Thursday, April 27, 2017

Poking Bear with Stick (Tsuneki, Nieuwenhuyse, Campbell, 2017)

I haven't been able to read through the full, unwashed-masses, free section of this book "The Emergence of Pottery in West Asia", but from what I've read so far, the general theme appears to be exploding the lazy and uncourageous notion of 'independent' pottery invention in the West Asia (although they write modestly with careful statements)

It seemed pretty obvious after reading Jordan and Zvelebil's book "Ceramics Before Farming:  The Dispersal of Pottery Among Prehistoric Eurasia Hunter-Gatherers" that vitrified ceramic technology diffused, at least, from the Far East where it was exceptionally refined and old (as pottery).  I've personally witnessed this in museums of East Asia and there is no doubt in my mind, that all vitrified pots used by humans originate there.

I continue to believe that this diffusion was mediated by population movements or networks across Central Asia and I think that that picture is slowly fleshing out in the archaeogenetic record of the Baltic and Volga regions as early ceramics seem herald migration to some degree.

Several interesting facts regarding West Asian pottery is that its incipient phase is often fine, sometime painted, and functionally non-essential.  It spreads quickly over a very large area with almost no experimentation phase.  It doesn't cook new foods, it doesn't store things, it doesn't do old things better, it's not easier to make.  In many early places it appears imported, if only a short distance.  After this early ceramic phase, it is replaced by technical "crap" before evolving again and then surpassing its origin.

Ancient Baltic Sea Shores (Muru, 2017)

This dissertation by Merle Muru re-creates the coasts of the Estonian shores using various data, including archaeological, but it's built on a succession of his studies into the Baltic shorelines.

It confirms that the succession of cultures in this area (Kunda, Narva, Corded Ware) preferred settlement locations that were quite different.  In fact, it could be inferred that the changing landscape of the Baltic attracted different cultural life-ways at different times. 

Wild Cabbage (Brassica Oleracea) by the Sea (Microfarmgardens)
The Kunda folk lived along the rivers in the Baltic region until they are succeeded by the Narva Culture around 5,000 B.C.  Modern archaeological opinion is that the Narva Culture is basically Kunda 2.0 with pottery.  Probably more complex than this.  Already we have seen what appears to be genetic enrichment in this area from the Volgan woodsmen cultures that were expanding North and West during this time.

Narva folk may have been attracted to the changing landscape that created large brackish lagoons.  Their point-based pottery is a low-fire, heat tolerant pottery that likely cooked seafood and pork fat in.  Their diet seems to have consisted more of sea critters and pork.  Some temporary settlements on open shorelines suggests they periodically went out to sea to club baby seals to death.

There is a question as to the purpose of their point-based pottery, but it probably relates to seafood preparation or how it was set in the campfire.  Also, if the pottery was used for fermenting fish and cabbage, or alcohols, then maybe it is possible that point-based pottery is advantageous for concentrating the surface area of the trub?  The kinds of fatty, brackish water fish fished out of the lagoons and deltas may have needed preservation by fermentation, such as modern surströmming, since many of these fish are not well suited for drying or smoking preservation.

The Narva Culture is joined, rather than directly superseded, by the Corded Ware culture that preferred the fertile river bottoms created by the lower water levels, such as in graphic D of Northeast Estonia.  The fertile grassland would be readily tillable and very suitable for cattle.

It's interesting that modern Baltic cuisine, fish, krauts, pork is basically unchanged for so long.  Also, it may be possible to overlay genetic results to see how different peoples migrate to familiar biomes.

GIS-based palaeogeographical reconstructions of the Baltic Sea shores in Estonia and adjoining areas during the Stone Age.  Merle Muru (2017)  DISSERTATIONES GEOGRAPHICAE UNIVERSITATIS TARTUENSIS [Link]

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Iberian Dogster Phenomenon (Arantxa Daza Perea, 2017)

Beginning sometime between the LN and Early Iberian Chalcolithic, dog remains start appearing in notable arrangements: in people burials, in pits and apparently near ditch entrances of ditched enclosures.  These dog depositions are significant enough and strange enough to say that there exists an 'Iberian Dogster Phenomenon'.

This paper by Daza begins looking at Peninsular dogs from the Late Neolithic to the Bronze Age beginning with, at least in this preliminary paper, grading on osteometric traits against other populations.  Already the results are surprising as all Neolithic dogs are tightly clustered.  However with the apparent emergence of the Bell Beaker phenomenon, it is possible to see greater morphological diversity that begins moving toward modern improved breeds.

Castilian Galgo Español (Omar Curros Simon)
There are several interesting formats in which dogs are found, but one that sticks out begins in the Iberian Bronze Age when dogs often appear in child burials.  Within the context of Bronze Age beliefs about the sequence of events following death, these dogs may have been intended to help shepherd children through the underworld.  Dog #7 is one such child-shepherd.

But the most interesting dog in this set is dog #1 as seen below in the Canonical Variate Analysis below.  This dog was buried with a Bell Beaker man in the Meseta (plateau) region of Spain.  If I am reading this correctly, it appears that the dog clusters with a morphology consistent with a sighthound.

For this body-type to be found within the pseudo-steppe ecology of the Spanish grasslands is fairly significant, since it strongly suggests that this was a working dog.  Dog #1 appears between the physical dimensions of a greyhound and the pre-Columbian viringo (being that the modern dog reference set was limited to only a few major types).

Fig 7. Canonical Variate Analysis on Dog Groups.  #1 is Bell Beaker

#6 was a ditch dog and is kind of hovering out there by itself.  In any case, this is the preliminary paper, a thesis will follow, and then apparently a larger study.

Fig 2. Camino de las Yeseras.  Beaker dog.  (Area Consultores S.L.)  

On that note, I pasted this from the Perdigoes research blog last year.  This is the presentation, publishing may follow:
"...a synthesis about the Bell Beaker phenomena at Perdigões will be presented at a meeting to be held in the University of Lisbon next May."
This will be interesting because Perdigoes is large and old, but also because it is within a geological region that likely supplied copper ingot or works to the castillos on the coast.  So something interesting may have gone on at this location.  Also from the Perdigoes research blog, there will also be before long a very large archaeogenetic study on ancient Iberian aurochs and cattle.   

Daza Perea, A., (2017). Preliminary Studies of Late Prehistoric Dog (Canis lupus f. Familiaris Linnaeus, 1758) Remains from the Iberian Peninsula: Osteometric and 2D Geometric Morphometric Approaches. Papers from the Institute of Archaeology. 27(1), p.Art. 12. DOI:

This paper aims to highlight developments in archaeological knowledge relating to dog remains found in deposits from Late Prehistoric contexts at sites along the Iberian Peninsula. Preliminary results from ongoing osteometric and 2D Geometric Morphometric studies applied to these remains are here presented and discussed to contextualize future studies by the author.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"Dents in Our Confidence" (Horn and von Holstein, 2017)

Use-wear analysis bolstered a now erroneous perception that early copper weaponry were little more than male status symbols.  For whatever importance conferred to the owners of metal weapons, the over-interest in the social significance has apparently distracted archaeology from a critical analysis of emerging use-wear studies.

This paper by Horn and von Holstein looks at the study of use-wear and finds a need to honestly acknowledge what can be known with the limited study areas.  In fact, it could be reasonably surmised, base on the state of the current data, that most copper weapons were used regularly, sometimes forcefully, and then continually repaired, re-shaped, re-riveted and edge-hardened throughout the objects' lifetime.

They focus on two areas that obscure what can be known.  One is the maintenance of copper weapons, the other is the disparate corrosion associated with different styles of burial and deposition.  Here they consider attributes of copper to reconstruct the life of the object and they show that the presence of a decomposing body significantly alters the material over other burial methods.
"It has been argued that they were less important in warfare and served a more ceremonial purpose because in Scandinavian rock art they are usually depicted sheathed, i.e. in a passive role, and because researchers perceive real Early Bronze Age weaponry as lacking any usability in combat...However, at least 26% (18) swords from the Early Nordic Bronze Age possess notches..and 48% exhibit very strong (5) or extreme (6) corrosion, obscuring use-wear traces.  Thus, though only 26% can be directly shown to have use-wear damage, [but] up to 74% might have done so."
If looking at re-riveting of Unetice halberds, they raise the prospect that current typologies based on hafts could be totally false. 
"Being unaware of the possibility of repairs may cause researchers to assume that the reduced form was the original design.  This is problematic for the construction of typologies. For example, Wüstemann (1995) defined several variants of Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age halberds belonging to the Unetice complex according to the shape of their hafting plates. However, from the pieces with complete rivet holes, we can construct a continuous line of more and more damaged hafting plates with broken rivet holes and repairs such as secondary rivet holes."
Fig 3.  Rework halberd hafts of copper knives.

As a footnote, I've suggested previously that the small "jeweler's" cushion stones and whetstones found in some Bell Beaker burials were not the tools of a smith, but rather maintenance tools of a dagger owner, similar to a butt stock gun cleaning kit or an integrated whetstone on a survival knife.

Free version [here]

"Dents in our confidence: The interaction of damage and material properties in interpreting use-wear on copper-alloy weaponry" Horn and vonHolstein.  Journal of Archaeological Science
Volume 81, May 2017, Pages 90–100

The presence or absence of use-wear marks on copper (Cu)-alloy weaponry has been used since the late 1990s to investigate the balance between functional (combat) and symbolic (value, status, religious) use of these objects, and thus explore their social and economic context. In this paper, we suggest that this work has not taken sufficient account of the material properties of Cu-alloys. We discuss mechanisms of plastic deformation, incremental repairs and corrosion in detail to show how these can obscure use-wear traces. In a survey of Cu-alloy weaponry from the Nordic Bronze Age (1800/1700e550 BCE) from Denmark, Sweden and Germany, we show that corrosion of Cu-alloy objects is strongly linked to depositional context, being greater in burials (both inhumations and cremations) than hoards or as single objects. A relative paucity of use-wear marks on burial weapons should therefore not be used to argue that these were purely symbolic objects, e.g. in contrast to the better preserved hoard material. We
propose that use-wear traces on Cu-alloy weaponry, particularly on blade edges, is significantly more elusive than previously realised, and that undamaged objects have been over-identified.

Monday, April 17, 2017

"Anthropology of a Prospector" Melheim and Prescott - part 2

Returning again to the chapter "Exploring new territories - Expanding Frontiers..." which seeks to understand the exploration of Scandinavia by Bell Beakers if interpreting their activity in this region as prospecting.

A Klondike Prospector with Chilkoot (?) Indian packers. (University of Washington)
Melheim and Prescott look to the memoirs of a Klondike prospector, Bill Jones, to gain insight into the high-risk and often unproductive world of prospectors.  They believe the dynamics of exploration, exploitation and relationship-building as a useful guide for the 2nd millennium.
"A striking feature in Jones's account is the often friendly encounters with the local sea mammal- and reindeer-hunting semi-nomadic Chutchki population.  The Chutchki were themselves uninterested in the mineral resources, but provided the prospectors with food, shelter and local clothing (Jones 1927:100-2).  They were already familiar with the English language, guns and alcohol.  Although Jones was a stranger in a new land, the many traders, prospectors and adventurers who had traveled this landscape before him had prepared his way, through information that flowed in the networks between prospectors.  Although not temporally and spatially related, there are shared environmental and material challenges which legitimise using this recent narrative as an analogy for how a BBC prospector on the Scandinavian Peninsula may have gone about his business."
The authors delve into the phases of prospecting, emphasizing that much of actual work is front-loaded into preparatory tasks, such as exploration and surveying.  Makes sense when you compare the time and resources to drill an oil well.  Much of the time is spent in the exploration and geological survey phase.  Even more time is spent firmly establishing legalities such as legal conveyances, easement and mineral rights and sometimes - security.

Bell Beakers traveling outside their core settlements into the distant reaches would have been confronted with similar primitive realities.  At least initially:  easement privileges, permissions to exploit resources, right to trade, logistical support, security.  Remember that Beakers, despite their prowess and pioneering spirit, are throughout their cultural existence numerically disadvantaged and unfamiliar with the territories they enter.  

Like the Chutchki, North Sea farming and fishing societies may have welcomed, or at least tolerated, adventurous foreigners eager to exploit resources and establish better trade.  At least for metal resources, Melheim and Prescott emphasize that Scandinavian metal prospecting didn't require success, and in fact, like the story of Bill Jones and so many Klondike adventurers, it appears that these ores were not fully exploited.

Here's some of the key points that the authors believe would have been important for these explorers.  I've shorten these, but each one is expanded upon in the text.

(1) To look for colourful bedrock typical of copper deposits...
(2) To follow river valleys and river beds
(3) To read the vegetation (for evidence of heavy metals)
(4) To read the geology
(5) The ability to relocate resources after their discovery
This takes us beyond the retarded, two-dimensional understanding of 'priest-kings' digging scary metal out of the ground.  These were highly specialized and time-consuming tasks that required considerable negotiations with the local nations, probably through interpreters.  Many of these efforts proved fruitless, at least the intended industry.
Melheim, Anne Lene & Prescott, Christopher (2016). Exploring New Territories – Expanding Frontiers: Bowmen and Prospectors on the Scandinavia Peninsula in the 3rd–2nd Millennia BC, In Anne Lene Melheim; Håkon Glørstad & Ann Zanette Tsigaridas Glørstad (ed.),  Comparative Perspectives on Past Colonisation, Maritime Interaction and Cultural Integration.  Equinox Publishing.  ISBN 9781781790489.  10.  [Link]

See also "Slettabo: Europe's northernmost beaker.  The BBC in Norway - from black box to historical watershed" 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

"Anthropology of a Prospector" (Melheim & Prescott, 2016)

This chapter on Scandinavian Beakers starts with a modern witness to the graves of adventurers in the Alaskan frontier:
"In our travels along the coast we saw several graves of white men, sailors or prospectors no doubt, buried by their companions miles from home, on the shores of the Behring Sea (Jones 1927:162)"
So begins Melheim and Prescott's exploration into the "Anthropology of a Prospector".  They argue "that readily exploitable ore sources may well have been one of the factors which attracted skilled metalworkers to the Scandinavian Peninsula, spurred by a drive to locate new sources of copper ore".

They have two premises, one "that copper was an intrinsic element in the dynamics of this period, and that prospecting was the single force of BBC expansion across Europe or even Scandinavia..."

A Norse Beaker. From "Slettabo: Europe's northernmost Beaker" Precott (Kristiana Steen)
Concerning the magnet that brought Beakers into the quietest and most distant pockets of Europe, they describe 'pull factors' that might attract metal prospectors.  If framing an economic argument, the rising value of commodities (metals especially) would attract the attention of those knowledgeable in their extraction. 

Melheim and Prescott believe that it is crucial to understand the motive and model of migration to properly understand the Beaker Age.  Why would the Beakers so quickly end up in so many vastly different ecozones?  The engine of Beaker migration does not appear to have been population or ecological pressure, rather it appears to have been motivated by opportunism.

The "Anthropology of a Prospector" to be continued in the next post...

Melheim, Anne Lene & Prescott, Christopher (2016). Exploring New Territories – Expanding Frontiers: Bowmen and Prospectors on the Scandinavia Peninsula in the 3rd–2nd Millennia BC, In Anne Lene Melheim; Håkon Glørstad & Ann Zanette Tsigaridas Glørstad (ed.),  Comparative Perspectives on Past Colonisation, Maritime Interaction and Cultural Integration.  Equinox Publishing.  ISBN 9781781790489.  10.  [Link]

See also "Slettabo: Europe's northernmost beaker.  The BBC in Norway - from black box to historical watershed"

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Perspectives (Furholt, 2016) (Iversen, 2016)

Here's something relevant to the previous paper by Kristiansen et al, 2017

"Introduction: New Perspectives on the 3rd Millenium" by Martin Furholt & "Was there ever a single Grave Culture in East Denmark?  Traditions and Transformations in the 3rd Millennium BC"  by Rune Iversen.

Both papers are about half-way down on the PDF.

An older paper I'm reading is "On the Outskirts of the European Bell Beaker Phenomenon - the Danish Case" by Torben Sarauw, 2007.  Given that R1b is the second largest Dane lineage, maybe the outskirtishness and "borrowing of technologies" has been a bit oversold by Danish archaeology.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Cemetery of Glockenbechers Discovered (Bavaria)

A cemetery of Beakerfolk suprise archaeologists in the area of Franconia, Bavaria.  (Franconia, by the way, has the world's highest concentration of breweries)

From the regional paper, Nordbayern

The earliest Kersbacher (Bayerischen Landesamt für Denkmalpfleg)

Several sandstone boxes are associated with these graves.  They sound somewhat reminiscent of the fulachtai fiadh of Ireland, which might have been used by furriers. 

The archaeologist, Matthias Tschuch, describes ditches associated with the burial, which I interpret as ring ditches, however the translation is a bit garbled.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Fence Post Rings from EBA Switzerland

This awesome story "Prehistoric alphine farming in the Bernese Oberland" is from  It references a paper just released from Quarternary International.

The melting Alpine Ice fields are exposing lots of Neolithic stuff.  These fence rings are among the most recent finds.
2,100 B.C. EBA Fence Post Rings (Photo: Badri Redha)
Not changing what works.  Fences were constructed like this up until a few generations ago in Switzerland.

The Swiss man is holding a fence ring, identical to the EBA rings above (Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Volkskunde)

Hafner, Schworer (2017) Quarternary Internationl

"Vertical mobility around the high-alpine Schnidejoch Pass. Indications of Neolithic and Bronze Age pastoralism in the Swiss Alps from paleoecological and archaeological sources"


Since 2003 a melting ice field on the Schnidejoch Pass (2756 m a.s.l.) has yielded several hundred objects from the Neolithic period, the Bronze and Iron Ages and from Roman and early medieval times. The oldest finds date from the beginning of the 5th millennium BC, whilst the most recent artefacts date from around AD 1000. Most of the objects belong to the Neolithic period and the Bronze Age and are of organic origin. A series of over 70 radiocarbon dates confirm that the Schnidejoch Pass, which linked the Bernese Oberland with the Rhône Valley, was frequented from no later than 4800–4500 BCE onwards. The pass was easily accessible when the glaciers descending from the nearby Wildhorn mountain range (summit at 3248 m a.s.l.) were in a retreating phase. On the other hand, the area was impassable during periods of glacial advances. A recent palaeoecological study of sediment cores from nearby Lake Iffigsee (2065 m a.s.l.) provides clear indications of early human impact in this Alpine area. Linking archaeological finds from the Schnidejoch Pass and the Rhône Valley with the palaeoecological data provides results that can be interpreted as early indications of Alpine pastoralism and transhumance. The combined archaeological and paleoecological research allows us to explain vertical mobility in the Swiss Alps.

Woman with a Wolf-tooth Necklace (Włodarcczak et al, 2016)

This is a revisit of a Corded Ware Culture grave discovered in 1994,Wilczyce, Southwestern Poland.  The second half of the paper is in English.

Fig 11.  Some of the wolf-teeth pendants

The grave contained a large, tubby amphora, S-shaped beakers which include a complete and loosely patterned herringbone beaker, smaller but undecorated beaker fragments and two miniature vessels along with animal teeth pendants and shell beads.  The skull is apparently missing and the body was 'strongly disturbed'.

From Fig 9.  S-profile beaker, loose herringbone
Determining the gender of the occupant is impossible based on traditional methods.  An admittedly very shaky determination is female, and the authors note that wolf-tooth and bead necklaces are generally found with female-gendered burials. 

The flint fragments (17) may come from the filling of the grave, however this is also not determined.  There was a Carpathian grindstone made of sandstone.

41 wolf-tooth pendants were included of at least six adult wolves, drilled using different tools, perhaps at different times or by different people.  Along with the shell beads, the teeth and beads may have formed a single necklace and/or bracelets.

Fig 12.  Examples of shell beads
The grave dates to around 2500 or so and the authors remark it is rather conservative given its date, especially in this part of Poland.

Przegląd Archeologiczny, Vol. 64, 2016, pp. 29-57, PL ISSN 0079-7138, DOI 10.23858/PA64.2016.002.  Piotr Włodarczak , Tomas z Boro ń, Aldona Kurzawska ,
Marta Osypińska , Anita Szczepanek , Małgorzata Winiarska-Kabacińska  [Link]

The grave of the Corded Ware culture from the site 10 in Wilczyce, Sandomierz County

The authors of the paper present the results of research, the subject of which was the inhumation burial of the Corded Ware culture from Wilczyce. The site is located on the culmination of the southern slope of a loess hill, rising directly above the valley of the Opatówka River. The grave goods consisted of: an amphora, three cups, two miniature vessels, 41 wolf tooth pendants and disc-shaped shell beads. Radiocarbon dating result on bones from the burial is 3960 ± 30 BP (Poz-80189).
KEY WORDS: southern Poland, Wilczyce, the Neolithic, The Corded Ware culture, inhumation burial

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Corded Ware Language, Culture (Kristiansen et al, 2017)

No lengthy overture.  The papers are here.  See also the summary on Kossinna's Smile.

Many of the bold assertions made in "Re-theorising mobility and the formation of culture and language among the Corded Ware Culture in Europe" are going to be broadly close to truth.  But it will be controversial due to the 'matter of fact' spirit of the piece and the name recognition of the authors.  Academically, it is tantamount to throwing down the gauntlet.

In a way, the hysteria generated in archaeological and linguistic circles as a result of this paper and the two 2015 papers will be good for the genetics community.  Controversy will spawn rebuttals built on additional evidences, which will eventually illuminate more dark areas of history.


1.  The Kristiansen authors refer to the so-far tested Yamnaya as a "best known proxy" for incoming populations into Europe.  Given genetic, economic and cultural similarities between these cultures, they believe a donor ancestor of CWC lived somewhere close to the regions tested thus far.

2.  Crisis in the European Neolithic?  New diseases?  Was Europe weakened in such a way that it became a magnet for immigration?

3.  A cultural and economic framework of Yamnaya is given which explains the unique similarities it has with the highly mobile Corded Ware.

4. Corded Ware males married outsider​ women; abduction is singled out as a contributing factor to male based exogamy.  (I'm guessing abduction becomes more common when doweries or bride price become excessive as is often the case in primative societies.  I'm not sure the economics of abduction make it a good fit for the observed exogamy.)

Nordic Bronze Age

5.  They suggest that pre-proto-Germanic developed out of a late Funnelbeaker presence in Western Jutland and the Danish Islands. (No idea whatsoever)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

"Kossinna's Smile" (Heyd, 2017)

Today I'll focus on a paper by Volker Heyd entitled "Kossinna's Smile".  This paper and this other paper, are meant to be read together.

Because this subject is just too dense to work left to right, I'll offer a condensed version.

"Pots are people you idiots!" -Kossinna

1.  Pots or people?  Kossinna had the ridged view that archaeological culture = ethnicity.  Then a younger generation of archaeologists lurched to the opposite extreme, discounting the validity of the ethnic question, but even the conceptual basis of a unifying 'culture' or its components, such as language.   (More on Kossinna -Roberts, VanderLinden, page 51)

Every generation is rewarded with teenagers.  At some point there is an acknowledgement that the older generation 'may have got a few things right'.  Now that ancient DNA is demonstrating clear genetic boundaries and migratory change, "culture-history and ethnic interpretations are back on the dinner table" as Heyd states.

2.  While Heyd acknowledges the genetic turnovers, he is also much more cautious than the authors of "Re-theorising mobility and the formation of culture and language among the Corded Ware Culture in Europe"

He points to a number of archaeological discrepancies and logical errors that the Nature crowd seem to be making.  I've combined several things here to save space and time.  Here's a few examples, parentheses are mine:
  • No where is the Globular Amphora Culture considered in any genetic study.  Yet, GAC has more direct contact and overlap with Yamnaya and influences from the North Black Sea are more direct.  Heyd gives the example of the Mikhaylovka Culture of the Dneiper (also mentioned is the Maikop by Mallory and Adams.  Also, see Woidich on GAC contact with the Northern Funnel-beaker Culture as one explanation for the formation of the Northern Single Grave Culture.  Woidich, 2014
  • Other evidence of earlier intrusion - Baalberge round pit barrows 
  • Seemingly domestic horses are earlier than expected, Salzmünde Group, Central Europe.
  • Suggests the possibility that Salzmünde-Eperstedt may have already been steppified, long before the CWC and BBC.
He also makes these arguments:
  • There is still very limited sampling of vast regions.  Not ready for simple conclusions.
  • CWC is not descended from Yamnaya, not directly and not partly.  The Kristensen authors (2017) admit they are using Yamnaya as a proxy, even though their own arrow maps (Nature) make this association quite clear.  There are similarities between the two, but the two cultures are nearly contemporary which is problematic. 
  • Yamnaya expanded into familiar steppe ecozones.  CWC expanded into familiar temperate forest ecozones.  The two never overlap.
  • The burials are more different than similar.  And conversely, more similar burials from other cultures offer more convincing fits.
Fig 4 (steppe sandals in pre-Beaker Iberia)

3. The emergence of the Corded Ware Culture and the Bell Beaker Culture at roughly the same time is not coincidental.  He seems to suggest the steppe component had already spread all over Europe as an incubating Neolithic elite (my interpretation) and then both cultures are born on a Neolithic substrate (again, my interpretation), one in Iberia and the other in Northern Europe.

Finally, it's important to emphasis the point Heyd reiterates.  On the facts, there is no doubt.  Eastern European Steppe influences clobbered Europe, all of it.  The Corded Ware and Beaker Cultures were born of this upheaval.  After all, that is the point of calling the paper "Kossinna's Smile". 

The real question is the specifics of social change, which will continue to come into focus with a "new archaeology", as he calls it.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Disentangling "H" (Dulias et al, 2017)

This week at UCL, a group of authors will present a hypothesis for the expansion of haplogroup H in Continental Europe.  Which is good, because the current understanding is scrambled eggs.

A personal observation is that the young clades appear reach peak frequencies in various littoral zones, excluding Central Europe which obviously a product of the Bronze Age.

Of course any haplogroup will have a peak frequency near water, after all, that's where people live.  But if you break this down further to include the island nations in the Mediterranean, Atlantic and North Sea, it seems there could be a maritime element.

If I can get a copy of the presentation or paper, I'll put it up.
Álvarez-Iglesias et al, 2009

"Disentangling the expansion of major European mitochondrial DNA lineages"
Dulias, Fichera, Silva, Gandini, Rito, Edwards, Pala, Soares, Richards.  University of Hutterfield, 2017

 "Phylogenetics aims to investigate the evolutionary history within or between species by identifying relationships between DNA sequences comparing multiple genomes. Looking at the female line of descent, the majority of the modern-day European population (~40%) belongs to mitochondrial (mt)DNA haplogroup H. However, its sister clades within HV(xH,V) are observed at higher frequencies in Southern Europe and the Near East and most of these show a post-glacial expansion, suggestive of a Near Eastern origin and subsequent Mesolithic spread into Europe. On the other hand, analysis of ancient DNA infers that haplogroup H first appeared in the Early Neolithic, with the lineages that subsequently came to dominate across Europe becoming established during the Middle Neolithic period. H reached higher frequencies again during the appearance of the Bell Beaker culture in the Copper Age, but its complex evolutionary history makes it still uncertain when and how H became the dominant European haplogroup. Its most common subclades in Western Europe are H1 and H3, which peak in their abundance in modern Iberia. Using phylogenetic and founder analysis, we estimate arrival times of HV(xH,V), H1 and H3 in Central Europe and the British Isles, thus disentangling population movements out of Iberia at different times. Our results show differences in the arrival times of H1 and H3 to Central Europe and the British Isles, with H1 having been involved in more expansions than H3."

Friday, March 31, 2017

UCL Archaeological Conference 2017 (Update)

There's some interesting stuff out there.  Check out these abstracts from the UCL conference coming up next week.

Link updated.  Abstract book and conference booklet under "Abstract Submission and Sessions"
The Conference booklet has all the details.

Something here for everybody across time and space.  Here's some items of interest.  I'll expand on the first one:

 -  "Disentangling the expansion of major European mitochondrial DNA lineages"

 "Phylogenetics aims to investigate the evolutionary history within or between species by identifying relationships between DNA sequences comparing multiple genomes. Looking at the female line of descent, the majority of themodern-day European population (~40%) belongs to mitochondrial (mt)DNA haplogroup H. However, its sister clades within HV(xH,V) areobserved at higher frequencies in Southern Europe and the Near East and most of these show a post-glacial expansion, suggestive of a Near Eastern origin and subsequent Mesolithic spread into Europe. On the other hand, analysis of ancient DNA infers that haplogroup H first appeared in the Early Neolithic, with the lineages that subsequently came to dominate across Europe becoming established during the Middle Neolithic period. H reached higher frequencies again during the appearance of the Bell Beaker culture in the Copper Age, but its complex evolutionary history makes it still uncertain when and how H became the dominant European haplogroup. Its most common subclades in Western Europe are H1 and H3, which peak in their abundance in modern Iberia. Using phylogenetic and founder analysis, we estimate arrival times of HV(xH,V), H1 and H3 in Central Europe and the British Isles, thus disentangling population movements out of Iberia at different times. Our results show differences in the arrival times of H1 and H3 to Central Europe and the British Isles, with H1 having been involved in more expansions than H3."

-  "Metals and networks on the steppes crossroads:  Bronze Age metallurgy in Semirechye, Kazakhstan"

This study looks deeper into the spread of Chernykh's metallurgical zones and the link between the spread of metallurgy, pastoralism and increasing social complexity.

-  "Understanding the herd:  An ancient DNA study of the cattle of Cladh Hallan"

-  "Different People, Same Communities: a multi-isotope approach at the onset of social complexity in the Western Pyrenees (Basque Country, Spain)

Basically, local and (however) non-local people are buried together, although having an identical diet.  "Individuals from different backgrounds" could just mean differing geologies.  However, the way the abstract is worded in a certain context is a bit tempting.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

DNA from 110 Late Minoans from Armenoi Necropolis (University of Huttersfield)

The University of Huttersfield announced that archaeogenetic researchers Ceiriden Edwards and George Foody are taking samples from family tombs buried in the Late Minoan III Necropolis of Armenoi

Buried with its occupants are inscriptions of an apparently native Minoan Linear 'A', which may not be Indo-European, and Linear 'B', which is clearly Mycenaean Greek.  Genetics may help tell that story.

It appears that other archaeological sites in Crete are being tested as well, although not explicitly stated in the article.

Monday, March 27, 2017

DNA Moroccan Beakers, Neolithic (Grotte d’Ifri n’ Amr O'moussa)

Just learned a few interesting things from a Moroccan newspaper Yabiladi

DNA samples are now at Stanford and Stockholm Universities. 

Bokpot Yusef (blue scarf) examines burial of Beaker girl (MAP)

They have a large sequence of remains going back to the Middle Paleolithic, many are yet to be excavated.  D’Ifri n’Amr ou Moussa will be huge.  Throughout the entire history of this region, I don't think anyone has the slightest guess at what will be found.

If some of these samples are Cardial farmers, that could get interesting.  In any case, we'll have our first peek at Moroccans from the Neolithic and Beaker periods.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Karakol Culture?

Bernard posted another study on Siberian mtdna.  Along with a previous study, Chikisheva, 2010?, Karakol folk are ~80 haplogroup H, albiet HVR1 only.  Contemporary with Afanasievo and Beaker on the Eastern end of Kazakhstan, probably all R1b as well.
Something? Nothing?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"Beaker Folk in the Cotswolds" (Elsie M. Clifford)

Here's something that came in the mail...

an autographed copy of "The Beaker Folk in the Cotswolds" by E. M. Clifford.

I had assumed E. M. Clifford was a man since she signed by her initials, more common for men at that time.  Well, I was surprised when I saw her full name, Elsie Margaret Clifford (1885-1976).    Short Story of her career...

E. M. Clifford at excavation

This article is short and covers a number of Beaker sites in the Cotswolds up to the mid-30's.
"The Beaker Folk in the Cotswolds"

Corded Ware Chief Discovered (

What's described as the grave of a Corded Ware chief is discovered in the Czech Republic.  The story can be found at iDNES, "Na Rychnovsku objevili náčelnický hrob, v Česku jich je jen deset"

Jan Boček via
The archaeologists are surprised by what they consider a false chamber which hid a much deeper lower chamber containing the body.  They believe steps were taken to prevent looting.

They were able to retrieve a battle axe and flints, no mention of pottery.  The grave was surrounded by a ring ditch holding a palisade.  Graves like this likely had a small shrine directly over the burial.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Mesetan "Mesa" (Diaz del Rio, 2017) Redux

Here's an update on the last post.  Hat tip Davidski

About 4% of the 82 Mesetan individuals were non-local.  At least three of four non-local individuals from the Los Berrocales site were women, but they probably came from the nearby Guadarrama sierra.  More on that in a moment...

Based on δ18O values of the more recent molars, dairy products may have been important to the Mesetan-Madrid adult diet.  But as δ13C values continue to climb, the authors suggest that a C4 plant, such as millet, or a CAM plant, often desert plants, is needed to square everything since the other main culprit, marine proteins, are not sufficiently available in the high steppe plateau of Spain.  (More on photorespiration from Khan Academy)

Other possibilities are left open, such as the use of fertilizers, fallow grazing and the 'canopy effect', but these are not likely given elevated results in other environments of Spain.   So, of the two remaining culprits, millet looks to be a good candidate. 

The authors consider the implication of millet production to be reduced or no seasonal mobility, given the growing season of this plant.
Millet (commons)
The other possibility would be a native CAM plant that is sufficiently available and widespread.  Not sure what that could be, whether a carbohydrate, tea or seasoning. They don't give any possible candidates for a plant in this category.

Lastly, going back to the migrant percentages.

Almost all of these individuals are directly dated to the Chalcolithic to Bronze Age:

Archaeol Anthropol Sci (Diaz del Rio, 2017)

We may learn more about these specific individuals in an upcoming study, but the insular nature of this group doesn't seem to indicate strong family ties with outside region.  It could also be the Meseta geology is so large that the Madrid group, to whatever degree may be foreign or native, is better insulated against first generation movers.

"Diet and mobility patterns in the Late Prehistory of central Iberia (4000–1400 cal bc): the evidence of radiogenic (87Sr/86Sr) and stable (δ18O, δ13C) isotope ratios"

Díaz-del-Río, P., Waterman, A.J., Thomas, J.T. et al. Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2017). doi:10.1007/s12520-017-0480-y [Link]

Monday, March 20, 2017

Isotopes from Central Meseta (Diaz-del-Rio et al, 2017)

Anyone have access?  All these folks are from around Madrid.

Based on this paper, it seems clear that some non-local people moved in to the Spanish plateau region during the Beaker period, however isotopes wouldn't necessarily show this since most people who live in a region were born there, regardless of their heritage.

In any case, the authors speculate on origins of the foreigners.  Unfortunately, it's PPV.
Encyclopedia Britannica

Diet and mobility patterns in the Late Prehistory of central Iberia (4000–1400 cal bc): the evidence of radiogenic (87Sr/86Sr) and stable (δ18O, δ13C) isotope ratios

Díaz-del-Río, P., Waterman, A.J., Thomas, J.T. et al. Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2017). doi:10.1007/s12520-017-0480-y [Link]


This study examines strontium, oxygen, and carbon isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr, δ18O, δ13C) in dental enamel and bone apatite from 82 individuals interred at Late Neolithic, Chalcolithic, and Bronze Age burial sites near Madrid, Spain, to discern variations in dietary patterns and identify possible migrants. Questions about mobility patterns and subsistence practices have played a central role in the scholarship of Late Prehistoric central Iberia in the last 20 years, but the archaeological record has still not been able to provide clear answers. This study adds valuable data to this line of research. The results of this study suggest that migration from regions with different geologic landscapes was uncommon in these communities. For the identified migrants, based upon the 87Sr/86Sr values, several of the identified non-local individuals originate from regions with substantially older lithological features and possible places of origin are being investigated. As it is not possible to discern individuals who may have moved from regions with similar geologic landscapes using this methodology, these data provide the minimum number of migrants, and it is conceivable that the number of non-locals in this sample may be higher. Combining multiple lines of material and biological evidence and the completion of Sr isotope mapping in the Iberian Peninsula will help to clarify these findings. Stable carbon isotope data provide new and direct evidence of regional changes in consumption patterns. In particular, this study provides some possible evidence for the consumption of C4 plants in third-millennium bc central Spain.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Beaker Ponies in Britain (Kaagan, 2000)

I found a 2000 study by Laura Kagan (UCL) "The Horse in Late Pleistocene and Holocene Britain" which outlines the pile of horse bones in Britain.  The opinion of the author is that horses were re-introduced to Britain at the end of the Late Neolithic/Beaker period.
Exmoor Ponies in Britain (commons)
The Exmoor pony (Celtic Pony) may be something similar to what has been often described as the pony-like or tarpan-like horses of Beakers.  Either due to the lack of refinement or to its feralization, the Exmoor may be close to the real thing.

Karol Schauer
A work of a Mittle-Saale Beaker by Karol Schauer has one of these old ponies.  Ironic since immigrants came to Southern Britain from the region between the Middle Rhine and Elbe among others, maybe this very man and his horse.

Sudden Evolutionary Change 2,500 B.C.

Ok, being a little facetious.  Anyhow, whatever the mechanism, stuff changes in Bronze Age Northern Europe.
drip, drip...

Selection in Europeans on fatty acid desaturases associated with dietary changes

Matthew T. Buckley, Fernando Racimo, Morten E. Allentoft, Majken K. Jensen, Anna Jonsson, Hongyan Huang, Farhad Hormozdiari, Martin Sikora, Davide Marnetto, Eleazar Eskin...More
Mol Biol Evol msx103.   DOI:

16 March 2017

Abstract: FADS genes encode fatty acid desaturases that are important for the conversion of short chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) to long chain fatty acids. Prior studies indicate that the FADS genes have been subjected to strong positive selection in Africa, South Asia, Greenland, and Europe. By comparing FADS sequencing data from present-day and Bronze Age (5-3k years ago) Europeans, we identify possible targets of selection in the European population, which suggest that selection has targeted different alleles in the FADS genes in Europe than it has in South Asia or Greenland. The
alleles showing the strongest changes in allele frequency since the Bronze Age show associations with expression changes and multiple lipid-related phenotypes. Furthermore, the selected alleles are associated with a decrease in linoleic acid and an increase in arachidonic and eicosapentaenoic acids among Europeans; this is an opposite effect of that observed for selected alleles in Inuit from Greenland.  We show that multiple SNPs in the region affect expression levels and PUFA synthesis. Additionally, we find evidence for a gene-environment interaction influencing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels between alleles affecting PUFA synthesis and PUFA dietary intake: carriers of the derived allele display lower LDL cholesterol levels with a higher intake of PUFAs. We hypothesize that the selective patterns observed in Europeans were driven by a change in dietary composition of fatty acids following the transition to agriculture, resulting in a lower intake of arachidonic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, but a higher intake of linoleic acid and α-linolenic acid.

... and Bronze Age Pigs (Caliebe et al, 2017)

A few ancient pig mitogenomes are looked at.  From the earliest Neolithic, domestic pigs come from the South, but around the time of the Funnelbeaker and Globular Amphora cultures, pigs have a little more North Eurasian boar in their mtdna, which the authors reasonably guess was intentional crossbreeding.

On the other hand, is it possible the introgression is really from Eastern European domesticates??

European Wild Boars, Walter Heubach (commons)

Caliebe, A. et al. Insights into early pig domestication provided by ancient DNA analysis. Sci. Rep. 7, 44550; doi: 10.1038/srep44550 (2017).  [Link]


Pigs (Sus scrofa) were first domesticated between 8,500 and 8,000 cal BC in the Near East, from where they were subsequently brought into Europe by agriculturalists. Soon after the arrival of the first domestic pigs in northern Europe (~4500 BC), farmers are thought to have started to incorporate local wild boars into their swine herds. This husbandry strategy ultimately resulted in the domestication of European wild boars. Here, we set out to provide a more precise geographic and temporal framework of the early management of suid populations in northern Europe, drawing upon mitochondrial DNA haplotype data from 116 Neolithic Sus specimens. We developed a quantitative mathematical model tracing the haplotypes of the domestic pigs back to their most likely geographic origin. Our modelling results suggest that, between 5000 and 4000 BC, almost all matrilines in the north originated from domesticated animals from the south of central Europe. In the following period (4000–3000 BC), an estimated 78–100% of domesticates in the north were of northern matrilineal origin, largely from local wild boars. These findings point towards a dramatic change in suid management strategies taking place throughout south-central and northern Europe after 4000 BC.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Our Darker Angels

A grant is awarded for team examining a massacre site in Somerset.  It looks a large family was beaten, then hacked to death, dismembered, burned and discarded.

I'll bet "a range of scientific analyses" will include DNA to see how these individuals are related to one another, and how they figure into social dynamics of the time in which they lived.

Photo by Ian Cartwright via Oxford Arch

via Oxford University Archaeology:

"The darker angels of our nature: a butchered prehistoric human bone assemblage from Charterhouse Warren, Somerset, England

Rick Schulting and colleagues have received a British Academy Small Research Grant for the study of an unusual Early Bronze Age human skeletal assemblage.
Steven Pinker’s 2011 book ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature’ reflects on the decline in violence over the course of human history. The site of Charterhouse Warren in Somerset reveals the darker side. Excavated in the 1970s, and dating at least partly to the Early Bronze Age, ca. 2200 BC, the scattered remains of more than 20 men, women and children were found in a 20m-deep natural shaft. This largely unknown assemblage is striking for the sheer number of cutmarks indicating dismemberment, alongside perimortem fracturing of long bones and injuries to skulls, as well as apparent charring. While evidence for violence is not unknown in British prehistory, nothing on this scale has been found, and the site joins a small number of Continental Neolithic and Bronze Age sites showing extreme violence and postmortem processing of human remains. This project aims to fully document and characterise the extent of the modifications on this assemblage, which has never been fully analysed, to say something about who these victims were, and to understand the site’s place in the wider context of the European Early Bronze Age.
The research will involve a detailed osteological analysis as well as a range of scientific analyses. Louise Loe of Oxford Archaeology is Co-Investigator, and project collaborators include Teresa Fernández-Crespo, Fiona Brock, Christophe Snoeck, Ian Cartwright, Tony Audsley and David Walker. The results of the project will inform a new display on the site at the Wells and Mendip Museum."

Monday, March 13, 2017

R-173 Coalescent Times (Kivisild, 2017)

This paper came out last week.  Nothing new, but this graph does give a good illustration of a cultural phenomenon affecting some of the R1 sub-clades at 5,500 years before now.

There has been astonishing uniformity in the paternal markers of diagnostic Corded Ware and Bell Beaker males thus far.  Regarding V88, one thing I will be watching for is if any of the 200 Beaker samples can be categorized in this group. 

The study of human Y chromosome variation through ancient DNA

Kivisild, T. Hum Genet (2017). doi:10.1007/s00439-017-1773-z
Human Genetics [Link]


Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Three Quellengruppen - Even More Speculation

I don't have have the full 1974 thesis of Richard Harrison, but it may offer a favored interpretation of Beaker origins from the perspective of the upcoming paper.  The Harrison and Heyd 2007 paper on the Rhone Beakers is available on-line and I'll take that as a preview of Heyd's paper, which comes with his knowledge of the results.

This is all guesses, so don't hang your hat on anything mentioned here.  Plus there's a thousand of variations that could fit as well.  We'll all find out the hard facts soon enough.

Michael Hammer presentation
I suspect the data will show that the origins of the Bell Beakers do not fit with the diffusionist theory (single origin) or the dual theory (a binary between Iberian Maritime + Rhine Corded Beakers) or any theory that says Bell Beaker is basically nothing consolidated.

It must be that they are able to show three distinct ethnic source groups (Quellengruppen) that collided in the territory where three great rivers come into close proximity, these being the upper Rhone, the upper Rhine and the upper Danube.  (or a process involving the three, regardless of the geographic location)

Since Vucedol 2.0 extends past Prague, it's reasonable that a nation of its size was trading heavily with other groups in this European flea market to an even greater degree.  The confluence of cultures would have included cultural sources from Northern Italy, the lower Rhine and certainly those trading up the Tagus and across the Pyrenees.

As trade often intermixes more than objects and opens avenues to migration, it's possible the trade avenues, the trading outposts, or even the trading caste, came to be dominated by an emerging class of people with this mixed background.  The roots of L23* make a lot of sense in this regard, being in the Upper Rhone and then back to the Western Black Sea area.

Perhaps this is what they have discovered, one or several of the following:

1.  They are able to show in burials of the Vucedol Culture that its most expansive elements in the West are found the earliest representation of the Atlantic Modal Haplotype which came as a direct intermingling with Western Yamnaya. 

2.  This Vucedol 2.0 nation or its trading posts extended in a meaningful way further than Prague along the Danube to a point near the Upper Rhone and Rhine.  Perhaps within these trading families or cartels the highest status males (the metal workers) began to dominate these kin groups.

3.  The diffusionist and dual origins of the Beakers are proven or disproven.

4.  Maybe they are also able to demonstrate that the Wessex/Middle Rhine Group is more directly descended from the Yamno-Vucedol group.  They may show that some of the NE Scotland Beakers are R1a.

5.  They show a strange situation where the Maritime group results from another related process...I'll leave that alone for now, but will remind of the amphibious nature of the Beaker phenomenon from the beginning and the coastal defenses erected in Portugal.

Harrison 1974
Just throwing more mud pies at the wall today.  In some ways, this makes a lot of sense.  L23*, hyper-H, common ware and other things.  I'd be careful to understate the Iberian-ness of the Beaker phenomenon, since it is a driving force in the culture, and it may take a while (beyond this study) to fully understand its beginning.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Additional DNA - Basques, Mesetans (Update)

Someone stop the DNA studies!

I rewrote this post because it was garbled on a confusing subject.  Let me try again.

In yesterday's post a puzzling question was the maternal discontinuity in the Mesetas of Spain beginning in the Bell Beaker period.  The results are strange, but not due to Roth 2016's observed discontinuity.  The results are strange because these Beakers have a very different maternal profile.

Four hours after posting that, Eurogenes posted some genetic results, which shows a Basque Country (NW Spain) Megalithic Dolmen “El Sotillo” with remains of people possessing Beaker identities, but again, not genetically aligned with North European Beakers tested thus far.  The El Sotillo dolmen included Ciempozuelos materials (as some Basque sites have this common Mesetan ware)*

I commented at Eurogenes that "El Sotillo" folk looked like proto-Basques and posted a link to some of those profile predictions from commentors at Eupedia.

Then Nirjhar007 posted this paper that literally just hit the wire concerning ancient remains in the Basque country going back to the Mesolithic.

Ancient mitochondrial lineages support the prehistoric maternal root of Basques in Northern Iberian Peninsula

Leire Palencia-Madrid, Sergio Cardoso, Christine Keyser, Juan Carlos López-Quintana, Amagoia Guenaga-Lizasu and Marian M de Pancorbo

The Basque population inhabits the Franco-Cantabrian region in southwest Europe where Palaeolithic human groups took refuge during the Last Glacial Maximum. Basques have been an isolated population, largely considered as one of the most ancient European populations and it is possible that they maintained some pre-Neolithic genetic characteristics. This work shows the results of mitochondrial DNA analysis of seven ancient human remains from the Cave of Santimamiñe in the Basque Country dated from Mesolithic to the Late Roman period. In addition, we compared these data with those obtained from a modern sample of Basque population, 158 individuals that nowadays inhabits next to the cave. The results support the hypothesis that Iberians might have been less affected by the Neolithic mitochondrial lineages carried from the Near East than populations of Central Europe and revealed the unexpected presence of prehistoric maternal lineages such as U5a2a and U3a in the Basque region. Comparison between ancient and current population samples upholds the hypothesis of continuity of the maternal lineages in the area of the Franco-Cantabrian region. 

Which brings us to the formation of the Mesetan Ciempozuelos communities that were so confusing when I originally looked at Roth, 2016 [here].  Part of that question might now be answered if it can be shown that the Mesetans are a movement of people from the Pyrenees region (obviously they moved from somewhere).

In fact, if you look at La Sima burnt mound, then an interesting cultural mingling is possible.

If your not following any of that, let me put it in plain English, and one that may be soon relevant when interpreting the papers of Harrison and Heyd and Heyd's forthcoming paper.  Forget Maritime pottery for a moment and suppose that the AOC beakers in the littorals, especially in the Pyrennes region are sufficiently early enough that some cultural fusion occurred that produced the Ciempozuelos style.  Other possibilities exist with some of the other styles. 

So that's all clear as mud, I may update again later..

*See Also "Reflexiones en Torno Al Campaniforme.  Una Mirada Hacia El Caso Vasco"
Reflections beyond to Bell-Beaker.  A sight to the case basque"
Alfonso Alday Ruiz.

More and More Speculation

More speculation on an Anthrogenica teaser posted by Jean Manco [also].  The authors of this study are 'excited' with the results which include two yet-to-be-announced discoveries.

Let's say this subject is an on-going conversation to save space.  I'll limit the conversation to a few genetic studies haven't made a lot sense this last year.
Harrison and Heyd, 2007
 1.  Something weird is going on in the Northern and Southern Mestas of Iberia based on this paper by Christina Roth, 2016.  Substantial maternal discontinuity, but like the opposite of what has reasonably been expected since Brotherton, 2013.

Not only is the discontinuity pronounced, it's not really local based on my understanding of Neolithic Iberia.  This story may involve an AOC beaker/body or it may show a Maritime population that is distinct from Northern Europe.  Who knows.

Harrison, 1974

2.  This study by Hervella et al came out in 2015 showing the extremely high levels of maternal haplogroup H in the North Balkans at an early time in the Neolithic.  Keep this in mind while spying Harrison, 1974 and also keep a paper by Szecsenyi-Nagy, 2015 in mind.

I've blasted a number of researchers for early studies showing Mesolithic H in the Iberian Peninsula.  It still believe that those ancient (pre-2005) studies have a lot of contamination and missed calls.  Unfortunately, Brotherton 2013 built on some of these flawed studies which led to a directionality (out of Iberia) of the Beaker migration that seemed to be supported by radiocarbon dates of Muller and VanWilligen.  (Not that porto-beaker in Iberia isn't widely accepted, even here).

Overall, there has been an insufficient explanation for the rapid, stratospheric rise of haplogroup H in Bronze Age Europe, other than selection.  I asked mtdna Atlas that question here.

In a way, maternal frequencies are more difficult to explain outside migration. Migrants have to come from somewhere.

3.  Another possibility is that a Protruding Foot Beaker individual, or several, are Atlantic Modal Haplotype in Holland.  In this frame the PFB's came in trade contact with Iberian traders and the style evolved to the All Over Cord beaker which spread everywhere else.  The Dutch Hypothesis is no longer widely accepted, but in this view there is a reflux into Iberia of AOC beakers very early.

There's several other possibilities that may be, but Volker Heyd's Beaker paper may come out before then.  If not, I'll continue to throw darts at the possible.