Rise of the Celts

"Selection of carvings from
the Castro de Santa Trega"
<https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/> 16 March 2019.

I. Birth of the Celts

1. Evolution of Haplogroup R1b1a1a2a1a2a/ R-DF27

In the last decade, great strides have been made identifying new SNPs down the human genome. And, anthropologists have been able to match these mutations to specific places on the timeline of human history. With this information, we can affix our forefathers to specific times and places in the migration of modern man.

Back when, anthropologists investigated whether R1b1a1a2 [M269], who emerged during the Neolithic Period, was connected to Cro-Magnon Man and the cave paintings of the refugium in southern France. Subsequently, M269 could have been the group who followed the retreating ice shield north across the land bridge to Britain and Ireland. With new information gained more recently, those possibilities have been put to rest.

[I]n articles published around 2000 it was proposed that this clade [M269] had been in Europe before the last Ice Age. But by 2010, more recent periods such as the European Neolithic have become the focus of proposals. A range of newer estimates for R1b1b2, [now R1b1a1a2] or at least its dominant parts in Europe, are from 4,000 to a maximum of about 10,000 years ago, and looking in more detail is seen as suggesting a migration from Western Asia via southeastern Europe.

    "Haplogroup R1b" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplogroup_R1b> 25 July 2015.

The yDNA sequence for our Lewis family has been traced down to our terminal SNP, R-DF27.

My Markers: Haplogroup R
M343, L278+, ____ , L389+, P297+, M269+, L23+, L51+, ( P310+ & P311+), P312+, DF27+

2. When and where and how the ancestors of the proto-Celts lived

When humans first ventured out of Africa some 60,000 years ago, they left genetic footprints still visible today. By mapping the appearance and frequency of genetic markers in modern peoples, we create a picture of when and where ancient humans moved around the world. These great migrations eventually led the descendants of a small group of Africans to occupy even the farthest reaches of the Earth.

    "The Human Journey," National Geographic Genographic Project <https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/human-journey/> 12 July 2015.

The evolution of SNP DF27 is cited by the International Society of Genetic Genealogy [ISOGG]. And, DF27 has acquired the moniker, the Gascon-Iberian Celts.

a. The evolution of Haplogroup R has been well cited:

-R [M207] emerged from K at Point PQR on the Central Asian Steppe.
-R1 [M173] emerged on the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea.
-R1b [M343] migrated south and west to Persia.
-L278 settled in the Tigris River Valley Refugium. Started farming.
-L754/ ??? lived in the Tigris River Valley Refugium.
-L389 survived the Younger Dryas Stadial (the Big Freeze) at the end of the last Ice Age in their refugium in the vicinity of the Tigris River Valley.
-P297 migrated north through the Caucasus Mountains.
-M269 settled on the Pontic-Caspian Steppe, the location of the Urheimat of the proto-Indo-European language.

b. We locate M269 beginning in about 4,900 BCE living on the Pontic-Caspian Steppe north of the Black Sea during the Late Neolithic Period. Pre 4,000 BCE, this location is believed to be the Urheimat (ancient homeland) of the proto-Indo-European language. M269 is believed to be the forefather of the Kurgan culture.

Modern linguists have placed the Proto-Indo-European homeland in the Pontic-Caspian Steppe, a distinct geographic and archeological region extending from the Danube estuary to the Ural mountains to the east and North Caucasus to the south. The Neolithic, Eneolithic and early Bronze Age cultures in Pontic-Caspian steppe has been called the Kurgan culture (4200-2200 BCE). . . .

Horses were first domesticated around 4600 BCE in the Caspian Steppe, perhaps somewhere around the Don or the lower Volga, and soon became a defining element of steppe culture. . .

This might have happened with the appearance of the Dnieper-Donets culture (c. 5100-4300 BCE). This was the first truly Neolithic society in the Pontic-Caspian Steppe. Domesticated animals (cattle, sheep and goats) were herded throughout the steppes and funeral rituals were elaborate. Sheep wool would play an important role in Indo-European society, notably in the Celtic and Germanic (R1b branches of the Indo-Europeans) clothing traditions up to this day. . . Towards the end of the 5th millennium, an elite starts to develop with cattle, horses and copper used as status symbols.

    "Haplogroup R1b" <http://www.eupedia.com/europe/Haplogroup_R1b_Y-DNA.shtml> 26 July 2015.

c. We locate L23 from about 4,200 to 2,800 BCE migrating west, and then south around the Black Sea, and then west again up the Danube Valley. And as people still do today, they headed up the valley. This was the Copper/ Bronze Age. By 4,000 BCE, L23 spoke a language of the Northwest branch of the Indo-European language.

Another migration across the Caucasus happened shortly before 3700 BCE, when the Maykop culture the world's first Bronze Age society, suddenly materialized in the north-west Caucasus, apparently out of nowhere. The origins of Maykop are still uncertain, but archeologists have linked it to contemporary Chalcolithic cultures in Assyria and western Iran. Archeology also shows a clear diffusion of bronze working and kurgan-type burials from the Maykop culture to the Pontic Steppe, where the Yamna culture developed soon afterwards (from 3500 BCE). Kurgan (a.k.a. tumulus) burials would become a dominant feature of ancient Indo-European societies and were widely used by the Celts, Romans, Germanic tribes, and Scythians, among others.

    "Haplogroup R1b" <http://www.eupedia.com/europe/Haplogroup_R1b_Y-DNA.shtml> 26 July 2015.

Note: A branch of L23 migrated south to the Greek Peninsula c. 1,800 BCE. They were the forefathers of the Mycenaeans and Trojans of Ancient Greece.

d. We locate L51 from about 2,800 to 2,500 BCE. They migrated up the Danube River Valley to the vicinity of the Hungarian Plain and the Austrian Alps. This was the early Bronze Age where they developed new technologies. Here, they continued to speak a language of the Northwest branch of the Indo-European language.

Anthropologists have suggested that the peoples of L51 were the factors of the Hallstatt Culture of Austria. Perhaps their descendants were. But this ethnic group passed through Austria almost 2,000 years before the estimated time of the Hallstatt Culture.

The Yamna period (3500-2500 BCE) is the most important one in the creation of Indo-European culture and society. Middle Eastern R1b people had been living and blending to some extent with the local R1a foragers and herders for over a millennium, perhaps even two or three. The close cultural contact and interactions between R1a and R1b people all over the Pontic-Caspian Steppe resulted in the creation of a common vernacular, a new lingua franca, which linguists have called Proto-Indo-European (PIE). It is pointless to try to assign another region of origin to the PIE language. Linguistic similarities exist between PIE and Caucasian and Hurrian languages in the Middle East on the one hand, and Uralic languages in the Volga-Ural region on the other hand, which makes the Pontic Steppe the perfect intermediary region.

During the Yamna period cattle and sheep herders adopted wagons to transport their food and tents, which allowed them to move deeper into the steppe, giving rise to a new mobile lifestyle that would eventually lead to the great Indo-European migrations. This type of mass migration in which whole tribes moved with the help of wagons was still common in Gaul at the time of Julius Caesar, and among Germanic peoples in the late Antiquity.

    "Haplogroup R1b" <http://www.eupedia.com/europe/Haplogroup_R1b_Y-DNA.shtml> 26 July 2015.

e. We locate L11 from about 2,500 BCE. They migrated north and settled in the Black Forest from the headwaters of the Danube River (vic Regensburg) west toward Freiberg in what is now southern Germany. By 2,380 BCE, they spoke the Celt-Italic language which split from the Northwest branch of the Indo-European language.

At this point there was a major split in not only the subclades of L11 but also in culture and language. Whether or not L11 was part of the the Hallstatt Culture of Bronze Age Austria, we the descendants of L11 possessed some Hallstatt influence and Bronze Age technology. From southern Germany and Gaul, we took these skills and new branches of the Indo-European language to dispersed locations in western Europe.

U106, descendants of L11, spoke proto-German. They migrated north to Saxony in Germany, the Netherlands, and across the Baltic Sea to Scandinavia.

f. We locate P312 from about 2,300 BCE. The Gauls, aka the proto-Celts, migrated west across the Rhein River Valley and settled in Gaul (France). They are the forefathers of all Celtic peoples. They spoke the proto-Celtic language which had just split from Celt-Italic. Their descendants split into several individual branches, migrating to Gallaecia on the Iberian Peninsula, over the Alps into northern Italy, from Calais to Britain and across the Irish Sea to Ireland, and up the Jutland Peninsula and across the Baltic Sea to Scandinavia.

II. Ancient Migrations

1. On to Gaul

In the distant past, modern man migrated out of Africa. The ancestors of the Celts (Haplogroup R) wound up passing through the Arabian Peninsula to the steppe of Central Asia, east of the Caspian Sea, by 30,000 BCE. From the Steppe, a disparate group of tribes migrated together south of the Caspian Sea and west across to the Tigris River where they sojourned during the Younger Dryas Stadial, the "Big Freeze." With the final thaw of the last Ice Age, some of the tribes migrated up through the Gates of the Caucasus where they sojourned on the Pontic-Caspian Steppe. And there. the proto-Indo-European language emerged c. 5,000 BCE.

The tribes who would become the Celts (Haplogroup R-M269) migrated en group amongst their distant cousins from the Pontic-Caspian Steppe up the Danube Valley and into central Europe by about 2,300 BCE. All along the way, many of the disparate tribes dropped off to settle or go their own way. Although the name Celt refers to a group of individual tribes, their common language and common culture held these disparate tribes together as one Celtic people.

In about 2,500 BCE, the remaining group of tribes (Haplogroup R-L11) reached the Black Forest of southern Germany at the headwaters of the Danube River. This was a truly disparate group of loosely aligned tribes who spoke different languages and had different lineages. Amongst the tribes were the Germans who spoke proto-German (Haplogroup R-U106) and the Celts who spoke proto-Celtic (Haplogroup R-P312).

At this point, there was a major split in not only the groups of tribes (Haplogroup R-L11) but also in culture and language. Whether or not our direct ancestors were part of the Hallstatt Culture of Bronze Age Austria, their descendants possessed some Hallstatt influence and Bronze Age technology. From southern Germany and Gaul, we took those skills and new branches of the Indo-European language to dispersed locations in western Europe. From there, our cousins who spoke proto-German (Haplogroup R-U106), migrated north to Saxony in Germany, the Netherlands, and across the Baltic Sea to Scandinavia.

2. The Gauls

In about 2,300 BCE, the Gauls, aka the proto-Celts (Haplogroup R-P312), migrated west across the Rhein River Valley and settled in Gaul (France). They are the forefathers of all Celtic peoples. They spoke the proto-Celtic language. Their descendants split into multiple branches, migrating to Gallaecia on the Iberian Peninsula, over the Alps into northern Italy, up the Jutland Peninsula and across the Baltic Sea to Scandinavia, and from Calais to Britain and across the Irish Sea to Ireland.

As of 2019, there has been further research on the downstream markers for R-P312, the marker for the Gauls of central France.

My diagram. Information gleaned from
Williamson, Alex, The Big Tree, 5 March 2019 <http://www.ytree.net/> 6 March 2019.

a. From the chart we learn:

1. At the first division, P312 split into 7 known branches.
    The Atlantic Celts went to western France and the British Isles.
   
The Angle Celts went to the southern part of the Jutland Peninsula.
    The Nordic Celts went to the northern part of the Jutland Peninsula, Norway, and southern Sweden.
    And, the Iberian, Italic, and Belgic Celts remained in France.

2. At the second division, the Belgic Celts became its own branch, remaining in northeast France.
    The Iberian/ Italic Celts became their own branch and probably began their migrations south from central France.

3. At the third division:
    The Iberian Celts went to southwestern France and northwestern and western Spain.
    The Italic Celts went south to the Hinterrhein and over the Alps, perhaps to the Po Valley of Italy.

b. All Gaul [was] divided into three parts: Aquitania, Celtica, and Belgica.
    The Belgic Celts were the tribes of northeast Gaul who encountered Julius Caesar during the 1st Century BCE.

3. The Atlantic Celts [R-L21]

We cannot end the discussion of Ancient Migrations without a more detailed discussion of R-L21. The Atlantic Celts have been described as the quintessential British Celt paternal lineage. In about 2,100 BCE, the Atlantic Celts crossed the English Channel to settle in England, Wales, and then Ireland. Concurrently, the Bronze Age began in Ireland about 2,100 BCE. Is this possibly because the Atlantic Celts took Bronze Age technology to the distant corners of Europe?

Originally, all the descendants of R-L21 spoke p-Celt/ Brittonic; as L21 spread their native Brittonic language throughout the British Isles. At the time, L21 was the dominant ethnicity and Brittonic was the common language in Britain and Ireland. A thousand plus years later, the Gaels (R-DF27) brought q-Celt/ Gaelic to Ireland. And their descendants, the Scoti took q-Celt/ Gaelic to Scotland. Thus, we will meet up with L21 again. 

Today, most Celtic people of Ireland and Britain carry Atlantic Celt (R-L21) genes. And, the Welsh Celts speak p-Celt/ Brittonic/ Welsh, a remnant of the original Brittonic language. The Irish and Scot Celts also carry Atlantic Celt (R-L21) genes. But, they speak q-Celt/ Goidelic/ Gaelic. [NEXT]

Caveat

This site is provided for reference only. Except where specifically cited, information contained is conjecture and should not be considered as fact.
Home Index About Me