Lepenski Vir

c. 9500 - 7300 BC

 
Lepenski Vir

1. 9500-7300 p.n.e. rani i srednji mezolit – Proto-Lepenski Vir I-II

2. 7300-6200 p.n.e. kasni mezolit (u ovoj fazi nisu zabeleženi tragovi okupacije na lokalitetu Lepenski Vir, ali je faza dobro reprezentovana nalazima sa Vlasca, Padine i Hajdučke Vodenice)

3. 6150-5950 p.n.e. transformacioni/rani neolit – Lepenski Vir I-II

4. 5950-5500 p.n.e. srednji neolit – Lepenski Vir III

 

First Oracle Center


First Oracle Center


First Oracle Center


First Oracle Center


First Oracle Center

 

 

Archaeogenetics

Analiza uzoraka sa četiri lokaliteta kulture Lepenskog Vira pokazuje nam da su njeni stanovnici nosili ipsilon (I+R1b=100%) i mitohondrijalne haplogrupe (U5+U4+U8=80%) koje su i ranije nalažene kod paleolitskih i mezolitskih lovaca-sakupljača širom Evrope. Ono po čemu su se razlikovali od njih upravo je prisustvo nekih mitohondrijalnih haplogrupa (K1+H+J2=20%) čije se dalje poreklo vezuje za Bliski Istok, i za koje se smatra ili da su došle direktno sa najranijim neolitskim zemljoradnicima iz Anadolije, ili da su bile prisutne među lovcima-sakupljačima jugoistočnog Balkana i Anadolije, koji su među prvima apsorbovani u najranije neolitsko stanovništvo po njegovom dolasku na Balkan. Drugoj teoriji u prilog ide i činjenica da je haplogrupa K1 takođe pronađena i kod dva grčka mezolitska uzorka iz Tesalije. I po autozomalnoj genetici nosioci kulture Lepenskog Vira bili su, pogotovo u starijoj mezolitskoj fazi, jako slični lovcima-sakupljačima iz zapadne i centralne Evrope. Dva uzorka iz Lepenskog Vira (I4665 i I4666), koji se datiraju u period ranog neolita – Lepenski Vir I-II, su po autozomalnoj genetici skoro identični najranijim anadolskim i balkanskim zemljoradnicima, a jedan uzorak iz Padine (I5232) iz istog perioda imao je skoro podjednak udeo genetike mezolitskih lovaca-sakupljača i neolitskih zemljoradnika. Indikativno je da su sva tri uzorka sa značajnim udelom genetike neolitskih zemljoradnika takođe bili nosioci neolitskih mitohondrijalnih haplogrupa koje nisu prisutne kod lovaca-sakupljača iz ranijih perioda. Sve ovo nam govori da je Đerdapska klisura bila jedan od regiona gde je došlo do uspostavljanja najranijih kontakata, kako kulturnih tako i genetskih, između mezolitskih lovaca-sakupljača i ranih neolitskih zemljoradnika. Ovi nalazi podupiru ranije arheološke dokaze, koji su ukazivali da je u periodu ranog neolita došlo do određenih promena u materijalnoj kulturi (pojava keramike, sahranjivanje pokojnika u zgrčenom položaju), uzrokovanih prilivom novog stanovništva. Analize izotopa stroncijuma su takođe pokazale da su mnoge individue sahranjene posle 6100. p.n.e. u Lepenskom Viru (uključujući i uzorak I4665) bile nelokalnog porekla, odnosno da nisu bile originalno iz regiona Đerdapske klisure. Još jedna zanimljiva činjenica koja se može izvući iz ovih rezultata je da su prvobitni kontakti dve populacije po svoj prilici bili jednosmerni, tj. da su zemljoradničke pridošlice bile velikim delom ili u potpunosti ženskog pola, jer ni u jednom uzorku nisu pronađene ipsilon haplogrupe karakteristične za najranije neolitske zemljoradnike (G2a2, H2, C1a2, I2c, J2, T1a).

We suggest;

  • Y-DNA R1b, Mal'ta–Buret' culture > Ural/Pontic–Caspian steppe > Lepenski Vir
  • Y-DNA I2a, Epigravettian culture > Anatolia, Cappadocia > Lepenski Vir

 

Ural / Pontic-Caspian steppe, c. 9000 BC

Y-DNA R1b - Redskins

 
Haplogroup R1b - Ural / Pontic-Caspian steppe

 

Shigir Idol

 
Shigir Idol, c. 11 ka - Totemism

The idol was discovered on January 24, 1894 at a depth of 4 m (13 ft) in the peat bog of Shigir, on the eastern slope of the Middle Urals, approximately 100 km (62 mi) from Yekaterinburg. Investigations in this area had begun 40 years earlier after the discovery of a variety of prehistoric objects in an open-air gold mine.

It was extracted in several parts; professor D. I. Lobanov combined the main fragments to reconstitute a sculpture 2.80 m (9 ft 2 in) high.

In 1914, archaeologist Vladimir Tolmachev (ru) proposed a variant of this reconstruction by integrating the unused fragments. The reconstruction suggested that the original height of the statue was 5.3 metres.

Some of these fragments were later lost, so only Tolmachev's drawings of them remain.

 

Haplogroup R1b

The oldest human remains found to carry R1b include:

  • Villabruna 1 (individual I9030), found in an Epigravettian culture setting in the Cismon valley (modern Veneto, Italy), who lived circa 14,000 years BP and belonged to R1b-L754,
  • numerous individuals from the Mesolithic Iron Gates culture of the central Danube (modern Romania and Serbia), dating from 10,000 to 8,500 BP – most of them falling into R1b-L754;
  • two individuals, dating from circa 7,800–6,800 BP, found at the Zvejnieki burial ground, belonging to the Narva culture of the Baltic neolithic, both determined to belong to the R1b-P297 subclade, and;
  • the "Samara hunter-gatherer" (I0124/SVP44), who lived approximately 7,500 BP in the Volga River area and carried R1b-L278.

 

Basic phylogenetic tree for R1b


Haplogroup R1b

 M343

R-M343* (R1b*). No cases have been reported.

 L278 
PH155

R-PH155 (R1b1b) has been found in individuals from Bahrain, Bhutan, Ladakh, Tajikistan, Turkey, Xinjiang, and Yunnan.

L754
V88

R-V88 (R1b1a2): the most common forms of R1b found among males native to Sub-Saharan Africa, also found rarely elsewhere.

L389
 V1636

R-V1636 (R1b1a1b) is rare, but has been found in Bulgaria, Turkey, a Tomsk Tatar, the Italian Province of Salerno, and an individual of unknown descent in Puerto Rico.

 P297 
 M73 

Subclades of R-M73 (R1b1a1a1) are rare and common only in Eastern Europe, Siberia and Central Asia.

 M269 

Subclades of R-M269 (R1b1a1a2; previously R1b1a2) are now extremely common throughout Western Europe, but are also found at lower levels in many other parts of Western Eurasia and the Mediterranean.

 

Geographical distribution

R1b1 (R-L278)

R-L278 among modern men falls into the R-L754 and R-PH155 subclades, though it is possible some very rare R-L278* may exist as not all examples have been tested for both branches. Examples may also exist in ancient DNA, though due to poor quality it is often impossible to tell whether or not the ancients carried the mutations that define subclades.

Some examples described in older articles, for example two found in Turkey, are now thought to be mostly in the more recently discovered sub-clade R1b1a2 (R-V88). Most examples of R1b therefore fall into subclades R1b1a2 (R-V88) or R1b1a (R-P297). Cruciani et al. in the large 2010 study found 3 cases amongst 1173 Italians, 1 out of 328 West Asians and 1 out of 156 East Asians. Varzari found 3 cases in the Ukraine, in a study of 322 people from the Dniester-Carpathian Mountains region, who were P25 positive, but M269 negative. Cases from older studies are mainly from Africa, the Middle East or Mediterranean, and are discussed below as probable cases of R1b1a2 (R-V88).

R1b1a (R-L754)

R-L754 contains the vast majority of R1b. The only known example of R-L754* (xL389, V88) is also the earliest known individual to carry R1b: "Villabruna 1" , who lived circa 14,000 years BP (north east Italy). Villabruna 1 belonged to the Epigravettian culture.

 

Red hear


Map of red hear

 
Haplogroup R-S21 & R-L21

 

Where did red hair first arise?

It has been suggested that red hair could have originated in Paleolithic Europe, especially since Neanderthal also had red hair. The only Neanderthal specimen tested so far (from Croatia) did not carry the same MC1R mutation responsible for red hair in modern humans (the mutation in question in known as Arg307Gly). But since Neanderthals evolved alongside Homo Sapiens for 600,000 years, and had numerous subspecies across all Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia, it cannot be ruled out that one particular subspecies of Neanderthal passed on the MC1R mutation to Homo Sapiens. It is however unlikely that this happened in Europe, because red hair is conspicuously absent from, or very low in parts of Europe with the highest percentages of haplogroup I (e.g. Finland, Bosnia, Sardinia) and R1a (Eastern Europe), the only two lineages associated with Mesolithic and Paleolithic Europeans. We must therefore look for the source of red hair, elsewhere. unsurpisingly, the answer lies with the R1b people - thought to have recolonised Central and Western Europe during the Bronze Age.

If the mutation for red hair was inherited from Neanderthal, it would have been from a Central Asian Neanderthal, perhaps from modern Uzbekistan.


Interbreeding between Archaic and Modern Humans.

 

Cappadocia c. 9000 BC

Y-DNA I2a, I2b, I2c

 
Haplogroup I2a - Cappadocia

 

Göbekli Tepe


A sort of totem pole from Göbekli Tepe, with portions of humanoid figures. Layer II, 8800-8000 BCE

 

Asikali Höyük, c. 9000 BC


Aşıklı Höyük

Aşıklı Höyük is a settlement mound located nearly 1 km south of Kızılkaya village on the bank of the Melendiz brook, and 25 kilometers south – east of Aksaray, Turkey. Aşıklı Höyük is located in an area covered by the volcanic tuff of central Cappadocia, in Aksaray Province. The archaeological site of Aşıklı Höyük was first settled in the Aceramic Neolithic period, around 8000 BC.

 

Opsidijanska narukvica stara 9.500 godina!

Svijet je prepun arheoloških zagonetki koje zbunjuju današnje znanstvenike na različite načine; ili se nalazi ne poklapaju s prihvaćenim vremenskim sljedovima, ili su nalazi pronađeni na mjestu na kojem se ne bi trebali nalaziti, ili su prastari artefakti toliko savršeni da izgledaju da su napravljeni s današnjom tehnologijom ili čak i modernijom tehnologijom od one koju mi poznajemo danas. Jedan takav predmet nađen na području Turske, postao je zagonetka koju nismo u stanju odgonetnuti.

Web tiskovina Mail Online i arheološka web stranica Past Horizons, su se pozabavili 9500. godina starim artefaktom, evo što su otkrili:

Znanstvenici su pobliže odlučili ispitati ostatke obsidijanske narukvice pronađene 1995. na području arheološkog lokaliteta u Aşıklı Höyük u Turskoj.

9500. godina stara narukvica je analizirana uz pomoć trodimenzionalnog kompjutorskog skeniranja, što je umjesto davanja odgovora, još više zbunilo znanstvenike jer bi bilo jako teško ili gotovo nemoguće ovakvu narukvicu napraviti uz pomoć najmodernijih strojeva za oblikovanje Opsidijana ili sličnih materijla.

Što je Opsidijan?

Opsidijan je vulkansko staklo to jest vulkanska stijena izgrađena gotovo u potpunosti od staklaste materije. Ovaj tip prirodnog stakla je stvoren u ekstruzivnim magmatskim stijenama brzim hlađenjem lave obogaćene lakim materijalima, a posebno silikatima, tako da se za vrijeme hlađenja nisu mogli stvoriti kristali. Opsidijan se obično nalazi na lokalitetima s riolitskom lavom gdje se samo hlađenje lave brzo odvijalo. (Kraj citata.)

Zbog svojih svojstava i nedostataka kristala, od Opsidijana su se pravile u prošlosti svakakvi uporabni predmeti, od ukrasa i nakita do nevjerojatno tankih i oštrih oružja, svojstva ovog prirodnog stakla su takva da se od njega može napraviti skalpel tanji nego li onaj od kirurškog čelika i još veće oštrine.

Mail Online piše: Istraživači instituta Français d’Etudes Anatoliennes u Istambulu i labortorije  Tribologie et de Dynamiques des Systèmes, su istraživali obrađenu površinu narukvice i njena mikro topografska svojstva, pri tome su otkrili njena nevjerojatna svojstva i ekspertizu s kojom je napravljena.

Kako je neolitsko društvo iz lokaliteta Aşıklı Höyük uspjelo napraviti ovakav nakit, ostaje misterija. Ova narukvica je najstariji obrađeni predmet izrađen u Neolitiku.

Predmeti od Opsidijana su se najviše pravili 7000.-6000. prije nove ere, i to za sve moguće svrhe, ogledala, oštrice, posude i tako dalje (O nekim jako zagonetnim kirurškim oruđima i uporabnim predmetima pronađenim na području Južne Amerike izrađenima od Lidita, jedne vrste vulkanskog stakla koje je još teže za obradu, smo pisali u tekstu: Klaus Dona i njegova arheološka otkrića.).

Zagonetni prastari kirurški instrumenti napravljeni od Lidita, jedne vrste vulkanskog stakla, koje je otkrio Klaus Dona. Ovi kirurški instrumenti su toliko dobro napravljeni da perfektno prijanjaju za ljudsku ruku. (Kliknite na sliku da biste je povećali.)

Rezultati istraživanja su objavljeni u prosinačkom broju Journal of Archaeological Science.

Past Horizons još iscrpnije piše o ovom zagonetnom predmetu:

Ekspertiza obrade narukvice i njena politura je toliko sofisticirana da parira današnjim tehnikama politure. Narukvica je datirana u period od 7500. prije nove ere, ali čitatelje moramo upozoriti na nedavno otkriće o tome kako Sunce djeluje na radioaktivne materijale, to jest da stvara anomalije u raspadu radioaktivnih materijala, istih onih sa kojima mi datiramo arheološke nalaske.

Na osnovu podataka iz zadnjih istraživanja, s pravom sumnjamo da se datiranja mogu pomnožiti s faktorom dva, što bi značilo da su artefakti barem duplo stariji.

Koliko god da je narukvica zaista stara, zapanjuje načinom na koji je izrađena, ona je dijametra od 10 centimetara, širine 3,3 centimetra.

Kompjutorskim skeniranjem narukvice otkriva se njena perfektna izrada, nepravilnosti su pronađene tek na skali od nanometra to jest miljarditom dijelu metra.

Istraživanja su otkrila kako je narukvica stvorena visoko specijaliziranom proizvodnjom i tehnologijom, na njoj se ne prepoznaju nikakve greške ili nepravilnosti, osim podatka da je savršeno okrugla, ujednačene debljine i simetričnog oblika sa svih strana, zbunjuje nedostatak tragova izrade, ogrebotina ili drugih nepravilnosti na površini. Što još više zbunjuje jer se ne može shvatiti kakvom su se tehnikom poliranja koristili pradavni ljudi.

Kompleksna politura na ovoj narukvici pokazuje mikro neravnine tek veličine od nanometra, mi takve nepravilnosti možemo vidjeti tek uz pomoć jakih mikroskopa, ako je prastari čovjek iz neolitika, to jest mlađeg kamenog doba bio u stanju napraviti tako nešto, on je morao koristiti teleskopske leće da bi bio u stanju izravnati nepravilnosti koje su toliko male, ali ljudi iz neolitika nisu imali teleskopske leće, zar ne?

Kao što smo rekli ovaj predmet, zajedno s još šezdesetak krhotina i predmeta nađenih na istoj lokaciji samo stvara još više pitanja na koje današnja znanost jednostavno nema odgovora. Iskreno se nadamo da će Sveučilište iz Istambula i Francuske kolege nastaviti s objavljivanjem podataka o ovom nalazištu bez obzira koliko su nalazi nevjerojatni i koliko ne nalikuju na artefakte iz mlađeg kamenog doba.

 

Pre-Pottery Neolithic A, c. 10000 - 8800 BC

Y-DNA E-M78 & I2a, I2b, I2c, R-V88

Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) denotes the first stage in early Levantine and Anatolian Neolithic culture, dating c. 11,500 – c. 10,000 BP. Archaeological remains are located in the Levantine and Upper Mesopotamian region of the Fertile Crescent.

The time period is characterized by tiny circular mud brick dwellings, the cultivation of crops, the hunting of wild game, and unique burial customs in which bodies were buried below the floors of dwellings.

The Pre-Pottery Neolithic A and the following Pre-Pottery Neolithic B were originally defined by Kathleen Kenyon in the type site of Jericho (Palestine). During this time, pottery was yet unknown. They precede the ceramic Neolithic (Yarmukian). PPNA succeeds the Natufian culture of the Epipaleolithic (Mesolithic).


Tower of Jericho

In the 21st century, remains of figs were discovered in a house in Jericho dated to 9,400 BC. The figs are of a mutant variety that cannot be pollinated by insects, and therefore the trees can only reproduce from cuttings. This evidence suggests that figs were the first cultivated crop and mark the invention of the technology of farming. This occurred centuries before the first cultivation of grains.

Settlements became more permanent with circular houses, much like those of the Natufians, with single rooms. However, these houses were for the first time made of mudbrick. The settlement had a surrounding stone wall and perhaps a stone tower (as in Jericho). The wall served as protection from floods, or to keep animals penned. There are also some enclosures that suggest grain and meat storage.

Settlements

PPNA archaeological sites are much larger than those of the preceding Natufian hunter-gatherer culture, and contain traces of communal structures, such as the famous tower of Jericho. PPNA settlements are characterized by round, semi-subterranean houses with stone foundations and terrazzo-floors. The upper walls were constructed of unbaked clay mudbricks with plano-convex cross-sections. The hearths were small, and covered with cobbles. Heated rocks were used in cooking, which led to an accumulation of fire-cracked rock in the buildings, and almost every settlement contained storage bins made of either stones or mud-brick.

One of the most notable PPNA settlements is Jericho, thought to be the world’s first town (c 8000 BC). The PPNA town contained a population of up to 2000-3000 people, and was protected by a massive stone wall and tower. There is much debate over the function of the wall, for there is no evidence of any serious warfare at this time. One possibility is the wall was built to protect the salt resources of Jericho.

Burial Practices

PPNA cultures are unique for their burial practices, and Kenyon (who excavated the PPNA level of Jericho), characterized them as “living with their dead.” Kenyon found no fewer than 279 burials, below floors, under household foundations, and in between walls. In the PPNB period, skulls were often dug up and reburied, or mottled with clay and (presumably) displayed.

 Crop Cultivation and Granaries

Sedentism of this time allowed for the cultivation of local grains, such as barley and wild oats, and for storage in granaries. Sites such as Dhra′ and Jericho retained a hunting lifestyle until the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period, but granaries allowed for year-round occupation. This period of cultivation is considered “pre-domestication”, but may have begun to develop plant species into the domesticated forms they are today. Deliberate, extended-period storage was made possible by the use of “suspended floors for air circulation and protection from rodents”. This practice “precedes the emergence of domestication and large-scale sedentary communities by at least 1,000 years”.

Granaries are positioned in places between other buildings early on 9500 BC. However beginning around 8500 BC, they were moved inside houses, and by 7500 BC storage occurred in special rooms. This change might reflect changing systems of ownership and property as granaries shifted from a communal use and ownership to become under the control of households or individuals. It has been observed of these granaries that their “sophisticated storage systems with subfloor ventilation are a precocious development that precedes the emergence of almost all of the other elements of the Near Eastern Neolithic package—domestication, large scale sedentary communities, and the entrenchment of some degree of social differentiation.” Moreover, “Building granaries may … have been the most important feature in increasing sedentism that required active community participation in new life-ways.”

Regional variants

‘Sultanian’ in the Jordan River valley and southern Levant with the type site of Jericho. Other sites include Netiv HaGdud, El-Khiam, Hatoula and Nahal Oren.

‘Mureybetian’ in the Northern Levant. Defined by the finds from Mureybet IIIA, IIIB, typical: Helwan points, sickle-blades with base amenagée or short stem and terminal retouch. Other sites include Sheyk Hasan and Jerf el-Ahmar.

‘Aswadian’ in the Damascus Basin. Defined by finds from Tell Aswad IA. Typical: bipolar cores, big sickle blades, Aswad points. The ‘Aswadian’ variant was recently abolished by the work of Danielle Stordeur in her initial report from further investigations in 2001–2006. The PPNB horizon was moved back at this site, to around 8700 BC.

Sites in ‘Upper Mesopotamia’ include Çayönü and Göbekli Tepe.

Jericho

Jericho (Arabic: Arīḥā) is a Palestinian city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank. It is believed to be one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. It is known in Judeo-Christian tradition as the place of the Israelites’ return from bondage in Egypt, led by Joshua, the successor to Moses.

Jericho is described in the Old Testament as the “City of Palm Trees.” Copious springs in and around the city attracted human habitation for thousands of years. Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of more than 20 successive settlements in Jericho, the first of which dates back 11,000 years (9000 BC), almost to the very beginning of the Holocene epoch of the Earth’s history.

Jericho has evidence of settlement dating back to 9000 BC. During the Younger Dryas period of cold and drought, permanent habitation of any one location was not possible. However, the spring at what would become Jericho was a popular camping ground for Natufian hunter-gatherer groups, who left a scattering of crescent microlith tools behind them. Around 9600 BC the droughts and cold of the Younger Dryas Stadial had come to an end, making it possible for Natufian groups to extend the duration of their stay, eventually leading to year round habitation and permanent settlement.

The first permanent settlement was built near the Ein as-Sultan spring between 10000 and 9000 BC. As the world warmed, a new culture based on agriculture and sedentary dwelling emerged, which archaeologists have termed “Pre-Pottery Neolithic A” (abbreviated as PPNA). PPNA villages are characterized by small circular dwellings, burials of the dead within the floors of buildings, reliance on hunting wild game, the cultivation of wild or domestic cereals, and no use of pottery. At Jericho, circular dwellings were built of clay and straw bricks left to dry in the sun, which were plastered together with a mud mortar. Each house measured about 5 metres across, and was roofed with mud-smeared brush. Hearths were located within and outside the homes.

By about 9400 BC the town had grown to more than 70 modest dwellings. Population estimates have been as high as two to three thousand people, but it has been suggested that these are highly exaggerated by at least tenfold. The most striking aspect of this early town was a massive stone wall over 3.6 metres high, and 1.8 metres wide at the base. Inside this wall was a tower over 3.6 metres high, contained an internal staircase with 22 stone steps. The wall and tower were unprecedented in human history, and would have taken a hundred men more than a hundred days to construct it. The wall may have been a defence against flood water with the tower used for ceremonial purposes.

After a few centuries it was abandoned for a second settlement, established in 6800 BC, perhaps by an invading people who absorbed the original inhabitants into their dominant culture. Artifacts dating from this period include ten plastered human skulls, painted so as to reconstitute the individuals’ features. These represent the first example of portraiture in art history, and it is thought that they were kept in people’s homes while the bodies were buried. This was followed by a succession of settlements from 4500 BC onward, the largest being constructed in 2600 BC.

Archaeological evidence indicates that in the latter half of the Middle Bronze Age (circa 1700 BC) the city enjoyed some prosperity, its walls having been strengthened and expanded. According to carbon dating the Canaanite city (Jericho City IV) was destroyed between 1617 and 1530 BC. The site remained uninhabited until the city was refounded in the 9th century BC.

Çayönü

Çayönü is a Neolithic settlement in southern Turkey inhabited around 7200 to 6600 BC. It is located forty kilometres north-west of Diyarbakır, at the foot of the Taurus mountains. It lies near the Bogazcay, a tributary of the upper Tigris River and the Bestakot, an intermittent stream.

Çayönü is possibly the place where the pig (Sus scrofa) was first domesticated. The wild fauna include wild boar, wild sheep, wild goat and cervids. The Neolithic environment included marshes and swamps near the Bogazcay, open wood, patches of steppe and almond-pistachio forest-steppe to the south.

According to Der Spiegel of either 6 March or 3 June 2006, the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne has discovered that the genetically common ancestor of 68 contemporary types of cereal still grows as a wild plant on the slopes of Mount Karaca (Karaca Dağ), which is located in close vicinity to Çayönü. (Compare to information on cereal use in PPNA).

Tell Aswad

Tell Aswad (“Black hill”), Su-uk-su or Shuksa, is a large prehistoric, Neolithic Tell, about 5 hectares (540,000 sq ft) in size, located around 48 kilometres (30 mi) from Damascus in Syria, on a tributary of the Barada River at the eastern end of the village of Jdeidet el Khass.

Tools and weapons were made of flint including Aswadian and Jericho point arrowheads. Other finds included grinding equipment, stone and mud containers, and ornaments made of various materials. Obsidian was imported from Anatolia. Tell Aswad occupies a special location in the central Levant as a connecting region between northern and southern expansions of agriculture.

Mureybet

Mureybet is a tell, or ancient settlement mound, located on the west bank of the Euphrates in Ar-Raqqah Governorate, northern Syria. The site was excavated between 1964 and 1974 and has since disappeared under the rising waters of Lake Assad.

Mureybet was occupied between 10,200 and 8,000 BC and is the eponymous type site for the Mureybetian culture, a subdivision of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA). In its early stages, Mureybet was a small village occupied by hunter-gatherers. Hunting was important and crops were first gathered and later cultivated, but they remained wild. During its final stages, domesticated animals were also present at the site.

 

Pre-Pottery Neolithic

Y-DNA I2a, I2b, I2c

 
Pre-Pottery Neolithic - Haplogroup I2a

Y-chromosome IJ

Both of the primary branches of haplogroup IJ – I-M170 and J-M304 – are found among modern populations of the Caucasus, Anatolia, and Southwest Asia. This tends to suggest that Haplogroup IJ branched from IJK in West Asia and/or the Middle East.

Y-chromosome I-M170

While a European point of origin has often been proposed – as I-M170 has not found outside Europe in Paleolithic remains – the modern populations with the greatest proportions of basal, undiverged I are found in the Caucasus and Iran. These include the Darginians (Dargwa) and North Ossetians of the North Caucasus, and ethnic Iranians from Tehran and Isfahan.

In addition, living examples of the precursor Haplogroup IJ have been found only in Iran, among the Mazandarani and ethnic Persians from Fars. This may indicate that IJ originated in South West Asia.

West Iranian, Y-Haplogroup I, 24.6% (Elam)
Northern Iraq Kurds, Y-Haplogroup I, 16.8% (Assiri)
Sephardic Jews, Y-Haplogroup I, 11.5%
Kurdish Jews, Y-Haplogroup I, 6.1%
Nubians (Sudan), Y-Haplogroup I, 5.1%

Y-DNA haplogroups in populations of the Near East


Distribution Y-DNA I2a

 

Ognjište usred kuće


Ognjište usred kuće - Pre-Pottery Neolithic


Ognjište usred kuće - Lepenski Vir - Y-DNA I2a


Ognjište usred kuće - Skara Brae


Skara Brae - Y-DNA I2a1 & I2a2, 100%

 

Cereal and legume farming, c. 9500 BC

Cereal and legume farming first developed 11,500 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, in what is now Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, but did not expand much beyond this region for the first two and a half millennia. The reason for this delay was that early agriculture was too rudimentary to allow an independent subsistence and was merely a way of supplementing the diet of hunter-gatherers. Cultivation started with wheat, figs and legumes.

 

Copper metallurgy, c. 9000 BC


Copper

Copper occurs naturally as native metallic copper and was known to some of the oldest civilizations on record. The history of copper use dates to 9000 BC in the Middle East; a copper pendant was found in northern Iraq that dates to 8700 BC. Evidence suggests that gold and meteoric iron (but not smelted iron) were the only metals used by humans before copper. The history of copper metallurgy is thought to follow this sequence: First, cold working of native copper, then annealing, smelting, and, finally, lost-wax casting. In southeastern Anatolia, all four of these techniques appear more or less simultaneously at the beginning of the Neolithic c. 7500 BC.

Copper smelting was independently invented in different places. It was probably discovered in China before 2800 BC, in Central America around 600 AD, and in West Africa about the 9th or 10th century AD. Investment casting was invented in 4500–4000 BC in Southeast Asia  and carbon dating has established mining at Alderley Edge in Cheshire, UK, at 2280 to 1890 BC. Ötzi the Iceman, a male dated from 3300–3200 BC, was found with an axe with a copper head 99.7% pure; high levels of arsenic in his hair suggest an involvement in copper smelting. Experience with copper has assisted the development of other metals; in particular, copper smelting led to the discovery of iron smelting. Production in the Old Copper Complex in Michigan and Wisconsin is dated between 6000 and 3000 BC. Natural bronze, a type of copper made from ores rich in silicon, arsenic, and (rarely) tin, came into general use in the Balkans around 5500 BC.

The emergence of metallurgy may have occurred first in the Fertile Crescent. The earliest use of lead is documented here from the late Neolithic settlement of Yarim Tepe in Iraq,

"The earliest lead (Pb) finds in the ancient Near East are a 6th millennium BC bangle from Yarim Tepe in northern Iraq and a slightly later conical lead piece from Halaf period Arpachiyah, near Mosul. As native lead is extremely rare, such artifacts raise the possibility that lead smelting may have begun even before copper smelting."

 

First Cattle Herders, c. 8500 BC


First Cattle Herders, c. 8500 BC

 

Caucasian Hunter-Gatherer

Origins Haplogroup J - Caucasus


Petroglyphs in Gobustan, Azerbaijan, dating back to 10,000 BC.


Caucasus

Jones et al. (2015) analyzed genomes from males from western Georgia, in the Caucasus, from the Late Upper Palaeolithic (13,300 years old) and the Mesolithic (9,700 years old). These two males carried Y-DNA haplogroup: J* and J2a.

Ancient J-M410 has been found, in a mesolithic context, in a tooth from the Kotias Klde Cave in western Georgia dating 9.529-9.895 cal. BP. This sample has been assigned to the Caucasus hunter-gatherers (CHG) autosomal component.


Y-DNA J2

Caucasian Hunter-Gatherer (CHG) was extrapolated from, among other sources, the genomes of two fossils from western Georgia – one about 13,300 years old (Late Upper Paleolithic) and the other 9,700 years (Mesolithic), which were compared to the 13,700 year-old Bichon man genome (found in Switzerland.)

Azilian

Grotte du Bichon is a karstic cave in the Swiss Jura, overlooking the Doubs river

It is the site of the discovery of the skeleton a hunter-gatherer of the Azilian (late Upper Paleolithic to early Mesolithic), dubbed "Bichon man" (homme de Bichon), a young male about 20 to 23 years old, carbon dated to 13,770–13,560 years ago (95% CI).

The skeleton was discovered in 1956, about 15 m from the cave entrance, intermingled with the bones of a female brown bear, nine flint arrowheads and traces of charcoal. In 1991, flint chips were found embedded in the bear's third vertebra, without indication of healing, suggesting the interpretation that the bear was wounded by arrows, retreated into the cave, and was pursued by the hunter, who made a fire to fumigate the bear from the cave, but was killed by the dying animal.

A genetic analysis of the man showed membership in the "West European Hunter-Gatherer" lineage known from younger fossils of the European Mesolithic. He was a bearer of Y-DNA haplogroup I2a and of mt-DNA haplogroup U5b1h.

 

First Sheep Herders, c. 11000 - 9000 BC

Y-DNA I2 & J


"Valach" from Brumov in Moravian Wallachia, 1787. Shepherding was a traditional occupation of Romanians, and as they colonised the northern Carpathian range and eventually assimilated, their exonym "Vlach" became synonymous with "shepherd".

The history of the domesticated sheep goes back to between 11000 and 9000 BC, and the domestication of the wild mouflon in ancient Mesopotamia. Sheep are among the first animals to have been domesticated by humans, and there is evidence of sheep farming in Iranian statuary dating to that time period. These sheep were primarily raised for meat, milk, and skins.

The rearing of sheep for secondary products, and the resulting breed development, began in either southwest Asia or western Europe. Initially, sheep were kept solely for meat, milk and skins. Archaeological evidence from statuary found at sites in Iran suggests that selection for woolly sheep may have begun around 6000 BC,  and the earliest woven wool garments have been dated to two to three thousand years later. Before this, when a sheep was slaughtered for its meat, the hide would be tanned and worn as a kind of tunic. Researchers believe that the development of such clothing encouraged humans to live in areas far colder than the Fertile Crescent, where temperatures averaged 70 °F (21 °C).


Atlit Yam


Submerged stone structure

Atlit-Yam provides the earliest known evidence for an agro-pastoral-marine subsistence system on the Levantine coast. The site of Atlit Yam has been carbon-dated to be between 8900 and 8300 years old (calibrated dates) and belongs to the final Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period. In the 21st century, it lies between 8-12m (25-40 ft) beneath sea level in the Mediterranean Sea, in the Bay of Atlit, at the mouth of the Oren river on the Carmel coast. It covers an area of ca. 40,000 square meters (10 acres).

Underwater excavations have uncovered rectangular houses and a well. The site was covered by the eustatic rise of sea levels after the end of the Ice age. It is assumed that the contemporary coast-line was about 1 km (a half-mile) west of the present coast. Piles of fish ready for trade or storage have led scientists to conclude that the village was abandoned suddenly. An Italian study led by Maria Pareschi of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Pisa indicates that a volcanic collapse of the eastern flank of Mount Etna 8,500 years ago would likely have caused a 10-storey (40 m or 130 ft) tsunami to engulf some Mediterranean coastal cities within hours. Some scientists point to the apparent abandonment of Atlit Yam around the same time as further evidence that such a tsunami did indeed occur.


Human skeleton discovered at Atlit Yam

Submerged settlements and shipwrecks have been found on the Carmel coast since 1960, in the wake of large-scale sand quarrying. In 1984, marine archaeologist Ehud Galili spotted ancient remains whilst surveying the area for shipwrecks. Remains of rectangular houses and hearth-places have been found. Also found was a well that currently lies 10.5 m (35 ft) below sea-level, constructed of dry-stone walling, with a diameter of 1.5 m (5 ft) and a depth of 5.5 m (20 ft) lower. The fill contained flints, artifacts of ground stone and bone, and animal bones in two separate layers. The upper layer contained partly articulated animal bones, which were presumably thrown in after the well went out of use. Other round structures at the site may also be wells. Galili believes that the water in the wells gradually became contaminated with seawater, forcing the inhabitants to abandon their homes.

A stone semicircle, containing seven 600 kg (1,300 lb) megaliths, has been found. The stones have cup marks carved into them and are arranged around a freshwater spring, which suggests that they may have been used for a water ritual.

Ten flexed burials have been discovered, both inside the houses and in their vicinity. The skeletons of a woman and child, found in 2008, have revealed the earliest known cases of tuberculosis. Bone fish-hooks and piles of fish bones ready for trade or storage point to the importance of marine resources. The men are thought to have dived for seafood, as four skeletons have been found with ear damage, probably caused by diving in cold water. Anthropomorphic stone stelae have been found. The lithics include arrowheads, sickle-blades and axes.

An excavation was mounted by the University of Haifa on October 1, 1987. A complete human burial, in an excellent state of preservation, was discovered under 10m of water on October 4 with the skeleton oriented in a fetal position on the right side. Subsequent carbon dating of plant material recovered from the burial placed the age of the site at 8000 +-200 years.

Animal bones and plant remains have also been preserved. Animal bones come mainly from wild species. The plant remains include wild grape, poppy, and caraway seeds. Granary weevils indicate the presence of stored grain. Pollen analysis and the remains of marsh plants indicates the local presence of swamps.

 

The Black Sea Flood, c. 7300 BC


Lake Pontus


The black sea flood

  • Compilation of geochronological, geochemical, and geophysical data is used to reinterpret Black Sea-Lake level history.
  • The Black Sea-Lake remained fresh during deglaciation until the marine transgression at 9300 calendar years BP.
  • Prior to the transgression, the Black Sea-Lake level was 120 mbsl or lower.
  • The transgression was fast and took no longer than a couple of decades.
  • The salinification that followed took <~1500 years.

Compilation of geophysical, geochronological, and geochemical evidence indicates a rapid Mediterranean-derived submergence of the Black Sea's shelf and subsequent substantial salinification in the early Holocene - PDF

 
The black sea flood, c. 7300 BC

 

Nostratic languages


A phylogenetic representation of Nostratic as proposed by Bomhard (2008).

Nostratic is a macrofamily, or hypothetical large-scale language family, which includes many of the indigenous language families of Eurasia, although its exact composition and structure vary among proponents. It typically comprises the Indo-European, Uralic, Altaic and Kartvelian languages, as well as the Afroasiatic languages spoken in North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the Near East, and the Dravidian languages of the Indian Subcontinent (sometimes also Elamo-Dravidian, which connects India and the Iranian Plateau).


Nostratic languages

The present day worldwide distribution of the Nostratic macrofamily of languages according to Sergei Starostin.

 

Ceramic Mesolithic

Currently, the earliest known dates for ceramic vessels are from Southern China, where the direct dating of pottery at Miaoyan and Yuchanyan sites, based on insoluble residues, yield 14C values of 17 200–16 300 calBC (15 220±260 BP [BA94137b]) and 16 150–15 400 calBC respectively (14 390±230 BP [BA95057b]) (Zhao and Wu 2000.236–237; Pearson 2005.823). In the Russian Far East very early pottery found was also produced by hunter gatherer societies at the sites of Gromatukha and Gasya and has been dated to between 14 560–13 070 calBC (13 240 BP±85 [AA–20939] and 14 160–12 530 calBC (12 960±120 BP [LE–1781] (Kuzmin 2002.41,Tab.1; Zhushchikhovsaya 2005.13,17). Kuzmin, on contrary suggests there was an almost simultaneous appearance of pottery in Southern China at c. 13 700–13 300 BP, in Japan at c. 13 500 BP, and in the Russian Far East at c. 13 300 BP (Kuzmin 2006.362–371; see also Keally et al. 2004.349).

The first occurrence of ceramic vessels in Western Eurasia at circa 6900–6800 calBC marks the transition from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic C (PPNC) to the Pottery (or Late) Neolithic. The earlier pottery assemblages consist of coarse-wares, which are planttempered and undecorated. Several centuries pass before the emergence of elaborate painted styles and diverse shapes, which suggests that pottery had acquired a much wider significance in wider social contexts (Le Mière et Picon 1999.5–26; Aurenche et al. 2001.1197; Akkermans et al. 2006.123–156; Kozłowski and Aurenche 2005). However, the knowledge of firing clay was older than the first pottery vessels. We see the production of fired ceramic female and animal figurines from the very start of Pre- Pottery Neolithic (PPNA), at about 10 200 calBC onward, although these were being produced alongside ‘white ware’ vessels of carved sandstone, alabaster and marble.

In North-Eastern Europe, Siberia, and certain southern European and North African sites, a "ceramic Mesolithic" can be distinguished between 7000-3850 BC. Russian archaeologists prefer to describe such pottery-making cultures as Neolithic, even though farming is absent. This pottery-making Mesolithic culture can be found peripheral to the sedentary Neolithic cultures. It created a distinctive type of pottery, with point or knob base and flared rims, manufactured by methods not used by the Neolithic farmers. Though each area of Mesolithic ceramic developed an individual style, common features suggest a single point of origin. The earliest manifestation of this type of pottery may be in the region around Lake Baikal in Siberia. It appears in the Elshan or Yelshanka or Samara culture on the Volga in Russia c. 7000 BC, and from there spread via the Dnieper-Donets culture to the Narva culture of the Eastern Baltic. Spreading westward along the coastline it is found in the Ertebølle culture of Denmark and Ellerbek of Northern Germany, and the related Swifterbant culture of the Low Countries.

In the Near East farming appeared before pottery, then when farming spread into Europe from the Near East, pottery-making came with it. However, in Asia, where the oldest pottery has been found, pottery was made long before farming.

 

 

R1b1b (R-PH155) - Spread of pottery

The other primary branch of R1b1 is R-PH155 (R1b1b), which is extremely rare and defined by the presence of PH155. Living males carrying subclades of R-PH155 have been found in Bahrain, Bhutan, Ladakh, Tajikistan, Turkey, Xinjiang, and Yunnan. ISOGG (2017) cites two primary branches: R-M335 (R1b1b1) and R-PH200 (R1b1b2).

The defining SNP of R1b1b1, M335, was first documented in 2004, when an example was discovered in Turkey, though it was classified at that time as R1b4. Other examples of R-M335 have been reported in a sample of Hui from Yunnan, China and in a sample of people from Ladakh, India. In commercial testing of Y-DNA, R-M335 has been found in individuals who have reported paternal ancestry in Germany and Italy (including Arbëreshë).

Examples of the other subclade of R-PH155, i.e. R1b1b2-PH200, have been found in individuals from Turkey (Konya and Gaziantep, with at least the latter reporting Armenian ethnicity), Bahrain, and Bhutan.

Other examples of R-PH155, with precise subclade unresolved, have been found in a Tajik in Tajikistan and in a Uyghur in academic studies and in an individual who has reported paternal ancestry in Varanasi, India in commercial testing.


Hindu Kush (Caucasus Indicus)

Origins Y-DNA G & H


Hindu Kush

The Hindu Kush, also known in Ancient Greek as the Caucasus Indicus, is an 800-kilometre-long (500 mi) mountain range that  stretches through Afghanistan, from its centre to northern Pakistan and into Tajikistan and China.

The Hindu Kush is a formidable mountain range to cross with most peaks being between 4,400 and 5,200 m (14,500 and 17,000 ft), and some much higher. The mountains experience heavy snowfall and blizzards, with the lowest mountain pass through them being southern Shibar pass (2,700 m or 9,000 ft) where the Hindu Kush range terminates.

These mountainous areas are mostly barren, or at the most sparsely sprinkled with trees and stunted bushes. Very ancient mines producing lapis lazuli are found in Kowkcheh Valley, while gem-grade emeralds are found north of Kabul in the valley of the Panjsher River and some of its tributaries. According to Walter Schumann, the West Hindu Kush mountains have been the source of finest Lapis lazuli for thousands of years.

 

Lapis lazuli


Lapis lazuli

As early as the 7th millennium BCE, lapis lazuli was mined in the Sar-i Sang mines, in Shortugai, and in other mines in Badakhshan province in northeast Afghanistan.

 

Basal Eurasian, c. 7000 BC

Y-DNA G2a (Lost Sheep) - Highlanders

The highest genetic diversity within haplogroup G is found in the northern part of the Fertile Crescent, between the Levant and the Caucasus, which is a good indicator of its region of origin. It is thought that early Neolithic farmers expanded from northern Mesopotamia westwards to Anatolia and Europe, eastwards to South Asia, and southwards to the Arabian peninsula and North and East Africa.

The testing of Neolithic remains in various parts of Europe has confirmed that haplogroup G2a was the dominant lineages of Neolithic farmers and herders who migrated from Anatolia to Europe between 9,000 and 6,000 years ago.

Around 8,500 years ago, G2a Neolithic farmers arrived in northwest Anatolia and Thessaly in central Greece, as attested by the ancient genomes sequenced by Mathieson et al. (2015) and Hofmanová et al. (2015). G2a farmers from the Thessalian Neolithic quickly expanded across the Balkans and the Danubian basin, reaching Serbia, Hungary and Romania by 5800 BCE, Germany by 5500 BCE, and Belgium and northern France by 5200 BCE. Ancient skeletons from the Starčevo–Kőrös–Criș culture (6000-4500 BCE) in Hungary and Croatia, and the Linear Pottery culture (5500-4500 BCE) in Hungary and Germany.

Other haplogroups have been found on different Neolithic sites next to a G2a majority, including C1a2, H2, I*, I2a1, I2c, and J2a in Anatolia, C1a2, E-M78, H2, I*, I1, I2a, I2a1, J2 and T1a in Southeast and Central Europe (Starčevo, Sopot, LBK), as well as E-V13, H2, I2a1, I2a2a1 and R1b-V88 in western Europe (Cardium Pottery, Megalithic). H2 and T1a were found in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic Levant and are undeniably linked to the early development of agriculture alongside G2a. That being said, C1a2 was also found in Mesolithic Spain (Olalde et al. 2014) and, as it is an extremely old lineage associated with the first Paleolithic Europeans, it could have been found all over Europe and Anatolia before the Neolithic. E1b1b was also found in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic Levant.

Y-DNA G2 - mtDNA N1a1a, W1, & X

Interestingly, N1a, W (aka N2b) and X are directly descended from the very old haplogroup N*, rather than from the more recent macro-haplogroup R (the ancestor of HV, JT and UK, representing 90% of European mtDNA lineages). The long bottleneck evolution of N1a and X mirror that of Y-haplogroup G2. These haplogroups are called Basal Eurasian.

Like G2a none have been found in the Neolithic Levant, but all of them were found in the predominantly G2a populations of Early Neolithic Anatolia and Europe.

  • Mesolithic Europeans don't have any Basal Eurasian

 

Distribution Y-DNA G2a c. 7000 BC


Distribution G2a

 

First Goat Herders c. 7000 BC


First Goat Herders, Ganj Dareh - Jarmo

 

Mediterranean race

The Mediterranean race (sometimes Mediterranid race) is one of the sub-races into which the Caucasian race was categorized by most anthropologists in the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries.

According to various definitions, it was said to be prevalent in Southern Europe and Southeast Europe, in Western Asia, in NorthAfrica, in the Horn of Africa, in Central Asia, in Latin America (through Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French and Lebanese ancestry), and in certain parts of the British Isles and Germany.

It is characterized by medium to tall stature, long (dolichocephalic) or moderate (mesocephalic) skull, a narrow and often slightly aquiline nose, prevalence of dark hair and eyes, and pink to reddish to light or dark brown skin tone; olive complexion being especially common.


Mediterranean race - Dulaim

 

Neolithic Levant

Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, c. 7600 - 6500 BC

Y-DNA E-M78, I2a, I2b, I2c, R-V88 & H2


Pre-Pottery Neolithic

Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) is a division of the Neolithic developed by Dame Kathleen Kenyon during her archaeological excavations at Jericho in the southern Levant region. The period is dated to between ca. 10700 and ca. 8000 BP or 7000 – 6000 BCE.

Like the earlier PPNA people, the PPNB culture developed from the Earlier Natufian but shows evidence of a northerly origin, possibly indicating an influx from the region of north eastern Anatolia.

Cultural tendencies of this period differ from that of the earlier Pre-Pottery Neolithic A period in that people living during this period began to depend more heavily upon domesticated animals to supplement their earlier mixed agrarian and hunter-gatherer diet. In addition the flint tool kit of the period is new and quite disparate from that of the earlier period. One of its major elements is the naviform core.

This is the first period in which architectural styles of the southern Levant became primarily rectilinear; earlier typical dwellings were circular, elliptical and occasionally even octagonal. Pyrotechnology was highly developed in this period. During this period, one of the main features of houses is evidenced by a thick layer of white clay plaster floors highly polished and made of lime produced from limestone.

It is believed that the use of clay plaster for floor and wall coverings during PPNB led to the discovery of pottery. Indeed, the earliest proto-pottery was White Ware Vessels, made from lime and gray ash, built up around baskets before firing, for several centuries around 7000 BC at sites such as Tell Neba’a Faour (Beqaa Valley). Sites from this period found in the Levant utilizing rectangular floor plans and plastered floor techniques were found at Ain Ghazal, Yiftahel (western Galilee), and Abu Hureyra (Upper Euphrates).

Danielle Stordeur’s recent work at Tell Aswad, a large agricultural village between Mount Hermon and Damascus could not validate Henri de Contenson’s earlier suggestion of a PPNA Aswadian culture. Instead, they found evidence of a fully established PPNB culture at 8700 BC at Aswad, pushing back the period’s generally accepted start date by 1200 years.

How a PPNB culture could spring up in this location, practicing domesticated farming from 8700 BC has been the subject of speculation. Whether it created its own culture or imported traditions from the North East or Southern Levant has been considered an important question for a site that poses a problem for the scientific community.

The culture disappeared during the 8.2 kiloyear event, a term that climatologists have adopted for a sudden decrease in global temperatures that occurred approximately 8200 years before the present, or c. 6200 BCE, and which lasted for the next two to four centuries.

In the following Munhatta and Yarmukian post-pottery Neolithic cultures that succeeded it, rapid cultural development continues, although PPNB culture continued in the Amuq valley, where it influenced the later development of Ghassulian culture.

Juris Zarins has proposed that a Circum Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex developed in the period from the climatic crisis of 6,200 BCE, partly as a result of an increasing emphasis in PPNB cultures upon animal domesticates, and a fusion with Harifian hunter gatherers in the Southern Levant, with affiliate connections with the cultures of Fayyum and the Eastern Desert of Egypt.

Cultures practicing this lifestyle spread down the Red Sea shoreline and moved east from Syria into Southern Iraq.

The Yarmukian Culture is a Neolithic culture of the ancient Levant. It was the first culture in Prehistoric Israel and one of the oldest in the Levant to make use of pottery. The Yarmukian derives its name from the Yarmouk River which flows near its type site at Sha’ar HaGolan, a kibbutz at the foot of the Golan Heights.

Besides the site at Sha’ar HaGolan, 20 other Yarmukian sites have been identified in Israel, Jordan and Lebanon. These include:

  • Tel Megiddo (Israel)
  • Ain Ghazal (Jordan)
  • Munhata (Israel)
  • Tel Qishion (Israel)
  • Hamadiya (Israel)
  • Ain Rahub (Jordan)
  • Abu Tawwab (Jordan)

Although the Yarmukian culture occupied limited regions of northern Israel and northern Jordan, Yarmukian pottery has been found elsewhere in the region, including the Habashan Street excavations in Tel-Aviv and as far north as Byblos, Lebanon.

Ghassulian refers to a culture and an archaeological stage dating to the Middle Chalcolithic Period in the Southern Levant (c. 3800–c. 3350 BC). Considered to correspond to the Halafian culture of North Syria and Mesopotamia, its type-site, Tulaylat al-Ghassul, is located in the Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea in modern Jordan and was excavated in the 1930s.

The Ghassulian stage was characterized by small hamlet settlements of mixed farming peoples, and migrated southwards from Syria into Israel. Houses were trapezoid-shaped and built mud-brick, covered with remarkable polychrome wall paintings. Their pottery was highly elaborate, including footed bowls and horn-shaped drinking goblets, indicating the cultivation of wine. Several samples display the use of sculptural decoration or of a reserved slip (a clay and water coating partially wiped away while still wet). The Ghassulians were a Chalcolithic culture as they also smelted copper.

Funerary customs show evidence that they buried their dead in stone dolmens.

Ghassulian culture has been identified at numerous other places in what is today southern Israel, especially in the region of Beersheba. The Ghassulian culture correlates closely with the Amratian of Egypt and may have had trading affinities (e.g., the distinctive churns, or “bird vases”) with early Minoan culture in Crete.

Ghassulian culture replaced the Minhata and Yarmukian culture, and seems to have developed in part from a fusion of Pre-Pottery Neolithic B in the Amuq Valley, with Minhata and nomadic pastoralists of the circum Arabian nomadic pastoral complex. It was associated with the Older Peron, which began in the 5000 BCE to 4900 BCE era, and lasted to about 4100 BCE, a period of generally clement and balmy weather conditions that favored plant growth.

The Ghassulian phase seems to have been formative for the Canaanite civilization – in which a chalcolithic structure pioneered a Mediterranean mixed economy, involving the intensive subsistence production of horticultural fruit and vegetables, extensive farming of grains and cereals, transhumance and nomadic pastoral systems of animal husbandry, and commercial production (as in Crete) of wine and olives.

Jericho

Settlements have rectangular mudbrick houses where the family lived together in single or multiple rooms. Burial findings suggest an ancestor cult where people preserved skulls of the dead, which were plastered with mud to make facial features. The rest of the corpse may have been left outside the settlement to decay until only the bones were left, then the bones were buried inside the settlement underneath the floor or between houses.

Jericho skull

Skull plastering was a sign of honor, indicating that our Jericho resident was probably of high status. Archaeologist Ian Hodder, who has studied skull plastering at Ҫatalhöyük, has suggested these skulls were a way for people to remember their ancestors. It might not have been a form of ancestor worship but rather an early effort to chronicle history.

This was an era long before today's dominant organized religions, so it's difficult for us to imagine exactly what Neolithic people would have believed. But these skulls suggest that they braided historical memory and reverence for ancestors together into a system of belief that united families and communities.


Jericho skull

Nevalı Çori

Nevalı Çori was an early Neolithic settlement on the middle Euphrates, in the province of Şanlıurfa (Urfa), eastern Turkey. The site is famous for having revealed some of the world’s most ancient known temples and monumental sculpture. Together with the site of Göbekli Tepe, it has revolutionised scientific understanding of the Eurasian Neolithic.

A stone head discovered at the Neolithic site of Nevalı Çori in Anatolia features what some have interpreted as an early example of a śikhā, perhaps the mark of a priest or shaman. The local limestone was carved into numerous statues and smaller sculptures, including a more than life-sized bare human head with a snake or sikha-like tuft.

The sikha or shikha is a Sanskrit word that refers to a long tuft, or lock of hair left on top or on the back of the shaven head of a male Hindu. Though traditionally all Hindus were required to wear a śikhā, today it is seen mainly among traditional believers like vedic students and scholars, priests, devotional musicians, religious leaders, saints and many traditional families mostly from the brahmin community.

‘Ain Ghazal

‘Ain Ghazal is a Neolithic site located in North-Western Jordan, on the outskirts of Amman. It dates as far back as 7250 BC, and was inhabited until 5000 BC. At 15 hectares (37 ac), ‘Ain Ghazal ranks as one of the largest known prehistoric settlements in the Near East.

Yarmukian Culture, c. 6400 - 6000 BC

The Yarmukian Culture is a Neolithic culture of the ancient Levant. It was the first culture in Prehistoric Israel and one of the oldest in the Levant to make use of pottery. The Yarmukian derives its name from the Yarmouk River which flows near its type site at Sha’ar HaGolan, a kibbutz at the foot of the Golan Heights.

The first Yarmukian settlement was unearthed at Megiddo during the 1930s, but was not identified as a distinct Neolithic culture at the time. At Sha’ar HaGolan, in 1949, Prof. Moshe Stekelis first identified the Yarmukian Culture, a Pottery Neolithic culture that inhabited parts of Israel and Jordan. The site, dated to ca. 6400–6000 BC (calibrated), is located in the central Jordan Valley, on the northern bank of the Yarmouk River. Its size is circa 20 hectares, making it one of the largest settlements in the world at that time. Although other Yarmukian sites have been identified since, Sha’ar HaGolan is the largest, probably indicating its role as the Yarmukian center.


Munhata

The greatest technological innovation of the Sha’ar HaGolan Neolithic was the manufacture of pottery. This industry, which appears here for the first time in Israel, gives this cultural stage its name of Pottery Neolithic. The pottery vessels are in a variety of shapes and sizes and were put to various domestic uses.

 

Figurine PPNB

 

South Mesopotamia

Ubaid period, c. 6500 - 3800 BC


Ubaid period


Shallow bowl typically found in graves from ca. 6000-5000 BC.


Halaf period, c. 7000-6000 BC

Earlier Ubaid: Hand-made wares, including fine buff or cream-slipped fabric decorated with thick dark paint with zones of geometric designs such as parallel lines in different directions, zigzags, and chevrons. Forms include bowls with and without ring bases, large dishes, sauceboats, beakers, and globular jars. For example below we have a shallow bowl typically found in graves from ca. 6000-5000 BC, the decoration was simple, bold and effective.

 

Upper Mesopotamia

Halaf culture, c. 6100 BC - 5100 BC


Halaf culture

Terra-cotta figurines occur in all periods from the Neolithic through the Sasanian. Chalcolithic (Copper Age starting ca. 5500 BC) figurines include Halaf style (ca. 6100-5100 BC), characterized by seated naked females (usually headless), with bulging, rounded legs, arms, and breasts, and occasionally with painted decorations on their bodies; and Ubaid style of elongated, standing, nude male and female figures with tall, conical heads, "coffee-bean"-shaped eyes, and applied body ornaments.

Halaf is usually hand-made polychrome pottery, often polished to a high sheen. Complex compositions of geometric and natural motifs in red, orange, brown/black, and white reminiscent of textiles, sometimes incorporating dense patterns of tiny black dots. Forms include plates, shallow bowls, footed goblets, and jars with flaring necks and oval mouth. Below we have a bowl from northern Iraq dated to ca. 5500-5000 BC. The firing was generally to a high standard so many examples have survived. However it is still not clear how this style spread over such an enormous areas, being made locally in many, many different places.

Halaf culture - Amuq

The Amuk, Amuq or Amouq (or Amik) valley is located in the southern part of Turkey, in the Hatay Province, close to the city of Antakya (Antioch on the Orontes). It is notable for a series of archaeological sites in the “plain of Antioch”.

 

Hassuna culture, c. 6000 BC

By around 6000 BC people had moved into the foothills (piedmont) of northernmost Mesopotamia where there was enough rainfall to allow for "dry" agriculture in some places. These were the first farmers in northernmost Mesopotamia. They made Hassuna-style pottery (cream slip with reddish paint in linear designs). Hassuna people lived in small villages or hamlets ranging from 2 to 8 acres (3.2 ha).

At Tell Hassuna, adobe dwellings built around open central courts with fine painted pottery replace earlier levels with crude pottery. Hand axes, sickles, grinding stones, bins, baking ovens and numerous bones of domesticated animals reflect settled agricultural life. Female figurines have been related to worship and jar burials within which food was placed related to belief in afterlife. The relationship of Hassuna pottery to that of Jericho suggests that village culture was becoming widespread. - Hassuna culture

 

Neolithic Egypt

Faiyum A culture, c. 6000 BC


Faiyum A culture

The period from 9000 to 6000 BC has left very little in the way of archaeological evidence. Around 6000 BC, Neolithic settlements appear all over Egypt. Studies based on morphological, genetic, and archaeological data have attributed these settlements to migrants from the Fertile Crescent in the Near East returning during the Egyptian and North African Neolithic, bringing agriculture to the region. - Faiyum A culture


Hakra Ware culture, 8th - 7th millennium BC

Y-DNA L & T

Bhirrana or Birhana is a small village located in Fatehabad District, in the Indian state of Haryana.

Hakra Ware has been found at Bhirrana, and is pre-Harappan, dating to the 8th-7th millennium BCE. Hakra Ware culture is a material culture which is contemporaneous with the early Harappan Ravi phase culture (3300-2800 BCE) of the Indus Valley.

 

Mehrgarh, c. 7000 BC


Mehrgarh

The Mehrgarh Period I (7000 BCE-5500 BCE) was Neolithic and aceramic, without the use of pottery. The earliest farming in the area was developed by semi-nomadic people using plants such as wheat and barley and animals such as sheep, goats and cattle. The settlement was established with simple mud buildings and most of them had four internal subdivisions. Numerous burials have been found, many with elaborate goods such as baskets, stone and bone tools, beads, bangles, pendants and occasionally animal sacrifices, with more goods left with burials of males. Ornaments of sea shell, limestone, turquoise, lapis lazuli and sandstone have been found, along with simple figurines of women and animals. Sea shells from far sea shore and lapis lazuli found as far away as present-day Badakshan, Afghanistan shows good contact with those areas. A single ground stone axe was discovered in a burial, and several more were obtained from the surface. These ground stone axes are the earliest to come from a stratified context in South Asia. Periods I, II and III are contemporaneous with another site called Kili Gul Mohammed.

 

Dravidian race

Y-chromosome LT


Y-DNA LT

 

Y-chromosome T1a


Haplogroup T1a

According to the Genographic Project the T-M184 frequencies in Germany goes from 3% to 24%, several studies give frequencies in Caucasus from 0% to 12% and the frequency in Bhutan is less than 5%.

T2 (T-PH110), a basal primary branch of T-M184, has been found in three very separate geographical regions: the North European Plain; the Kura-Araks Basin of the Caucasus and; Bhutan. None of these regions, however, now appears to feature populations with high frequencies of haplogroup T-M184.

The other primary branch, Haplogroup T-M206 (T1), is far more common than T2 among modern populations in Eurasia and Africa. It appears to have originated somewhere in western Asia, possibly somewhere between north-eastern Anatolia and the Zagros mountains.

Most males who now belong to Haplogroup T-M184 are members of T-M70 (T1a) – a primary branch of T-M206. Now most commonly found in North Africa and the Middle East, T-M70 nevertheless appears to have long been present in Europe and to have arrived there with the first farmers. This is supported by the discovery of several members of T1a1 (CTS880) at a 7,000 year old settlement in Karsdorf, Germany. Autosomal analysis of these remains suggest that some were closely related to modern Southwest Asian populations.

 

Samarra culture, c. 5500 - 4800 BC

Y-chromosome T1a


Bowl from northern Iraq dated to ca. 5500-5000 BC.

The Samarra culture is a Chalcolithic archaeological culture in northern Mesopotamia that is roughly dated to 5500–4800 BCE. It partially overlaps with Hassuna and early Ubaid. Samarran material culture was first recognized during excavations by German Archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld at the site of Samarra. Other sites where Samarran material has been found include Tell Shemshara, Tell es-Sawwan and Yarim Tepe. - Samarra culture

 
Swastika

At Tell es-Sawwan, evidence of irrigation-including flax-establishes the presence of a prosperous settled culture with a highly organized social structure. The culture is primarily known for its finely made pottery decorated with stylized animals, including birds, and geometric designs on dark backgrounds. This widely exported type of pottery, one of the first widespread, relatively uniform pottery styles in the Ancient Near East, was first recognized at Samarra. The Samarran Culture was the precursor to the Mesopotamian culture of the Ubaid period.

 

 
Samarran, Hassuna - characterized by glazed pottery painted with geometric and animal designs

 

Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period, c. 5500 - 5000 BC


Painted jar dating from ca. 4500-4200 BC.

Later Ubaid: Wheel-made pottery often of a greenish hue, decorated with fine monochrome dark paint, used sparingly in broad black horizontal lines and simple curving shapes. Forms include large globular jars, shallow flaring bowls, round-bottomed bowls, and cups with flat bases. Below we have a painted jar dating from ca. 4500-4200 BC.


Pots from the last phase of Ubaid pottery.
Pottery with this type of design has been found in the Persian Gulf, and in southern Iran dating from ca. 5000 BC.


Ubaid

 

Female figurine Halaf, Hassuna, Samarra & Ubaid culture

Wheel

The Wheel: Many authorities regard the wheel as one of the oldest and most important inventions which supposedly originated in ancient Mesopotamia in the 5th millennium BC ( Ubaid period), suggested to be originally in the function of potter's wheels. Near the northern side of the Caucasus several graves were found, in which since 3,700 BC people had been buried on wagons or carts (both types). (Ref: Wikipedia.com).

An similar example of the Sumerian wheeled vehicle (right) but from c. 5,500 BC was recently (2012) discovered in Mardin, Turkey and is now on display in the Mardin Museum.  (Quick-link)

Megalithic culture Index Anatolia