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Why did European DNA change 4000 plus years ago?

24 April 2013

Is this a bit of Daily Wail fluff or a piece of spin on a string – or is there something important to be learned – see www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2313677/Why-did-Europeans-sudden… … and the clue might actually be in the addition of Stonehenge – sure to scratch some heads. However, the same story pops up at www.geneticarchaeology.com/research/Ancient_DNA_reveals_Europes_dynamic_… … almost word for word, and derived from a publicity release from the University of Adelaide in Australia.

Having established it is genuine and all about ancient genetic markers which may of itself deserve a liberal dose of sceptism we may also note the genetic transformation  occurs in the late third millennium BC and Moe Mandelkehr, in several seminal articles in SIS Review, has actually catalogued major movements of human population in different parts of the world after his 2300BC event, and the Beaker folk movements fit into this very same pattern. SIS Review has in the past also had at least one article on the Beaker phenomenon, a migration of people or an introduced belief system (religious revolution of some kind) but the Mandelkehr hypothesis best involved a heavy encounter with the Taurid meteor stream as the catalyst for all kinds of upheavals at this time, migrations being just one feature.

In this instant the study began with several skeletons from central Europe and the claim that Neolithic people with origins in Anatolia and the Near East, spread right across Europe in the 6th and 5th millenniums BC. The problem with this theory is it ignores the fact that early modern humans, during and following the Ice Age, also had distinct links with people living in the Near East and therefore the genetic markers could also be a more ancient leftover. At the same time, another European human group of the Late Glacial Maximum had genetic ties with people of northern and NE Europe/NW Asia, and again the genetic link is assumed to be more recent and post Ice Age, a migration of reindeer hunting peoples from the ice margins of western Europe to the new ice margins of Scandinavia and beyond. These links can be found in a remarkable book, Clive Finlayson, The Humans Who Went Extinct, Oxford University Press:2009 and they go to show that genetic markers might be more long lived than fashionably imagined – which is why this new study stands out.

Basically, they have discovered that the period of the Bell Beaker phenomenon also coincided with distinct changes in genetic markers in some parts of Europe. The link with the Near East is not as strong as it was and instead, a migration from an unknown source appears to be relevant – in all probability arising from the Russian steppe zone. However, the Beaker phenomenon is thought to have arisen in Spain – and in particular to have had links with the Copper culture of that region. Where the destination of that copper was is unknown, or is subject to conjecture, but supposing it turned up in the populous Near East and central Mediterranean, of no use to Neolithic Europeans with their largely pastoral economy, and low population numbers, what then would have set these people on the move as bell shaped Beakers pop up in diverse locations across Europe – and not least, at Stonehenge. The bell beakers are distinctive with horizontal zones decorated with finely toothed stamps. They appear to be closely associated with metallurgy, and bronze making, as well as gold and copper artefacts. This is where the Spanish connection is thought to be a factor as the Copper Age in Spain preceded the appearance of Bell Beakers to the north of Iberia, such as central Europe and right across western Europe. It was an important migration. However, the authors also note the people of the so called Battle Axe culture (Germany and Poland) was also involved. The term battle axe is probably out of date as it is recognised axes also have a link with meteorites and lightning bolts but the term has continued out of commonality. These people, at this time, are thought to have crossed the North Sea and colonised parts of eastern England. We may wonder what language they spoke, Germanic or Celtic. Whatever, this study claims there was a distinct genetic change across a large part of Europe. The genes of the Neolithic people, and their way of life, appear to have disappeared – or they were absorbed by the newcomers. What influence did the Beaker culture people have on Stonehenge – this is the next stage to be examined, in greater detail. The Australian researchers are said to say, 'something major happened and the hunt is now on to find out what that was' … which suggests they might do well to read some of Moe Mandelkehr's work. Perhaps we could even send them a copy of the relevant article on migrations at that particular moment in time together with some of Marie-Agnes Courty's soil analysis work as she has specialised in particular at that moment in time, the demise of the Early Bronze Age in the Near East (specifically Syria). Its all out there for anyone to read – but mainstream is blissfully unaware it seems.

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