Category Archives: European Prehistory

Old Europe’s Remnants

Although we know quite a bit about the artifacts, ways of making a living, and recently even the DNA of  Europe’s first farmers, we don’t know anything about their language or much about what they thought or believed in.  Old Europe was … Continue reading

Posted in European Prehistory, Indo-European | 39 Comments

Kings of the Stone Age

The Y-chromosome haplogroup R1b is extremely common in Western Europe ( > 70%). At the same time, it doesn’t appear to be very old. Which facts suggest two possibilities.  The first is that this particular Y-chromosome haplogroup confers some kind … Continue reading

Posted in European Prehistory, Indo-European | 87 Comments

Publication Delays

Colin Renfrew (and others, like Peter Bellwood) have argued that the first farmers in Europe originated in Anatolia and spoke Indo-European languages, thus placing the Indo-European homeland in Anatolia. I think that recent genetic results pretty clearly show that this … Continue reading

Posted in European Prehistory, Indo-European | 27 Comments

The First Dark Age

    A little over five thousand years ago, something bad happened in central and western Europe.  Farming had arrived earlier, and flourished for several hundred years, accompanied by population increase (see the graph above, showing estimated population density over … Continue reading

Posted in European Prehistory, Indo-European | 64 Comments

The Giant Rat of Sumatra

A while ago, I said that it sure looked as if David Reich and Nick Patterson were working out the origin and scope of the Indo-European invasion of Europe. They have more to say on that. The abstract for their … Continue reading

Posted in European Prehistory, Indo-European, Linguistics | 55 Comments

What was it like?

I’ve been thinking about the colonization of Europe by Middle Eastern farmers – light-skinned, dark-eyed guys pushing aside dark-skinned, blue-eyed hunters.  The movement took two paths – one into the Balkans and up the Danube, another by sea, along the … Continue reading

Posted in European Prehistory | 35 Comments

Silver Blaze

The recent paper on three ancestral European populations has some truly interesting stuff buried deep in the supplements.   This is not the first time that this has happened: if you read the supplements to their big Neanderthal paper, back in … Continue reading

Posted in Amerindians, Ashkenazi Jews, Denisovans, European Prehistory, Genetics, Indo-European, Linguistics, Neanderthals | 422 Comments

Slow times in the New World

The pre-Columbian distribution of languages in the Americas is rather different from what we see in the Old World.  In Eurasia, Africa, and Australia, we mostly see large areas occupied by families of clearly related languages –  such as Indo-European, … Continue reading

Posted in Altitude adaptations, Amerindians, European Prehistory, Genetics, Linguistics | 122 Comments


The Basques are the only people in Western Europe that have a non-Indo- European language. In fact, there is no clear relationship between Basque and any other existing language: it is an isolate, as far as we know. The Basques … Continue reading

Posted in Amerindians, European Prehistory, Genetics | 79 Comments

Ancestral Journeys

Jean Manco has a new book out on the peopling of Europe, Ancestral Journeys.  The general picture is that Europeans arise from three main groups: the Mesolithic hunters (Hyperboreans),  Levantine farmers, and Indo-Europeans off the steppe.   It’s a decent … Continue reading

Posted in Amerindians, Book Reviews, European Prehistory, Genetics | 67 Comments