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Thread: Neolithic, Chalcolithic Northern Mesopotamia and Levant

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    Neolithic, Chalcolithic Northern Mesopotamia and Levant

    Within the abstracts of SAA, there are the following study descriptions:

    Kang, Jirye[388]

    Understanding Stylistic and Technical Variation in Middle Chalcolithic Painted Pottery Decoration—A Test from Tel Tsaf

    This research explores the social interaction between Tel Tsaf and northern Mesopotamia through pottery decoration similarities. This ongoing research questions another possible connection between northern Mesopotamia and Tel Tsaf in the central Jordan Valley, representing one of the most southern sites discovered. The Middle Chalcolithic (5600-4500 BC) site of Tel Tsaf is located in the central Jordan Valley near Beth Shean, Israel. The site is believed to have influences from the Ubaid in northern Mesopotamia during the Chalcolithic period. This assertion is fundamentally based on the recovery of distinctive pottery sherds, Tel Tsaf ware, after decades of excavations (Gophna 1970s; Garfinkel 2004-2007; Rosenberg 2013-Present). To reconstruct the context, analysis of the pottery decorations will be mainly used to broaden the interpretation of the site through a consideration of all relevant Tel Tsaf pottery. X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) studies will be conducted on the pottery colorant in order to provide a better understanding of provenance of colorant components. Through examining the stylistic and technical variations of the Tel Tsaf ware as well as XRF analysis of the Ubaid-like pottery decoration, this study compares to Tel Tsaf with the sites in northern Mesopotamia, Ubaid interaction zone.
    Kennedy, Jason (Central Michigan University)[200]

    Come for the Harvest, Stay for the Beer: Alcohol Production in an Ubaid Household in Upper Mesopotamia

    In New Perspectives on Household Archaeology, Bradley Parker and Catherine Foster urged archaeologists to approach households as a dynamic location of repetitive actions and gestures that shaped the formation of the personal, economic, social, political and ideological trajectories of the community. In his contribution to the volume, Bradley sought to marshal multiple lines of archaeological evidence to provide a comprehensive account of the activities that occurred within an Ubaid household at Kenan Tepe on the Upper Tigris River in southeastern Turkey and explored how these actions were connected to broad changes in social integration and political complexity throughout Greater Mesopotamia during the fifth millennium BCE. In this paper, I will reexamine Bradley’s conclusions using new data provided by a use-alteration analysis of the ceramics from the Ubaid household. This analysis has revealed evidence for the household production and consumption of alcohol, most likely beer, during the late 5th millennium BCE. This paper will explore the nature of alcohol production at the site and connect it to the activities identified in Parker’s analysis of the structure as well as the social and political relationships formed during the consumption of alcohol at Ubaid Kenan Tepe.
    The study of Tell Tsaf, talks about influences from the Ubaid of northern Mesopotamia during the Chalcolithic period into the Levant.
    As we know from earlier study of the Peqi'in Cave(4500–3900 BCE), Y-DNA T was associated with a migration of people coming from the northern Mesopotamia.
    Also, another study also found Y-DNA T within Ain Ghazal(7700-7500 BCE) from the Levant, this individual was also reported as having an origin from the North.

    What do you guys think about the Y-DNA of Chalcolithic, Neolithic and Pre Pottery Mesopotamia?

    Does anyone know of an ongoing ancient Y-DNA study on skeletal remains from Chalcolithic, Neolithic and Pre Pottery periods from Mesopotamia(Ubaid, Halaf, PPNB, PPNA, ...)?

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    The Harvard Lab has interest.

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    I know there is a university testing DNA, but from paleolithic Iran...

    I don't know much about the region but is a natural spread area for herders and farmers from Taurus and Zagros. Just guessing, their autosomal might be like that of the north but in diverse admixtures, it would be a struggle for farmers to colonize the limit areas with enough rainfall, with many backwards as successive dry years would come up. It seems that farmers colonized permanently Mesopotamia after digging channels as to irrigate fields, next a population surplus, and next one of the first advanced civilizations.
    "What I've seen so far after my entire career chasing Indoeuropeans is that our solutions look tissue thin and our problems still look monumental" J.P.Mallory

    "The ultimate homeland of the group [PIE] that also spread Anatolian languages is less clear." D. Reich

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    BUT the confluence Tigris-Euphrates if provided of inmense date palm forests could have had a good HG population with its own genetic profile (having a desert as barrier with other pops in the Zagros and Taurus)

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    Last edited by Alyan; 30-03-19 at 09:09.

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    Quote Originally Posted by suyindik View Post
    Within the abstracts of SAA, there are the following study descriptions:
    The study of Tell Tsaf, talks about influences from the Ubaid of northern Mesopotamia during the Chalcolithic period into the Levant.
    As we know from earlier study of the Peqi'in Cave(4500–3900 BCE), Y-DNA T was associated with a migration of people coming from the northern Mesopotamia.
    Also, another study also found Y-DNA T within Ain Ghazal(7700-7500 BCE) from the Levant, this individual was also reported as having an origin from the North.
    What do you guys think about the Y-DNA of Chalcolithic, Neolithic and Pre Pottery Mesopotamia?
    Does anyone know of an ongoing ancient Y-DNA study on skeletal remains from Chalcolithic, Neolithic and Pre Pottery periods from Mesopotamia(Ubaid, Halaf, PPNB, PPNA, ...)?
    the peqin samples originated from colchis area on the black sea , while some say more west of this spot on the black sea
    and
    ain ghazal sample from north of lake van , kura araxes lands
    có che un pòpoło no 'l defende pi ła só łéngua el xe prónto par èser s'ciavo

    when a people no longer dares to defend its language it is ripe for slavery.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Due to some of those aDNA findings and the present frequency of haplogroup T roughly in South Iraq I have speculated (no major substantiated hypothesis here, then) that Mesopotamia was in the Neolithic a hotspot of T (maybe also L and J?). Autosomally I really wanted to know if they were more Levant-like or more Iranian-like, maybe a particular mix, and if Chalcolithic Israel (Peqi'in) is any indication it seems like there was a strong southward movement of Anatolians, so maybe Iraq was one of the first strongly admixed parts of the Near East with the confluence of Anatolia, Levant, Iran and Caucasus, particularly since it seems like the region became heavily populated and dedicated to agriculture relatively late, probably receiving influxes and influences from all around. Anyway, I'm just digressing here...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sile View Post
    the peqin samples originated from colchis area on the black sea , while some say more west of this spot on the black sea
    and
    ain ghazal sample from north of lake van , kura araxes lands
    Whats your source for those statements? Those locations posited as sources of their admixture are just so precise...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alyan View Post
    The Harvard Lab has interest.
    Do you know details about this? Will they soon be able to publish such a study?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alyan View Post
    Attachment 10845Here's the source.
    Attachment is invalid.

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    Pontus Skoglund said his lab or connected are looking into initiating sampling of Mesopotamian ones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by berun View Post
    BUT the confluence Tigris-Euphrates if provided of inmense date palm forests could have had a good HG population with its own genetic profile (having a desert as barrier with other pops in the Zagros and Taurus)
    Exactly, that's why Gulf Arabs have no strong affinity to other Middle Easterners. Along the Gulf there were hunters and fishers who never adopted agriculture until around 3000 B.C. .

    Afaik the Sumerians considered Bahrain the ancestral homeland of some of their rulers.

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    but these HG developed lastly the cultivation of date palms? if so there would be a chance of demic expansion in leap-frog jumps into uninhabited oasis into the Sahara, Arabia, Iran...

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    Quote Originally Posted by berun View Post
    but these HG developed lastly the cultivation of date palms? if so there would be a chance of demic expansion in leap-frog jumps into uninhabited oasis into the Sahara, Arabia, Iran...
    The area is very understudied. Afaik agriculture begins in the interior of the peninsula around 3000 BC. The oases and the coasts were populated long before that.

    The only complete description of one of those populations thus far is this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2653051

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    looking Y DNA of South Iran could give answers as it would be a natural expansion area in a desertic region without crops, sharing the land with fishers and herders.


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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markod View Post
    Exactly, that's why Gulf Arabs have no strong affinity to other Middle Easterners. Along the Gulf there were hunters and fishers who never adopted agriculture until around 3000 B.C. .

    Afaik the Sumerians considered Bahrain the ancestral homeland of some of their rulers.
    So you think we'll find another new and clearly distinctive Neolithic Middle East genetic cluster besides Levant_Neolithic, Iran_Neolithic and Anatolian_Neolithic, and that there was strong population continuity since the times of hunter-gatherers in the Gulf area, even after the huge expansions of those other 3 clusters in the Middle East and even further?

    AFAIK Sumerians talked of an ancestral land they thought was related to their ancestry, Dilmun, and some consider it was probably Bahrain or somewhere in the peninsular Gulf region. I'm not sure how credible that hypothesis is, but it would make sense and explain why Sumerian was such an "exotic" isolate. In that hypothesis Sumerian would've been part of the language family that prevailed in the Arabian peninsula before the Afro-Asiatic and especially Semitic expansion. One thing is sure, that Sumerians themselves stressed they were not indigenous to the region where their civilization thrived. I think they just took advantage of previous cultural and economic developments and were wise enough to foster them instead of smothering them when they became an elite minority and hence enforced their language onto the established population (the first written documents can't be read in Sumerian, for instance).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygorcs View Post
    So you think we'll find another new and clearly distinctive Neolithic Middle East genetic cluster besides Levant_Neolithic, Iran_Neolithic and Anatolian_Neolithic, and that there was strong population continuity since the times of hunter-gatherers in the Gulf area, even after the huge expansions of those other 3 clusters in the Middle East and even further?

    AFAIK Sumerians talked of an ancestral land they thought was related to their ancestry, Dilmun, and some consider it was probably Bahrain or somewhere in the peninsular Gulf region. I'm not sure how credible that hypothesis is, but it would make sense and explain why Sumerian was such an "exotic" isolate. In that hypothesis Sumerian would've been part of the language family that prevailed in the Arabian peninsula before the Afro-Asiatic and especially Semitic expansion. One thing is sure, that Sumerians themselves stressed they were not indigenous to the region where their civilization thrived. I think they just took advantage of previous cultural and economic developments and were wise enough to foster them instead of smothering them when they became an elite minority and hence enforced their language onto the established population (the first written documents can't be read in Sumerian, for instance).
    I think it's unlikely Sumerian came from the South, instead it probably was part of a huge macro-family of ergative languages like Hurrian, Caucasian and Elamite languages. And that it came from the Taurus-Zagros region ( broadly South Caucasus ) with broadly y-dna J and T. My bet about Arabia and early neolithic Mesopotamia would be something related with ANA and East Africa ( Basal Eurasian? ), but still in the broad AA family linguistically speaking because this macro-family of language is way too old. Semitic is very divergent from the rest of AA languages for what i've read, so it might be a kind of Afro-Asiatic Isolate wich came to birth with the mix of an pre-semitic AA language and a language maybe related with Sumerian. There was a huge change in the finale Chalcolithic and early BA in the entire Middle-East. Just like, big systems of relationship between different Neolithic group got conquered ( for whatever climatic or social reasons ) by South Caucasus groups maybe linked with Kura-Araxes and y-dna J while themselves got moved away by eurasian steppe people migrating. This might imply that there was a huge change in climate between 3'500 and 2'500 BCE.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygorcs View Post
    So you think we'll find another new and clearly distinctive Neolithic Middle East genetic cluster besides Levant_Neolithic, Iran_Neolithic and Anatolian_Neolithic, and that there was strong population continuity since the times of hunter-gatherers in the Gulf area, even after the huge expansions of those other 3 clusters in the Middle East and even further?

    AFAIK Sumerians talked of an ancestral land they thought was related to their ancestry, Dilmun, and some consider it was probably Bahrain or somewhere in the peninsular Gulf region. I'm not sure how credible that hypothesis is, but it would make sense and explain why Sumerian was such an "exotic" isolate. In that hypothesis Sumerian would've been part of the language family that prevailed in the Arabian peninsula before the Afro-Asiatic and especially Semitic expansion. One thing is sure, that Sumerians themselves stressed they were not indigenous to the region where their civilization thrived. I think they just took advantage of previous cultural and economic developments and were wise enough to foster them instead of smothering them when they became an elite minority and hence enforced their language onto the established population (the first written documents can't be read in Sumerian, for instance).
    I wouldn't bet money on it before we have samples, but I think it's possible. The Mesolithic persisted much longer there than in Europe I suppose, so I would expect a lot of substructure. There might be connections with Mesolithic cultures from the other side of the gulf I would think.

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    Archaeologically, Sumerians and earlier Ubaid and Halaf cultures have a lot of similarities with BMAC/Turan cultures in Central Asia / Eastern Iran and Neolithic/Chalcolithic cultures in Iran.

    In fact it is most probably that Sumerians migrated from Central Asia / Eastern Iran into Mesopotamia. But the ancestors of the BMAC/Turan people are also originated from Mesopotamia / Iran / Southern Caucasus.
    So, since the Neolithic, there seems to be a repeating migration route from Mesopotamia to Central Asia(in between also Southern Caucasus and Northern Caucasus)(adding South Asia to the migration route) and vice versa.

    The language of the Sumerians is the same as the language of the earlier Ubaid and Halaf cultures. It is not related to Semitic, Indo European and Caucasian languages. Instead the Sumerian language is a proto Turkish language. Semitic languages were introduced into the region with the Bronze Age.

    Like mentioned above, I agree that the Sumerians could be consisted of Y-DNA like J and T(actually G, J, L, T could also be possible), but what do you guys think of the original place of the haplogroups G, J, L, T before the 9th millennium BCE?

    The oldest ancient J sample seems to be from Georgia(CHG), dated to 11430 BCE(Jones 2015), following with Western Iran(8205 BCE).
    Oldest G samples are from Central Turkey(8300 BCE) and Western Iran(7455 BCE).

    As a conclusion, the ancestral region of G and J could be Southern Caucasus and Western Iran. From here, after the 9th millennium BCE they made migrations into the direction of Western Turkey.
    We dont have ancient samples of L and T from earlier than 8000 BCE. Could it be that the ancestral region of L and T is Northern Mesopotamia? From here, after 8000 BCE they made migrations into the regions of the Fertile Crescent.
    The ancestral region of E seems to be North Africa, since the oldest ancient E sample was found in Morocco at 13200 BCE. From here, in the following millennia they settled into the Southern Levant.

    And after the introducing of agriculture, people of E, G, J, L, T formed some kind of an union, mixing with each other, and making migrations into several directions in Western Eurasia.
    Last edited by suyindik; 08-04-19 at 00:58.

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    Turkic isn't the only agglutinative language in West Eurasia - in fact many of the isolates are. Those might somehow be related to CHG/ANE in some way, but even that's a big stretch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by suyindik View Post
    Archaeologically, Sumerians and earlier Ubaid and Halaf cultures have a lot of similarities with BMAC/Turan cultures in Central Asia / Eastern Iran and Neolithic/Chalcolithic cultures in Iran.

    In fact it is most probably that Sumerians migrated from Central Asia / Eastern Iran into Mesopotamia. But the ancestors of the BMAC/Turan people are also originated from Mesopotamia / Iran / Southern Caucasus.
    So, since the Neolithic, there seems to be a repeating migration route from Mesopotamia to Central Asia(in between also Southern Caucasus and Northern Caucasus)(adding South Asia to the migration route) and vice versa.

    The language of the Sumerians is the same as the language of the earlier Ubaid and Halaf cultures. It is not related to Semitic, Indo European and Caucasian languages. Instead the Sumerian language is a proto Turkish language. Semitic languages were introduced into the region with the Bronze Age.

    Like mentioned above, I agree that the Sumerians could be consisted of Y-DNA like J and T(actually G, J, L, T could also be possible), but what do you guys think of the original place of the haplogroups G, J, L, T before the 9th millennium BCE?

    The oldest ancient J sample seems to be from Georgia(CHG), dated to 11430 BCE(Jones 2015), following with Western Iran(8205 BCE).
    Oldest G samples are from Central Turkey(8300 BCE) and Western Iran(7455 BCE).

    As a conclusion, the ancestral region of G and J could be Southern Caucasus and Western Iran. From here, after the 9th millennium BCE they made migrations into the direction of Western Turkey.
    We dont have ancient samples of L and T from earlier than 8000 BCE. Could it be that the ancestral region of L and T is Northern Mesopotamia? From here, after 8000 BCE they made migrations into the regions of the Fertile Crescent.
    The ancestral region of E seems to be North Africa, since the oldest ancient E sample was found in Morocco at 13200 BCE. From here, in the following millennia they settled into the Southern Levant.

    And after the introducing of agriculture, people of E, G, J, L, T formed some kind of an union, mixing with each other, and making migrations into several directions in Western Eurasia.
    I'm pretty sure Sumerian has absolutely nothing to do with Turkic. By the time Sumerian was dead, there was probably not already something like pre-proto-turkic in Mongolia and not Central Asia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by halfalp View Post
    I think it's unlikely Sumerian came from the South, instead it probably was part of a huge macro-family of ergative languages like Hurrian, Caucasian and Elamite languages. And that it came from the Taurus-Zagros region ( broadly South Caucasus ) with broadly y-dna J and T. My bet about Arabia and early neolithic Mesopotamia would be something related with ANA and East Africa ( Basal Eurasian? ), but still in the broad AA family linguistically speaking because this macro-family of language is way too old. Semitic is very divergent from the rest of AA languages for what i've read, so it might be a kind of Afro-Asiatic Isolate wich came to birth with the mix of an pre-semitic AA language and a language maybe related with Sumerian. There was a huge change in the finale Chalcolithic and early BA in the entire Middle-East. Just like, big systems of relationship between different Neolithic group got conquered ( for whatever climatic or social reasons ) by South Caucasus groups maybe linked with Kura-Araxes and y-dna J while themselves got moved away by eurasian steppe people migrating. This might imply that there was a huge change in climate between 3'500 and 2'500 BCE.
    The problem to me is that there are just too completely different (and as far as we can really expect to know, unrelated between themselves) language families that are candidates for CHG/Iranian languages: Northwest Caucasian, Northeast Caucasian, Hurro-Urartian, Elamite, Dravidian, even some speculate Indo-European, Etruscan, etc. I mean, I know the genetic structure in that region was probably old, and before the Bronze Age it's quite probable that the linguistic diversity was much higher everywhere in the world, but I have a hard time believing that all of those unrelated (or, if related, with very faint connections) language families came from the same area and from quite similar population structures.

    Afro-Asiatic is probably some 15,000-18,000 years old. It can't be much older than that, otherwise the connections between its subfamilies could never be safely asserted as they are, it would be too old (and therefore with too much profound linguistic divergence) to be traceable. But in my opinion AA should be found first in North/Northeast Africa, associated with E1b1b (mainly E-M78, I think) Y-DNA clades, and then, in that hypothesis, AA entered Southwest Asia right before the Natufians, with a male-biased mainly E1b1b migration (because the Mt-DNA makeup was decidedly West Eurasian), but not an equivalent autosomal impact (didn't a recent paper suggest that Natufians had some North African admixture?). But that also means that people of the Levantine-like genetic structure already spoke a language family of their own before the spread of E1b1b clades. Therefore, in my opinion a pre-AA Southwest Asian population should've existed. If they were the Sumerians, with their own Dilmun stories and stuff, I don't know, but I find it unlikely that all of the Levant and Arabia already spoke AA in the Mesolithic era. I'd associate AA spread in it with the Natufians and their later offshoots, spreading Levant_Neolithic ancestry. I don't know, but maybe Sumerians spoke a language family that had once been more widespread in Southwest Asia.

    By the way, what Y-DNA haplogroups do you guys think were most common in the Levant/Southwest Asia area before the expansion of E1b1b clades? H2, T, F*? What else?

    Another really intriguing thing is why on earth would Sumerians call themselves black-headed. I know Afrocentrists will say that's because they were black, butI find it unlikely they would've described themselves as those with black or dark head/top/face if they were black-skinned as a whole. What could it mean? I have read some speculate that dark-headed could indicate that they were bald, i.e. shaved their heads, so that the top of it darkened under the sun. Sounds plausible, because there are indeed many Sumerian artistic depictions of head-shaved men.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markod View Post
    Turkic isn't the only agglutinative language in West Eurasia - in fact many of the isolates are. Those might somehow be related to CHG/ANE in some way, but even that's a big stretch.
    People sometimes give too much relevance on languages' beng agglutinative. Languages, all languages, can only be described as more or less agglutinative, fusional, analytic or polysynthetic. And agglutinative languages are in fact particularly common worldwide. Two languages being agglutinative say nothing about their really working in similar ways, far less if they are related, even if only very distantly (in fact, we know for a fact that languages that are indeed related can come to belong to different categories, for instance Egyptian itself went from agglutinative to fusional and then mostly analytic).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygorcs View Post
    The problem to me is that there are just too completely different (and as far as we can really expect to know, unrelated between themselves) language families that are candidates for CHG/Iranian languages: Northwest Caucasian, Northeast Caucasian, Hurro-Urartian, Elamite, Dravidian, even some speculate Indo-European, Etruscan, etc. I mean, I know the genetic structure in that region was probably old, and before the Bronze Age it's quite probable that the linguistic diversity was much higher everywhere in the world, but I have a hard time believing that all of those unrelated (or, if related, with very faint connections) language families came from the same area and from quite similar population structures.

    Afro-Asiatic is probably some 15,000-18,000 years old. It can't be much older than that, otherwise the connections between its subfamilies could never be safely asserted as they are, it would be too old (and therefore with too much profound linguistic divergence) to be traceable. But in my opinion AA should be found first in North/Northeast Africa, associated with E1b1b (mainly E-M78, I think) Y-DNA clades, and then, in that hypothesis, AA entered Southwest Asia right before the Natufians, with a male-biased mainly E1b1b migration (because the Mt-DNA makeup was decidedly West Eurasian), but not an equivalent autosomal impact (didn't a recent paper suggest that Natufians had some North African admixture?). But that also means that people of the Levantine-like genetic structure already spoke a language family of their own before the spread of E1b1b clades. Therefore, in my opinion a pre-AA Southwest Asian population should've existed. If they were the Sumerians, with their own Dilmun stories and stuff, I don't know, but I find it unlikely that all of the Levant and Arabia already spoke AA in the Mesolithic era. I'd associate AA spread in it with the Natufians and their later offshoots, spreading Levant_Neolithic ancestry. I don't know, but maybe Sumerians spoke a language family that had once been more widespread in Southwest Asia.

    By the way, what Y-DNA haplogroups do you guys think were most common in the Levant/Southwest Asia area before the expansion of E1b1b clades? H2, T, F*? What else?

    Another really intriguing thing is why on earth would Sumerians call themselves black-headed. I know Afrocentrists will say that's because they were black, butI find it unlikely they would've described themselves as those with black or dark head/top/face if they were black-skinned as a whole. What could it mean? I have read some speculate that dark-headed could indicate that they were bald, i.e. shaved their heads, so that the top of it darkened under the sun. Sounds plausible, because there are indeed many Sumerian artistic depictions of head-shaved men.
    The thing about all those languages, they could be just be a huge Macrofamily. Kartvelian, Northwest Caucasian and Northeast Caucasian are actually Polyphyletic languages, meaning even if they are related to some extent, most linguists dont consider those 3 families to been genetically identical. Wich can go back to a potential very huge macrofamily ( Dené-Caucasian? ) that pre-existed most Afro-Asiatic languages in the Middle-East. I think the best match for Afro Asiatic is the Iberomaurusian origin in Natufians, something coming with y-dna E from North Africa, maybe East Africa too.

    As for Sumerian being Dark Skinned, if we can " apparently " found Dark Skinned Europeans in the Middle-Age central Europe, i think they could have likely being Dark Skinned. But you are right, saying you are Dark Skinned, implies that their is Fair Skinned people alongside, to make the prior distinctions. As for Dilmun origin in Barhein, it's like asking an Iron Age Celt if he came from the Pontic Steppe. At this point, ethnic Summerian and local peoples myths could have blended. So who knows what is related to who.

    About lineages, my bet goes for something G or H. But it could also be C1a2. Sadly we dont have any y-dna from the Dzudzuana " Cluster " but let's wait few years. We also have to remind that, a lot of y-dna calls lacks a shitloads of snp's, just like those middle-eastern CT, i'm pretty sure they were not CT.

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    Sumerian isn’t Turkic lol. I’d guess Elamo-Dravidian if anything.

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