среда, 21 марта 2018 г.

First evidence of live-traded dogs for Maya ceremonies

Police detectives analyze isotopes in human hair to find out where a murder victim was born and grew up. Ashley Sharpe, an archaeologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, and colleagues combined clues from carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and strontium isotope analysis discovering the earliest evidence that the Maya raised and traded dogs and other animals, probably for ceremonial use.

First evidence of live-traded dogs for Maya ceremonies
Ashley Sharpe, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, found the remains of dogs from
the Guatemalan highlands at Ceibal, a lowland site, indicating that the Mayas were moving or trading dogs
 for ceremonial use [Credit: Ashley Sharpe/Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute]

“In Asia, Africa and Europe, animal management went hand-in-hand with the development of cities,” said Sharpe. “But in the Americas people may have raised animals for ceremonial purposes. The growth of cities doesn’t seem to be directly tied to animal husbandry.”

Sharpe found that animal trade and management began in the Preclassic Period some 2,500 years ago and intensified during the Classic Period, making it likely that organized ceremonies involving animal and human sacrifice and raising animals for food played important roles in the development of Maya civilization.

Isotopes are atoms that have the same number of protons and electrons but different numbers of neutrons and therefore have different physical properties. For example, carbon has two stable isotopes: carbon 12 with six protons and six neutrons and carbon 13 with six protons and seven neutrons. Carbon in animals’ bodies comes from the plant tissues they consume directly or indirectly. Most plants use the most common type of photosynthesis to turn carbon dioxide into carbohydrates. This process leaves mostly the lighter carbon isotope, carbon 12, behind, bound up in carbohydrate molecules. Corn, sugar cane and other grasses use another type of photosynthesis that concentrates heavier, carbon 13 molecules. Nitrogen isotopes in proteins demonstrate a similar pattern.

Sharpe and colleagues analyzed the isotopes in animal remains from Ceibal, Guatemala, a Maya site with one of the longest histories of continuous occupation, and one of the earliest ceremonial sites. Most of the bones and teeth they tested were from the Maya Middle Preclassic period (700-350 B.C.).

“The animal remains fall into two categories, those with lower carbon isotopes, indicating they were eating mostly wild plants, and those with higher isotopes, which were probably eating corn.”

First evidence of live-traded dogs for Maya ceremonies
Dog bones were found at the lowest levels of two pits, each within a pyramid at Ceibal in Guatemala
[Credit: Ashley Sharpe/Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute]

All of the dogs, two northern turkeys, Meleagris gallopavo, the turkey species that was eventually domesticated, and one of two large cats were probably eating corn or other animals that fed on corn, such as a peccary (wild pig).

Because people in the region often killed animals that came into gardens and areas where crops were being cultivated, it is possible that peccaries and turkeys may also have been eating crop plants, but it is likely that turkeys were managed by the end of the Classic Period.

Deer bones showed butcher marks, but they were hunted from the forest, not domesticated according to isotope analysis of bones that also had lower carbon isotopes.

One large cat and a smaller cat, probably a margay, Leopardus wiedii, had lower carbon isotopes indicating that they ate animals that fed on wild plants.

The ratio of two strontium isotopes reflects the local geology in a region. Forty-four of the 46 animals had strontium isotope ratios matching Ceibal and the surrounding southern lowlands region. However, to Sharpe’s surprise, jaw bones from two dogs excavated from deep pits at the heart of the ancient ceremonial complex had strontium isotope ratios matching drier, mountainous regions near present-day Guatemala City. “This is the first evidence from the Americas of dogs being moved around the landscape,” Sharpe said. “Around 1000 A.D. there’s evidence that dogs were moved out to islands in the Caribbean, but the Ceibal remains are dated at about 400 B.C.” Part of the jaw bone and teeth of a big cat was found with one of the dogs in the same deposit.

First evidence of live-traded dogs for Maya ceremonies
Ashley Sharpe, an archaeologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, holds a dog humerus from remains found
at the Maya site called Ceibal in Guatemala [Credit: Sean Mattson/Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute]

“The interesting thing is that this big cat was local, but possibly not wild,” Sharpe said. “Based on its tooth enamel, it had been eating a diet similar to that of the dogs since it was very young. Perhaps it was captured and raised in captivity, or it lived near villages and ate animals that were feeding on corn. We still have to look at the DNA to figure out if it was a jaguar or a puma.”

Sharpe is looking forward to understanding more about the context of these finds. “The results in this publication are based on excavations we did in 2012. My colleagues at the Ceibal-Petexbatun Archaeological Project will publish additional analyses, and I’m looking forward to finding out if all of the human remains at the site are from the region.”

“It’s interesting to consider whether humans may have had a greater impact managing and manipulating animal species in ancient Mesoamerica than has been believed,” Sharpe said. “Studies like this one are beginning to show that animals played a key role in ceremonies and demonstrations of power, which perhaps drove animal-rearing and trade.”

The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute [March 19, 2018]



HiPOD (21 March 2018): Dune Erosion and Streaks    One of the…

HiPOD (21 March 2018): Dune Erosion and Streaks 

   One of the many seasonal images we take to detect changes. In this case, we want to quantify the process of erosion driven by sublimation on the dunes. (Sublimation is the process of going directly from a solid state to a gaseous one.) 319 km above the surface. Black and white is 5 km across, and enhanced color is less than 1 km.

Tainai Star Party2015 / 胎内星まつり2015空撮

Tainai Star Party 2015 official video

Aug. 22 Tainai-city Niigata JAPAN



Africa at Play – Live Camera Highlight [00:01:08]

Watch Africa at Play!

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2018 March 21 Camera Orion Image Credit & Copyright:…

2018 March 21

Camera Orion
Image Credit & Copyright: Derrick Lim

Explanation: Do you recognize this constellation? Although it is one of the most recognizable star groupings on the sky, Orion’s icons don’t look quite as colorful to the eye as they do to a camera. In this 20-image digitally-composed mosaic, cool red giant Betelgeuse takes on a strong orange tint as the brightest star at the upper left. Orion’s hot blue stars are numerous, with supergiant Rigel balancing Betelgeuse at the lower right, and Bellatrix at the upper right Lined up in Orion’s belt are three stars all about 1,500 light-years away, born from the constellation’s well-studied interstellar clouds. Below Orion’s belt a reddish and fuzzy patch that might also look familiar – the stellar nursery known as Orion’s Nebula. Finally, just barely visible to the unaided eye but quite striking here by camera is Barnard’s Loop – a huge gaseous emission nebula surrounding Orion’s Belt and Nebula discovered over 100 years ago by the pioneering Orion photographer E. E. Barnard.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap180321.html

Хоть сейчас пей! Археологи нашли в Китае...

Другой важной находкой стал пластрон (брюшной щит) черепашьего панциря с примерно десятком выбоин и выжженных отметин.

Бронзовый чайник с алкогольным напитком возрастом свыше 2 тыс. лет обнаружен в ходе раскопок в провинции Шэньси, Северо-Западный Китай. Данный чайник использовался в качестве жертвенной утвари. Вместе с другими 260 предметами он был извлечен при раскопках могил на кладбище простолюдинов периода династии Цинь (221-207 годы до н.э.).

По словам сотрудника Научно-исследовательского института археологии провинции Шэньси, в запечатанном с помощью натуральных волокон чайнике было обнаружено около 300 мл алкогольного напитка.

Жидкость является прозрачной и имеет молочно-белый оттенок. Исследователи полагают, что напиток был изготовлен с помощью брожения, поскольку содержит глутаминовую кислоту.

В могилах также нашли бронзовый меч длиной 60 см. Другой важной находкой стал пластрон (брюшной щит) черепашьего панциря с примерно десятком выбоин и выжженных отметин, являющихся указанием на то, что панцирь использовался предсказателем судьбы для гаданий.

Источник link

African Animal Families! – Live Cam Highlight [00:01:59]


Testing for genetic continuity in Poland from the Bronze Age to the present

The recent Allentoft et al. paper on the ancient genomics of Eurasia featured an Early Bronze Age Corded Ware/proto-Unetice individual belonging to Y-haplogroup R1a. His remains came from a kurgan burial in present-day Greater Poland, or Wielkopolska, known as one of the four Pyramids of Wielkopolska.

Of course, R1a is by far the most common Y-haplogroup in Poland today, and Greater Poland is generally accepted to be the cradle of the Polish nation.

It’s tempting to think that all of this isn’t just a happy coincidence, and that this kurgan man and/or his close relatives are the ancestors of modern-day Poles. Considering that we have some of his genome, can we actually test this hypothesis?

Unfortunately, the sequence by itself is too limited to allow such a high resolution analysis. However, the Allentoft et al. dataset includes six other Bronze Age samples from Poland; one other Corded Ware individual from Greater Poland, and five Unetice individuals from Silesia. Thus, it’s possible to combine these samples and at least run a preliminary analysis comparing them to present-day Europeans, including Poles, to test their affinities.

The only reliable way to do this is to use formal statistics, and specifically D-statistics. That’s because, unlike model-based analyses, D-stats ignore recent genetic drift and, unlike f3-stats, they’re able to discriminate correctly at a very fine scale between samples with somewhat different numbers of markers. Below are two sets of results of the form D(Outgroup, PopulationTest) (Population1, Population2).

D(Ju_hoan_North, Poland_Bronze_Age) (BedouinB, European)

D(Ju_hoan_North, Poland_Bronze_Age) (Polish, European)

Basically, what the results show is that western Poland was inhabited by a very northern people during the Bronze Age. They were similar to present-day Balts, Scandinavians, Irish, and Poles.

Indeed, in these sorts of tests small Northern European countries tend to get the best scores with most prehistoric Europeans. I believe that this isn’t just because of shared ancestry, but also relative isolation and homogeneity. So the fact that Poland is the only really big country at the top of the list above might be very important.

That’s pretty much it for now. As far as I can see, there’s nothing to suggest that present-day Poles can’t be the direct descendants of these ancients. But as I say, this was a preliminary analysis and a work in progress. I’ll revisit this issue when more samples come in. By the way, I also ran a bunch of other D-stats that might be of interest.

D(Ju_hoan_North, Bell_Beaker) (BedouinB, European)

D(Ju_hoan_North, Corded_Ware) (BedouinB, European)

D(Ju_hoan_North, EHG) (BedouinB, European)

D(Ju_hoan_North, Hungary_BA) (BedouinB, European)

D(Ju_hoan_North, Loschbour) (BedouinB, European)

D(Ju_hoan_North, Motala_HG) (BedouinB, European)

D(Ju_hoan_North, Stuttgart) (BedouinB, European)

D(Ju_hoan_North, Unetice_EBA) (BedouinB, European)

D(Ju_hoan_North, Yamnaya) (BedouinB, European)

It’s useful to plot D-stats against each other when looking for patterns in the data. For instance, in the graphs below Basques and southern French often look like obvious outliers. What this means is that there’s something peculiar about their genetic history. What might that be I wonder? Any suggestions?










The present-day Polish samples, eleven in all, came from here. Most of the other samples are from the Allentoft et al. (Rise Project), Haak et al. and Lazaridis et al. datasets, all of which are publicly available.

See also…

R1a1a from an Early Bronze Age warrior grave in Poland

Source Polish and European population genetics and modern physical anthropology.

Corded Ware in the Central and Southern Balkans

I never knew that corded ware penetrated deep into the Balkans. According to this recent paper, it certainly did, even as far as present-day Greece.

Abstract: The analysis of corded ware and accompanying artifacts reveals the nature of its appearance across the Central and Southern Balkan Eneolithic during three cultural-chronological horizons. The first horizon corresponds to the Early Eneolithic, namely the Bubanj-Salcuta-Krivodol cultural complex (BSK), while the second corresponds to the Cotofeni culture. The third horizon, showing chronological continuity with the second, and set within the Late Eneolithic/Early Bronze Age, has a site distribution that encompasses the territory of nearly the entire Balkan Peninsula, where corded ware is found together with other steppe elements which are present in large numbers, such are burials under mounds and the appearance of the domestic horse.


Aleksandar Bulatovic, Corded Ware in the Central and Southern Balkans: A Consequence of Cultural Interaction or an Indication of Ethnic Change?, The Journal of Indo-European Studies, Volume 42, Number 1 & 2, Spring/Summer 2014

See also…

Population genomics of Early Bronze Age Europe in three simple graphs

Source Polish and European population genetics and modern physical anthropology.

Chinese space station risks crashing in France

CASC – Tiangong-1 Mission patch.

March 21, 2018

Tiangong-1, the out-of-control Chinese station is getting closer to Earth, which it is expected to strike between late March and early April.

Tiangong-1 in perdition. Image Credit: CASC

Last October, we learned that China had lost control of the space station Tiangong-1 launched into space in 2011. Today, the “heavenly palace” of its French name, is about to enter the world. ‘atmosphere. It is expected to crash on land between March 29 and April 6, according to the European Space Agency (ESA).

The machine, which still weighs nearly 8 tons for 10 meters long, should disintegrate in part before hitting our planet. That being the case, the risk of debris falling on earth is real, says the “Parisien” French daily. As for the location of the impact, it is difficult for the experts to pronounce with certainty.

Observatories on alert

The geographical area evoked by ESA is rather … wide. Indeed, Australia, India, Africa, and the United States could be concerned. Just like France in an area including Corsica, Perpignan, Toulon or Lourdes.

Animation above: Fragmentation of the Jules Verne ESA’s ATV during his atmospheric reentry. Animation Credit: ESA.

Not enough to panic in the minute so far, since the space station still navigates into orbit at some 250 kilometers above sea level. The observatories will nevertheless be alert as of March 26, according to the French daily.

Meanwhile you can follow the trajectory of the “heavenly palace” almost live on the site satflare: http://www.satflare.com/track.asp?q=37820#TOP

Related article:

Uncontrolled crash on Earth of a Chinese space station:

For more information about CASC, visit:

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC): http://english.spacechina.com/n16421/index.html

Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: AFP/ESA/Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Greetings, Orbiter.chArchive link

Earth’s atmosphere: new results from the International Space Station

NASA – SAGE III – ISS patch.

20 March 2018

With ESA’s help, the latest atmosphere monitor on the International Space Station is delivering results on our planet’s ozone, aerosol and nitrogen trioxide levels. Installed last year on the orbital outpost, NASA’s sensor tracks the Sun and Moon to probe the constituents of our atmosphere.

Sunrise seen from Space Station

The Station takes only 90 minutes for a complete circuit of our planet, experiencing 16 sunrises, 16 sunsets, and sometimes moonrises or moonsets, every day. By observing the Sun or Moon through the atmosphere, the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment – SAGE – measures the quantity of ozone, aerosols and other gases.

The readings are complementing the long-term monitoring by Europe’s Copernicus Sentinel missions: launched last October, Sentinel-5P is the first in a series of Sentinels focusing on the atmosphere.

As the Station orbits, SAGE is continuously turned to point in the right direction by ESA’s six-legged Hexapod.

SAGE and Hexapod

Using position information from the Station, Hexapod’s computer calculates the movements of its six legs to track the Sun and Moon in the few seconds of their setting and rising. This will happen dozens of times each day over years.

SAGE was installed in February last year and the first results are now being released to the public. The results will be issued monthly, with the quality improving as more measurements are added.

“The installation and setting up could not have gone better and we are happy to see Hexapod working perfectly to keep SAGE pointing in the right direction,” said ESA’s Hexapod project manager Scott Hovland.

Moonrise from space

“The Hexapod and SAGE collaboration is an exemplary transatlantic cooperation and we are very happy to see the first results coming in.”

ESA has a history of tracking the Sun from the Space Station: working for more than nine years, its SOLAR facility created the most precise reference on the Sun’s energy output ever.

The next ESA sensor to be launched to the Station is the Atmospheric Space Interactions Monitor, which will point straight down at Earth to investigate high-altitude electrical storms.

International Space Station (ISS)

To be attached next month, it will capture images of elusive electrical discharges called red sprites, blue jets and elves. These powerful electrical charges can reach high above the stratosphere and have implications for how our atmosphere protects us from space radiation.

Related links:

SAGE first results: https://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov/project/sageiii-iss/sageiii-iss_table

Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment – SAGE: https://fpd.larc.nasa.gov/sage-iii.html

Atmosphere Space Interactions Monitor: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/Research/Atmosphere_Space_Interactions_Monitor

Sentinel-5P: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/Copernicus/Sentinel-5P

European space laboratory Columbus: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/Columbus

International Space Station Benefits for Humanity: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/International_Space_Station_Benefits_for_Humanity

Images, Text, Credits: ESA/NASA.

Greetings, Orbiter.chArchive link

Cехмет – устрашающая богиня-львица

Даже, когда лев находится в клетке, он способен вызывать трепет. Поэтому неудивительно, что в древности люди часто обожествляли это животное. Один из самых ярких культов льва возник в Египте. Его отображением является египетская богиня Сехмет.

Сехмет – самая грозная богиня Древнего Египта

«Грозное око Ра» – главный титул богини Сехмет. Нельзя сказать, что она олицетворяла зло, но именно в её образе соединилось всё, чего могли бояться древние египтяне, война, палящее солнце пустыни и эпидемии. Горячие ветра и палящие солнечные лучи считались дыханием Сехмет.

Характер божества не подавался контролю. Согласно мифологии именно Сехмет создала ливийцев – одних из главных врагов египтян. Эта богиня считалась дочерью Ра и супругой Птаха. Египтологи также выделяют так называемую мемфисской триаду, в которую входили Сехмет, её супруг Птах и их сын Нефертум.

Неудивительно, что именно эта грозная богиня охраняла фараона. Рамзес ІІ утверждал, что во время битвы при Кадеше Сехмет помогала ему, истребляя врагов огнем. Богиня также не жаловала врагов Осириса и Ра.

Мифы описывают её настолько сильной, что даже Сет и Анубис не могли ей противостоять. «Великая» и «могучая» – главные эпитеты, которыми принято было характеризовать Сехмет в иероглифах. Её также именовали «владеющей ножом».

Стоит отметить, что Сехмет не только напускала болезни, но и могла излечивать их, по этой причине богиня считалась покровительницей врачей, они же считались её жрецами. По этой причине богиню иногда именовали «хозяйкой жизни». В период лечения молитвы к Сехмет считались обязательными. Выздоровлению также должны были способствовать амулеты с изображением богини.

Как изображали богиню Сехмет?

Женщина с головой львицы – каноническое изображение Сехмет. Голову богини часто украшает солнечный диск, таким образом художники подчеркивали её власть над разрушительной энергией солнца. Одета богиня в длинное красное платье, что подчеркивает её воинственный характер. Цветом богини считался ярко-оранжевый. Египтяне ассоциировали его со знойным солнцем в зените.

Ещё одним атрибутом Сехмет были горящие стрелы. «7 стрел Сехмет» символизировали страшные эпидемии и разрушения. Как богиня защитница, Сехмет иногда держит в руках ножи. Скульптурные изображения богини обычно дополнялись такими атрибутами, как анкх, урей и росток папируса, последний был символом здоровья. Перечисленные признаки божество получило в период Нового царства.

В «Книге мертвых» богиню часто изображают в солнечной лодке рядом с Ра. Это подчеркивает её роль защитницы. Покойников обычно хоронили со свитками, в которых находились подобные изображения. Египтяне верили, что Сехмет защитит умершего от сверхъестественных врагов.

Как почитали богиню Сехмет?

Почитание Сехмет имело общеегипетский характер. Эта богиня почиталась в Египте со времен Древнего царства и до греко-римского периода. Сехмет являлась покровительницей Мемфиса. Главный храм богине находился в Гелиополисе, здесь держали львов, посвященных божеству.

Храмы Сехмет обычно воздвигали на краю пустыни, поскольку в этих местах часто бродили дикие львы. Один из подобных культовых центров был сооружен фараоном Сахуром в Абусире. Считалось, что изображение богини в этом храме обладало целительными свойствами.

Кремень считался камнем богини. Именно из кремня в Древнем Египте изготовляли хирургические инструменты и ножи для бальзамирования. При храмах, посвященных Сехмет, развивалась древняя медицина.

Древние египтяне боялись Сехмет, но в случае опасности обращались именно к ней. Когда во времена правления Аменхотепа III в Египте разразилась чума, фараон, пытаясь умилостивить Сехмет, приказал изготовить 700 статуй богини. Они были установлены на берегу озера Ашеру и в заупокойном храме упомянутого правителя, расположенном в Фивах. Скульптуры были вырезаны из черного гранита и в высоту достигали 2-х метров. Сейчас эти статуи можно увидеть во многих крупных музеях мира.

В греко-римский период считалось, что богиню можно успокоить с помощью специальных ритуалов, включающих употребления алкоголя, в частности пива. Интересно, что праздник богини совпадает с датой современного православного Рождества, то есть он отмечался 7 января. Древние египтяне скрупулезно наблюдали за движениями небесных тел и заметили, что в указанный период продолжительность солнечного дня начинала увеличиваться. По этой причина 7 января было посвящено богине, отвечающей за солнечный зной.

Богиня Сехмет вызывала страх у египтян даже после того, как поклонение ей кануло в небытие. Об этом свидетельствует случай, произошедший уже в 20 веке. Местные жители изувечили одну из статуй богини, боясь, что она принесет вред детям.

Источник link

Археологи обнаружили древнее захоронение с...

Археологи обнаружили редкое погребение эпохи ранней бронзы (III тысячелетие до нашей эры) с гранитной булавой и редкую каменную стелу во время изучения курганов, попавших в зону строительства трассы «Таврида» на северной окраине Бахчисарая.

Об этом сообщила начальник бахчисарайского отряда Крымской новостроечной археологической экспедиции Института археологии РАН Дарья Богачук, пишет Крыминформ.

«В центральной части одного из курганов выявлено четыре погребения, относящихся к эпохе ранней бронзы. Три захоронения представляли собой катакомбу – со входом и погребальной камерой, вход в которую был закрыт плоскими массивными камнями.

В погребальной камере (одной из катакомб) находился предположительно мужской костяк. Из инвентаря была найдена гранитная булава и бронзовый браслет, надетый на правое запястье погребённого», – сообщила Богачук.

Она добавила, что булава является редкой находкой для погребений эпохи бронзы, такие предметы могут рассматриваться не только как воинский атрибут, но и как символ власти.
Булава является редкой находкой для погребений эпохи бронзы, такие предметы могут рассматриваться не только как воинский атрибут, но и как символ власти.

В двух других катакомбах также найдены погребения эпохи ранней бронзы. «Интересной деталью погребального обряда является расположение головы погребённых вне анатомического порядка – около правого либо левого плеча», – отметила Богачук.

В насыпе одного из изученных курганов, в центре двухслойной каменной конструкции, была обнаружена ещё одна уникальная находка – каменная антропоморфная стела с рельефным изображением топора.

«К настоящему времени подобных памятников древней скульптуры в Бахчисарайском районе известно всего четыре. Как правило, антропоморфные каменные изваяния эпохи бронзы устанавливались на вершине курганов, но также и могли являться элементом погребальных конструкций, – объяснила Богачук.

Изображение топора на данном изваянии может свидетельствовать о погребении достаточно высокого социального статуса, поскольку топор, как и булава, может быть интерпретирован в качестве символа власти».

При исследовании ещё одного кургана археологи в центре каменной кольцевидной конструкции обнаружили четыре человеческих скелета разной анатомической сохранности. В насыпи этого же кургана было открыто захоронение средневековой кочевницы.

Рядом с погребённой на специально устроенной ступени располагались части скелета коня (так называемое чучело, имитирующее целого коня – череп с остатками железных удил и кости ног). Погребение сопровождалось вещами: железное стремя, лепной керамический сосуд и пряслице, изготовленное из стенки гончарного сосуда.

«По мнению ряда исследователей погребения с «чучелом» коня могут принадлежать печенегам, которые обитали в степях Восточной Европы в X – XI веках нашей эры. Сменившие их половцы (кипчаки) уже использовали в погребальном обряде целые туши коня», – пояснила Богачук.

Погребения сопровождались железными ножами, коралловыми бусами, серебряными колокольчиками и железной пряжкой. Она добавила, что наиболее поздние погребения, устроенные в насыпи этого же кургана, совершены в деревянных ящиках-гробовинах. Над ними сооружались каменные конструкции.

Погребения сопровождались железными ножами, коралловыми бусами, серебряными колокольчиками и железной пряжкой. В одном из погребений в области грудных костей найден железный ромбический наконечник стрелы. По мнению специалистов, эти погребения относятся к золотоордынскому времени – XIV – XV векам.

Захоронения эпохи ранней бронзы были обнаружены и при изучении кургана №2, на могильнике Эски-Юрт под Бахчисараем, который также попал в зону строительства «Тавриды».

«Мы предполагали, что в кургане будут захоронения раннего железного века (IX век до нашей эры – IV век нашей эры), а оказалось, что курган принадлежит населению, которое жило здесь в III тысячелетии до нашей эры», – сообщила сотрудник Института археологии РАН Оксана Халяпина.

По её словам, в XV-XVII веках в районе курганов начали хоронить своих умерших жители соседнего поселения. Археологи уже изучили 187 средневековых погребений.

Источник link

Marker overlap and test accuracy

A few people are asking me about the effects of marker overlap or genotype rate on test accuracy. Logic dictates that the better the overlap, the more accurate the results, but this isn’t strictly true. Here’s what I’ve learned over the years:

– accuracy doesn’t necessarily improve with higher marker overlap, it improves (up to a certain point) with more markers- you will still see accurate results using as little as 25,000 SNPs, as long as the test doesn’t suffer from any serious problems

– poorly designed tests, such as those based on less than 1000 reference samples, always produce garbage results no matter what the marker overlap

In other words, a well designed test based on 200,000 SNPs will produce very accurate results for a genotype file with a marker overlap of 50%. On the other hand, another well designed test, based on just 50,000 SNPs, is likely to produce less accurate results for a genotype file with a marker overlap of 100%.

So how can you tell a well designed test from a poorly designed one? It’s easy, just have a look at the results they’re producing for people with less complex ancestry. For instance, ask a Lithuanian, Swede or Pole what they’re seeing at the top of their oracles. Is the Swede seeing Swedish or, say, German? If the answer is German instead of Swedish, or at least some type of Scandinavian, then the test is garbage and best ignored.

By the way, the recent Allentoft et al. paper on the ancient genomics of Eurasia includes a useful discussion on the effects of missing markers on the accuracy of both ADMIXTURE and PCA results. Refer to section 6.2 in the freely available supplementary info PDF here.

Source Eurogenes Genetic Ancestry Project

Around 65% LN/EBA European ancestry in the Hindu Kush (?)

One of the toughest nuts to crack in population genetics has proved to be the story of the people of the Hindu Kush. However, using TreeMix and ancient genomes from the recent Allentoft et al. and Haak et al. papers, I’m seeing most of the Kalash and Pathan individuals from the HGDP modeled as ~65% Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age (LN/EBA) European and ~35% Central Asian. This, to me at least, makes a lot of sense. For instance:


The Kalash and Pathan samples that can’t be modeled in this way, at least with the reference populations that I’m using, are fitted within a framework that closely resembles the old two-way Ancestral South Indian/Ancestral North Indian model (ASI/ANI). They usually score ~12% admixture from the branch leading to the Dai of southern China, which is obviously the proxy for ASI.

Both of these models are correct; they just show the same thing in different ways. So if we mesh them together the Kalash and Pathans come out ~65% LNE/EBA European (which includes substantial Caucasus or Caucasus-related ancestry), ~12% ASI, and ~23% something as yet undefined.

If I had to guess, I’d say the mystery ~23% was Neolithic admixture from what is now Iran. But ancient DNA has thrown plenty of curve balls at us already, so that’s a low confidence prediction, even though it does make good sense.

It’s also interesting to see the migration edges running from the Ulchi of east Siberia to the LN/EBA Europeans. This might be a signal of minor Eastern non-African (ENA), in other words East Eurasian, admixture. Then again, it might just be the algorithm trying to compensate for something, like excess Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG) ancestry.

The full output from my analysis can be downloaded here. The reference samples and markers are listed here and here.

See also…

The Poltavka outlier

The real thing

The enigma of the Kalash

Source Polish and European population genetics and modern physical anthropology.

Santa Monica Colorful Sunset Timelapse – Live Camera 07/12/15 [00:01:09]


Germany returns 3,000-year-old wooden Olmec busts to Mexico

Mexico says German authorities have returned two rare, wooden Olmec sculptures over 3,000 years old.

Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History said Tuesday the sculptures had been held at the Bavarian State Archaeological Collection.

The objects were the source of a nearly decade-long legal case involving Costa Rican artifact dealer Leonardo Patterson.

Mexico claimed the two busts had been illegally taken from the Olmec ruin site of El Manati, in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, and wound up in Patterson’s hands. Authorities seized the pieces in 2008 after Patterson brought them to Germany.

A court ruled they belonged to Mexico in 2017. (source)

Discovery of sophisticated 115,000-year-old bone tools in China


An analysis of 115,000-year-old bone tools discovered in China suggests that the toolmaking techniques mastered by prehistoric humans there were more sophisticated than previously thought.

Marks found on the excavated bone fragments show that humans living in China in the early Late Pleistocene were already familiar with the mechanical properties of bone and knew how to use them to make tools out of carved stone. These humans were neither Neanderthals nor sapiens.

This major find, in which Luc Doyon of UdeM’s Department of Anthropology participated, has just been published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

“These artefacts represent the first instance of the use of bone as raw material to modify stone tools found at an East Asian early Late Pleistocene site,”said Doyon. “They’ve been found in the rest of Eurasia, Africa and the Levante, so their discovery in China is an opportunity for us to compare these artifacts on a global scale. Read more.

4th of July Santa Monica Chillout – Highlight 07/04/15 [00:01:28]


Ультрабук ASUS Zenbook UX305F – ещё тоньше, ещё легче

Металлический корпус нового тринадцатидюймового ультрабука из линейки ASUS Zenbook оказался тоньше, чем у нового MacBook Air, у которого еще и дисплей на дюйм меньше. При этом внутри Zenbook UX305F легко разместилась и современная аппаратная платформа, и ёмкий аккумулятор https://3dnews.ru/916090/?full

Badasses of the Bronze Age: Analysis of Andronovo, Battle-Axe, Corded Ware and Sintashta...

From the Eneolithic to the Late Bronze Age vast areas of Eurasia were inhabited by a series of highly mobile and innovative groups that mostly relied on pastoralism for subsistence and, judging by their warlike grave goods, didn’t mind a bit of biffo.

In Europe, where they first appeared, their archeological remains are generally classified as part of the Corded Ware Culture (or its Battle-Axe and Single Grave offshoots), and in Asia, where they expanded rapidly from the Trans-Urals to the Pamirs and south Siberia, as part of the Sintashta, Petrovka and Andronovo cultures.

It’s likely that these groups had a profound impact on the Bronze Age world, including on Mycenaean Greece and Hittite Anatolia. The Sintashta Culture, for instance, is credited with the development of the spoked-wheel chariot, which became widely used in warfare all the way from Egypt to China.

Unfortunately, a lot of nonsense has been written on this topic in the past. In my view, one of the most sensible and up do date sources currently online is the thesis The Origin and Spread of the War Chariot by Elias Manuel Morgado Pinheiro.

Indeed, the obvious awesomeness of these ancient people has stirred much controversy about their origins and legacy. The academic consensus is that they were closely related, and that at least some of their ancestors were early Indo-Europeans from Eneolithic Eastern Europe. But a few archeologists have argued that the Corded Ware Culture was native to Central Europe, and others that the Sintashta population arrived in the Trans-Urals from Iran or even Syria.

Moreover, linguists generally consider the Sintashta/Andronovo people as the most likely candidates for the Proto-Indo-Iranians, and thus the precursors of the Indo-Aryans. But this is contested by many Indologists, who prefer to see the deepest roots of the Indo-Iranians closer to India and often oppose the idea of an Aryan conquest of South Asia during the Bronze Age.

In the near future, probably within the next couple of years, ancient genomics will leave very little room for debate in these matters and the arguments will cease, at least in mainstream academia.

But we already have a reasonable collection of ancient DNA from the relevant archeological cultures. Does it back the general consensus? Let’s take a look, starting with the Y-chromosome data sorted by culture. The bracketed numbers are the sample sources, which are listed at the bottom of the post.

Corded Ware, Germany, Individuals 2,3,4 [1], R1a

Corded Ware, Germany, I0104 [3], R1a

Corded Ware, Germany, RISE434 [4], R1a

Corded Ware, Germany, RISE436 [4], R1a

Corded Ware, Poland, RISE1 [4], R1b?

Corded Ware, Germany, RISE446 [4], R1a

Corded Ware, Poland, RISE431 [4], R1a

Single Grave?, Denmark, RISE61 [4], R1a

Battle-Axe, Sweden, RISE94 [4], R1a

Battle-Axe?, Sweden, RISE98 [4], R1b

Sintashta, Trans-Urals, Russia, RISE386 [4], R1a

Sintashta, Trans-Urals, Russia, RISE392 [4], R1a

Andronovo, South Siberia, Russia, S07 [2], C

Andronovo, South Siberia, Russia, S10 [2], R1a

Andronovo, South Siberia, Russia, S16 [2], R1a

Andronovo, Altai region, Russia, RISE512 [4], R1a

Fascinating stuff. Keep in mind also that at higher resolution, most, if not all, of these R1a lineages are actually R1a1a1, which is estimated to be only around 5,000-6,000 years old based on full Y-Chromosome sequences. In other words, these groups were certainly closely related, and in large part the descendants of a patriarch who lived no earlier than the Middle or even Late Neolithic.

Now, based on that list it might seem as if both R1a and Corded Ware were indeed native to North-Central Europe. But this is not so.

R1a appears to be an Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG) marker that in all likelihood failed to penetrate west of present-day Ukraine until the Late Neolithic, because it’s missing in all the relevant samples before this period. So it probably first arrived in Central Europe with the Corded Ware people. We know that the Corded Ware people were foreign to Central Europe because their genome-wide genetic structure is starkly different from that of the Middle Neolithic farmers who lived there before them.

This is easy to demonstrate. The Principal Component Analyses (PCA) below show where two ancient samples cluster alongside a variety of present-day West Eurasians from the Human Origins dataset [3]. Note that Esperstedt_MN, a Middle Neolithic sample from a Baalberge Group burial in east-central Germany [3], looks more at home in Sardinia than Central Europe. On the other hand, the Corded Ware sample [4], also from east-central Germany, is sitting at the other end of the plot, among groups from the Volga-Ural region.


I’ll throw in a few more PCA featuring Corded Ware, Battle-Axe, Sintashta and Andronovo genomes that offered enough data to be placed on the plots with a high degree of accuracy [4]. Note that the only clear outlier is RISE512, an Andronovo sample with an inflated level of East Eurasian admixture. If you’re having trouble finding the ancient samples, download the PDF files and use the PDF search field.














However, the meat and potatoes of ancient genomics are formal statistics. So in part 2 of this series I’ll explore the genetic ancestry and legacy of the so called badasses of the Bronze Age using the ADMIXTOOLS software package.

Update 28/04/2016: I’m gearing up to finally write the second part of the Badasses of the Bronze Age. But before I do that, I need to update the first part, because I now have two more sets of ancient samples that can be described as truly badass in the context of this series: Potapovka and Srubnaya. Incredibly, seven out of the eight Potapovka and Srubnaya males belong to R1a. One of the Potapovka individuals turned out P1, but that was only because of a lack of data, otherwise, in all likelihood, he’d also belong to R1a.

Potapovka, Samara, Russia, I0419 [5], R1a Srubnaya, Samara, Russia, I0232 [5], R1a

Srubnaya, Samara, Russia, I0360 [5], R1a

Srubnaya, Samara, Russia, I0361 [5], R1a

Srubnaya, Samara, Russia, I0423 [5], R1a

Srubnaya, Samara, Russia, I0424 [5], R1a

Srubnaya, Samara, Russia, I0430 [5], R1a

Also, I recently changed the way I run PCA. Indeed, I can now accurately plot samples on a typical genetic map of West Eurasia with as little as 15K SNPs. So instead of a few plots featuring the best Potapovka and Srubnaya sequences separately, here’s a plot with all of the badasses together.


1. Haak et al.,

Ancient DNA, Strontium isotopes, and osteological analyses shed light on social and kinship organization of the Later Stone Age, PNAS, Published online before print November 17, 2008, doi:10.1073/pnas.0807592105

2. Keyser et al., Ancient DNA provides new insights into the history of south Siberian Kurgan people, Human Genetics, Saturday, May 16, 2009, doi: 10.1007/s00439-009-0683-0


3. Haak et al., Massive migration from the steppe is a source for Indo-European languages in Europe, bioRxiv, Posted February 10, 2015, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/013433

4. Allentoft et al., Bronze Age population dynamics, selection, and the formation of Eurasian genetic structure, Nature 522, 167–172 (11 June 2015) doi:10.1038/nature14507

5. Mathieson et al., Genome-wide patterns of selection in 230 ancient Eurasians, Nature, 528, 499–503 (24 December 2015), doi:10.1038/nature16152

Source Polish and European population genetics and modern physical anthropology.

Ancient mitogenomes reveal Central Asian (Hunnic?) admixture in Hungarian Conquerers...

Over at bioRxiv at this LINK. The number of ancient mitogenomes in this preprint (102) is fairly impressive, but obviously there’s only so much insight one can gain from maternally-inherited genetic markers when studying male-driven conquests like that of the Carpathian Basin by the early Hungarians. So yeah, let’s wait and see how the conclusions in this preprint gel with the relevant ancient Y-chromosome and genome-wide data when it arrives. Below is the abstract. Emphasis is mine:

It has been widely accepted that the Finno-Ugric Hungarian language, originated from proto Uralic people, was brought into the Carpathian Basin by the Hungarian Conquerors. From the middle of the 19 th century this view prevailed against the deep-rooted Hungarian Hun tradition, maintained in folk memory as well as in Hungarian and foreign written medieval sources, which claimed that Hungarians were kinsfolk of the Huns. In order to shed light on the genetic origin of the Conquerors we sequenced 102 mitogenomes from early Conqueror cemeteries and compared them to sequences of all available databases. We applied novel population genetic algorithms, named Shared Haplogroup Distance and MITOMIX, to reveal past admixture of maternal lineages. Phylogenetic and population genetic analysis indicated that more than one third of the Conqueror maternal lineages were derived from Central-Inner Asia and their most probable ultimate sources were the Asian Huns. The rest of the lineages most likely originated from the Bronze Age Potapovka-Poltavka-Srubnaya cultures of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, which area was part of the later European Hun empire. Our data give support to the Hungarian Hun tradition and provides indirect evidence for the genetic connection between Asian and European Huns. Available data imply that the Conquerors did not have a major contribution to the gene pool of the Carpathian Basin, raising doubts about the Conqueror origin of Hungarian language.

Neparáczki et al., Mitogenomic data indicate admixture components of Asian Hun and Srubnaya origin in the Hungarian Conquerors, bioRxiv, Posted January 19, 2018, doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/250688


The Kho people: archaic Indo-Aryans

I’ve manged to get my hands on two Kho samples from Chitral, northern Pakistan, courtesy of Khana from the comments at this blog and someone named Sam Sloan. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the Kho, who are Dardic-speakers and thus close linguistic relatives of the Kalasha people:

The Kho people are likely descendants of those who arrived in the region during the Indo-Aryan migration.[5] The Kho people formerly observed a form of ancient Hinduism;[6] during the Mongol invasion of India during the 1200s, many of the northern Kho converted to Islam.[7]

The Kho people speak the Khowar language, a member of the Dardic subgroup of the Indo-Aryan language family. The ethnologists Karl Jettmar and Lennart Edelberg noted, with respect to the Khowar language, that: “Khowar, in many respects [is] the most archaic of all modern Indian languages, retaining a great part of Sanskrit case inflexion, and retaining many words in a nearly Sanskritic form.”[9]

Moreover, Chitral is near Swat, which is the location of a Bronze Age cemetery that is generally presumed to be the oldest Indo-Iranian archaeological site in South Asia. It’ll be interesting to compare the two Kho individuals to samples from this ancient burial ground if and when they’re finally published (see here and here). Meantime, this is how they compare to the Kalasha from the HGDP dataset in several of my staple genome-wide analyses:

Overall, the qpGraph trees produce almost identical results for both the Kho and Kalasha. However, on the Kho tree, the drift path leading from C to Han is zero (i.e. no genetic drift), while on the Kalasha tree it’s 18. That’s a subtle, but perhaps important difference, because it suggests that the Kho and Kalasha have somewhat different types of East Eurasian admixture.
Indeed, in the West Eurasian and world Principal Component Analyses (PCA) the Kho pull more strongly towards the Bronze Age steppe and East Asia, respectively, compared to the Kalasha. This might mean that they’ve been less isolated genetically than the Kalasha since the initial Indo-Aryan settlement of what is now northern Pakistan.
I’ve also added the Kho to the Global 10 and Basal-rich K7 datasheets (see here and here, respectively). It might be possible to investigate in more detail the differences between the Kho and Kalasha by using this output to model their ancestry with nMonte (for instance, like here).
See also…
Ancient herders from the Pontic-Caspian steppe crashed into India: no ifs or buts
Descendants of ancient European (fair?) maidens in Central Asia’s highlands
Late PIE ground zero now obvious; location of PIE homeland still uncertain, but…



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