Friday, July 21, 2017

DNA - Protocogotas (Esparza et al, 2017)

Hat tip Bernard and Davidski

This triple burial dates to early Proto-Cogotas, sometime between 1918 and 1772 B.C.  The two women and unborn baby were buried atop a mattress, pillows or other organic material that decomposed, allowing rotation of the bones.

LTB-03 was a young woman who died while she was at full-term pregnancy or in labor with LTB-01, also a girl.  The nuclear and mitochondrial DNA further demonstrate this relationship beyond all doubt.  The older woman was not maternally related, but considering the nuclear DNA, the possibility of a paternal aunt or grandmother was not excluded.  (surprising that it's inconclusive)

Esparza et al highlight the importance of DNA in determining relationships of the past.  Before DNA was conducted, it had been thought that the elder woman was a man due to the robustness of the cranium and to the (seemingly) diagnostic posture; and that this was a small nuclear family that died under unfortunate and contemporary settings.  However, further osteological analysis of the cranial and post-cranial remains started to sow doubt about the 'man', and DNA finally revealed that she was a woman of uncertain relationship.

Triple burial from Fig 2.  (Esparza et al, 2017)
In past generations, many touching assumptions seemed reasonable of Early Bronze Age burials:  A man and woman in a pit grave were husband and wife.  A woman embracing a small child was the child's biological mother.  They weren't bad assumptions, most are likely correct; but they are not facts.  Obviously, DNA has excluded certain relationships in this burial.

Before getting to the gender identity of LTB-02, quick background. Esparza et al, 2012b previously came up with a theory for the gross lack of Cogotas Horizon burials in Central Spain, attributing them to exposure or something.  For the few discovered burials, when they did occur, they were exceedingly those of females.  They essentially make a case that Cogotas people dealt with taboo deaths, such as a woman dying in labor, differently from the general population.  In other words, this burial from Los Tolmas might have had been associated with a taboo death.  They make a compelling comparison to the treatment of taboo deaths of pregnant women in colonial Ghana.

Next, they offer some alternative scenarios for the relationship between these women from discussions at a recent workshop.  One proposal was that the elder woman was a mid-wife, who for whatever reason, was volunteered into this situation.  Given the lateness of the pregnancy, and obviously the poor outcome, it seems possible the mid-wife found herself in an inescapable cloud of superstition.  It's also possible that the pregger died before labor and some unfortunate, lower-class soul got the honor to deliver her lady's child in the next world. 

Given the manliness of the elder woman and the orientation of the burial, the conversation drifted toward 'gender identity'.  But in my view the circumstances surrounding this burial make more sense when focused on the tragedy of a very pregnant woman dying unexpectedly. 

Protocogotas is the tail end of Bell Beaker in this region, so their genomes might offer a fuller picture of the Mesetan ethnicies from the previous period.

"Familiar Kinship?  Palaeogenetic and Isotopic Evidence from a Triple Burial of the Cogotas I Archaeological Culture (Bronze Age, Iberian Peninsula)"
ÁNGEL ESPARZA, SARA PALOMO-DÍEZ, JAVIER VELASCO-VÁZQUEZ,
GERMÁNDELIBES,EDUARDOARROYO-PARDOANDDOMINGOC.SALAZAR-GARCÍA
OXFORD JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGY 36(3) 223–242 2017
"Summary. This paper examines the identification of kinship relations in
archaeological multiple burials and advocates the application of different
methods and lines of research to clarify such issues in relation to funerary
practices. Recognizing family relationships – an important task in research on
prehistoric societies – is especially complicated and interpretations have often
been made without an adequate empirical basis. Bioarchaeological, isotopic
and DNA analyses applied to the triple burial of Los Tolmos (Cogotas I
archaeological culture, Iberian Bronze Age) have provided direct information
on this issue. In this respect, the new results also imply the need to consider gender
constructs in greater depth and to be more open-minded towards other forms of
relationship in the past beyond the traditional heteronormative nuclear family." 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

DNA - Cogotas I

If anyone has access to this paper, spread the wealth:

"Familiar Kinship?  Palaeogenetic and Isotopic Evidence from a Triple Burial of the Cogotas I Archaeological Culture (Bronze Age, Iberian Peninsula)"

Cogotas I is the product of the sophisticated El Argar hegmon expanding its influence deeper into the Iberian Peninsula.  But for all intents and purposes, Cogotas folk are likely, in the greater part, the progeny of Mesetan Beakers - we shall see.  Much of that older culture is remember in the schemes of Cogotas pottery throughout the period.

White paste infill on Cogotas II pottery at Museum of Valladolid (Benito-Alvarez - commons)


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Barcelona Beakers (Olalde et al, 2017)

Continuing with narratives from  "The Beaker Phenomenon and the Genomic Transformation of Northwest Europe" by Olalde et al, 2017.

The Paris Street Beakers in Catalonia were mostly buried with Maritime and epi-Maritime ceramics, and two of the later Pyrenees Group.  Unfortunately, there isn't any specific information on which layer the ten individuals come from or with which ceramics they were associated with.  There was also an eleventh individual that did not make it into the study.

In a previous post, I noted that Beakers associated with the old school Maritime-inspired pottery, the best I can so far tell, appear to lack or have a reduced Steppe component.  This appears true in at least two other regions outside of Iberia [Hégenheim], and maybe a third.

The Cerdanyola newspaper reports that two of the women were first degree relatives.  If I am reading correctly, all of them were lactase persistent except for one woman.  
"Individual 5 from Level II"  Fig 1 of (Gomez-Merino et al, 2011)
Interesting are the paternal and maternal markers.  50% of the men are R1b of sorts, but essentially lack the East European ancestry.  The maternal profiles are 50% haplogroup H, 40% are H1.  No two are the same, so I'll assume the eleventh individual was a sister excluded from further analysis.

Looking on a continental scale, the Olalde authors concluded "...we could significantly exclude Iberian sources [for the Beaker complex]...These results support largely different origins for Beaker Complex individuals, with no discernible Iberia-related ancestry outside Iberia."

By "Significantly exclude", we might assume they have excluded from the continental ethnic a component directly attributable to early Iberian Bell Beakers, not just Iberians.  When the genomes are public, we might have more confidence or we might have more questions!  The unequal resurgence of hunter ancestry in the Middle Neolithic may give us some pause.

Fig. 7 of (Frances et al, 2006)
And the Harvard Team seems to be pausing in releasing the genomes.  Fine tuning?  Probably not, but the Middle Neolithic seems like it might have a few more surprises.


The narrative from Olalde et al:

"Paris Street (Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)
Contact person: Joan Francès Farré

During urban construction work at Paris Street in Cerdanyola del Vallès (Vallès Occidental, Barcelona province) in 2003, a large amount of skeletal material and associated pottery was unearthed. Follow-up excavation uncovered a Chalcolithic hypogeum with more than 9,000 human remains as well as lithic and ceramic material, the latter assigned to the Bell Beaker tradition.  The hypogeum displays several occupational phases. The 59 oldest one presented an ash layer underlying the first inhumations that could have a ritualistic significance. Charcoal from that basal layer was dated to 2878-2496 calBCE (4110±60 BP, UBAR-817). The first funerary phase (UE-15) shows a large number of successive inhumations (minimal number of individuals 36) that are still in anatomical position, placed in lateral decubitus and with flexed knees. Seven arrow points were retrieved from this layer. A thin, upper layer (UE-5) probably represents a re-organization of the existing funerary space, prior to the second funerary phase (UE-2). At UE-5, two Bell Beaker vessels of maritime style were retrieved. The UE-2 layer comprises fewer inhumations, and all of them were accompanied by typical Bell Beaker vessels: three in Maritime style, and two in epi-Maritime style. There were also numerous additional pieces of diverse typology. Over this layer, a final one, labelled UE-3, contained two more skeletons arranged over riverbed pebbles with a Bell Beaker vessel of a regional style known as "Pyrenaic". A bone from this layer yielded the youngest date in the hypogeum of 2469-2206 calBCE (3870±45 BP, UBAR-860). We recovered ancient DNA data from 10 individuals:
I0257/10362A: 2571–2350 calBCE [R1b1 + H1ax]

I0258/10367A: 2850–2250 BCE [H1q]
I0260/10370A: 2850–2250 BCE [I2a2a + K1a2a]
I0261/10378A: 2850–2250 BCE [R1b1a(xR1b1a1a2a) +U5b1i]
I0262/10381A: 2850–2250 BCE [U5b3]
I0263/10385A: 2850–2250 BCE [X2b+226]
I0823/10360A: 2850–2250 BCE [H1]
I0825/10394A: 2474–2300 calBCE (3915±29 BP, MAMS-25939)  [G2 + K1a4a1]                                                                  I0826/10400A: 2833–2480 calBCE (4051±28 BP, MAMS-25940) [H1t]
I1553/10388A: 2850–2250 BCE" [pre-H103]

From Fig S1, Olalde et al, 2017


The article concerning the testing of DNA

L’hipogeu calcolític del carrer París de Cerdanyola del Vallès, 2006 [Link]
JOAN FRANCÈS*, MARC GUÀRDIA**, TONA MAJÓ***, ÒSCAR SALA**

Gibaja, J. F., Palomo, A., Francés, J., Majó, T., 2006 – Les puntes de sageta de l’hipogeu calcolític del carrer Paris (Cerdanyola): caracterització tecnomorfològica i funcional. Cypsela, 16: 127-133. [Link]

G. Gómez-Merino, T. Majó, C. Lorenzo, F. Gispert-Guirado, M. Stankova  et J. Francés, « Identification of Cinnabar by non-Destructive Techniques on a Human Mandible from Carrer Paris Chalcolithic Hypogeum (Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain) », ArcheoSciences, 35 | 2011, 241-247. [Link]

"Els grups del neolitic final, calcolitic i bronze antic.  Els inicis de la metal-lurgia"
Araceli Martin Colliga.  Cota Zero n. 18, 2003. Vic, p. 76-105 ISSN 0213-4640 [Link]


Monday, July 17, 2017

Liff's Low Beaker Reconstruction

Here's a facial construction of a man burial in a 'bowl barrow' at Liff's Low in Derbyshire, England.
The story from LiveScience 'Striking Face' of 4500-Year-Old English Man Revealed.

"Beaker reconstruction" Face Lab/Liverpool John Moores University

When Liff's Low was originally excavated, the first body included an unusual pot that Stuart Piggott believed might have been Peterborough Ware related (L.V. Grisnell, 1936 page 17).  The site was excavated years later revealing another cist containing a bell beaker pot and a skeleton [Historic England].  This individual appears to have been from the second excavation.



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Békásmegyer Begleitkeramik Beakers (I2364) and (I2365)

These next two Begleitkeramikers were excavated by Rózsa Kalicz-Schreiber, [page 2 in German] who defined the "Csepel Group" in 1973.  If you're interested in the anthropological background of Békásmegyer, Budakalasz is essentially several bars down [Link] and where in the world is Csepel Island? [Link], also two weird guys from Szigetszentmiklós  [Link] and how one of those might be directly 1/2 from these guys [Link].

Today, two more Beaker profiles from  "The Beaker Phenomenon and the Genomic Transformation of Northwest Europe" by Olalde et al, 2017.

The first individual of the double burial (I2364) had uni-parental markers H2 + U5a2b and a single grave burial tested individual (I2365) is R1b1a1a2a1a2b1 + V3 (R1b is specifically U152 > L2).  The first subject has little very little steppe-related ancestry in Table S1 of Olalde, but the second individual's personal paternity is located within the orbit of where his subclade has its greatest diversity and frequency (Eastern Group), which in archaeological terms probably also reflects the immediate origin of his paternal ancestry within Central Europe.  (see R. Rocca comments on L2 in the Po Valley)

With that are these contexts, the fact that the I2364 double burial lacked grave goods and both individuals were placed on their right sides.  On the other hand, I2365 was buried in a more diagnostic setting for the Beaker culture, has a more familiar ratio of steppe ancestry, but also culturally synthesizes local elements that define the Csepel Group.


"Old and New Narratives for Hungary around 2200 BC" Pusztainé Fischl et al, 2015 7th Archaeological Conference of Central Germany 
In the table below, notice the middle column of the Danube river region where Beaker is concentrated.  Before examining the most recently discovered Beaker individuals at Szigetszentmiklós, Kitti Köhler noted in 2011 that previous to this the stereotypical short-headed Beaker 'ethnic' had only been observed in subsequent or peripheral cultures, Kisapostag and Gata-Wieselburg.  Previously studied Beaker cemeteries showed a great deal of heterogeneity in cranial measurements, especially between the sexes (translation from Hungarian is a bit garbled).  With that, note that the only Gata individual tested to date is tested to R1b (Szecsenyi-Nagy, 2015)  Also in that study was one Vučedol period individual from Lánycsók in Southern Hungary as R1b which was directly dated to around 2800-2600

Fig 1b "
"overview of Late Copper Age, Early and Middle Bronze Age chronology, and cultures/groups in Hungary."
"Old and New Narratives for Hungary around 2200 BC" Pusztainé Fischl et al, 2015 7th Archaeological Conference of Central Germany 
Based on the recent Mesolithic study on Romania and the origin of the Cernavodă culture, it is a safe bet that within the period including Kostolac, Vucedol and Yamnaya Cultures of this region, there is already heavy paternal influence from the Western Black Sea as reflected in cultural trends, but it's also important to point out that the male ancestry of I2365 probably came from the West!

The degree of heterogeneity in this area (including I2364 and I2365) demonstrate that apparent influences from Somogyvár–Vinkovci/proto-Nagyrév are genetically and culturally associated with the spread of the accompanying ware which attenuates going west.  It would seem the association of Begleitkeramik with Central European Beakerfolk is one solution to the comparative reduction of steppe-related ancestry, or at least to a more mixed nature of the Eastern Group compared to those in the West and the Northwest (excluding Iberia).  So the social organization of the East Group must have been much more cosmopolitan than those of the Northwest Atlantic, the latter being in a genetic sense, more insulated in its late phase.
"Old and New Narratives for Hungary around 2200 BC" 
Pusztainé Fischl et al, 2015 7th Archaeological Conference of Central Germany
  
It's tempting to draw straight lines between points, but if it was that simple then all of this would have been figured out long ago.  There is a very complicate mess of interacting cultures in this area and to be honest, I understand less than 1% of it.

In the next posts, I'd like to move back to the Alpine area and Spain.
Fig S1 (a) from Olalde et al, 2017



Budapest-Békásmegyer, Királyok útja (former Vöröshadsereg útja) (Hungary)
Contact person: Anna Endrődi, Gabriella Kulcsár

"The site is situated in northern part of Budapest, on the western bank of the Danube
River. Rózsa Kalicz-Schreiber uncovered 154 burials of the cemetery between 1960 and
1983, at Budapest, Békásmegyer–Királyok útja. The cemetery, according to her
estimates, had originally contained between 200-300 hundred graves. Inurned burials
dominated in the investigated cemetery section covering an area of 7700 m2. The
inhumation burials of the Békásmegyer cemetery contained jugs of the southern type
rather than the Bell Beakers type. No more than four of the 30 inhumation graves
yielded genuine Bell Beakers, while five contained various elements of the Beaker
package such as stone wrist-guards, stone arrow-heads and bone buttons with V-shaped
perforation. Jugs of the southern, Somogyvár–Vinkovci/proto-Nagyrév type were
deposited in 15 inhumation burials; nine inhumation graves did not contain any grave
goods. Eighteen of the 28 scattered cremation burials contained genuine Bell Beakers,
while three yielded locally made copies or bowls with a stamped rim. New radiocarbon
dates were generated for three burials of the Budapest–Békásmegyer cemetery. The
individuals taken from inhumation burials yielded 1752 roughly similar dates for the
cemetery section: 3845±36 BP (Grave 193; DeA-2875), 3831±35 BP (Grave 432a;
DeA-2876), 3874±33 BP (Grave 445; DeA-2877). A Bayesian analysis of the three
AMS dates from the cemetery dates its use to approximately 2410–2220 calBCE"
"Grave 219/B (I2364, GEN 10a): Double burial excavated in 1966. Two individuals
were lying on their right side in contracted position, without grave goods. Individual B
is an adult male. The radiocarbon date for this individual is:
I2364/GEN_10a, Grave 219/B: 2470–2060 calBCE [2295–2060 calBCE (3779±28
BP, DeA-6749); 2470–2285 calBCE (3883±29 BP, DeA-7216)]"  [H2 - U5a2b]
"Grave 452 (I2365, GEN 11a): Burial of an adult male lying of his left side, in contracted
position, excavated in 1982. The skeleton was incomplete, and oriented north-northwest
to south-southeast, with hyper-flexed legs. Pottery grave goods (a Bell Beaker, an urn, a
bowl, and a jug) were situated beside the lower leg, at the southern part of the grave pit.
Other grave goods include an arrowhead, and two stone tools.
I2365/GEN_11a/Grave452: 2465-2205 calBCE [2465-2205 calBCE (3858±32 BP,
1767 DeA-6762); 2465-2213 calBCE (3858±32 BP, DeA-7220)]"
"Funerary Rituals Social Relations and Diffusion of Bell Beaker Csepel-Group" from Current researches on Bell Beakers Proceedings of the 15th International Bell Beaker Conference: From Atlantic to Ural.5th 9th May 2011 Poio Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain [Link]