Southern Neolithic route brought Megaliths from the Levant to Western Europe

Maciamo

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I have hypothesised for several years that the wave of Neolithic farmers who came from the southern Levant through North Africa brought a quite different set of haplogroups and autosomal admixture than the Anatolian farmers that colonised the Balkans and Central Europe.

There is ample archaeological evidence that megaliths originated in the southern Levant (Israel) and Egypt and spread via the south coast of the Mediterranean to Malta, Andalusia (La Almagra Pottery culture) and southern Portugal (Algarve), then spread north along the Atlantic coast of Europe to Brittany, the British Isles, and east to inland France, Corsica, Germany, Belgium and Denmark.

I noticed that samples from the Funnelbeaker culture in Scandinavia, which was a Megalithic culture, had an inordinate amount of Sub-Saharan African autosomal DNA. That made me wonder how it could have got there. My explanation was that it came from Iberian Megalithic people, who in turn got it from Neolithic farmers from North Africa.

As the phylogenetic trees of Y-haplogroups are getting deeper year after year, it is becoming easier to retrace ancient migrations.

Y-DNA haplogroups

In my opinion, these farmers belonged to Y-haplogroups T1a, R1b-V88, E1b1b, and a few specific G2a and J1 subclades.

Haplogroup T1a was found in Pre-Pottery Neolithic Jordan. Its expansion age dates from the Early Neolithic and its modern distribution in the Middle East suggests a stronger association with the Fertile Crescent and Southwest Asia than with Anatolia. After analysing the T1a phylogeography, it struck me that the subclades dating from the Neolithic that were found in Europe were also typically found in the Arabian peninsula and sometimes also East and North Africa. This is the case of T1a1a1a1-CTS2214 (found in Southwest Asia, East Africa and western Europe), T1a1a1b1-Y12643 (found in the Arabian peninsula and western Europe), and T1a1a1b2-Y22559 (found in North Africa and Iberia). Considering that only two T1a samples were so far found in Neolithic Europe (both from LBK Germany), there is a good chance that most T1a followed a different route than the Anatolian one taken by predominantly G2a farmers.

Haplogroup R1b-V88 is found in the Levant, most of Africa as well as western Europe. Its presence has been confirmed in Neolithic Spain, although it was never found in the Neolithic Balkans or Central Europe, nor in Mesolithic Europe. All the data strongly supports a Neolithic diffusion from the southern Levant to North Africa, Iberia, then western Europe.

Haplogroup E1b1b was the main lineage of the Natufians (Mesolithic southern Levant). They might have carried a mix of E-V123, E-Z827 and E-M78. Levantine Neolithic farmers would undoubtedly have carried this lineage when they colonised North and East Africa, although it very likely that E1b1b was already present on both sides of the Red Sea before the Neolithic. A small minority of Western Europeans carry E-V12 and E-V22 lineages (under M78), which could be of Neolithic origin. Likewise, E-M123 could have spread through North Africa to Western Europe, as well as again later (Bronze and Iron Ages) from the Near East to Greece and Italy.

All Near Eastern Neolithic farmers probably carried at least some haplogroup G2a. Ancient DNA test showed that Anatolian farmers who colonised the Balkans belonged chiefly to G2a2b (L30), which is the biggest branch in Europe today, as well as G2a2a1b (L90). However, the G2a2a1a-M286 branch hasn't been found in Neolithic samples yet, and today it is present mostly in the Middle East and western Europe, but apparently not in between. This suggests that it could have been a minority lineage of South Levantine farmers.

Haplogroup J1 most probably originated around the Caucasus. Its phylogeography shows that some early branches (like J1b) might have migrated to Europe before the Neolithic. Others spread with Neolithic farmers from the northern Middle East to Europe (L1189). More interestingly, one branch (PF7264) also expanded during the Neolithic, but is found today in the Arabian peninsula, East Africa and western Europe (Italy, Germany, Britain). This is another potential candidate for Neolithic migration along the southern Mediterranean route to Iberia, although that would be the least certain in the list.


Mitochondrial haplogroups

In terms of mtDNA, the Southwest Asian farmers would have carried typical Near Eastern farmers like haplogroups H5, K1a and T1a, but also other more specific to North Africa and Iberia like J2a2, X1, X2b and X3.

I attempted to determine in this thread other lineages associated with Southwest Asian farmers and came up with mt-haplogroups M1, N1, R0, HV and U3. The Southwest Asian farmers would have absorbed other lineages in Northwest Africa before reaching the Iberian peninsula. These would surely have included U6, and perhaps also H1, H3, H4 and HV0/V.
 
I think it's more logical that E1b1b entered Europe across Iberia (we have aDNA sample from Catalonia, 5000 BCE) and Sicily, and then continued to spread all over the Southern Europe and Balkans. Then, with Roman empire expansion it's spreaded to north/central Europe and Levant, mainly by Balkan Roman legions.
 
I think it's more logical that E1b1b entered Europe across Iberia (we have aDNA sample from Catalonia, 5000 BCE) and Sicily, and then continued to spread all over the Southern Europe and Balkans. Then, with Roman empire expansion it's spreaded to north/central Europe and Levant, mainly by Balkan Roman legions.
I am on the same opinion about E1b1b for right now,is missing from the Balkans until Iron age perhaps? also i think they firstly moved from Africa to Europe through Gibraltar,i doubt they came through Anatolia or directly through the Mediteranean sea,even if they arrived earlier then Iron age in the Balkans,i would assume Iberia rest of Europe,Italy,Balkans etc route,is not so hard to cross over there,much like native Americans this way.
PrenticeHall_first_americans_arrive.jpg
 
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I am on the same opinion about E1b1b for right now,is missing from the Balkans until Iron age perhaps? also i think they firstly moved from Africa to Europe through Gibraltar,i doubt they came trough Anatolia or directly trought the Mediteranean sea,is not so hard to cross over there,much like native Americans this way.
Bolded, exactly that. We need more aDNA samples from Balkan Neolithic, (Balkan was been main route for Anatolian farmers to the Central Europe) as we can see for now, main haplogroup of first European Neolithic farmers was been G2a. :)
 
The spread of the Neolithic was in a leapfrog advance, the first one in Cyprus, where Anatolian and Levantines people could assemble. The Megalithic traditions in Western Europe start at 4000 BC, 1500 years after the arrival of the first colonizers. By the way the levantine megalithism is quite recent, it would be good to know from where they came.

https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megalithanlagen_auf_dem_Golan
 
The problem with this is that Megalithism seems to be significantly older in the far south of Europe than in the Levant. The early megaliths in Portugal and Italy predate the European Neolithic arrival.
 
The spread of the Neolithic was in a leapfrog advance, the first one in Cyprus, where Anatolian and Levantines people could assemble. The Megalithic traditions in Western Europe start at 4000 BC, 1500 years after the arrival of the first colonizers. By the way the levantine megalithism is quite recent, it would be good to know from where they came.

https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megalithanlagen_auf_dem_Golan


Levantine Megalithism is recent? The oldest Neolithic Megalithic site is the one of Atlit Yam in coastal Israel (now submerged), dating from 7000 BCE, during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B - the exact period that was tested by Lazaridis et al. (2016) and yielded Y-haplogroups CT, E1b1b, H2 and T.

There is another site from the same period (c. 7200 BCE) submerged 40m tall monolith under water in the Strait of Sicily, between Tunisia and Sicily, and one in southern Portugal also from circa 7000 BCE (Quinta da Queimada Menir). What we see is that all the oldest Megalithic sites are lined up along the southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, from Israel to Portugal via Tunisia/Sicily (if we exclude the rather different Göbekli Tepe in Anatolia, which featured T-shaped sculpted pillars).
 
The problem with this is that Megalithism seems to be significantly older in the far south of Europe than in the Levant. The early megaliths in Portugal and Italy predate the European Neolithic arrival.

Not significantly older. They are from about the same period (7000 BCE). The dating is stone is very difficult. Archaeological dating relies on carbon 14, which is only found in organic materials, not stone. For all we know the dating could be off by several centuries.

Anyway, not all monuments survived or were found. There could be older ones in the Levant that haven't been uncovered or couldn't be properly dated.
 
The problem with this is that Megalithism seems to be significantly older in the far south of Europe than in the Levant. The early megaliths in Portugal and Italy predate the European Neolithic arrival.
Did I understand you right? Are you saying that first megalithic structures were made by european hunter gatherers? I thought it was the farmer's thing. For example first megaliths in Turkey coincide with onset of agriculture in the region about 9 thousand years BC.
 
Not significantly older. They are from about the same period (7000 BCE). The dating is stone is very difficult. Archaeological dating relies on carbon 14, which is only found in organic materials, not stone. For all we know the dating could be off by several centuries.

Anyway, not all monuments survived or were found. There could be older ones in the Levant that haven't been uncovered or couldn't be properly dated.

Sure, but the fact that the Megalithic people unlearned agriculture & animal husbandry before they entered Europe still needs to be account for in the scenario of a Levantine origin.

Did I understand you right? Are you saying that first megalithic structures were made by european hunter gatherers? I thought it was the farmer's thing. For example first megaliths in Turkey coincide with onset of agriculture in the region about 9 thousand years BC.

I'm positive that the Göbeklitep layers in question also antedate the adoption of agriculture. Granted, this is quite difficult to disentangle since there is continuos human habitation at this site. In Europe it is more obvious, with a gap of almost 1,500 years between the first megaliths and agriculture in Sicily and Portugal. I don't know if the people who erected those where the hunter gatherers we know of, however.
 
I'm positive that the Göbeklitep layers in question also antedate the adoption of agriculture. Granted, this is quite difficult to disentangle since there is continuos human habitation at this site. In Europe it is more obvious, with a gap of almost 1,500 years between the first megaliths and agriculture in Sicily and Portugal. I don't know if the people who erected those where the hunter gatherers we know of, however.
Considering the facts that megalithism appeared "just before" onset of agriculture, and that it is hard to date when stone was worked on by people, and that it takes tremendous labour force which h-gs usually lack, it is way more likely that megalithism was part of farming or herding societies. With farming we have necessary labour force, structured societies, specialized skills and more refined religion, all prerequisites to monumental construction.
It is possible that more numerous h-g groups, or transitional, or mixed groups could pull off some simpler and small scale stone work and building, but I'm leaning towards full farmers as the builders of true megaliths.
 
Not significantly older. They are from about the same period (7000 BCE). The dating is stone is very difficult. Archaeological dating relies on carbon 14, which is only found in organic materials, not stone. For all we know the dating could be off by several centuries.

Anyway, not all monuments survived or were found. There could be older ones in the Levant that haven't been uncovered or couldn't be properly dated.

The Western megalithism and this early Levantine megalithism are different phenomena and they are not connected in time (6500 BC v 4000 BC); the Western used dolmens for burials, but this Levantine site erected big stones to build a temple (as that of the Maltese if you like), and buried the people under the floors of their homes, I don't see the link.
 
I know dating is dificult, but Göbekli Tepe is older than agriculture.

Sedentism existed before agriculture, both in the Natufian Levant as in the Hallan Cemi area (also Demirköy, Körtik Tepe, Qermez Dere, Nemrik ...) and the style of the Göbekli Tepe basreliefs is reminiscent to the style of the artefacts found in the central house of the Hallan Cemi village and other similar places.
Göbekli Tepe seems a HG or herders place, not of farmers.

http://www.persee.fr/doc/paleo_0153-9345_1998_num_24_1_4667
https://www.penn.museum/sites/expedition/intricacies-of-hallan-cemi/
http://anthropology.si.edu/archaeobio/images/zeder_ca_2011.pdf

Halan Cemi was a HG village with special culling strategies who grew more and more controll over the herds of animals they hunted, both ovicaprids and boars.

Furthermore there is a big gap in time between Göbekli Tepe and other megaliths.
In Europe, in certain areas, all of a sudden, there are lots of megaliths.
Göbekli Tepe is a special case, but I suspect the appearance of the other megaliths coincides with the spread of draught animals, probably oxens.
It is the arrival of a new tribe of farmers with oxens and with a certain specific political order or cult.
Not every tribe with oxens did build these structures.
 
Neolithic Swedes didn't have any Sub Saharan African ancestry. If they did then we'd see it in modern Northern Europeans. Well, African mtDNA does exist in Northern Europe at like 0.5%.. ADMIXTURE isn't a reliable judge for whether an ancient genome has Sub Saharan ancestry or not.
 
I have hypothesised for several years that the wave of Neolithic farmers who came from the southern Levant through North Africa brought a quite different set of haplogroups and autosomal admixture than the Anatolian farmers that colonised the Balkans and Central Europe.

There is ample archaeological evidence that megaliths originated in the southern Levant (Israel) and Egypt and spread via the south coast of the Mediterranean to Malta, Andalusia (La Almagra Pottery culture) and southern Portugal (Algarve), then spread north along the Atlantic coast of Europe to Brittany, the British Isles, and east to inland France, Corsica, Germany, Belgium and Denmark.

I noticed that samples from the Funnelbeaker culture in Scandinavia, which was a Megalithic culture, had an inordinate amount of Sub-Saharan African autosomal DNA. That made me wonder how it could have got there. My explanation was that it came from Iberian Megalithic people, who in turn got it from Neolithic farmers from North Africa.

As the phylogenetic trees of Y-haplogroups are getting deeper year after year, it is becoming easier to retrace ancient migrations.

Y-DNA haplogroups

In my opinion, these farmers belonged to Y-haplogroups T1a, R1b-V88, E1b1b, and a few specific G2a and J1 subclades.

Haplogroup T1a was found in Pre-Pottery Neolithic Jordan. Its expansion age dates from the Early Neolithic and its modern distribution in the Middle East suggests a stronger association with the Fertile Crescent and Southwest Asia than with Anatolia. After analysing the T1a phylogeography, it struck me that the subclades dating from the Neolithic that were found in Europe were also typically found in the Arabian peninsula and sometimes also East and North Africa. This is the case of T1a1a1a1-CTS2214 (found in Southwest Asia, East Africa and western Europe), T1a1a1b1-Y12643 (found in the Arabian peninsula and western Europe), and T1a1a1b2-Y22559 (found in North Africa and Iberia). Considering that only two T1a samples were so far found in Neolithic Europe (both from LBK Germany), there is a good chance that most T1a followed a different route than the Anatolian one taken by predominantly G2a farmers.

Haplogroup R1b-V88 is found in the Levant, most of Africa as well as western Europe. Its presence has been confirmed in Neolithic Spain, although it was never found in the Neolithic Balkans or Central Europe, nor in Mesolithic Europe. All the data strongly supports a Neolithic diffusion from the southern Levant to North Africa, Iberia, then western Europe.

Haplogroup E1b1b was the main lineage of the Natufians (Mesolithic southern Levant). They might have carried a mix of E-V123, E-Z827 and E-M78. Levantine Neolithic farmers would undoubtedly have carried this lineage when they colonised North and East Africa, although it very likely that E1b1b was already present on both sides of the Red Sea before the Neolithic. A small minority of Western Europeans carry E-V12 and E-V22 lineages (under M78), which could be of Neolithic origin. Likewise, E-M123 could have spread through North Africa to Western Europe, as well as again later (Bronze and Iron Ages) from the Near East to Greece and Italy.

All Near Eastern Neolithic farmers probably carried at least some haplogroup G2a. Ancient DNA test showed that Anatolian farmers who colonised the Balkans belonged chiefly to G2a2b (L30), which is the biggest branch in Europe today, as well as G2a2a1b (L90). However, the G2a2a1a-M286 branch hasn't been found in Neolithic samples yet, and today it is present mostly in the Middle East and western Europe, but apparently not in between. This suggests that it could have been a minority lineage of South Levantine farmers.

Haplogroup J1 most probably originated around the Caucasus. Its phylogeography shows that some early branches (like J1b) might have migrated to Europe before the Neolithic. Others spread with Neolithic farmers from the northern Middle East to Europe (L1189). More interestingly, one branch (PF7264) also expanded during the Neolithic, but is found today in the Arabian peninsula, East Africa and western Europe (Italy, Germany, Britain). This is another potential candidate for Neolithic migration along the southern Mediterranean route to Iberia, although that would be the least certain in the list.


Mitochondrial haplogroups

In terms of mtDNA, the Southwest Asian farmers would have carried typical Near Eastern farmers like haplogroups H5, K1a and T1a, but also other more specific to North Africa and Iberia like J2a2, X1, X2b and X3.

I attempted to determine in this thread other lineages associated with Southwest Asian farmers and came up with mt-haplogroups M1, N1, R0, HV and U3. The Southwest Asian farmers would have absorbed other lineages in Northwest Africa before reaching the Iberian peninsula. These would surely have included U6, and perhaps also H1, H3, H4 and HV0/V.

Maciamo, this is not correct. Haplogroup T1a-M70 was NOT found in Pre-Pottery Neolithic Jordan but instead was found T1-PF5610 (xT1a1-Z526, T1a1a-CTS9163, T1a1a-CTS2607, T1a2-S11611, T1a2-Y6031, T1a2a1-P322, T1a3a-Y9189), the most probably subclade is T1b which is negative for M70. T1b is not linked to the T1a1 found in the Early Neolithic from the North European Plain.
 
Was waiting for Gobekli Tepe

Don't know about SSA in TRB, but I agree with everything else, pretty much, although as some other say I don't think there's yet evidence of super-early megaliths in the Levant per se. Gobekli Tepe is close enough for me though. I think the circum-Mediterranean expansion of farmers isn't talked about enough. The Sahara was a massive savanna until like 5000 years ago, with lakes and stuff too. This must have been prime real estate for herds.

I lean more towards R1b-V88 coming from Iberia than anywhere else.
 
I know dating is dificult, but Göbekli Tepe is older than agriculture.

Sedentism existed before agriculture, both in the Natufian Levant as in the Hallan Cemi area (also Demirköy, Körtik Tepe, Qermez Dere, Nemrik ...) and the style of the Göbekli Tepe basreliefs is reminiscent to the style of the artefacts found in the central house of the Hallan Cemi village and other similar places.
Göbekli Tepe seems a HG or herders place, not of farmers.

But, Peters and Schmidt say, Gobekli Tepe's builders were on the verge of a major change in how they lived, thanks to an environment that held the raw materials for farming. "They had wild sheep, wild grains that could be domesticated—and the people with the potential to do it," Schmidt says. In fact, research at other sites in the region has shown that within 1,000 years of Gobekli Tepe's construction, settlers had corralled sheep, cattle and pigs. And, at a prehistoric village just 20 miles away, geneticists found evidence of the world's oldest domesticated strains of wheat; radiocarbon dating indicates agriculture developed there around 10,500 years ago, or just five centuries after Gobekli Tepe's construction.


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Gobekli Tepe sits on Fertile Crescent, in center of birth of agriculture. First domesticated wheat was excavated close by and dated at 500 years after Gobekli Tepe. Keep in mind that for grain to become genetically distinct from wild one, or sheep or pig, and called domesticated takes centuries if not a thousand of years of inbreeding them and selecting the bigger and tastier ones. It is a long proces. And usually these dates go back with more digging and discovering, and this should happen in the future. Taking under consideration that to becoming a full farmer is a long process, of couple of thousands of years I suppose, then Gobekli Tepe was built by farmers. Perhaps not so refined like these who moved into Europe, but nethertheless very early farmers and herders.

Let's also keep in mind that we don't have any concrete evidence of any h-gs building stone temples or large scale structures of stone. Anything from Australian Aborigines, prairie Indians or Amazon jungle tribes? I don't think so. On other hand we have countless records of farmers building them. Why should it be any different in Gobekli Tepe? It is in fertile crescent after all, the cradle of farming, with domesticated grains found in close vicinity and same time period.
 
Did I understand you right? Are you saying that first megalithic structures were made by european hunter gatherers? I thought it was the farmer's thing. For example first megaliths in Turkey coincide with onset of agriculture in the region about 9 thousand years BC.

I don't think it really matters as long as they are built by a settled community. Early farming was not a self-sufficient mode of subsistence. Almost all Early Neolithic farmers, even during the Linear Pottery culture in Central Europe 6000 years after the beginning of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent, complemented their diet by hunting and gathering. In a sense, we still do. There are still hunters, and many people go to the woods to collect mushrooms. In the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, when food couldn't be stored easily, hunting and gathering would have been about as important as farming.
 
I know dating is dificult, but Göbekli Tepe is older than agriculture.

Sedentism existed before agriculture, both in the Natufian Levant as in the Hallan Cemi area (also Demirköy, Körtik Tepe, Qermez Dere, Nemrik ...) and the style of the Göbekli Tepe basreliefs is reminiscent to the style of the artefacts found in the central house of the Hallan Cemi village and other similar places.
Göbekli Tepe seems a HG or herders place, not of farmers.

http://www.persee.fr/doc/paleo_0153-9345_1998_num_24_1_4667
https://www.penn.museum/sites/expedition/intricacies-of-hallan-cemi/
http://anthropology.si.edu/archaeobio/images/zeder_ca_2011.pdf

Halan Cemi was a HG village with special culling strategies who grew more and more controll over the herds of animals they hunted, both ovicaprids and boars.

Furthermore there is a big gap in time between Göbekli Tepe and other megaliths.
In Europe, in certain areas, all of a sudden, there are lots of megaliths.
Göbekli Tepe is a special case, but I suspect the appearance of the other megaliths coincides with the spread of draught animals, probably oxens.
It is the arrival of a new tribe of farmers with oxens and with a certain specific political order or cult.
Not every tribe with oxens did build these structures.

That's a very good point. Megalithic structure might require draught animals like oxen. If so, then it makes sense that the oldest megaliths are found in Göbekli Tepe, close to the modern Syria-Turkey border, as this is exactly the region where cattle were first domesticated 10,500 years ago, and that time frame fits right in the middle of the occupation of Göbekli Tepe (11,500 to 9,000 years ago). Since all archaeological dating is approximative, and traces of cattle domestication only start showing up when cattle were completely domesticated, it is fair to assume that the whole domestication process took some time, with selective breeding over generations to prune out the less docile and more aggressive cattle. So the first attempt at cattle domestication could coincide more or less with the establishment of Göbekli Tepe.

If megalithism originated with cattle herders from Göbekli Tepe, then according to the theory I proposed several years ago these first cattle herders would have belonged to Y-haplogroup R1b1. One branch migrated to the Caucausus and northwest Iran, before crossing over to the Pontic Steppe, while the other (R1b-V88) migrated to the Levant during the PPNB period, then to North Africa and eventually Iberia. Here is what I wrote in my R1b history:

"The migration of R1b people can be followed archeologically through the presence of domesticated cattle, which appear in central Syria around 8,000-7,500 BCE (late Mureybet period), then in the Southern Levant and Egypt around 7,000-6,500 BCE (e.g. at Nabta Playa and Bir Kiseiba). Cattle herders subsequently spread across most of northern and eastern Africa. The Sahara desert would have been more humid during the Neolithic Subpluvial period (c. 7250-3250 BCE), and would have been a vast savannah full of grass, an ideal environment for cattle herding.
...
After reaching the Maghreb, R1b-V88 cattle herders could have crossed the Strait of Gibraltar to Iberia, probably accompanied by G2 farmers, J1 and T1a goat herders. These North African Neolithic farmers/herders could have been the ones who established the Almagra Pottery culture in Andalusia in the 6th millennium BCE."

What is amazing is that the megalithic path follows almost exactly the route and timing taken by R1b-V88.

Better still, Jean Manco linked the diffusion of R1b-L51 from the Steppe to western Europe with the mysterious Kurgan stelae, another kind of monoliths. So it increasingly looks like prehistoric R1b people had a thing for monoliths. If R1b-V88 really initiated the culture of megaliths in Western Europe, it is fitting and somehow amazing too that Steppe R1b people eventually migrated across all Europe to settle exactly in those Megalithic societies, as if their own culture of monolithic stelae attracted them toward the more awe-inspiring Megaliths of the Atlantic fringe. I do not think it is just a coincidence. After all, humans tend to be attracted by things they know and value. The Proto-Indo-Europeans had a military advantage thanks to bronze weapons and horses, but Megalithic culture may have exerted a certain prestige that Steppe chieftains sought to acquire for themselves. That would explain why the replacement of paternal lineages was more thorough in regions with particularly lots of megalithic monuments, like Ireland, Britain, southern Scandinavia, the Low Countries, the west coast of France or northern Spain.

02feff3fd40eb32cc932fe4a12c2246c.jpg



This other map shows where Megaliths were found in history. That also includes the Maykop culture (lots of dolmens) and the coastal Maghreb. It would explain everything if R1b-V88 and R1b-M269 early cattle herders were the source of all these megalithic cultures. It all fits together. Even Kurgan tombs are highly reminiscent of Atlantic Megalithic passage tombs like those of Newgrange and Knowth in Ireland. The main difference was that Steppe culture were individualistic and elitist, while Megalithic people (who were autosomally Near Eastern and WHG, instead of EHG and Gedrosia) were collectivist. But that's a distinction found in most farming vs herding communities.

megalithic-map.jpg
 

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Considering the facts that megalithism appeared "just before" onset of agriculture, and that it is hard to date when stone was worked on by people, and that it takes tremendous labour force which h-gs usually lack, it is way more likely that megalithism was part of farming or herding societies. With farming we have necessary labour force, structured societies, specialized skills and more refined religion, all prerequisites to monumental construction.
It is possible that more numerous h-g groups, or transitional, or mixed groups could pull off some simpler and small scale stone work and building, but I'm leaning towards full farmers as the builders of true megaliths.

If early megaliths were confined to Anatolia and the Levante I'd be inclined to agree. In Europe however there is a significant gap. The Sicilian megalith became submerged in uncal. 9350 ± 200 year B.P., Impressed Ware and agriculture arrive in 6000 B.C.E. . The Portuguese megalith is dated to uncal. 9097 ± 445 year B.P., while the first traces of agriculture appear in 5600 - 5000 B.C.E. .
 

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