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Thread: The Spread of Afroasiatic Languages, 11,000 BC to 600 AD

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    The spread of Indo-European languages is everywhere accompanied by the appearance of steppe ancestry. My understanding is that the only ancestry that all Afro-Asiatic speakers have in common is Natufian? Is there any other candidate among ancient populations that left a genetic mark that can account for the spread of Afro-Asiatic languages?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woozler View Post
    The spread of Indo-European languages is everywhere accompanied by the appearance of steppe ancestry. My understanding is that the only ancestry that all Afro-Asiatic speakers have in common is Natufian? Is there any other candidate among ancient populations that left a genetic mark that can account for the spread of Afro-Asiatic languages?
    One question wrt what you're asking would be whether Natufians have actual North African related ancestry/admixture of some kind and that's the actual Epipaleolithic autosomal marker of Afro-Asiatic. Since the breakup of Afro-Asiatic is usually considered to have begun much earlier than IE, I assume it'll also be harder to pinpoint it as specifically to everyone's satisfaction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DFSTFD View Post
    One question wrt what you're asking would be whether Natufians have actual North African related ancestry/admixture of some kind and that's the actual Epipaleolithic autosomal marker of Afro-Asiatic. Since the breakup of Afro-Asiatic is usually considered to have begun much earlier than IE, I assume it'll also be harder to pinpoint it as specifically to everyone's satisfaction.
    Do you mean Iberomaurusian ancestry?

    The two main contenders for the AA urheimat are the northern red sea coast and the Levant
    Last edited by etrusco; 09-02-2021 at 08:09 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by etrusco View Post
    Do you mean Iberomaurusian ancestry?
    Might be an overall very different kind of northeastern African related ancestry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DFSTFD View Post
    Might be an overall very different kind of northeastern African related ancestry.
    But did it spread across North and East Africa separately from the Natufians? If not, then we're not so much discussing Proto-Afro-Asiatic, but Pre-Proto-Afro-Asiatic, a paleolithic language.

    Proto-Afro-Asiatic may be considerably older than Proto-Indo-European, but we're talking something like 11k v 5k years BP. Mashubians (if they were from N Africa and spoke Pre-Proto-Afro-Asiatic) were already in the Levant by 15,000 BP. Wouldn't their language be far too old by any linguistic measure to survive as a recognizable language family?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keneki20 View Post
    However, rather than the totality of the assemblages resembling Natufian (or Neolithic Levantine) assemblages, or representing a distinct culture (however, a small number sources refer to this as the the “Helwanian”) these most closely resemble Mushabian and Ramonian assemblages, and are quite old (at least 15,000 - 13,700 years old). Some earlier estimates (albeit, less precise) have been provided as well based on ostrich egg shells at a different site, which have been dated to ~18,000 years ago - ~ 17,000 years ago. Consequently, most regard this presence in mainland Africa as a previously unrecognized extension of the Mushabian/Ramonian territories (see the image below for the Mushabian/Ramonian territories).

    Attachment 44834

    It’s the only such example I can find of a relevant culture that spans both continents in some way. Additionally, it appears that the Mushabian/Ramonian contributed to the genesis of the Natufian culture. Then, for the Helwan assemblages in Eritrea, they’ve been roughly dated to 8,800 - 8,600 years old. Additionally, the Isnan culture along the Nile apparently showed some similarities in assemblages to the Mushabian/Ramonian entities, which is important to consider.

    While the Mushabian/Ramonian had apparent typological similarities to North African Iberomaurisian assemblages, there were also apparently notable similarities to Eastern Levantine (Trans-Jordanian) Epipaleolithic cultures, such that the seemingly popular and understandable opinion now is that the Mushabian/Ramonian are of Eastern Levantine origin. That doesn’t necessarily eliminate a North African/Northeast African connection (cf., some genetic data and cultural attributes amongst some other things), and some, such as Ehret, still prefer the North African connection even after scrutinizing the information suggesting an Eastern Levantine origin. However, the current information makes it so that the Mushabian/Ramonian can’t be seen merely as a North African transplant as it has traditionally been seen. The placement would help to explain the fairly ubiquitous Natufian-like genetic signature throughout the Afro-Asiatic-speaking domain. So, in a sense, this may be the influence of a people whose ancestry overlapped a great deal with that of the Natufians, but not the direct influence of the Natufians themselves
    .
    Would the east Levantine ancestors of the Mushabians/Ramonians be the Kebaran culture?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TuaMan View Post
    Would the east Levantine ancestors of the Mushabians/Ramonians be the Kebaran culture?
    No, I don't think so. As far as I can tell, the greatest similarities can be drawn with the Nebekian and Nizzanan, and I have read information lately that the Mushabian had somehow overrun the pre-existing Kebaran peoples. Belfer-Cohen and Goring-Morris (2020) said the following:

    With the shift to the Middle Epipalaeolithic, as environmental conditions improved, the Geometric Kebaran techno-complex was initially dispersed throughout the northern and Southern Levant (Bar-Yosef, Belfer-Cohen 1989; BarYosef, Meadow 1995; Goring-Morris 1987; 1995). Coevally, the earlier phase of the Mushabian technocomplex was restricted only to the Negev and Sinai. Later, the Geometric Kebarans seemingly disappeared from the south, in our opinion ‘evicted’ by the Mushabians and their descendants, the Ramonians, albeit while continuing to thrive in the north within the Mediterranean zone (Goring-Morris 1987; 1995).
    It would be lovely if there were DNA samples available, since, even though the eastern Levantine ties are quite reasonable, the ties to North Africa are themselves not unfounded. And, especially by way of the Mushabians/Ramonians ties to the Natufians, who also show some proposed North African genetic and cultural affinities, I believe that, too, should come from somewhere. Anyway, that's to say, this can help one further assess the Mushabians'/Ramonians' wider affiliations.

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