Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bell Beaker in Light of Yamna, Corded Ware (Allentoft & Haak) [Part 1]

I'm going to begin unpacking these recent genetic studies on European prehistory in relation to the Beaker phenomenon.  Since there's a lot to unpack for a ten paragraph blog, I'll spend the next week or two catching up with some wild-ass interpretation, as always.

Both studies (Haak & Allentoft, 2015) have largely confirmed much of what has been expected regarding Corded Ware migration into North-Central Europe but with a severity that surprised most. Although both studies largely avoided Bell Beakers, the little data from several German and Czech Bell Beakers have teasingly supported a few hip-pocket hypotheses, one being that Beakers have so far appeared genetically 'modern' in relation to Western Europeans.  Thus, the Bell Beaker saga likely proves the last episode in the genetic transformation and amalgamation of the Western Europe.  From this point forward, Western Europe becomes increasingly militarized and genetically insulated.

Consider this.  In the last 4,500 years, the Western Continent has succumbed only to a single defeat by a foreign invader and that was Allied Victory over Europe and North Africa in World War II.  This resulted in occupation but no colonization and that makes the 3rd millennium all the more interesting.

A Mittle-Saale Beaker by Karol Schauer
We now have accumulated to this point possibly as many as seven Bell Beaker men who appear to have been from the appropriately mysterious paternal lineage R1b.  It's possible to extend this slightly given a certain amount of latitude.  Nevertheless, at the moment, men of the Beaker background in Germany and Bohemia are 100% of a single West or Southwest Asian lineage and 0% of any lineage identified with the preceding Neolithic or Corded Ware.

The fact that the male population of Western Europe has been recently replaced by young founders is well known; what isn't known is the speed to which this happened.  If Bell Beaker men continue to be overwhelmingly or exclusively of one lineage, it will mean that they did not integrate other men into their society in a way that was beneficial for those men or their posterity.

Here's a quick run-down and then some quick comments:

- Kromsdorf on the Ilm of Saale
(2) R1b, one of those down to P312+ (graves 5 and 8 - Adults)
- Quedlinburg on River Bode
(1) R1b-L51+ (QLB28b I0806 - Adult)
 - Augsburg on a tributary of the Danube
(1) [possibly R1b-DF27?, M12124+ below "Franco-Iberian" DF27] (RISE560 - Adult)  (this result was not published in the Allentoft paper but the SNPs were apparently identified by the Genetiker blog)
- Osterhofen-Altenmarkt on the Danube
(2) R1b-U152/S28 (RISE563 F0234 - Adult) (As reported in the Allentoft paper)
R1b-L51+ (RISE564 F0241 - Adult)  (this again not reported and not confirmed)
- Kněževes, Western Prague near the Vltava
(1) R1b (RISE566 F0521, A01168 - Infant) tested down to P310/L11

At this point we have one of the two major branches of M269 defined in Bell Beaker remains, R-P312.  As the the geographical scope begins to increase, we'll eventually see U106/S28 and probably a bunch of stray dogs and cats along with typical Neolithic and Corded lineages.

One thing to remember is that there may be a degree of selection bias in choosing archaeological remains.  While these individuals were certainly Bell Beakers, they were buried in cemeteries with certain diagnostics that have certain local interpretations.  So what we are beginning to see is not a snapshot of Europe but a snapshot of a specific population/culture within Europe.  Where this gets dicey is when there are N-S facing Battle Axe Swedes (one in this paper was R1b and more Western-like) and sometimes E-W Beakers from the NW.  Eventually it won't matter as the data piles up.

Quick thoughts before moving on to [Part 2]:

One of the more interesting out-takes, is that German Corded Ware and German Bell Beakers appear to have had starkly different paternal lineages.  This seems to indicate that violence was common between the two groups, at least in Germany which is all the more significant.

U152+ this early could have implications for the heritage of the Vulcan-worshiping Eteocretans, see [here], [here] where some genetic components differ in the modern Eastern Mediterranean.  At least it's worth looking at again, as I doubt those modern Cretans that are R1b have ever had additional SNPs. There are several papers that look at the Epi-Beaker phenomenon (or rather faint influences) including this one by Volker Heyd (2008) that looks at the influence of various Beaker cultures preceding the Aegean Bronze Age and Crete among other places.  For Crete, this is relevant given who settled the Tyrrhenian sphere beginning in the EBA because it was probably by populations in the general proximity of those in Allentoft.  This is not to say that Italian Beakers colonized Crete, because that didn't happen. Rather, communication can be demonstrated beginning in the Beaker period and this may have been followed by some migration from Central Italy in the regular Bronze Age.

On that note, it also becomes more difficult to simply dismiss Euroesque clades like U152 on the Barbary Coast as being the leftovers of Vandals or Romans (I imagine with a re-calibrated TMRCA) and again it will be important to dig down into lowest SNPs and get a better understanding of when separation may have occurred.  Bell Beakers did in fact inhabit the Oran area and there were several episodes back and forth between the continent long before the Roman Empire.

Finally, for the Y-chromosome, it will be necessary to once and for all tackle the SNPs of Northeastern Bashkirs and try and nail down the exact timeframe Bashkir U152 separated from the rest.  

Bronze Age population dynamics, selection, and the formation of Eurasian genetic structure, Allencroft et al.  Nature 522, 167–172 (11 June 2015) doi:10.1038/nature14507 [Link]


  1. Basically what we see in all those BB sequences is that they were (unlike Corded Ware or Yamnaya), carriers of Western European R1b (M412, L11 and three S116, these of likely "French" origin). It seems to support the "Iberian" or rather SW European origin of the Bell Beaker phenomenon quite a bit. I would like to have Michelsberg culture sequences in order to compare and confirm or discard my theory of all this stuff not being so much Bell Beaker specific but rather older: Megalithic (or maybe something in between).

    The modern R1b typology also parallels the modern mtDNA pools (including large amounts of H1, some H3) that Bell Beaker people carried in Germany. So very likely it was either them or their Megalithic precursors who established the core of modern genetic pools in Central Europe.

    It's interesting what you mention about BB and CW being at odds. However, while there are some clear settlement pattern differences (at least in some regions like North Switzerland), it is also clear that they overlap in the wider geography and timeline (well, first with CW and later with Unetice and related early Bronze cultures, which seem successors of CW). In this sense the Bell Beaker of Central Europe may be different from the rest, establishing their own different communites and polities (in the rest there are no differences or almost none with the precursor, often Megalithic, peoples).

    I'm going to propose a conjecture for discussion here: that the Artenacian culture's (bowmen too) military success West of the Rhine, served as incitement for dissidents of the new Corded Ware order East of it to establish a new network of "free communities", loosely supported by Western powers like Zambujal/VNSP. However these BB peoples of beyond the Rhine were still Indoeuropeanized one way or another and would eventually become the core of Celts and Italics. Does it make sense?

    1. I think it's plausible that the Corded Ware people had already established a common intraregional language that spanned several previous cultures. It could be plausible that Beakers east of the Rhine spoke the language of the Corded Ware, which was almost certainly IE and those to the west spoke a similar or different language.

      I think it's easier to speculate that the Bell Beakers in the Central European sphere had a common language since there appears to have been regular movement between them and that language was certainly IE. I'm not sure about the Atlantic. 50/50.

  2. I don't believe that there was an unusually high level of organized violence between the Bell Beakers and Corded Ware people.

    I suspect that they filled very different niches in LN/EBA Europe, sort of like the Timber and Plains wolves once did in North America. However, unlike the wolves, which eventually became different subspecies from lack of contact, the Bell Beakers and CWC people very likely practiced a hell of a lot of female exogamy with each other.

    That's what archeology, tooth traits and ancient mtDNA suggest, and if so, it would explain the CWC/BB R1a vs R1b dichotomy, and, at the same time, the rapidly homogenizing European gene pool, which became very modern very quickly during the EBA.

    1. I think you're right, there's no doubt they were mixing quite a lot. The disparity in the paternal lineages so far is rather stark, however it's possible in Holland and Scotland we will see some R1a Beakers via admixture.

  3. Good post. Personally I think BB were more likely a metal working caste so could exist within other populations without violence (although even if that was generally true it wouldn't necessarily apply everywhere).

    (Vulcan-worshiping might tie in with the metal worker caste idea.)

    1. They cannot be considered a metal-working caste, at least at the origin. Metal-working pre-dates BB (irregularly because unalloyed copper was a bit useless anyhow). What does happen in some cases with BB is some concentration of metal-working activities and these now becoming somewhat related to the presence of "prestige" BB paraphernalia, as BBB illustrated with his comment of a study a month or so ago. Also most people could just not be metal workers unless they were also farmers (in pre-modern conditions 90% of the population or more were farmers), in which case they would not be a "caste".

      It still allows for BB to be some sort of religion, sect or guild. Or just, as many have suggested, a prestige fashion (identity or ideology related in some cases maybe). Or something in between with regional variations.

      Not sure where you get the idea of "Vulcan-worshiping". There are no volcanoes in Western Europe, hence no Vulcan. There is however a highly suspect similitude between the Basque word for "oven" or "furnace": "labe", "laba", and the Latin "lava" (of mysterious origins otherwise).

    2. The Vulcan thing is from the OP

      "U152+ this early could have implications for the heritage of the Vulcan-worshiping Eteocretans, see [here], [here] where some genetic components differ in the modern Eastern Mediterranean."


      "Also most people could just not be metal workers unless they were also farmers (in pre-modern conditions 90% of the population or more were farmers), in which case they would not be a "caste"."

      Or they started off as a metal working caste and in high population density places (e.g. trading centers) they stayed that way and in lower population density places (e.g. around mines) some of them had to provide the food so they became something different.

  4. The Lemercier Bell Beaker presentation at Harvard was fascinating because he was saying things that he practically apologized for.
    The most obvious was that in southern France at least Bell Beaker did not come from central Europe. Back in 2009 Mueller excavated one of the rare Corded Ware settlements dating from between about 2650 - 2400 BCE at Wattendorf in Franconia. There was no copper there or beakers. The only long-distance items found were some high quality stone blanks for axes. The practices and objects are very neolithic and different from the earliest phase of Bell Beaker and even the earlier Iberian settlements.

    I think it's plausible that an R1b group, metal specialists and pre-Bell Beaker came to Iberia not from the steppes but from somewhere in the direction of southeast Anatolia or the northern Levant. It based on the simple premise that R1b was already in that area by the time of Yamnaya and the aDNA that was found there. It's an argument that I think can hold up well before aDNA from those regions can be found.

    I think they might have brought the centum version of Indo-European languages to western and southern Europe. Corded Ware could have already been speaking a satem version of Indo-European at 3000 BCE. Currently, a majority of satem speakers (Slavic, Indo-Iranian) are R1a.

    Something important about migration and languages. Sometimes migrations mean an abrupt language change. But sometimes that can mean a language change for the migrants. Sometimes the migrants are not conquerers. Sometimes they are just looking for a place to live. Corded Ware strikes me as that kind of migration. Ask a American Clovis guy what a CW battleaxe looks like and his say it was a cleaver/bone-cracking food handling tool and tell you that it would make a terrible weapon against a spear.

    Here's an example of language change to keep in mind. The vast majority of the people living in the northern American Mid-West report that they are of German ancestry. This is county-by-county you'll see in the map link below and covers a huge area with a huge population. That represents a "massive" migration. Despite that, about 95% of these people speak only English. A massive migration of migrants from the steppes does not necessarily mean a language change.

    1. I don't think there is any reason to imagine that BB in its core area of SW Europe has extraneous origins. The Portuguese "copos" are a very plausible precursor and civilizations in which BB thrived (notably Zambujal/VNSP) already existed centuries before BB. So IMO BB does not need of any immigration.

      Additionally I think most people is looking at the finger (BB aDNA) while ignoring the Moon this one points to (Megalithism or Atlantic Neolithic, for which there is still very limited aDNA data). BB is a weak and rather implausible explanation for the spread of modern genetic pools, including R1b-S116, with maybe some exceptions which would have to be considered case by case (for example Ireland). A problem here is that the steppe fan-crowd used to believe that BB was the vector which carried supposed Eastern DNA to Western Europe but that is not believable anymore; however somehow BB has managed to retain the "charisma" while Megalithism seems to be getting no love or almost. However Megalithism is the context of most Bell Beaker or, East of the Rhine, very likely the context of the pre-CW substrate where BB found fertile ground to become established once the initial violence of CW conquest (which annihilated Megalithism in its area of control) weakened somewhat.

      Re. languages: the key issue is which is the language of the elites, the one that allows you to communicate with the ones in power and with other people who don't speak your native language. In your US example, that one was and is English. So every immigrant (who are not conquerors!) will have to learn it. A very different situation would be if Germany or Mexico would have conquered the USA or parts of it.

      A much more realistic scenario is something like Bolivia where Spanish is the official and the only inter-communitarian language, even if the bulk of the ancestry is Native and natives languages like Aymara are still important.

      I would think that Corded Ware elites, especially right after conquest, made a serious repressive effort to eradicate every pre-Indoeuropean cultural trait, be it language or Megalithic clannic burials. But that at some point the semi-Indoeuropeanized masses turned to a variant of BB, which included specific "reverse CW-like" burial style practices, in what to me seems a clear cultural hybridization but one that only exists East of the Rhine. Full Indoeuropeanization may have only happened once in the Bronze Age (since Tumulus culture for example, a very "kurganish" revival that re-unified much of the area and is precursor of the more expansive Urnfields-Hallstatt-La Tène series of Indoeuropean cultures with roots in Central Europe).

    2. If short-hafted axes and similar weapons were not practical, they would not have continued to be made and used in combat for pretty much all of recorded history.

      The fact that short weapons are at a disadvantage against spears in a straight-up fight in the open does not mean they are impractical. For one thing, you can't wear a spear at your side while you hold a bow in your hand, or climb a wall, or swim a river, or go about your business.

      That a weapon was ceremonial or had symbolic value again does not make it ineffective. Single-handed swords and maces are symbolic and ceremonial short weapons. They are also very handy for killing people.

    3. There are no spear remains in all this period that I recall, except some Palmela points, which (as BBB argued elsewhere) are too large for arrows. Native Americans at the time of conquest used largely cudgels and stone swords (made by applying cutting edge microliths to the edges of a wooden shaft). I would also think that axes would have been a good weapon of this kind and some copper axes found have clear signs of use, although they could have also been used for woodcutting for all I know.

      Spears and arrows are best for hunting or ambush-style tactics. Once you get in close combat a spear is almost as good as a broom... unless you are organized in disciplinary ways that were not yet used (phalanx, pike regiments). IMO this may tell us something about the preferred warfare tactics of various peoples. Many Central Europeans (even before the Corded Ware period) may have favored close combat tactics, while SW Europeans with their arrows (and later slingshot and spears) may have favored ambush and guerrilla instead. One thing that is clearly true about guerrilla tactics is that they are defensive and that they do not allow for conquest and domination.

    4. Beaker is not an autochthon even in Iberia - it is intrusive. The change in burials, pottery, metallurgy, and physical type along with everything else in the Chalcolithic/Bronze transition package all points East to one degree or another. Similar traditions hit the Alps and Rhine at the same time, so BB is really the Western terminus of a continent-wide shift in culture ushered in by the IE peoples.

    5. Nope, that's not that way. Bell Beaker appears first in Iberia and parts of France and only centuries later reaches out to the North. See:

      Only in North Italy dates are comparably old but that was not immersed in the IE culture yet either. The Bohemian hypothesis of BB, which was still mainstream at the turn of the century (and that I wrongly spoused until only a few years ago) must be abandoned: the data is clear and not just chronologically. In fact we can only talk of a BB culture or something like that in Central Europe, elsewhere BB is almost just a fad, which appears almost invariably within pre-existent cultural contexts, usually Dolmenic-Megalithic, without correlating with any other substantive alteration of the cultural landscape, let alone "new peoples" whatsoever.

      It's not just a S→N cultural flow but it is also a relatively "pointless" cultural flow, a fad, until it gets precisely into Indoeuropean territory, where it becomes something else, something clearly gathering people in communities and clearly contrasting or opposing to some extent what had become by then the "old fashion" of Corded Ware. It was probably very liberating for them, I guess, but West of the Rhine its influence was almost nil: you can count a lot of bell-shaped beakers and related fads like conical buttons, etc. but there is nowhere any "Beaker people" just common people, the same people as always, with beakers sometimes, without them other times. And that's the oldest "Beaker people", totally a non-people at least if we define them only by bell-shaped beakers and such - the people(s) were not defined by that but by other cultural traits pre-dating the BB phenomenon. The oldest "Beaker people" are rather "Dolmen people" or more loosely "Epicardial Pottery people". Nothing new, at least nothing worth blinking.

      Now, East of the Rhine... that's another story.

  5. The Midwest analogy doesn't work at all for Corded Ware, because Corded Ware people totally dominated Northern Europe in numbers, culture and genetics.

    On the other hand, the Germans who migrated to the US moved into a country that was overall dominated by English speakers.

    And Corded Ware Battle-Axes were used as burial gifts. This tells us that these people had a warlike culture, but they probably did their fighting in real life with other, more practical weapons.

    1. ... "Corded Ware people totally dominated Northern Europe in numbers"...

      Your steppe dogmatism is becoming unbearable, David. It goes against data that you know or should know but that you're willing to forget for the sake of your dogma.

      For example, parse the archaeological density (inferred population) graphs in these articles or the corresponding original studies and tell me what happens upon the timeline of Corded Ware explosion (c. 2500 uncalibrated BP):

      It's decline or irregular pointlessness everywhere! Except in some places where Corded Ware did not arrive, such as Ireland.

      You are basing your claim ONLY on interpretations of cherry-picked autosomal genetic analyses. And we have to infer it, because you don't even properly argue those one-liner door-slamming claims by means of providing the supporting evidence. It's that somehow we have to believe your every day less believable claims just because.

    2. There are other arguments against claiming that Corded Ware adopted a foreign language in Central Europe, like the fact that they were very successful for their time.

      The point is that the Midwest German analogy provided by our Unknown friend above is more than a little kooky, considering that America was a nation where trade and law was practiced in English, and the Germans were expected to assimilate.

    3. Oops, wrong link...

    4. Well, it only shows that agricultural diet is bad for teeth. The differences are significant but can't be used as argument for demic replacement.

      I also think that Corded Ware imposed Indoeuropean (Western IE, precursor of Balto-Slavic, Italo-Celtic and Germanic) but that it did so mostly by means of elite domination. Only regions like Poland or the Czech Republic, where R1a dominates the Y-DNA pool surely suffered stronger replacement. However, while Poland may have suffered it with Corded Ware, the Czech Country surely experienced this change only with Unetice, as it is too central in Eastern Bell Beaker to imagine it already fully Indoeuropeanized, not in the linguistic sense but in the deep ethno-cultural sense of social values and general identity (i.e. they could be like Irish, who speak mostly English but are definitely not English in any other sense nor feel as such at all).

    5. Seems more likely that certain R1b clades and early IE came with Beaker. Virtually everything about BB from CMP metal to pottery style has precedents in the East (even if it arrived via sea or some other indirect route.) Also, there was massive turnover in the Neolithic male line to R1b the right time depth and places expected for intrusive IE. The table for Unetice and Celtic was set long before these cultures existed in any identifiable form. Early Iberian BB aDNA will either prove this or not but variation of DF27 is already highest in Iberia which suggest early migration ultimately in the East.

    6. But that alleged R1b-related replacement is pre-BB: it is Megalithic almost 100% for sure. It is very apparent in fact in mtDNA but Y-DNA evidence so far is just too fragmentary.

  6. Thanks for the replies. As far as the "batteleaxe" issue:
    Davidski wrote: "And Corded Ware Battle-Axes were used as burial gifts. This tells us that these people had a warlike culture, but they probably did their fighting in real life with other, more practical weapons."

    When we look at the symbolic use of the Axe in pre-Christian images from Europe and western Asia (e.g, on Roman or Persian coins or the obvious Cretan and Greek double bit examples) they are overwhelmingly associated with Animal Sacrifice. The description of the sacrifice is often that the animal is first stunned by an "axe" and then bled by a sacrificial knife. There are many archaeological examples where axes and "adzes" are found with accumulation of cattle bones, sometimes at temple sites, suggesting ritual uses.

    There has never been a lot of evidence of warfare in Corded Ware archaeology. There is however a great deal of evidence of animal butchery. We don't have direct evidence of animal sacrifice, but it's clear that Corded Ware was heavily reliant on livestock. I mentioned that a Clovis expert saw the "battle axe" as a butcher's tool, partly ideal for cracking large bones. It's common in European archaeology to see neolithic axes as either for woodworking or as weapons (e.g, the recent commentary on LBK warfare in Belgium). I think that this partly due to unfamiliarity with how hard is to skin and butcher a large animal with stone tools.

    It is reasonable to argue that when the 19th century German scholars called the battleaxes battleaxes, they were giving into a 19th Century militaristic interpretation.

    And once again, there is little or no evidence of some kind of Corded Ware armies, fortifications or "massive" assaults. There appears to have been no central authority. And prestige was not marked by pyramids or regal tombs. What there is evidence of is a very dispersed movement of cattle-raising people with rather simple practices, life-styles and economics - quite possibly tied to a climate change that made the old ways of livelihood borrowed from the south too difficult.

    By the way, there's nothing wrong with a peaceful migration.

    1. I really haven't thought of this, but if Androvono was born from a Corded-like population, or if it could be positively proven, then that would strongly indicate that the Corded Ware folks spoke the Satem language that became ancestral from the majority of the IE languages. I would also make sense that the most conservative Satem languages would be found in the South-Eastern Baltic, Lithuanian as one example.

      At the same time, it would seem to lessen the likelihood that the far west was simply a founder subset of the Corded Ware, linguistically, culturally or genetically. (although they were similar)

      The Swedish Battle Axe man shows, I think, the formation of the Nordic Bronze Age region in its infancy. It adds a new variable in the formation of an area that would become the German urheimat.

    2. Andronovo has no direct relation with Corded Ware whatsoever. You can track its roots to Yamnaya though. Satemization is probably an Indo-Iranian trait that was transfered to Balto-Slavic in the Scythian period. Alternatively it may be a minor influence affecting the Eastern areaof Corded Ware but not the Western one. In any case it seems to have a proto-Indo-Iranian origin and is only a secondary influence in Balto-Slavic.

    3. I think your Suggestion on Linguistic aspects of Satemization is possible.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Maju wrote:
    "I also think that Corded Ware imposed Indoeuropean (Western IE, precursor of Balto-Slavic, Italo-Celtic and Germanic)"

    That is not the traditional breakout of Indo-European.

    Slavic is a satem language in the primary traditional isogloss differentiation between western and eastern Indo-European languages. This is the largest and major difference between IE languages. The centum-satem separation happened very early in the history of the languages and is pervasive within the languages. Even fairly conservative linguists put the date of separation by 3000 BCE.

    Traditionally, historians and linguists have attributed the "arrival" of satem IE in east central Europe to "Iranian" groups like the Scythians. Slavic of course is pictured as coming to its most western location much later -- only around 400 AD.

    I think I saw somewhere that Davidski disagrees with this and I think he may be right. The Baltic-Slavic languages separated very early from IIndo-Iranian and must have been where they are for a very long time. Slavic converged togetherabout 400 AD and that has been misleading.

    It's very possible that Corded Ware was when satem IE entered central Europe. Centum IE languages arrived earlier a separate way. Possibly through the Balkans and Italy. Maybe through Iberia.–satem_isogloss

    1. If you have seen several and not just one tree of Indoeuropean, you'll acknowledge that it is a quite solid subdivision that appears once and again. Italo-Celtic may be a bit more controversial but still has some decent support. The satem/centum divide is not considered too important nowadays and may be either the reflection of a change in pronunciation in the steppe after the initial "centum" migrations or, alternatively, illustrates the existance of some original complexity already in early Indoeuropean, which spread irregularly. It's not fundamental in any case and Balto-Slavic is closer to the three other Western or Central European families I mentioned above than to Indo-Iranian in all classifications. Also satem/centum is just one of several isogloses that criss-cross the IE area.

      You have to understand that, long before the Scythian and related Indo-Iranian expansions (Cimmerians, Sarmatians) there was a push eastward by Corded Ware. Its effect is still apparent in Eastern European modern genetics, and not just among IE-speakers, even Finnics were affected by it. So peoples like proto-Slavics or proto-Balto-Slavics were affected by the Indo-Iranian waves, maybe altering their language in the satem direction at that time, but the bulk of it is not Indo-Iranian. Of course Slavics expanded only since the late Roman period but their core area, adjacent to their Baltic cousins' one in Lithuania-Belarus, was in any case part of Corded Ware area back in the day.

      I believe Davidski and I are on the same page on this, for a change. In fact I think I learned some of the details mentioned above (particularly about Eastward flow of Corded Ware and related shift westward of the Eastern European genetic landscape) from him.

      "Centum IE languages arrived earlier a separate way. Possibly through the Balkans and Italy. Maybe through Iberia".

      I know of no archaeology that would back that.


      Have you read the interpretations?

      Philip Baldi explains:

      " early dialect split of the type indicated by the centum-satem contrast should be expected to be reflected in other high-order dialect distinctions as well, a pattern which is not evident from an analysis of shared features among eastern and western languages."

      It's not like it's hard to find IF YOU READ IT. Nobody is giving fundamental importance to centum/satem anymore.

    2. Maju - there's no denying the centum-satum split in Indo-European languages. It's rather simple to see:
      Latin, "cent" - Old Irish, "cet" - German, "h[k]undr- versus Avestan, "satem" - Polish, "sto"
      There's at least 70 of these splits between east and west Indo-European. Even if it is borrowing, it's very old. As I said it shows up in Hittite transcriptions of Indo-Aryan horse words. About as old as IE writing gets.

      I'm not sure what Baldi is saying, but there's no question that satemization divides west and east languages on a broad basis. (Tocharian and Hittite excepted.) He may be saying it's not early, but David Anthony depends on it for his account of IE's spread. I think it is pretty mainstream.

      In fact, you can't even reconstruct the beloved *PIE horse word without it showing: Latin, "equus", Old Irish "ech", Greek "hippos" versus Avestan "aspa" Sanskrit "asva" Old Persian "asa" Lithuanian "asva"
      See this page -- centum versus satem is plain to see with the beloved horse word₁éḱwos

      Back in 2003, steppes advocates Ringe and Warnow's criticism of the Grey's swadish phylogenic list was that it DID NOT place "Slavic in the Satem core." I have that paper as a pdf.

      As far as a Proto-Germanic-Baltic-Slavic reconstruction, I think that's trying to bang a square peg in a round hole so that Corded Ware makes sense.

      The latest phylogenic tree from the Anthony-Ringe group -- Chang's paper attacking the Anatolian phylogenic tree -- shows Slavic as a separate branch from a Germanic-Cetic-Italic. I can send it to you. I don't know how to post it.

      BTW, thanks for taking the time to reply.

    3. Nobody is denying the centum/satem isoglose, what I and nearly all linguists do is to deny its phylogenetic relevance: it's an areal feature that overlaps with the phylogeny, and not a major a step in the phylogenetic chain of splits. Anyhow, there's today also a greater tendency to see splits in "fuzzy" terms, as dialectal continua and substrate and adstrate influences make simple trees quite inexact, but there is I believe an skeleton of IE splits which largely is articulated between Western IE and Indo-Iranian, after several other smaller branches split up or in parallel to them.

      I tried to explain it here:

      ... although archaeogenetics now seems to challenge the inclusion of Baalberge in the IE spread, I'm not so certain that such interpretation is correct, because it is at the root of Corded Ware, barring a small Catacombs incursion in Poland that acted maybe as trigger.

  8. BTW - if you look at the map on this Wiki page, you'll see that the Centum-Satem division of Indo-European languages divides the two groups pretty much according to R1a - R1b division.–satem_isogloss

    Hittite and Armenian are the odd ones when it comes to Centum-Satem. You'll see Armenian listed in both columns.

    And Hittite texts also already show evidence of foreigners speaking Indo-Iranian (in the horse training texts). So it's a pretty good guess that satem was already pretty well developed by the "bronze age."

  9. The picture with the Mittle-Saale Beaker is really beautiful, do you have a link to see more ?

    That would be interesting in knowing the artists working on this topic.

    1. The artist is Karol Schauer. I've been unable to find her studio page, but she does many prehistory illustrations.

    2. Splendid !
      Thanks for the link

  10. Historically there's a few reasons axes were used in war

    1) lack of metal - switch to swords when they have more
    2) tool used as a weapon
    3) smashing armor (or shields) - as a lot of the force can be concentrated at the head

    so if you had a dude with a stone spear vs a dude with a copper covered stone axe i'd bet on the dude with a spear (unless the copper dude also had a leather coat with copper scales sewn onto it)

    but if you had a dude with a stone tipped spear (and a wooden shield) vs a dude with a copper covered ax (and a wooden shield) i'd bet on the dude with the ax as he'd have a better chance of smashing the other guy's shield

    just a guess though

    good site for this stuff

    and in this context maybe particularly

    1. Some of the comments on that weird Sutton Hoo axe mention a Roman Dolabra

      "The dolabra is a versatile axe used by the people in Italy since ancient times. The dolabra could serve as a pickaxe used by miners and excavators, a priest's implement for ritual religious slaughtering of animals and as an entrenching tool (mattock) used in Roman infantry tactics."

    2. Yes, the dolabra and the securis. In images, they are both mainly associated with animal sacrifice.*/Securis.html
      Note that mainly of the CW era boat axes and battle axes have seemingly dull edges, maybe to find the grain to split cow and other animal bones. This was easier than chopping them, without metal.

    3. Don't make up things: there were never any copper-covered stone axes!

      Anyhow, I would think that spears were used (prior to formations like phalanx) mostly as throwing weapons (pilum style), prior to melee combat, which could use an axe but also a cudgel or a sword made of stone bladelets on a wooden frame as the Mexicas styled.

    4. "there were never any copper-covered stone axes! "

      Fair enough. I was just assuming that would be the easiest way to get a metal edge - hammer a sleeve of copper over a pre-made stone head - as that's what I'd do - but if they didn't they didn't.

      The other use for spears is two handed in hunting vs critters that charge like boar.

    5. Spears were the choice of the Clovis mammoth hunters, with their magnificently crafted points. Tacitus says in one translation of Germania: " Only a very few use swords or lances. The spears that they carry—frameae is the native word—have short and narrow heads, but are so sharp and easy to handle, that the same weapon serves at need for close or distant fighting. The horseman asks no more than his shield and spear, but the infantry have also javelins to shower, several per man, and can hurl them to a great distance; for they are either naked or only lightly clad in their cloaks." Germanicus says to expect a line of long spears and "fire-hardened" short spears, probably meaning spears shaved to a point and fire hardened. No axes mentioned.

    6. Thanks for the link Grey, I also heartily recommend scholagladiatoria's channel.

  11. Oops. Wanted to show this. This is a map of supposed IE languages' movement based on R1b = western centum languages (e.g., equus > horse) versus R1a = eastern satem languages (e.g, asva > horse)

    If you picture the blue arrow moving across the Mediterranean, it's a lot easier to get to Iberia.

    Compare this to a map of modern R1b diversity and frequency. A lot easier than coming from all the way from Yamnaya country to Iberia and staying one haplogroup.

    1. R1b-M269 did not originate in Eastern Europe.

    2. I think you may have misunderstood. Whatever the origins of R1b-M269, the map appears to say that it's greatest current diversity is in the region of southeast Anatolia, Armenia and the northern Levant. However M269 got there, this is the area where M269 had the time or population size to expand to Iberia. That's where I'd posit the western European spread of R1b came from.

      In the meantime, there is nothing stopping M269 from also migrating north to Yamnaya and to the HG settlement in Samara. I don't see why R1b can only take one route - the steppes - into Europe. This is well after Cardial Ware took that route I suspect. But Cardial Ware proves the route could be taken.

    3. The Armenian origins hypothesis was debunked (it's easily debunked but you have to look at the lineages in detail). Armenians (and in general Anatolians) hold a sizable number of TERMINAL European R1b branches, which add to rough diversity but just as German lineages add to the diversity of Brazilian Y-DNA, surely more diverse than the Portuguese one in rough numbers but still derived and not ancestral. Raw diversity is not a good measure unless it is supported by other factors. What actually matters is BASAL DIVERSITY, i.e. the actual distribution of plausible original areas of the subclades. In any case R1b (as a whole) did originate in West Asia and it is even possible this is also the case for R1b-M269, but not for L11, S116 and U106. The steppe origin conjecture is even more far fetched.

  12. Uknown
    You don't know what you're talking about.
    Maju has already explained that the centum/ satem split is just but one of many isoglossic bundles, and certainly not the most important one. Satemization mightmiht have even spread gradually, from indo-Iranian to Slavic and Armenian, then from Slavic to Baltic and Albanian. The time periods are extensive.

    This comment was purely about linguistics. I'm not saying this has necessarily any bearing as to the origins & distributions of R1a and R1b

  13. Mike - thanks for your comment.
    I have no way of measuring the "importance" of the centum-satem split in IE that you and Maju refer to.
    It most certainly there, however and whenever it came about. And it has been taught in historical linguistic as the basic split in IE languages for 100 years. There is no other "isogloss" that is even close to such a broad division in IE. But that is not important.
    What is IMPORTANT is a simple observation. That observation is that the geographic frequency distribution of R1a and R1b matches the geographic division of satem IE languages and centum IE languages. Not 100% but remarkably close.
    This is very easy easy to see on the Wiki map.
    This is an OBSERVATION. It appears to say that the two major haplogroups of IE speakers correlate with two different kinds of IE languages. R1a seems to highly correlate with the eastern satem IE languages. R1b seems to highly correlate with western centum IE languages. There are exceptions but the correlation is obviously high.

    So you have this observation. It probably is not the best approach to dismiss it out of hand.

    If, for example, Corded Ware -- which to a degree mirrors the western expansion of R1a into central Europe -- represents the arrival of the satem IE group -- THEN it is pertinent to ask how R1b and their centum IE languages reached western Europe. In other words, R1b and western IE arrived in western Europe at some other time than Corded Ware and possibly by some other route.

    1. "What is IMPORTANT is a simple observation. That observation is that the geographic frequency distribution of R1a and R1b matches the geographic division of satem IE languages and centum IE languages. Not 100% but remarkably close".

      That is ROUGHLY true but I'd argue that we cannot just consider these lineages in bulk, but only their subclades. Also Y-DNA and languages are not always related, it seems that the link broke with the Metal Ages in fact, when conquerors stopped looking for new hunting grounds or farmlands to work with their own hands and began looking for enslaved farmers to rule upon instead. Otherwise we'd be obliged to argue for a West Asian origin of Indoeuropean languages in a Neolithic timeline and we'd have to explain many anomalies like Chadic and Basque R1b, and a very long etcetera.

      It's much easier and straightforward, at least for the knowledgeable mind, if we stop trying to make that over-simplistic association and we look at the matter in greater detail. Then we see that for example R1b-S116 has no relation with centum (not in Greece, not important in Italy, less important in the Germanic and Celtic homelands) and that it is instead and very clearly a Western European lineage with likely origin in the territory of modern France. Or we see that R1a-Z93 has no relation whatsoever with flows from the steppe but that, instead, it clearly migrated from South to North. So most of the expansion of R1a and R1b is pre-Indoeuropean and Indoeuropean language and "identity" is actually a thin cultural layer on top of those, with very limited genetic impact at most.

      "If, for example, Corded Ware -- which to a degree mirrors the western expansion of R1a into central Europe -- represents the arrival of the satem IE group -- THEN it is pertinent to ask how R1b and their centum IE languages reached western Europe. In other words, R1b and western IE arrived in western Europe at some other time than Corded Ware and possibly by some other route".

      It just is not the case. It was something pre-Indoeuropean. Your question is like asking how and when did Centum Indoeuropean reach Northern Cameroon. The answer is never (or never before the recent colonial period to be more precise).

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