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Thread: Genetic Genealogy and Ancient DNA in the News

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    Radiocarbon dates and Bayesian modeling support maritime diffusion model for megaliths in Europe

    B. Schulz Paulsson
    PNAS published ahead of print February 11, 2019 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1813268116
    Edited by James F. O’Connell, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, and approved January 3, 2019 (received for review August 1, 2018)

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    Significance

    For thousands of years, prehistoric societies built monumental grave architecture and erected standing stones in the coastal regions of Europe (4500–2500 calibrated years BC). Our understanding of the rise of these megalithic societies is contentious and patchy; the origin for the emergence of megalithic architecture in various regions has been controversial and debated for over 100 y. The result presented here, based on analyses of 2,410 radiocarbon dates and highly precise chronologies for megalithic sites and related contexts, suggests maritime mobility and intercultural exchange. We argue for the transfer of the megalithic concept over sea routes emanating from northwest France, and for advanced maritime technology and seafaring in the megalithic Age.

    Abstract

    There are two competing hypotheses for the origin of megaliths in Europe. The conventional view from the late 19th and early 20th centuries was of a single-source diffusion of megaliths in Europe from the Near East through the Mediterranean and along the Atlantic coast. Following early radiocarbon dating in the 1970s, an alternative hypothesis arose of regional independent developments in Europe. This model has dominated megalith research until today. We applied a Bayesian statistical approach to 2,410 currently available radiocarbon results from megalithic, partly premegalithic, and contemporaneous nonmegalithic contexts in Europe to resolve this long-standing debate. The radiocarbon results suggest that megalithic graves emerged within a brief time interval of 200 y to 300 y in the second half of the fifth millennium calibrated years BC in northwest France, the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic coast of Iberia. We found decisive support for the spread of megaliths along the sea route in three main phases. Thus, a maritime diffusion model is the most likely explanation of their expansion.....

    We have thus been able to demonstrate that the earliest megaliths originated in northwest France and spread along the sea routes of the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts in three successive principal phases (Fig. 5). Their expansion coincided with other social and economic changes of Neolithic and Copper Age societies beyond the scope of this article. The older generation of archaeologists were correct concerning a maritime diffusion of the megalithic concept. They were wrong regarding the region of origin and the direction of the megalithic diffusion. The megalithic movements must have been powerful to spread with such rapidity at the different phases, and the maritime skills, knowledge, and technology of these societies must have been much more developed than hitherto presumed. This prompts a radical reassessment of the megalithic horizons and invites the opening of a new scientific debate regarding the maritime mobility and organization of Neolithic societies, the nature of these interactions through time, and the rise of seafaring.

    https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2.../05/1813268116

    Kristian Kristiansen, also at Gothenburg University but not involved in Dr. Schulz Paulsson’s study, said the research was “a real breakthrough,” providing for the first time both the origin and the evidence for a coastal, maritime spread of the technology. That, in itself is significant because it suggests that people of the time had boats and skill to travel along the coasts and quickly spread the megalithic method.

    Dr. Schulz Paulsson found that the oldest megalithic graves dated from about 4800 to 4000 B.C. in northwest France and other areas like the Channel Islands, Corsica and Sardinia. But northwest France is the only one of these areas that showed evidence of earthen grave monuments that preceded the first megaliths, dating back to around 5000 B.C. These graves, in the geological area known as the Paris basin, indicate the beginnings of monument building that are lacking in the other areas.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/11/s...ogy-tombs.html

    https://www.siliconrepublic.com/inno...alithic-origin
    Last edited by Heber; 02-13-2019 at 12:07 AM.
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    Thread: Genetic Genealogy and Ancient DNA in the News

    Quote Originally Posted by Heber View Post
    Radiocarbon dates and Bayesian modeling support maritime diffusion model for megaliths in Europe

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    Megalithic People, Megalithic Missionaries: the history of an idea
    Chris Scarre, Durham University

    The idea that the megalithic monuments of western and northern Europe were built by
    a specific group of people who travelled long distances along the Atlantic seaways
    was first proposed in the 18th century. It remained a dominant concept among 19th
    century antiquarians and archaeologists and became a feature of diffusionist models
    of Neolithic cultural interaction in the early 20th century. Opinions on the direction
    of travel were varied, some favouring a north-south and others a south-north
    movement of people. The ritual or religious character of these monuments was given
    particular focus in Gordon Childe’s notion of ‘megalithic missionaries’. Connections
    with the East Mediterranean also came to play an increasingly prominent role. The
    development of radiocarbon dating in the 1960s gave rise to different explanations of
    megalithic origins, emphasising regional sequences and indigenous social change. In
    recent years, however, novel scientific techniques – stable isotopes, ancient DNA,
    and improved dating methods – have given unexpected insight into the movement of
    prehistoric populations. Studies of exotic materials such as variscite and jadeitite
    have also renewed interest in maritime interconnections during the Neolithic.

    http://dro.dur.ac.uk/23764/1/23764.pdf?DDD6+drk0cs

    https://nachrichten.idw-online.de/20...across-europe/
    Last edited by Heber; 02-14-2019 at 10:08 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heber View Post
    Megalithic People, Megalithic Missionaries: the history of an idea
    Chris Scarre, Durham University

    The idea that the megalithic monuments of western and northern Europe were built by
    a specific group of people who travelled long distances along the Atlantic seaways
    was first proposed in the 18th century. It remained a dominant concept among 19th
    century antiquarians and archaeologists and became a feature of diffusionist models
    of Neolithic cultural interaction in the early 20th century. Opinions on the direction
    of travel were varied, some favouring a north-south and others a south-north
    movement of people. The ritual or religious character of these monuments was given
    particular focus in Gordon Childe’s notion of ‘megalithic missionaries’. Connections
    with the East Mediterranean also came to play an increasingly prominent role. The
    development of radiocarbon dating in the 1960s gave rise to different explanations of
    megalithic origins, emphasising regional sequences and indigenous social change. In
    recent years, however, novel scientific techniques – stable isotopes, ancient DNA,
    and improved dating methods – have given unexpected insight into the movement of
    prehistoric populations. Studies of exotic materials such as variscite and jadeitite
    have also renewed interest in maritime interconnections during the Neolithic.

    http://dro.dur.ac.uk/23764/1/23764.pdf?DDD6+drk0cs

    The circulation of jadite axes is surely connected with the megalithic expansion but goes well beyond that. It encompasses the whole european continent from Iberia to the Black Sea and from Sicily to Norway.

    A paper of Petrequin:

    http://www.academia.edu/34576840/PET..._Press_285-298

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    A more detailed paper on the subject:

    http://www.academia.edu/11005438/PET...Ain_VOL_2_TWO_

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    All 14 lectures and panel discussions from Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2019, Belfast (GGI2019) are now online.

    https://m.facebook.com/groups/300082013464522?ref=share
    Gerard Corcoran
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    Quote Originally Posted by etrusco View Post
    The circulation of jadite axes is surely connected with the megalithic expansion but goes well beyond that. It encompasses the whole european continent from Iberia to the Black Sea and from Sicily to Norway.

    A paper of Petrequin:

    http://www.academia.edu/34576840/PET..._Press_285-298
    Yes, though the density is far greater in the Alps, France and the Rhineland of course. Apparently esp. NW France within France, according to density of site plots.

    (Some other references to the circulation of alpine jade objects:

    https://www.nms.ac.uk/explore-our-co...from-the-alps/
    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...ade%22&f=false
    https://www.researchgate.net/publica...rian_Peninsula
    http://rcin.org.pl/Content/61213/WA3...ads-from_I.pdf)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heber View Post
    Received my copy of "Exploring Celtic Origins", Looking forward to a good read. On first inspection it looks like a comprehensive work integrating Archeology, Linguistics, Culture, History and the latest Genetic evidence.
    With a Polar Vortex sweeping in from the West, this may be a binge read over the weekend. I will post my comments on a seperate thread.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1I6d...w?usp=drivesdk
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    https://www.biorxiv.org/content/bior...85734.full.pdf

    Admixture is Africans come from an archaic that split off *before* the Neanderthal-AMH split. The implications are pretty heavy: If this is true, AMH could not have originated in large parts of Africa.

    EDIT: AMH could not have originated in *West*-Africa, see next post.
    Last edited by epoch; 03-04-2019 at 08:43 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by epoch View Post
    https://www.biorxiv.org/content/bior...85734.full.pdf

    a) Admixture is Africans come from an archaic that split off *before* the Neanderthal-AMH split. b) The implications are pretty heavy: If this is true, AMH could not have originated in large parts of Africa.
    This preprint was released about a year ago. Regarding a), I think it was the most likely scenario all along, after discovering the archaic ancestry in SSA didn't match Neanderthals or Denisovans. The next obvious choice would be heidelbergensis, and their split time (usually pegged around 500k-800kya) fits exactly with the model presented here.

    I disagree with b).... the null hypothesis would be that archaics only survived in a few isolated parts of the continent... namely, along the Gulf of Guinea and maybe the central African jungles. The Iwo Eleru skull from 11,000 BP seems a very obvious example of this, the craniometric proportions almost indicate an intermediate sapiens-heidelbegensis species surviving until the brink of the Neolithic. Iwo Eleru could very well have a huge chunk (30%+) of ancestry from this diverged lineage, and admixture with Ewo Eleru from (for example) a population with Dinka-like, Mota-like, and Iberomaurusian-related ancestry could have formed the modal W African genotype.

    I don't think South_Africa_2000BP, Tanzania_Luxmanda_3000BP, and Mota have archaic ancestry anywhere near the magnitude of the 5-10% routinely ascribed to West Africans. The vast majority of archaic ancestry in South and East Africa was spread only during the Iron Age with the Bantu expansions.
    Last edited by K33; 03-04-2019 at 04:41 PM.

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