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Chapter II - The African Route

por Olympus Mons, em 12.03.16

Chapter II

 The African Route


If this chapter in 2015 was just about the ones that flew south, in 2018 has a long inset about the ones that flew north and the others that flew west which will follow. Both are o pivotal importance and most likely my biggest regret after 2016 draft version was not having cover them at all. I knew they had, I knew where to, but did not spend any time with it. A mistake I am going to resolve now, even if just briefly. Each deserving a full chapter of their own. Which might happen in the future.


Chapter II.1 – Those who flew north

As abrupt as it could have been, the fall of the most important places of Shulaveri-Shomu, with its burned layer, was sudden. Archeology, despite great efforts from Russian Archeologists, is not particularly developed, hence the view we have of it is somewhat skewed. Skewed by the fact that our knowledge and focus, being the focus of pretty much David W. Anthony.  However, reading que few Russian papers that are actually found in English seems to be enough to find a trail . imo, of the Shulaveri fleeing north.

First one should state that after a 1000 years in the slopes of great Caucasus there must have been a spillage of people from the south Caucasus to the north. Being the north Caucasus such a different environment the archeological footprint at those days must have been scanty.


One would imagine, whether from south Ubaid people or from Kelteminar (lets call it that) movements from Asia into south Caspian lands, the Shulaveri must have retreat to West Georgia. West is following the open space to Anasueli . Bearing in mind that conditions between West Georgia and east Georgia, where Shulaveri lived, are climate and topographically different. It’s unclear to me why the Shulaveri choose to remain in the less temperate zone of the East and ignore the west part of Georgia. Perhaps had to do with better agriculture conditions or also access to Obsidian.  So, in the herald of the 5th millennia BC, something like 4800BC we  can , me being correct,  say that that arrival of Shulaveri stressed out folks is see in: Svobodnoe.


The Svobodnoe settlement should be a Shulaveri moving from the Kura river into north Caucasus. The biggest settlement in the Kuban river basin is precisely Svobodnoe. References to Svobodnoe and Mesokho , should be read as the movement of dislocated people from south Caucasus into northern territory. So, it should be postulated that Shulaveri became the Zakubanye culture or was the significant part of it. the region was later overtaken as it had happened in Georgia by that the same people that dislodge earlier the Shulaveri and later is Kura-Araxes and Maykop. Very different people.

As much as one finds attractive the narrative of still fleeing Shulaveri, people don’t flee for two or three centuries. And Enemies of last century are the friends of today. Truer it should have been 7 thousand years ago.

Some people, either from Northern parts of the Steppes or from earlier Transcaucasia region or by the 5th millennium a mix with Shulaveri must already existed in north Caucasus at this period (5th Millennium). Alongside places like Nalchik or even Crimea and North of sea of Azov  The Shulaveri  were the people that brought the package of agriculture, pastoral and general way of living that did not exist in north Caucasus up until that time.  Its only after the vanishing of Shulaveri that true Agricultures way of live arrived at North Caucasus. And in there we see one of the hallmarks of Shulaveri -  specially Spelt. Follow the spelt grains.

Agriculture or at least known cereals to them, was not suitable to northern parts, but since Shulaverian were developed herdsman the ones that moved to places like Samara and became an important component of the Khvalynsk culture and later part of Yamnaya rely essentially on those skills.

If we had to pick a culture to represent better the arrival of Shulaveri folks to north Caucasus I would choose the  pricked pearl pottery at the settlement of Yaseneva Polyana. If I had to choose a place to extract dna and prove the arrival of Shulaveri to North Caucasus I would pick it. And that would be because the oldest copper artifacts in north Caucasus are found here. The same level of usage one finds immediately earlier in Shulaveri-Shomu in Georgia and Armenia.

 At the end of the cycle of this culture it already showed connection to Cucuteni–Trypillia culture and this is relevant to the next chapter of the one that fled WEST.


Shulaveri had all the paraphernalia of agriculture, all the gear of pastoral, all the typomania, metal gear, horse relations. And, why not, the perfect place to be the start of the most common tale of the Indo-European speakers, the hero that killed the snake/Dragon, because they were gone the moment Ubaid, snake people, arrived at their land.   In time for be the ignite of PIE dispersal I don’t really know of any local culture with the number, the amount of settlement and population density to be source of a language and most important they were the ones gone the moment agriculture arrived to Steppe.



Chapter II.2 – Those who flew West







Those who flew South

This should have been a short chapter. But it wasn’t. And it yields two, imo, best supplements.

 The middle story, as I called, it’s not (was not!)  by any means the object of my interest at this point in time. Anyway, I am sure many others in the past have built a narrative for this time and events.  However strangely I have not found any narrative that directly narrates the journey.                                                         

Here is my two cents:

Whatever happened that led to the end the Shulaveri-Shomu culture in Southern Caucasus it must have been big and decisive (or not, see Suppl I ). I know. Many will point to the story of the floods so common in ancient tells that for instance made it the bible as the Noah arc event and that happened around that time. Or that they evolved, morphed, into something divergent but local. Or it was just people being mean to people, as always they have been in history, and overtook them on their own land. What is known so far points clearly to the latter.

Down south there was brewing the Ubaid period for a long time, so much more complex and multifarious,  and century upon century they were moving north as a blob of civilization that just grows, new and socially complex, making the Shulaveri old stuff (see Suppl I).  Perhaps it was just the Red Ochre body painting or the stubbornly different stance and outlook (houses, obsidian and ochre) that put a target on their back.  But People don’t just disappear. Not at those ages and time and with that kind of technology.  Therefore future will find (if not already and it’s just my ignorance) the detailed and exact seals and stamps of that exodus.


It’s currently assumed that the Shulaveri-Shomu became moving, transhumance or roaming tribes. And those tribes, by then mostly pastoralist, moved a lot and couldn’t find a place to grow new roots as new cultures and folks wandered towards them. One can safely assume that they were no more, no longer in there - They left behind all that area for good, At that point in time, from current Iran to Iraq, Syria and Israel was in a culture turmoil of sorts and they could just be absorbed and enthralled into those more evolved, and at the end if they were the “original” R1bs as bearers of SNPs and cultural traits that led to European Bell Beaker and subsequent cultural phenomenas for later milenia, in the southern Caucasus their patrileneage did strife and not for long. Anything is possible.

However if they didn’t just got clouded by the wheels of time, and I am right, they just represent a emergence of a certain individualism and sort of stubbornness that we will track in the next steps and which made them unique. Not by a long shot any better but, if something, a bunch of unorderly, unmalleable and sort of introceptive awareness people who kept for themselves or to their daily business of live hood and food production.   And that meant they didn’t break, meaning change their ways, and a lot of them moved. And it had to be a lot and moving fast (but maybe it took quite long… Suppl I).  if the Ubaid dominated the 6th millennium BC and during those dates after 5500 BC we saw the broadly denoted as Shulaveri (R1b Arbins) in the southern part of the south Caucasus now moving south to the Jordan valley and west to Anatolia, I truly think the Shulaveri of shomutepe, the ones living just next to the Kura river near the Caucasus mountains, where the last ones being overtaken and that would have happened in the first quartile of the 5th millennia or even later.  Think 4900- 4800 BC. Bear in mind that not much later than that, the Uruk, already fully evolved Mesopotamian are reported as farther north as the northern part of the Caucasus, which must not have been a fast and short task to cross the perpetual frigid and snow covered Caucasus mountains, hence plenty of time to bulldozer the Shulaveri People at the south of those mountains.  Although I think it was done by the hassuna-Samarra people which then blended to the Sioni people with rectangular and T-shape houses. They were snake (or lizard) people. First overrun the Arbins at Aratashen then the rest of the people at Shulaveri. From Hassuna Samarra to the heart of Shulaveri is less than 240 miles.


By 4800 BC, It’s not even a big effort to find them in Tel Tsaf. I am sure that their trademarks are also found in other places if one takes the time to look for. Tel Tsaf had lots, and lots of tell signs. Above all even has a copper awl directly placed its origin in Aruklho, heartland of the Shulaveri.  But also the round huts and the clear culture of cereal silos, animals, lots of animals and dogs, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic ceramic figurines, etc. One doesn’t really need to go very far. Just Reading Emily Marie Hubbard thesis (A Geo archaeological Investigation of Storage and Surplus at Tel Tsaf, Israel) it’s really amazing again the imprint of this new people in the area. It defines the middle chalcolithic (5000-4500 BC) in the region as opposed to dissimilar early chalcolithic and different posterior chalcolithic phases. It’s abundantly clear that prior it was something culturally different and after them it occupied by also different folks. Sherds, architecture (back to rectangular houses, etc.).


Also easy to find part of the signs (I haven’t dig to heavily into it) in Gilat, farther south just near the Sinai, especially when papers keep referring the long Prismatic Blades (trademark of Shulaveri) of Gilat as imports from the Maadi in Egypt (no it was instead them taking this tool making skill further ahead into north Africa as part of Maadi).  There are much imprinted marks in the Middle East. So imprinted as the bewilderment of finding a horse skeleton as early as from late 5th millennium BC in Shiqmim site Israel, which is just near what is current Gaza Strip arriving to Egypt. Note that Horse is not a species found before in the region, nor was it found after. It was a specific time in history, a millennia at most from Armenia/Georgia to Iberia peninsula, as it was in other places as we will see, that match always with the trademarks of the Shulaveri in those specific regions.


A generation or two later, they were in Egypt and maybe part of the tribes along the Nile River that ended up making the pot from where ancient Egypt sprung.  When saying part of the pot I mean a really low influence. Don’t get me wrong. Again they were the outcasts and the ones that really didn’t get involved.

 That is why they are found then in Merimde and EL-Omari, definitely the Shulaveri stock, so much north and not at all getting involved in the Upper lower Nile settling scores prior to Pharaonic times.  Even on the eastern side of the Nile Delta itself one can find them in Tell el-Farkha or Mendes at a very early stage before being also overrun by Neqada or Badarian from the south. Maadi although later stage is clearly imbedded also in Shulaveri. It was not so obvious however and was hard and difficult because everything written is so obsessed with Namer, pre-dynastic or pharaonic Egypt.  There would be a story with the Maadi (at least in part R1b) and the southern so different Badarians but in the end those are the ones that stood and ended up being consumed by Naqada III or any culture component or story that led to later Pharaonic Egypt.  Maadi is what was left after the Shulaveri at Merimde and El Omari moved on, therefore Maadi is what happened to those that mingled with other local population, probably more numerous, and the part of the story of those that stood behind. So no record of them south Egypt near the Nile river (see Suppl II – Resting in Egypt) but found traces west of the nile in the several Oasis that stood the pressure of sahara birth and still exist today.

But remember, I truly think the Shulaveri Arbins (mutation R1b bearers) stood way north in the Nile Delta, away from the brewing of what was to come.  And up there was undoubtedly them.

If anything else doesn’t really convince you, let me quote this from Michael Hoffmann 1979 book “Egypt before the Pharaohs”:

“what little work was done portrays Merimdens as a slightly built, round-headed folk whose men averaged 5 feet 6 inches in height and women 5 feet 2 inches.  Abscesses were a common malady . . . a situation that probably reflects a combination of the new agricultural diet, genetic predisposition and local water chemistry”


Yes, Round-head, meaning brachycephalic vs Long head Dolichocephalic. Isn’t this a trademark of the Caucasian R1b?


It’s common to find the following references regarding our shulaveri:


“As regards predynastic population, peoples of Lower or northern Egypt show a range of variability and types. Sweeping classifications such as Caucasoid or a "Mediterranean Race" depicted under older Aryan race models are thus problematic for this region. A number of influences were present from surrounding populations. According to one history populations around sites such as Merimda, Maadi and Wadi Digla have quite different characteristics from sample populations from early Palestine and Byblos, "suggesting a lack of common ancestors over a long time.”




As the Shulaveri moved on and we enter the 4th millennium in Egypt, Maadi and guys buried at Wadi Digla  or Shurafa really show all brands of the North African populations and Caucasians. Lots and lots of admixture as the 5.9 kiloyear event kicked in. And so lots of Armenoid and Brachycephalic or even Lapponoid features, so full Caucasian guys  alongside with all sorts of admixture with Berber, Mediterranean from western Africa parts, cromagnonoid and sub Saharan Africa as reported for instance by Andrzej Wiercinski work .


So, there should not be a surprise if Tutankhamun was really an R1b. 

I don’t really want to go there… but. It’s not even difficult to insulate this. The top North Africa areas with R1b are Tuaregs from Niger (33%) and Siwa berbers from Egypt (29%). The first ones, are the dead-end of the R1b-V88 going south. The second ones are the ones that stood behind and stick around the Siwa oasis (big archeological site and home of clearly outcast people of ancient Egypt for millennia).  Siwa oasis means the protectors of the sun god Amun… go figure why the boy king R1b was called Tutankh-amun.


Anyway the Assyrians went very far to “meet” these people there in the Oasis and even Alexander the great made a perilous 6 day journey through the desert to meet this outcast individuals. History tells us, they continued to be, stubbornly, themselves (its something one can always say of the Shulaveri stock) up until the Islamic rule finally manage to change their believes and ways in the 12th century AD. The toll, as reported, was being left with only 40 surviving males.

Either in the Siwi language or their high number of R1b-V88 patrileneage there might be bread crumbs there to link them to Dagestan (where the others stood) or all the Kartevelian languages. Way off my linguistic league to go there.  And Siwas are too admix with sub-Saharan genepool (like the rest of the V88) to track the Shulaveri. (True, but no so clear with the others – See suppl.  II – Chapter, From pool to pool, the sons of the L278)


So, let’s here keep track of the folks that ended up in Iberia Peninsula.


By 4000 BC they were no more In Merimde and related places (El-omari, Fayum where they herd the cattle, Kom where they store stuff) and it remained there the Maadi which I think was part R1b and highly infiltrated or conquered by the Badarian from the south. Maadi is seen as a bridge between Levant and south Egypt where the Badarian and Neqada were moving up and overrunning everything to cook what was to be the pharaonic Egypt.

 The others were gone again. Did they flee again?  Maybe. There must have been a flow of R1b Shulaveri moving past Egypt moving west. This is the exact moment of the 5.9 Kiloyear event that started to make the Sahara desert. And if they were looking for land looking to the west, they really were getting into troubles. It seems a safe bet to always estipulate that the Shulaveri needed land. And finding land for agriculture is pivot on their quest.  Moving west meant, unlike one can assume by today Sahara landscape to move into what is today the harshest part of Sahara desert but was at the times the region that resisted more time as habitable and paradisiac - Tassili and Accacus mountain range.


Again, I don’t think the R1b had such a big influence in the region. As I think had none on the civilization rising of the Middle East.  However at this stage after moving west departing from Cairo (what is now Cairo) I think they were part of the substratum living off the 100km long and 20km wide valley between Tassili and Accacus. And prior to being kicked out by the impious Aeolian desert events, they were there for a while.

That broadly referenced area was overrun by sand. Loads and loads of it. If one could just remove the sand would find whatever is missing of the vast amount of people, E1b1b (M-81) and a certain amount of R1b, that populated the mountains in middle of North Africa. That would be another story concerning E1b1b of mutation E-M78 and the Old Berber guys of the E-M81 that I think also crossed the Gibraltar with the Shulaveri R1bs.


So, as of today, is a motherlode of problems to find archeological evidence of their presence in the exact regions where they might have stood for a while, because those areas are the Sahara nowadays. And they were in the Sahara while de Desert was being created by climate change. Its meaningless today in terms of archeology but the people there might not have been that irrelevant for the region history.

Today most experts in northern Africa art see the influence of the Sahara people in the surgence of the Egyptian dynasty. For instance reading a fine paper (*222) about discussions and argument in North Africa art one can read he following:


“little evidence for Predynastic Egyptian influences on the prePastoral and Bovidian Pastoral art of the Sahara, because the latter are already so well developed at such an early date, before anything similar can be recognized in Egypt.48 He now favors the idea of Saharan groups influencing the developments in the Nile Valley, probably by the mechanism of non-Negro pastoral peoples migrating to the Nile Valley ca. 3500 B.C., during Predynastic times, and having some effects on the birth of classic Egyptian art in the Protodynastic period about 3200 B.C. (This would apparently explain the absence of the RoundHead style in Egypt or, as far as is now known, anywhere east of the Ennedi: it had disappeared much earlier.


So while things started to be rough and lots of people flocked into adjacent the Nile, some of these Berbers were part of the confusion and some might even had been R1b males. Maybe another reason for Siwa oasis being made of R1b stock still today and the rest of the Egypt is so obviously not. People might move back and forth for a while and some R1b stock where in it.

A word about women.

 Roaming Shulaveri were an overrepresented male population. That is something to be yet explained. Either women died of hardships or stayed with whom ever made the male population stock move away from the Caucasus, since women were always a valuable commodity. But I don’t think it was all men. So some women (or a lot) were travelling and bearing their children all the way from the Caucasus. But the male herdsman and roaming around men must have being picking up women all along the road. So looking to the Tuaregs Fezzan of Libya with 60% mtdna H1 (highest anywhere), the so called west European Mtdna, we can find something else that will link them to Dagestan women (here H2 is more common).  Actually H2 is a parent subclade of H1 and H3 (as well as h13). And the most important fact (*442) is that H2 is only found in great amount (11%) amongst the Chuvash (from the Volga Urals just north of Dagestan (remember chapter I), but also high frequency in Portugal and Spain, were a specific subclade H2a5 is even found only in Basque (*450) and residual around the area and them blanks out completely. So, forgetting males, women had a very different story altogether.


Two other things also are noteworthy. first one that Hg V has the same age (slightly older) of hg H1 and H3 and sees its higher freqs in exact the same places as H1 and H3, and notably being that in Caucasus is only existing also in the Dagestan mountains (in Avars) as well as strangely is seen in some Berbers populations (*448). Second is that H1 and H3 (and V) are responsible for the closeness of some groups of current North Africans populations and marks the distance from others (*449), therefore being possibly the hallmarks of the Shulaveri/R1b passage on their way to Europe and identifies the groups that ended up travelling with them into Europe.

So another notable fact is that one should bear in mind subclades and structure of mtdna H1 Haplogroup, if not for everything else then by the high frequency of H1 and H3 in Iberia and North Africa Berber tribes (some) it implies that the Caucasus, North Africa corridor and Iberia was something established already at the beginning of the Holocene (*451). Especially for H1 since I think H3 probably was more in consonant with the Shulaveri movement (as does H2 and V). So finding patterns for less than a millennia is really hard.  North Africa, the Sahara desert one (for the last 5000 years), has been a wasteland and graveyard of a lot of things, like most harsh deserts are, and there is a lot of structure that was just washed away and extinct by sand and heat.  So one always have to look deeply.


Some linguistics have for long being making the connection between some Caucasus languages and Basque I would urge, strongly and whole heartily before its extinct, some linguistics to also follow the link between language in northeast Caucasus, the Nakho-Dagestanian (Avar, Lak, Dargin,  Nakh, etc) and the  Siwi language which is part of the Awjila–Sokna languages that extent to Libya. Special concerning short and long vowels and the fact that katvelian, proto berber and Basqj are ergative construction language… who wants to bet there is a link? Too bad Kaddafi prevented all international studies (but a few) up until recently.  Maybe it still possible to correct it.


But enough of this detour. Let’s not digress.


So, from Egypt Merimde, a generation (s) later Shulaveri-Shomu were part of the Libya, Algeria and Tunisia, and R1bs (I think not our Shulaveri tribes but broadly Arbins) even made the pot of Chad’s herdsman tribes (no surprise those are the next follow up places in terms of percentage of men R1b). R1b (and maybe many others) always follow the sight of Mountains. They are attracted to it. So they moved to the next one - and it’s not that there is no record, right?  It’s even called the Bovidian Pastoral…II.  And it’s “II” because first, phase I, the cave paintings showed what would be easily represented as dark people (dark faces period) and suddenly white Caucasian types where represented as herdsman with bows (called also Caucasian period).

 One just needs to look at Tassili-n-Ajjer paintings (reading the book: African Herders: Emergence of Pastoral Traditions is very telling) to see this plainly.  One can find there paintings in essence of cattle herding but also some horse or even dogs. Tassili-n-Ajjer has vast pastoral and herdsman paintings of very big herds. But it does also have paintings of Dogs hunting (amazing the one of five dogs and a hunter) and clearly a horseman herding cattle.


By the time of the Bovidian pastoral phase II the 5.9 kiloyear event had already kicked in for a while. And the arrival of the Shulaveri coincided with the beginning of the violent Aeolian erosion of the once fertile lands. Bad times, with those huge sand storms that witness even the caving of rock shelters roofs.


A curious fact is that the dogs depicted in those paintings, clearly sighthounds type of dogs, are ancestors of the ugly, slender and anorexic Spanish Galgo, one of the three races that cluster together with the beautifully huge Serra da Estrela from Portugal and the even more colossal Kangal dog from eastern turkey in the same genetic Haplogroup (later will address all those papers in Dog Chapter) and are the only ones truly related to the Big Mastiffs of the Caucasus.  In the journey, clearly the slender ones like the Spanish Galgo had the upper hand on survival but not the big scary ones that didn’t really make it in big numbers. We see these sighthounds dogs in Pre Egyptian dynasty as in ptahhotep’s mastaba (3 millenium BC) or the tomb of amenemhat necropolis of beni hasan.


Regarding Dogs, one always need to have present that Dogs were trademarks of Tel Tsaf and Merimde.


Anyways, in the wake of their arrival to North Africa, and the beginning of this middle pastoral periodit’s the time of Knapped stone arrows North Africa. These changes also parallel the lithic production of knapped stones. At the end of the period, geometric elements evolve to bifacial, knapped arrow points. “


They arrived at Tassili Acacus (in large numbers) and like later in the Iberia peninsula it’s most visible lithic feature is… Arrowheads. Lots of.


Our imagination usually underrepresent the population of North Africa prior the desertification.  And when things start to get really disruptive some of them moved to the Nile and other moved west and south. Bad choice. Moving to the west meant not escaping the desiccation and aridification of the Sahara. Some definitely moved south and as the desiccation was ending the oasis which all North Africa was becoming, those R1b pastorals got stuck down south and became the now known as V-88 subclade of the Sahel African tribes. So most V88 tribes were south or stayed behind although naturally some also ended up in Europe. (See Suppl III – Chapter, Exodus to Iberia)


Not much record of them in Morocco therefore it was a run for their lives.  Only option was moving North… to the Iberia peninsula. And yet things were already pretty sour between those large groups of people, either all R1b Shulaveri or Indigenous local proto-Berbers as we always see in those situations.  Better quote something:


“Among the early depictions of war is a battle scene, in a rock painting in Tassili n’Ajjer. dated to between 4300 and 2500 B.C., with groups of men firing bows and arrows at each other. In the image a group on the right stand ready to fire their bows as a group on the left begins an assault”


This hardship is important to understand the stance, the harshness and spike of these people when they got into the Iberia peninsula.  Because southern Iberia was not really gentle people strolling around and that is key to understand how they became the bell beaker warriors so fast.


And  I suppose the book The Emergence of Pressure Blade Making: From Origin to Modern Experimentation by  Pierre M. Desrosiers will be mentioned a few time next chapter, but let’s leave here this quote regarding  lever aided blades  on the of the chapter 2 from Marie-Louise Inizan:

“Thick outsized blades (more than 20 cm) the so called Canaanite debitage began to appear at the end of the 4th millennium BC (Anderson-gerfaud and Inizan 1994). This corresponds to the development of lever-aided debitage (pelegtin 1988, 1987) “.


One can argue…but, why does that has to do with she SSC? – Again, Jacques Chabot and Jacques Pelegrin on “Two Examples of Pressure Blade Production with a Lever: Recent Research from the Southern Caucasus (Armenia) and Northern Mesopotamia (Syria, Iraq)”:


We do at least know that the culture represented in the Araxe basin by the sites

of Aratashen and Aknashen-Khatunarkh shows very close links with the Shulaveri-

Shomutepe culture, which developed throughout the sixth millennium to the North

in the Kura basin. Architecture, as well as ceramics, bone and lithic industries, testifi

es to the fact that these two cultures share a common root, and it could be amongst

this common stock that the technique of pressure with a lever developed ( Arimura

et al. 2010 ).”


Having then arriving in the Iberia peninsula, from North Africa, already with blade production of huge blades by the usage of lever didn’t help it to be peaceful. Oh yes, it wasn´t nice or peaceful how it went. These guys where already spending a lot of time to make better and bigger blades and working hard on their arrows. Had they learned something from what happened in Merimde?

It served them well.


The rest of this story, and how it happened, is in supplement EXODUS TO IBERIA -  Plight of the P297 mutating to M269?



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