Tracing the genetic origin of Europe's first farmers

The advent of farming would probably have taken place in the foothills of Palestine or in northern Israel (Galilee). A few spots further afield are the Euphrates river and the Damascus Basin. Sites like Ohalo show us that experimentation with cultivation of grains date to 22,000 years ago (Upper Paleolithic) during the Kebaran industry which was characterized by the use of microlithic tools across the Levant region ( Eastern Mediterranean coast) of West Asia's Fertile Crescent. by 14,000 years ago the Natufian culture of the Epipaleolithic succeeded the Kebaran culture. Named after it's "type site" of Wadi an-Natuf in the West Bank, the Natufian culture was characterized by semi-sedentarism even before the introduction of agriculture. The Natufian communities may be the ancestors of the builders of the first neolithic settlements of the region, which may have been the earliest cities in the world. A recent study showed that the Natufians had both Y-DNA E-M123 and MTDNA N1b. The Pre-Pottery Neolithic A, (PPNA) succeeded the Natufian culture by 10,000 years ago, and then came the advent of farming. the PPNA type site is known as Jericho in Palestine but other notable sites are found across the Jordan valley and further afield as well. The PPNA was succeeded by the PPNB by which timethe Neolithic Revolution and its entire package would have reached lands as far as Cyprus and Southern Anatolia. We are lucky today because we actually have genetic studies with data demonstrating the spread of the Neolithic Revolution and it's genetics. MTDNA from Tell Ramad in southern Syria dated to 8,000 years ago ( during the PPNB) showed that 40% or so of samples belonged to mtdna K. Today, a third of Ashkenazi jewish females belong to this haplogroup, not to mention over 10% of Druze, Palestinians, Kurds, Greek Cypriots and Neolithic Mediterranean Cardial/Epicardial samples, Central European Linear Pottery Culture samples etc. Today it is widely believed that Neolithic European women would have carried mtdna haplogroups K, N and X. Y-dna's G2a, H2, T1a and E-M123 are associated with the expansion of the Neolithic from it's original homeland in a proto-Druze like population around Palestine towards the Aegean sea of Greece and then subsequently across the south-eastern Mediterranean sea.

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