How did CHG get into Steppe_EMBA ? Part 2 : The Pottery Neolithic


Introduction of pottery signifies massive cultural change. Beyond the introduction of a new technology, pottery provides additional possibilities for food storage and preparation (e.g. fish / vegetable soups, extracting animal lipids, brewing, pickling). Appearance of  larger, heavy vessels implies conversion to a more sedentary lifestyle. Such major cultural shift may have autochtonous origins, but more likely is external… Continue reading

Minoan horses and other bullshit – Open thread


My latest post erraneously received a comment that was meant for a much earlier post: Horses and wheeled vehicles. In principle it should be possible to move it to the correct destination, but I somehow failed to achieve that. The comment made, and a comment received on it, are readworthy, but of course far OT… Continue reading

The beginnings of the Bronze Age in Europe


The definition of what, or when, constitutes the Bronze Age differs from region to region, and scholar to scholar. For example, the period after the collapse of the Varna civilization (4000 BC ->) is often seen as a proto-Bronze Age or ‘’Transitional’’ period, with the Bronze Age beginning c. 3000 BC (coincident with the Yamnaya… Continue reading

Is Male-driven Genetic Replacement always meaning Language-shift?


A rethorical question, obviously, with an equally obvious, trivial answer: Well, it depends… Depends on what, however, is less trivial, and deserves a closer look at the evidence available. Let me start with distinguishing Colonisation from male-driven genetic replacement. The former entails a joint migration of males and females into new territories, e.g. the European settlement of… Continue reading

Ancient DNA and Linguistics: an introduction


The ancient DNA (aDNA) era has been a revolution (still in progress) in our understanding of prehistory, and one of the implications of it has been the search for the origin of languages (mostly the origin of IE languages, which has been a central subject in many aDNA publications). However, I have the feeling that… Continue reading

Paleolithic DNA from the Caucasus reveals core of West Eurasian ancestry – Lazaridis et al. 2018 – preprint

A great day for West Eurasian deep prehistory thanks to ancient DNA! First with “Late Pleistocene human genome suggests a local origin for the first farmers of central Anatolia” (Feldman et al. 2018, preprint) and now with this unexpected and very surprising “Paleolithic DNA from the Caucasus reveals core of West Eurasian ancestry” (Lazaridis et… Continue reading

A first, and intriguing glimpse at TRB West Group aDNA

A good month ago, I presented here a new publication by Krause-Kyora e.a. “Neolithic and medieval virus genomes reveal complex evolution of Hepatitis B” that includes some interesting fresh aDNA from Central Europe. The most fascinating sample they provide is TRB-Tiefstichkeramik, Hildesheim-Sorsum, 3335–3107 cal BC, which closes an important geographical, chronological and cultural gap, and holds several surprises…. Continue reading