Exploring connectivity in Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age Greece and the Balkans using cranial non-metric analysis


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The present study aims to explore connectivity and networking in Late Bronze Age (LBA)/Early Iron Age (EIA) Greece and the Balkans using morphological biodistance analysis and test the potentiality of newly introduced statistical tests, which were designed for challenging datasets, in this particular cultural area. Cranial non-metric traits were recorded in ten skeletal collections, spanning from East Crete to Romania. We followed an experimental statistical approach encompassing two different measures of divergence, the conventional and well-tested mean measure of divergence (MMD) and the newly introduced untransformed measure of divergence (UMD). Though different, results based on these two measures are mutually supporting and show that biodistances in our regional case studies mainly follow the isolation by distance model. This cautiously confirms our main hypothesis that during the LBA and EIA periods in Greece and the Balkans, personal mobility was a slow process characterized by integration, rather than displacement or transformation. The current study is the first one to infer biological affinities using cranial non-metric analysis combined with artifactual evidence, in LBA/EIA Greece and the Balkans. Building a larger dataset through future non-metric analyses will better enable exploring networking and mobility to further complement ongoing bioarchaeological, genetic, and material culture studies.


Impending samples:

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However, there is a bias in sampling creating a
dislocation between groups studied in the south and the north.
LBA samples come from the far south of Greece and from the
central to north Carpathian Basin, with virtually no samples
included from parts of the Balkans lying in between. Despite
this bias, Lazaridis et al. (2017, 2022) emphasize genetic dif-
ference by capitalizing on this knowledge gap to support a nar-
rative that takes insufficient account of archeological literature
and has been robustly critiqued
(Frieman and Hofmann 2019;
Gori and Abar 2023; Hakenbeck 2019; Hamilakis 2017). Given
the predictable diversity of groups across this tract of South-
eastern Europe, this ill-defined disjuncture limits our view of
long-distance interactions, mobility, and relationships. More
specifically, it restricts analysis of the relative role of these two
centers of cultural significance—the Aegean and the Carpathian
Basin—on each other and on the lands in between. The current
study is a step toward exploring the breaks in this chain and will
be followed up by further genetic analyses in preparation by the
authors and collaborators at the Globe Institute, Copenhagen.
That and the Transylvanian paper taken together might bring the Daco-Thracian linguistic and E-V13 origins debate forward.
With the mentioned limitations of the main regulars being always cremated, with some exceptions especially in EIA Mezocsat and Basarabi, under Cimmerian influence.
I thinks so too. Plus the Samaritan study, which I was told has 46 additional samples from Hungary(that equates to 2-3 more E-V13), the Danubian frontier and who knows what else is happening that we don't know off. It will become apparent Thracian E-V13 is the result Carpathian basin ancestor mixing with Aegean like profile, probably happening in southern Bulgaria, which we have no LBA autosomal samples yet. Lets keep in mind the samples in the study above are for complete skulls, DNA can come from incomplete bones, we might even get more sample than what was used for cranial comparison.

The current sample agrees with a statement they had made:
These results provide important new insights on demography, age and gender-related mortuary patterns in the region. It is expected that at least 300 individuals from four countries in the Balkan region will have been analysed by the end of the project, providing a unique bioarchaeological regional record which will be matched by both, isotopic and aDNA data.

What do you mean with the Samaritan study?

One of the authors said there will be 149 samples from Hungary, in the preliminary presentation there are 103 novel samples. So 46 more exist that were not part of the presentation. If the E-V13 ratio is similar, that means an additional 2-3 E-V13 in addition to the guaranteed 6 (one Romanian, 5 Hungarian). Chances are good at least a few will be largely local profile with minor nomad admixture.

Also of the Gepid samples, 37 are from Romania, more potential for a drifting Dacian to pop up.
Is this not kind of denial of clear ethnic groups introgression? Have we enough regional groups to debunk or confirm this apparent gradual landscape?

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