During the Bronze Age Aryans originally from Arya near northern Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan area migrated to the Black Sea area. They were herders and developed metal weapons. R1a took the northern route to Europe and took over much of northern Europe. R1b however took the Danube River route. They were after Copper and Tin mining area and and killed or drove all the original Europeans of I Haplogroup. Only in Scandinavia which was cold did the Haplogroup survived. The weaker R1b and R1a mixed with the I Haplogroup to form the Vikings. The Vikings went a rampage in all areas R1b areas like the British Isles whose Haplogroup I Europeans were killed or reduced to fairy tale Leprechauns. The Vikings could only be exacting revenge on the Aryans who took over their land.
Did the Indo-Europeans really invade Western Europe ?
Proponents of the Paleolithic or Neolithic continuity model argue that bronze technology and horses could have been imported by Western Europeans from their Eastern European neighbours, and that no actual Indo-European invasion need be involved. It is harder to see how Italic, Celtic and Germanic languages were adopted by Western and Northern Europeans without at least a small scale invasion. It has been suggested that Indo-European (IE) languages simply spread through contact, just like technologies, or because it was the language of a small elite and therefore its adoption conferred a certain perceived prestige. However people don't just change language like that because it sounds nicer or more prestigious. Even nowadays, with textbooks, dictionaries, compulsory language courses at school, private language schools for adults and multilingual TV programs, the majority of the people cannot become fluent in a completely foreign language, belonging to a different language family. The linguistic gap between pre-IE vernaculars and IE languages was about as big as between modern English and Chinese. English, Greek, Russian and Hindi are all related IE languages and therefore easier to learn for IE speakers than non-IE languages like Chinese, Arabic or Hungarian. From a linguistic point of view, only a wide-scale migration of IE speakers could explain the thorough adoption of IE languages in Western Europe - leaving only Basque as a remnant of the Neolithic languages.
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. People do not just decide like that to revert to a more primitive style. Perhaps one isolated tribe might experiment with something simpler at one point, but what are the chances that distant cultures from Iberia, Gaul, Italy and Britain all decide to undertake such an improbable shift around the same time ? The best explanation is that this new style was imposed by foreign invaders. In this case it is not mere speculation; there is ample evidence that this simpler pottery is characteristic of the steppes associated with the emergence of Proto-Indo-European speakers.
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. The steppe cultures, on the contrary, did not manufacture female figurines. 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 ststus-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 ceremony of burial is one of the most emotionally charged and personal aspect of a culture. It is highly doubtful that people would change their ancestral practice "just to do like the neighbours". In fact, different funerary practices have co-existed side by side during the European Neolithic and Chalcolithic. The ascendancy of yet another constituent of the Pontic steppe culture in the rest of Europe, and in this case one that does not change easily through contact with neighbours, adds up to the likelihood of a strong Indo-European migration. 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 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).
After linguistics and archeology, the third category of evidence comes from genetics itself. It had first been hypothetised that R1b was native to Western Europe, because this is where it was most prevalent. It has since been proven that R1b haplotypes displayed higher microsatellite diversity in Anatolia and in the Caucasus than in Europe. European subclades are also more recent than Middle Eastern or Central Asian ones. The main European subclade, R-P312/S116, only dates back to approximately 3500 to 3000 BCE. It does not mean that the oldest common ancestor of this lineage arrived in Western Europe during this period, but that the first person who carried the mutation R-P312/S116 lived at least 5,000 years ago, assumably somewhere in the lower Danube valley or around the Black Sea. In any case this timeframe is far too recent for a Paleolithic origin or a Neolithic arrival of R1b. The discovery of what was thought to be "European lineages" in Central Asia, Pakistan and India hit the final nail on the coffin of a Paleolithic origin of R1b in Western Europe, and confirmed the Indo-European link.
All the elements concur in favour of a large scale migration of horse-riding Indo-European speakers to Western Europe between 2500 to 2100 BCE, contributing to the replacement of the Neolithic or Chalcolithic lifestyle by a inherently new Bronze Age culture, with simpler pottery, less farming, more herding, new rituals (single graves) and new values (patrilinear society, warrior heroes) that did not evolve from local predecessors.
Metal-mining and stockbreeding explain R1b dominance in Atlantic fringe
About one year ago, 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. The older subclades of R1b were found East. R1b1a was found among the Levantines and R1b1* in central Africa with a trail leading back to Egypt and the Middle East 12,000-15,000 years ago. The highest diversity of R1b1b1 and R1b1b2 was found in Anatolia and the Caucasus, and the split between these two haplogroups occurred around Anatolia. Both subclades were found in Russia, Central Asia and Pakistan, an obvious sign that they had been part of the Indo-European migrations, at least in Asia.
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.
Mitochondrial DNA analysis of R1b regions
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. The most easily identifiable Indo-European mtDNA lineages are I, U2, U3, U4 and W. The Indo-Europeans also had plenty of H, U5, and some K, T and V as well. Unfortunately, these haplogroups being the same as in the Neolithic European population, they are useless for comparison.
Here are the combined percentage for these five haplogroups for populations from Anatolia to the steppes, based on a Europe-wide study by Simoni et al.. Note that Simoni did not test for U2, so percentages should be a bit higher in southern Russia and the Caucasus.
- 17.7% for the Volga-Finnic people (mostly U4 with some I)
- 12.57% for European Russians (Helgason data)
- 24% for the Adygeys of the North Caucasus (very high incidence of I and U3)
- 19.9% for the Georgians of Central Caucasus (well balanced haplogroup distribution)
- 15.9% for the Turks (well balanced too)
- 16.7% for the Bulgarians (U3 and U4)
A high presence of Pontic-Caspian/Caucasian mtDNA in regions of Western Europe where R1b is high would indicate a migration on a large scale, not just a military conquest by men or a diffusion of royal/noble paternal lineages.
Ireland is an interesting case because it is the remotest part of Europe from the Pontic-Caspian region, and yet one where R1b makes up over 80% of male lineages. I wasn't expecting to find a link because I thought that R1b men would have intermarried to frequently with local European women for steppe mtDNA to survive in substantial level in the westernmost region of Europe.
Helgason's study gives respectively 2.34% of I, 0.78% of U2, 0% of U3, 2.34% of U4 and 2.34% of W. 7.80% in total. 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%).
H1, a haplogroup typical of the Paleolithic Western European population is surprisingly low in Ireland - in fact lower than anywhere else in Europe except Bulgaria and Turkey. This could mean that a major population replacement happened in Ireland, not just for paternal linages but also maternal ones.
Helgason's data for Cornwall (11.6%), Wales (3.3% - only hg I), mainland Britain (7%), Belgium (6.3%), France (5.4%) and Denmark (3.1%) confirms an exceptionally high incidence of IE maternal lineages in Cornwall, but not in Wales, by north-western European standards. Cornwall is one of the richest regions of Europe for tin, one of the most valuable metals during the Bronze Age. The Indo-Europeans would have settled in the region in great numbers to secure the resource. The data for modern Wales does not reflect the ancient population because modern Welsh descend mostly from ancient Britons from present-day England, pushed west by the Anglo-Saxons.
I couldn't find data for Brittany. Like for Wales, the modern population of Brittany hardly reflects on the ancient people, because Brittany was resettled by immigrants from Britain during the late Roman period.
Helgason's study separates data for North and South Germany. 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.
[url]5000 years of migrations from the Eurasian steppes to Europe
The Pontic-Caspian steppe, extending from the Danube estuary to the Ural mountains, has played a crucial part in European and Asian history. This is where the horse was domesticated, chariots invented, and one of the earliest place where the Bronze Age flourished and from which it expanded. From approximately 4000 BCE steppe people moved westwards to establish themselves around the Danube valley and the Carpathian basin, then little by little deeper into Europe. Here is a summary of this long series of migrations that is thought to have brought Indo-European languages an culture to Europe and contributed significantly to the modern European gene pool. You can visualize here the Bronze Age migrations .
- 4200-3900 BCE : Late Copper Age horse riders invade the old Balkanese tell settlements of eastern Romania and Bulgaria. Most of the towns and villages of the Gumelnita, Varna and Karanovo VI cultures are abandoned. A new hybrid culture emerge, the Suvorovo-Cernavoda culture (4000-3200 BCE), which will expand further south to the Aegean during the Ezero period (3300-2700 BCE).
- 3500 BCE : Other advances from the steppe into the Cucuteni-Tripolye culture lead to the formation of the hybrid Cotsofeni culture, also known as Usatovo culture, in north-eastern Romania.
- 3200-2800 BCE : First north-west expansion of the Yamna culture from the western steppe to modern Poland, Germany, Scandinavia and Baltic countries. Creation of the Corded-Ware (or Single Grave, or Battle-Axe) culture (3200-1800 BCE).
- 2800-2500 BCE : Hybrid people from the Cotsofeni and Ezero cultures start moving up the Danube and settle in mass in the Hungarian plain. The southward expansion of the Abashevo, Poltakva and Catacomb cultures from the Volga-Ural to the Black Sea shores pushed more pastoralists of the late Yamna culture to Europe.
- 2500-2300 BCE : Indo-Europeans expand from the Hungarian plain to Austria, Bohemia, Moravia, southern Poland and southern Germany and start the most important Central European Bronze Age culture : Unetice (or Aunjetitz).
- 2300-2000 BCE : The Indo-Europeans continue their advance to Western and Northern Europe, spreading the Bronze Age and the single grave tradition with them.
- 2000-1100 BCE : The Sea Peoples invade the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean from the north (probably from the Black Sea). This is one of the most controversial part of ancient history due to the lack of clear evidence about the origin of the Sea Peoples. The Indo-Europeans from the steppe or from Europe itself were the only warriors with sufficiently advanced weapons and knowledge of seafaring to have destroyed the powerful palace-states of Greece, Anatolia, the Levant and Egypt. It also fits the 1000-year interval otherwise lacking any major migration from the steppes, at the time when the eastern Indo-Europeans were conquering Pakistan and India from Central Asia.
- 800-550 BCE : the Cimmerians are ousted from the Pontic steppe by their cousins the Scythians coming from the Volga-Ural region and Central Asia. The Cimmerians settle in Anatolia and around modern Romania around 800 BCE. The Cimmerian culture commenced circa 1200 BCE. Some archaeologists place their origins in the North Caucasus. Some accounts have it that the Cimmerians moved to northern Germany and the Netherlands and became the ancestors of some Germanic tribes, like the Sicambri (ancestors of the Franks). The Scythians followed between 650 and 550 BCE in Transylvania, Hungary and southern Slovakia. They kept trade routes with the steppes until the Roman conquest of Pannonia and Dacia.
- 100-500 CE : the Huns from southern Siberia invade Eastern Europe, pushing the Alans (a Samartian-descended tribe) westward. The Goths, Vandals, Franks, Angles, Saxons, Jutes and others cross into the Roman Empire under pressure from the new steppe migrants.
- 550-1000 CE : the next invaders from the steppe were the Avars, who entered the lower Danube region in 562. The Avars established their dominion over the Danube basin, from central Romania to eastern Austria, from the late 6th to early 9th century.
In the 4th century, some Bulgars had crossed the Caucasus into Armenia while others had already followed the Huns, then the Avars to Central Europe. The Pontic steppe and North Caucasus was ruled by the Bulgars during the Old Great Bulgaria period in the 7th century. Under pressure from the Khazars, the Bulgars split in two groups; one migrating north to Volga Bulgaria, and the other to the Carpathians founding the First Bulgarian Empire (680–1018 CE) around modern Romania and Bulgaria.
The Magyars and Khazars migrated from the Ural-Volga region to modern Ukraine around 830, raided their way across the Carpathians as far as Bavaria, where they were stopped in 956, then established themselves permanently in Hungary in the 10th century and founding the Kingdom of Hungary in 1001.
- 1350-1550 CE : the last people from Central Asia to come to Europe were the Turks, who conquered the Balkans from 1359 to 1481, then the Carpathians and Hungary from 1520 to 1566. They were not technically from the Pontic-Caspian steppe, but from areas of Central Asia settled over 4000 years ago by the Indo-Europeans from the Volga-Ural steppe. Like other Turkic peoples (Huns, Avars, Bulgars, Khazars, Tatars) the Turks supposedly brought a lot of R1a lineages with them (+ a little R1b).
The continuous flow of steppe people had a cumulative effect on the European gene pool. The Copper and Bronze Age migrations are thought to have brought chiefly Y-haplogroup R1b1b2 (except the Corded-Ware expansion which originated in the forest-steppe and brought R1a1a) and mt-haplogroups U2, U3, U4, I, W to Europe, as well as other haplogroups that were there before like H, K, T, U5, V and X2.
The last presumably R1b people were the Cimmerians, who could have been R-U106/S21 based on the age and distribution of this subclade compared to the Cimmerian migration path. All subsequent migrations from the Scythians onwards would have brought Y-DNA R1a (as wel as some G1, G2a, N1c1 and Q).
South-East Europe now has the highest R1a diversity due to the numerous Eurasian tribes who settled there between 800 BCE and 1000 CE. Ancient DNA from the Scythians and more recent steppe people have confirmed that they belonged overwhelming to haplogroup R1a. [/url]