An elite juridical lineage in Nanai foragers

Richard Zgusta (2015:149) sketches the migrations, transformations, and fluctuating fortunes of lineages grafted from outside food-producers onto the Nanai, historically non-agricultural sedentary fisher-hunters in the Khabarovsk and Primorsky regions of the Russian Far East—lassos for lines, equestrians to pedestrians. Some of these come to insinuate themselves into multiple “ethnicities” or народы.

One of the numerically largest lineages associated with immigrants from Manchuria are the Beldy. According to their oral traditions,  … ⇒

Things to prevent you from sleeping or eating

Things to prevent you from sleeping or eating

The French apostolic missionary Mermet de Cachon (1828–1870) finds his prying deflected and then rebuffed in Hokkaido (English transl. of excerpt in Refsing 2000:23; original reproduced same volume):

One day while I was visiting my good Ainu, I asked the elders about the origins of their ancestors, and about the first facts in their history, but I was unable to get anything out of my hosts; the elders trembled at my questions,  … ⇒

Y-DNA supports population discontinuity between Early Neolithic & Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age in Cis-Baikal

Y-DNA supports population discontinuity between Early Neolithic & Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age in Cis-Baikal

Exciting findings in the 2015 PhD thesis of Nour Moussa, a student at the University of Alberta affiliated with the Baikal(-Hokkaido) Archaeological Project.

Thesis abstract:

The study of Ancient DNA (aDNA), DNA recovered from archaeological and historic post mortem material, has complemented the study of anthropology and archaeology. There are several challenges in the retrieval and analysis of DNA from ancient specimens including exogenous contamination with modern DNA,  … ⇒

Australian dingos: A Toalean gift from Sulawesi?

Australian dingos: A Toalean gift from Sulawesi?

Fillios, M. A., & Taçon, P. S. C. (2016). Who let the dogs in? A review of the recent genetic evidence for the introduction of the dingo to Australia and implications for the movement of people. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports [In Press, Corrected Proof: online 11 Mar 2016] doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.03.001

The phylogenetic origin of the dingo (Canis dingo) is an enigma. Introduced to Australia during the Holocene,  … ⇒

The steppe tang of elite tastes in Wulfstan’s Estland and Uighur Qocho

Adrian Poruciuc (1996:247–248) pulls out some startling details in Germanic traveller Wulfstan of Hedeby’s description of late 9th century Estland, one of two contemporary travelogues about northern Europe inserted into the “Alfred the Great” Old English translation of Gallaecian priest Paulus Orosius’ 5th century Historiae adversus Paganos:

Wulfstan says he once left the Danish port of Hedeby (Hǣðum) and sailed east, first to the mouth of the Vistuala (Wisle) in the land of the Slavs (Winedas cf.  … ⇒

The week in bioRxiv

Improving access to endogenous DNA in ancient bone and teeth

Peter B. Damgaard, Ashot Margaryan, Hannes Schroeder, Ludovic Orlando, Eske Willerslev, Morten E. Allentoft
February 6, 2015; doi:

Poor DNA preservation is the most limiting factor in ancient genomic research. In the vast majority of ancient bones and teeth, endogenous DNA molecules only represent a minor fraction of the whole DNA extract, rendering traditional shot-gun sequencing approaches cost-ineffective for whole-genome characterization.  … ⇒

Iberia's oldest Mesolithic cemetery, 9475–9300 BP

Iberia’s oldest Mesolithic cemetery, 9475–9300 BP

The Emergence of Mesolithic Cemeteries in SW Europe: Insights from the El Collado (Oliva, Valencia, Spain) Radiocarbon Record

Gibaja, J.F., Subirà, M.E., Terradas, X., Santos, F.J., Agulló, L., Gómez-Martínez, I., Allièse, F., de Pablo, J.F-L. (2015)
PLoS ONE 10(1): e0115505. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0115505

Located on the Iberian Mediterranean coast, El Collado is an open-air site where a rescue excavation was conducted over two seasons in 1987 and 1988.  … ⇒