Source of article – origins_and_history_of_haplogroup_r1b_y – by Maciamo Hay
The Conquest of “Old Europe” and Central Europe (4200-2500 BCE) The first forays of steppe people into the Balkans happened between 4200 BCE and 3900 BCE, when cattle herders equipped with horse-drawn wagons crossed the Dniester and Danube and apparently destroyed the towns of the Gumelnita, Varna and Karanovo VI cultures in Eastern Romania and Bulgaria. A climatic change resulting in colder winters during this exact period probably pushed steppe herders to seek milder pastures for their stock, while failed crops would have led to famine and internal disturbance within the Danubian and Balkanic communities. The ensuing Cernavodă culture (Copper Age, 4000-3200 BCE), Coțofeni/Usatovo culture (Copper to Bronze Age, 3500-2500 BCE), Ezero culture (Bronze Age, 3300-2700 BCE), in modern Romania, seems to have had a mixed population of steppe immigrants and people from the old tell settlements. These steppe immigrants were likely a mixture of both R1a and R1b lineages, with a probably higher percentage of R1a than later Yamna-era invasions.
The steppe invaders would have forced many Danubian farmers to migrate to the Cucuteni-Trypillian towns in the eastern Carpathians, causing a population boom and a north-eastward expansion until the Dnieper valley, bringing Y-haplogroups G2a, I2a1 – probably the dominant lineage of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, E1b1b, J and T in what is now central Ukraine. This precocious Indo-European advance westward was fairly limited, due to the absence of Bronze weapons and organised army at the time, and was indeed only possible thanks to climatic catastrophes which reduced the defences of the towns of Old Europe. The Carphatian, Danubian, and Balkanic cultures were too densely populated and technologically advanced to allow for a massive migration.
In comparison the forest-steppe R1a people successfully penetrated into the heart of Europe with little hindrance, due to the absence of developed agrarian societies around Poland and the Baltic. The Corded Ware (Battle Axe) culture (3200-1800 BCE) was a natural northern and western expansion of the Yamna culture, reaching as far west as Germany and as far north as Sweden and Norway. DNA analysis from the Corded Ware confirmed the presence of R1a and R1b in Poland c. 2700 BCE and R1a central Germany around 2600 BCE. The Corded Ware tribes expanded from the northern fringe of the Yamna culture where R1a lineages were prevalent over R1b ones.
The expansion of R1b people into Old Europe was slower, but proved inevitable. In 2800 BCE, by the time the Corded Ware had already reached Scandinavia, the Bronze Age R1b cultures had barely moved into the Pannonian steppe. They established major settlements in the Great Hungarian Plain, the most similar habitat to their ancestral Pontic Steppes. Around 2500 BCE, the western branch of Indo-European R1b were poised for their next major expansion into modern Germany and Western Europe. By that time, the R1b immigrants had blended to a great extent with the indigenous Mesolithic and Neolithic populations of the Danubian basin, where they had now lived for 1,700 years.
The strongly partriarchal Indo-European elite remained almost exclusively R1b on the paternal side, but absorbed a high proportion of non-Indo-European maternal lineages. Hybridised, the new Proto-Indo-European R1b people would have lost most of their remaining Proto-Europoid or Mongolid features inherited from their Caspian origins (which were still clearly visible in numerous individuals from the Yamna period). Their light hair, eye and skin pigmentation, once interbred with the darker inhabitants of Old Europe, became more like that of modern Southern Europeans. The R1a people of the Corded Ware culture would come across far less populous societies in Northern Europe, mostly descended from the lighter Mesolithic population (haplogroup I1 and I2), and therefore retain more of their original pigmentation (although facial traits evolved considerably in Scandinavia, where the I1 inhabitants were strongly dolicocephalic and long-faced, as opposed to the brachycephalic and broad-faced steppe people).
Eupedia – the R1b Conquest of Western Europe (2500-1200 BCE)
or nearly two millennia, starting from circa 4200 BCE, steppe people limited their conquest to the rich Chalcolithic civilisations of the Carpathians and the Balkans. These societies possessed the world’s largest towns, notably the tell settlements of the Cucuteni-Tripolye culture. Nothing incited the R1b conquerors to move further into Western Europe at such an early stage, because most of the land north and west of the Alps was still sparsely populated woodland. The Neolithic did not reach the British Isles and Scandinavia before circa 4000 BCE. Even northern France and most of the Alpine region had been farming or herding for less than a millennium and were still quite primitive compared to Southeast Europe and the Middle East. North-west Europe remained a tribal society of hunter-gatherers practising only limited agriculture for centuries after the conquest of the Balkans by the Indo-Europeans. Why would our R1b “conquistadors” leave the comfort of the wealthy and populous Danubian civilisations for the harsh living conditions that lie beyond ? Bronze Age people coveted tin, copper, and gold, of which the Balkans had plenty, but that no one had yet discovered in Western Europe.R1b-L51 is thought to have arrived in Central Europe (Hungary, Austria, Bohemia) around 2500 BCE, approximately two millennia after the shift to the Neolithic in these regions. Agrarian towns had started to develop. Gold and copper had begun to be mined. The prospects of a conquest were now far more appealing. The archeological and genetic evidence (distribution of R1b subclades) point at several consecutive waves towards eastern and central Germany between 2800 BCE and 2300 BCE. The Unetice culture was probably the first culture in which R1b-L11 lineages played a major role. It is interesting to note that the Unetice period happen to correspond to the end of the Maykop (2500 BCE) and Kemi Oba (2200 BCE) cultures on the northern shores of the Black Sea, and their replacement by cultures descended from the northern steppes. It can therefore be envisaged that the (mostly) R1b population from the northern half of the Black Sea migrated westward due to pressure from other Indo-European people (R1a) from the north, for example that of the burgeoning Proto-Indo-Iranian branch, linked to the contemporary Poltavka and Abashevo cultures.
It is doubtful that the Bell Beaker culture (2800-1900 BCE) in Western Europe was already Indo-European because its attributes are in perfect continuity with the native Megalithic cultures. The Beaker phenomenon started during the Late Neolithic and Early Chalcolithic in Portugal and propagated to the north-east towards Germany. During the same period Bronze Age steppe cultures spread from Germany in the opposite direction towards Iberia, France and Britain, progressively bringing R1b lineages into the Bell Beaker territory. Ancient DNA tests conducted by Lee et al. (2012), Haak et al. (2015) and Allentoft et al. (2015)have all confirmed the presence of R1b-L51 (and deeper subclades such as P312 and U152) in Germany from the Bell Beaker period onwards, but none in earlier cultures. German Bell Beaker R1b samples only had about 50% of Yamna autosomal DNA and often possessed Neolithic non-Steppe mtDNA, which confirms that R1b invaders took local wives as they advanced westward.DNA samples from the Unetice culture (2300-1600 BCE) in Germany, which emerged less than two centuries after the apperance of the first R1b individuals in the late Bell Beaker Germany, had a slightly higher percentage of Yamna ancestry (60~65%) and of Yamna-related mtDNA lineages, which indicates a migration of both steppe men and women. That would explain why archeological artefacts from the Unetice culture are clearly Yamna-related (i.e. Indo-European), as they abruptly introduced new technologies and a radically different lifestyle, while the Bell Beaker culture was in direct continuity with previous Neolithic or Chalcolithic cultures. R1b men may simply have conquered the Bell Beaker people and overthrown the local rulers without obliterating the old culture due to their limited numbers. Taking the analogy of the Germanic migrations in the Late Antiquity, the R1b invasion of the Bell Beaker period was more alike to that of the Goths, Burgunds and Vandals, who all migrated in small numbers, created new kingdoms within the Roman empire, but adopted Latin language and Roman culture. In contrast, the Corded Ware and Unetice culture involved large-scale migrations of steppe people, who imposed their Indo-European language and culture and conquered people, just like the Anglo-Saxons or the Bavarians did in the 5th century. The Únětice culture practiced skeletal inhumations, however occasionally cremation was also practised. A typical Úněticean cemetery was situated near a settlement, usually on a hill or acclivity and in the vicinity of a creek or river. The distance between the cemetery and the adjacent settlement very rarely exceeds a kilometer. Cemeteries were usually spatially organized, with symmetrical rows or alleys. Burials of the Únětice culture are orientated according to stars and the relative position of the sun on the horizon during the year, which indicate possibly quite advanced prehistoric astronomical observations. One of the most prominent characteristic is the position of the body in grave pit. Deceased were buried always in north-south alignment, with head south facing east. The body lied in a grave usually in slightly contracted position. Exceptions from this rule are sporadic. In classic phase (approx. 1850-1750 BC), Úněticean burial rite displays strong uniformity, regardless of the gender or age of the deceased. Men and women were buried in the same N-S position.
The cultures that succeeded to Unetice in Central Europe, chronologically the Tumulus culture (1600-1200 BCE), Urnfield culture (1300-1200 BCE) and Hallstatt culture (1200-750 BCE) cultures remained typically Indo-European. The Hallstatt culture, centered around the Alps, is considered the first classical Celtic culture in Europe. It quickly expanded to France, Britain, Iberia, northern Italy and the Danube valley, probably spreading for the first time Celtic languages, although not bronze technology nor R1b lineages, which had both already spread over much of western Europe during the Bell Beaker period.
As the name implies, the Tumulus culture is distinguished by the practice of burying the dead beneath burial mounds – tumuli or kurgans! – R1A.
The Urnfield culture (c. 1300 BCE – 750 BCE) name comes from the custom of cremating the dead and placing their ashes in urns which were then buried in fields. The Urnfield culture followed the Tumulus culture and was succeeded by the Hallstatt culture. Linguistic evidence and continuity with the following Hallstatt culture suggests that the people of this area spoke an early form of Celtic, perhaps originally proto-Celtic. R1B!
The neolithic Cucuteni-Trypillian culture of modern-day northeastern Romania and Ukraine were also practicing cremation rituals as early as approximately 5,500 BCE!
One important archeological argument in favour of the replacement of Neolithic cultures by Indo-European culture in the Bronze Age comes from pottery styles. The sudden appearance of bronze technology in Western Europe coincides with ceramics suddenly becoming more simple and less decorated, just like in the Pontic steppes. Until then, pottery had constantly evolved towards greater complexity and details for over 3,000 years. Besides pottery, archeology provides ample evidence that the early Bronze Age in Central and Western Europe coincides with a radical shift in food production. Agriculture experiences an abrupt reduction in exchange for an increased emphasis on domesticates. This is also a period when horses become more common and cow milk is being consumed regularly. The oeverall change mimicks the steppe way of life almost perfectly. Even after the introduction of agriculture around 5200 BCE, the Bug-Dniester culture and later steppe cultures were characterized by an economy dominated by herding, with only limited farming. This pattern expands into Europe exactly at the same time as bronze working. Religious beliefs and arts undergo a complete reversal in Bronze Age Europe. Neolithic societies in the Near East and Europe had always worshipped female figurines as a form of fertility cult. As bronze technology spreads from the Danube valley to Western Europe, symbols of fertility and fecundity progressively disappear and are replaced by scultures of domesticated animals.
Another clue that Indo-European steppe people came in great number to Central and Western Europe is to be found in burial practices. Neolithic Europeans either cremated their dead (e.g. Cucuteni-Tripolye culture) or buried them in collective graves (this was the case of Megalithic cultures). In the steppe, each person was buried individually, and high-ranking graves were placed in a funeral chamber and topped by a circular mound. The body was typically accompanied by weapons (maces, axes, daggers), horse bones, and a dismantled wagon (or later chariot). These characteristic burial mounds are known as kurgans in the Pontic steppe. Men were given more sumptuous tombs than women, even among children, and differences in hierarchy are obvious between burials. The Indo-Europeans had a strongly hierarchical and patrilinear society, as opposed to the more egalitarian and matrilinear cultures of Old Europe. The proliferation of status-conscious male-dominant kurgans (or tumulus) in Central Europe during the Bronze Age is a clear sign that the ruling elite had now become Indo-European. The practice also spread to central Asia and southern Siberia, two regions where R1a and R1b lineages are found nowadays, just like in Central Europe. The adoption of some elements of a foreign culture tends to happen when one civilization overawes the adjacent cultures by its superiority. This process is called ‘acculturation’. However there is nothing that indicates that the steppe culture was so culturally superior as to motivate a whole continent, even Atlantic cultures over 2000 km away from the Pontic steppes, to abadndon so many fundamental symbols of their own ancestral culture, and even their own language. In fact, Old Europe was far more refined in its pottery and jewellery than the rough steppe people. The Indo-European superiority was not cultural but military, thanks to horses, bronze weapons and an ethic code valuing individual heroic feats in war (these ethic values are known from the old IE texts, like the Rig Veda, Avesta, or the Mycenaean and Hittite literature).
Metal-mining and stockbreeding explain R1b dominance in Atlantic fringe. First I realised that haplogroup R1b originated somewhere between Central Asia and the Middle East, then moved through the Pontic steppe where it became associated with Indo-European culture, before pushing its way through the Danube valley and Western Europe. It all made sense. One thing kept bugging me with this nice theory. How did R1b lineages come to replace most of the older lineages in Western Europe ? I tried to explain that with a series of factors (polygamy, status, war…), but somehow that still didn’t explain why R1b reached tremendous frequencies in places like Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany or the Basque country, and not elsewhere. I think I have come up with a reasonable answer to this mystery.
I was looking at a map of metal-rich zones in Europe, and more specifically where copper, tin, silver and gold mines had been established in the Copper and Bronze Age. The richest regions were the Anatolia, North Caucasus, the Carpathians (Romania), the Balkans (especially central Bulgaria), the Alps, and the Atlantic fringe of Europe ( Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany). This was exactly the migration route I had established a year ago for R1b1b2. R1b people were evidently metal workers.
The second element that dawned on me is that the Atlantic fringe from Galicia to the Scottish Highlands, must have been poor agricultural land for early farmers. This may be why farming spread later to these regions, and that aboriginal Megalithic cultures thrived there more than anywhere else. What does that have to do with R1b ? The Proto-Italo-Celts that brought R1b lineages to Western Europe from the North Caucasus and Pontic steppes had an economy relying on stockbreeding and herding more than farming. The European Bronze Age is characterised by the sharp diminution in agriculture and an increase in domesticates. The steppe culture was replacing the Neolithic lifestyle.
Where else could this have the most dramatic effect on the population structure than in the Atlantic fringe, where the Neolithic/Chalcolithic population was sparser than elsewhere due to the late adoption of agriculture and low yield of the farms ? The arrival of the metal-hungry, horse-riding and warlike Indo-Europeans with their bronze swords and axes was a death sentence to the locals. The green pastures of the Atlantic were a boon for the flocks of cattle and herds of sheep of the Indo-Europeans. It was like a milder-climate version of the steppes with the added bonus of being rich in copper and tin, the two components of bronze.To verify my hypothesis, I checked the mtDNA frequencies around Europe to see which region had the most maternal lineages typically associated with the Pontic-Caspian steppes, Caucasus and northern Anatolia. Compared with other Western European countries, Ireland has more steppe/Indo-European mtDNA than France/Italy (5.26%), Iberia (5.4%), Scandinavia (6.52%) or England/Wales (7.69%), and only slightly less than Germany (8.74%) and the Alps (Austria/Switzerland, 9.04%). This could mean that a major population replacement happened in Ireland, not just for paternal linages but also maternal ones. As expected by the pattern of Danubian migration, South Germany has much more Pontic/Caucasian-specific mtDNA (12% against 4.6%). Austria has 9.4%, Switzerland 8.4% and Alpine Italy 7.9%. The number of IE mtDNA diminishes as one moves away from the Danube. In Spain, Galicians (12.3%), Catalonians (26.6% ! => all U4 and W) stand out remarkably against Central Spaniards (4.4%), Southern Spaniards (6.5%) and Portuguese (7.5%). Cantabrians (10.3%) also have a higher than average number of Pontic/Caucasian mt-haplogroups. Catalonia has the highest percebtage of R1b in Spain along with the Basque country. The Basques, on the other hand, have 0% of I/U2/U3/U4/W according to Helgason and 1.8% in Maca-Meyer’s study. The Basque country is the only high R1b region that lacks its mtDNA equivalents. The best explanation is that the Basque was not settled by Indo-Europeans, but that its male rulers (and aristocracy) became Indo-European and married local princesses/women. The founder effect would have amplified quickly with time if the R1b royalty/nobility produced a lot of sons (gender bias) or took a lot of local wives (polygamy). This is surely why the Basques did not lose their pre-IE language and identity. In any case, the weighed average for Y-DNA and mtDNA is lower among the Basques than for most of Western Europeans.
Overall, we see that the regions of Western and Central Europe with the highest frequencies of Pontic-Caspian/Caucasian mtDNA are found around the Alps (12% peak in southern Germany), in Catalonia (Pyrenees region) and in the metal-rich, rocky, pasture lands unsuitable for primitive agriculture of Ireland, Cornwall, Cantabria and Galicia. It is probably not a coincidence that Ireland, Cornwall or Galicia have retained a stronger Celtic identity than other places in Europe.
Lactase tolerance in Europe seems to be another piece of evidence that supports the theory of Maciamo. This report mentions that the T-13910 lactase persistence allele increases in frequency as one moves from SE to NW in Europe. Its authors found that lactase persistence also increases in frequency from SE to NW in the British Isles, interestingly enough, i.e., in the direction of increasing R1b1b2 frequency. That same report (the second one) mentions the authors’ belief that the T-13910 lactase peristence allele originated somewhere between the Caucasus and the Urals.
Maciamo again: I have revised my principal hypothesis regarding the propagation of haplogroup G2a3. Its presence in mountainous areas of Greece, Italy and southern France originally led me to think that it was linked to the diffusion of goat and sheep herding in the Neolithic via the Cardium Pottery culture. However, three novel elements made me change my mind (or rather think of an additional migration). Firstly, the most common subclade of G2a in Europe is G2a3b1, and this clade is estimated to be only approx. 4500 years old. It is too young for a Neolithic dispersal across Europe. Secondly, this G2a3b1 has been found in India alongside R1b1b2. If my theory that the Proto-Indo-European speakers originated near the Caucasus is correct, then we are almost bound to find some G2a in places settled by R1b1b. The modern Ossetians and Georgians have very high levels of both haplogroups. I think that the two originally represented different ethnic and linguistic groups (Indo-European vs Caucasian family), but their proximity would have led to some blending of population in the Caucasus region over time. Thirdly, I realised that G2a3 was also high in northern Portugal, Galicia, Cantabria, Wales, the Alps and Bohemia, and it occurred to me that it was in the same copper- and tin-rich regions that the Indo-European R1b1b2 would have favoured. Brittany, Cornwall and Ireland do not have much G2a3 though, but extremely high levels of R1b1b2 to make up for it. G2a3 would therefore represent Indo-Europeanised Caucasian people who migrated with R1b1b2 during the Bronze Age. It is possible that G2a3 percentage in western and central Europe remained fairly stable over time, while an originally small ruling elite of R1b1b2 grew exponentially due to their higher birth rate and cultural Indo-European predisposition of favouring of sons.
Further evidence for the settlement patterns of the Indo-European in western Europe can inferred from the better documented and more archaeologically explicit Indo-Iranian branch in Central Asia. The eastern expansion of the Indo-Europeans started with the occupation of the eastern Ural mountains, as far as the Tobol and Ishim valleys, all copper-rich regions. The newly acquired resources of the Proto-Indo-Iranians of the Sintashta culture boosted the bronze production, which combined with the newly invented war chariot permitted a full-scale invasion of Central Asia. The Indo-Iranians aimed for the metal-rich regions, such as the valleys of the Syr Darya and Amu Darya in Bactria, the Tian Shan and the Altai mountains. All are hotspots of R1a (with some R1b) nowadays. The mining region of Bactria was a base for the subsequent conquest of the Indian subcontinent and Persia. There is no reason to believe that the western branch of the Indo-Europeans should have behaved in a radically different way in their settling of Europe. Copper and tin were vital for IE Bronze-age society. Indo-European rulers from the Maykop and Yamna cultures were also notoriously avid of gold and silver, as attested by objects and jewellery found in Kurgan graves.The Atlantic Celtic branch (L21) The Proto-Italo-Celto-Germanic R1b people had reached in what is now Germany by 2500 BCE. By 2300 BCE they had arrived in large numbers and founded the Unetice culture. Judging from the propagation of bronze working to Western Europe, those first Indo-Europeans reached France and the Low Countries by 2200 BCE, Britain by 2100 BCE and Ireland by 2000 BCE, and Iberia by 1800 BCE. This first wave of R1b presumably carried R1b-L21 lineages in great number (perhaps because of a founder effect), as these are found everywhere in western, northern and Central Europe. The early split of L21 from the main Proto-Celtic branch around Germany would explain why the Q-Celtic languages (Goidelic and Hispano-Celtic) diverged so much from the P-Celtic branch (La Tène, Gaulish, Brythonic), which appears to have expanded from the later Urnfield and Hallstat cultures.
The Italo-Celtic branch (S28/U152) Starting circa 1300 BCE, a new Bronze Age culture flourished around the Alps thanks to the abundance of metal in the region, and laid the foundation for the classical Celtic culture. It was actually the succession of three closely linked culture: the Urnfield culture, which would evolve into the Hallstatt culture (from 1200 BCE) and eventually into the La Tène culture (from 450 BCE). After the Unetice expansion to Western Europe between 2300 and 1800 BCE, the Urnfield/Hallstatt/La Tène period represents the second major R1b expansion that took place from Central Europe, pushing west to the Atlantic, north to Scandinavia, east to the Danubian valley, and eventually as far away as Greece, Anatolia, Ukraine and Russia, perhaps even until the Tarim basin in north-west China (=> see Tarim mummies.
The expansion of the Urnfield/Hallstatt culture to Italy is evident in the form of the Villanovan culture (c. 1100-700 BCE), which shared striking resemblances with the Urnfield/Hallstatt sites of Bavaria and Upper Austria. The Villanova culture marks a clean break with the previous Terramare culture. Although both cultures practised cremation, whereas Terramare people placed cremated remains in communal ossuaries like their Neolithic ancestors from the Near East, Villanovans used distinctive Urnfield-style double-cone shaped funerary urns, and elite graves containing jewellery, bronze armour and horse harness fittings were separated from ordinary graves, showing for the first time the development of a highly hierarchical society, so characteristic of Indo-European cultures. Quintessential Indo-European decorations, such as swastikas, also make their appearance. Originally a Bronze-age culture, the Villanova culture introduced iron working to the Italian peninsula around the same time as it appeared in the Hallstatt culture, further reinforcing the link between the two cultures. In all likelihood, the propagation of the Villanova culture represents the Italic colonisation of the Italian peninsula. The highest proportion of R1b-S28 is found precisely where the Villanovans were the more strongly established, around modern Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna.
The E Europe/W Asia branch. When R1b crossed the Caucasus in the Late Neolithic, it split into two main groups. The western one (L51) would settle the eastern and northern of the Black Sea. The eastern one (Z2103 + M73) migrated to the Don-Volga region, where horses were domesticated circa 4600 BCE. R1b probably mixed with indigenous R1a people and founded the Repin culture (3700-3300 BCE) a bit before the Yamna culture came into existence in the western Pontic Steppe. R1b would then have migrated with horses along the Great Eurasian Steppe until the Altai mountains in East-Central Asia, where they established the Afanasevo culture (c. 3600-2400 BCE). Afanasevo people might be the precursors of the Tocharian branch of Indo-European languages alongside haplogroup R1a (=> see Tarim mummies).
R1b people who stayed in the Volga-Ural region were probably the initiators of the Poltavka culture (2700-2100 BCE), then became integrated into the R1a-dominant Sintashta-Petrovka culture (2100-1750 BCE) linked to the Indo-Aryan conquest of Central and South Asia (=> see R1a for more details).
The Hittites (c. 2000-1178 BCE) were the first Indo-Europeans to defy (and defeat) the mighty Mesopotamian and Egyptian empires. There are two hypotheses regarding the origins of the Hittites. The first is that they came from the eastern Balkans and invaded Anatolia by crossing the Bosphorus. That would mean that they belonged either to the L23* or the Z2103 subclade. The other plausible scenario is that they were an offshoot of the late Maykop culture, and that they crossed the Caucasus to conquer the Hattian kingdom (perhaps after being displaced from the North Caucasus by the R1a people of the Catacomb culture). In that case the Hittites might have belonged to the R1b-M269* or the R1b-M73 subclade. The first hypothesis has the advantage of having a single nucleus, the Balkans, as the post-Yamna expansion of all Indo-European R1b. The Maykop hypothesis, on the other hand, would explain why the Anatolian branch of IE languages (Hittite, Luwian, Lydian, Palaic) is so archaic compared to other Indo-European languages, which would have originated in Yamna rather than Maykop.
There is substantial archaeological and linguistic evidence that Troy was an Indo-European city associated with the steppe culture and haplogroup R1b. The Trojans were Luwian speakers related to the Hittites (hence Indo-European), with attested cultural ties to the culture of the Pontic-Caspian steppe. The first city of Troy dates back to 3000 BCE, right in the middle of the Maykop period. Troy might have been founded by Maykop people as a colony securing the trade routes between the Black Sea and the Aegean. The founding of Troy happens to coincide exactly with the time the first galleys were made. Considering the early foundation of Troy, the most likely of the two Indo-European paternal haplogroups would be R1b-M269 or L23.
The Phrygians and the Proto-Armenians are two other Indo-European tribes stemming from the Balkans. Both appear to have migrated to Anatolia around 1200 BCE, during the ‘great upheavals’ of the Eastern Mediterranean (see below). The Phrygians (or Bryges) founded a kingdom (1200-700 BCE) in west central Anatolia, taking over most of the crumbling Hittite Empire. The Armenians crossed all Anatolia until Lake Van and settled in the Armenian Highlands. Nowadays 30% of Armenian belong to haplogroup R1b, the vast majority to the L23 subclade (=> see The Indo-European migrations to Armenia).
Most of the R1b found in Greece today is of the Balkanic Z2103 variety. There is also a minority of Proto-Celtic S116/P312 and of Italic/Alpine Celtic S28/U152. L23 could have descended from Albania or Macedonia during the Dorian invasion (see below), thought to have happened in the 12th century BCE. Their language appear to have been close enough to Mycenaean Greek to be mutually intelligible and easy for locals to adopt. The Mycenaeans might have brought some R1b (M269 or L23) to Greece, but their origins can be traced back through archaeology to the Catacomb culture and the Seima-Turbino phenomenon of the northern forest-steppe, which would make them primarily an R1a1a tribe. Greek and Anatolian S116 and some S28 lineages could be attributed to the La Tène Celtic invasions of the 3rd century BCE. The Romans also certainly brought S28 lineages (=> see Genetics of the Italian people), and probably also the Venetians later on, notably on the islands. Older clades of R1b, such as P25 and V88, are only a small minority and would have come along E1b1b, G2a and J2 from the Middle East.
North of the Danube, Dacians occupied a larger territory than Ptolemaic Dacia,stretching between Bohemia in the west and the Dniepercataracts in the east, and up to the Pripyat, Vistula, and Oder rivers in the north and northwest. In BC 53, Julius Caesar stated that the Dacian territory was on the eastern border of the Hercynian forest. According to Strabo’s Geographica, written around AD 20, the Getes (Geto-Dacians) bordered the Suevi who lived in the Hercynian Forest, which is somewhere in the vicinity of the river Duria, the present-day Vah (Waag). Dacians lived on both sides of the Danube.  According to Strabo, Moesians also lived on both sides of the Danube. According to Agrippa, Dacia was limited by the Baltic Ocean in the North and by the Vistula in the West. The names of the people and settlements confirm Dacia’s borders as described by Agrippa. Dacian people also lived south of the Danube.
The Únětice culture practiced skeletal inhumations, however occasionally cremation was also practised. Wietenberg and Otomani were the first cultures to develop bronze technology in Transylvania. While Otomani, Unetice and all the other cultures around still had inhumation, Wietenberg had cremation and urns. When all the other cultures had only stone tools, Wietenberg had a well develope bronze and gold technology, followed by Otomani culture. Cremation could come from Cucuteni who used to burn everything. The neolithic Cucuteni-Trypillian culture of modern-day northeastern Romania and Ukraine were practicing cremation rituals as early as approximately 5,500 BC. The shift to cremation rather than interment around 1300 BC, gave archaeologists a name for the burgeoning Urnfield culture. The typical Urnfield burial used a urn to contain the ashes of the desceased, capped by an upturned bowl, set into a pit. The usage had spread over much of Europe by 1000 BC. Any type of cremation was uncommon earlier over most of Europe except the Carpathian Basin, where it appears among the Makó and Bell Beaker groups as early as c. 2700 to 2400 BC. So this region has often been considered the starting point for the Urnfield tradition.
In Transylvania, the Celts shifted from inhumation to cremation, either through natural progression or because of Dacian influence. Almost without exception, the necropoleis so far studied are bi-ritual, although cremation appears to be more prevalent than inhumation. The Celts in Dacia certainly cremated their dead from the second La Tène period onwards. Archaeological sites of the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC reveal a pattern of co-existence and fusion between the bearers of La Tène culture and the indigenous Dacians.
The E Europe/W Asia branch R1b-Z2103 seems to be more important than the later La Tene R1b influence, for the formation of Dacians. The Dacians probably had an I2 old continuity that absorbed the R1a waves (thracian & scythian), the first R1b-Z2103 than the much later R1b La Tene wave. The cremation could be a tradition going back to the millenia old Burned House Horizon, while the metal working go back to Vinca/Cucuteni cultures but it is strongly relatied to R1b people.
Strabo describes the Getae and Dacians as distinct but cognate tribes, but also states that they spoke the same language. This distinction refers to the regions they occupied. Strabo and Pliny the Elder also state that Getae and Dacians spoke the same language. According to Strabo’s Geographica, the original name of the Dacians was Δάοι “Daoi“.The ethnographic name Daci is found under various forms within ancient sources. Greeks used the forms Δάκοι “Dakoi” (Strabo, Dio Cassius, and Dioscorides). Latins used the forms Davus, Dacus, and a derived form Dacisci (Vopiscus and inscriptions). There are similarities between the ethnonyms of the Dacians and those of Dahae (Greek Δάσαι Δάοι, Δάαι, Δαι, Δάσαι Dáoi, Dáai, Dai, Dasai; Latin Dahae, Daci), an Indo-European people located east of the Caspian Sea, until the 1st millennium BCE. Scholars have suggested that there were links between the two peoples since ancient times. Opinions on the origins of the name Daci are divided. Some scholars consider it to originate in the Indo-European *dha-k-, with the stem *dhe– “to put, to place”, while others think that the name Daci originates in *daca — “knife, dagger” or in a word similar to daos, meaning “wolf” in the related language of the Phrygians. Another hypothesis is that “Getae” and “Daci” are Iranian names of two Iranian-speaking Scythian groups that had been assimilated into the larger Thracian-speaking population of the later “Dacia”. A possible connection with the Phrygian daos, meaning “wolf” was suggested by Decev in 1957. The Phrygian meaning is supported by Hesychius‘s notes. This hypothesis has had a large diffusion due to historian Mircea Eliade. In later times, some Roman auxiliaries recruited from the Dacian area were referred to as Phrygi. Moreover, a endonym linked to wolves has been demonstrated or proposed for other ancient Indo-European tribes, including the Luvians, Lycians, Lucanians, Hyrcanians, and Dahae.
Mircea Eliade attempted, in his book From Zalmoxis to Genghis Khan, to give a mythological foundation to an alleged special relation between Dacians and the wolves.
It is generally proposed that a proto-Dacian or proto-Thracian people developed from a mixture of indigenous peoples and Indo-Europeans from the time of Proto-Indo-European expansion in the Early Bronze Age (3,300–3,000 BC) when the latter, around 1500 BC, conquered the indigenous peoples. The indigenous people were Danubian farmers, and the invading people of the BC 3rd millennium were Kurgan warrior-herders from the Ukrainian and Russian steppes. Indo-Europeanization was complete by the beginning of the Bronze Age. The people of that time are best described as proto-Thracians, which later developed in the Iron Age into Danubian-Carpathian Geto-Dacians as well as Thracians of the eastern Balkan Peninsula. Between BC 15th–12th century, the Dacian-Getae culture was influenced by the Bronze Age Tumulus-Urnfield warriors who were on their way through the Balkans to Anatolia. When the La Tène Celts arrived in BC 4th century, the Dacians were under the influence of the Scythians.
The ancient Egyptians developed an intricate transmigration of soul theology, which prohibited cremation. This was also widely adopted used by Semitic peoples. The Babylonians, according to Herodotus, embalmed their dead. Early Persians practiced cremation, but this became prohibited during the Zoroastrian Period. Phoenicians practiced both cremation and burial. From the Cycladic civilisation in 3000 BCE until the Sub-Mycenaean era in 1200–1100 BCE, Greeks practiced inhumation.
Maykop cultare practised inhumation in a pit, sometimes stone-lined, topped with a kurgan (or tumulus). Stone cairns replace kurgans in later interments. The Maykop kurgansn were extremely rich in gold and silver artifacts; unusual for the time.
David Anthony’s “The Horse, the Wheel and Language” (THWL). One of the first references to cremation in the THWL book is to the Cotsofeni culture ~ 3500 BCE as mountain refuges in western Romania escaping from conflicts with IE tribes. There is not much detail except that they buried their ashes in flat graves. One of the early references to IE tribes to take up cremation along with inhumation burial is the ‘Middle Dneiper‘ culture 2800-2600 BCE. The Sintashta culture had rituals that closely resembled the descriptions in Rig Veda, and hence probably the origins of the later Indo-Iranian (II) and the Indo-Aryan (IA) sub-branches. But the funeral practices here still continued to be inhumation, being more elaborate with Sintashta chiefs who were buried with Horses, chariots, weapons and multiple animal sacrifices.
With the IE tribes moving towards the north-eastern region, it seems a shift occurred around the time of the Andronovo horizon (which proceeded the Sintashta culture) where both inhumation and cremation were practiced in two sub-cultures identified by their pottery styles – Alkakul (inhumation) and Federovo (cremation). Fedorovo (1500–1300 BCE) in southern Siberia (earliest evidence of cremation and fire cult), probably the ashes were collected into an urn and buried. While cremation became ubiquitous in Hinduism, it came to be disavowed in Zoroastrianism. However, even earlier evidences of vedic fire altars have been found at the Indus Valley sites of Kalibangan and Lothal, giving rise to speculations towards earlier assumed the geographical location of the early Indo-Iranians.
In the archaeology of Neolithic Europe, the burned house horizon is the geographical extent of the phenomenon of intentionally burned settlements. This was a widespread and long-lasting tradition in what is now Southeastern and Eastern Europe, lasting from as early as 6500 BCE (the beginning of the Neolithic) to as late as 2000 BCE (the end of the Chalcolithic and the beginning of the Bronze Age). A notable representative of this tradition is the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, which was centered on the burned-house horizon both geographically and temporally.
- The Cucuteni-Trypillian culture had the largest settlements in history up to their time.
- There is evidence that every single settlement in this culture probably practiced house burning.
- This culture practiced house burning for a longer period of time (1600 years), and for a later date (up to 3200 BC), than any of the other cultures.:p.102
- The Cucuteni-Trypillian culture was considered by some scholars to be the largest and most influential of the Neolithic cultures of eastern Europe during the transition to the Eneolithic period. :p.196
|Name of Culture||Location of culture||Duration of Practice|
|Criş culture||Bulgaria, Moldavia, Serbia, Wallachia||5900 to 4750 BC|
|Starčevo culture||northwest Bulgaria, Kosovo, Serbia, Drina Valley in Southwest Srpska Republic, southern Vojvodina,||5750 to 5250 BC|
|Dudeşti culture||southeast Muntenia||5500 to 5250 BC|
|Vinča culture||Serbia, Transylvania||5500 to 4000 BC|
|Szakálhát group||southern Hungary, Vojvodina, northern Transylvania||5260 to 4880 BC|
|Boian culture||northern Bulgaria, Muntenia, southeast Transylvania||5250 to 4400 BC|
|Tisza culture||Hungary, Moldavia, Slovakia, Transylvania, western Ukraine, Vojvodina||4880 to 4400 BC|
|Gumelniţa-Karanovo culture||eastern Wallachia, northern Dobruja||4400 to 3800 BC|
|Bubanj-Sălcuţa-Krivodol group||northwestern Bulgaria, Oltenia, southern Serbia||4300 to 3800 BC.|
|Cucuteni-Trypillian culture||Moldavia, Transylvania, Western Ukraine to Dnieper River||4800 to 3200 BC.|
During the Neolithic Period the dead were buried inside their houses -beneath the floor- or very close to them, at the limits of the settlements they had lived in. Burials were as a rule isolated, while cemeteries have rarely been encountered.
1. Primary internment of the dead in simple pits (simple inhumations), usually in a contracted but also crouched position
2. Cremation of the dead, partial (Early Neolithic) or complete (Late Neolithic), accompanied by vases, or cremations in which the cremated were in several cases placed in vases, the first known in Greece and some of the oldest in Europe.
3. Collecting the bones (skull, thighs, ribs) of the dead individual and burying these beneath the floors of the house (Prodromos in Karditsa) or in a specific part of a cave (a kind of ossuary in Alepotrypa in Diros).
During the Neolithic Period the dead were buried inside their houses -beneath the floor- or very close to them, at the limits of the settlements they had lived in. There is evidence of three types of burial customs from excavations carried out in Greece:
1. Primary internment of the dead in simple pits (simple inhumations), usually in a contracted but also crouched position.
2. Cremation of the dead, partial (Early Neolithic) or complete (Late Neolithic), accompanied by vases, or cremations in which the cremated were in several cases placed in vases, the first known in Greece and some of the oldest in Europe.
3. Collecting the bones (skull, thighs, ribs) of the dead individual and burying these beneath the floors of the house.
In mainland Europe a number of later Mesolithic cemeteries have been identified. At Vedbaek, Denmark (c.6000 years ago).Padina area, Yugoslavia. Nine sites along the Danube have produced 350 bodies. These were Cro-Magnon people with long skulls, large brow ridges and large jaws, and were heavily muscled skeletons. Zvejnieka, Lithuania (7500-5000 years ago) produced c.60 graves of Mesolithic date. In the Neolithic burial practices are characterized by collective burial in large, highly visible monuments, and by ritual practices resulting in the scattering of human bones in non-funerary contexts.In the early Bronze Age (c.4700-3700 years ago) a new form of burial rite, the so-called Beaker burials, began to appear around 4700 years ago. These are crouched inhumations accompanied by a particular pottery form known as a beaker and covered by a small round earthen mound. The people buried in this way generally have broad, rounded skulls in comparison with the Neolithic burials, and they had previously been thought of as invaders.
INHUMATION VERSUS CREMATION IN TRANSYLVANIAN NEOLITHIC AND ENEOLITHIC – MIHAI GLIGOR, SANDA BĂCUEȚ CRIȘAN In the past decades, excavations in Europe have provided irrefutable evidence of cremation rite practices, even from the Mesolithic. In any case, the use of fire as a purifying element is a pattern that often comes across in mortuary practices. Mesolithic cremations from Iron Gates Vlasac (Serbia) are an important part of secondary mortuary rites.In Hungary, at Aszód (Lengyel culture) mostly inhumation graves were investigated, but also cremation graves83. Two other finds are from Öcsöd-Kovácshalom84 (Tisza culture). Of the 436 graves, 72 burials (16.5% of them) from the Copper-Age cemetery at Budakalász were cremation burials85 (scattered cremation and in-urn graves). Having an overall image of the Neolithic discoveries we can state that most of cremations graves belong to LBK communities (500 graves of 2500),91 burials discovered in settlements or which are part of the bi-ritual necropolises like the one in the Czech Republic at Kralice na Hané where from 78 graves, 69 were cremation graves92 and the cremations cemetery from Modlniczka near Cracow, with 38 tombs.
In Transylvania the oldest incineration grave is M7 from Gura Baciului94 (StarčevoCriș culture). Until now, it is the only certain discovery for the Carpathian-Danubian Early and Middle Neolithic. The Late Neolithic of the Romanian north-western area also presents some discoveries that show cremation practices. In the past decades, cremation graves were found at Tășad95, Suplacu de Barcău– Corău I96 (Bihor County), Zalău–Uroikert97, Zalău–Dealul Lupului98 and Porț–Corău99 (Sălaj County). We note that Suplacu de Barcău and Porț are parts of the same archaeological site, separated by administrative reasons100. Late Neolithic funerary discoveries from Porț–Corău (Pl. IV/1) stand above the others in terms of numbers and diversity of the ritual. Both cremation and inhumation103 were identified as funerary practices in the Suplac communities from Porț.
Cultura Wietenberg – incineratie+urne spre deosebire de culturile Otomani, Mures, Monteoru care practicau inhumatia. Cultura Wietenberg se distinge prin ceramica ei, care în faza de maturizare este caracterizată prin folosirea generalizată, în cadrul unei bogate decoraţii, a ornamenticii spiralice şi meandrice, în motive şi combinaţii foarte evoluate, adesea cu caracter de simboluri solare şi executate în tehnici variate (incizie, împunsături, ştampilare, incrustaţie). Formele – cuprinzând căni cu o toartă, străchini, castroane şi vase de provizii – prezintă adesea contururi particulare, distingându-se printre ele mai ales strachina cu patru colţuri trase în sus, apoi vasul-raţă (askos) şi amfora.
SPIRALAwi – Culturile bronzului mijlociu şi tîrziu, în special cultura Sighişoara- Wietenberg din Transilvania, dar şi culturile Tei, din Muntenioa şi Otomani, din Banat şi parte din Transilvania au utilizat din plin motivele spiralo-meandrice. In epoca bronzului mijlociu, în cultura Gârla Mare – Cârna, cu dezvoltare în Oltenia şi Banat, motivele spiralo-meandrice recapătă gloria din trecut, poate chiar o şi depăşesc prin splendidele realizări în ceramica ornată cu cele mai frumoase desene spiralice ce pot fi admirate, printre multe altele, la muzeul “Porţilor de Fier” din municipiul Drobeta-Turnu Severin. Acum apar urne de incinerare cu motive spiralice şi aşa numitele “rochii clopot cu ornamente care, după C.Preda et al.,(1994) sunt aidoma celor ale “portului popular românesc din Banat indicând astfel o continuitate etnică multimilenară”. Această concluzie este întărită şi de existenţa spiralelor de tip Gârla Mare- Cârna în cusăturile de pe cămăşile populare gorjeneşti unde apar asociate uneori şi cu meandrul.
In epoca fierului spirala este frecventă în cultura Basarabi din Oltenia şi mai puţin în cultura Babadag din Dobrogea. Mai târziu, cultura Ferigile (400-300) se caracterizează prin motive spiralice ireproşabil realizate, despre care Vl. Dumitrescu (1974) afirma: “adevăratele motive decorative care se înscriu pe linia aceleiaşi mari înclinaţii spre abstractul geometric şi spiralic, ca mai toată ornamentica ceramicii preistorice din România”.
Importanţa cultică a spiralei rezultă şi din frecventa ei utilizare ca simbol atropaic pus pe mânerele săbiilor, pe coifuri, scuturi topoare de război şi altele asemenea, simboluri prezente atât în epoca bronzului, cât şi mai târziu, în epoca fierului şi în primele secole ale erei creştine.