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Neolithic expansion in Europe

Y-chromosome E-V13, I2, I2a, T1a & G2, H2

Modern humans took two routes into Europe

Earlier research into Y-DNA had instead focused on haplogroup R1 (M173): the most populous lineage among living European males; R1 was also believed to have emerged ~ 40,000 BP in Central Asia. However, it is now estimated that R1 emerged substantially more recently: a 2008 study dated the most recent common ancestor of haplogroup IJ to 38,500 and haplogroup R1 to 18,000 BP. This suggested that haplogroup IJ colonists formed the first wave and haplogroup R1 arrived much later.

Thus the genetic data suggests that, at least from the perspective of patrilineal ancestry, separate groups of modern humans took two routes into Europe: from the Middle East via the Balkans and another from Central Asia via the Eurasian Steppe, to the north of the Black Sea.

Martin Richards et al. found that 15–40% of extant mtDNA lineages trace back to the Palaeolithic migrations (depending on whether one allows for multiple founder events). MtDNA haplogroup U5, dated to be ~ 40–50 kYa, arrived during the first early upper Palaeolithic colonisation. Individually, it accounts for 5–15% of total mtDNA lineages. Middle U.P. movements are marked by the haplogroups HV, I and U4. HV split into Pre-V (around 26,000 years old) and the larger branch H, both of which spread over Europe, possibly via Gravettian contacts.

Haplogroup H accounts for about half the gene lines in Europe, with many subgroups. The above mtDNA lineages or their precursors, are most likely to have arrived into Europe via the Middle East. This contrasts with Y DNA evidence, whereby some 50%-plus of male lineages are characterised by the R1 superfamily, which is of possible central Asian origin. Ornella Semino postulates that these differences "may be due in part to the apparent more recent molecular age of Y chromosomes relative to other loci, suggesting more rapid replacement of previous Y chromosomes. Gender-based differential migratory demographic behaviors will also influence the observed patterns of mtDNA and Y variation".

Agricultural migrations - Mediterranean Group

Y-chromosome E-V13, I2, I2a & T1a

Haplogroup E

Neolithic Greece

Y-DNA E-V13, G2a, I2a & T1a

Neolithic Greece


Sesklo, c. 7510 - 6190 BC




  • Preceded by: Çatalhöyük


Cardium pottery, c. 6400 - 5500 BC

Y-DNA E-V13, G2a, I2a

Cardium pottery


  • Chandler et al. (2005) sequenced the mtDNA of four Neolithic skeletons from the Impressed Ware Culture of Portugal (5500-4750 BCE), and found two members of haplogroup U (U and U5), one of H and one of V.
  • Lacan et al. (2011) tested 29 skeletons from a 5,000-year-old site in Treilles, Languedoc, France. Twenty paternal lineages (Y-DNA) were identified as G2a, while the two others belonged to haplogroup I2a. The maternal lineages (mtDNA) comprised six haplogroup U (including four U5 and one U5b1c), two K1a, six J1, two T2b, two HV0, six H (three H1 and three H3), one V, and four X2. The two I2a men belonged to mtDNA haplogroup H1 and H3.
  • Lacan et al. (2011 bis) tested 7 skeletons from a 7,000-year-old Neolithic site from the Avellaner Cave in Cogolls, Catalonia, Spain. Six paternal lineages (Y-DNA) were identified including five G2a and one E1b1b1a1b (E-V13). There were three mtDNA haplogroup K1a, two T2b, one H3, and one U5.
  • The team of Fernández et al. (2006) and Gamba et al. (2008) analysed the mitochondrial HVR-I in 37 bone and teeth samples from 17 archaeological sites located around Castellón de la Plana, Valencia, Spain. Most of the results were inconclusive though. Out of the 12 mtDNA sequences from the Chalcolithic period that were retrieved, four were reported as haplogroup L3, four as H (including three CRS, which could be non-results), two to R0, HV or H, one to V, and one to D.
  • Gamba et al. (2011) identified the mtDNA of 10 Early Neolithic (5000-5500 BCE) samples from the sites of Can Sadurni and Chaves and three Late Early Neolithic (4250-3700 BCE) from Sant Pau del Camp, all around Barcelona, Spain. The coding region was also tested to confirm the haplogroups. The results included haplogroups N* (4 samples), H (4 samples including one H20), U5 (1 sample), K (3 samples) and X1 (1 sample).
  • Preceded by: Çatalhöyük


Dimini, c. 5000 - 4400 BC


Adam of Govrlevo, or "Adam of Macedonia". At more than 7,000 years old, the sculpture is the oldest artifact found in the Republic of Macedonia. The artist depicts a sitting male body, and shows details of his spine, ribs, navel, and phallus. The piece is now exhibited in the Skopje City Museum.

  • Preceded by: Çatalhöyük

Agricultural migrations - Danubian & Dniester Group

Y-chromosome G2 & H2


Y-chromosome G2 & H2

First Farmers

Y-chromosome G - Haplogroup H


Y-chromosome G


Various estimated dates and locations have been proposed for the origin of G-M201, most of them in Western Asia

In 2012, a paper by Siiri Rootsi et al. suggested that: "We estimate that the geographic origin of haplogroup G plausibly locates somewhere nearby eastern Anatolia, Armenia or western Iran."

Previously the National Geographic Society placed its origins in the Middle East 30,000 years ago and presumes that people carrying the haplogroup took part in the spread of the Neolithic.

Two scholarly papers have also suggested an origin in the Middle East, while differing on the date. Semino et al. (2000) suggested 17,000 years ago. Cinnioglu et al. (2004) suggested the mutation took place only 9,500 years ago.

We suggest; Danube


Haplogroup H


Haplogroup H2 (P96) seems to be primarily European, and very ancient. It was recently found in Linear Pottery culture and Neolithic Iberia.

We suggest; Dniester

Bug-Dniester culture, c. 6300 - 5500 BC


Hoe made of horn, the Bug-Dniester culture


Starčevo culture, c. 6200 - 4500 BC

Y-DNA F, G2a3, G2a2a1, G2a2b2b1a, H2

Starčevo culture


In human remains of Starčevo culture in four investigated samples (Lipson et al., 2017) were found three different Y haplogroups: H2, G2a2a1 and G2a2b2b1a.

Haak et al. (2005) and Haak et al. (2010) sequenced the mitochondrial DNA from several LBK sites in Germany and one in Austria dating from 5500 BCE to 4900 BCE. Out of the 38 mtDNA lineages recovered there were six haplogroup N (one N1a, one N1a1a, two N1a1a1, two N1a1a2, and one N1a1b), two U (U3 and U5a1a), seven K, four J, ten T (including three T2), three HV, eight H, two V, and two W. The Y-chromosomal DNA of three samples was also successfully retrieved and assigned to haplogroup F (2 samples) and G2a3.


Starčevo, Kőrös, Criş

Encompasses various Early Neolithic archeological cultures from the Balkans, including those of Anzabegovo, Chavdar, Conevo, Criș, Dudești-Cernica, Karanovo, Kőrös, Kremikovci, Ovtcharovo, Porodin, Starčevo, and Tsonevo. It is commonly known simply under the appellation of Starčevo culture.

Represents the advance of Early Neolithic farmers from Anatolia to south-east Europe, including present-day Bulgaria, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia, northern Croatia, south-west Hungary, and Romania. The Starčevo–Kőrös–Criș culture is the precursor of the Alföld Linear Pottery, the LBK culture, and the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture - in other words all the Early Neolithic cultures from northern France to western Ukraine.

Their Neolithic agricultural economy was based primarily on the cultivation of crops from the Fertile Crescent, such as Emmer wheat, Einkorn wheat, barley, spelt millet, pulses (peas and bitter vetch), and buckwheat. Some fruit trees were also cultivated, including plums and apricots. Starčevo farmers bred livestock, especially goats and sheep, but to a lower extent also cattle and pigs. They also supplemented their diets by fishing in rivers and hunting deer and wild boar in forests.

Starčevo farmers lived in dug out rectangular dwellings with a timber frame, wattle-and-daub walls and clay-plastered foors. Most houses were small, measuring approximately 7–10 m in length and 4–6 m in width (i.e. 30 to 60 m²). They were built on a single storey, which consisted of a single room, without any internal divisions. Some structures may have contained a loft on the second floor, probably used as a granary.

Pottery types varied between regional groups, and could be painted in white-on-red and dark-on-red as in the Starčevo culture around Serbia, or be unpainted as in the Körös culture in Hungary. Ceramic vessels were typically decorated with net patterns, spirals, garlands, floral motives, ridges, and finger imprints. Anthropomorphic and zoomorphic representations of goats and deer were common.

Like in other Neolithic cultures, most tools were made of stone, bones or antlers. Flints, obsidians and quarzes were used to make blades, cutters, scrapers and drills. Axes, hatchets and grinding stone were made of sandstone, limestone, granite, quartz, and other rocks.

Very few graves were found in the Starčevo culture, and those were generally single graves. Most burials identified belonged to women or children, who were placed in the graves in a crouched position, lying on the right or the left side. They were inhumed under the floors of personal residences, a practice that continued until 4000 BCE. Graves rarely contained goods. When they did, it was pottery, grinding stones, flint tools or jewelry.


Vinča culture, c. 5700 - 4500 BC

Y-DNA G2 & H2

Vinča culture

The Vinča culture was an early culture (between the 6th and 3rd millennium B.C.), stretching around the course of the Danube in what is today Serbia, Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Republic of Macedonia - although traces of it can be found all around the Balkans, as well as parts of Central Europe and Asia Minor (Anatolia).

In the older Starčevo settlement, located in the deepest layers of Vinča sites; mud huts with tent roofs were discovered in which the settlers of the Starčevo-culture lived and were also buried. During the period of the Vinča Culture, houses were erected above ground, with complex architectural layouts, and several rooms built of wood that were covered in mud. The houses in the settlement are facing northeast and southwest, with streets between them. Other settlements include Divostin, Potporanj, Selevac, Pločnik, Predionica Liobcova and Ujvar.

Recent excavations at the site of the Pločnik settlement, have shed considerable light on the Vinča culture. The Pločnik settlement flourished from 5,500 B.C. until it was destroyed by a fire in 4700 B.C. The findings suggest an advanced division of labor and central organization.

Vinča houses had stoves, and special holes specifically for rubbish. The dead were buried in cemeteries. People slept on woolen and fur mats, and made clothes of wool, flax and leather. The figurines found not only represent deities but many show the daily life of the inhabitants. Women are depicted in short tops and skirts and wearing jewelry. A thermal well found near the settlement might be evidence of Europe's oldest spa.

The First European Metallurgists

Copper working had been in progress in nearby Anatolia (Turkey), for well over 1,000 years before it appeared in Europe. One of the most exciting finds for archaeologists therefore, was the discovery of a sophisticated metal workshop with a furnace and tools including a copper chisel and a two-headed hammer and axe. "This might prove that the Copper Age started in Europe at least 500 years earlier than we thought,". The Copper Age marks the first stage of humans' use of metal, with copper tools used alongside older stone implements. It is thought to have started around the 4th millennium BC in south-east Europe, and earlier in the Middle East.

The discovery of a mine - Europe's oldest - at the nearby Mlava river suggested at the time that Vinca could be Europe's first metal culture, a theory now backed up by the Plocnik site. "These latest findings show that the Vinca culture was from the very beginning a metallurgical culture," said archaeologist Dusan Sljivar of Serbia's National Museum. "They knew how to find minerals, to transport them and melt them into tools."

The metal workshop in Plocnik was a room of some 25 square meters, with walls built out of wood coated with clay. The furnace, built on the outside of the room, featured earthen pipe-like air vents with hundreds of tiny holes in them and a prototype chimney to ensure air goes into the furnace to feed the fire and smoke comes out safely. He said the early metal workers very likely experimented with colourful minerals that caught their eye - blue azurite, bright green malachite and red cuprite, all containing copper - as evidenced by malachite traces found on the inside of a pot. The settlement was destroyed at some point, probably in the first part of the fifth millennium, by a huge fire.

The Vinča site of Pločnik has produced the earliest example of copper tools in the world.

The First European Writing

The Tărtăria tablets (below) refers to a group of three tablets, discovered in 1961 by archaeologist Nicolae Vlassa at a Neolithic site in the village of Tărtăria (about 30 km (19 mi) from Alba Iulia), in Romania. Two of the tablets are rectangular and the third is round. They are all small, the round one being only 6 cm (2½ in) across, and two  - one round and one rectangular - have holes drilled through them. All three have symbols inscribed only on one face

Various styles of zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figurines are hallmarks of the culture, as are the Vinča symbols, which some conjecture to be an early form of proto-writing

The tablets, dated to around 5,300 BC, bear incised symbols - the Vinča symbols - and have been the subject of considerable controversy among archaeologists, some of whom claim that the symbols represent the earliest known form of writing in the world. subsequent radiocarbon dating on the Tărtăria finds pushed the date of the tablets (and therefore of the whole Vinča culture) much further back, to as long ago as 5,500 BC, the time of the early Eridu phase of the Sumerian civilization in Mesopotamia. This finding has reversed our concept of the origin of writing, and it is now believed that the Sumerians inherited a Vinca tradition of 'magical' or 'meaningful' scripture, probably following the collapse of the Vinca homeland c. 3,500 BC.

Similar motifs (above) have been found on pots excavated at Gradeshnitsa in Bulgaria, Vinča in Serbia and a number of other locations in the southern Balkans.

Full list of Vincan Symbols.

Neolithic clay amulet (retouched), part of the Tărtăria tablets set, dated to 5500–5300 BC and associated with the Turdaş-Vinča culture. The Vinča symbols on it predate the proto-Sumerian pictographic script.

Chinese scholars have suggested that such signs were produced by a convergent development, of what might be called a precursor to writing, which evolved independently in a number of societies. Indeed, there are some similarities between Sumerian cuneiform script, and stone markings from Çatalhöyük in Turkey, and Kamyana Mohyla in Southern Ukraine: both predating the Vinča culture by several millennia.


Danubian culture, c. 5500 - 3500 BC

Y-DNA G2 & H2

Danubian I peoples cleared forests and cultivated fertile loess soils from the Balkans to the Low Countries and the Paris Basin. They made LBK pottery and kept domesticated cows, pigs, dogs, sheep and goats.


Linear Pottery culture, c. 5500 - 4500 BC

Y-DNA G2 & H2

Linear Pottery culture



Linear Pottery culture - A 2010 study of ancient DNA suggested the LBK population had affinities to modern-day populations from the Near East and Anatolia, such as an overall prevalence of G2. The study also found some unique features, such as the prevalence of the now-rare Y-haplogroup H2 and mitochondrial haplogroup frequencies.

Linear Pottery culture

The culture is also known under the names of Linear Band Ware, Linear Ware, Linear Ceramics or Incised Ware culture. It is commonly abbreviated as LBK, from the German Linearbandkeramik.

Represents the advance of Early Neolithic farmers from the Starčevo-Körös culture across central Europe, starting from what is now Hungary and spreading north to the Czech Republic and Poland, west across Germany to Belgium and northern France, and east to western Ukraine, northern Moldova and north-eastern Romania.

Their Neolithic agricultural economy was based primarily on the cultivation of crops from the Fertile Crescent, such as Emmer wheat, Einkorn wheat, peas and lentils, and to a lower extent barley, millet, rye, and broad beans. The LBK people settled on fluvial terraces and in the proximities of rivers, especially in regions rich in fertile loess. Stockbreeding was also practised, of cattle in particular, but also of goats and pigs. The LBK farmers supplemented their diets by hunting deer and wild boar in the open forests.

People lived in trapezoidal or rectangular wooden longhouses built with massive timber posts. They had thatched roofs and were chinked with wattle and daub mortar. The longhouses measured from 7 to 45 meters in length and 5 to 7 meters in width. Villages were composed of five to eight longhouses, about 20 metres apart. Some villages were fortified for some time with a palisade and outer ditch.

Flint and obsidian were the main materials used for points and cutting edges. LBK farmers harvested with sickles manufactured by inserting flint blades into the inside of curved pieces of wood. Trees were felled and carved using shoe-last celt, which consists of a ground stone chisel blade tied to a handle.

Like other early Neolithic cultures in Europe, the Linear Pottery featured burials of women and children under the floors of personal residences - a practice that continued until 4000 BCE. Cemeteries containing from 20 to 200 graves make their appearance from 5000 BCE and included both male and female skeletons, apparently arranged in groups based on kinship. Both cremation and inhumation were practiced. The inhumed were placed in a flexed position in pits lined with stones, plaster, or clay. Graves typically contained goods like flint implements or jewelry of Spondylus shells, but pottery was found almost exclusively in female graves.


The milk revolution


Starčevo–Kőrös–Criş Culture and Linear Pottery Culture

c. 8000 to 6500 ybp; Central & Southeast Europe

  • Haak et al. (2005) and Haak et al. (2010) sequenced the mitochondrial DNA from several LBK sites in Germany and one in Austria dating from 5500 BCE to 4900 BCE. Out of the 38 mtDNA lineages recovered there were six haplogroup N (one N1a, one N1a1a, two N1a1a1, two N1a1a2, and one N1a1b), two U (U3 and U5a1a), seven K, four J, ten T (including three T2), three HV, eight H, two V, and two W. The Y-chromosomal DNA of three samples was also successfully retrieved and assigned to haplogroup F* (2 samples) and G2a3.
  • Bramanti et al. (2008) tested the mtDNA from the LBK site of Vedrovice (5300 BCE) in the Czech Republic. Two samples were found to belong to haplogroup K, one to J1c, two to T2 and the last one to H.
  • Guba et al. (2011) analysed the mtDNA of 11 Neolithic skeletons from Hungary. Among the five specimens from the Kőrös culture (5500 BCE), two carried the mutations of haplogroup N9a and one of C5. Another one had a series of mutations not seen in any haplogroup to this day (16235G, 16261T, 16291T, 16293G, 16304C). The last one didn't have any mutation from the CRS in the HVS-I region and is therefore undetermined. Out of the six specimens from the LBK-related Alföld Culture (5250-5000 BCE) three belonged to haplogroup N (N1a, N1a1b, N9a), and one to haplogroup D1 or G1a1. The two others were undetermined (CRS and 16324C mutation reported as M/R24).

Ritual cannibalism

Ofnet Caves, c. 6000 - 4900 BC

Ofnet Caves

In Ofnet cave in Bavaria two pits contained the skulls and vertebrae of thirty-eight individuals, all stained with red ochre, dating to around 6.5 k.a. cal BC (Orschiedt 1998). The Ofnet finding most probably represents a massacre, which wiped out a whole community and was followed by the ceremonial burial of skulls. Most of the victims of deadly attacks were children; two-thirds of the adults were females, which led to the suggestion, that a temporary absence of males may have been the precipitating cause of the attack. Half the individuals were wounded before death by blunt mace-like weapons, with males and females and children all injured, but males having the most wounds.

  • We suggest; Y-DNA G2, H2 & R1a, R1b


Talheim, c. 5000 BC

Ritual cannibalism in Herxheim

The Europe was peaceful at the time the victims were living. Hand-crafted weapons, rather than simply hunting tools, did not appear in Europe until 4500 BC at the earliest, a full 500 years after the bodies were dumped at Talheim. Similarly, fortifications have been found in the surrounding areas, however these structures have been dated to well after Talheim as well. Early forts in nearby Austria, for instance, have been dated to the 4000s BC. While close to the estimated time-frame for the Talheim Death Pit, these forts are still considered primitive. The lack of protection offered by such forts indicates that the violence at this time was not as severe as the evidence at Talheim suggests.

Such violence did not enter the region until the invasion of tribes following the Kurgan Culture in the fourth millennium BC. Until the invasion of the Kurgan peoples, the region was an agrarian society, settled and content, with no reason for the populations to become violent with one another. - Talheim Smrt Pit - Herxheim (archaeological site)

Mass cannibalism in Herxheim

  • We suggest; Y-DNA G2, H2 & R1a, R1b


Ertebølle culture, c. 5300 - 3950 BC

Evidence of conflict

There is some evidence of conflict between Ertebølle settlements: an arrowhead in a pelvis at Skateholm, Sweden; a bone point in a throat at Vedbæk, Zealand; a bone point in the chest at Stora Biers, Sweden. More significant is evidence of cannibalism at Dyrholmen, Jutland, and Møllegabet on Ærø. There human bones were broken open to obtain the marrow.

As cannibalism is not practiced to obtain food, the next most likely explanation is that the warlike Ertebølle population ritually devoured its enemies in order to ingest their powers.

  • We suggest; Y-DNA C1a, I & R1a


Goseck circle, c. 4900 BC

Excavators also found the remains of what may have been ritual fires, animal and human bones, and a headless skeleton near the southeastern gate, that could be interpreted as traces of human sacrifice or specific burial ritual.

  • We suggest; Y-DNA G2, H2, I2 & R1a, R1b


Linear Pottery, Ertebølle & Dnieper–Donets cultures

Linear Pottery culture - Ertebølle kultura - Dnieper–Donets culture

  • Ritual cannibalism - Dnieper–Donets cultures

Neolithic and Chalcolithic Europe - Eupedia

Agriculture first developed in the Levant, then spread to Anatolia, Greece, the Balkans, Italy, Central and Eastern Europe. These Neolithic farmers were confirmed to have belonged primarily to Y-DNA haplogroups G2a, but also included minorities of C1a2, E1b1b, H2 (formerly F3), J1, J2 and T1a lineages, who could have been assimilated in Anatolia before entering Europe. As they advanced across Europe, Neolithic farmers also increasingly assimilated European lineages, notably I2a1 in Southeast Europe, I1 and I2a1 in Central Europe, I2a1 and I2a2a in Western Europe, and E-M78, I2a1 and I2a2a in Southwest Europe.

Hundreds of Neolithic samples from all over Europe (but especially Central Europe and Iberia) have been tested. The new lineages brought by these Near Eastern immigrants included mt-haplogroups HV, J1, J2, K1, K2, N*, N1, T1a, T2b, T2c, T2e, T2f, U3, W, X1, X2, and many subclades of H (including H2, H5, H7, H13 and H20). H4, H8 and H9 seem to have originated in the Near East as well, although no Neolithic sample has been identified in Europe yet.

However, due to the proximity of the Caucasus from the Indo-European homeland, many of these mt-haplogroups were almost certainly also transported by the Indo-Europeans themselves. This would notably be the case of H5, K1a, T2b, U3, W and X2.

Neolithic and chalcolithic in Europe, c. 5000 to 4500 BC


Suggested of neolithic and chalcolithic cultures with Y-DNA haplogroups

Ertebølle culture: C1a Narva culture: C1a & N1
Linear Pottery culture: G2, H2 Dnieper-Donets culture: R1a, R1b
Cardium pottery culture: E-V13, G2a, I2a     Khvalynsk culture: J & R1b
Starčevo culture: F, G2a, H2 Shulaveri-Shomu culture: J
Megalithic Culture: G2a, I2, I2a Chalcolithic Near East: E-V13, I, I2, I2a, T1a
La Almagra pottery: E-M78, G2a, I2, I2a Neolithic Greece: E-V13, G2a, I2a, T1a

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