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Thread: Overview of the West European Mesolithics

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    Post Overview of the West European Mesolithics

    Not so much a typological analysis, this thread ventures in surveying briefly the main lines of six anthropological groupings as documented by Raymond Riquet in Anthropologie du Néolithique et du Bronze Ancien; later installments will contain tabels of anthropometric means of each of the named samples.

    The geographical emsembles which may be distinguished for West Europe are:

    1. the Northeuropean or Danish-Scandinavian group
    2. the Central or Bavarian-Wurtembergian group
    3. the Jurassian group
    4. the Brittanic group
    5. the Midi group
    6. the Portuguese of Mugem-Tage group

    1. the Northeuropean or Danish-Scandinavian group

    Considered are the finds of Bleivick(Norway), Koelbjerg, Ravnstrup,
    Vedbaek, Korsor Nor(Denmark) and Stängenäss and Hyllekroken(Sweden).
    The Northeuropean Mesolithics possess the largest skull.
    Although the lenght of cranium does not exceed much those of the
    French Midi and the Jura, they do outclass clearly the people of
    Ofnet, Mugem and Téviec.
    Only for the breadth they are unable to maintain the lead, the Ofnet
    are broader in this aspect.
    The basion-bregmatic height in absolute figures has only two rare
    matches in the Midi(Lot, Alpes Maritime).
    Still, the overall picture is not an uniform one.While mesoprosopy
    and chaemaprosopy rules(Bleivick:52.2,Korsor Nor: 51.3, Koelbjerg:
    50.4), Bleivick's skull is but moderate in size and the orbits
    diverge in indices; Korsor Nor(81.8) is intermediary to Vedbaek
    (72.7) and Bleivick(87.9).
    Stature is below average to medium height(155-166cm), except
    Stängenäss(181cm).

    2. the Central or Bavarian-Wurtembergian group

    They cover the well-known finds of Nördlingen and the environs of Ulm
    (Ofnet, Kaufertsberg and Hohlestein), as well the Polish site of
    Janoslawice.
    Typical are the lower vault height(flattened at Ofnet) and the
    broadness of the skull, the remarkeable rise of brachycephaly is
    linked to this central group.
    Their face is of a resounding broadness, leaving the Jurassians and
    population of the Midi far behind, only in regard to Téviec they
    take a step back.
    Leptorhinity is common.
    Like the Northeruropeans, some subjects'traits dont accodomate to
    the general picture.
    Bottendorf and Kaufertsberg tie stronger with Téviec, the former
    shows also a relationship to the Danish-Scandinavian group, however
    the Dolichocephals of Ofnet, despite dissimilarities, are somehow
    connected to the Northerners.


    3. the Jurassian group

    The Jurassian group comprises the sites of Laufon-Birstal(Bâle),
    Sous-Sac(Ain), la Balme(Savoie), Culoz(Ain), la Colombière(Ain) and
    la Genière(Ain).
    La Colombière inclines to rounded skulls and issues one fully
    brachycephalic skull, the others are very dolicephalic.
    Culoz has a short face, Laufon nearly long, none attain the gros
    largeness of Téviec.
    Overall the cranial dimensions are in juxtaposition to the
    Northerners.
    Sous-Sac appears close to the Loess-Bruenn race and siding with the
    Ofnet series.
    Greater affinity exists with the Midi group.

    4. the Brittanic group

    The Brittanic necropoles of Téviec and Hoëdic contain a population
    which cranial dimensions are reduced in comparison with the
    Scandinavians and Ofnet, but the facial measures and particulary the
    bizygomatic breadth remain unparalleled by any other group.
    There is a compulsive tendency to mesocephaly, less widely achieved
    than in Ofnet but in striking contrast still to the situation North
    Europe and Portugal.
    On the other side, Téviec allies with Mugem in having a higher vault
    than Ofnet.
    Mugem has a greater intra-orbital distance than Téviec, but again in
    this aspect opposite to Ofnet.
    The forehead recedes stronger than elsewhere, the vault is rounded,
    high and continius to the inion,the top being more careened in norma
    occipitalis; the nose is large, the orbits low and the profile
    mesognath.
    The Téviec site delivered also some individuals with more southernly
    affinity.


    5. the Midi group

    This group displays the same heterogenious plasticity as the
    Northeuropeans.
    The Rastel(Alpes Maritime) "couple" is tall and dolichocephalic),
    elsewhere the stature is under average(160-164cm) which is
    nonetheless greater than for the Brittanic group with a mere mean of
    159cm.
    Téviec and the Midi surpass in stature however the Portugese samples.
    Liguria, Aquitania and the Provence are predominantly
    dolichocephalic but initiating a orientation towards mesocphalic
    means.
    One individual, an adolescent from Poeymaü(Basses-Pyrénées)nearly
    achieves bracycephaly and his vault is low, whereas the entire
    region is high-vaulted.
    Rastel and Poeymaü taken as sideliners,the Midi has individuals
    whose traits propels to Téviec or Mugem or show some bi-polarity.


    6. the Portuguese of Mugem-Tage group

    The finds of Cabeço de Arruda, Cabeço de Amoreira and Moita do
    Sebastiao have the feeblest means of all WE mesolitics.
    Dolichocephalic, narrow-faced but prognatious, high orbits,
    generally gracile profile with rounded/steep forehead and a weak
    glabella and a concave nose, nasion depression is nearly absent and
    the parientals are paralleled:these characteristics outlines the
    Mugem-Tage group.
    Unlike the other groups, this one seems to introduce a foreign
    element, associated tentatively with the Proto-Mediterreneans of the
    Levant and North Africa.
    Few individuals have a more brutal countenance and relate more to
    Téviec(natives?).
    Last edited by Frans_Jozef; Friday, May 21st, 2004 at 10:33 PM.

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    Post Re: Overview of the West European Mesolithics

    So, does this mean that the classical races of Nordic, Alpine, Med., etc. are real or does it mean that one can cut up the pie any way he wants to do so. If this is true, then we should simply define the characteristics which comprise the "European" as opposed to the remainder of the world.

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    Post Re: Overview of the West European Mesolithics

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Solar Wolff
    So, does this mean that the classical races of Nordic, Alpine, Med., etc. are real or does it mean that one can cut up the pie any way he wants to do so. If this is true, then we should simply define the characteristics which comprise the "European" as opposed to the remainder of the world.
    They comprise a population selection identifyable by a at least six distinct traits, but imo the criteria are too superficial and rather based on characteristics related to body constitution than that they tell us something of morphological consistency of localized patterns that could us give us some insight of what the properties, origins and legacy of certain taxons are.
    On the hand, mtDNA and haplogroupd studies dont convince me either, often they just re-tell old stories or are too generalized, their perspective lingers at the same stage as in the 19th century physical anthropology were roundheadness equalled Asian origin, a view persisting during the Interbellum in the works of Günther and Fischer, both insinuating that the roots of the Alpines and East Baltics lay in the Hither Asian, say Mongolid, race.
    Fisher presumed that even Borreby belongs to the same league.
    Maybe there is some grain of truth in it, insofar European UP and Nordics are closer to UP Asians(think of Minegotawa I!).

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    Post Re: Overview of the West European Mesolithics

    My impression is that most Europeans, and specifically including large, "Mesolithic" Europeans, have been in Europe since, at least, the last glacial maximum according to genetic evidence. In comparing bones vs. genes, I think that genes represent "harder" science and have to be given the most weight. Bones, when inconsistant with the genetic evidence, may point to weaknesses or gaps in the genetic evidence which need further elucidation. Pointing out these weaknesses should be the aim of bone Anthropologists, in my mind.

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    Post Re: Overview of the West European Mesolithics

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Solar Wolff
    My impression is that most Europeans, and specifically including large, "Mesolithic" Europeans, have been in Europe since, at least, the last glacial maximum according to genetic evidence. In comparing bones vs. genes, I think that genes represent "harder" science and have to be given the most weight. Bones, when inconsistant with the genetic evidence, may point to weaknesses or gaps in the genetic evidence which need further elucidation. Pointing out these weaknesses should be the aim of bone Anthropologists, in my mind.

    Im not sure I agree because genetic lineages can be harder to trace than through physical evidence.

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    Post Re: Overview of the West European Mesolithics

    Quote Originally Posted by atlanto-med
    Im not sure I agree because genetic lineages can be harder to trace than through physical evidence.
    Physical evidence (fossil evidence and bones) perhaps make more sense to both of us as a visual package of what humans are, but, molecules are just chemicals which don't depend so much on human interpetation. This simplicity and lack of the need for interpetation is their strength. Ultimately, we humans are composed of the coding of four nucleotide bases. This can be reduced to numbers, easily. Humans, like all other animals, are machines. All machines can be reduced to numbers. Genetics allow us to do this reduction-to-numbers easily and in a way which requires less interpetation than looking at fossils. I think it can also give us new insights. But it should work both ways so that bone people can point out inconsistancies to gene people and hope that further work on genes can illuminate these problems.

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    Lightbulb Re: Overview of the West European Mesolithics

    Examples of the Scandinavian, Ofnet, Téviec and Portuguese mesolithics described here above.

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    Post Re: Overview of the West European Mesolithics

    I do believe that genetics are not subjective (visual observation is a lot subjective)

    well, if you have famine in a group, darwin law says that smaller is better, so small size small head...
    even if there is relationship between some groups you could put them in totally different groups. only because they don't look alike!

    visual observation is XIX century stuff..
    just my opinion!

    Also, there aren't many skulls around from that ancient age, so extrapolation based only in a few remnants is ....prone to ERRORS.
    It's better to study actual people with big samples, less mistakes...to give a reasonably conclusion for european relantionship!

    And for that, haplogroups or mytocondrial studies are just perfect!

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    Post Re: Overview of the West European Mesolithics

    Quote Originally Posted by Vitor

    visual observation is XIX century stuff..
    just my opinion!

    Also, there aren't many skulls around from that ancient age, so extrapolation based only in a few remnants is ....prone to ERRORS.
    It's better to study actual people with big samples, less mistakes...to give a reasonably conclusion for european relantionship!

    And for that, haplogroups or mytocondrial studies are just perfect!
    Well, they still need good old 19th century digging and grovelling in dusting archives and backyard shelves, closets...to ground their assumptions heralded as uncontestable results as tangible facts.
    Till the next time someone else jumbles the facts with sleek panache, another statistical definition and new samples.

    Studies are never perfect, free of errors and always a matter of perspective and interpretations.
    The method might be solid, but it's just a tool, and the result a combined effort of craftmanship and the function of that "tool-kit".

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    Post Re: Overview of the West European Mesolithics

    Errors are normal, but there are situations more error prone than others...

    I earned a degree in statistics, and I have enough knowledge to know that it is impossible with a small sample to make conjectures upon a given population.
    that is mathematics!

    With present day data (living humans), it's possible to make conjectures with larger samples, so the probability of mistakes can be small enough like 1% of mistake probability...

    With small samples it's sometimes impossible to get ieven 50% of error probability.
    I am not saying that studying bones, is not valid, it's...the problem is samples numbers...and more important interpretation!

    Just a thought...
    If the portuguese are so close to the mediterranean, why the hell the A blood group is so common in portugal?
    that is simple genetics!.

    WE should get more B blood type in portugal, if we are indeed close related with middle easterns, but...we don't get much of that B type...

    being middle eastern is not a bad thing...please!
    but, we aren't...maybe only 15% of our population can be traced from the middle east/north africa.
    but that is 15%!
    Last edited by Vitor; Friday, November 12th, 2004 at 03:58 PM.

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