Plague in Britain 2000 BCE


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"[FONT=&quot]Extinct lineages of Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of the plague, have been identified in several individuals from Central Europe and Asia between 5,000 and 3,500 years before present (BP). One of these, the 'LNBA lineage' (Late Neolithic and Bronze Age), has been suggested to have spread into Central Europe with human groups expanding from the Eurasian steppes. Here, we show that LNBA plague was spread to Europe's northwestern periphery by sequencing Yersinia pestis genomes from two individuals dating to ~4,000 cal BP from an unusual mass burial context in Somerset, England, UK. This represents the earliest evidence of plague in Britain documented to date. These British Yersinia pestis genomes belong to a sublineage previously observed in two Bronze Age individuals from Central Europe that had lost the putative virulence factor yapC. This sublineage is later found in Central Asia ~3,600 BP. While the severity of disease is currently unclear, the wide geographic distribution within a few centuries suggests substantial transmissibility."

Remember all the insistence that it started in "Old Europe". Guess not. Never made any sense given that the main known animal reservoir for modern plague is the marmoset which lives on the steppe.

Do you think that the plague was one of the main factors of the collapse of Neolithic Europe?
Do you think that the plague was one of the main factors of the collapse of Neolithic Europe?

I do, along with the prior population crashes due to climate change, i.e. wet, cool conditions which are great for pasturage but not so great for crops, and perhaps also degradation of the land through overuse.

Much better in that scenario to be a sort of wandering caravan which could follow the grasslands with their animals.

All the better if they had some better immunity to the plague through longer exposure to it. Even today, studies show northern Europeans, having more steppe ancestry have higher percentages of good immune responses to it. When the discussion was hot and heavy about it I posted some of the papers.

It can't have been superior weaponry on the part of the Corded Ware people, which was proposed for so long, because those were about equal. The Corded Ware people barely had any copper, and the wrist guards for archery were actually learned from the people of Central and Western Europe.

It's true they may have glorified battle and conquest, especially given the fact that young men were turfed out to find new lands, but I don't think that was the decisive factor.
Do you think that the plague was one of the main factors of the collapse of Neolithic Europe?

the population crash in neolithic Europe happened way before, some 5,5 ka
remember the first case of yersenia pestis was discovered in a megalithic tomb in Sweden 4,9 ka

humans can catch the plague by eating infected rodents which is sometimes still done in Mongolia
however the most common way to catch the plague was by flea bites from black rats

however the cause of the population crash remains as yet unknown
That's why I gave alternatives, all still related to an agricultural crisis, which is the subject of the paper. Plus, when did I say the crash occurred at the same time? It just lowered the numbers, in ways that perhaps didn't occur in the south. Fewer numbers when the steppe people came meant fewer numbers to resist or even survive.


Ancient DNA analysis has identified Yersinia pestis as the causative agent of not only the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age (LNBA) plague1–5 , but also of historic pandemics such as the Justinianic plague6–8 and the Black Death9,10 40.

The LNBA lineages lack the ymt virulence factor which enables survival of the bacteria in the midgut of fleas1 41 , and are therefore likely to have been42 spread via the respiratory route
. The first known evidence of the ymt gene dates to ~3,800 BP inSamara, Russia4.

The LNBA lineage was likely brought to Europe in the Late Neolithic byhuman expansions originating in the Eurasian steppes 1,11,12 44 , and it has been hypothesised that this lineage contributed to the decline of certain Late Neolithic European societies1,2

"Considered alongside other available genomes, our results show that in the period 4,100-3,800 BP Yersinia pestis was widespread from Britain in the West, to Central Asia in the East. The earliest known Yersinia pestis strain carrying the ymt gene has been found in Central Asia anddates to 3800 BP . This is close in time to our two Yersinia genomes from Britain, providing further evidence for differential contemporary frequencies of the ymt gene in Europe and Central Asia. Yersinia pestis lineages in Britain had close affinities with Bronze Age genomes in present-day Germany, and a later lineage in Asia (RISE505) which may have arrived fromEurope with Srubnaya-associated expansions. Our results reveal that LNBA Yersinia pestis lineages were not confined to Bronze Age Central Europe, but were spread westward to Britain, and were thus present in the western Bell Beaker archaeological horizon."

Perhaps you should contact them if you have a differing opinion.
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The Neolithic Megalithic Culture jn Britain would have had little to no resistance. Earlier instances could have been brought in by traders, but likely would have impacted only coastal trading centers.

Copper mining began in Britain c. 2000 bce, so post-Bell Beaker invasion. Earlier finished copper implements likely were imported - any copper-working would have been from surface deposits. Smelting would have been unlikely.


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