Adonis Diaries

Archive for March 21st, 2022

Most Britons are direct descendants of farmers who left modern day Iraq and Syria 10,000 years ago, a new study has shown.

After studying the DNA of more than 2,000 men, researchers say they have compelling evidence that four out of five white Europeans can trace their roots to the Near East.

The discovery is shedding light on one of the most important periods of human history – the time when our ancient ancestors abandoned hunting and began to domesticate animals.

Hunters: Chewing harder food meant hunter-gatherers has longer and narrow mandibles

Hunters: Chewing harder food meant hunter-gatherers has longer and narrow mandibles

The invention of farming led to the first towns and paved the way for the dawn of civilisation.

The Leicester University study looked at a common genetic mutation on the Y chromosome, the DNA that is passed down from fathers to sons.

They found that 80% of European men shared the same Y chromosone mutation and after analysing how the mutation was distributed across Europe, were able to retrace how Europe was colonised around 8,000BC.

Middle East farmers

Roots: Britons are descended from farmers who migrated from the Persian Gulf 10,000 years ago according to a new study (file picture)

Prof Mark Jobling, who led the study: ‘This was at the time of the Neolithic revolution when they developed a new style of tools, symmetrical, beautiful tools.

‘At this stage about 10,000 years ago there was evidence of the first settlements, people stopped being nomadic hunter-gatherers and started building communities. 

‘This also allowed people to specialise in certain areas of trade and make better tools because there was a surplus of food.’

European farming began around 9,000 BC in the Fertile Crescent – a region extending from the eastern Mediterranean coast to the Persian Gulf and which includes modern day Iraq, Syria, Israel and southeast Turkey.

The region was the cradle of civilisation and home to the Babylonia, Sumer and Assyrian empires.

Professor Mark Jobling

Skills: Professor Mark Jobling says the settlers were more attractive to women because they could grow more food

The development of farming allowed people to settle down for the first time – and to produce more food than they needed, leading to trade and the freedom to develop new skills such as metal working, building and writing.

Some archaeologists have argued that some of these early farmers travelled around the world – settling new lands and bringing farming skills with them.

But others have insisted that the skills were passed on by word of mouth, and not by mass migration.

The new study suggests the farmers routinely upped sticks and moved west when their villages became too crowded, eventually reaching Britain and Ireland.

The waves of migrants brought their new skills with them. Some settled down with local tribes and taught them how to farm, the researchers believe.

‘When the expansion happened these men had a reproductive advantage because they were able to grow more food so they were more attractive to women and had more offspring,’ said Prof Jobling.

‘In total more than 80% of European men have Y chromosomes which descend from incoming farmers.

‘It seems odd to think that the majority of men in Ireland have fore fathers from the near East and that British people have forefathers from the near East.’ 

The findings are published in the science journal PLoS Biology.

Dr Patricia Balaresque, a co-author of the study, said: ‘This means that more than 80 per cent of European Y chromosomes descend from incoming farmers.’

In contrast, other studies have shown that DNA passed down from mothers to daughters can be traced by to hunter-gatherers in Europe, she said.

‘To us, this suggests a reproductive advantage for farming males over indigenous hunter-gatherer males during the switch from hunting and gathering, to farming – maybe, back then, it was just sexier to be a farmer,’ she said.

Europe was first settled by modern humans around 40,000 years ago. But other types of humans – including Neanderthals – were living in  Europe hundreds of thousands of years earlier.

Note: In a few of my articles, My conjecture was that the largest immigration phases started in the civilized region in the Near-East (cradle of civilization) toward other regions due to climate changes.

Sahir Pandey

A team of Jordanian and French archaeologists have found an exceptionally well-preserved and intact Neolithic shrine at a remote prehistoric hunting campsite in Jordan’s eastern desert that dates back roughly 9,000 years, reports NPR.

This places the shrine in the late Pre-Pottery Neolithic era, a Neolithic culture mostly existed in upper Mesopotamia and the Levant, from circa 10,800 to 8,500 years ago (8800–6500 BC).

The team comprised archaeologists from Jordan’s Al Hussein Bin Talal University and the French Institute of the Near East.

Bran Castle, Better Known As Dracula’s Castle, Has A Long History!

https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.505.0_en.html#goog_971115542

A Remarkably Well-preserved Neolithic Shrine Campsite        

The shrine was discovered at a Neolithic campsite near large structures that were mass gazelle traps in a remote part of Jordan. These structures, known as “desert kites,” are thought to have been used to enclose wild gazelles that were slaughtered for meat.

Such traps, that are made of two or more stone walls that converge towards an enclosure, are common across the deserts of the Middle East. The structures are scattered across southwest and central Asia, with some of the oldest believed to be in Jordan’s Badia region .

Jordanian archaeologists carefully moving stones and documenting at Jordan’s Neolithic shrine. Note the rounded pillar stone in the lower righthand corner. (YouTube screenshot / AFP)

Jordanian archaeologists carefully moving stones and documenting at Jordan’s Neolithic shrine. Note the rounded pillar stone in the lower righthand corner. (YouTube screenshot / AFP)

What astonished the archaeologists was that that the site is very well preserved despite its age.

Jordanian archaeologist Wael Abu-Azziza, who is co-director of the project, is quoted by Al Jazeera as saying, “The site is unique, first because of its preservation state. It’s 9,000 years old and everything is almost intact.”

This means the archaeologists will have access to remarkably complete material from the site from which to learn more about the Neolithic culture of the region.

Clearly the Shrine of a Neolithic Hunting Culture

The new Jordanian Neolithic shrine consists of two large standing stones carved with anthropomorphic figures. One of the figures is accompanied with a depiction of the “desert kite” structure. Apart from the stones, the complex contained an altar, sea shells, a hearth, and a miniature model of a gazelle trap.

A handout picture made available by the Jordanian Antiquities Authority shows recently-discovered antiquities linked to hunter-gatherers and dating back to the Neolithic era (4500-9000 BC) in the Jordanian Badia, south-east of the Kingdom. (Alarabiya)

A handout picture made available by the Jordanian Antiquities Authority shows recently-discovered antiquities linked to hunter-gatherers and dating back to the Neolithic era (4500-9000 BC) in the Jordanian Badia, south-east of the Kingdom. ( Alarabiya)

According to a statement from the research team, quoted in Al Arabiya , the discovery of the shrine, “sheds an entire new light on the symbolism, artistic expression as well as spiritual culture of these hitherto unknown Neolithic populations.”

That the shrine was located so close to the gazelle traps and contained representations of the traps themselves clearly reveals the centrality of hunting to the inhabitants of the site.

They were likely specialized hunters who depended largely on the traps for their subsistence in this harsh climatic region with sparse vegetation. As the statement from the archaeological team said, the traps were “the centre of their cultural, economic and even symbolic life in this marginal zone.”

Lifting one of the two Neolithic standing stones that had been inscribed with anthropomorphic figures in the eastern desert of Jordan. (YouTube screenshot / AFP)

Lifting one of the two Neolithic standing stones that had been inscribed with anthropomorphic figures in the eastern desert of Jordan. (YouTube screenshot / AFP)

Humanlike Representations in Neolithic Jordanian Cultures

One of the best-known Neolithic sites in Jordan is the Ain Ghazal near Amman.

Ain Ghazal again belongs to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic age . The inhabitants of Ain Ghazal consumed a varied diet but appeared to have eaten gazelles in substantial quantities.

Ain Ghazal is most famous for a set of plaster anthropomorphic statues that were found buried in pits near some buildings that are believed to have had ritual functions.

These half-size human figures were made of white plaster around a core of bundled twigs. They had clothes and hair, and, in some cases, even ornamental tattoos painted on them. The eyes are made of cowries and have bitumen pupils.

In all 32 such figures were found, some full figures, some busts and a couple of heads.

While these Ain Ghazal figures are very different from the figures found etched on stones at the latest Neolithic shrine and hunting camp site, both have been found at or near structures that had a ritual function.

Given this commonality, is it possible to suggest that anthropomorphism had ritual significance across Pre-Pottery Neolithic cultures in Jordan? Only a more complete analysis of the site by the experts in the days to come will be able to provide an answer.

The Jordan desert has for thousands of years been home to Bedouin tribes and is archaeologically very rich. It is dotted with countless archaeological sites, five of which have a UNESCO World Heritage tag.

The most famous of these is Petra, the Nabatean city carved into the red sandstone in the fourth century BC.

Top image: One of the ancient faces carved in stone at a remarkably well-preserved Neolithic shrine found at a prehistoric gazelle hunting camp in Jordan’s eastern desert. Source: Jordan Tourism Ministry

By Sahir Pandey


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