yDNA haplogroup L in Medieval Cherry Hinton, England

Cherry Hinton, Cambridgeshire, James Alexander Cameron on Flickr

Most of our nuclear DNA recombines with every generation. But a yDNA Haplogroup is a genetic marker that follows along the direct paternal line, passed down from biological father to son. Follow it back, and it will follow your father's father's, father's, etc.  Most NW European males carry a yDNA haplogroup of R, or I. Sometimes G, J, E. However, I have a variant of L, defined by a mutation coded M20 (L-M20). yDNA haplogroup L is regarded as Non-European and some will insist that it is South Asian. I can reliably trace my own paternal line back to 18th Century Oxfordshire / Thames Valley.  yDNA haplogroup L is NOT seen as European. It is seen as an Asian genetic marker. The males of two English families share my own mutations: BROOKER of Oxfordshire and CHANDLER of Basingstoke, Hampshire. My next closest yDNA matches are men from Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, India, and Lebanon. 

Cherry Hinton, Cambs.

Excavation of a Medieval Cemetery. Ancient DNA revealed.

Consequently, when I saw that FTDNA had given me Ancient Connections from here in England, I at first thought it a mistake. Yet there they were, two excavated skeletons from a medieval cemetery in Cherry Hinton, Cambridgeshire.

Were they relatives / ancestors of the Brooker and Chandler lines?

I investigated. These two human remains dating between 940 CE and 1170 CE, and coded Cherry Hinton 919 and 936 had the M349 and B374 variants. I can best demonstrate our paternal relationship by a plan:

The most recent mutation shared by both myself, and these Medieval Cambridgeshire Men, is M317. The TMRCA (Time of most recent common ancestor) to all descendants, is I'm afraid, 12,700 years ago. The M317 variant first formed 18,100 years ago. Therefore, I and the Cherry Hinton men, last shared a common paternal line at the end of the last Ice Age. I would suggest that our common yDNA ancestors lived somewhere between Anatolia, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Both my own SK1412, and their M349 formed around 12,700 years before present. We cannot share our direct paternal lines before 10,700 BCE.

What do we know about these Medieval men? I have scoured the excavation reports and data sheets:

Genetic history of Cambridgeshire before and after the Black Death

'In total, 48 individuals from Cherry Hinton were targeted for DNA extraction in this study, including 24 females and 24 males (Table S1). Two of the sampled individuals have been directly radiocarbon dated.'

'Cherry Hinton The settlement of Church End Cherry Hinton (Cherry Hinton) is located around six kilometers southeast of Cambridge. In the late 9th to the mid-10th century, a large thengly (aristocratic) or proto-manorial center was established (92, 93). The associated timber chapel and graveyard were excavated in 1999 by the Hertfordshire Archaeological Trust (subsequently Archaeological Solutions and now Wardell Armstrong) in advance of development of the site in accordance with the appropriate planning regulations'

More on the excavation in this Current Archaeology report.

Cherry Hinton 919 (sk3262) was related to a female (mother, or sister?) number 947 (sk3262) with whom he shared his mtDNA haplogroup U5b3e His yDNA was sequenced as L-B374.

Cherry Hinton 936 (sk2077) had no close relatives (albeit had to have shared his paternal line with 919). His mtDNA was T4b4+152. His own yDNA was also L-B374.

Both sequenced from tooth root; classed in Rural 4 group; dated between 940 CE to 1140 CE

The route of their yDNA was: L-M20>M22>M317>M349>B374. See plan above.

The route of the modern BROOKER / CHANDLER lines is: L-M20>M22>M317>SK1412>SK1414>FGC51041>FGC51036

 L-B374 Today

Only one modern English, or British tester, has so far tested on ftDNA, or registered on yFull with a result of L-B374.

The only modern Asian samples have been a single tester from Kazakhstan. Rather, the highest density of testers have placed their paternal lines in Switzerland, The apparent centre of modern L-B374 - this variant looks very European. The TMRCA for B374 is 600 BCE. Following Switzerland, it has also been reported in: Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Tatarstan, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and Croatia.

This is not the case with my own variant (L-FGC51036). Other than the two South English families, our closest yDNA relatives have been from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, India, and Turkey. Our own line arrived independently, and possibly later than that of the Cherry Hinton Men. I propose an Early Medieval date for the arrival of my own paternal line in England. Maybe one day we will get as lucky, and our own paternal line ancestors will be excavated?

Documentary Paternal line.

I have proven descent from John Henry Brooker, through genetic matching to support the documentary evidence. I and my sibling share some centimorgans of autosomal DNA with descendants of his sister. Additionally, smaller segments are shared from the prior few generations, to support that this paternal line is biologically true, at least back to Generation 5 (great great grandparent). He was the only one of my great grandfather's not to be Norfolk-born.

If I follow his paternal line (BROOKER) back using traditional genealogical method, I follow it back to the Thames Valley borderlands of rural Oxfordshire and Berkshire. I have good, strong documentary evidence back to my direct paternal line 5 x great grandfather, Edward Brucker, born 1757 at Long Wittenham, Berkshire.

Support for my 6 x great grandfather being a John Brooker born 1722 at Hagbourne, Berkshire in 1722 is pretty good. His father before him I have verified, was another John Brooker born 1691 at Hagbourne. His father was Thomas Brucker, also baptised at Hagbourne in 1658.  If biologically true, he would be my 8 x great grandfather and that would place my Y chromosome in Hagbourne, Berkshire in 1658. The Chandlers who share the yDNA descend from a Thomas Chandler who lived in Basingstoke, Hampshire during the late 18th century. At some point prior to that, our two paternal lines must merge.

Anything earlier than 1658 Hagbourne, too much doubt creeps in, but I have candidates stretching back a few generations waiting for more supportive evidence. They are in the Wantage/Uffington area of Oxfordshire. Caution - they may be incorrect. Another candidate in in Whitchurch, Hampshire.

I've researched the BROOKER surname:

Distribution of BROOKER baptisms AD 1550 - AD 1600 by English County.  County boundaries modern, but East and East Surrey united for historical purposes.  Includes records of derivations of Brooker surname.

During the 16th Century CE, it was not a common surname in Oxfordshire and Berkshire. Its origins are the Sussex / Surrey area. It is possible that I had a Brooker surname ancestor move up through Hampshire into the area. I think that our surname picked up the yDNA in Hampshire, or in a South English port. My favourite hypothesis is that a South West Asian sailor visited, and left a son there early into the Medieval.

This hypothesis might seem unlikely, yet it brings me to:

Updown Girl

In my previous post concerning Anglo Saxon DNA, I discussed this report:

A 2022 survey, where hundreds of ancient human remains were sequenced for DNA. My favourite treasure of that study, came from an Anglo-Saxon grave in Kent. A girl, who had died during the early 7th Century CE (600s) around the age of 11 years of age. She was buried with Anglo Saxon artefacts, with full respect. She was related to some other nearby individuals (great aunts?) who had artefacts suggestive of Frankish origin.

On sequencing UpDown Girl's DNA, it was revealed that 33% was West African in origin!  UpDown Girl most probably had a grandfather from West Africa. Her DNA was most like the modern Esan or Yoruba population groups.

This is another example of why we should be very wary of not generalising. There were always a few travellers who would move far from home. It could be that my Asian sailor was another one, like UpDown Girl?

More on this spectacular find by link:

Wikipedia - UpDown Girl

Anglo-Saxon Migration - the latest genetic evidence 2024

In 2015, the Peopling of the British Isles (POBI) research group, published this paper:

The Fine-scale genetic structure of the British Population  Leslie, Winney etal POBI 2015

It proposed that the Early Medieval migration events commonly known as Anglo-Saxon (a better term to include the 9th Century surge could be Anglo-Danish), has been exaggerated. They concluded that the modern English had only 10% to 40% descent from these Continental immigrants, with the remainder majority reflecting earlier Iron Age / Romano British ancestry.

An independent 2016 investigation by Schiffels, Haak etal looked at ancientDNA from cemeteries in Cambridgeshire. The results supported POBI's conclusion, proposing:

'East English population derives 38% of its ancestry from Anglo-Saxon migrations'

This has quickly shifted into the domain of public lore. That the Anglo-Saxons did not displace the local Britons, that they did merge, with those of British ancestry assuming Anglo-Saxon culture, and that the modern ethnic English of local descent, have only a minority of Anglo-Saxon ancestry.

There were criticisms of both studies. POBI had been based on the DNA of modern populations. Whilst the Haak, Schiffel etal study contained too few ancientDNA samples.

A new study published in 2022, by a similar research team:

This study has been based on far more samples of ancientDNA. A total of 460 NW Europeans including 278 individuals from England. In conclusion, they continue to emphasise admixture, a merging, and the adoption by some people of local descent, of Continental Northern European (Anglo-Saxon) grave goods. They managed to map local family histories of merging population.

They increased the projected impact of Continental Northern European DNA on the British genome.

A recap:
  • POBI 2015 suggested 10% - 40% Anglo-Danish
  • The small scale Schiffels, Haak etal report of 2016 suggested 38% 'Continental Northern European'  (Anglo-Danish) in the Cambridgeshire region.

The 2022 study based on hundreds of ancient remains increased the percentage of new arrivals. They conclude that it is higher further east, closer to the North Sea, but declines as an average in Western England.  At its peak in Eastern England, they projected that Anglo-Danish accounted for 76% of the genome:

'the individuals who we analysed from eastern England derived up to 76% of their ancestry from the continental North Sea zone, albeit with substantial regional variation and heterogeneity within sites.'

This is a higher estimate than that proposed by the previous two studies.

The discussion was not restricted to the percentage of this Continental Northern European DNA. They also examined the origins of these early medieval immigrants. They concluded that they had arrived from a belt across Northern Europe that focused on Frisia, North Germany, and Denmark. They also suggest a smaller, secondary population from further south that might be Frankish. Finally, they detected that this immigration event extended for longer than previously thought, extending into the 8th Century CE, and blending into the Danish settlement.

One fascinating find, I will discuss in another post, concerns the remains excavated in Kent of the UpDown Girl. Just as a taster:

A small caveat. None of these genetic studies can distinguish between Anglo-Saxon DNA and the later, Medieval Danish DNA. Hence, it might be better to consider this as Anglo-Danish. But in some ways, the 9th Century was a fresh surge of the same immigration event.

Fertile Crescent of Western Eurasia

The Fertile Crescent is the name given to a region of Western Eurasia where a Neolithic Revolution first occurred shortly following the end of the last Ice Age. It was here in SW Asia, that the wild ancestors of domestic cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, barley, emmer wheat, bread wheat, einkorn, barley, rye, peas, and vetch all existed. Where the first stone age farmers (Neolithic) developed an agriculture. It was not the only such Neolithic Revolution, others independently happened in Papua, China, SE Asia, Northern America, Southern America, and Africa. The Fertile Crescent may have been home to the earliest such revolution (perhaps challenged by Papua and China), and most affected the development of western civilisations, with its rich array of domesticated species, that became so critical to their economies.

A few posts ago, I blogged a bunch of notes concerning the Anatolian Epipalaelithic and Pre Pottery Neolithic. Here I continue to develop my personal investigation, with the modification of maps.

Map 1. Pre Pottery Neolithic

Early Fertile Crescent Pre Pottery Neolithic between 13,000 years ago and 10,000 years ago. Focusing on Pre Pottery Neolithic A sites:

Map 2. Pottery Neolithic

The Fertile Crescent as it later developed between 10,000 and 6,000 years ago. This included the birthplaces of Uruk civilisation, Elam civilisation (in what is now Iraq and Iran respectively), and Badarian to Naqadan civilisation in Egypt (leading to Pre-Dynastic Egypt):

Source for both versions: OpenStreetMaps

I find that this helps me to better understand the Eurasian Neolithic and its foundation in SW Asia. The latter map which includes Southern Mesopotamia, and the Nile Valley is more like that which was presented to me when I was young. The former, focuses on the very earliest roots.

This Neolithic then spread into Sudan, across the Iranian Plain to the Indus Valley, into the Balkans, and along the Mediterranean coasts. From a local perspective, it didn't reach the British Isles until circa 6,000 years ago.

Below, the map I recently posted, focusing on the Anatolian Pre Pottery Neolithic A sites:

My earlier Notes on the Anatolian Pre Pottery Neolithic A

I've also watched a very interesting video on the Wadi Faynan WF16 PPN A site in Jordan. Highly recommend the video. It provides evidence that the PPN A may have extend so far south of the Anatolian cluster around Göbekli Tepe.

The Forgotten Origin of the British - Late Bronze Age

Image of an LBA socketed axehead from Portable Antiquities Scheme

The Forgotten Contribution to the South British Genome.

 A research team looking at ancientDNA led by David Reich had already detected a 97% population replacement across Britain at the close of the Neolithic period, circa 2,300 BCE. They proposed that the Earlier, European Neolithic Farmers of Britain, were replaced by a new people, associated with the Bell Beaker artefact culture. These new people had previously been admixed between European Neolithic Farmers living on the Continent, and recently migrants from the Pontic & Caspian Steppes of Eurasia. 

Northern Europe has more of this migrant Yamnaya / Steppe ancestry which arrived during the 3rd Millennium BCE, while Southern Europe (peaking in Sardinia, then Iberia) has more residual ancestry from the earlier, European Neolithic Farmers. Yet the South British (English) have rather more Neolithic ancestry than other Northern neighbours. This raised questions concerning where had this DNA come from.

Reich's team speculated on this result, and investigated the remains of ancient DNA further. This was later reported on:

Large-scale migration into Britain during the Middle to Late Bronze Age


In the above paper, the research team suggest a secondary migration event, that followed the Bell Beaker population replacement. They date it to the end of the Middle Bronze Age / start of the Late Bronze Age circa 900 BCE, although proposed that it had slowly been arriving for some time, before a surge of new arrivals to Britain. They do not pinpoint where these immigrants come from, but by their heavier Neolithic ancestry, it is proposed that they had moved up from further south, most probably from France. How many? The study proposes a 50% DNA replacement in Southern Britain, across England & Wales. I think that is probably comparable to the most recent, highest estimates for the much later Anglo-Danish immigration event.

The tabloids of course, reacted:

From this it has further been proposed, that it may have been this forgotten immigration which brought the p-celtic and / or q-celtic languages to Britain. If you subscribe to identifying Iron Age Britons as Insular Celts then this could represent the arrival in Britain. 

Personally I feel that what we 21st Century CE people believe to be Insular Celtic, reflects a much longer, older exchange of people and ideas across Britain, Ireland, and the Western Seaboard of Europe during the Bronze and Iron Ages. The Romans did much later, claim more recent Belgae migrations into Britain, some tribes even shared names with tribes in France and Belgium. These could represent a continuation of migration, possibly of elites. Prehistoric Britain was very much in contact with the nearby Continent, and a part of Europe.


Those socketed axe heads, and other artefacts of the Late Bronze Age may now be identified as representing a new culture and people, admixing into Southern Britain.

Through studies of ancient genomes, we are witnessing the reveal of a number of prehistoric migration events into Britain. These above, contribute to the modern British genome. Earlier migrations than these are also known. The Bell Beaker folk may have replaced to builders of Avebury, but those Neolithic Farmers had previously replaced the Mesolithic hunter-gatherers already here. Ancient DNA of Neolithic Britons is markedly different to that of any Mesolithic remains, and carries genetic markers from South West Asia.

Neither were the Mesolithic Britons aboriginal. The DNA of Cheddar Man (and others of his time from around Western Europe), originates from Arabia / Asia, and is different to any earlier so far sequenced. They were possibly not of the Magdalenian Culture. The story of the Europeans has often been a series of migrations from regions of Asia, both north and south of the Caucasus.

From this we should judge the Anglo-Danish (Anglo-Saxon plus later Danish arrivals) immigration, as being no more than one of several such events, with earlier examples until recently, lost in prehistory.

Original Nature publication:




Earlier Posts:

The Beaker phenomenon and genetic transformation of Northwest Norfolk. A layman's take 2017


Celebrating my Steppe and Beaker ancestors


Own Photo.

DNA-4-Ancestry Test Comparison. Reviewing the DNA Companies. Updated to 2024

Comparing results from actual recorded ancestry, to that predicted by Ancestry.com, 23andme, My Heritage, Living DNA, FT-DNA and more.

Recorded Ancestry

I have researched my genealogy for circa forty years on and off. Since back in the day of interviews, visits to church yards, county archives, and London based archives. Before any internet genealogy, never mind genetic genealogy. Is it perfect? Of course not. I have a family tree of 6,000 family members. I've forgotten how many direct ancestors but certainly well over 300. Stretching back to the 16th century (1500s) in a number of places. The majority (thankfully) is very local to myself. Ancestry reports that I have based it on 19,600 records. I have certainly referenced my resources, and do not restrict them to the Internet. I still sometimes visit archives, etc.

Genetic Genealogy by DNA matches at Ancestry.co.uk, 23andme, Living DNA, FT-DNA and MyHeritage support the recorded tree very well over the past several generations on all sides. Plenty of support from centimorgans of shared DNA with other testers.

I base my Recorded Ancestry percentages on Generation 6. That is my great great great grandparents.

97% were English
Most East Anglian Norfolk, with some East Midlands and the Oxfordshire area.
3% Swiss.

No others. No Irish, Scottish, Scandinavians, Italians, Greeks, French, Turkmen, Balochi, etc.

So what did the DNA companies tell me?


Ancestry.com/co.uk did very well only if you take the England & NW Europe category to be 'English'. They've been quite thoughtful in generating this category. Because the problem with the SE English is that we are too close to Dutch, Norman, and Danish to tell apart. This is because we have long, deep roots in those regions. The sub regions of their genetic communities is very good. But the community of E India might be down to having a tested family member with paternal roots in Sri Lanka? Maybe not.

My Heritage does very well. Although they have little bias towards Ashkenazi and SW Asia that just shows up. Still, not bad, they have improved.

Living DNA, an English business. Dear oh dear, what goes on there? They have even assigned my yDNA to the entirely wrong haplogroup!

FT-DNA, no better. Despite being the premier business for testing haplogroups, their autosomal test lets them down

23andme? Wtf. I know their problem. I'm convinced that their 'British & Irish' dataset is full of Irish or Irish American? It does not understand SE English DNA, and splits us with Continental datasets. As for their sub regions, I suspect based on dodgy DNA from health companies, collected from modern postcodes. That would explain that it shows where East Anglian ancestry has moved to over the past few centuries, not where it came from.

WeGene is convinced that I am French. Non.

They are all to various extents confused by medieval migration. Because with so much East Anglian ancestry, I have links across the North West European Continent from the earlier medieval. The East Anglians are probably very like Frisians etc. Our DNA is all so similar that these tests cannot tell us apart.

Well the tests were ALL very good for assigning my ancestry as a European. And pretty good at seeing it as primarily NW European. That's good. BUT, below that level, none of these tests could be described as accurate.

Fanboys of these tests beware.

The above is a fan chart of my direct ancestry, that I made in 2018. The coloured areas are supported by DNA matching (genetic genealogy) although I have had volumes of additional matches since then.

Notes on Göbekli Tepe and Anatolia's Pre-Pottery Neolithic



This isn't a genuine attempt at a history. It is just me collecting notes in order to start trying to make some sort of sense out of all of the new sites in Anatolia, SE Turkey.

Post glacial cities of Stone Age hunter-gatherers? Evidence of an Ice Age Civilisation? Fred Flintstone metros? The Worlds oldest temple? Proof of alien involvement? Religion came before farming?

I'm just starting to get an image of Anatolia and Levant 13,000 to 6,000 years ago. It is difficult, because there is so much more excavation to undertake. Typically these sites have been discovered only in recent years, and a small percentage of each site has been investigated. Cutting edge archaeology with new excavations each season. 

Natufian Culture - Epipalaeolithic hunter-gatherers in the Levant / Syria, were forming larger populations and becoming semi-sedentary, by harvesting wild cereals, and good gazelle / onager hunting situation as climate warmed from Late Glacial Maximum, presenting favourable conditions. The Younger Dryas cold event interrupted, and possibly then stimulated changes in the local economies and settlement patterns.

Following the Younger Dryas climatic event, the focus may have shifted further north into Southern and Eastern Anatolia. Again, hunter-gatherers here could crowd together in either permanent or semi permanent (perhaps bands seasonally) 'settlements'. They again, exploited gazelle, onager, pig, aurochs, wild sheep. Anatolia hills were particularly rich and also presented copious wild cereals for foraging. In order to settle, they learned to store foods.

They built 'communal, 'special use' buildings. These have been popularised as the world's first 'temples'. They created courses and cisterns to collect rain-water. They may have even built sewers. Their communal buildings may at first have been built using low stone walls and posts of timber. Later, the stone pillars carved out of the bed rock, then the tall often sculptured T-pillars. They entered these semi-subterranean buildings through the roof. Celebrated many images of wild species of animals. Some animals appeared favoured at different sites such as scorpions or leopards, or foxes. Skulls and horns of animals often set into walls. There is evidence of vast periods of use if not habitation at these sites. Lots of reuse and modification in the communal buildings, over many centuries.

Some of the people lived around these communal buildings in houses that might also be sunken feature, or stone walled and above ground. Roof access into buildings remained a common feature in SW Asia for thousands of years. Round or oval stone walled with corridors, hearths, quern-stones, other domestic artefacts. Some sites appear to be surrounded by large numbers of houses, that if contemporary, could suggest large settlements. Sometimes they buried their dead were buried underneath the houses. Later, their skulls might be collected (ancestor worship?). Death brought out to join the Living. There is evidence at one site of bead production on a large scale, and of working raw copper to make ornamental pieces. There is evidence of pierced earrings and lip rings. Tentative evidence of fabrics and garments. Obsidian imported hundreds of miles. Organised labour to move heavy pillars.

Were the central communal buildings 'temples'? That depends on definitions of what a temple is. Was it to celebrate a religion? Again, the symbols all over them suggest forms of animism, possibly shamanistic totems? Sometimes phallic, a celebration of male virility within Nature? Were they the cities of an incredibly old civilisation? Although clearly they involved large numbers of people to construct, and we have evidence of domestic housing on some sites, many people could have continued to roam seasonally and follow wild herds, but used the sites as centres for special celebrations. The incredible complexity of some buildings may be down to being used and reused over many generations. But yes, I can see that these sites were urbanising., and large numbers of people residing at least seasonally if not permanently around them. That does not make them true cities such as those of early Sumer in what is now southern Iraq.

Göbekli Tepe still provides no evidence of agriculture and maintains its status as built-by-hunter-gatherers. Although large stone vessels found there could be hinting at improved storage of food. This has caused some controversy. It might be prejudice that dictates that such an economy could not have accomplished such feats. We may need to reassess hunter-gatherer societies across the world. They were clearly able to build large monuments and to create such a culture, organising labour to move, sculpt, and to raise large megaliths.

Yet these sites would have provided an ideal situation for a Neolithic Revolution. It seems very likely that it was on sites such as these, that the Anatolian Neolithic arose. Changes in relationship between these people, and a number of both plant and animal species would seem very likely. We know that by the end of this period, that wheats, barley, rye, lentils, pigs, sheep, cattle, goats had entered agriculture. Then we see urban 'townships' like the beehive settlement of Çatalhöyük. Later, the early cities of Eridu and Uruk on the Tigris / Euphrates floodplain.

The ancestors of the Anatolian Neolithic Farmers? They were certainly among them. If so, were the European Neolithic farmers later descendants?

Later Epipaleolithic 

13,500 BCE - 9,800 BCE

Natufian at sites such as Abu Hureyra, Syria and Jericho, Israel, and on the West Bank they hunted gazelle, gathered wild cereals. First evidences of gathering wild grass seeds to grind. They are settling into semi-permanent settlements, until the cold weather interrupts this:

Younger Dryas Climatic Event (COLD)

10,900 BCE - 9,700 BCE

Abu Hureyra I

11,300 BCE- 10,000 BCE

Now in Syria. See Natufian. Sedentary hunter-gatherers. Cultivating rye from about 11,000 BCE? Permanent year round settlement of a few hundred. Small round huts with wooden posts cut into bedrock. Houses subterranean pit dwellings.Climate change of the Younger Dryas impacted, eventually killing off the settlement.


11,000 BCE

SE turkey. Oldest sculptured narrative. The masturbating man being watched by two big cats, while another shakes a snake or rattle at an aurochs bull! On a stone bench.

Boncuklu Tarla

9,900 BCE - 6,000 BCE

SE Anatolia, Turkey. Far to the east of Göbekli Tepe.

Starts in Epipalaeolithic, mainly Pre Pottery Neolithic A/B

Centralised living. 30 houses, 6 public structures. Many beads. During / after Younger Dryas. Many human remains. Beads of raw copper. Central ‘Rectangular temple’ Heads of bulls left inside. 10 m wide = 7 communal buildings.

Bull horns. Limestone blocks. Wall Buttresses. Pre-Pottery Neolithic A. Columns like Göbekli Tepe. Probably religious. First Window. 2012. Small city more than village. Early in excavation. East of other sites in Eastern Anatolia. SE Turkey.  Excavations ongoing. Spans Younger Dryas. Occupied until 6,000 BCE. 4000 year long occupation. 100 km from Göbekli Tepe in the east. Discovered 2008. 2012 excavations on. So far 5% / 3 hectares so far investigated! 100,000 beads. Shapes of animals, scorpions, 2000 copper beads / ornaments, scorpions popular. Earrings, lip rings. Earliest Piercings!  7 Communal buildings are subterranean. sunk into the ground, accessed through roofs. Surface houses (domestic) above.

(Buried beneath houses. Couples together in embrace. 3 children together. Remove skulls.) Skulls are used to 7000 BCE in other places. 11,800 year old sewer. 

Evidence textiles (weaving).  130 human burials. T pillars Tunics and skirts depicted at other sites? Garments?

Wadi Faynan (WF16)

10,000 BCE - 8000 BCE

PPN A. This is NOT in Anatolia, but far south in Jordan. Provides evidence that the culture may have spread far into Levant, with several correlations. These people were gathering wild cereals, and hunting wild goats. Semi subterranean buildings again, rising through the ages, becoming above ground above ground by close and PPN B. Includes a 'theatre' or arena. Lots of buzzard or similar raptor bones. Human burials with skulls taken, painted / wrapped, moved. Similar lithic points (El Khaim points) to Anatolia. Middens of wild goat bones. Roofs were made of barley straw conglomerates as tough as concrete. Local working of stone and raw copper. Bones suggest careful selection proto management of wild goats. Decorated stone vessels.


9,900 BCE - 8,000 BCE

Nizip, Turkey. Not large 150 metres dia. 2021 ex. Building. Channel encircling. Steps into. Limestone. Building 10 large oval. Postholes. Wooden before T pillars. Seen as a precursor. Climate change. Trees may have become more scarce. No partitions. One building. Stone AND wood before Göbekli Tepe. No small artefacts. Filled in.  Oval planned stone walls. Thought tent of animal skins above low stone walls. Pit shelters, semi subterranean. 

Karahan Tepe

10,000 BCE - 9500 BCE

Turkey. Excavations: Different constructions to Göbekli Tepe. Carved out of bedrock. Pre-Pottery Neolithic A. 

Permanent settlement? Vantage point like Göbekli Tepe. Different climate. Large cistern? Rainwater collection again. Drainage channels. Serpent on bench. Penis room. Penis shaped pillars out of bedrock. Leopard carvings. Fertility, phallic. Head overlooking penis room.

Water channels everywhere. Dwellings proven. Not just ceremonial. A few graves. 5% only again. Benches. Pillars Leopard print on a human. Leopards are very common here. 

Totem pole sculpture (stone figure. Man with a leopard on his back. Bones of crocodiles, bears. Here or trade? Obsidian tools - from at least 200 miles away. New pillar like Göbekli Tepe as a human but with 8 finger hands. Lots of flint lithics. Biface.


10,000 BCE - 9,500 BCE

Palestine. Natufian Hunter-gatherers settlement.

Pre-Pottery Neolithic A

9,800 BCE - 8,800 BCE

Göbekli Tepe

9,500 BCE - 8,000 BCE

SE Anatolia, Turkey. The big site and showcase. Still no evidence of farming, despite lots of mortar stones. Foxes are common here. Totem pole of several humans on stone sculpture. 3 metre high T pillars.Lots flint-work. H patterns. Water-coursing. A cistern. Vast amounts of grinding stones. Shaft straighteners. Beads.

Special Use Buildings subterranean. Also houses and domestic. A lot of material has been used, moved, reused over a very long period. Contrary to early proposals, there is evidence that the site was not purposely filled in as a closing ritual, but was covered through natural inundation. The infills are multi phase and sedentary. This process had long been happening before the site was finally abandoned by 8000 BCE during Pre Pottery Neolithic B:

Pre Pottery Neolithic B

8,800 BCE - 6,500 BCE

Nevalı Çori

8,400 BCE - 8,100 BCE

SE Anatolia, Turkey. Rectangular houses. Pillars built into dry stone walls. A 'cult-complex'


7,500 BCE - 6,400 BCE

Southern Anatolia, Turkey. Famous beehive settlement. Shrines inside houses. Dead buried beneath. Access through roofs. Urban. Dead buried beneath houses. Later skulls taken. Some plastered. Spinning whorls.

Other sites  to be investigated at:

  • Hamzan Tepe
  • Karahan Tepe
  • Sefer Tepe
  • Taşli Tepe
  • Nevalt Çori
  • Kilisik Tepe
  • Urfa
  • Körtik Tepe

And several more!

No aliens, little green men, Atlanteans or Ayran master race encountered in this investigation. Only tremendous respect for the Pre-Pottery Neolithic Anatolians. I will take much more of an interest in them from now on. Pretty sure that we can all count them within our ancestry.

Notes for Mesolithic Western Europeans. The last free people of Europe.

Lola, Mesolithic girl on National Geographic

The above is a link to a reconstruction by Tom Björklund of a Mesolithic girl who lived in what is now Denmark. It is a very unique and creative reconstruction, because nothing physical of this girl nicknamed Lola survives into our archaeological record! She is only known by her DNA (and that of recently eaten food) that she left on a lump of birch tree pitch that she had chewed as a gum some 5,700 years ago. But I really like this reconstruction. I think that she makes a beautiful wild child. Straight out of the lines of a novel that I'm trying to write.

Analysis of her DNA strongly suggests brown toned skin, if not dark brown. Her hair dark brown. The DNA supports that her eyes were light coloured. Perhaps blue, blue-green or hazel? I'll return to Lola, but first these features correspond to those suggested by the genomes of other Mesolithic remains scattered around Europe.

Cheddar Man

Cheddar Man who lived in South West Britain around 10,000 years ago is the best known. The revelation several years ago that the DNA sequenced from his genome, suggests both dark skin and blue eyes caused quite a commotion. A lot of people didn't like it, and accused the geneticists of woke.

We always knew that the earliest modern humans were likely to have plenty of melanin. Subsisting on a hunter-gatherer diet that was rich in dietary Vitamin D meant that there was little adaptive pressure for them to lose this dark skin in a hurry. Just as some hunters in the far north and far south have retained dark skins into recent times. The emphasis to reduce melanin may not have arrived until following major shifts to a poor, agricultural diet in northern zones. The DNA associated with very light skin of modern Western Europeans may not have arrived until quite recently (prehistorically speaking).

We also had Villabruna Man in Northern Italy. His presence and DNA is less known to the general public. But even before the controversy of the Cheddar Man reconstruction, we knew from Villabruna and other remains that he lacked certain genetic indicators of light skin and:

Additional evidence of an early link between west and east comes from the HERC2 locus, where a derived allele that is the primary driver of light eye color in Europeans appears nearly simultaneously in specimens from Italy and the Caucasus ~14,000-13,000 years ago.


But one recent study proposes that there were at least two distinct clusters of hunter-gatherers around Europe at the close of the last Ice Age:

On the basis of the genetic variation of present-day Europeans, this could imply phenotypic differences between post-14 ka hunter-gatherer populations across Europe, with individuals in the Oberkassel cluster possibly exhibiting darker skin and lighter eyes, and individuals in the Sidelkino cluster possibly lighter skin and darker eye colour.


 I think that may be close to the truth, that there was most likely a variation in skin tones and eye colours across Europe during late prehistory.

Then we met 'Elba the Shepherdess' from Galicia, Spain. She dates to around 9,300 years ago. Analysis of Elba's ancient DNA suggests that she was dark-skinned and haired, and brown-eyed. Her remains had spectacularly been excavated along with three aurochs (wild cattle). Her relationship to these aurochs has raised extremely controversial questions about possible domestication. I do like the aurochs. I might make them the a subject of a later post.


British Archaeology has long been going through a struggle where it tries to lose its roots within the Arts, and relocate itself within the (social) sciences. Clinging vigorously to data, they fear telling any stories (which is what hi-story does). In my own creative writing, I have my British hunter-gatherers at the close of the Mesolithic as shameless animists, who see themselves very much as a part of Nature. Mine are trapped into nations or tribes, divided into semi-nomadic bands who wander a larger region that I call a wilderness. In the background (but no longer in the novel) from their own golden age, they look back through folklore to an earlier time when they were more free, to wander further, one nation, following herds of steppe and forest bison.

In their own contemporary wilds 6000 years ago, I have them hunting red deer, roe deer, wild pig, aurochs (wild cattle), red squirrel, martens, seal, porpoise, whales, beaver, fox, waterfowl (ducks/geese), bustards, cranes, wood pigeon, woodcock, fishing/trapping eel, salmon, trout, chub, pike. Foraging for hazelnut, acorns (which they need to process to reduce tannin), cat-tails, wild garlic, pig-nuts, harvesting wild grass seeds, tubers, roots, tree sap, flower buds, lichens, sea lettuce, samphire, berries (blackberry, raspberry, elderberry, hawthorn), black bee honeycomb (yes they make berry mead and alcoholic birch sap), greens (including some springtime tree leaves), tree inner bark (in desperation or to chew), fungi (bollettes, blewitts, ceps, chanterelle, puffballs, chicken-of-the-woods and many more), mussels, sea molluscs /shellfish, crustaceans. I did also include beechnuts, but then found that the beech may have only just arrived with the Neolithic. Ugh! 

One thing that this creative writing has helped me understand about the British Late Mesolithic, is that the forests at that time lacked a wealth of biodiversity. Britain had parted from the European Continent too soon following the glaciers - Ireland more so. Few tree species had made it here. The temperate wild-woods (I don't think all of those in the south-east could have been classed as rain-forests) could be very mean with any calories between early winter and mid spring. I emphasise that in the story, the need to gather in late summer and through the autumn, and to process and store what they could. Acorns and hazel nuts could be roasted and even ground into a flour to make breads.  Wild grass seeds may have been added. The game would have been fatter at that time of year, and the salmon would run. Oh, I dare to suggest that my hunter-foragers are also gardeners of their wilds, encouraging hazel and birch to spread and survive.

Late winter may have been comparatively miserable, where the bands would laze close to hearths. Conserving valuable calories of their energy.

I enjoy imagining the wild-woods of SE Britain 4000 BCE. Perhaps not all temperate rain-forest, but neither anything like a modern day woods. Deadwood, flooding, saplings, rot, deep ferns and mosses. They would have been difficult to pass through by foot. Waterway would have been preferred. Trees with mosses and octopus boughs. Lime (linden) trees, elm, wych elm, oak, birch, alder, willow, ash, pine.  Wolves, lynx, brown bear. Eagles, black woodpeckers, and goshawks. But I don't imagine it all as wild-wood. I have opted in my imagined Britain 4000 BCE, for lots of small glades, and larger open plains that in the story, I call prairies. Here herds of aurochs join those of red and roe deer, to keep this scrub and grassland opened up. Bustards parade by orchids, while the cuckoo calls.

But all in my imagination. Not fact.

Returning to Lola in Denmark. The gum also revealed that she was lactose intolerant, and this has also been found in other genetic remains of this period. The DNA of hazel and mallard duck was also on the gum, and it is thought that hazelnut and duck may have been her recent meals. I think it is incredible archaeology that a lump of birch pitch could produce such a result. The 5,700 ybp was based on radio carbon dating of the lump of Mesolithic chewing gum.

When I was a voluntary archaeologist and field walker, I would treasure any microliths, microlith waste cores (I had a few), and a tranchet axe head (below) that I found from the Mesolithic. It was always my favourite period of prehistory. When people would have related to other species as a part of the Natural World to which they belonged. Innate animism that I strongly relate to as an autistic biophilliac. Or did they? Next post I will look at Gobekli Tepe and other sites of this same period across Anatolia. Have we simplified the savage?

So for all of their imperfections and inaccuracies, here are the faces of the Mesolithic. The last truly free wild people of European Nature. The last savages of Europe. Before we started to screw it all up.  Lola is my favourite.