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Funnel Beaker, Corded Ware, Únětice, oh my!

Since David hasn’t mentioned it, I’m going to post some notes on Dynamic changes in genomic and social structures in third millennium BCE central Europe. This is a big deal because there’s a huge data-set spanning the Neolithic (older than 3000 BC) to the Bronze Age in Bohemia, looking at Globular Amphora, Corded Ware, Bell Beaker, and Únětice. Since I’m not too familiar with European archaeology, the most surprising thing that jumped out at me is that there was structure and variability in the nature and origins of the Neolithic societies in the region. The Bohemian Funnel Beaker populations seem to have been migrants from the west, for example.

The two big takeaways:

  1. Confirms serial admixture that tends to be female-mediated from Neolithic (though some “pure” steppe women also migrated)
  2. The Corded Ware and successor cultures in the region seem to have an affinity for an unsampled population to the north of the Yamnaya zone, in the forest-steppe

The first part is highlighted by the fact that several individuals with ~0% steppe ancestry are buried early on as “Corded Ware.” These were clearly individuals who were culturally assimilated, but their ancestry was totally different. Some of these women in particular seem to have been non-local as well, though from Neolithic societies. This suggests, unsurprisingly, that the ethnogenesis of Indo-European cultures was synthetic and complex. The figure to the top/right illustrates the trend whereby the earliest Corded Ware population exhibited far greater genetic distances between individuals than is to be found in modern European pairwise comparisons. This is part of the broader trend that over the recent past there’s been a massive worldwide panmixia.

Second, the Corded Ware has always been an awkward fit with a simple Yamnaya+Neolithic admixture. The stylized model, which I’ve repeated for simplicity, is that the Yamnaya moved west and mixed with the locals. Kristian Kristiansen explicitly refers to the Corded Ware as basically Yamnaya when I pushed him on this, and who am I to disagree with him? I think the key distinction here is that archaeologically the Corded Ware seems so much like European adaptations of the Yamnaya cultural toolkit…but genetically there are subtle indications of difference. Basically, the authors argue, plausibly, that the Corded Ware is not derived from the Yamnaya as such (their Y chromosomes do not match anyway), but a Yamnaya-adjacent population in the forest-steppe. This region seems to have also contributed a second pulse of migration which resulted in increased northeastern affinity, and a higher fraction of R1a lineages.

When it comes to the Y chromosomes, the authors conclude that inter-group competition was intense, and resulted in serial replacements of paternal lineages. The reproductive fitness gain they estimate for the elite lineages is 15% per generation, which is a very large number in evolutionary genetics (2% selection coefficients are large in this field). The Bell Beaker group seems to have been reflux from the west, and it itself was replaced later on by the Únětice.

One of the less supported, though still useful, models for the Corded Ware is a genetic influx from Pitted Ware samples, the mostly “EHG” hunter-gatherer group from Sweden. I think this supports the proportion that a group of early Yamnaya penetrated the forest-steppe, and assimilated hunter-gatherers in the southern portions of the taiga. If my read of the archaeology is correct, the overwhelmingly dominant culture of these synthetic groups was Yamnaya-like.

Finally, I have to wonder about these peoples’ association with and relationship to the Fatyanovo culture of western Russia, right in the forest-steppe. These groups seem to have been proto-Indo-Iranian judging by their R1a1a-Z93. One of the individuals in these data was clearly Z282, which is so common among Slavs (and Europe).

50 thoughts on “Funnel Beaker, Corded Ware, Únětice, oh my!

  1. It would probably be much simpler and clearer if specific DNA haplogroups were used for illustrations instead of for e.g. ‘people from the west’ or for using people’s occupations (e.g. ‘hunter gatherers’ or ‘farmers’).

    Here is maybe a better place to challenge my speculations that more than 1 million of people lived in Europe when Yamnaya (not more than 25000) came to Europe and in this light check the viability of sc. ‘Indo-European’ hypothesis. I have open mind for all objections/iterations from more knowledgeable people.

  2. Just when i thought I understood this topic.

    I thought that the Yamnya were the Indio-Europeans, and that the corded ware were their descendants who spread Indo-European languages through Europe.

    Now I am just confused.

  3. About their relation to Fatyanovo, Indo Iranians.

    Corded Ware in Bohemia can’t be directly related to Fatyanovo, Indo iranian’s ancestor.

    This is because they don’t have any R1a Z645, ancestor of Z93 and Z283.

    The first Corded Ware settlers in Bohemia are R1b L151. The next wave are R1a M417 (xZ645).

    Already published R1a in Corded Ware Germany and Poland is also xZ645. They are positive for L664.

    R1a Z645, ancestor of Z93 and Z283, must have lived only in the eastern part of Corded Ware.

    This is what Davidski has said where he thinks the ancestors of Balto-Slavs and Indo Iranians lived and split from each other. Ukraine, Belarus, Russia.

  4. I always thought the timing of the yamnaya->CWC model was somewhat off. The two groups were even contemporaneous for a couple of centuries and the archaeological evidence suggests a Balkan migration route of yamnaya herders heading for the rich grasslands of the carpathian rather than one directly across from the forest steppe into Central Europe, David has mentioned on his blog in the past that the earliest CWC samples were largely autosomally identical to yamnaya but carried somewhat more EHG whereas yamnaya had somewhat more of the CHG related stuff.

    There is also the question of 10% ENF found in yamnaya by wang et al 2019 could this be from GAC females or earlier Cucuteni farmers. Did Yamnaya absorb older eneolithic steppe populations that already had this admixture? Could this expansion of Yamnaya have pushed the ancestors of CWC/BBC west where they went onto to mix with GAC/TRB women? It’s plausible Yamnaya was the cause of corded migration but not the actual source. The total absence of R1b-L51/R1a-M417 Y-HG in Yamnaya males would seem to confirm this. Perhaps this may have something to do with a founder effect from the forest steppe.

  5. You and me both Walter. If I understand it correctly he’s saying an early group of yamnaya became (or assimilated?) the forest steppe people who formed the corded ware.

    But I’ve also heard from some of the podcasts Razib had with the experts that some corded ware samples were direct descendants of yamnaya.

    So it’s confusing for sure.

    My gut says ‘corded ware’ ain’t one thing. It’s probably different depending on geography.

  6. Corded Ware are late reflections of much more developed Vinca civilisation, presented mostly in a pottery and carried mostly by abducted Vinca women. Apart from this pottery, the legacy of Yamnaya nomads are represented (from Razib’s podcasts) only in some burial practices. I am so curious about the approximate number of Yamnaya nomads which someone would propose so as their ‘reflux’, too, which returned to steppe, overshoot and allegedly finished in India (but without Sanskrit and Rg Veda!). Who are Proto-Indo-Iranian-Balto-Slavs, which language(s) they spoke? This equation is not possible to solve without introducing Vinca, which is still a taboo topic. Speaking about ‘Slavs’ where and when R1a met I2 to create ‘Slavs’? More than a half of Tripolye genes were I2.

  7. Sorry, another one…I am still under impression what is presented in one of previous threads that Anatolians were light skin, brown eyes people, Yamnaya, in addition, were blondes, while indigenous Vinca people (where Scandinavians also originated) were dark people with blue eyes. Because, it is important to estimate the number of Yamanaya nomads which had to ‘bleach’ all of them although they never met escaped I2 Dinaric people, so, the question remains – how these I2 people whitened themselves on their own without Yamnaya and how they learnt their ‘Indo-European’ language without having contacts with them.

  8. Re: From “Eurogenes blog” but not from Mr Eurogenes
    Posted: Thu Aug 26, 2021 7:22 am
    by Gioiello
    dartraighe wrote:

    Earliest U106 found in Bohemia and some crackpots are still talking about a Steppe origin for U106!! LOL.

    Not only, and it is the oldest found so far, and also in Anthrogenica many people write that YFull is underestimated at least of two centuries (when I said that, they laughed at me). Read all the debate there, because it is interesting, and read also what Razib Khan wrote: “Basically, the authors argue, plausibly, that the Corded Ware is not derived from the Yamnaya as such (their Y chromosomes do not match anyway), but a Yamnaya-adjacent population in the forest-steppe. This region seems to have also contributed a second pulse of migration which resulted in increased northeastern affinity, and a higher fraction of R1a lineages”. He of course doesn’t understand that even that is the defeat of the Harvardians (whom I called “levantinists-kurganists-levantinists”), because to put the origin in Yamnaya was the premise for putting that in Near East, what failed.
    And the paper seems to point out that the origin was in the Rhine region, thus I am waiting that my hypothesis of an older origin in the Alpine region (both east or west) is verified.

  9. Various different long winded thoughts:

    1. I’ll be keen to put these into the set of dated samples we have across Europe, and see if it makes me revise me ideas any more of whether there was a hiatus in Europe and Central Europe before more expansion west of steppe ancestry, rather than a continuous wave.

    2. It certainly seems fairly clear from this paper that early CWC wasn’t structured in terms of lineages, or at least if a bit structured was more diverse than late CWC and Beaker. We had a hint from this from the CWC_Malopowska in Southeast Poland (steppe R1b), from some other Polish Corded Ware with I2 and HG introgression, and from some samples from Switzerland labelled as CWC in that paper who were all I2. Although all of this could’ve been explained by other things.

    It seems like the late CWC and Beaker are then some sudden expansions from some communities within the general CWC horizon that replaced all y-dna (if not autosomal)?

    It may make sense to see Beaker and ‘late CWC’ both as branches off from ‘early CWC’ that culturally diverge due to different interactions with European EEF cultures – Beaker seems to have both a sharper break in material culture and a higher level of Neolithic ancestry.

    3. Having the direct samples gives us more of a direct idea about how many migrating males and females there were. Just as in Iberia we find some females early on who look completely derived from northern Beaker, we find women here who seem completely derived from the EMBA Steppe. I think we can dispense with the idea of “The Koryos alone migrated” although it does seem still just as likely as before or more so that early CW culture had some male preference and a surviving daughter deficit that led to males persistently seeking women outside the group. (Not necessarily much more patriarchal in all dimensions of their overall cultural structure necessarily, but had some biases to infant care that led to surplus adult males?). I’d speculate a male bias in offspring care might be a “herder thing” since males do more herding work, and then that might have an unintended consequence of female deficit, which gets solved by sex biased migration…

    4. There is a PC2 vs age BCE plot in the supplement that I thought is worth a look – . I think visually it makes a strong case that the replacement at the late CWC-Beaker boundary was complete, while the replacement at the Beaker-Unetice boundary may be more partial, with some bias in y-dna preservation.

    (More speculatively I wonder again if the Beakers sort of “drove” the late CWC out of Central Europe, into the steppe, and this explains some of why there was this demographically sudden pulse into the steppe that led ultimately to the Steppe_MLBA expansion. The time frame seems to fit?).

    5. Suggestion of Baltic_BA like impulses into Unetice culture is intresting *but* I would note that the Baltic_BA has a distinctive genotype with particular genetic drift that’s identifiable in f statistics and Davidski’s PCA. I’m not totally sure if their methods completely detect this. The previous Unetice had no trace of ancestry from Baltic_BA so I’m a little skeptical, but we’ll see.

    6. On the y-dna front again though, it does confirm that Unetice (like the Carpathian Balkan sphere of the time) was plentiful in I2, and that the previous samples found with I2 were not unusual abberations. Also 1x G2a in Unetice – not unexpected at all given that Hungarian Bell Beaker also had some G2a. Interactions were more complex in Carpathian Balkan sphere. (This is also highlighted by another recent paper in the last few days, on Croatia – – where a Middle Bronze Age group in Croatia with steppe ancestry (and an unusual proportion of HG that seems to occur sporadically in post MBA East-Central Europe), also had G2a (although this was a patrilocal site!). SE Europe more complex (possibly because of higher carrying capacity for more different cultures to co-exist?).

    7. On the finding of early CWC being more HG rich than the Yamnaya samples, I do think we’ll need the big Yamnaya transect that David Anthony previewed at a talk ( to look into that question properly. There was a Yamnaya cline going into Hungary and the Balkans that overlapped with the CWC cline there, so when its all published we can hopefully see how distinct these clines are and how they relate to later peoples in Europe. We also see that the Yamnaya at the Don River seem distinctly more HG rich than others, so potentially they could be ancestral to CWC without any forest-steppe HG contribution. (Forgetful, you also noted this I think).

    I think the idea of CWC being from the forest-steppe in contrast to Yamnaya is also one where we have to consider time – were they “from” it in the sense of being there a long time, or did they just pass through it in a generation or two but pick up 5% ancestry from some local HG females? If there were just “from” it for a generation or two, then I think it ends up being distorting to talk of “Yamnaya from the steppe and CW from the forest steppe”, although you could technically make the case.

    8. On Yamnaya, also note we have a samples from the late Corded Ware here with Yamnaya type R1b – Z2103. This may evidence ongoing cultural interactions (and genetic interactions?) with the Yamnaya culture offshoot in Hungary. Which raises questions of whether this offshoot contributed some of the autosomal ancestry to later people as well. We may find this potential cultural interaction may have been important for the development of Beaker culture, as some have said, even if the y is from early CWC.

    9. On the y again, for the Early-Mid Neolithics, I also thought it was interesting that 1) The GAC and Funnel Beaker culture here had some R1b-V88 (in a break to I2 dominance among other GAC and Funnel Beaker), 2) the Funnel Beaker also has some neolithic T1 and that 3) the Rivanac culture that overlaps with GAC remains (generally later dated) G2a and H2a and has no I2a or R1b-V88. So that’s in some contrast to the idea of a complete replacement of Neolithic lineages before the steppe expansion, that has come up in the past (and again we know in Switzerland G2a remained common up until the time of steppe ancestry expansion). It looks to me more like there was a lot of back and forth between the Northern / Western EEF with HG derived y-dna and other groups, rather than a picture of a steadily expanding HG derived culture before the steppe expansion (e.g. “HG derived cultures were more aggressive and competitive and drove the more Anatolian farmer derived cultures back”, “No one ever migrated north again after the initial neolithic; all other migrations were to the south because sane people almost always move south to warmer climates” etc.).

    10. There may be some debate about if the 1x I2 found in the early CWC really is from neolithic people in Bohemia, or it was a much earlier introgression, since there’s some low level of I2 found in a couple Yamnaya (one of which was highly neolithic admixed, but the other one was not).

  10. @Joshua: There is also the question of 10% ENF found in yamnaya by wang et al 2019 could this be from GAC females or earlier Cucuteni farmers. Did Yamnaya absorb older eneolithic steppe populations that already had this admixture? Could this expansion of Yamnaya have pushed the ancestors of CWC/BBC west where they went onto to mix with GAC/TRB women? It’s plausible Yamnaya was the cause of corded migration but not the actual source. The total absence of R1b-L51/R1a-M417 Y-HG in Yamnaya males would seem to confirm this. Perhaps this may have something to do with a founder effect from the forest steppe.

    Yeah, I think there’s actually an open a question there of what the actual admixture was with Yamnaya; using the Steppe_Eneolithic three, I sometimes get 3-way models for Yamnaya and related cultures (Poltavka, Afanasievo, Catacomb) that work in qpAdm or the Vahaduo model that fit about as well with edges instead from Ukraine_N+Anatolian / even the Ukraine_N+Maykop to the south, as much as with GAC or WHG+Anatolian (and not only with limited sets of outgroups, and with good amounts of SNPs). So seems to me unresolved as to what the actual source proportions were, and Yamnaya doesn’t seem very tightly wedded to being Steppe_Eneolithic+GAC to me. And the fact that proto-Yamnaya/Corded Ware is possibly built on the same genotype in Sredny-Stog might make me think more about it being related to Ukraine_N.

    Re Yamnaya being pressure but not source, my theory mentioned upthread on male biased steppe ancestry expansion expansion is that it might be at least partly due to tendency in herding cultures to develop male offspring preference, and so surviving female offspring defecit (because more preference for males to manage and protect herds). So it seems possible within that for Yamnaya to start the pattern first and then that impacts other cultures on the steppes and drives them to the west in a male biased way (but also to generally avoid the Yamnaya culture’s expansion). (Though the pattern of maybe males being more likely to use mobility technologies to travel might be important too?). We might have had a serial tendency for cultures to “export” their female deficit to cultures further west, until they get to a end point in Iberia where it isn’t possible because there’s literally no more land. To some extent this seems to be limited to the southeast in the Carpathian-Balkans as there’s as not as strong an evidence for male biased migration in that direction, with later cultures and even really quite early interactions with Bell Beaker and Unetice having quite a bit of I2 and G2 and J2 and such (e.g. even the 1x Greek Mycenean samples we have had the J2 as teh Minoans, 1x MBA person from Dalmatian coast in Croatia was also J2).

  11. @Matt I get a semi decent fit on vahaduo with this model. But there’s clearly some missing drift here.
    Progress has some steppe maykopian stuff same as khvalynsk II so clearly these are dead end groups.

    Target: Yamnaya_RUS_Samara
    Distance: 3.1943% / 0.03194303
    79.0 RUS_Progress_En
    16.0 UKR_Meso
    5.0 UKR_N_o

  12. @Matt
    It’s much more likely that the female deficit was due to elite polygamy. The rich guys horde all the cows and girls, so the poor guys go take their pasture land and women from some unlucky farmers.

  13. As @Walter Sobchak said, just when I thought I finally understood, I end up being more confused. I think it would be better for me to read about this topic in 10-20 years when the science gets somewhat settled rather than getting confused by new and contradictory information every few weeks.

  14. It seems that many are genuinely surprised. It means that we all should have open mind when we read the official narratives in many other cases. Good comment by Gioiello bambino. For the beginning, it seems that we should rethink the sc. ‘Indo-European’ theory because it is unsubstantiated, to start studying the history from, for e.g. 10000BC and not from the ‘middle’ (from Yamnaya i.e. 3000BC) and all subsequent events, one by one, will logically find their places.

  15. @Harry Jecs

    I think Razib explains it on his substack this evening. I will let you know if it helped. But it will be a bit of effort to read.

  16. Hello Mr Todorov, I don’t know how to take your “bambino”. Unfortunately I am not a “bambino” anymore, having been born on 5 March 1948. Perhaps if you, with your Serbian language at the origin of all the languages of the world as Albanians think the same and translate Etruscan and even Italian through Albanian, whose vacabulary is for a great part derived from Latin, would stop to think so, something interesting could be said about the link of Italy and the Balkans. And also to think that a component of a language and of a people is something owned from some people who inherited that same component and not something that contributed to the “formation” of a language and of a people (the concept was used from the great linguist Massimo Pallottino about Etruscans). I am writing from 15 years about an Italian refugium (of Yhg. R1b1 above all, but not only), and none foresaw Villabruna before me, but it is clear that that refugium comprehended not only the Padan plain but also Adriatic and the Balkans, and probably Etruscans were the agriculturalists from the Aegean Sea to central Europe before the migration to Tuscany. Given that you like linguistics, Etruscan “crap(i)s” is probably linked with Greek “kràbatos” from Old Macedonian as the great linguist Alfredo Trombetti hypothesized and Giulio M. Facchetti agreed.

  17. Hi Gioiello, not any negative connotations, ‘bambino’ was a joke which I expected that you as a neighbour would understand. From your brief comment I see that you are a serious researcher with significant knowledge and strong opinion. I disagree with several statements in your reply and I may address them later. First, it is a joke to mention Albanians in any context (except narco-trafficking), because they first time stepped on the Balkan soil in 1043. Etruscans? Excellent! You probably know how they called themselves. Does Etruscan alphabet look like to you as sc. ‘Cyrillic’ or it is just me? Who were Dardans? Old Macedonian? What is this, which period? Greeks? What is their connection with Etruscans? When and where they came from to today’s Greece? Who was Alexander? How can you explain that Serbs gave few dozens of Roman Emperors and Greeks not one? Do you know who deciphered Etruscan alphabet? Do you know what is the origin of toponyms – Milan, Bologna, Pescara, few dozens of villages around Verona, etc. What do you think – if Spanish and French originated from Latin? From which language Latin took for e.g. a word ‘head’? Where was Latin language spoken at the time of Roman Republic? Yesterday, one reader (DR) wrote that it was spoken (in Justinian times) on mountains in south-eastern Serbia, miles from civilisation. What was the original name of Rome and what is the meaning? Who was Spartacus? Have you read Alinei and Giancarlo Tomezzoli (I can give you full paper references)? Alinei actually asserts that Serbian language is actually the Vinca language, is actually sc. ‘Indo-European’ language. Can you explain the etymology of the covid capital city of Bergamo? DO you know that the guy in the following link donated $1 million to this city (no joke!) at their worst covid time? Pls, pass my regards to Ubaldo Scanagatta –

    I look forward discussing some of the above and many other things.

    Forza Milan! Ciao!

  18. Hi Milan, I of course understood, or better, I hoped, that your “bambino” weren’t offensive, but, as I am not fluent in English, probably you aren’t in Italian. To call “bambino” a person whose we don’t know the age, and could be old, isn’t a compliment. Anyway I haven’t anything against you, of course, and your opinions: every opinion merits to be enunciated and discussed, I think. I don’t reply each of your questions (I could of course). About the name of “Milano”, it has nothing to do with your “Milan” ( < sl. ) but from celtic "*medhyo-lanum", in the mid of the plain, and it has been from so long demonstrated, as all the other questions you posed, and I don't discuss them in this blog dedicated to genetics in respect of our host.

  19. No worries, Gio. You know where celtics lived before they came to Italy. No linguistics discussions but you can study the word ‘med’ (> medicine, medications, etc) present in almost 50 Euroasian languages. I may publish at some stage the translated names of 15-20 villages around Verona. And, Rome (i.e Ruma)? ciao bello gioiello !

  20. Certainly Celts lived in central Europe North the Alps, at least at the Halstatt time, but before? Perhaps you think in the Balkans? No demonstration so far, but Lepontians were the oldest Celts, and Celtic and Italic were linked before, and perhaps Ligurians were the oldest linked ones, and it seems that the oldest Celtic language was the stele of Novilara (so a Dutch linguist thinks). I am open to every demonstrated proof. To me more likely the Balkans than Yamnaya, where only the satem Indo-European languages were spoken, among them the ancestor of your Serbian, which is a slav language of course, come after the fall of the Roman Empire. In your land was spoken Latin and before some other IE language, whose Albanian is the only one survived, even though with not more than 10% direct IE, but that doesn’t mean that your Y is slav. It may come from previous people if not a recent R1a…

  21. Ok – genetic topics. When and where I2 and R1a met to create Slavs? I2 (40% of Serbs) was present in Lepenski Vir (Iron gates) since the Ice Age and did not come from steppes. What’s happened with locals in Roman Empire when Serbs (still did not exist the name Slavs) came in the 7th c.AC? Can you estimate the numbers of Europeans and Yamnaya when they came to Europe? Where Yamnaya lived before 3100BC and where developed their (proto)language (this is a topic of Razib’s podcasts)? Do you really believe that Yamnaya nomads enforced their poor nomadic language to much higher Euro civilisation and across the whole Europe? Where Sanskrit and Reg Veda came from? Yamnaya did not do this but Sanskrit is sc. Indo-European (DA says – Yamnaya) language? From the genetic perspective – why is only Serbian language very similar to Sanskrit but not surrounding languages? (3 min)

  22. @Marco, could be, but so far all the sites have looked like monogamy from relationships between samples (e.g. see for an example). Nothing like showing lots of (or even any) samples who are paternally related within 1 degree (sibling level) but not maternally related.

    Though it would be harder to tell with Yamnaya since they’re not using family cemeteries, I don’t think they’ve found much in the way of “Brothers from another mother” or even any cousin relationships that would hint at this being common. So I prefer the other scenario for now.

    @Forgetful, thanks for that; I’ll be trying to do some matching later, no sure if I’ll do a sex based analysis but probably time based. I might have a look at the correlations by y-dna among males though, thanks again.

    Did see the post up at Eurogenes so ran some quick versions of Vahaduo’s PCA, so di quick attempt at outlier detection:

    (Following crossposted at Eurogenes)

    Looks like a couple Unetice are Baltic like and Slavic like (VL051 and VL050) and a few more Unetice are trailing in that direction. So is one of the Bell Beaker samples I4136, which perfectly overlaps I5025 in the PCA I tested (so possibly a duplicate?). (Baltic like guy is R1a – Z645 of course).

    So that could be either intrusive layers or true outliers.

    I also notice CZE_EE is I14168 is more like an Atlantic farmer than like CZE_ME_GAC or the other CZE_EE group.

    “No steppe” samples need some looking at to check if it is Steppe / HG. Looks like HG to me tho. (EDIT: No totally sure about this, may be some combination. However Vahaduo ADMIXTURE prefers mainly HG+ANF mix, does seem to accept a bit of ROU_C_o but the distance improvement is very small – I think this would confirm that in Central Europe even, the equation of LNBA=earlyCordedWare_M+GAC_F is too simple. It does look like STD003 and VLI008 are GAC like, but the other two samples show some limited differences from that profile.).

    Note though the sample that I’ve labelled Unetice_EBA_Slavic_o (VLI050) in these plots above may not actually be that close to present day Slavs and looks more intermediate the HRV_Transdanubian_Encrusted_Pottery_EBA set and Baltic_BA (thus occupying an essentially similar position to present day Czech people but with slightly lower Steppe ancestry).

    It’s probably likely that she is a continuation of the Early to Late Bronze Age cline of “HG Rich” ancestry that stretched through Central-Eastern Europe between Baltic->Croatia->SRB_Mokrin_EBA (where the cline then starts to touch the low EEF Balkan populations), via HUN_Mako_EBA.

    (Some real meeting of minds energy going on this comment thread!)

  23. I hope that the previous short video was interesting to you, Gio. You can stop it and compare the words. This is not Yamnaya language but it is called Indo-European. How to explain this genetically? I asked you many linguistic questions, but you can research them on your own and for yourself if you want to stick to genetics only. I cannot (genetically) explain how Latin borrowed the word ‘head’ (and hundreds/thousands of others) from Serbian if they came to Balkan after the fall of the W. Roman Empire? Serbian has hundreds/thousands of words with a consonant group KL/GL while Latin does not have.

    Well, there is another 11-min video for you, but, if you do not mind, I will dedicate it to ‘Happy Walt’, although he will not see it (that is the reason for his happiness). You may or may not give me a genetic explanation.

  24. First of all you should say to me which Latin word for “head” did you mean. There are many. And probably about linguistics you should begin to study this book about Indo-European languages: Mallory & Adams, The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World, Oxford University Press, 2006 (but there are infinite others).

  25. Delenda est Yamnaya, Gioiello

    The Harvardians have not only been defeated, they have made a sidereal fool of themselves after 10 years of arguing that we owe everything that exists in Europe to the horsemen of the steppes – the white race, the wheel, the domestication of the horse, metallurgy, language, etc. We will never hear again about the Yamnaya culture because it never had anything to do in this business. It doesn’t matter that they will probably never recognize their mistakes, the fun is to see Kurganist fanatics looking for a way to explain why they have been making fools of themselves for 10 years defending the indefensible.

    Harvard, Reich, Haak, Mathieson, Lazaridis, Patterson and colleagues. So hard was it to understand-there is NO patrilineal genetic continuity between Yamnaya the CWC and the BBC???. We have been saying it for years and they have never listened to our reasoning. Now they want to look for L51 in the steppe forests, Ukraine, well fine, let them keep trying, in 10 years they will realize that they are wrong too.

  26. @Forgetful, here’s a quick set of plots of males only, high level haplogroup (e.g. R1a, I2a, G2a, etc) on the Vahaduo PCAs:

    The G2as and I2as don’t look to have any special position relative to others in Unetice with different haplogroups. The G2as look more Steppe rich than present day people rather than tilting to Balkans or anything.

    There also isn’t anything going on with the R1b-Z2103 or Q1b guys – they just look like they’re on the normal cline. (Presumably if R1b-Z2103, or the Q1b, has ultimately come via Carpatho-Balkan Yamnaya, then nothing particularly unusual is evident from it in his profile – he just fits the same old cline as other samples. So any Carpatho-Balkan Yamnaya cline that was distinct from the CWC cline is not in evidence or very weakly evident here).

    The only sample where I can see an unusual positioning relative that correlates with a haplogroup is the R1a status of the Baltic_BA like Unetice (VLI51 dated 1877 to 1689 BCE). But at the same time, there are a bunch of Unetice with R1a who don’t have any Balto-Slavic shift. The only other male sample here with an interesting degree of Balto-Slavic shift is the late Beaker sample, previously published in Olalde’s 2018 paper, I7288 (dated 2400 BCE to 2200 BCE).

    (… With Gaska joining in as well, this thread is becoming an epic matchup).

  27. Hi Matt, I hope you congratulate me because I was right, Yamnaya is not the source but the sink of r1b. Maybe you can help me solve the mystery. If CWC in its origin has 5-15% ancestry coming from Narva culture, if the analyzed (early) females are local or arrived directly from the steppes and if we have only R1b-L51. Who do you think brought that Narva ancestry to the CWC??? – remember that we have the Baltic plagued by r1b WHGs since the Mesolithic and that until 2.700 BC does not appear there R1a-M417 and much later Z2013. And what happens when R1a arrives? The Narva signal disappears, you only have to check other CWC samples in Czechia. Ergo R1b-L51 has to be central european or baltic, nothing to do with ukraine the forest steppe or sredni stog. L51 and M417 did not migrate together from the steppes because L51>L151 was never there

  28. i haven’t moderated this blog much for a while since there aren’t many comments. but i am going to do so again. gaska, I’ve banned you because you seem like an insufferable asshole.

    anyone else who is like this, i will ban too.

  29. @Matt

    Thanks for the look.

    “So is one of the Bell Beaker samples I4136, which perfectly overlaps I5025 in the PCA I tested (so possibly a duplicate?)”

    I checked the supplement after I noticed that too and they confirm it’s the same sample. So it’s still the same question about whether it’s potentially misdated due to its unusual “northeastern Europeanness” since none of the other Beaker samples show it that prominently. A genuine outlier in that way at the time would be still more interesting of course.

    I was curious whether the Z2103 guy would show some sort of eastern pull (like the Hungarian I2787 sample) but yeah he seems to be “part of the group”, unless something more complex is going on.

    ““No steppe” samples need some looking at to check if it is Steppe / HG. Looks like HG to me tho”

    I had the same question, it pulls a bit more towards the east than you’d expect but I assume it is the Malak Preslavets/BGR_MP_N situation here too with an excess of that intermediate HG ancestry.

    The one potentially interesting thing that I noticed at first glance is that the defined as early and late R1a groups are relatively homogeneous and quite similar to each other but I’d have to carefully check dates as well (and read the paper more carefully too…). Not a huge sample size either for the early though, just 3.

  30. @Forgetful, interesting you mention I2787, I think this paper changes our view of how we might consider him.

    I did some graphics in the comments for Dave’s blog showing the Yamnaya % (estimated via Vahaduo) for selected samples for selected countries, against time, colour coded by y-dna. See here and here: and

    One thing this seems to make clear to me is that although I2787 looked really weird set against other samples from the same time *from Hungary*, he’s not actually an outlier at all in Yamnaya ancestry set against this Czech transect, for his time (a little high, but within the general shape of things). And he’s quite a bit like OHR001.

    Some other graphics that make this fairly clear: (the colour coding will make sense if compared to the previous charts, sorry I don’t have time for proper labelling right now). There are a lof of Corded Ware at roughly this time in Bohemia with steppe ancestry levels.

    So I don’t know that he *needs* to be linked to contemporary late Yamnaya / Catacomb (though he may be), and it may be that he’s just from a minority R1b-Z2103 late Corded group that still existed to some degree in Central Europe elsewhere at this time. Of course we still need to understand the set of unpublished Yamnaya samples trailing into Central Europe to understand the connections between these cultures…

  31. @Razib Khan He was an insufferable asshole on the eurogenes blog and here is no different. Thank you for banning him.

    He is an autochthonist who lives in a world of cope. There was no R1b-L51 in Western Europe before the arrival of steppe related stuff. All of the R1b in the various Mesolithic baltic cultures was R1b-V88 as well.

  32. I’m living in a world of cope myself – trying to cope with all of this new information.

    A real live autochthonist? In the 2020s? I thought they had all died out 100 years ago. As much as I yearn for the good old days of merciless put-downs and expulsions by the Wrath of Khan, it might have been fun to keep him around, just for sniping practice.

  33. OT, for some light diversionary entertainment – this is the world I actually live in.

  34. And this is what people get up to in the back streets, hangin’ around the Fat Boy Shop. True story – this woman came to HK as a civil construction engineer and did that for a while, but decided being an Afro dance instructor was more fun. Still here, still doing it.

  35. On another side point, new paper involving Kristiansen via Lazaridis twitter –

    They do try to look at X vs Autsome patterns for LN / BA populations with steppe ancestry and find:

    “Therefore, as the available Y-chromosome data is not a good proxy to quantify the male contribution from the Steppe-related ancestry, we used the allele-based methods in the X-chromosomes to measure this past admixture. Allele frequency patterns on the X-chromosome were compared to autosomes in outgroup f3 statistics analysis (Figure 5(a), Supplementary Table 3), and showed a different genetic influence of the Steppe-related ancestry among the various European Bronze Age population groups. This ancestry on the X-chromosome is more similar to the Southwestern European populations (Italy and the Iberia) than when compared to the autosomes. Similar results were found by the Z-score calculation (Figure 5(b)), where no evidence of sex bias admixture was found (Z 1.26 for Iberia_BA Z 0.00 for Italy_BA) (Supplementary Table 2).By contrast, the Central and Eastern European populations showed a more complex landscape. For instance, in Germany, f3-outgroups analysis and the Z-score results indicate a male Steppe-related ancestry in the Corded Ware population (Z 1.79), which becomes absent in the Bell Beaker

    It still does seem like it’s hard to push the X and Autosomal dna in these comparisons because even with all these samples the X doesn’t still have that great a level of cover.

    Also I would say that, one of the problems I think with using the X and A difference is probably highlighted by this Czech paper (which unfortunately they had no acess to).

    Take the following scenario… We have CWC coming in and they’re completely steppe ancestry. Generation 1, one steppe migrant male mates with a female EEF, bringing EEF ancestry into the community and its all X biased. BUT, say in the next generation, the son of that man reproduces with a 100% steppe female, that would reverse the bias and actually because of the way sex-bias on the X works, you’d end up with a very shallow reverse bias towards EEF on the autosome. (Mechanically see here –

    Obviously it’s not like its likely for this to systematically happen (because why would EEF+Steppe offspring males have preferential access to higher steppe ancestry females?) but it does show that if the admixture is gradual then the signal on X:A can get out of whack with the y-dna.

    In the scenario of the Europeans in the Americas, what we had was the “one drop rule” and the “limpieza de sangre”, which although they tolerated admixture to varying degree, meant that a certainly a male who was an offspring of a local female and immigrating male was socially stigmatized to mate with a immigrating female, and this was to some degree also true among female offspring (it was preferred that they mate with native or mixed males, although it was less stigmatized that they did not).

    So you get the dynamic of the persistence of local/slave groups with a constant flow of European ancestry into them, and an also a persistent ancestrally “pure” European group. (This is most the case in North America when it comes to African-Americans, obviously). The Americas have this stratified society where admixture means assimilation to a socially lower ranked group.

    But this seems not at all what we see in CWC – it seems like instead there is a constant flow of EEF ancestry *into* the CWC, while EEF groups remain present to some degree and experience no steppe geneflow, before eventually ceasing to exist a few hundred years later. It seems like male and female offspring from CWC+EEF were just integrated back into the community, and would have full access to females and males (and they might even have had better access if their fathers had tended to be the ones that “captured” better land from the EEF cultures, or they were frontier cultures who developed better fighting skills, as is one speculation for the Beakers compared to some CWC away from the frontier). It also does seem like to me a very gradual process over time where there is just a constant spilling in of EEF ancestry over at least 500 years, possible 1000, rather than a single big pulse happens and then the group is reproductively isolated. So although it’s male biased admixture in the sense that the males in generation 1 are from the steppe, and this is preserved in the y, it may not show up clearly or at all in X to A ratios.

    Its also possible that this was true in India too, before the crystalization of the castes. (And particularly in India we have more evidence of local male line continuity, if anything, too).

  36. @Matt Interesting paper.

    Yes naturally steppe autosomal in earlier CWC groups is going to have a higher concentration of male mediated introgression than it will in the later LNBA and other various BBC populations.

    With corded ware horizon this was a “first contact” between local GAC/TRB pig herders and incoming proto CWC cattle herders who are quite obviously taking local wives (the female deficit as you mentioned upthread) but it’s quite clear from mitogenomic evidence as well a lot of that is also female mediated as they did bring steppe ladies with them.

    After several centuries of homogenisation naturally female individuals within beaker clans aren’t going to differ as much in terms of their steppe autosomal and most certainly so with later BA people.

    No doubt beakers were rigidly patrilineal though, while there are a few G2a beakers here and there I don’t believe they possessed any steppe autosomal, although I could be wrong. The increase in EEF from SGC->Kurgan BBC wasn’t as dramatic as whatever happened with proto CWC->CWC.

  37. Hey Josh, yeah there aren’t many Bell Beakers with both steppe ancestry *and* G2a, although I don’t think there are any Bell Beakers with G2a who don’t have steppe ancestry.

    Here’s a table of the samples from who made it through to Global 25 that I confirm have G2a and steppe ancestry:

    There are some more G2a samples from the Human Origins anno here who I think *should* have it based on context but aren’t on Global25 (just didn’t make it across) so I can’t test directly:

    Just a couple of Bell Beakers basically, one individual from Hungary and one individual from the Lech Valley Bell Beaker Culture in Southern Germany. Both of them are not really from the earliest period of BBC but relatively late in it.

    The samples that have it in Bell Beaker Culture seem to be interacting with groups from the Carpatho-Balkan region who basically seem more or less to retain G2a and I2a and E1b and J2 and so forth while getting steppe ancestry. Then we also see that the Unetice culture that has this big influx of I2a also seems to have a few G2as (2x in the set that make it through to Global 25 and then one more that didn’t). Still not very many compared with Unetice’s I2a and R1a+R1b dominance though. And early Bronze Age Switzerland looks to have one too.

    Basically it looks to me like the patrilines are not really very disturbed or altered in SE Europe and steppe ancestry seems fairly female mediated from what we see. It looks like the SE Europe really does have more or the scenario David Anthony outlined for them, where the steppe cultures males basically seem to presumably form alliances with local males (and perhaps they gave them IE speech or maybe not) and so the patrilines are not really distrubed. There’s a bit more of a rebound then later on (though not hugely) in Central Europe with more “advanced” Bronze Age cultures, who have these connections to the south which are presumably at least somewhat male mediated (though things still remain mainly patrilocal in Lech Valley in Germany etc).

  38. My opinion is based only on limited information from the published comments. Maybe there is something more behind the scenes outside of my visibility. But, there are interesting reactions on the latest banning of the reader Gasca. Instead of tackling his views some other readers greeted this ban and use a pejorative name ‘autochthonist’. I don’t know exactly what it means in this context but it sounds similar to some other disqualifications as for eg. ‘nationalist’. This ad hominem attack is very anti-intellectual. I cannot really remember but this reader criticised one my comment in the past, but I think that he/she or anyone else is entitled on his/her opinion unless it comes with primitivity. I experienced many attempts to shout my mouth. In a milder form, some say that ignore my comments (and they are happy Gilmores because of this), one called me a ‘piece of shit’ only because I wrote that Aryans existed. This was published and he was not banned. Maybe this person was banned because he criticised some (Harvard) people, some of them could be blog owner’s acquittances. Razib’s position is also understandably political and he probably also cannot permit too excessive criticising of D.Anthony, for example, because of their personal relationship.

    To make this short, I disagree with banning in general (except in the case of primitivity). I had the best discussions with cultural people with very opposite views, with some (e.g. OIT) I have offline communication and we often send each other courtesy comments before they are sent for publishing.

    Finally, it is intriguing what would be ‘autochthonism’ in this context. Let me speculate that this is an assertion that R1b originated in Europe, later went to steppe and some again came back. There are here people who are very knowledgeable in genetics but sometimes it seems to me that they analyse one segment of Brownian movement and cannot see the big picture. I don’t have answers, but I could ask (anyone) questions – where people lived during the Ice Age? What is the percentage of the total population which lived in Lepenski Vir/Vinca? More or less than 90%? Is it known that after the melting of ice, there was Manyinsko lake in today’s Russia, greater than Mediterranean? Where R1b people lived at that time? Were found R1b genes in Lepenski Vir/Vinca/Starcevo thousands of years before Yamnaya nomads came from steppes to Europe in 3100BC? A repeated question – where and when Yamnaya language (sc. ‘Indo-European’) had its proto phase?

    I guess, with this comment I risk joining this guy/girl/whatever on the bench, but let it be. I write about history falsifications and I see that many are comfortable with this. They do not want to believe their own eyes. They are ready to trust and justify Twitter, Facebook, YT actions which distort the history before our own eyes. So, I will be rising my voice until I am cut off. Aho!

  39. I thank Milan Todorovic for having written this post and Razib Khan for having published that. I strongly disagreed with some of Milan’s positions, but I tried to dialogue with him. I was right: this letter merits to be completely agreed. The true question is that our ideas are separated from the weight of the history, of the time passed, of the mutations happening in our DNA, from the languages differentiated during the centuries and not understandable anymore. Perhaps in front of us there isn’t the ewige Friede but the bellum omnium contra omnes. After we all will go into the nothing, as Seneca wrote, ubi non nati sunt.

  40. In the Nature: The Genomic History of Southeastern Europe (Mathieson, Reich, etc), Supplementary Table 1, line 243, Iron_Gates, Location Vlasac – Serbia, 7100-5900BC, shows R1b1a.
    Can someone interpret this?

  41. Of course. It is R-V88. I began 15 years ago my interest in this argument, and through the STRs, all what we had then, I theorized that R1b did come out from the “Italian refugium”, against all of course, but at last an R1b1* was found at Villabruna, Belluno, Italy 14000 years old, and another R1* at Les Iboussiéres (border France-Italy) 12000 years old. My idea was that all the R1b found later did come from up there. Probably my Italian refugium wasn’t only in the Alps, but, as I said in a previuous letter, Padan plain-Adriatic-Balkan. Of course we know now that the oldest R1*, even though a dead end line, was found in central Asia-Siberia, the so called Mal’ta boy, and probably the ancestor hg P* in South East Asia or even India. We are discussing now about R-L23-Z2103 (mine: I am R1b1a2-L23-Z2110-FGC24408 etc.) and R-L23-L51 etc.
    If you read my 20000 letters you may know also why I was banned from pretty all the blogs.

  42. 20 000 letters. Why don’t you start your own blog?

    Is it because you think no one would read it?

    You know there are autochthonists in China. Yes there are – hyper-nationalist paleoanthropologists who insist that modern Han evolved in situ from archaic humans. But China also has some very good geneticists, not least Qiaomei Fu, who don’t take them seriously and publicly disagree with them, with supporting irrefutable evidence that they are wrong. It doesn’t stop them, though, but my impression is that few people listen to them any more.

    I want to know who this ‘white race’ are that Todorovic talks about – Koreans? Have you ever seen anyone whiter than Kim Yo-jong? He does realise that ‘whiteness’ is just the result of loss of function mutations, does he?

  43. John Massey, I never started a blog of mine for many reasons: 1) first of all I worked until 2013 (my 65 yo after 40 years as a teacher of Italian, Latin, History and Geography in the high school, after studies in Literature, Phylosophy etc. No academia, of course, I am a right wing in after WWII Italy); 2) I am not fluent in English, learned by myself with another dozen of languages, only written, I have difficulties in speaking and understanding when spoken, never lived in an English speaking country.
    Of course that many blogs deleted my letters or were out during the time dislikes me, but I printed all what I wrote and we all live for the “nera eternità” after us. But I am first of all a poet, and this is my last poem:


    Chiedo per tomba la mia casa
    con tutti i libri, anche quelli ammucchiati
    per terra e negli angoli.
    La cucina e il bagno
    non serviranno più,
    ci sarà quindi più spazio per gli scaffali,
    che essi possano essere messi in ordine
    e facilmente reperibili.
    Non mi servono nuove accessioni,
    ho abbastanza del vecchio
    per tutta l’eternità.
    Nessun collegamento con i vivi,
    neanche quelli unici cari.
    Che non sappia quale destino
    serbano loro gli dei.

  44. First of all I thank you for your compliments… and I agree with you about Qiaomei Fu (Chinese with Jews are the most intelligent people of the world, with Europeans and Indians of the all subcontinent I’d say, and wouldn’t be banned by Razib for that, but I am seeing that people all over the world are at Harvard now) but I took very seriously also Shi Huang in the past, and think how much the so called “Out of Africa” changed in these last years.
    Qiaomei Fu was among the scholars in the paper which demonstrated the introgression of the uniparental markers of Homo Heidelbergensis in the Neanderthals… with all the possible consequences.

  45. Gio, based on your readings, what do you think what was the percentage of the total population, lived in Lepenski Vir/Vinca at the height of the Ice Age? If the percentage was 90-95%, wouldn’t be this the answer on all questions? The other estimate, which all Expressionists (incl. DA) avoid saying or speculating – what was the approx. number of Yamnaya nomads which came in 3100 to Europe? My estimate is 20-25000 while the number of Europeans was greater than 1 million. Considering that you were a Latin teacher, when OT opens I may ask you if Latin was a predecessor of Spanish and French and which language influenced Latin?

  46. Of course geneticists need to calculate the number of the inhabitants in a given period or culture, just for understanding something of the present autosome. I used only the uniparental markers for my theories. It is true that they are limited as to the autosome, but they permit better to follow the pathway, above all with the WGS tests until the terminal SNP and the private ones, what also the YFull tree does. When I began my studies about the R-V88, it was above all in the British Isles and I found also a sample in Italy (Marchesi) classified from FTDNA as R-M269, but that I individuated as R-V88 of the oldest subclade and it is recognized now after hundreds of letters of mine), and for that I said that the origin was in the Italian refugium expanded until the Isles. Of course there were the levantinists who supported an origin in Near East, disproved now. The samples in aDNA in the Balkans have been found only recently, but a few survived samples are up there now respect the westwrn European ones and the African ones, of course migrated from Europe, probably just from Italy not more than 7000 years ago.
    About neolatin languages everything is known from so long. I did an exam with the great linguist Emilio Peruzzi of the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa around 1970 (he gave me 30, but without the laude: I wasn’t a pupil of his) upon the book of Carlo Tagliavini, Le origini delle lingue neolatine, but you may find books in English and also in every slav language.

  47. Hi Gio. Considering that you are a serious linguist researcher I am sending you (and anyone who is interested) a link to the old (1984) book published by a Serbian priest in Italy, who deciphered Etruscan language 37 years ago but the mainstream is still hiding this. They are still talking about ‘mysterious’ Etruscan language. Unfortunately, the book is written only in Serbian, but you may find it interesting and maybe you can use Google translate. I think that this book did not have newer editions, it is pretty rare and difficult to find. It could be interesting to you p.7 and p.8 about migrations from Lepenski Vir/Vinca/Danube in all directions including Italy. The title of the book is ‘Old European Language and Etruscan alphabet’. I think that you will understand a lot by just watching the pictures. Maybe it will be an incentive for you to learn the Serbian language and study its connection with Sanskrit, other languages, including Latin and Italian. You may or may not see that this is the oldest European language directly derived from the pra-language. When time comes, I may provide some examples which you, as a linguist, would appreciate. Saluti!

  48. I thank you for the link. I am also a bibliophile and appreciate every book, but I looked of course at similar theories in the past, above all Albanians who translated Etruscan and even Italian through Albanian. These theories are no whorf, because they segment the test as they chose, by chance, without any knowledge, only researchig for similar traits in another language. This person is unknown in the scientific field because his research has no meaning at this level. If you take the word “Holaies” in the Stele of Lemnos, it is well known that it is a personal name of an inhabitant of Morina, with the surname Phokias because from Phocaea, thus a Greek in origin, and so on… Naphot isn’t na + phot but just the word for the IE word like Latin nepos, nepotis and so on.
    I tried to translate this document when I was 13, 60 years ago, and then I was like these people… but after I studied and “j’ai lue touts les livres”.

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