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

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    L51 into Europe West of the Steppe Via Corded Ware

    Hey! There's a Z2103 subforum but no L51 subforum. Why is that? We seem to be the redheaded stepchild of L23 (which is okay, I guess). Anyway, I guess we do have a bunch of downstream sub-fora, so one shouldn't complain.

    Anyway, anyone care to discuss R1b-L51 in Corded Ware, which was apparently the primary vehicle of Indo-European language and culture into central and western Europe? Also, it looks like Kurgan Bell Beaker really was just Corded Ware 2.0, and had little or nothing to do with its confusing and erroneous supposed association with what is called early Iberian Bell Beaker.

    I've been assembling a lot of notes and quotes lately on Corded Ware and its origins from various authors. Some of them were way ahead of the curve and were spectacularly right, but others were embarrassingly wrong.

    Ancient dna has really straightened things out, but we still have a ways to go.

    So, how did Corded Ware come into being? Where did the L51 in it come from? BTW, by L51 I mean it and everything downstream of it old enough to be involved. I personally am not that interested in plotting exactly which SNP appeared where and when. Let's just refer to L51. When they find some continental L21, then I'll get all excited.

    Meanwhile, go for it. Post your wildest ideas. This is for fun anyway.
    Last edited by rms2; 05-15-2020 at 04:52 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Not too long ago, quite a few scholars thought Corded Ware was merely an outgrowth of TRB which had been Indo-Europeanized through contact with Usatovo and/or Yamnaya. Thus far, however, the y-dna from TRB has been I2a and G2a, not R1a or R1b, and TRB remains have no steppe dna.

    As late as 2007, even as august an Indo-European expert as David Anthony thought this way. This is from page 360 of Anthony's book The Horse The Wheel and Language:

    Quote Originally Posted by David Anthony
    If I had to hazard a guess I would say that this was how the Proto-Indo-European dialects that would ultimately form the root of Pre-Germanic first became established in central Europe: they spread up the Dniester from the Usatovo culture through a nested series of patrons and clients, and eventually were spoken in some of the late TRB communities between the Dniester and the Vistula. These late TRB communities later evolved into early Corded Ware communities, and it was the Corded Ware horizon (see below) that provided the medium through which the Pre-Germanic dialects spread over a wider area.
    Nope.

    Now I'm sure Anthony would agree that was wrong.

    Gimbutas thought Corded Ware was a "later phase of the Globular Amphora complex" (from page 393 of her book, The Civilization of the Goddess):

    Quote Originally Posted by Marija Gimbutas
    Who were the Corded Pottery people? Do they represent an intrusion of a new Kurgan (i.e., Yamna) people from the east? Or does this period simply represent a later phase of the Globular Amphora complex, pushed to the north and northeast by the influx of the Yamna people? The latter seems likely. Both the Globular Amphora and Corded Pottery complexes contain components of the local TRB substratum and the Pontic steppe element. The TRB component is predominant in the physical type of the Corded Pottery population of Germany and Czechoslovakia, with the exception of some individuals who are considered to be of the steppe type. Analysis of the skeletal material from Poland shows a steppe origin. Elsewhere the bulk of the population were indigenous remnants of Old Europeans.
    I like Gimbutas and have a lot of respect for her. She was right about a lot way before most people, but she got Corded Ware wrong. Funny thing is that she was stronger on the steppe origin of Bell Beaker than she was on that of Corded Ware, but she derived Bell Beaker from Yamnaya and Vucedol. Now we know Bell Beaker really was an offshoot of Corded Ware.
    Last edited by rms2; 05-15-2020 at 05:20 PM.

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    The following is from Bogucki, Peter, and Crabtree, Pam J., editors. Ancient Europe 8000 B.C.–A.D. 1000: Encyclopedia of the Barbarian World. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2004, the chapter entitled "CONSEQUENCES OF FARMING IN SOUTHERN SCANDINAVIA", by Magdalena S. Midgley:

    Quote Originally Posted by Magdalena S. Midgley
    Although in the past fanciful notions of horse-mounted eastern warriors were evoked to explain the appearance of the Corded Ware culture in Europe, it now seems that a local, if regionally diversified, emergence is a more appropriate working concept. Indeed there is sufficient evidence to show a degree of continuity from the late Funnel Beaker culture to the subsequent Corded Ware culture and to demonstrate that the process of social and economic change, which ultimately led to the emergence of the Corded Ware culture over much of southern Scandinavia, can be perceived within the later Funnel Beaker culture. The settlement and economy of the Corded Ware were rooted in the preceding period, although there are some regional differences. Thus in eastern Denmark and Scania, there is little evidence for change in land use, and on Bornholm and the southern Danish islands, settlement continued more or less uninterrupted on sites previously occupied by the Funnel Beaker culture. Initially at least the extant megalithic tombs in this region offered convenient burial places, since many Corded Ware burials can be identified as late additions.
    I'm not trying to badmouth Mrs. Midgley (she has passed away since writing that). I just want to show what apparently a lot of scholars thought not too long ago when immobilist thought reigned supreme.

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    More recently, this paper by Kristiansen et al (I'm the president of the Kristiansen Fan Club) asserts that Corded Ware was an outgrowth of Yamnaya.

    We have been able to reconstruct the social processes of cultural integration and hybridisation that followed from (probable) Neolithic women marrying into Yamnaya settlements dominated by males of first-generation migrants. This practice continued over several generations, and the women soon started to produce new pottery versions of existing containers made of organic materials, with some further innovations. The original herding economy of the Yamnaya migrants gradually gave way to new agrarian practices of crop cultivation, which led to the adaptation of new words. The result of this hybridisation process was the formation of a new material culture, the Corded Ware Culture, and of a new dialect, Proto-Germanic (or perhaps more correctly, Pre-Proto-Germanic).

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    Okay. I guess no one is interested.

    C'est la vie.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rms2 View Post
    More recently, this paper by Kristiansen et al (I'm the president of the Kristiansen Fan Club) asserts that Corded Ware was an outgrowth of Yamnaya.
    I re-read that paper just the other day and then came across a rather interesting thesis on CW language which referenced Kristiansen's paper.

    The shared lexicon of Baltic, Slavic and Germanic

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    Quote Originally Posted by rms2 View Post
    Okay. I guess no one is interested.

    C'est la vie.
    No one? You're wrong on his point. This is a major (and for some of us THE ...) major topic. On my part, I only feel the necessity to make my thoughts in order before intervening. Hopefully, you'll keep on posting your notes and quotations, sure they will help me.
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    I think we've all learned that, like Yamnaya, Corded Ware is an archaeological horizon rather than a single culture, even though we refer to it as the Corded Ware culture or CWC, for short. Mallory says there are over twenty Corded Ware variants.

    From page 244 of his book, In Search of the Indo-Europeans: Language, Archaeology and Myth:

    Quote Originally Posted by James Mallory
    Beginning slightly later [than 3500 BC] is the Corded Ware horizon, with its over twenty variants. These stretch from the Netherlands on the west to the upper Volga and middle Dnieper on the east, and are found as far north as Scandinavia and as far south as Switzerland.
    Mallory doesn't provide a list of the variants, however.

    Czebreszuk, in his article, "Corded Ware from East to West", pages 467-475 of the book, Ancient Europe 8000 B.C.–A.D. 1000: Encyclopedia of the Barbarian World, does provide a list of what he says are "[t]he Corded Ware variants most solidly grounded in literature" (p. 469). In it he includes Złota, however, which I think now is believed to have actually been a GAC subgroup.

    Excluding Złota, here is Czebreszuk's list (which doesn't come up to Mallory's "over twenty"):

    1. Single Grave Culture

    2. Protruding Foot Beaker Culture

    3. Corded Ware of the Alpine Pile Dwellings

    4. Central German Corded Ware Culture

    5. Bohemian-Moravian Corded Ware

    6. Małopolska Corded Ware

    7. Battle-Axe Culture

    8. Rzucewo Culture (also known as the Bay Coast culture and the East Baltic Coastal culture or
    Haffküstenkultur)

    9. Middle Dnieper Culture

    10. Fatianovo Culture (or Fatyanovo)


    I numbered them, not in order of importance, but just to make keeping a count easier.
    Last edited by rms2; 05-16-2020 at 03:40 PM.

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    Personally, I would add the following:

    11. Kurgan Bell Beaker culture

    Were it not for the confusion over the Spanish Model of Beaker origins, it seems to me Beaker would simply be regarded as the most successful of the CW variants.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rms2 View Post
    Okay. I guess no one is interested.

    C'est la vie.
    I am actually quite interested, but with all the recent ancient dna finds, along with the rumored ones, it is hard to take a position now. Superficially, it looks like R-L51 originated about the Moravian Gate. The oldest Ancient DNA coincides with the ends of the Cucuteni-Trypillia and Globular Amphora cultures. Until it collapsed, the large cities of the Cucuteni-Trypillia culture between the S. Bug and Dnieper would have been barriers to any large steppe migration towards the mouth of the Danube. And certainly the large forests of central Poland would not have been appealing to a steppe pastoralist / metal worker going through central Poland. The following deforestation figure (which I annotated with red migration arrows) I found particularly pertinent (see N. Roberts et al (2018) "Europe’s lost forests: a pollen-based synthesis for the last 11,000 years", https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-18646-7).

    EuropeDeforestation.png

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