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 Why the Shulaveri-Shomu were our R1B forefathers.

October 2018 DRAFT...



Why the Shulaveri-Shomu were todays western Europeans R1b forefathers.

Just a while back (in 2015), this subject would all but just bring a big yawn into me.


Like so many people, back in 2015, I kept on bumping into genomics and ancestry for DNA, autosomal DNA clustering, Y-DNA,  MtDNA Haplogroup. Reading about it becomes progressively more interesting. First one barely gets the acronyms and the long discussions and internet posts and forums from such blogs as Razib khan, Deniekes, to Eurogenes and so forth.

 Later it’s the reading of the actual papers and making your own judgement that becomes feasible.

After a while it occurred to me - What would happen if I went on a quest for myself? I was sure I couldn’t find anything. Then, strangely a short, short, period I figure I could build my own R1b story. And, again, at the end, I am right or wrong. It’s Just that simple. Nevertheless, my initial doubts, just hours after the beginning of this quest (to be fair sporadic readings started still in December 2015)  I wrote a post in January 2016.


Shulaveri-Shomu is the birth of the R1b expansion!

por Olympus Mons, em 09.01.16

*the European dominance of Y-dna Haplogroup R1b had its origin in a very specific culture of the Caucasus the Shulaveri-Shomu, Not Yamna, nor Maikop, nor Kura arexes… no! Places like Kwemo-Kartli and Mentesh Tepe are the true Urheimat (homeland) of all western Europeans. And the spread of that cultural and genetic trait started in the Iberia peninsula, because after the immediate ending of the SSC not millennia but centuries later pure r1b (M269) inhabit the peninsula making the downstream clades that populate western world (L11 and M51).”


I think it is the first digital record making the connection. Must say that when I wrote that entry I was under the impression that the SSC horizon had lasted until the end of the 5th millennium (4000BC) as stated in many places, which is wrong.

Making that connection was clear cut. It was right there in a matter of hours. All others that I considered, and others kept pushing for, seemed to crumble after some analytical thinking.

In the ensuing years I was a beacon for the Shulaveri-Shomu Culture. I Had a perfect awareness that I was the odd one out, the sole voice pushing for an unknown and never referenced south Caucasus culture. It brought me scorn, disdain and disrespect many times. In fact currently, mid 2018, the Shulaveri ARE still invisible to everyone expert on ancient cultures, language and DNA.  Even presently it’s the Iran Neolithic, the Northern Iran as the source of R1b down clades that might be relevant to the final history or R1b male haplogroup and Proto-Indo-European language and not the ones screaming in their faces from the hills of Georgia and Armenia.  It’s nothing short of remarkable that even experts in Shulaveri-Shomu (Bertille Lyonnet, Emmanuel Baudouin, Caroline Hamon, etc.)  never have made the connection, at all, of the Shulaveri to any future or adjacent culture, beyond Sioni Culture and insistence references to relationships with Hassuna and Halaf.

 Back in January 2016, once I got this strange certainty that Shulaveri were the origin of relevant subclades of R1b (+L23) and of the Proto Indo-European language I started immediately to look for the route taken by the dispersal into Europe and elsewhere.

Highly influenced by AA Klyosov (‎2012) I thought, and still think, that it made perfect sense to look for them southbound. Going as south as possible. Which meant North Africa.

But then, finding the trail via Levant and North Africa it made me stop, and for a few weeks felt like giving up since I couldn’t find it. Then piece by piece one starts to find it, or better, them. And, again, it’s there in the form of the bread crumbs.  I am sure much more would, and will, be found but at least I could find this trail, which is so obvious to me that it really bothers me for its simplicity.

In a nutshell, I had decided to write the following narrative that I was sure was harbored in what had happened millennia ago. It would go as such:

From the epicenter of southern Caucasus at times when the so overpowering Ubaid people could have taken rule of the broad region,  one tracks them, the fleeing Shulaveri, not that later after the 4900 BC event that represents the end of SSC in south Caucasus, first at Tell Tsaf Israel. Then a century pass and  in Merimde/El-Omari in Egypt Delta, next up a fleeting and elusive in Tassili Mountains as, or part of, the Bovidean pastoral II (white man phase) of north Africa then again just a couple generations later making the all chalcolithic Iberia and the birth of the Bell Beaker


However today I regret not having written from the start also the story of all the fleeing Shulaveri-Shomu. It was clearly specified by me that I believe some had run way to the north and west, but I strongly regret not having dedicated more time to those fleeing west and north. In the upcoming years as I got more participant, the ones fleeing North it was all that matter in the blogsphere most probably due to the papers that started to pour in those years.

Unsurprisingly I had to focus on those, no related to this narrative, in my  other blog  and in countless fights in blogs and Forums. But the ones that went West, along the shores of the south Black Sea, might have been extremely important in the 3rd millennium BC story known as the Bell Beakers.  Iberia Beakers meeting South Balkans Beaker cousins?


Probably due to that fact, I became more well-informed in both Steppe Archeology as to other parts of the globe which leads me to  believe today that it is as probable, if not more probable, that the ones reaching North Africa were not the relevant “Shulaveri” to western Europe history  but in fact primarily it were the ones  arriving in the 5th millennium BC in South Balkans.  A small chapter further ahead will address this issue however.


This Hypothesis narrative is however about the ones that flew south. Overall story, as I saw it back then in early 2016 and with very little knowledge, was simple and allow me to reiterate it  – From the period transition of the Halaf – to - Ubaid we saw the Shulaveri scatter.  Starting from something like 5500 BC in the southern parts of the Caucasus, and by 5000 BC Mentesh Tepe had fallen.  Mentesh was Alamo. It meant to me that by then my Shulaveri were gone.  I only really focus and narrate about those o fled south. In real life things are always a mesh of events and decisions that is called history. Some stayed, and some flew to the mountains. Beyond the mountains there is the northern Caucasus and those already were (maybe!) or became R1b as well, at least with new genetic clades. Caucasus Mountains are not easy to transpose, conquer or live in.  So, do not find it strange that under pressure the preferred option would be to flee west and southwest.


In 2018 I would just say 2 things different – To set the record straight that it was not Mentesh Tepe that is the crucial instant of the disappearance of Shulaveri but the longest continuous and the latest place to fall, Shulaveris gora. It makes sense that it’s the longest and last that sets the moment and its a fortunate coincidence that is the one that gave the name (Shulaveri).  Shulaveris gora fell by 4900bc (the important date). Second, I said that beyond the Caucasus mountains they were or could be R1b.  I don’t believe it apart from the fact that after 1000 years in the region some of the shulaverians must have already been scouting the north Caucasus for a while before the 4900BC event.  Maybe way before, not improbable we end up finding 5300BC as a plausible date for it.


Returning to the southern route.

It all came out as sounding easy at time of writing the first texts, but it was difficult to start untying their presence anywhere else because terminology is not the same in every region where papers are produced. And some of it was and is obfuscated, blurred in the fascination historians acquired for more signaling events such as the pre-dynastic Egypt or the emergence of pre-Cannan in levant, and so forth which is part of books and academia normal output.

Nonetheless I always accepted that I may be making a lot of mistakes. So, I am and was all in favor of critiques.  Those never came over this past years.


I am keeping in 2018 the story of 2015. Even back in early 2016 I did not change (much) the original storyline (the first story written in fury over a few days) based on latter findings I come across during investigations, those being reserved for several supplements that were inserted as (suppl. Chapter XXX), added in brackets during description of the overall phenomenon, hence full chapters will be at the end of the first few chapters encompassing the story.


I think it is interesting to follow my thought process back then. And somehow the first flare I pursuit was … Grapes, dogs and horses.  Everyone needs an entry point to start unravelling a jumble of ropes.  And this needs to be stated because I think in the future either of those will bring novelties.


After that initial moment, the flow that I followed:


It all started by me looking for something in the area around the Caucasus that ended or had a major shift (population, was what I was looking for) around 6,000 years ago. If R1b where indeed from the Caucasus or from the Ukraine steeps than I looked, more for fun than anything else, for something in that broadly referenced epoch and broad region. I Remember reading about MayKop with eagerness expecting it to be it, but those were too late for the purpose, since the reference to me was Chalcolithic Iberia as the source of the demic diffusion of R1b genetic mutations most relevant for today (so, +L51). It had to be something that happened (or ended for that matter) around 5th and 4th millennium BCE, early enough to have those people showing up in the Iberia Peninsula by latest mid fourth Millennium BC (3500 BCE).  It actually didn’t take long to get to the South Caucasus Culture of the Shulaveri-Shomu. It fit the bill. 

On the hind set I was lucky in not blowing it up from the onset. The 6000 years ago was wrong. People do not move over space and time that fast. It really made more sense if it was earliest the event I was looking for, as it became apparent later.


Back in January 2016 I read some of the papers on the web of the Shulaveri-Shomu especially from Bertille Lyonnet and Carolina Hamon (some published as late as end 2015).  Pretty enlightening and telling.  Then I dropped the subject of the not very profuse data regarding the Shulaveri  culture and instead for something in Portugal that covered Chalcolithic, or the centuries around half a millennium later from that Caucasus event, in Portugal give or take a century. Again, my timespan was clearly wrong but not conceptually. It couldn’t have been 500 years mediating the “migration”, not on those times of pre-history, but luckily by then I had clear the mistake and the date 4900 Bc, so 1000 years earlier, made more sense.

Being Portuguese, it didn’t take long to find the Perdigoes archeological site and related settlements. For a couple evenings it meant to devour several papers and reports coming out of ERA archeology in the Alentejo, relinquishing on papers connected to AC Valera (Antonio Carlos Valera) especially those circumscribing on his own turf the left side of the Guadiana River.  One didn’t really have to start going about the descriptions of the housing, the inhumations (burials) and the lithic material, but just looking at the drawings of the topographic plan of both sites one soon becomes confused of which paper is really looking at, if Shulaveri or Chalcolithic Perdigoes. Going about descriptions of Perdigoes (southern Portugal plain) it stroke me amazingly similar to what I had read from Lyonnet or caroline Hamon

But again, I am not an anthropologist or even an historian therefore it can all be a trick of my mind connecting dots, finding patterns, based more on ignorance then on actual knowledge. For a while (I mean, a couple of hours) I moved from Lyonnet and Hamon in the Mentesh Tepe, Aruchlo, and others places in the Shulaveri-Shomu then back again to Ac Valera and Ana Silva  in perdigões.

I could (and can) be wrong, absolutely. But it all felt like the same people. I couldn’t even grasp at times what was the doubt – Was it everybody around that time like that? Was it a common thing from everywhere and everybody? – Well no, not by a long shot!  It’s even strangely unique.


As my learning curve progressed, I tried to read material further away from the specific timeframe we will dwell around, explicitly mid-4th millennium BC to mid-3rd Millennium BC (the only time frame I really care for this subject) like the 6th millennium or even further back, but in Portugal or Spain it all seemed too primitive, too raw and too early Neolithic, if not still Paleolithic at sorts, which really strengthen my resolve that it was people, lots of people, that kick started the Chalcolithic Iberia Peninsula.  It just strikes me as odd to even contemplate the possibility that the same people that had been residing in the western part of Europe, Iberia, just jumped that fast from sociological states, culture and technology that fast.  Not at all a probability. For a couple days tried to read papers regarding Neolithic and Chalcolithic in Portugal but all one can read is utterly decontextualized to the purpose I had in mind. Scarce occupied territory, scavenging and hunting (not much) living actually of forager resource consumption, rooming off the land from cave shelter to cave shelter, full of shell middens every estuary of river.

 Then suddenly one reads Perdigões and all in all one soon gets and acquires the fascination archeology today is having with the almost 2,000 years of occupation on Perdigoes, Porto Torrão and surrounded area as well as vast archeological sites in the broader area of Alentejo in the left bank of the Guadiana river.  That place is key and I believe will be in the center of near future archeological surprises, once all the area is dug out and all the pits are open and all the bones are analyzed and sent wherever to be sequenced and genetics data is out in public. It will be a center of modern archaeology for the decades to come… At least to what is left, because a huge dam was just filled in (early 2000) making at that area the largest artificial lake in Europe, the Alqueva. On the other hand, Alqueva Dam was the reason in the first place why all those incredible sites were discovered and are making history these days. So extraordinary that just two decades ago nobody had a clue those huge settlements ever existed there.


But going back to the region of the South Georgia, north Armenia and northwest Azerbaijan... It had to be me. It had (or maybe still is) to be me, or my brain for that matter, to connect dots that do not exist, to create patterns out of noise and so forth.  It is also true that as strong as the ability to see what is not there so is the ability not to see what is in front of your eyes.

But going back to the Shulaveri-Shomu region. First thing you notice is that the Shulaveri had no priors in the region (population moving!) it really was a culture different from the Halaf culture southwest and on the other hand the Sioni culture that follow them in the same region is just too different… these had to be my guys. 7,000 years ago, they were gone from the south Caucasus… and the Sioni that followed made different houses, different pottery and different burials… just different people.  They, the Shulaveri were just gone….




I end this part with an enigmatic paragraph, but one that will make perfect sense in the end, if one is to believe in old women tales.

What really baffled me is, that at the end of this investigation I figure that, all I had to do was ask them. Because they told everyone who asked what happened.

Why don’t people listen?

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