Tag Archives: Iberia

Palaeodiets of Humans and Fauna at the Spanish Mesolithic Site of El Collado

Palaeodiets of Humans and Fauna at the Spanish Mesolithic Site of El Collado

The first human stable isotope results from the Spanish Levant, from the Mesolithic (ca. 7500 BP, Mesolithic IIIA phase) site of El Collado (near Oliva, Valencia) provide evidence for the consumption of marine protein by humans, estimated at approximately 25% of the dietary protein for some individuals. Isotopic analysis of human remains from other coastal Mesolithic sites in Europe, particularly along the Atlantic coast, also shows significant consumption of marine foods, but the amount of marine food consumed by the El Collado humans was much less than at those sites. This may be because of a different dietary adaptation or because the Mediterranean is much less productive than the Atlantic.


Figure 1. Spanish sites with Mesolithic human remains. 1, Abric del Cingle Vermell (Catalonia); 2, Cueva de Los Azules I (Asturias); 3, Cueva de Balmori (Asturias); 4, Poza l’Egua (Asturias); 5, Cueva de Nerja (Malaga); 6, El Collado (Valencia); 7, Cueva de Colomba (Asturias); 8, Cueva de los Canes (Asturias); 9, Abrigo de Aizpea (Navarre); 10, Cuartamentero (Asturias); 11, Colombres (Asturias); 12, Molino de Gasparı´n (Asturias); 13, Cueva de Mazaculos II (Asturias); A, Asturias, with a series of closely located sites. On the basis of the lithic material, Aparicio (1992, 89) placed the Mesolithic occupation of El Collado between 10,000 and 6500 BC, with the phase of most intense utilization around 7500–6500 BC. Subsequently, two radiocarbon determinations made on human bone from burial 12 yielded the ages of BP and BP (Aparicio 7,570160 7,640120 1992; Pe´rez-Pe´rez et al. 1995), which calibrate to 6630–6250 BC (Stuiver and Reimer 1993; Stuiver, Reimer, and Reimer.

It seems that everyones ancestors ate a lot of seafood if they lived on the coast.

Using ancient DNA to examine genetic continuity at the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in Portugal

Using ancient DNA to examine genetic continuity at the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in Portugal

Two main mechanisms for the introduction of agriculture at the transition from the Mesolithic to the Neolithic in Portugal have been proposed: indigenous adoption and colonisation. Distinguishing between these mechanisms can be regarded as a question of genetic continuity or discontinuity at the transition. A genetic comparison of late Mesolithic and early Neolithic populations at the transition using ancient DNA is described here. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) was extracted from human remains collected in several Mesolithic sites of the Sado estuary and from Neolithic cave sites. Phylogenetic analysis, based on the mitochondrial hypervariable region 1 (HVSI), and comparison with DNA from modern European populations was performed. The absence of mtDNA haplogroup J in the ancient Portuguese Neolithic sample suggests that this population was not derived directly from Near Eastern farmers. The Mesolithic and Neolithic groups show genetic discontinuity implying colonisation at the Neolithic transition in Portugal.

A study of Mesolithic and Neolithic Mt DNA from sites inPortugal.


J shows iself to be absent from the Mesolithic and Neolithic samples, and there was some loss of diversity in less common Hg’s. There’s a fair difference between the Mesolithic and Neolithic samples, suggestin population discontinuity-probably a large amount of immgration at the start of the neolithic, although the lack of J suggests this wasn’t from the near East



It also mentions isotope studies on the bones show a very abrupt change from the Meolithic Maritime diet to the land based Neolithic diet, the same as in Britain.

The Aterian of North Afrca, and the Solutrean of the Iberian peninsula:was there contact between them in the upper Paleothic

The Aterian of North Africa, and the Solutrean of the Iberian peninsula-was there contact between them in the upper Paleothic?

En Espanol desafortunadamente… Anyone who feels like translating the finer details let me know.
We present a state of the question on the North African Aterian, examining different hypotheses that posit some kind of relationship of this technocomplex with the Solutrean of the Iberian Peninsula, via the Strait of Gibraltar. Despite the fact that palaeoenvironmental conditions of the Strait area during the last glaciation would have allowed the movement of humans in several moments, the current archaeological record, besides some techno-typological similarities, does not allow us to conclude any kind of Aterian contribution in the formation of the peninsular Solutrean industries. Furthermore, some reflections about the evolution of the lithic industries from the Initial Upper Palaeolithic are made, pointing out the necessity of undertaking a theoretical and methodological renovation, in order to gain a better understanding of the processes of technological evolution in the Upper Paleolithic, and their relationships with prior contexts.


Mesolithic Iberia pdf’s

The Mesolithic of Iberia


Re-thinking the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in Iberia: a view from the West.

Bookmarked pdfs, for those interested. Unread by me as yet, they’ll have to wait until later!

Prehistoric Iberia: Genetics, Anthropology, and Linguistics

Prehistoric Iberia: Genetics,Anthropology, and Linguistics

A pdf that does what it says. It’s a description of conference about Iberia, North Africa and the Canaries. A quick and fairly interesting read if you are interestede in this area. It mentions tha Tuareg as relative newcomers to North West Africa, being related to the Beja of the Sudan. It aslo has some HLA work by the barking mad Arnaiz-Villena in it.

The mitochondrial lineage U8a reveals a Paleolithic settlement in the Basque country

The mitochondrial lineage U8a reveals a Paleolithic settlement in the Basque country
Ana M González1 , Oscar García2 , José M Larruga1  and Vicente M Cabrera1

Published: 23 May 2006

It is customary, in population genetics studies, to consider Basques as the direct descendants of the Paleolithic Europeans. However, until now there has been no irrefutable genetic proof to support this supposition. Even studies based on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), an ideal molecule for constructing datable maternal genealogies, have failed to achieve this. It could be that incoming gene flow has replaced the Basque ancient lineages but it could also be that these lineages have not been detected due to a lack of resolution of the Basque mtDNA genealogies. To assess this possibility we analyzed here the mtDNA of a large sample of autochthonous Basques using mtDNA genomic sequencing for those lineages that could not be unequivocally classified by diagnostic RFLP analysis and control region (HVSI and HVSII) sequencing.
We show that Basques have the most ancestral phylogeny in Europe for the rare mitochondrial subhaplogroup U8a. Divergence times situate the Basque origin of this lineage in the Upper Palaeolithic. Most probably, their primitive founders came from West Asia. The lack of U8a lineages in Africa points to an European and not a North African route of entrance. Phylogeographic analysis suggest that U8a had two expansion periods in Europe, the first, from a south-western area including the Iberian peninsula and Mediterranean France before 30,000 years ago, and the second, from Central Europe around 15,000–10,000 years ago.

It has been demonstrated, for the first time, that Basques show the oldest lineages in Europe for subhaplogroup U8a. Coalescence times for these lineages suggest their presence in the Basque country since the Upper Paleolithic. The European U8 phylogeography is congruent with the supposition that Basques could have participated in demographic re-expansions to repopulate central Europe in the last interglacial periods.

I’ll read this one a bit more thoroughly when the kids calm down.

Y-chromosome Lineages from Portugal, Madeira and Acores Record Elements of Sephardim and Berber Ancestry

Y-chromosome Lineages from Portugal, Madeira and Acores Record Elements of Sephardim and Berber Ancestry

Rita Gonc¸alves1, Ana Freitas1, Marta Branco1, Alexandra Rosa1,4, Ana T. Fernandes1,

A total of 553 Y-chromosomes were analyzed from mainland Portugal and the North Atlantic Archipelagos of Ac¸ores and Madeira, in order to characterize the genetic composition of their male gene pool. A large majority (78–83% of each population) of the male lineages could be classified as belonging to three basic Y chromosomal
haplogroups, R1b, J, and E3b. While R1b, accounting for more than half of the lineages in any of the Portuguese subpopulations, is a characteristic marker of many different West European populations, haplogroups J and E3b consist of lineages that are typical of the circum-Mediterranean region or even East Africa. The highly diverse haplogroup
E3b in Portuguese likely combines sub-clades of distinct origins. The present composition of the Y chromosomes in Portugal in this haplogroup likely reflects a pre-Arab component shared with North African populations or testifies, at least in part, to the influence of Sephardic Jews. In contrast to the marginally low sub-Saharan African Y chromosome component in Portuguese, such lineages have been detected at a moderately high frequency in our previous survey of mtDNA from the same samples, indicating the presence of sex-related gene flow, most likely mediated by the Atlantic slave trade.


Interesting from this

mtDNA haplogroups L0–L3 and M1 that are characteristic to sub- Saharan populations are present at ~12% and ~14.8% in the south of Portugal and Madeira, respectively.

…which assumes the M1 is from slaves, but I suspect this may have a much older date, like 20k or more from North Africa as some movement from North Africa is suggested at this point by mt DNA U6 and Y chr E1, and one L mt DNA hg.

TMRCA for Portuguese E1 lineages estimated as 22.9 ± 7.2 ky (Table 2) favours the first scenario, a possible parallel to mtDNA U6 cited in Gonzalez et al. (2003).

Which agrees with the observations that the North African Holocene population seem to be a patchwork of sub Saharan and Eurasian phenotypes, with the far West (Taforalt) showing  as the least Sub Saharan, and Sudanese Nubia as the most. This supports an expansion from the North East of Africa that spread the Iberomaurussian culture as far as Portugal and Syria.


The paper also observes that J1 seems to have arrived on two separate occasions..

the divergence time of J1 in Central and South Portuguese populations (between 4.8 ky and 11.1 ky, Table 2) suggests that they were imported from distinct founding populations or even through different waves from different Middle-Eastern populations that had diverged much earlier elsewhere.

Which could be possible if the older J1 arrived with the Capsian transition in North Africa as was recently suggested.

Iberian Y chromosomes, mark II.

Reduced genetic structure of the Iberian peninsula revealed by Y-chromosome analysis: implications for population demography
Carlos Flores*,1,2, Nicole Maca-Meyer1,2, Ana M Gonza´lez1, Peter J Oefner3, Peidong Shen3,
Jose A Pe´rez1, Antonio Rojas4, Jose M Larruga1 and Peter A Underhill5

Europe has been influenced by both intra- and intercontinental migrations. Since the Iberian peninsula was a refuge during the Last Glacial Maximum, demographic factors associated with contraction, isolation, subsequent expansion and gene flow episodes have contributed complexity to its population history. In this work, we analysed 26 Y-chromosome biallelic markers in 568 chromosomes from 11 different Iberian population groups and compared them to published data on the Basques and Catalans to gain insight into the paternal gene pool of these populations and find out to what extent major demographic processes account for their genetic structure. Our results reveal a reduced, although geographically correlated,
Y-chromosomal interpopulation variance (1.2%), which points to a limited heterogeneity in the region. Coincidentally, spatial analysis of genetic distances points to a focal distribution of Y-chromosome haplogroups in this area. These results indicate that neither old or recent Levantine expansions nor North African contacts have influenced the current Iberian Y-chromosome diversity so that geographical patterns can be identified.



Again, one to study tomorrow! This nice image from another source


Iberian Y chromsomes

A borrowed image for reference.


Observed R1b Y-DNA Allele frequencies of Iberian and non Iberian origin.

Observed R1b Y-DNA Allele frequencies of Iberian and non Iberian origin.

Unfortunately I can’t paste any of this onto my blog.. But it’s mainly images anyway. Useful for reference though.