsm View Post
    Why ? - if L51 were regular traders with the Baltic they would know this well. Why confuse trade vs migration with L51 ? they clearly IMHO did both at some time? they clearly IMHO did both at some time
    What evidence do you have that the trade routes you outlined were also used as migration routes?

    You do understand that individual traders and small groups of traders might be willing and able to traverse areas that would be nearly impassable and certainly inhospitable to larger groups, especially groups with women and children, ox-drawn wagons, horses, and herds of livestock, right?

    I have hiked in the woods north of Moscow. I haven't personally experienced northern Russia in the 3rd millennium BC, but if it was anything like it is now, large groups with wagons, etc., did not migrate that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by dsm View Post
    Yes, one opinion & fair comment. But depending on if L51 at Samara-Kazan were traders - metlaurgists - or Steppes nomads. What we do know without doubt is that R1b-L23-Z2103 + I2 were indeed Steppes nomads. So far there isn't excessive evidence that L51 were Steppes nomads. The Area between Samara & Kazan is Forest Zone not open flat Steppe
    None of the experts I've read characterize any of the early Indo-Europeans as any kind of nomads. They were steppe pastoralists.

    Are you arguing that L51 is not of Indo-European, steppe pastoralist origin?

    They belonged to some sort of forest forager culture then?

    How did they acquire their Yamnaya DNA?

    Quote Originally Posted by dsm View Post
    Swamp? - what I see in maps is a navigable waterway along the Volga and joining up with the Divinar River that actually reaches the Baltic at Riga Latvia (vs the Gimbutas drawing suggesting Lithuania at the Poland border). And add to this the FACT that amber from the Baltic shows up regularly in Volosovo graves. It had to be traded by someone.
    What is manageable and "navigable" to small bands of traders with canoes or boats is not manageable for large migratory groups with women and children, ox-drawn wagons, horses and livestock. The route from the Volga to the Baltic is swampy and heavily forested.

    Are you saying that amber=migration? Small bits of amber in Volosovo graves really means little in determining what route L51 took west. Are you saying Volosovo people migrated west and were involved in the genesis of Corded Ware?

    As I understand it, the Volosovo culture was a forager culture of little influence.

    Honestly, I cannot see any really compelling reason for your proposed migration route. There's no evidence for it, not that you have adduced, anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by dsm View Post
    Good question ! - but who ? - we know Z2103 + I2 did. But why must L51 have been Steppe nomads ? that is your assumption as there aren't any aBurials (yet) that actually say L51 were Steppes nomads (unless we count the one known Afanasievo burial (which I don't)
    We know that Z2103 + I2 went north up the Volga and across the taiga to the Baltic via Yaroslavl? Huh?

    Again, no one thinks the early Indo-Europeans were nomads. They were steppe pastoralists who practiced a little mixed agriculture but mostly depended on their herds - and, yes, that included R1b-L51, unless you think they were not Indo-Europeans.

    R1b-L51 is popping up in Corded Ware frequently now, with high levels of Yamnaya DNA. Corded Ware was a pastoralist culture derived from the steppe.

    Quote Originally Posted by dsm View Post
    So Gimbutas is highly praised when her words agree with your current POV but she clearly is capable of staring too long at maps when her work doesn't agree. I think Gimbutas actually had some idea of the regions involved.
    Oh, please. I still praise Gimbutas. She never endorsed your point of view. In 1965 she wrote about routes of trade and transit. She included many such routes, not just one.

    I merely said that one of those routes was the Dniester-San-Vistula, and to me that one makes more sense than the one you're proposing, especially since the Dniester-San-Vistula route actually has archaeological and ancient DNA evidence to support it.

    Quote Originally Posted by dsm View Post
    What has American migrations got to do with this ? - seems a very tenuous connection
    It seems to me use of the words "tenuous connection" is kind of ironic, considering the meandering northerly route you proposed.

    Anyway, the point about Tennessee, which should have been easy to understand, is that the people who settled there did not make a long range journey to get there. Usually people move first to places that are relatively close. The Volga is far far from the Baltic.

    Quote Originally Posted by dsm View Post
    Great that we can have various interpretations and thoughts on this as long as we don't confuse greater cordedware R1a peoples with a small R1b group.
    What are you talking about?

    What makes you think that R1a greatly outnumbered R1b-L51 within Corded Ware? If that was the case, how did central and western Europe become so overwhelmingly R1b-L51? How did Beaker, which was pretty obviously a direct offshoot of Single Grave Corded Ware, get to be so overwhelmingly R1b-L51?

    And what does your response have to do with what I wrote about the Małopolska results and evidence? We are discussing R1b-L51 in this thread anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by dsm View Post
    Again, good that we can each hold different views and share them. Even Marija Gimbutas
    Well, we certainly do hold different views, but I would like for you to persuade me. I've explained more than once in this thread why I think the steppe pastoralist people behind Corded Ware, at least the R1b-L51 cohort, came north up the Prut/Dniester valleys and into Małopolska. I also think in general the hot zone in the Corded Ware origin story was the steppe, forest-steppe, and river valleys from the Dnieper all the way west to the Siret.

    Honestly, I don't understand the fondness for migration routes way up north into and across dense, boggy forest, unless someone presents a compelling case for them - and by "compelling" I mean something more than the mere notion that they were somehow "possible" because traders managed to trade amber along them.

    I realize some of this post may sound harsh. I don't mean it to sound that way, so you'll have to excuse me. I don't have all the answers; no one on this earth does. But I think the preponderance of the evidence supports my current view, which is subject to change as more evidence comes in.
    Last edited by rms2; 02-26-2021 at 01:22 AM.

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    BTW, the area between Samara and Kazan is steppe, not forest. The city of Samara itself is right on the Volga and has trees (just like Volgograd), but it is sitting on the steppe.

    My wife is from Volgograd, and I spent a lot of time in that area and have even swum in the Volga River.

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    RMS2,

    Am satisfied the original post was 'offered' with qualifications as another view. It is clearly going to become too convoluted trying to counter the mis-interpretations you are introducing. You IMHO are characteristically dumping on a different perspective to your cherished current views. There is no need to do so.

    Let us just leave the original polite post as a map showing a Gimbutas inspired view of connections between the Nth Pontic Steppes and the Baltic. We can each interpret it as we choose.

    Cheers D
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsm View Post
    RMS2,

    Am satisfied the original post was 'offered' with qualifications as another view. It is clearly going to become too convoluted trying to counter the mis-interpretations you are introducing. You IMHO are characteristically dumping on a different perspective to your cherished current views. There is no need to do so.

    Let us just leave the original polite post as a map showing a Gimbutas inspired view of connections between the Nth Pontic Steppes and the Baltic. We can each interpret it as we choose.

    Cheers D
    I decided to edit this post and pare it down to merely say that when one runs out of decent arguments, he sometimes resorts to insults: thus the post above.
    Last edited by rms2; 02-26-2021 at 02:59 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rms2 View Post
    BTW, the area between Samara and Kazan is steppe, not forest. The city of Samara itself is right on the Volga and has trees (just like Volgograd), but it is sitting on the steppe.

    My wife is from Volgograd, and I spent a lot of time in that area and have even swum in the Volga River.
    BTW, I'm hoping the rumor about R1b-L51 having been found on the Don in the area of Rostov in an Eneolithic steppe culture is correct. The wife and I are planning a trip to Russia in the near future. I would like to see that paper before I go so I can visit the area and maybe even the site itself.

    We've got a lot of relatives and friends to visit in Moscow, Ukraine, Volgograd, and Tatarstan, but I would like to make time to go visit that site, if it pans out.

    Here's my youngest daughter Anna riding a horse in Tatarstan. The other girl is her friend Dilara. The horse belongs to her.

    Stevens_Anna_riding horse in Tatarstan 12 June 2019.JPG
    Last edited by rms2; 02-26-2021 at 03:46 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rms2 View Post
    Remember that trade routes, including amber trade routes, are not quite the same as migration routes. I wonder about the idea of migration routes into the west that began as far away as the Volga.

    One of the routes Gimbutas mentioned was the Dniester-San-Vistula, which to me makes far more sense for R1b-L51 as a migration route than a route that begins on the Volga, heads way to the north, and winds up on the Baltic.

    A couple of things: first, the Corded Ware of the Baltic has been all R1a-M417 thus far. I realize that could change. Second, the Baltic itself was a source of amber, as it still is today, but why would anyone but small bands of traders swing way to the north, through forest, swamp, and taiga as a route west?

    I know Kristiansen, whom I really respect, mentioned the idea that the steppe people who headed west were primarily warbands of young males, but that cannot be entirely right, because Corded Ware still had 60-80% steppe DNA long after the culture began c. 3000. Steppe women must have come along for the steppe DNA to have remained that high.

    So, who was hauling women and children, ox-drawn wagons, livestock, and horses far up into the heavily forested and swampy north country?

    I get the impression some of these routes are the products of staring at a map of the region, perhaps with some of the trade routes in mind, without really knowing what the area is like.

    When the pioneers settled Tennessee, they didn't swing all the way down from distant New England, New York, or Pennsylvania. They came mainly from nearby North Carolina and Virginia.

    Any route from or across the steppe is possible, but personally I think the actual evidence indicates that the steppe people who formed the backbone of Corded Ware probably did not come from an enormous distance all the way across the steppe, and I doubt they made some circuitous trek northward across the taiga to the Baltic first. It seems to me the evidence indicates they came up the Dniester/Prut interfluve into Małopolska, where the oldest Pre-Corded Ware burials are found, those of the CWC-X horizon. There probably was some coming and going by way of the Dnieper across the steppe to Volhynia, as well.

    Besides, thus far most of the R1b-L51 in Corded Ware has been found in Małopolska, which looks like the gateway to the west. It would not surprise me if male remains from those Pre-Corded burials in Małopolska, at Hubinek and Średnia, 3000-2900 BC, were R1b-L51, as well.

    Could individuals or small groups have come from as far away as the Volga? Sure. But I don't see any evidence of a major migration stream from there, and certainly not one that brought L51 to the west.

    But who knows?
    The warbands were more like an expeditionary force. cf vratya of northern India. https://www.encyclopedia.com/religio...eleases/vratya https://www.britannica.com/topic/vratya

    Any serious settlement would have been similar in nature to that of the pioneers you mention - trickling over into Tennesee and Kentucky and then onto the farming lands of the midwest.


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    Quote Originally Posted by rms2 View Post
    I have hiked in the woods north of Moscow. I haven't personally experienced northern Russia in the 3rd millennium BC, but if it was anything like it is now, large groups with wagons, etc., did not migrate that way.
    However, this is exactly the place where we find multiple sites of the Fatyanovo culture (the Russian variant of CWC), so your claim that the Corded Ware people could not have migrated through such territories is strongly contradicted by the archaeology.



    Similarly, if the CWC people indeed avoided heavily wooded territories with plenty of rivers and/or lakes, then how come they were able to expand from the Middle Dnieper region towards the Upper Dnieper and Desna rivers (in Eastern Belarus and Western Russia). How come they are found in Southern Finland? Also, there is no doubt that CWC was strongly present in the Balltic states, and you have recently posted a map (shown below) that indicates there were only two possible migration routes for the CWC people to reach the Baltic states from the south and they both were through some densely wooded territories with plenty of water obstacles (just like in Southern Finland), including either the so-called Masurian Lake District in NE Poland or the Northern and North-Eastern parts of Belarus (ie. through the commonly used Dnieper-Neman and Dnieper-Daugava trade routes).

    Last edited by Michał; 02-26-2021 at 12:50 PM.

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