Ancient Origins - 6/8/2017
still found in European Population is
The climate during the Pleistocene Epoch (2.6 mill – 11,700 YA) fluctuated between episodes of glaciation (or ice ages) and episodes of warming, during which glaciers would retreat. It is within this epoch that modern humans migrated into the European continent at around 45,000 years ago. These Anatomically Modern Humans (AMH) were organized into bands whose subsistence strategy relied on gathering local resources as well as hunting large herd animals as they travelled along their migration routes. Thus these ancient peoples are referred to as Hunter-Gatherers. The timing of the AMH migration into Europe happens to correspond with a warming trend on the European continent, a time when glaciers retreated and large herd animals expanded into newly available grasslands.
Evidence of hunter-gatherer habitation has been found throughout the European continent from Spain at the La Brana cave to Loschbour, Luxembourg and Motala, Sweden. The individuals found at the Loschbour and Motala sites have mitochondrial U5 or U2 haplogroups, which is typical of Hunter-Gatherers in Europe and Y-chromosome haplogroup I. These findings suggest that these maternally and paternally inherited haplogroups, respectively, were present in the population before farming populations gained dominance in the area.
Based on the DNA evidence gathered from these three sites, scientists are
able to identify surviving genetic similarities between current day Northern
European populations and the first AMH Hunter-Gatherers in Europe. The
signal of genetic sharing between present-day populations and early
Hunter-Gatherers, however, begins to become fainter as one moves further
south in Europe. The hunter-gatherer subsistence strategy dominated the
landscape of the European continent for thousands of years until populations
that relied on farming and animal husbandry migrated into the area during
the middle to late Neolithic Era around 8,000–7,000 years ago.
La Brana 1: La Brana, Spain (~7,000 years ago)
Remains of a 7,000 year old Hunter-Gatherer, dubbed La Brana 1, were discovered in a cave in Northern Spain. Through analysis of DNA extracted from a tooth, La Brana 1’s remains have since shed some much needed light on the Mesolithic inhabitants of ancient Europe. DNA analysis has concluded that La Brana 1 carried genes that are associated with disease resistance, thus challenging the existing belief that the emergence of these genes coincided with the arrival of later farming communities. Analysis also suggests that this Hunter-Gatherer is more closely related to modern-day Northern Europeans than to Southern Europeans who have shown greater similarity with Hunter-Gatherer remains from regions in Sweden and Siberia.
Loschbour: Luxemburg (~8,000 years ago)
Remains of an 8,000 year old Hunter-Gatherer were discovered at a burial site located in a rock shelter in Loschbour, Luxembourg. The remains are believed to have belonged to a male between 34 and 47 years old. Similar to the remains found in Motala, Sweden, this Hunter-Gatherer male also belongs to the Y-chromosome haplogroup I and mitochondrial haplogroup U.
Motala: Motala, Sweden (~8,000 years ago)
Remains of seven
individuals were discovered in a European Mesolithic Hunter-Gatherer burial
site east of lake Vättern near modern day Motala, Sweden. All of the
individuals found belonged to the mitochondrial DNA haplogroups U2 and U5,
which was quite common for Hunter-Gatherers of this time period and
location. These mitochondrial DNA haplogroups can still be found in modern
day populations, although in much lower frequencies. Of these seven
individuals, five of them were males belonging to the Y-chromosome
haplogroup I, thus providing evidence that even in Mesolithic times this
Y-chromosome haplogroup was common in Northern European populations.
|DNA from ancient Farmer's still found in European Population is 43%|
Cultures: Central Europe (~8,000 years ago)
Roughly 8,000 years
ago Farming Cultures, such as the Linearbandkeramik (LBK), migrated from the
Mediterranean Near East into the European continent. This migration moved
through Greece, quickly spreading into the Balkans and arrived in Central
Europe by around 5,700 years ago. Archaeological evidence of early Farming
Cultures habitation has been found near rivers and lakes; suggesting that
these peoples followed the fertile loess soils, often found along bodies of
water, to build their communities. Timber longhouses, constructed from
wicker like materials that were walled together with a mud plaster, were
built together in loose groups to form the communities of the Farming
Cultures. In addition to the unique architecture, researchers also use
remains from the distinctive pottery practices to identify LBK communities.
LBK pottery is unique in its use of parallel lines to form spiral designs,
and designs of triangles and chevrons around bands on earthen bowls.
Iceman, better known as Ötzi, was found in the Ötztal Mountains on the
border of modern day Austria and Italy. Found with items such as a copper
hand axe, dagger, and arrows typical of Copper Age burials, Ötzi is thought
to be a member of a 4th millennium BCE Farming culture from, what is
currently known as, South Tyrol, Austria.
in Stuttgart, Germany were identified as having been from a female, likely
between 22–30 years old, who was a member of a Neolithic farming community.
Evidence from excavations of this site shows inhabitants from a number of
different cultures throughout the ancient past, and it is not specific to
only Neolithic farming communities. Artifacts, such as pottery dating to
around 5,500–4,800 BCE, and evidence of ritualized burial practices suggest
that at least one of the remains and inhabitants was likely from the
Linearbandkeramik (LBK) culture. The LBK culture has been identified as one
of the first farming cultures in Europe, and they are known for their
distinctive pottery and burial practices.
-- Corded Ware Culture
-- Yamnaya Culture
Corded Ware: Central
Europe (~4,000 years ago)
The Neolithic Early
Farming culture of Central Europe was culturally and physically replaced by
2,800 BCE. The new inhabitants of this region, the Yamnaya, brought culture
and Early Bronze age technology originating from the Eurasian Steppe. Later
cultures inhabiting Central Europe, most notably the Corded Ware culture of
the late Neolithic, could identify an average of 75% ancestry from the
Yamnaya culture. The remaining 25% show ancestry from Early Neolithic
Farming Cultures like the Linearbandkeramik. Changes in subsistence strategy
and culture can be identified through DNA analysis, as well as changes in
cultural practices such as burial rituals and practices. Cultural evolution
in this area is displayed in the arrival of pit burial practices and
agro-pastoral subsistence strategies.
At roughly 3,800 BCE, the people of the Yamnaya culture emerged in the Eurasian Steppe. The Yamnaya relied on a subsistence strategy of pastoralism, and displayed an advanced understanding of metals (primarily copper) and animal domestication. They mined the metals they used to construct daggers, axes, and jewelry; and used domesticated horses to guide the movement of their herds. Large swaths of land are necessary for herds to graze; and as little evidence of Eastern Yamnaya settlements have been found, experts suggest that the Yamnaya peoples were partially nomadic. It is likely the Yamnaya peoples spent much of their time in wagons moving their herds in response to seasonal changes. Archaeological digs on land used for ancient Yamnaya burials have discovered that burials were ritualized, as scientists have unearthed material goods and wheeled carts buried with high ranking individuals. Finally, DNA evidence shows that a common Y-chromosome haplogroup of the Yamnaya pastoralists is R1a and R1b, which is still prevalent in Western Europe today.
Most of the world is not of European descent and alternatively, have genetic contributions from influential and significant populations for which we currently do not have enough scientific data. For this reason, those whose ancestral makeup is of non-European descent cannot be grouped into these three particular ancient European categories. As more significant DNA evidence is found in other regions of the world, we will work to continue to connect the ancient with the present in our effort to further our understanding of the interconnectedness between us all. To explore your non-European origins, please see your myOrigins results.
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