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Ancient North Europeans in the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition of Southeast Europe
Topic Started: Sunday, 27. May 2012, 14:26 (348 Views)
Bisho no Teresa
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If you've ever wondered about the racial types of ancient Europe, this paper from 1992 should help you if you already know the basic terms.

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Three Mesolithic cemeteries exist in the Dneiper valley. Voloshskoye, Vasilyevka I and Vasilyevka III. According to the material available at these cemeteries, three anthropological types can be distinguished in the hunter-fisher-gatherer populations of this region (Gokhman 1966). The first more or less conforms with the proto-European type, the second with the ancient-Mediterranean type, and the third is distinguished by a somewhat higher cranial index, although within the limits of colichocrany.
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The people of the Dneiper-Donets culture who constructed the Mariupol-type cemeteries exhibit a unique complex of features (sometimes called the Vovnigy-type), classified as protomorphic or hypermorphic. These people were of a large stature, and had skulls of above average size.
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The population of the Dneiper-Donets culture in general belonged to the late Cro-Magnon type, but was not homogenous. Two craniological types can be distinguished. The first has sharp dolichocrania, and a very broad and well profiled face. The second, mesocranic, type has a broader, higher and slightly flattened face. It is probable that the first characteristic was genetically related to the proto-European type of the native mesolithic population. the second component should be associated with foreign groups who migrated to the Dneiper valley in the early Neolithic (Potenkha 1992). Where did they come from? During the Mesolithic and Neolithic period in periglacial Europe, there was a separate morphological version related to the upper palaeolithic population of the same territory. Denisova (1983) calls them 'the most ancient north-Europeans' or a 'hypermorphic late Cro-Magnon' race which includes he craniological series from Denmark and Scandinavia (for example, Vedbaek and Sateholm). A number of craniological features indicate that only the second craniological component of the neolithic population of the Dneiper basin was genetically related to the ancient hypermorphic north-European race. This component is present in the anthropological structure of Vasilyevka II, the earliest neolithic cemetary in the Ukraine (sixth millenium bc.), but did not spread anywhere else until the fifth millenium bc (Potekhina and Telegrin 1995).
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The people of the West-Mediterranean race, represented by the Danubian-Near Eastern mortuary tradition, differ basically from the most ancient north-European (or hypermorphic late Cro-Magnon) Vedbaek-Ertebolle and Vovnigy populations. Among the Mediterranean-related populations in Europe, the most abundant were the people of the Linear-Band Culture in the Danube basin and Central Europe as well as the neolithic and eneolithic populations of the Dudesti, Vadastra, Gumelnitsa, Tripolye and other cultures of the Balkans and Carpathians (Grimm 1954; Velikanova 1975: 17-31). In general they were short people with narrow, gracile faces, and with small dolichocranic or hyperdolichocranic brain cases.
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Besides these two extreme types of European mesolithic and neolithic people, there is a third type in eastern Europe which occupied an intermediate position between the pure Mediterranean and the hypermorphic Cro-Magnons of the Vedbaek-vovnigy type. This type is distinguished from the others on the basis of material from a large series of skulls from Vasilyevka I and III on the Dneiper, and Zveineiki in Latvia (Gokhman 1966; Denisova 1975). This intermediate Vasilyevka- Zveinieki type, according to some anthropologists, arose in the process of centuries of mixing of the Mediterranean and Cro-Magnon races as far back as the Mesolithic (Gokhman 1966; Denisova 1983: 97). In terms of cranial features, this type is closest to the late Cro-Magnon type. Unlike the broad-faced Vedbaek-Vovnigy population and the narrow faced Mediterranean type, this hybrid type is moderately broad faced (Denisova 1983). In addition to the mesolithic series from Zveinicki and Vasilyevka I and III, the moderately broad-faced type is represented by burials on Oleny island (Oleneostrovskj Mogilnik) and in the Narva culture, and also by the Copper-Age burials in Alexandria on the Oskol River and the TRB culture (Denisova 1975).
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The northern origin of the deceased in the Mariupol-type cemetaries is further confirmed by the anthropological evidence. Thus, for example, Bunak (1959; 181) concluded that the nearest analogies to the Vovnigy skulls should be among the Magdalenian-type series in Central Europe. Gokhman (1966: 173) saw the analogies to the Vovnigy type among the finds from Kostienky II in the Ukraine, and Oberkassel in Germany.

these skulls are from the mesolithic Voloshkoye site.

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Edited by Bisho no Teresa, Monday, 1. April 2013, 08:59.
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