Between the Baltic and Danubian Worlds: The Genetic Affinities of a Middle Neolithic Population from Central Poland
Witas, Henryk W.
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For a long time, anthropological and genetic research on the Neolithic revolution in Europe was mainly concentrated on the mechanism of agricultural dispersal over different parts of the continent. Recently, attention has shifted towards population processes that occurred after the arrival of the first farmers, transforming the genetically very distinctive early Neolithic Linear Pottery Culture (LBK) and Mesolithic forager populations into present-day Central Europeans. The latest studies indicate that significant changes in this respect took place within the post-Linear Pottery cultures of the Early and Middle Neolithic which were a bridge between the allochthonous LBK and the first indigenous Neolithic culture of north-central Europe—the Funnel Beaker culture (TRB). The paper presents data on mtDNA haplotypes of a Middle Neolithic population dated to 4700/4600–4100/4000 BC belonging to the Brześć Kujawski Group of the Lengyel culture (BKG) from the Kuyavia region in northcentral Poland. BKG communities constituted the border of the “Danubian World” in this part of Europe for approx. seven centuries, neighboring foragers of the North European Plain and the southern Baltic basin. MtDNA haplogroups were determined in 11 individuals, and four mtDNA macrohaplogroups were found (H, U5, T, and HV0). The overall haplogroup pattern did not deviate from other post-Linear Pottery populations from central Europe, although a complete lack of N1a and the presence of U5a are noteworthy. Of greatest importance is the observed link between the BKG and the TRB horizon, confirmed by an independent analysis of the craniometric variation of Mesolithic and Neolithic populations inhabiting central Europe. Estimated phylogenetic pattern suggests significant contribution of the post-Linear BKG communities to the origin of the subsequent Middle Neolithic cultures, such as the TRB.
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