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]