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Thread: Neolithization of the Caucasus

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    Neolithization of the Caucasus

    I am starting this thread to discuss the topic of Neolithization of the Caucasus and the genetic groups involved. How did the Neolithization process of the Caucasus occur? Did it involve migrants moving in with Neolithic technologies? Independent indigenous Neolithic invention and development? Indigenous adoption of Neolithic technology and ideas via trade? A mix of all of these possibilities?

    Here is a video about an upcoming paper about the Neolithization process of the Caucasus. It sounds like some ancient DNA will be included in it. Hopefully we will see it published this year.

    https://ioa.ucla.edu/files/earliest-...-alan-farahani
    Last edited by J Man; 02-07-2021 at 06:15 PM.

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    There's some evidence of grain harvesting in West Caucasus as early as late Upper Paleolithic, sadly Colchis and other parts of West Georgia/Abkhazia are very understudied so we can't be very sure if the Neolithic was reached in the region independently.

    "Several dozen large charred millet grains were found in the Early Neolithic layer of the Cold Grotto, which indicates the special importance of this cereal crop. It should be noted here that the collection of cereals in this region is recorded much earlier - in the Upper Paleolithic."
    A safer bet is to assume that the Neolithic package was brought into the Caucasus by East Anatolians and Zagrosians, but curiously, both of these had some Caucasus Forager ancestry even before their arrival. This could be explained with the Trialetian Mesolithic culture but I'm not entirely sure.

    In the Neolithic/Eneolithic, you won't see THAT much CHG ancestry anywhere in the area aside from West Caucasus, if we're to go by the data available. The West Caucasian cline (characterized by high CHG and Medium to low Anatolia) would then spread over to the East (Sioni-Tsopi-Ginchi cultural trails, with them initially having a strong cultural affinity to West Georgia) and mix with farmers that were rich in Zagrosian ancestry, creating the East Caucasian cline.

    Em4uIpiUcAAh9bT.jpg
    Last edited by Korotyr; 02-08-2021 at 09:36 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Korotyr View Post
    There's some evidence of grain harvesting in West Caucasus as early as late Upper Paleolithic, sadly Colchis and other parts of West Georgia/Abkhazia are very understudied so we can't be very sure if the Neolithic was reached in the region independently.


    A safer bet is to assume that the Neolithic package was brought into the Caucasus by East Anatolians and Zagrosians, but curiously, both of these had some Caucasus Forager ancestry even before their arrival. This could be explained with the Trialetian Mesolithic culture but I'm not entirely sure.

    In the Neolithic/Eneolithic, you won't see THAT much CHG ancestry anywhere in the area aside from West Caucasus, if we're to go by the data available. The West Caucasian cline (characterized by high CHG and Medium to low Anatolia) would then spread over to the East (Sioni-Tsopi-Ginchi cultural trails, with them initially having a strong cultural affinity to West Georgia) and mix with farmers that were rich in Zagrosian ancestry, creating the East Caucasian cline.

    Em4uIpiUcAAh9bT.jpg
    Is it not possible that those cereals that were harvested in the West Caucasus during the Upper Paleolithic were simply just wild foods that the foragers gathered?
    Last edited by J Man; 02-08-2021 at 01:22 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Man View Post
    Is it not possible that those cereals that were harvested in the West Caucasus during the Upper Paleolithic were simply just wild foods that the foragers gathered?
    Yeah, but apparently there was a continuity, but the cultivation could have started after additional Anatolian ancestry was introduced to West Caucasus. This is a quick google translation. You can read more here http://saunje.ge/index.php?id=1615&
    Several dozen large charred millet grains were found in the Early Neolithic layer of the Kholodny Grotto, which indicates the special importance of this cereal crop. It should also be noted here that the collection of cereals in this region is recorded much earlier - in the Upper Paleolithic. In the Kholodny Grotto, in the Late Paleolithic layer (D) and below it, a small lens of grains of an unidentified plant was found. The grains were also found in the cemented crushed stone layer V-3 [9, p. 39]. These materials point to the complicated gathering of the inhabitants of the grotto since the time of the Upper Paleolithic. As for the millet culture, according to the materials of the Kholodny Grotto, it is clearly evident that this is an endemic species of the cereal of the Western Caucasus, the existence of which is documented on the materials of this site. Unfortunately, L.N. Solov'ev, the Latin name for this species is not indicated. L.L.Dekaperelevich and A. Kasparyan identified 13 species of millet in Western Georgia [5, pp. 549-552], but they also do not have Latin names and regions where these cereals were found, which does not contribute to the identification of archaeological data from modern. Millet is not found in the most ancient agricultural cultures of Asia Minor and Asia Minor, but it was already cultivated by the most ancient farmers of Europe - the tribes of the pre-ceramic Neolithic of Greece. Millet was found in a charred state at the Starchevo settlement and in the Neolithic layers of Olynthos in Macedonia [10, p. 29]. Lacking archaeological data, VS Titov suggested a possible way of penetration of the millet culture through the Northern Black Sea region to Europe [10, p. 29]. Based on the material of the Kholodny Grotto, we are sure that this particular route was the most possible for the penetration of this cereal into Europe. But, due to the many varieties of millet, it is not yet possible to determine the species that laid the foundation for the European species of millet. Research L.L. Dekaprelevich and A. Kasparyan, it was established that Western Georgian species of millet differ in their characteristics from East Asian ones [5, p. 554]. Finds of millet from the Kholodny Grotto indicate the special importance of this cereal crop. It can be seen that the cultivation process of this plant, which took a long time, has already been started. Archaeological materials confirm the opinion of scientists (Javakhishvili, Berdzenishvili, Kikvidze) that cultures - gomi, millet and its varieties, as well as rye, laid the foundation for agriculture in the Caucasian Black Sea region. Millet and rye are historically attested cultures of the Western Caucasus [19. pp. 14-15]. In the opinion of Y. Kikvidze, who studied the issues of agriculture in ancient Georgia: “The existence of a productive economy in Western Georgia in the Neolithic era, namely agriculture, is beyond doubt. In that part of Western Georgia, where Neolithic monuments were discovered, due to climatic conditions, wheat and barley could not be cultivated. Here, in the historical epoch, “gomi” and millet were mainly sown from cereals, so one must think that these crops laid the foundation for agriculture in these regions ”[19, p. 234]. The materials of the Western Caucasus indicate that in the bowels of the appropriating economy, on the basis of complicated gathering, a gradual transition to agriculture is taking place.
    Last edited by Korotyr; 02-08-2021 at 01:52 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Korotyr View Post
    There's some evidence of grain harvesting in West Caucasus as early as late Upper Paleolithic, sadly Colchis and other parts of West Georgia/Abkhazia are very understudied so we can't be very sure if the Neolithic was reached in the region independently.


    A safer bet is to assume that the Neolithic package was brought into the Caucasus by East Anatolians and Zagrosians, but curiously, both of these had some Caucasus Forager ancestry even before their arrival. This could be explained with the Trialetian Mesolithic culture but I'm not entirely sure.

    In the Neolithic/Eneolithic, you won't see THAT much CHG ancestry anywhere in the area aside from West Caucasus, if we're to go by the data available. The West Caucasian cline (characterized by high CHG and Medium to low Anatolia) would then spread over to the East (Sioni-Tsopi-Ginchi cultural trails, with them initially having a strong cultural affinity to West Georgia) and mix with farmers that were rich in Zagrosian ancestry, creating the East Caucasian cline.

    Em4uIpiUcAAh9bT.jpg
    Very interesting information in your next post about the gathering and eventual farming of millet in the West Caucasus. Indeed it would be interesting to know if the arrival of Anatolia ancestry facilitated the domestication process or if it was an independent CHG group that first domesticated it. Without more archeological and ancient DNA studies from this area of the Caucasus we may never know. Hopefully in time samples from that area will be tested.

    So then by the Neolithic the the CHG groups became restricted mainly to the West Caucasus area? It would be interesting to see if prior to the Neolithic CHG groups were present in other areas of the Caucasus as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Man View Post
    So then by the Neolithic the the CHG groups became restricted mainly to the West Caucasus area? It would be interesting to see if prior to the Neolithic CHG groups were present in other areas of the Caucasus as well.
    I'm basing this on the fact that Neolithic-Eneolithic samples from Azerbaijan and Armenia didn't harbor much CHG ancestry, as opposed to Meshoko samples from Northwest Caucasus, who were migrants from West Georgia. East Georgia hasn't been sampled yet, but since the area was under Shulaveri Shomu culture, I don't expect much CHG ancestry in Neolithic East Georgia prior to the formation of the Sioni culture. I do wonder about the aDNA of Hunter Gatherers from Gobustan.

    model.png

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Man View Post
    Is it not possible that those cereals that were harvested in the West Caucasus during the Upper Paleolithic were simply just wild foods that the foragers gathered?
    Maybe the early textiles led to harvesting flax for food?

    The earliest evidence of humans using wild flax as a textile comes from the present-day Republic of Georgia, where spun, dyed, and knotted wild flax fibers found in Dzudzuana Cave date to the Upper Paleolithic, 30 thousand years ago.[5][6][7]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Korotyr View Post
    I'm basing this on the fact that Neolithic-Eneolithic samples from Azerbaijan and Armenia didn't harbor much CHG ancestry, as opposed to Meshoko samples from Northwest Caucasus, who were migrants from West Georgia. East Georgia hasn't been sampled yet, but since the area was under Shulaveri Shomu culture, I don't expect much CHG ancestry in Neolithic East Georgia prior to the formation of the Sioni culture. I do wonder about the aDNA of Hunter Gatherers from Gobustan.

    model.png
    We know that in the southeast of the Caucasus the Sholuveri-Shomu culture was the first major true Neolithic culture but what was the situation in the western part of the Caucasus like at that time?

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    I should be more patient haha...I kind of answered my own question at least to a degree. This paper looks informative at least in the case of possible early Neolithic groups in the West Caucasus.

    https://www.researchgate.net/publica...l_interactions

    "Neolithic and Chalcolithic Horizons

    Early Neolithic rock shelter and open-air sites are also con-centrated in western Georgia near the coast and farther inland in the river basins flowing down to the Black Sea, and exhibit clear continuity with the earlier Mesolithic sites from the same area: wild boar and bear continued to be hunted, but intro-duced domesticated species, such as cattle and sheep, are also reported (Lordkipanidze 1989: 59–60); the chipped stone tools, including geometric microliths, continue to be used, but new forms, such as sickles and large picks and hoe-shaped objects, appear together with ground and polished stone axes and grinding stones to suggest new activities associated with a transformed subsistence economy (ibid.: 61–3). The Darkveti rock shelter, which is located farther east, is particularly inter-esting since its deposit is multilayered, extending from the Late Mesolithic to the Early Bronze Age, and documents the emer-gence of the new food-producing economy."

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Man View Post
    We know that in the southeast of the Caucasus the Sholuveri-Shomu culture was the first major true Neolithic culture but what was the situation in the western part of the Caucasus like at that time?
    The archeology in West Caucasus, especially in Colchis is very elusive and conflicting.

     

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