Neolitic Middle East

Y-chromosome E

Haplogroup E-M215

The origins of E-M215 were dated by Cruciani in 2007 to about 22,400 years ago in the Horn of Africa. E-M35 was dated by Batini in 2015 to between 15,400 and 20,500 years ago. In June 2015, Trombetta et al. reported a previously unappreciated large difference in the age between haplogroup E-M215 (38.6 kya; 95% CI 31.4-45.9 kya) and its sub-haplogroup E-M35 (25.0 kya; 95% CI 20.0-30.0 kya).

All major sub-branches of E-M35 are thought to have originated in the same general area as the parent clade: in North Africa, the Horn of Africa, or nearby areas of the Near East. Some branches of E-M35 are assumed to have left Africa thousands of years ago, whereas others may have arrived from the Near East. For example, Underhill (2002) associates the spread of the haplogroup with the Neolithic Revolution, believing that the structure and regional pattern of E-M35 subclades potentially give "reagents with which to infer specific episodes of population histories associated with the Neolithic agricultural expansion". Battaglia et al. (2007) also estimate that E-M78 (called E1b1b1a1 in that paper) has been in Europe longer than 10,000 years. Accordingly, human remains excavated in a Spanish funeral cave dating from approximately 7,000 years ago were shown to be in this haplogroup. Two more E-M78 have been found in the Neolithic Sopot and Lengyel cultures too.

Concerning E-M35 in Europe within this scheme, Underhill & Kivisild (2007) have remarked that E-M215 seems to represent a late-Pleistocene migration from North Africa to Europe over the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. While this proposal remains uncontested, it has more recently been proposed by Trombetta et al. (2011) that there is also evidence for additional migration of E-M215 carrying men directly from North Africa to southwestern Europe, via a maritime route.


Natufian culture, c. 12500 - 9500 BC

Y-DNA E-Z830

Natufian culture

Tower of Jericho


According to ancient DNA analyses conducted by Lazaridis et al. (2016) on six Natufian skeletal remains from present-day northern Israel, the Natufians carried the Y-DNA haplogroup E-Z830 or E1b1b1b2, whose ancestral paternal clade is E1b1b-M123. One Natufian individual was also found to belong to the N1b mtDNA haplogroup.


Pre-Pottery Neolithic A, c. 9500 - 8000 BC

We suggest; Y-DNA E-Z830 & G2, H2, I2, J, LT, R1

One of the most notable PPNA settlements is Jericho, thought to be the world's first town (c. 10,000 BP). The PPNA town contained a population of up to 2,000-3,000 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.

Pre-Pottery Neolithic A - Followed by Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, Neolithic Greece, Faiyum A culture

Black Sea - The Flood hypothesis, c. 9000 - 7000 BC

Ukraine rivers - Pannonia//Black Sea

c. 9000 - 7000 BC

Haplogroup I2a

Haplogroup I2a

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.

Y-DNA haplogroups in populations of the Near East
West Iranian, Y-Haplogroup I 24.6% (Elam)
Northern Iraq Kurds, Y-Haplogroup I 16.8% (Assiri)
Sephardic Jews, Y-Haplogroup I 11.5%


Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, c. 7600 - 6000 BC

We suggest; Y-DNA E-Z830, G2, I2, T1 & I2a

Pre-Pottery Neolithic B

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

Pre-Pottery Neolithic B - Followed by Halaf culture, Hassuna culture, Khirokitia

Anatolia - Caucasus

Y-chromosome IJ

Haplogroup 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.

Origins Y-chromosome IJ

We suggest; Anatolia / Caucasus

Anatolia - The Craddle of Civilization

Megalithic Culture, Y-DNA I2a

Anatolija & Black Sea

Neolithic Anatolia settlements include Çatalhöyük, Çayönü, Nevali Cori, Aşıklı Höyük, Boncuklu Höyük Hacilar, Göbekli Tepe, Norsuntepe, Kosk, and Mersin.

Çatalhöyük (Central Turkey) is considered the most advanced of these, and Çayönü in the east the oldest (c. 7250 - 6750 BCE). We have a good idea of the town layout at Çayönü, based on a central square with buildings constructed of stone and mud. Archeological finds include farming tools that suggest both crops and animal husbandry as well as domestication of the dog. Religion is represented by figurines of Cybele, a mother goddess. Hacilar (Western Turkey) followed Çayönü, and has been dated to 7040 BCE. - Prehistory of Anatolia

  • First Cattle Herders

Origins Y-chromosome I2a

We suggest; Anatolia


Asikali Höyük, c. 8200 - 7400 BC


Aşıklı Höyük


Çatalhöyük, c. 7500 - 5700 BC


Sacred bull

The origins of the bull-cult began in the caves of Paleolithic Europe. Cave paintings of the divine bull, like those in Altamira, would continue in a similar form in the shrines of Çatal Hüyük. Depictions of bull-games and bull-leaping first found at Çatal Hüyük would be discovered in Egypt, and become synonymous with the Minoan culture of Crete. The bull would gain prominence in the literary traditions of Mesopotamia in The Epic of Gilgamesh and in Greek mythology through the stories of Theseus and the Minotaur and Zeus and Europa.

Beginning in Sumeria, the bull would be associated with the gods and this practice would continue in Egyptian and Greek culture. In Egyptian culture the bull would reach the pinnacle of its veneration. From the similarities of bull-influenced tomb decorations to the shrines at Çatal Hüyük, to the worship of the Apis bull as the god Ptah, Egypt was the most important center of the bull-cult in the ancient Mediterranean. Bull sacrifice was practiced throughout antiquity and its symbolism was central to Roman Mithraism. The divine bull was a symbol of fertility, the moon, and the gods, but above all a symbol of rebirth and salvation. - Sacred bull



Hacilar - Turkey

Archeologico firenze, statuetta idolo in terracotta, 5250-5000 a.c., da hacilar (turchia)

Followed by Latmos, Menorca..


The milk revolution

Lactose intolerance - Lactase persistence

Caucasus - Colchian culture, c. 8000 BC

Y-chromosome J

Colchian culture

Prehistory and earliest references

The eastern Black Sea region in antiquity was home to the well-developed Bronze Age culture known as the Colchian culture, related to the neighboring Koban culture, that emerged toward the Middle Bronze Age. In at least some parts of Colchis, the process of urbanization seems to have been well advanced by the end of the second millennium BC, centuries before Greek settlement. The Colchian Late Bronze Age (fifteenth to eighth century BC) saw the development of significant skill in the smelting and casting of metals. Sophisticated farming implements were made, and fertile, well-watered lowlands and a mild climate promoted the growth of progressive agricultural techniques.

Colchis was inhabited by a number of related, but distinct, tribes whose settlements lay along the shore of the Black Sea. Chief among those were the Machelones, Heniochi, Zydretae, Lazi, Chalybes, Tabal/Tibareni/Tubal, Mossynoeci, Macrones, Moschi, Marres, Apsilae, Abasci, Sanigae, Coraxi, Coli, Melanchlaeni, Geloni and Soani (Suani). These Colchian tribes differed so completely in language and appearance from the surrounding Indo-European nations that the ancients provided various wild theories to account for the phenomenon.

Herodotus regarded the Colchians as an Ancient Egyptian race. Herodotus states that the Colchians, with the Ancient Egyptians and the Ethiopians, were the first to practice circumcision, a custom which he claims (without historical proof) that the Colchians inherited from remnants of the army of Pharaoh Sesostris. Herodotus writes, "For it is plain to see that the Colchians are Egyptians; and what I say, I myself noted before I heard it from others. When it occurred to me, I inquired of both peoples; and the Colchians remembered the Egyptians better than the Egyptians remembered the Colchians;  the Egyptians said that they considered the Colchians part of Sesostris' army. I myself guessed it, partly because they are dark-skinned and woolly-haired; though that indeed counts for nothing, since other peoples are, too; but my better proof was that the Colchians and Egyptians and Ethiopians are the only nations that have from the first practised circumcision." Apollonius of Rhodes states that the Egyptians of Colchis preserved as heirlooms a number of wooden tablets, which show, with considerable accuracy, seas and highways.

Colchian gold diadem

Origins Y-chromosome J

We suggest; Caucasus

  • First metallurgy


Kartvelian languages

Kartvelian languages


Shulaveri-Shomu culture, c. 6000 BC - 4000 BC

In around ca. 6000–4200 B.C the Shulaveri-Shomu and other Neolithic/Chalcolithic cultures of the Southern Caucasus were using local obsidian for tools; were raising animals such as cattle and pigs; and growing crops, including grapes. - Shulaveri-Shomu culture

  • We suggest; Y-DNA J


Khvalynsk culture, c. 5000 - 4500 BC

The Khvalynsk graves included metal rings and spiral metal rings. However, there is no indication of any use beyond ornamental. The quality of stone weapons and implements reaches a high point. The Krivoluchie grave, which Gimbutas viewed as that of a chief, contained a long flint dagger and tanged arrowheads, all carefully retouched on both faces. In addition there is a porphyry axe-head with lugs and a haft hole. These artifacts are of types that not too long after appeared in metal. - Khvalynsk kultura

  • We suggest; Y-DNA J & R1b

Y-chromosome L & T

First Goat Herders - Lactose tolerance

Y-chromosome L - Haplogroup T

Y-chromosome L

Sengupta et al. (2006) further note that L3-M357 (L1a2) "occurs with an intermediate frequency in Pakistan (6.8%), it is very rare in India (0.4%). Conversely, L1-M76 occurs at a frequency of 7.5% in India and 5.1% in Pakistan," which may be an indication that L-M20 originated in the northwestern part of South Asia.

Y-chromosome T

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. T1 may have expanded with the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B culture (PPNB).

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.

Samarran, Hassuna, Halaf culture

The Samarran Culture was the precursor to the Mesopotamian culture of the Ubai Tell Halaf is an archaeological site in the Al Hasakah governorate of northeastern Syria, near the Turkish border, just opposite Ceylanpınar. It was the first find of a Neolithic culture, subsequently dubbed the Halaf culture, characterized by glazed pottery painted with geometric and animal designs.



Hassuna culture, early sixth millennium 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


Samarra culture, c. 5500 - 4800 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.

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. - Samarra culture

  • We suggest; Y-DNA L-M20, T1a


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. 6100-5400 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.

On the left we have a Halaf period (ca. 7000-6000 BC) seat figure (heads could be missing or highly elongated, stylised and featureless).
On the right we have a Ubaid figurine dated ca. 3500 BC.

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.

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

Followed by Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period, Samarra culture

  • We suggest; Y-DNA E-V13, G2, I2, I2a, L-M20, T1a


Ghassulian, c. 4400 - 3500 BC


Teleilat Ghassul (Teleilat el-Ghassul, Tulaylat al-Ghassul), is located in the eastern Jordan Valley near the northern edge of the Dead Sea, in modern Jordan.

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