Monday, September 11, 2017
I kid you not, the map below was published in a recent discussion paper in the European Journal of Archaeology. It was put together by two highly experienced Russian academics: archaeologist Leo Klejn and geneticist Oleg Balanovsky. Pretty crazy, huh?
It surely must rank as one of the most naive, awkward and inadvertently comical attempts to debunk the Kurgan Proto-Indo-European theory that I have seen anywhere, and I've seen some really dumb sh*t in this context in the comments at this blog.
Klejn and Balanovsky are actually arguing that Yamnaya-related ancestry did not spread from the Pontic-Caspian steppe to most of the rest of Europe, but rather from somewhere around modern-day Finland to most of the rest of Europe, including the Pontic-Caspian steppe.
Obviously, this is impossible, and the reasons for this are explained by Klejn's co-authors and discussion opponents in the paper. Basically, the very specific type of genetic structure fixed in the Yamnaya population of the Early Bronze Age Pontic-Caspian steppe did not exist in Northeastern Europe prior to the arrival of the Corded Ware people in the region, and they, in all likelihood, came from the Pontic-Caspian steppe, because some of the earliest Corded Ware samples are practically identical to those from the Yamnaya horizon.
Here's a figure from the recent Mathieson et al. 2017 preprint that illustrates this very neatly with an ADMIXTURE analysis. Remarkably, the Globular Amphora Culture (GAC) people, who lived on the northwest edge of the Pontic-Caspian steppe just prior to the formation of the Corded Ware Culture across much of Northern Europe, showed, at best, trace amounts of the Yamnaya-specific genetic component. On the other hand, the early Corded Ware individual from what is now Latvia (Latvia_LN) appears almost indistinguishable from the average Yamnaya folks.
Hopefully, Klejn and Balanovsky have now given up on their highly original theory about the expansion of the Yamnaya genetic signal after looking over the data from Mathieson et al. 2017. But from running this blog and having to deal with copious amounts of stupid sh*t in the comments, I know how exceedingly difficult it is for some people to finally bury their pet theories, no matter how at odds with reality they are, so I guess we'll see.
Klejn et al., Discussion: Are the Origins of Indo-European Languages Explained by the Migration of the Yamnaya Culture to the West?, European Journal of Archaeology, Published online: 28 July 2017, doi:10.1017/eaa.2017.35
Mathieson et al., The Genomic History Of Southeastern Europe, bioRxiv, Posted May 9, 2017, doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/135616
Late PIE ground zero now obvious; location of PIE homeland still uncertain, but...
A plausible model for the formation of the Yamnaya genotype