Kinship and social organization in Copper Age Europe. A cross-disciplinary analysis of archaeology, DNA, isotopes, and anthropology from two Bell Beaker cemeteries

Karl-Goran Sjogren, Volker Heyd, Inigo Olalde, Sophie Carver, Morten E Allentoft, Timothy Knowles, Guus Kroonen, Alistair W Pike, Peter Schroeter, Keri A Brown, Kate Robson-Brown, Richard J Harrison, Francois Bertemes, David E. Reich, Kristian Kristiansen
doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/863944

Abstract

We present a high-resolution cross-disciplinary analysis of kinship structure and social institutions in two Late Copper Age Bell Beaker culture cemeteries of South Germany containing 24 and 18 burials, of which 34 provided genetic information. By combining archaeological, anthropological, genetic and isotopic evidence we are able to document the internal kinship and residency structure of the cemeteries and the socially organizing principles of these local communities. The buried individuals represent four to six generations of two family groups, one nuclear family at the Alburg cemetery, and one seemingly more extended at Irlbach. While likely monogamous, they practiced exogamy, as six out of eight non-locals are women. Maternal genetic diversity is high with 23 different mitochondrial haplotypes from 34 individuals, whereas all males belong to one single Y-chromosome haplogroup without any detectable contribution from Y-chromosomes typical of the farmers who had been the sole inhabitants of the region hundreds of years before. This provides evidence for the society being patrilocal, perhaps as a way of protecting property among the male line, while in-marriage from many different places secured social and political networks and prevented inbreeding. We also find evidence that the communities practiced selection for which of their children (aged 0-14 years) received a proper burial, as buried juveniles were in all but one case boys, suggesting the priority of young males in the cemeteries. This is plausibly linked to the exchange of foster children as part of an expansionist kinship system which is well attested from later Indo-European-speaking cultural groups.


such dominant r1b in those bronze age south german remains

Supporting Information Table

SiteGraveHarvard RISE SexDate cal BC mtDNA YDNA
Irlbach1I6591RISE914 F U5b2c
Irlbach2I5663RISE915 F X2c1
Irlbach3I4248RISE916 M T2b+152 R1b1a1a
Irlbach4I4249RISE917 F H5a1
Irlbach5I4250RISE918 F 2434-2150 U5a1a2b
Irlbach6I5655RISE919 F H5a1
Irlbach7I5656RISE920 undet T2g2
Irlbach8I5657RISE921 M T2b+152 R1b1a1a2 (M269)
Irlbach9I5658RISE922 F T2b+152
Irlbach10I5659RISE923 M K1a4b +R1b1a1a2a1a2b1(M269)
Irlbach11I5833RISE924 M J1c+489+1598+3504+12477+16188+16189 R1b1a1a2a1a2b1
Irlbach14I5660RISE925 M T1a1 +R1b1a1a2
Irlbach16I5661RISE926 M K1b1b1 +R1b1a1a2
Irlbach17I5834RISE927 F W5
Irlbach19I5663RISE929 M U5a2a+16294 R1b
Irlbach20I5835RISE930 M J1c +R1b1a1a2a1a2b1
Irlbach21RISE931 undet HV6
Irlbach22I6624RISE932 F 2336-2151 T1a1
Alburg1I3587 M H1e1a +R1b1a
Alburg2I3588 M H1e1a +R1b1a1a2a1a
Alburg3I3589 M U4d1 +R1b1a1a2a1a2b1
Alburg4I3590 F 2336-2141 H1+10410+16193+16286
Alburg6I3593 F 2398-2146 H1+10410+16193+16286
Alburg7I3591 undet H1+10410+16193+16286
Alburg8I3592 undet 2458-2204 H+16129
Alburg9I3594 F T2f
Alburg10aI3595 undet V
Alburg11I3596 M H+16129 R1b1a1a2
Alburg12I3597 M T2f+ R1b1a1a2a1a2b1
Alburg13I3599 M H1e1a +R1b1a1a2a1a2
Alburg14I3600 F U5b3
Alburg15I3601 F H10e
Alburg16I3602 F I3a
Alburg17I3603 undet H1+10410+16193+16286

places of research :
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irlbach