I wanted to ask about the possibility that Stonehenge (and many other Neolithic sites) were constructed by the Neanderthals.
Among the reasons I think this should be viewed as a possibility is that the Neanderthal culture has been seen as being just as advanced as that of the other humans of the time period.
Furthermore the tools found at the sites do not strictly speaking lend support to any specific tools construction methods. The muscularity of the Neanderthals would have made it possible to erect the megalithic constructions using alternative processes.
As part of this I wanted to suggest about the possibility that these Neolithic sites were constructed at the end of Holocene time period, just before the last ice age.
I know that the age calculations may not support these but the age calculations are not an absolute truth anyway but more like an estimate derived from different factors.
Sure... in the sense that the people who built Stonehenge may have carried within them a DNA inheritance from the Neanderthals.
But the last of the Neanderthals died out about 30 thousand years ago, and theyoungest modern-Neanderthal hybrid remains are about 25 thousand years old.
Stonehenge just plain isn't old enough.
Actually, they've got full-blooded trolls in Gibraltar now until 25,000 ybp, still rockin' out Mousterian style. Seems the hybrids were up in Portugal at the same time, playin' that Aurignacio-Gravettian noise.
Still a long way in distance and time from megalithic England though, heh.
Yeah....but the last neanderthal was 25,000 ybp in Gibraltar...last hybrid 25,000 in Portugal. Genetic studies and cultural studies show that indeed the "Celts" do have a relationship to the Portugese of around 10,000 ybp and to the Basques, who are still right near there.
But nor the portugese of 10,000 ybp or the Basques are neanderthals, or even neanderthal hybrids. The neanderthals had been gone 10,000 years at least by the time the celts built stone henge, regardless of whether or not celts have a dash of neanderthal in their family tree.
Basque is linguistically so different from any other language that it has been postulated (see e.g. Cavalli-Sforza*) that it is a relict language of the original Cro-Magnon Europeans preceding the Indo- European speakers .
By the way "hybrid" is a long way from being a universally accepted explanation of the Lagar Velho child. The skeleton was badly crushed by a bulldozer prior to its discovery in a quarry, making its reconstruction problematic and controversial. Also it is dated a couple of millenia younger than the last known neanderthal (about 28
KYA in southern Iberia...)
Studies of Neandertal DNA shows that there is no trace of Neandertal DNA in modern humans. It may have existed at one point in time. We can be sure there was more than one woman alive at the time of Mitochondrial Eve, yet the mtDNA from those women no longer exists. Those lines are all extinct. Likewise, there might have been Neandertal/Human hybrids at one time, but no such individual exists today as far as anyone knows.
But it allows for the possibility of up to 5% admixture from archaic populations.
Neanderthals are Type O negative blood type....meaning they would have trouble bearing human children (at least the second time) whereas modern humans would have no trouble bearing neanderthal offspring. In other words, there would have been alot more neanderthal fathers of hybrids than neanderthal mothers of hybrids, and fathers don't pass on their mtdna, just their y chromosome and blood type. Incidentally, Basque have the highest rate of Type O negative blood in the world at 37%, way higher than anyone else. Now, the highest rate of haplogroup R1B, which is one of the "Cro- Magnon" Haplogroups along with Haplogroup N, is in Basques (90%) and Celts (87%), but the rest of europe isn't far behind...most populations being at 60% to 75%. Basques might be the closests to so - called "Cro-Magnons," but they also may be the only population left with a significant neanderthal legacy.
Note: Basques is actually 89%, European Atlantic coast population 90-91%, and Irish93%.
> Studies of Neandertal DNA shows that there is no trace
> of Neandertal DNA in modern humans.
This is simply not true. For starters, if they came across a modern sequence while studying Neanderthal DNA they wouldn't even look at it. What they would do -- what they have been doing -- is throwing it away, assuming that any match has to be contamination.
Secondly, all the studies performed are not capable of making the determinations claimed.
I'll give you a simple way of seeing this yourself...
Giving a best-case scenario, what kind of testing would YOU want to perform, in order to determine if moderns and Neanderthals interbred?
Me? I'd want to start with one of these so-called "Moderns" before they made contact with Neanderthals. Next, I'd want a sample from the Neanderthals before they came into contact with the moderns. And, finally, I'd like to compare both of those sample with people today.
Instead, we look at Neanderthal DNA tens of thousands of years AFTER they started crossing paths with moderns, and then compare those results with us today.
What they're doing as far as testing goes is NOTHING like what wee need to do to answer the question.
> We can be sure there was more than one woman alive
> at the time of Mitochondrial Eve, yet the mtDNA from
> those women no longer exists.
Damn. The mtDNA evidence is even worse... MUCH worse.
According to numerous documentaries of the lives of Neanderthals, I don't think they had the time nor the resources to erect anything nearly as large as Stonehenge.
They were mostly cave dwelling nomads, armed with primitive spears (no bows and arrows), in competition for food with 4-legged carnivores, who sometimes had Neanderthals for lunch. Since they had no agriculture and their prey was seasonal, they were forced to re-locate several times during the year.
AFAIK, you are correct on everything but the spears. Neandertals had better wood and stone technology than Cro Magnon or other early humans. Far from being the most primitive, they were surprisingly advanced. However, "advanced" is relative. The ability to make a stone knife or axe is a VERY different problem to cutting down 100' oak trees and then placing them in the ground upside-down. (Archaeologists
studying post holes claim that this is the size of tree being seated in the ground in neolithic Salisbury, based on width and effects of compression.)
It is highly surprising even the humans of 10,000 years ago had the capability to do something like that. But it's more the mental capacity. By that time (8,000 BCE), they certainly had all the technology the needed.
One of the things that really eliminates the Neanderthal hypothesis - beyond the dates and the technology - is the design. Stonehenge isn't the only stone circle in the world. In my opinion, it's not even the most interesting. Similar stone circles exist throughout Britain and mainland Europe. Many show considerable skill. The two links above to the stones in the Orkneys show stone circles of almost wafer-thin rocks that stand up to 19' tall in the Stenness case. This is not a tale of brute-force - you'd break the stones if you tried applying force at one single point - but one of strategy and long-term planning
Although Avebury has been badly damaged by people purposely destroying the stones to get rocks or to fight against ancient paganism, the above photograph gives you an idea of the scale of this giant. Three- quarters of a mile across, I believe it to be the largest stone circle anywhere in the world. This was no short-term hobby.
Last, but not least, the construction workers' village was found. This clinches it. The buildings were indisputably made for a neolithic homo sapien, not neandertal.
No that date is 24,500 to 28,000 at the rock of Gibralter, the same as the hybrids in Portugal....who had a different culture than the rest of Europe. There are more caves in Iberia proper, but none with cave paintings as articulate as those in the Franco-Cantabrian region during that time. And this is interesting because there WERE comparable Cave Paintings in Italy and Sicily from the Paleolithic.
Despite the traditioonal view that the Basques have always inhabited Basque Country, their DNA and skull type fon't show up there until 5000 BC at the earliest in that area. Their DNA is different from other Atlantic HSS descendents in that Haplogroup V comes from a mother gene that had seperated from the rest of them at least 45,000 years ago, but only diverged from it's mother gene 12,000 to 17,000 years ago, and is only found in descendents of basque mothers. Also,
they sailed out from wherever they lived on the coast of europe sometime between 24,500 years ago and 5000 years ago and stole a bunch of women from either the Canary Islands or North Africa. At this time, the Guanches were seperated into two groups in North africa, one with U6b and another with U6c haplogroup. The Basques got women from the U6b clan. Later, the berbers got some women from the U6c clan. I am not sure if U6b (not present in berbers) and U6c(not present in Basque except in association with Berber/Moorish influence) ever got back together among the Guanches, because some islands may be culturally isolate, but they both still exist in the Canaries, along with a new gene U6b1 which is not present in Basques or Berbers.
This doesn't rule out the possibility that Basques absorbed some neanderthals or hybrids into their gene pool, as JTEM has shown, but it does explain most of their gene divurgence. Their women stayed isolated from the rest of Cro-Magnon from 45,000 bce to at least 17,500 bce, and they borrowed other women from an asian peoples who
had also been isolated from the rest of their kin for at least 25,000 years.
I believe these guys were the Aterians, as their sister genes have a backtrack schemes across Africa, as if absorbed into the North African Maghreb man ( formerly known as a North African strain of Cro-Magnon) expansion into Tunisia and further.
However, these things don't explain the Basques' high rate of O negative, unless pure Rb1 and Pure U6b has a tendency to create this anomoly, or in the case that Haplogroup V has been shown to be linked with this). It also doesn't explain why the Basques have a language isolate, seperate from all other Rb1 predominate races in Europe, especially when we consider that the Basques are closest to the Irish in DNA tests among other predominantly Rb Europeans, along witht he fact that all predominantly Rb haplogroups share a language of Gaelic/ Celtic Origin. The situation gets worse when we see that the Irish are the highest Rb population in Europe at 93% and have one of the oldest Celtic/Gaelic languages in Europe(basques at 89% and English, Welch, Scottish, Dutch, etc at 90%-91%).
The Irish and Basques had to have split AFTER they split with all the other Cro-magnon Rbs. And yet Celtic is akin is very close to the language of all the other Rbs, and Basque is a language Isolate. If the Irish learned celtic after the Ice age and discarded Euskara, then why is it so old and what race did it come from? And why would the least genically influenced Cro-Magnons change their language when no other Cro-Magnons did?