A Short History of Humanity: A New History of Old Europe by Johannes Krause and Thomas Trappe (translated by Caroline Waight) gives us the latest info on archeology and DNA samplings from European archaeological sites. The title may be a bit pretentious, as it only covers an area of Earth more or less a cultural backwater until very recent times. Still, there is a lot of new information to give us an up-to-date picture of the peopling of Europe. European archeology covering the most ground, it is refreshing to see debunking and confirmations from new data. Particularly, and most interesting, the piecing together of prehistoric metadata involving artifacts and diseases.
I enjoyed this book as it is a good tie-in with David Graeber's and David Wengrow's The Dawn of Everything.
|Shaman of Bad Durremberg|
Europe, the largest peninsula on Earth, has it tough duing the Ice Ages. Though the central plains heading across Eurasia are ice free, living conditions at the deepest parts of ice ages are impossible. However, during the interglacials Europe is quite charming. Briefly, from current data in the book, what we currently know is that Europe's first known settlers are Neanderthals and Denisovans some 600,000 years ago. Early modern humans followed, but left no permanent genetic record among modern Europeans.
Three waves of anatomically modern humans have left genetic markers among Europeans today. The first wave, the hunter gatherers that produced the beautiful cave paintings at Lascaux and Altamira, entered from Africa approximately 45,000 years ago. Reconstructed DNA evidence taken from bones and teeth from that time indicate they were dark-skinned, and dark to light eyed. These Aurignacian hunters after mastodon and cave lion and short face bear were beautiful black people with blue eyes.
The latest Ice Age ended some 12,900 years ago, and was so abrupt as to be noticed in the short span of one generation. Times were good for the hunter gatherers in Europe, until about 8,000 years ago, with glaciers finally in retreat, farmers from Anatolia and the Fertile Crescent appear in Europe. Interestingly, there are two distinct groups of unrelated peoples inhabiting the western and eastern portions of the Fertile Crescent. The western people are the lactose tolerant cheese eating surrender monkeys of the future. Because they lack nutrients (vitamin D) from hunter gathering, they got paler and paler the further north they went. Funny thing is the physical records show the original hunter-gatherers staying way clear of these extremely violent farmers bickering over land, other than interaction through trade.
And the trade networks are a regular time crystal of a quantum computer connected by atom lasers. Much to be gleaned from the metadata of traded artifacts, but the extent of networks reached all the way across Eurasia, and possibly into the Western Hemisphere. These are the peoples behind the poorly named Agricultural Revolution, with groups picking up and abandoning agricultural practices as set their whims. (My mother's side of the family can be traced back to the Scandinavian penisula, which became ice free a mere 6,200 years ago.)
5000 years ago the last migration wave arrived from the Ponticsteppes above the Caspian and Black Seas, the Yamnaya. The Yamnaya brought Indo-European languages, bronze age tech, and domesticated horses with them. They originally migrated across the Caucasus to the steppes from the Zagros mountains of Iran (thus the whole shithead Aryan white supremacy thing).
This third migration wave DNA is prominant in Northern and Eastern Europe, and also in Native Americans. (Easily solved problem traced back to a 24,000 year old skeleton in Mongolia, the common ancestor). We are up to speed save for an interesting deduction via the metadata of disease. There is a suggestion that the Black Plague came with the Yamnaya, like a biocidal invasive species.. Further, plague has a possible origin in the domestication of horses. The bacteria responsible for plague are indigenenous to the Vast Plain of Eurasia. Further evidence, the Yamnaya replaced their steppe horses and tamed native European horses (possibly more resistant to plague).
Obviously, the authors stress the absurdity of racial superiority and that we are still of dangerously limited genetic diversity. (Me being Scandinatian makes me seriously inbred). Thank goodness for the African Diaspora.
Still lots to do, lots of books to come, and still a lot of places to dig up.