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Thread: Incest in dynastic elite in Megalithic Newgrange

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    I can't find solid evidence for how old the Almendres Cromlech actually is... There are no radiocarbon dates..

    One of the references on wikipedia states that "the site" dates from "the end of the 6th to the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC", whilst another says it dates from 4000-3000 BC.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almend...omlech#History

    According to this paper:

    "There is no direct radiocarbon dating available from these sites, and the established chronology arises mainly from materials found in excavations. The chronology has also been set by association with nearby settlements or surface remains."

    Whilst this paper claims that megalithic standing stones were first erected in Spain by hunter-gatherers, before the arrival of agriculture:

    "In the extreme southwest of Atlantic Europe, a dense network of large permanent settlement sites with standing stones decorated with recurrent symbols has been identified. Chronologically, these settlements date, at least, from the 7th millennium BCE and are substantially older than the first evidence of cereals and domesticated animals in SW Iberia."


    Standing stones might be significantly older than megalithic tombs, dolmens, passage graves etc. Most of the samples in the the Paulsson study are from the latter type of megalithic construction, and the study indicates that they originated in NW France.
    Last edited by Philjames100; 20-06-20 at 04:57.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philjames100 View Post
    I can't find solid evidence for how old the Almendres Cromlech actually is... There are no radiocarbon dates..

    One of the references on wikipedia states that "the site" dates from "the end of the 6th to the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC", whilst another says it dates from 4000-3000 BC.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almend...omlech#History

    According to this paper:

    "There is no direct radiocarbon dating available from these sites, and the established chronology arises mainly from materials found in excavations. The chronology has also been set by association with nearby settlements or surface remains."

    Whilst this paper claims that megalithic standing stones were first erected in Spain by hunter-gatherers, before the arrival of agriculture:

    "In the extreme southwest of Atlantic Europe, a dense network of large permanent settlement sites with standing stones decorated with recurrent symbols has been identified. Chronologically, these settlements date, at least, from the 7th millennium BCE and are substantially older than the first evidence of cereals and domesticated animals in SW Iberia."


    Standing stones might be significantly older than megalithic tombs, dolmens, passage graves etc. Most of the samples in the the Paulsson study are from the latter type of megalithic construction, and the study indicates that they originated in NW France.
    I guess that the only way to know for sure if it was Mesolithic Europeans or Near Eastern newcomers who built these early megaliths is to test the DNA of local skeletons from that period - if any is available.

    But it would be an amazing coincidence that megaliths appeared independently in the Near East and the western fringe of Europe and that both people converged into a greater Megalithic culture.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I guess that the only way to know for sure if it was Mesolithic Europeans or Near Eastern newcomers who built these early megaliths is to test the DNA of local skeletons from that period - if any is available.
    So far all of the samples from megalithic burials belong to I/I2a, except for one H2 in north-central Spain and two H2a in southeast Ireland. H2/H2a might have brought a megalithic culture from the Levant, however the megalithic culture in western Europe seems to have been completely dominated by males of european hunter-gatherer origin.

    I went through the Olalde 2019 megalithic samples from Spain and again they are all I2a/I. All the male samples from Neolithic Britain are I2a/I, except for one non-megalithic sample listed as CT. And now we have I2a from the largest megalithic tombs such as Newgrange.

    This is quite different to Neolithic farmers migrating to Europe, largely replacing the hunter-gatherers and then building the megaliths. Instead the hunter-gatherers seem to have dominated the farmers in megalithic areas and taken women from them. It's not clear whether this was peaceful or violent. Either way the hunter-gatherers don't appear to have been integrated into a farmer society, instead a small minority of Neolithic males and significantly more Neolithic females appear to have been incorporated into a society dominated by hunter-gatherer-origin males.

    Malta might be a different story... I hope someone does a study on that soon.
    Last edited by Philjames100; 20-06-20 at 17:22.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philjames100 View Post
    So far all of the samples from megalithic burials belong to I/I2a, except for one H2 in north-central Spain and two H2a in southeast Ireland. H2/H2a might have brought a megalithic culture from the Levant, however the megalithic culture in western Europe seems to have been completely dominated by males of european hunter-gatherer origin.
    This is quite different to Neolithic farmers migrating to Europe, largely replacing the hunter-gatherers and then building the megaliths. Instead the hunter-gatherers seem to have dominated the farmers in megalithic areas and taken women from them. It's not clear whether this was done violently or not. Either way the hunter-gatherers don't appear to have been integrated into a farmer society, instead a small minority of Neolithic males and significantly more Neolithic females appear to have been incorporated into a society dominated by hunter-gatherer-origin males.
    Malta might be a different story... I hope someone does a study on that soon.
    the oldest H2 individual is a HG in Israel, who lived there at the time of PPNB
    PPNB Israel Motza [I0867 / Motz 1] M 7300-6750 BCE H2 M2713+, M2896+, M2936+, M2942+, M2992+, M3070+ (H), P96+ (H2). It was not derived for any downstream mutations K1a4b 772778 Lazaridis 2016

    he was probably not Natufian in origin, these were E1b1b1,
    but more likely he was derived from the Kebaran HG with bow and arrow

    the bow and arrow probably came from India
    check this thread
    https://www.eupedia.com/forum/thread...l=1#post606086

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    for bow and arrow it looks like magdalenians didn't have it, the hunted with the atlatl, and they were replaced by by Villabrunans who hunted with bow and arrow (Ahrensburg culture)
    we know the Villabruna clade spread from SE Europe around 15 ka, that is were they picked up bow and arrow, which allready existed in Zarzian and Kebaran culture
    So you're suggesting a much earlier relationship between WHGs (I2a) and Levant HGs (H2)... ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philjames100 View Post
    So you're suggesting a much earlier relationship between WHGs (I2a) and Levant HGs (H2)... ?
    no, just contacts between people from Anatolia or the Levant with HG in SE Europe around 15 ka, just before Villabrunans (mainly I2) started to expand

    check what happened in francchthi cave ca 15 ka

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franchthi_Cave

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    The R-V88 guys, and R1b in general seems to be eastern shifted relative to their more western HG I2 counterparts. The oldest western most sample is linked with Cardial Ware with E-V13 haplotypes (if my memory serves), suggesting a link to at least the Balkans, which would make sense considering the placement of other mesolithic R-V88. In terms of how it arrived in the Fulani, I think northern Africa or the Levant make the most sense, maybe even Egypt. The lack of the finds of ancient R1b-V88 outside of Europe is puzzling, but we know it must have been there due to the deep placement in central Africa. Modern placement has it throughout the Levant and North Africa, but much more sporadically than the ubiquitous J1/J2/E1b branches

    I suspect despite being linked with some early mesolithic cultures of the Balkans, R-V88 became linked with herding cultures such as those of Africa, but also those of Sardinia. It seems the trend is with nomadic pastoralism, rather than sedentary farmers. Later M269+ seems to be the same, albeit maybe coincidentally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philjames100 View Post
    So far all of the samples from megalithic burials belong to I/I2a, except for one H2 in north-central Spain and two H2a in southeast Ireland. H2/H2a might have brought a megalithic culture from the Levant, however the megalithic culture in western Europe seems to have been completely dominated by males of european hunter-gatherer origin.

    I went through the Olalde 2019 megalithic samples from Spain and again they are all I2a/I. All the male samples from Neolithic Britain are I2a/I, except for one non-megalithic sample listed as CT. And now we have I2a from the largest megalithic tombs such as Newgrange.

    This is quite different to Neolithic farmers migrating to Europe, largely replacing the hunter-gatherers and then building the megaliths. Instead the hunter-gatherers seem to have dominated the farmers in megalithic areas and taken women from them. It's not clear whether this was peaceful or violent. Either way the hunter-gatherers don't appear to have been integrated into a farmer society, instead a small minority of Neolithic males and significantly more Neolithic females appear to have been incorporated into a society dominated by hunter-gatherer-origin males.

    Malta might be a different story... I hope someone does a study on that soon.
    Y-DNA is not all. The mtDNA and autosomal DNA of Megalithic people is clearly predominantly from Near Eastern farmers, even in Britain and Ireland.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Y-DNA is not all. The mtDNA and autosomal DNA of Megalithic people is clearly predominantly from Near Eastern farmers, even in Britain and Ireland.
    That could happen as a result of hunter-gatherers killing farmer males and taking their women, or it could happen through a more peaceful process, maybe an exchange of women. In either case the DNA evidence indicates that the megalithic culture was dominated by hunter-gatherer male lineages and that near-eastern male lineages were excluded, with the exception of some H2 males.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philjames100 View Post
    That could happen as a result of hunter-gatherers killing farmer males and taking their women, or it could happen through a more peaceful process, maybe an exchange of women. In either case the DNA evidence indicates that the megalithic culture was dominated by hunter-gatherer male lineages and that near-eastern male lineages were excluded, with the exception of some H2 males.
    I doubt these processes were ever peaceful intermarriage examples. Do you think East Asian K2b men excluding West Eurasian men to form ANE was also peaceful or an example of racial dominance? Somehow I doubt any group wants their lineages to be breeded out.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    "We generated genome sequence data from human remains, corresponding to 24 individuals from five megalithic burial sites, encompassing the widespread tradition of megalithic construction in northern and western Europe, and analyzed our results in relation to the existing European paleogenomic data. ... In relation to the tomb populations, we find significantly more males than females buried in the megaliths of the British Isles. The genetic data show close kin relationships among the individuals buried within the megaliths, and for the Irish megaliths, we found a kin relation between individuals buried in different megaliths. We also see paternal continuity through time, including the same Y-chromosome haplotypes reoccurring. These observations suggest that the investigated funerary monuments were associated with patrilineal kindred groups."

    Sanchez-Quinto et al. 2019

    "Although co-operative ideology has often been emphasised as a driver of megalith construction, the human expenditure required to erect the largest monuments has led some researchers to emphasize hierarchy—of which the most extreme case is a small elite marshalling the labour of the masses. Here we present evidence that a social stratum of this type was established during the Neolithic period in Ireland. We sampled 44 whole genomes, among which we identify the adult son of a first-degree incestuous union from remains that were discovered within the most elaborate recess of the Newgrange passage tomb. Socially sanctioned matings of this nature are very rare, and are documented almost exclusively among politico-religious elites—specifically within polygynous and patrilineal royal families that are headed by god-kings. We identify relatives of this individual within two other major complexes of passage tombs 150 km to the west of Newgrange, as well as dietary differences and fine-scale haplotypic structure (which is unprecedented in resolution for a prehistoric population) between passage tomb samples and the larger dataset, which together imply hierarchy. (...)


    We find evidence of both distant kinship and societal structure between another pair of distinct, but neighbouring, megaliths (10 km apart)—the Poulnabrone portal tomb and the Parknabinnia court tomb. Their sampled cohorts (the majority of which are males) show a significant difference in the frequency of two Y chromosome haplogroups, as well as a dietary difference. Given that there is a lack of close kin within either tomb, we exclude small family groups as their sole proprietors and interpret our findings as the result of broader social differentiation with an emphasis on patrilineal descent. The double occurrence of a rare Y haplogroup (H2a) among the individualized male Linkardstown burials of the southeast of the island provides further evidence of the importance of patrilineal ancestry in these societies, as does the predominance of a single Y haplogroup (I-M284) across the Irish and British Neolithic population."

    Cassidy et al. 2020
    Last edited by Philjames100; 21-06-20 at 01:41.

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    "One of the most striking features of the Atlantic facade in the fifth and fourth millennia was the way in which the disparate communities honoured their ancestors by depositing their remains in collective tombs often built of large stones (megaliths). The earliest manifestations of this phenomenon are found in Portugal, Galicia, and Brittany in the period 4700-4500 BC, but the rite of collective burial in graves sometimes lined with stone slabs begins in the Mesolithic period and is evident in shell midden sites found in the Muge and Sado valleys in Portugal and on the islands of Hoedic and Teviec off the south coast of Brittany. At Moita do Sebastiao in the Muge twenty-six graves containing fifty-nine adults were found, and not far away eight children were buried in individual pits arranged in a semicircle. At Teviec there were ten graves with twenty-three individuals, while at Hoedic nine graves contained a total of thirteen individuals. At both these sites there are strong hints that the shell midden formed after the cemetery had been established. So what can be made of these observations? One obvious conclusion is that, by the late stage of the Mesolithic in these two regions, foragers were stating their group identities and their claims to place and territory by creating cemeteries, and they were returning to those places for long periods each year, over many generations, to congregate and to feast – activities which led to the accumulation of vast mounds of debris, mainly composed of marine molluscs. it may be that the mounds were deliberately built up to be symbolic of group stability.

    We have already seen that in Portugal groups of farmers were moving in soon after 5500 BC, gradually taking over the land until about 4750 BC, when the lifestyle of the last foragers, in the Sado valley, came to an end. In Brittany the Neolithic penetration seems to have begun about 5300 BC, with the shell middens ceasing to be used by 4800 BC. In both regions the long period when farmers and hunter-gatherers coexisted was a time for them to learn form each other. In central southern Portugal the farmers who had originally buried their dead in ones or twos in rock shelters began to adopt a more collective style fo burial. First, small closed cists were used, but later more monumental structures were erected comprising megalithic chambers reached by a short passage allowing access to the burials. The earliest of these early passage graves probably date to the mid-fifth millennium or a little earlier. In Galicia in the north-western corner of Iberia a similar sequence can be recognized. Here the earliest passage graves so far dated belong to the early fourth millennium. …

    There has been much debate about the origin of the menhirs and tertres (long burial mounds) in Brittany. One possibility is that both originate in the local Mesolithic tradition. There is an alignment of small stelae at Douet on the island of Hoedic, associated with Neolithic pottery with radiocarbon dates of 4708-4536 BC, which might relate to the late use of the shell midden. Similarly, the stone cists containing burials beneath the shell midden at Teviec could be the prototypes for the cists beneath the tertres.”

    Cunliffe 2017, p.122





    “The discovery of the Danish cemetery of Vedbael-Bogebakken (5300-4500 BC) in 1975 and the Swedish Sketholm cemeteries (5800-4300 BC) in the early 1980s, along with a reassessment of the Karelian cemetery of Oleneostrovski Mogilnik (7000-6000 BC) led to a revival of interest in the Mesolithic and stimulated a reassessment of Holocene hunter-gatherer society … several authors viewed the appearance of the cemeteries and associated patterning of grave goods as reflecting the presence of ‘complex’ hunter-gatherers, characterized by social inequality. … Possible evidence of ranked societies cited by these authors include major wealth differences at Oleneostrovski, Karelia and the presence of rich child burials at the Breton sites of Teviec (5600-4500 BC) and Hoedic (6000-3750 BC). These could indicate inherited status since young children would be unable to accrue wealth through actions during their lifetime. Shulting (1996) also suggests the possibility of ascribed status at Teviec and Hoedic, based on the patterned association of antlers, bone pins, and flint blades. Newell and Constandse-Westerman (1988: 171) have argued more forcefully that mortuary variation at the Skatehold cemeteries reflected a ranked society. Moreover they also identify an increase in social stratification during the later Mesolithic. …

    Over the past ten years there has been a subtle shift in the way that power in the Mesolithic has been conceptualized. Rather than focus on social status, new work has concentrated on the ritual power of shamans. Increasingly, rich or unusual graves are seen as indicating the presence of ritual specialists rather than high-ranking social leaders ……

    The location of cemeteries has been seen as significant mainly in terms of the territories they marked. The coastal location of the Scandinavian cemeteries, for example, has been linked to the need to claim areas rich in resources as ancestral land. … Many cemeteries have a strong association with water… Zvelebil has linked the strong association of death and water with the ‘northern hunter-gatherer cosmology’. Amongst contemporary and historic northern Eurasian groups, water was seen as an entrance to the underworld, the world of the dead. …

    It has also been suggested that shell middens containing human burials were special places, perhaps analogous to the long mounds and cairns of Neolithic Europe. The conscious decision to accumulate shell material in a midden has been seen as significant and monumental in nature. Thomas and Tilley (1993) argue that the connections made between feasting, ritual, death, and burning at Teviec and Hoedic can also be seen at Neolithic sites, while Kirk (1993) has pointed out similarities between the arrangement of pits, hearths, and cists at Teviec and Hoedic and local Neolithic monuments.”


    Tarlow et al. 2013 p.347

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    Possibly related:


    Warren Field Mesolithic calendar

    "The capacity to conceptualise and measure time is amongst the most important achievements of human societies, and the issue of when time was 'created' by humankind is critical in understanding how society has developed. A pit alignment, recently excavated in Aberdeenshire (Scotland), provides an intriguing contribution to this debate. This structure, dated to the 8th millennium BC, has been re-analysed and appears to possess basic calendrical functions. The site may therefore provide the earliest evidence currently available for 'time reckoning' as the pit group appears to mimic the phases of the Moon and is structured to track lunar months. It also aligns on the south east horizon and a prominent topographic point associated with sunrise on the midwinter solstice. In doing so the monument anticipates problems associated with simple lunar calendars by providing an annual astronomic correction in order to maintain the link between the passage of time indicated by the Moon, the asynchronous solar year, and the associated seasons. The evidence suggests that hunter-gatherer societies in Scotland had both the need and ability to track time across the year, and also perhaps within the month, and that this occurred at a period nearly five thousand years before the first formal calendars were created in Mesopotamia."


    Gaffney et al. 2013



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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by ratchet_fan View Post
    I doubt these processes were ever peaceful intermarriage examples.
    possible evidence for intermarriage?:

    "This paper presents and discusses the results of a palaeodietary and AMS dating study of burials from the Mesolithic sites of Téviec and Hoëdic, Brittany, France. In common with other Mesolithic coastal populations in Europe, isotopic analysis demonstrates the significant use of marine resources by the sites’ inhabitants. Greater interest, however, is provided by the inter- and intrasite details of the analysis. There is an unexpected difference between the two sites, with the inhabitants of Hoëdic deriving 70 to 80% of their protein from the sea, while the inhabitants of Téviec appear to show a more balanced use of marine and terrestrial protein. At the intrasite level, women, and particularly young women, were found to exhibit less use of marine foods. It is suggested that this could indicate an exogamous, patrilocal marriage pattern, with some women marrying in from more inland communities. The AMS dating program shows that the sites were roughly contemporaneous but were used for burial over a longer period of time than originally anticipated. Two cases could suggest the reuse of graves after the passage of centuries, a practice more typically associated with Neolithic passage graves."

    Schulting 2001

    Last edited by Philjames100; 22-06-20 at 14:35.

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    2 members found this post helpful.
    Hm. What I've read of the WHGs has mentioned that most of them were genetically homogeneous, even though they covered a fairly large area. Now we are seeing the first megaliths show up in locations on the shores but the oldest ones are very far away from each other. Are there a large number of older megalithic monuments waiting to be discovered by archaeologists, or did the first ones really show up in such widely separated locations? And now the connection with shell middens.

    I am starting to speculate that the Atlantic culture WHGs before the arrival of the EEF had a very high degree of maritime orientation. Exchanging genes and ideas over large coastal areas. Could explain a bit of how they were able to do a male-dominated takeover of the EEF, whereas the hunter-gatherers that encountered the central European EEF expansion never managed anything like that.

    Connected to that, researchers in Norway has recently focused more on the amount and size of the ships shown in Norwegian petroglyps, as well as the fact that when compensating for the rise of the land over time, nearly all of them turn out to be created on the shoreline. (Google translate required, sorry) That seems to be a bit later though with the really large ships being pictured from about 2000 BCE. They'd not have sprung into exisetence ex nihilo though, there must have been a long maritime tradition to get to them.

    Also, this does make me wonder if the WHGs brought their own language with them when the male-dominated takeover of the EEF happened. Similar things have happened with elite languages in the past. Previously, I've sort of headcanoned Basque to be a remnant of the EEF language family, but this does hint that the old theory that Basque represented a stone-age language in Europe might be at least partially true.

    EDIT: And while I am writing Philjames100 posts an excerpt from a paper showing very high utilization of marine resources:)

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    2 members found this post helpful.
    Real and ideal European maritime transfers along the Atlantic coast during the Neolithic (Cassen et al. 2019)

    "The history of research on the Neolithic of the Atlantic façade shows how speculation about prehistoric mobility, especially across the sea, is mainly based on three types of archaeological evidence: megalithic monuments, rare stones, and pottery decoration. With the aim of approaching the issue from other perspectives, we have focused on the Morbihan area, a focal point of the European Neolithic during the mid-5th millennium BC. The analysis of this area has allowed us to grasp which objects, ideas and beliefs may have been desired, adopted and imitated at the time. We shall begin with an architectural concept, the standing stone. These were sometimes engraved with signs that can be directly compared between Brittany, Galicia (NW Spain) and Portugal, but for which there are no intermediate parallels in other areas of the French or Spanish coast. The unique accumulation and transformation of polished blades made of Alpine rocks and found inside tombs or in other sort of depositions in the Carnac region allowed us to establish a second link with Galicia and the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula, where certain types of the axes were imitated using a set of different rocks (sillimanite, amphibolite). Finally, the variscites and turquoises from different Spanish regions were used for the manufacture of beads and pendants at the Carnacean tombs, without it being possible – once again – to retrieve similar objects in the intermediate areas. The mastery of direct Atlantic sea routes is posed as an explanation for this geographical distribution."

    Cassen et al. 2019



    Megalithic journeys: mobility and maritime interaction in Europe in the 5th and 4th millenium cal BC (Paulsson 2017)




















    Cassen et al. 2019




    Cunliffe 2017, p.136
    Last edited by Philjames100; 23-06-20 at 17:03.

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    “A detour in Morbihan, focused not on the signs but on the material used, is essential before considering the ‘technical’ possibility of these long-distance contacts. Thus, the orthogneiss – a coarse-grained granite – employed as raw material for the largest stelae of Arzon, Crac’h, Saint-Philibert and Locmariaquer (Querré et al. 2006; Bonniol, Cassen 2009) has its closest source at the Rhuys peninsula (Pen Castel). The challenge posed by the majority of the blocks is not the distance covered during their transportation (5 or 10km as the crow flies is not an exceptional distance among European megaliths) but the weight transported, as in the case of the 330t of the Grand Menhir. In addition, there are the deep rias with strong tidal currents that had to be crossed. The feat is even more obvious in the case of the Runélo stela, weighing between 27 and 29t, transported to the summit of Belle-Ile-en-Mer, 60km as the crow flies from its geological source, and at least 40km offshore. Like the Grand Menhir, such a displacement cannot be conceived by simply resorting to dugout canoes, even if these were juxtaposed, as pointed out by Le Roux (1997). We thus must suggest that these populations must have mastered relatively complex naval techniques (e.g., sewn panel boats) in order to carry such a heavy cargo during open sea navigation.”

    Cassen et al. 2019






    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locmariaquer_megaliths


    Last edited by Philjames100; 23-06-20 at 03:42.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Social interpretations of the transfers of Alpine jades axe-heads in the Neolithic Europe (2017)

    "The ANR program JADE 2 is dedicated to the study of long axeheads and ring-discs made of Alpine jades (jadeitites, omphacitites and fine-grained eclogites) in Europe, during the Vth-IVth millennia BC. Exploited at high-altitude quarries in the Italian Alps, jade objects circulated throughout western Europe, over considerable distances, up to 2000 km. Beyond the apparent unity of these transfer networks, from the centers of production in Piedmont, Liguria and western Emilia, a complex way of diffusion appears, involving selections of raw material and transformations of objects. A systematic and detailed inventory across Europe exploited with a set of spatial analysis makes possible now to understand some of the mechanisms behind this unique phenomenon of transfers. The picture drawn by the distributions and contexts of burying is highly unequal societies in which the elite controlled the circulation of the most valued jades for their social representation and religious rituals. The multiplicity of transfer networks, selection processes aiming to increase their added value, regional re-appropriations of the best pieces in order to revive their ideational value, are particular phenomena which prove that the transfers of Alpine jades axeheads are related to particularly complex diffusion processes where the social, politic and cultural factors took precedence over the economic functions."

    Petrequin et al. 2017









    Jade, Callaïs and other artefacts from Carnac (Morbihan), Brittany.




    Jade axehead from Scotland, >4000 bc, made from Jadeitite mined in the Italian Alps.

    https://www.nms.ac.uk/explore-our-co...from-the-alps/


    Last edited by Philjames100; 28-06-20 at 00:25.

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    The value of things: The production and circulation of Alpine jade axes during the 5th-4th millennia in a European perspective (Petrequin et al. 2013)

    “During the 5th and part of the 4th millennium BC, the circulation of long axeheads of jade (that is, jadeitite, omphacitite and eclogite) demonstrates an extraordinary phenomenon featuring the long−distance transfer of these objects (over distances up to 1700 kilometres and in some cases over 2000 kilometres as the crow flies) from the source areas. The Neolithic networks that extended outwards from these source areas (the massifs of Mont Viso and Mont Beigua) spanned some 3000 kilometres, from the Atlantic to the west to the Black Sea to the east. (…)

    Long distance transfers, social inequalities and control of religious rituals

    An investigation of the graves containing jade axeheads will allow us to go a little further towards evoking the men who manipulated these ‘object−signs’ imbued with religious value. At the pan−European scale, large jade axeheads are very rare in tombs. … The most important exception is to be found on the southern coast of Brittany, in the gigantic Carnac mounds close to the Gulf of Morbihan. In the central closed chambers under these exceptionally large monuments which date to 4600–4300 BC (in the case of Carnac/Saint−Michel), one or more individuals (one individual at both Tumiac and Saint−Michel, but no bones were preserved at Mané er Hroëck) was accompanied by a remarkable number of objects imported over long distances, including beads and pendants of Iberian variscite and small axeheads, probably of Iberian fibrolite. Many large axeheads of Alpine jade were included in these graves and most of these were deliberately broken and sometimes even burnt in a clear act of sacrifice.

    These extraordinary graves are associated with the earliest monumental funerary architecture in Western Europe (Boujot and Cassen 1992, Bailloud et al. 1995), with the emergence of megalithism and the architecture of standing stones along the Atlantic façade (Cassen 2009) and with novel religious concepts within which the axe figures prominently among the signs from the mythology of the Carnac area engraved on the stones (Cassen 2007). It is hard to avoid the conclusion that these individuals held a pre−eminent social status within a highly inegalitarian society. Jade ‘object−signs’ which elsewhere in Europe were almost exclusively consecrated to supernatural powers were sacrificed to these people. These manifestations, so extra-ordinary in a 5th millennium context, take us far away from the commonly−held model of a society that indulged in ostentatious displays of wealth (Gallay 2006), as defined by Alain Testart (2005). In terms of parallel historical accounts of former societies that were markedly inegalitarian, which created monumental architecture and where the religious power was held by a supreme chief (often doubling with a war chief) who was believed to come from the Otherworld (…)

    in our opinion, this offers us the most plausible hypothesis for accounting for the status of the ‘Powerful Ones’ who were interred under the massive mounds of Tumiac at Arzon, Saint−Michel at Carnac and Mané er Hroëck at Locmariaquer. These people would have been supreme sovereigns in a system of royalty based on religious concepts, where the ‘King’ is an intermediary between people and supernatural Powers. The explicit association between a very long jade axehead and a jade disc−ring in the mound of Mané er Hroëck, like the association between a phallus and a large axehead on the monumental standing stone of Mané Rutual in the same commune (Locmariaquer), encourages us to conclude that we are dealing with an ideal reproduction of society based on a male (phallocentric) ideology of power. (…)

    Given our examination of Alpine jade axeheads in which we are dealing with journeys of over 2000 kilometres as the crow flies, we cannot reconcile this with a purely mercantile model. On the contrary, our approach to these exceptional Neolithic ‘object−signs’ considers these in ideological terms and we have shown that it is with religious concepts that we have to seek new keys to understanding these major phenomena of the movement and circulation of social signs on a pan−Europe scale. We are dealing with societies where the Powerful Ones, in their role as mediators, manipulated the religious signs to be extracted and shaped, to be given and received (rather than exchanged) and to be consecrated in order to communicate with supernatural Powers. This also underlines the profound inequality that existed between human beings and the social power that was linked to these religious activities.”


    https://www.docdroid.net/1qSOlnN/the...tion-and-c-pdf








    Cassen et al. 2011
    Last edited by Philjames100; 28-06-20 at 21:43.

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    Fig.1 Comparative distribution across Europe, of the large jade alpine axes (green) and copper objects (red) or gold (yellow) during the 5th and early 4th millennium.
    A western Europe of jade, with Carnac as the epicenter in the west and a Europe of copper, with Varna in the east, coming into opposition.
    Database: JADE 2010 (P. Pétrequin). DAO: E. Gauthier and F. Desmeulles.

    Dominguez-Bella et al. 2015





    Acta Archaeologica 2014



    Sheridan et al 2020


    “The concentration of gold and copper as well as other status symbols at the core of the cemetery of Varna [c.4500 BC] signify something qualitatively new. For the first time individual men were distinguished with symbols of power and their bodies were brought to shine with gold. (...)

    The innovations that appeared in the western Black Sea area, the central Balkans and the Carpathian Basin are traceable far beyond this “el Dorado” as well. The distant contacts already maintained in the second half of the 5th millennium BC are highlighted by a grave discovered long ago, in 1865, near Pauilhac, in Gascogne, southwestern France. It contained six silex blades, the longest of which measures 34.5 cm; as mentioned above, the silex blade in grave 43 in Varna is – in comparison – 40 cm in length. Special attention should be drawn to the 20.8 cm long diadem made of sheet gold; namely, it has comparable finds in Moigrad in Transylvania. Likewise made of gold are seven elongated beads (lost today), for which there are comparisons in Varna grave. Among the other grave goods are two jade axes (27.8 and 25.3 cm in length), both perfectly polished. The slightly outcurving blade of the axes is unusual, which can only be understood as the stone craftsman’s answer in stone to copper axes with hammered, fine cutting edges. The phenomenon of jade axes, which predominated the image of ritual depositions in western Europe from 4700 BC onwards, has already been linked explicitly to the phenomenon of early copper axes in east central Europe. Hence, the impression arises of corresponding and concurrent systems in the circulation of prestigious goods... In this respect, it is no coincidence that a jade axe was present in Varna as well.”

    Hansen 2013





    Gold plaque/diadem, boar-tusk pendants, long silex blades and jade axes from the grave in Pauilhac, southwestern France.


    Photo showing the gold beads from Pauilhac, now lost. (Roussot-Larroque 2008)
    Last edited by Philjames100; 29-06-20 at 01:14.

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    2 members found this post helpful.
    That is... massively interesting. It does look like a lot of things were happening at the time. I am trying to put this into some kind of mental context with what happened with the Early Farmers and the Western Hunter Gatherers. So what I got is this:

    6000 BC: WHG hunter-gatherers bury their dead in stone cemeteries covered with shell middens in Brittany and the Targos-Sado in Portugal. Almeneders I construction phase of the Cromlech. There are many similarities between these places.
    5500 BC: EEF farmers settle Iberia, initialy in a thin coastal band running along the eastern coast of present-day Spain.
    5300 BC: El Trocs, a massacre of EEF individuals inland in Spain, bodies of young adults absent.
    5300 BC: Early trade network of Callais objects
    5000 BC: Neolithic population crash ?
    5000 BC- 4500 BC: Increasing evidence of developed trade networks
    4500 BC : WHG male-driven genetic resurgence. Growth of the Atlantic Megalith Culture. From here on, megalithic constructions spread across the Atlantic coastline, to Scandinavia, North Africa and Mediterranean islands.

    I have found dating the first megaliths difficult, due to the number of competing claims. Dating on the Cromlech has several references, but in Portugese. Recent research suggests the oldest megaliths are in Brittany and date back to 4500 BC. I've also found the WHG resurgence hard to date, most sources just say "middle neolithic"

    It does seem to me though, that the WHG at some point took over the EEF on the Atlantic seaboard. Most likely violently, given the male-dominated genetic input, drop in EEF Y-DNA, some scant evidence of EEF massacres near the front of their expansion, and the tendency towards male-dominated burials in large tombs. And it also seems to me that the Atlantic Megalith Culture expansion was what drove the WHG resurgence. Reasons for their success, where the central European EEF expansion never seemed to have experienced anything similar may have been naval ability, reliance on multiple biomes for food, extra calories from the sea allowing higher population densities, and the ability to draw upon extended kinship connection and call upon warriors from geographically distant areas on shorter notice. Although the EEF also seems to have been competent at maritime expansion.

    It somehow makes me think of the Tollense battle. Huge Homeric battle, thousands of warriors from across Europe. And no records of either the war, the warriors or the policies that fought.

    Things I wonder about: How much of the Atlantic Megalith Culture came from the WHGs? Language, burial customs, trade networks, maritime orientation? What came from the EEF? Calendar functions of the megaliths seem very useful for farming. Thousands of years later, Indo-Europeans in Britain seem to have treated them as useful infrastructure investments, not cultural objects. The EEF had expanded along the mediterranean coast and to the Islands of the Med, with livestock, seedcorn etc, indication considerable seamanship. The trade really seemed to take off after the agricultural transition.

    How much was a hybrid culture thing?

    I am rather diverging from the sites interest in genetics here I know. The genetics are just starting to show the outlines of a long forgotten story I think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnarl View Post
    That is... massively interesting. It does look like a lot of things were happening at the time. I am trying to put this into some kind of mental context with what happened with the Early Farmers and the Western Hunter Gatherers. So what I got is this:

    6000 BC: WHG hunter-gatherers bury their dead in stone cemeteries covered with shell middens in Brittany and the Targos-Sado in Portugal. Almeneders I construction phase of the Cromlech. There are many similarities between these places.
    5500 BC: EEF farmers settle Iberia, initialy in a thin coastal band running along the eastern coast of present-day Spain.
    5300 BC: El Trocs, a massacre of EEF individuals inland in Spain, bodies of young adults absent.
    5300 BC: Early trade network of Callais objects
    5000 BC: Neolithic population crash ?
    5000 BC- 4500 BC: Increasing evidence of developed trade networks
    4500 BC : WHG male-driven genetic resurgence. Growth of the Atlantic Megalith Culture. From here on, megalithic constructions spread across the Atlantic coastline, to Scandinavia, North Africa and Mediterranean islands.

    I have found dating the first megaliths difficult, due to the number of competing claims. Dating on the Cromlech has several references, but in Portugese. Recent research suggests the oldest megaliths are in Brittany and date back to 4500 BC. I've also found the WHG resurgence hard to date, most sources just say "middle neolithic"

    It does seem to me though, that the WHG at some point took over the EEF on the Atlantic seaboard. Most likely violently, given the male-dominated genetic input, drop in EEF Y-DNA, some scant evidence of EEF massacres near the front of their expansion, and the tendency towards male-dominated burials in large tombs. And it also seems to me that the Atlantic Megalith Culture expansion was what drove the WHG resurgence. Reasons for their success, where the central European EEF expansion never seemed to have experienced anything similar may have been naval ability, reliance on multiple biomes for food, extra calories from the sea allowing higher population densities, and the ability to draw upon extended kinship connection and call upon warriors from geographically distant areas on shorter notice. Although the EEF also seems to have been competent at maritime expansion.

    It somehow makes me think of the Tollense battle. Huge Homeric battle, thousands of warriors from across Europe. And no records of either the war, the warriors or the policies that fought.

    Things I wonder about: How much of the Atlantic Megalith Culture came from the WHGs? Language, burial customs, trade networks, maritime orientation? What came from the EEF? Calendar functions of the megaliths seem very useful for farming. Thousands of years later, Indo-Europeans in Britain seem to have treated them as useful infrastructure investments, not cultural objects. The EEF had expanded along the mediterranean coast and to the Islands of the Med, with livestock, seedcorn etc, indication considerable seamanship. The trade really seemed to take off after the agricultural transition.

    How much was a hybrid culture thing?

    I am rather diverging from the sites interest in genetics here I know. The genetics are just starting to show the outlines of a long forgotten story I think.
    Thanks, good comments. I'll let you know if/when I have some answers to your questions!

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    'Alpine axes and early metallurgy' (Klassen et al 2012):


    “At the same time as large axes made of Alpine jade (i.e. jadeitite, eclogite, omphacitite and other rock types) were circulating around much of western and central Europe, early metallurgy was undergoing a major development in south-east Europe. Heavy copper shafthole tools and abundant artefacts of gold played a significant role in the social and ritual life of the Chalcolithic populations there, just as the Alpine jade axes did at the opposite end of Europe. Even though the distribution areas of these two groups of artefacts are generally separated by a zone, several hundred kilometres wide, that is devoid of any finds of the categories in question, nevertheless various kinds of contact, both direct and indirect, between the two areas be can observed. This paper discusses these relations through an investigation of artefacts that were exchanged, in either direction, between the two groups. These may include a few copper and gold objects found in France as well as a comparatively large group of Alpine axes found in south-east Europe, especially Bulgaria. (…)

    since Bulgarian objects of copper and gold must have been known in France at the transition between the 5th and 4th millennium BC (see below), since copper objects from south-east Europe indeed reached France at the time in question, and since at least an exchange of ideas can be demonstrated to have taken place between the Morbihan region of Brittany and Varna in Bulgaria in the mid 5th millennium BC, a south-east European origin and a 5th/early 4th millennium date of the gold finds from Pauilhac does indeed seem probable. (…)

    From the Bulgarian necropolis of Durankulak, a number of disc-shaped copper bracelets are known. This type of bracelet only appears here, while other types of bracelet in copper, gold and spondylus shell are known in large numbers from many sites in south-east Europe. Some copper bracelets from Romania come rather close from a typological point of view. The Durankulak-type bracelets, especially the find from grave 245, resemble the west European stone rings, which in some exceptional cases were made of jades and found together with large Alpine jade axes in elite burials and hoards in Brittany. As demonstrated by the copper axes from the region of Fougères and the Paris Basin, the pendant from Renongar and possibly by some of the gold finds listed above, it is possible that artefacts were exchanged between Bulgaria and Brittany at opposite ends of Europe. West European stone rings of jadeitite or other materials might therefore well have reached Durankulak and been imitated there. The production of the stone rings of jadeitite, eclogite and serpentinite is attested by numerous finds from northern Italy, and an exchange towards Bulgaria could therefore have started in the Alpine region, and not necessarily as far away as Brittany. The presence of several Alpine jade axes in graves from Durankulak demonstrates that an exchange between these two regions did indeed take place. Therefore, the disc-shaped copper bracelets of Durankulak type may very well be imitations of Alpine models. (…)

    At the time of interest here (c. 4800-3800 BC), the distribution areas of large Alpine jade axes on the one hand, and of heavy copper shafthole tools and gold artefacts on the other, were distinct and mutually exclusive. The exceptions that exist can be accounted for by the power of attraction of the social elites in the Varna centre in Bulgaria at one end of Europe, and in the Morbihan and Paris Basin regions at the other. …The gold finds from Pauilhac, while found outside these regions, were clearly connected to a social elite also, to judge from their find context (…)

    what can we deduce about the significance of this two-part division of Europe between c. 4800 and 3800 BC? There is no doubt that the objects that we have been considering all held a considerable prestige value, thanks to the exotic and rare nature of the raw materials involved. However, this prestige value does not account for the mutual exclusivity of the distribution areas: if all elites had desired Alpine jade on the one hand, and copper and gold on the other, the distributions would have been mixed. A second set of values must therefore have been in play. Another point to consider is the very large distances covered in the exchange of some of these objects – mostly large Alpine jade axes, but to a certain degree also some of the metal artefacts. These distances far exceed those normally covered by the exchange of prestige goods in the European Neolithic. It is thus obvious that both the Alpine jade axes and the metal artefacts in question must have had a very strong ritual connotation that was recognized in huge areas of western and central Europe and in south-eastern Europe respectively. The items may have fulfilled a comparable role in their respective societies and therefore would have excluded each other, leading to the observed division of Europe into opposing parts. The different colours – green in western and central Europe, and yellow and red in south-east Europe – may have played a key role in leading elites to select objects of the one colour, and to reject (in general) the objects made of the other colour (…)

    Furthermore the ritual role of gold artefacts is obvious from the fact that in Varna, investigations of the objects demonstrated that at least a large part of them were made specifically for the burial of high ranking individuals and thus did not serve as everyday adornment. As described by Pétrequin et al., due to its indestructibility jade is associated with beliefs in immortality in societies in south-east Asia and central America. It is reserved for the elite and the gods in very complex societies. Exactly the same is true for gold : due to its indestructibility, it symbolises eternity and was used in elite burials to achieve immortality for the deceased, especially by covering the face, but also other body parts. Examples for this practice are numerous and widespread, for example in Africa (in the gold masks of Egyptian pharaohs); in Europe (in the gold masks from the shaft graves of Mycenae) and in South America (e.g. at Sipán and Trujillo in Peru). It is likely that the same beliefs also were bound up in the ritual use of gold in Varna, where some of the famous symbolic graves with clay masks show golden objects covering (inter alia) the eyes, mouth and ears (graves 2 and 3). This specific ritual use of gold can be compared to the famous burial suits and masks of jade (nephrite) from the western Han dynasty in China, which were made to achieve immortality for the deceased emperors. Mayan jade (jadeitite, serpentinite) masks from Central America may constitute another possible example, but in addition to being used for death masks in graves these objects also had other ritual uses, which were related to their colour. The fact that jade and gold, in an amazing range of different cultures and through many millennia, were associated with comparable ritual beliefs around the world indicates that the same was probably also the case in 5th millennium Europe. This lends support to the proposition that objects of jade and gold, and some copper objects, may have fulfilled a comparable role in their respective distribution areas. The fact that ritual beliefs relating to jade and its green colour were widespread in the distribution area of the large Alpine axes can therefore be seen as one of the main reasons why early metallurgy, in the specific form that existed in south-east Europe, did not spread further west during the 5th millennium than it did. (…)

    Long distance, trans-Alpine exchange of large Alpine jade axes started around 4800 BC, as did their transformation from woodworking tools into ritual objects. The emergence of social elites in the Morbihan with their enormous power of attraction by c 4700-4600 BC led to an intensification of this exchange; and the manipulation of the imported objects by re-shaping added to the complexity of ritual beliefs bound to them.

    By following the distribution and typological development of symbols of power made from Alpine jade on the one hand and from copper and gold on the other between the early 5th and early 4th millennium BC, it is possible to demonstrate how two related sets of ritual beliefs competed with each other over large parts of Europe. It is also possible to show how the elites in the two centres of social evolution in Europe at the time - Varna on the Black Sea and the Morbihan region on the Atlantic coast - created and manipulated these beliefs and thereby indirectly exerted a profound influence on the life of Neolithic groups in large parts of Europe through the circulation of the objects bearing ritual messages. … Over the course of almost one millennium of interaction, metal-related ideas gradually replaced those linked to Alpine jade, and by the middle of the 4th millennium they led to the demise of Alpine jade as a socially valued material. It is a fascinating thought that jade could still have been as much appreciated in western and central Europe as it is today in south-east Asia and central America, had it not been for the ingenuity of the Varna elites.”


    Alpine axes and early metallurgy (Klassen et al 2012)











    Stone/ Jade ring bracelets from Brittany, Carnac museum.



    Petrequin et al. 2019



    'Axeheads of 'Alpine Jades' In Bulgaria'


    "It has long been recognised that, in Neolithic and Chalcolithic Europe, there existed a kind of ‘mirror image’ between Carnac and the Gulf of Morbihan in the west and Varna in the east. Around the middle of the fifth millennium BC, these two areas display a remarkable wealth in their funerary assemblages (with jade and variscite being used in the west and gold and copper in the east), and they also shared some social concepts, featuring a marked degree of social inequality, expressed through symbols of violence and of power, curved throwing weapons, sceptres and axes. (…) Mont Viso and the Beigua massif occupied a central position in the diffusion of Alpine axeheads (through repeated contacts) across a vast swathe of Europe, from Carnac to Varna."


    Petrequin et al. 2012, p.1232





    Jade Europe / Copper Europe (Europe du cuivre)
    Last edited by Philjames100; 28-06-20 at 17:21.

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    The representation of an object possessed : contextualising stelae and megalithic engravings (Cassen 2012)

    “Among the several hundred engravings on rock outcrops, on stelae and on orthostats of megalithic tombs that have been inventorised from Morocco to Ireland, the representation of an axe or an axehead is unique to 5th and 4th millennium Armorica (Brittany). This presentation will focus on the concentration of engravings in the Morbihan region of Brittany, for which the first full discursive inventory is currently being established and a chronological sequence proposed. Other Continental regions would seem, in contrast to the Morbihan, to have reproduced a narrow, conservative canon of images : roughly the same kind of engravings can be seen whether one is in Poitou-Charentes, in the Auvergne, in the Paris Basin or in Burgundy, and the engravings are both graphically and semantically unambiguous. This canon follows a geographical axis and the distribution of the carvings is far from random. By way of contrast, we shall see that the Iberian Peninsula, Great Britain and Ireland did not participate in the same canon, despite the fact that technological and morphological study of the signs there has confirmed that links did indeed exist with other areas. It is in Bulgaria, and in particular in the Varna region, where we find the clearest evidence for the existence of a common, Europe-wide system of signs - even if the cosmology that accompanied it, and the power implicit in the signs, may have varied from one area to another. The signs shared in common are the 'crosse' - a throwing weapon shaped like an inverted hockey stick - and the axe. These are concrete objects that both operated within the physical world of the living and had roles that were projected onto the Otherworld, the world of supernatural power. (...)

    Partly contemporary with the phenomenon of the large engraved steles of Armorica (Brittany), the necropolis located not far from the shore of Lake Varna, on the Black Sea shore, makes it possible to observe on several bodies a significant series of rare and often unique objects, in gold and stone, objects sufficiently far from the functionality of classic tools and the normative nature of regional ornaments, and sufficiently comparable to the symbolic representations inventoried on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, in order to question the causes of such a trans-European identity. … Reciprocally, some objects foreign to Armorican traditions can only be found in the good matches than in the directory of Central Europe and the Balkans.”

    Cassen 2012



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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    the oldest H2 individual is a HG in Israel, who lived there at the time of PPNB
    PPNB Israel Motza [I0867 / Motz 1] M 7300-6750 BCE H2 M2713+, M2896+, M2936+, M2942+, M2992+, M3070+ (H), P96+ (H2). It was not derived for any downstream mutations K1a4b 772778 Lazaridis 2016
    he was probably not Natufian in origin, these were E1b1b1,
    but more likely he was derived from the Kebaran HG with bow and arrow
    the bow and arrow probably came from India
    check this thread
    https://www.eupedia.com/forum/thread...l=1#post606086
    Why would it come from India? THere's no AASI ancestry in Europe and H2 isn't from there either.

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