GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2008-09 > 1222346903
From: Alan R <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] What shall R1b1c call themselves now?
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2008 12:48:23 +0000 (GMT)
I don't always fully agree with David's take on archaeological data (mainly because I think its a lot more ambiguous than is sometimes claimed) but I have to say that is a very decent summary of a best-fit between the late R1b dating, its modern distribution and the archaeology. I have posted the same correlation a few times myself in recent months.
I would however disagree on a few points - the corded ware people were far from technologically advanced and were in some ways backwards by European standards. Also, I don't feel its correct to say an Iberian origin of Bell Beakers is the majority view today. In fact, I would say that would be very much a minority view today. Nothing is certain, but the majority view is it is an offshoot of marginal elements among the westernmost maritime Corded Ware people who were rather more sophisticated through (likely maritime) contacts with metal using cultures to the south-west. I am also detecting a growing feeling that dates may eventually show an early origin further south-east but this is not clear.
NB- Bit of an aside but a map produced decades ago that showed parts of Ireland (the SW, west etc) as not settled by beaker people still persists when in fact that is very out of date. They have now been found everywhere and indeed the usually represented as blank SW of Ireland has produced the best evidence for immigrant beaker mining and metalworking in the British Isles and beakers have often been found as the primary deposits in the wedge tombs of western Ireland (they likely originated in the Beaker phase).
Anyway, on a Europe-wide scale, the fit is rather good with R-S116 on the one hand and S116- (and possibly R1a) on the other for Bell beakers and Corded Ware respectively although I cant say I have checked the detail. It has to be pointed out that to see these as major invasions as opposed to cultural changes bucks the trend of archaeological thinking of recent decades, although admittedly I have noticed a slight turn back to 'beaker folk' etc among British archaeologists in the last few years.
I myself have always thought that the beaker phenomenon and changes around this time is one of the biggest periods of change in culture, social structure, traditions, technology etc in British prehistory - arguably more clear-cut than the archaeological evidence for first generations of Anglo-Saxons etc. Basically, I have always held the opinion that if this period didn't involve a significant population input then no other period did between the Neolithic and the Dark Ages.
David Faux Said
I am going to step back for a while (I am not sure for how long) and assume
that everything you and Ken and Vince and Tim and so on are saying is
largely correct. Therefore I am going to need to find some evidence from my
"favorite source" - archaeology - to support your data (offer possible cross
validation). To keep to a minimum the element of unecessary complexity, I
will only make hypothetical statements about R-P312/S116 and subclades and
You speak of a significant event or perhaps a somewhat more extended
interval which would amount to a "time of crisis" where most of the earlier
population of Western Europe died off and was replaced by a migration from
the east. You indicate that this appears to have occured between 4500 and
3500 ybp (in other words 2500 to 1500 BC). Ok, lets see what was going on
at that time in Western Europe.
Sometime around 2800 BC a major transformation, I might be willing to say
cultural upheaval, occured. The massive Corded Ware / Single Grave / Battle
Axe culture make a very rapid appearance on the doorstep of the west
extending in both directions from an apparent point of origin in the
Balkans, spreading east to the heart of Russia and west to encompass
northern Central Europe, Southern Scandinavia, and west to Belgium and the
Swiss Lakes. The violence with which this culture swept through this area
is well established in the archaeological record, with frequent burials with
characteristic severe head injuries sustained by a the technologically
advanced stone war axes used by this group. Of course the cultural versus
demic diffusion arguments still occur with some frequency among
archaeologists in relation to this group - but we are going to assume demic
One might argue that the general distribution here is rather similar to what
one sees for R-U106 today with this haplogroup dropping drastically in
frequency on the Continent west of Friesland. Their neighbors to the south,
north of the Pontic steppes and eastward, the Yamna culture might have been
largely composed of R-M17 (if one can extrapolate from the distribution of
this haplogroup today). It is not clear why they seem to have halted at the
Rivers Somme and Rhone. Although there is some overlap, these Battle Axe
folk seem to have butted up against the range of perhaps a larger and even
more powerful or technologically superior group. The only culture that
"fits the bill" is the Bell Beaker.
Curiously the Bell Beaker arrive on the scene at almost the same time at the
Battle Axe group, but to the immediate west. Indeed at the frontier there
is overlap, but there is a definite east - west divide. The weapon of
choice of the Bell Beaker group was the bow and arrow (as attested to by the
slate wrist guards found in warriors graves of the time). The territory of
the Bell Beaker "phenomenon" includes parts of the Balkans and Rhine River
lands (Germany seems to have been the divide between the two groups). Bell
Beaker sites are found throughout Iberia, up the Rhone River and into the
Swiss Lakes, along the North Sea to Brittany and the British Isles including
most of Ireland. Also areas of Sicily and Sardinia were included in the
Bell Beaker tradition. These are precisely the areas where today R-P312*
and R-U152 predominate.
Keeping with the theme of arguing against what I have asserted in the past,
perhaps it is noteworthy that despite a general continuity of the Swiss Lake
Dweller culture from 6000 BC to 800 BC, there is an unexplained hiatus
between 2410 and 1800 BC - where this tradition temporarily disappeared. A
hiccup of discontinuity in an otherwise continuous cultural tradition.
Can we say that the places where saturation levels of R-P312* are reached,
in other words in Iberia and the British Isles, reflect the distribution of
the Bell Beaker people who inhabited the area? The timing for all this is
certainly within the parameters you have established.
Of course what has interested me all along is the point of origin of each of
these haplogroups, as well as when they first arrived on the scene. It
would make sense that the Battle Axe group emerged in the Balkans, but can
the same be said for the Bell Beaker group? The most commonly accepted
theory is that they emerged in Iberia. However there are apparently sites
in Hungary which have Bell Beaker affiliations (I have not seen the data).
If this could be woven together in the most parsimonious fashion, I suppose
one could posit a common point of origin of both R-U106 and R-P312.
Consistent with this scenario the latter began spreading, at first rather
thinly, from the Carpathians, but over time and space gaining momentum and
bifurcating to the south and to the north. At some point R-U152 perched
itself at the headwaters of the Danube and Rhine to later spread out north
to Belgium and south along the Rhone to mirror the distribution of this
haplogroup today. The larger group, however, would proceed as far west as
possible, all the way to Ireland and Portugal as R-P312*.
If your dates are correct, the above represents my attempt at integrating
mathematical data and archaeological data - which I have maintained all
along is essential. Does this work for you?
David K. Faux
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