This all started from a bit of history of the Celts. I was watching a YouTube video about the Hallstatt Culture and it mentioned a quote from Herodotus as the first reference to the Keltoi and that being the source of the name Celt (since we don’t know what they called themselves as they didn’t write it down… though personally I’d just ask a Gaelic speaker for the self naming noun…)
The particular quote was: “Celts are placed outside the Pillars of Heracles (Strait of Gibraltar) and neighbor with Kynesians”
Now folks who have an interest in anything Atlantis will be reminded that Plato also placed it “outside the Pillars of Heracles”. This link does a wonderful job of illustrating all the fire and noise surrounding folks trying to decide just where oh where those pillars might be:
Pillars of Heracles
The Pillars of Heracles is the name given by Plato to describe a maritime boundary marker of the ancient Greek world. According to his text, Atlantis lay just beyond or just before this boundary. However, strictly speaking, Plato does not call them ‘pillars’ but refers to them as stelai (pronounced “stee-lie”) and its singular Stele (pronounced “stee-lee”) which are the Greek words for stone slabs used as boundary or commemorative markers, not a reference to supportive columns. Rhys Carpenter favours the idea that the term when applied to the Strait of Gibraltar was used with the sense of boundary markers, indicating ”the limits of the Inner Sea that, for the Greeks, was the navigable world.”
According to Aristotle, the Pillars of Heracles were also known by the earlier name of ‘Pillars of Briareus’. Plutarch places Briareus near Ogygia, from which we can assume that the Pillars of Heracles are close to Ogygia. Since Malta has been identified as Ogygia, it was not unreasonable, to conclude, as some do, that the Pillars were probably in the region of the Maltese Islands.
However, Ogygia has also been identified with one of the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic by Felice Vinci, who then proposed that the Pillars of Heracles had also been located in that archipelago.John Larsen has made similar suggestions.
Furthermore, Aristotle also wrote that “outside the pillars of Heracles the sea is shallow owing to the mud, but calm, for it lies in a hollow.” This is not a description of the Atlantic that we know, which is not shallow, calm or lying in a hollow and which he refers to as a sea not an ocean.
Classical writers frequently refer to the Pillars without being in anyway specific regarding their location. Rosario Vieni has suggested that the Symplegades, at the Bosporus, encountered by Homer’s Argonauts were precursors of the Pillars of Heracles, although he settled on the Strait of Sicily as their location before Sergio Frau adopted the same location.
However, there is little doubt that during the last centuries BC ‘the Pillars’ referred almost exclusively to the Strait of Gibraltar. The online encyclopaedia Wikipedia notes that Pillars were, in earlier times, identified with the Strait of Sicily, but from the time of Erastosthenes (c. 250 BC) the term was used to refer to the Strait of Gibraltar, reflecting the expansion of Greek maritime knowledge.
Federico Bardanzellu locates them on the island of Motya off the west coast of Sicily. This view is hotly disputed.
Alessio Toscano has suggested that the Pillars were situated at the Strait of Otranto and that Plato’s ‘Atlantic’ was in fact the Adriatic Sea. A more distant location was proposed by Chechelnitsky who placed the ‘Pillars’ at the Bering Strait between the Chukchi and Seward peninsulas in Russia and the USA respectively.
It always seemed to me that when the Greeks began their expansion westward, they did so hugging the northern shores of the Mediterranean. Understandably, they would have taken the shortest route from the Greek mainland to the heel of Italy and later on to Sicily. As they progressed with their colonisation, new limits were set, and in time, exceeded. I suggest that these limits were each in turn designated the ‘Pillars of Heracles’ as they expanded. I speculate that Capo Colonna (Cape of the Column) in Calabria may have been one of those boundaries. Interestingly, 18th century maps shown up to five islands near the cape that are no longer visible, suggesting the possibility that in ancient times they could have been even more extensive, creating a strait that might have matched Plato’s description. On the other hand, the Strait of Messina was one of the locations recorded as the site of the ‘Pillars’ and considering that mariners at that time preferred to stay close to the coast, I would opt for the Strait of Messina rather than the more frequently proposed Strait of Sicily.
An extensive collection of classical references to the ‘Pillars’ is to be found on the Internet.
However, the poet Pindar in the Third Nemean Ode would appear to have treated the Pillars as a metaphor for the limit of established Greek geographical knowledge (Olympian 3.43-45), a boundary that was never static. In 1778, Jean-Silvain Bailly was certain that the Pillars of Hercules were just “a name that denotes limits or boundaries.”
Heracles is clearly the Greek counterpart of the Phoenician god Melqart, who was the principal god of the Phoenician city of Tyre. Melqart was brought to the most successful Tyrian colony, Carthage and subsequently further west, where at least three temples dedicated to Melqart have been identified in ancient Spain, Gades, Ebusus, and Carthago Nova. Across the Strait in Morocco, the ancient Phoenician city of Lixus also has a temple to Melqart.
Gades (Cadiz) was originally named Gadir (walled city). It has been generally accepted that it was founded around 1100 BC, although hard evidence does not prove a date earlier than the 9th century BC. It is today regarded as the most ancient functioning city in Western Europe.
Pairs of free standing columns were apparently important in Phoenician temples and are also to be found in Egyptian temples as well as being part of Solomon’s temple (built by Phoenician craftsmen). Consequently the pillars of Melqart temple in Gades are considered by some to be the origin of the reference to the Pillars of Melqart and later of Heracles (by the Greeks) and Hercules (by the Romans) as applied to the Strait of Gibraltar.
The Pillars of Heracles usually play a critical part in the construction of any theory relating to the location of Atlantis. Even the authors of theories that have placed Plato’s island civilisation in such diverse locations as Antarctica, the North Sea or the South China Sea, have felt obliged to include an explanation for the ’Pillars’ within the framework of their particular hypothesis.
And it drags on and on and on from there…
But now we have another reference to the Pillars of Heracles and it includes two people markers. Keltoi and Kenesians. Searching on Kenesians gets you all sorts of Keynesian economic pages… as the search engines try to be “helpful” with spelling. Eventually I got it pegged down properly and that gave me all sorts of things using that same original quote from Herodotus. Eventually I got to a site with a fascinating bit on the genetics of the British and Celts that referenced that name and mapped it to Cynetes as a modern version that lead to:
The Cynetes or Conii were one of the pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula, living in today’s Algarve and Lower Alentejo regions of southern Portugal before the 6th century BCE (in what was to become the southern part of the Roman province of Lusitania).
Origins and location
They are often mentioned in the ancient sources under various designations, mostly Greek or Latin derivatives of their two tribal names: ‘Cynetas’/’Cynetum’; ‘Kunetes’, ‘Kunetas’, and ‘Kunesioi’ or ‘Cuneus’, followed by ‘Konioi’, ‘Kouneon’ and ‘Kouneous’/‘Kouneoi’. The Conii occupied since the late Bronze Age most of the present-day Lower Alentejo, Algarve, and the southwestern Huelva province, giving the Algarve its pre-Roman name, the Cyneticum. Prior to the Celtic-Turduli migrations of the 5th-4th Centuries BC the original Conii territories also included upper Alentejo and the Portuguese coastal Estremadura region stretching up to the Munda (Mondego) river valley.
Their presence in these regions is attested archeologically by the elaborated cremation burial-mounds of their ruling elite, whose rich grave-goods and the inscripted slabs in ‘Tartessian alphabet’ – also referred to as ‘Southwest script’ – that mark the graves, evidence close contacts with North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean since the 9th Century BC.
Inscriptions in the Tartessian language have been found in the area, in a variety often referred to as Southwest Paleohispanic script. The name Conii, found in Strabo, seems to have been identical with the Cynesii, who were mentioned by Herodotus as the westernmost dwellers of Europe and distinguished by him from the Celts.
Map of the Gulf of Cádiz in Antiquity. Conistorgis is imprecisely located north of Ossonoba city (today’s Faro, Portugal).
The capital of the Conii was Conistorgis, according to Strabo, who considered the region Celtic. In the local language Conistorgis probably means “City of the Conii”. Its precise location has not been determinated. Some authors suggest that Pax Julia might have been founded over the ruins of Conistorgis. Other Conii towns (Oppida) included Ipses (Alvor), Cilpe (Cerro da Rocha Branca – Silves), Ossonoba (near Faro; Iberian-type mint: Osunba), Balsa (Quinta da Torre de Aires, Santa Luzia – Tavira), Baesuris (Castro Marim; Iberian-type mint: Baesuri) and Myrtilis (Mértola; Iberian-type mint: Mrtlis Saidie). According to Pomponius Mela the population of these parva oppida did not surpassed the 6,000 inhabitants. A powerful urban aristocracy of Phoenician and Turdetanian or Turduli colonists dominated all the trade, fishing, and shipbuilding in these same coastal settlements since the 4th Century BC, until the Carthaginians occupied the Cyneticum and founded the Punic colonies of Portus Hannibalis (near Portimão?) and Portus Magonis (Portimão) at the late 3rd Century BC.
The Genetics site, unfortunately, decided to go “4 paws to the moon” and put up a “Subscribe to see anything again” poster, so no linky link for them. Nor any quotes.
From memory, it was pointing out the distribution of the R1b gene marker and that it was found in the Celtic regions and in the northern / coastal regions of Spain AND was found in the population on the Canary Islands and the Berbers of North Africa. I note in passing that those regions are also places where the Phoenicians colonized and they were reputed to be red haired (to some degree).
So now put that all together and what to you get?
The people who were at the end of the water road, where the sun set on Europe and outside the Pillars of Heracles, and were snuggled up against a bit of folks around the area of Gibraltar AND found outside on the Atlantic coast. Outside the “Pillars of Heracles”. IMHO this pretty much places Atlantis as out in the Atlantic, somewhere.
Now, also of interest, is that the original inhabitants of the Canary Islands claimed that they had similar language and symbols as that found in the ruins of that other candidate for Atlantis, the Minoans on Crete. They were a grand seafaring people who were building palaces well beyond what anyone else was doing at the time.
So IMHO what we have are genetic and cultural markers running from Crete to the Canary Islands (and a story or two from South America about red headed guys coming to visit in pre-history…) along with some natural disasters that were in fact catastrophic (the rise of sea level post ice age glacial melt, then the explosion of Santorini much later).
To me, it looks like there was a greater Atlantis somewhere out in the Atlantic. When the oceans rose (about the right time frame from Plato’s dates) it was flooded out. Being a largely seafaring people, a rise of 400 feet in the ocean level would have destroyed all their major cities. The continental scale sea-trade failed, and the remnants were left to get by locally. Some succeeded fairly well and thrived as the Minoans inside the Mediterranean, until they got wiped out in the explosion of Santorini. Others likely were merged in with other peoples into the “Sea People” that the Egyptians finally stopped, but losing their culture in the process. The remainder, likely high in the R1b gene marker, populated North Africa, The Canary Islands (as an isolated remnant), and the Atlantic coastal areas. I suspect this is why the Island Gaelic languages are significantly different from the Continental ones. An admixture of Phoenicians and Atlanteans.
Plato places the date of the loss of Atlantis as about 10,000 years ago. That’s way too long to be found in the language, really. I would guess the language was not Gaelic related, but might be related to Minoan (that we can’t read…). It is worth noting that English (along with some of the other Germanic languages) has a “substrate language” that is also unknown. It is why we say “sea” instead of “mare” or king and knight. Whatever that substrate was, it was oriented to the sea and to nobility. So perhaps a few words could echo from back then. I suspect the core language evolved into Minoan over the 6000 or so years post destruction, and then was lost.
The genetic markers also have some issues. People move, and their genes to with them. Yet the genetic study of the UK shows most of their genetics pre-dates the German and Roman invasions. Similarly the Basque are a genetic individual group. The Basque have a physical appearance similar to that of the paintings on Minoans (dark hair) and the Iberian Peninsula has a history of bull fighting that is reflective of the Minoan. Proof of not much; but suggestive of a culture that once ranged out into the Atlantic, then got hobbled and splintered into local groups when the waters rose. But the R1b gene distribution suggests Atlantis was likely also R1b in large part.
So at that point, we have a largely sea faring people with continental trade, and perhaps even crossing the ocean to South America. There is evidence of copper mining in North America during the Bronze Age, and the hypothesis is that the Phoenicians brought it back to Europe, until they were wiped out. The idea being that a closely guarded secret for where they got all that copper died with them. Could that kind of traffic have started even earlier when the oceans where 400 feet lower and America easier to find? One wonders. Perhaps that would explain hints of Atlantis in the Americas. Colonial outposts that could not continue to stand once the core of the empire fell when the oceans rose.
To figure out if any of this speculation has merit, we would need to do a lot of digging in the mud 400 feet down under the present ocean level, at the mouth of where ancient rivers met the oceans.
So were the Atlanteans the precursors to the Phoenicians, the Minoans, the Celts, all of the above? We only recently got genetic markers for the Minoans, but not the male Y chromosome that I know of, but where the Celts and Phoenicians roamed, we find lots of R1b. For the Minoans, they used the matrilineal mitochondrial DNA markers.
A new study reported in the journal Nature Communications indicates that the Minoans, who 5,000 years ago established the first advanced Bronze Age civilization in present-day Crete, probably were descendents of the first Neolithic humans to reach the island around 7,000 BC and that they have the greatest genetic similarity with modern European populations.
They have two very nice maps with shading for origin. The one in blue is decribed as having a lot of presence in some Greeks, yet the map is darkest on top of the British Isles…
The Minoans shared the greatest percentage of their mtDNA variation with European populations, especially those in Northern and Western Europe.
When plotted geographically, shared Minoan mtDNA variation was lowest in North Africa and increased progressively across the Middle East, Caucasus, Mediterranean islands, Southern Europe, and mainland Europe. The highest percentage of shared Minoan mitochondrial DNA variation was found with Neolithic populations from Southern Europe.
The analysis also showed a high degree of sharing with the current population of the Lassithi plateau and Greece. In fact, the maternal genetic information passed down through many generations of mitochondria is still present in modern-day residents of the Lassithi plateau.
How they can say “especially Northern and Western Europe” and they say “Greece” is a bit opaque. One presumes that particular Plateau is special compared to the larger averages in the map.
They have a red map for comparison to Bronze Age populations (one presumes a bunch of Bronze Age cemeteries were dug up for the data…) It shows strongest in the area of Sardinia but also strong across the Pyrenees and in the area of Denmark / coastal Germany. Right about where the old Phoenicians are thought to have reached their limit of ship born travels and inserted some interesting artifacts into the roots of English.
“About 9,000 years ago, there was an extensive migration of Neolithic humans from the regions of Anatolia that today comprise parts of Turkey and the Middle East. At the same time, the first Neolithic inhabitants reached Crete. Our mitochondrial DNA analysis shows that the Minoan’s strongest genetic relationships are with these Neolithic humans, as well as with ancient and modern Europeans,” Prof George Stamatoyannopoulos said.
“Our data suggest that the Neolithic population that gave rise to the Minoans also migrated into Europe and gave rise to modern European peoples.”
Gee… “ABOUT” 9,000 years ago. Not too far off from the fall of Atlantis. Just sayin’… And only a few thousand years after the date of Gobekle Tepe in Anatolia… Which causes me to wonder if the roots of Atlantis might reach back to that Anatolian source. Perhaps a precursor civilization there had to abandon that site as the first pulse of the collapse of the ice started. Then, after the Younger Dryas, the rebuilt society of Atlantis once again had a natural destruction from another ice melt pulse. Leaving behind a history of sea faring peoples and genetic markers in the islands of the region and the Berbers, Celts, and related folks from the coastal areas where they had been.
In any case, IMHO, Atlantis was found in all those places, thus it will not be possible to find the one Atlantis destruction location. IF as I speculate, it was a maritime trading people, spread from Anatolia to the Atlantic Islands, we will find it lost in many places. Perhaps only one “capital” will be found with the concentric harbor (a place like that was found in the Atlantic coastal area of Spain near Cadiz IIRC), but remnants all over suggest destruction of facilities all over.
Which Brings Up Salt
So were the Celts part of the Atlantean people or peoples? It may depend on which Celts. To me, it looks like the Island Celts and the Iberian Celts are a likely remnant or related people. Their language shows significant shift from the continental. Herodotus puts the Celts center as being at the head of the Danube. The Hallstatt Culture area.
The Hallstatt culture was the predominant Western and Central European culture of Early Iron Age Europe from the 8th to 6th centuries BC, developing out of the Urnfield culture of the 12th century BC (Late Bronze Age) and followed in much of its area by the La Tène culture. It is commonly associated with Proto-Celtic and Celtic populations in the Western Hallstatt zone and with (pre-)Illyrians in the eastern Hallstatt zone.
It is named for its type site, Hallstatt, a lakeside village in the Austrian Salzkammergut southeast of Salzburg, where there was a rich salt mine, and some 1,300 burials are known, many with fine artefacts. Material from Hallstatt has been classed into 4 periods, numbered “Hallstatt A” to “D”. Hallstatt A and B are regarded as Late Bronze Age and the terms used for wider areas, such as “Hallstatt culture”, or “period”, “style” and so on, relate to the Iron Age Hallstatt C and D.
“Hall” is celtic for salt, and they have been mining salt there for at least 7000 years. Another Youtube about Hallstatt and salt pointed out it was called “white gold” and was very pricey. The local grave yard was robbed, pardon, “researched”, and gold artifacts were found (as is common in Celt graves).
Now that first YouTube had gone out of their way to claim that the Celts did not have a money society. That goods were given away to incur “debt” from others. I think they just have a too limited understanding of what constitutes “money”. I think what they really meant was that there was no gold or silver coinage found. Well, we get the word “salary” and the phrase “not worth his salt” from the use of salt as money to pay wages. There will be no evidence of a bag of salt in the pocket of a person used as money as any water would dissolve and wash it away. There was huge trade in salt, and as “white gold” it would make a very effective money.
There were lots of grave goods showing trade with Greece, Anatolia, Italy (and Etruscans) along with coral from the Mediterranean and Amber from the Baltics. The Hallstatt Culture is straddling the headwaters of the navigable ends of the major rivers of Europe. (Where better for the remnants of a sea faring people to continue to be mariners, but living a bit away from the ocean edge…)
The lack of Keltoi in the Pyrenees where Minoan markers are highest raises some doubt about both connections, but as one is a culture and the other a genetic marker, there are still possibles to explore. There’s also a few thousand years offset and who knows how many wars between those marker sets.
The archaeologists do their usual thing of interpreting everything as either a status symbol / powerful chieftains or a religious site. One hill city in France was able to see another mountaintop with a mostly flat area on it. Their conclusion? A place for religious gatherings. No suggestion that it might have been a place to process or trade salt, or a place where the folks from all around gathered for the big blowout parties. Near as I can tell (and I’m a card carrying Druid – yeah, got too interested once… now I’m an official…) the Druids did NOT have giant Y’all Come! religious gatherings. The Druids tended to meet in old groves of trees and talk amongst themselves. The Celts did have a very long tradition of brewing beer, and one of the earliest finds is in what is now the Bavaria / Czech border area – a 5000 year old brewery. Now large cauldrons are common in the grave goods. Along with large dipping pitchers and cups. Things about the size of a soup bowl. So, of course, the French Researchers stated it was for wine… Um, I don’t think so, Tim… IMHO, they had a large “fun and games” area on top of that mountain and had big old beer bashes and “party at the stadium”, but well away from the houses and kids and such. Gee, kind of like today.
What I see is a very advanced trading people, making metalworks of high quality, trading to all edges of Europe, with tons of “white gold” to ship and big old Greek made bronze pots to make their wort and ferment their beer. No economy like that is going to run on “favors”. I’d think salt as money is most likely, but simple barter could also work. All that jewelry was made from raw metals, so a trade (like in the old West of the USA) of gold as nuggets, flakes, and powder would also make a fine money. Money need not have a Kings face on it to be money. Nor does a large open site with minimal housing and factories imply religion (and certainly not when a people is up to their chin in beer and BBQ!)
Oh Well. Maybe some day some archeologist will actually “get a life” and go to a football game or soccer tournament and catch a clue. Heck, you would think the Roman Games, Greek Olympics, and the European Jousting fairs would be enough to get the idea across. Do all that too close to home, you will ruin the hunting for months. Do it a few miles away, and you can bag the BBQ on the day trip over to Party Land and not care that post party the remaining game will be driven away. (Though some of it is driven toward your home turf…)
Now also think for just a moment about the date on that mine. 7000 years ago, that we know of. Just a few thousand after the proposed date of Atlantis falling. Plenty of time for a remnant population to spread up river, settle in, and find the salt sources. Resuming their trading culture, but from a more land centric location.
Odds ‘n Ends
The Palace of Knossos as referenced by Homer:
Knossos (pronounced Kuh-nuh-SOS) is the ancient Minoan palace and surrounding city on the island of Crete, sung of by Homer in his Odyssey: “Among their cities is the great city of Cnosus, where Minos reigned when nine years old, he that held converse with great Zeus.” King Minos, famous for his wisdom and, later, one of the three judges of the dead in the underworld, would give his name to the people of Knossos and, by extension, the ancient civilization of Crete: Minoan. The settlement was established well before 2000 BCE and was destroyed, most likely by fire (though some claim a tsunami) c. 1700 BCE. Knossos has been identified with Plato’s mythical Atlantis from his dialogues of the Timaeus and Critias and is also known in myth most famously through the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. It should be noted that King Minos’ character in the story, as the king who demands human sacrifice from Athens, is at odds with other accounts of him as a king of wisdom and justice who, further, built the first navy and rid the Aegean sea of pirates.
Unfortunately, that 200 B.C. date is about 6,000 years too late for Atlantis as dated by Plato. But well placed as a remnant of the culture or genetics of the people from that first calamity.
Canary Island Genetics:
The most frequent (maternal-descent) mtDNA haplogroup in Canary Islands is H (37.6%), followed by U6 (14.0%), T (12.7%), not-U6 U (10.3%) and J (7.0%). Two haplogroups, H and U6, alone account for more than 50% of the individuals. Significant frequencies of sub-Saharan L haplogroups (6.6%) is also consistent with the historical records on introduction of sub-Saharan slave labour in Canary Islands. However, some Sub-Saharan lineages are also found in North African populations, and as a result, some of these L lineages could have been introduced to the Islands from North Africa. A 2009 study of DNA extracted from the remains of aboriginal inhabitants found that 7% of lineages were haplogroup L, which leaves open the possibility that these L lineages were part of the founding population of the Canary Islands..
A 2003 genetics research article by Nicole Maca-Meyer et al. published in the European Journal of Human Genetics compared aboriginal Guanche mtDNA (collected from Canarian archaeological sites) to that of today’s Canarians and concluded that “despite the continuous changes suffered by the population (Spanish colonization, slave trade), aboriginal mtDNA lineages constitute a considerable proportion [42–73%] of the Canarian gene pool”.
Although the Berbers are the most probable ancestors of the Guanches, it is deduced that important human movements (e.g., the Islamic-Arabic conquest of the Berbers) have reshaped Northwest Africa after the migratory wave to the Canary Islands and the “results support, from a maternal perspective, the supposition that since the end of the 16th century, at least, two-thirds of the Canarian population had an indigenous substrate, as was previously inferred from historical and anthropological data.” mtDNA haplogroup U subclade U6b1 is Canarian-specific and is the most common mtDNA haplogroup found in aboriginal Guanche archaeological burial sites.
Y-DNA, or Y-chromosomal, (direct paternal) lineages were not analysed in this study; however, an earlier study giving the aboriginal y-DNA contribution at 6% was cited by Maca-Meyer et al., but the results were criticized as possibly flawed due to the widespread phylogeography of y-DNA haplogroup E1b1b1b, which may skew determination of the aboriginality versus coloniality of contemporary y-DNA lineages in the Canaries. Regardless, Maca-Meyer et al. state that historical evidence does support the explanation of “strong sexual asymmetry…as a result of a strong bias favoring matings between European males and aboriginal females, and to the important aboriginal male mortality during the Conquest.” The genetics thus suggests that native men were sharply reduced in numbers due to the war, large numbers of Spanish men stayed in the islands and married the local women, the Canarians adopted Spanish names, language, and religion, and in this way, the Canarians were Hispanicized.
Indeed, according to a recent study by Fregel et al. 2009, in spite of the geographic nearness between the Canary Islands and Morocco the genetic ancestry of the Canary islands males is mainly of European origin. Nearly 67% of the haplogroups resulting from are Euro–Eurasian (R1a (2.76%), R1b (50.62%), J (14%), I (9.66%) and G (3.99%)). Unsurprisingly the Spanish conquest brought the genetic base of the current male population of the Canary Islands. Nevertheless, the second most important haplogroup origin is Northern Africa. E1b1b (14% including 8.30% of the typical berber haplogroup E-M81), E1b1a and E1a (1.50%), and T (3%) haplogroups are present at a rate of 33%. Even if a part of these “eastern” haplogroups were introduced by the Spanish (they are well represented in Spain), we can suppose that a good portion of this rate was already there at the time of the conquest. According to the same study, the presence of autochthonous North African E-M81 lineages, and also other relatively abundant markers (E-M78 and J-M267) from the same region in the indigenous Guanche population, “strongly points to that area [North Africa] as the most probable origin of the Guanche ancestors”. In this study, Fregel et al. estimated that, based on Y-chromosome and mtDNA haplogroup frequencies, the relative female and male indigenous Guanche contributions to the present-day Canary Islands populations were respectively of 41.8% and 16.1%.
An autosomal study in 2011 found an average Northwest African influence of about 17% in Canary Islanders with a wide interindividual variation ranging from 0% to 96%. According to the authors, the substantial Northwest African ancestry found for Canary Islanders supports that, despite the aggressive conquest by the Spanish in the 15th century and the subsequent immigration, genetic footprints of the first settlers of the Canary Islands persist in the current inhabitants. Paralleling mtDNA findings, the largest average Northwest African contribution was found for the samples from La Gomera.
So once again a mix of R1b / Celtic markers and Berber / Phoenician markers. These two groups got around the shores of both sides of the Straight Of Gibraltar, and, it is pretty clear, out into the Atlantic.
Where did the British come from? There’s a lot of that Iberian Celtic / Phoenician area shows up in British pants, but also some Basque like base levels:
The Origins of the British
From ISOGG Wiki
The Origins of the British is a book by Stephen Oppenheimer, first published in 2006 and revised in 2007. Oppenheimer argued that neither Anglo-Saxons nor Celts had much impact on the genetics of the inhabitants of the British Isles, and that British ancestry mainly traces back to the Palaeolithic Iberian people, now represented best by the Basques, instead. He also argued that the Scandinavian input has been underestimated.
Oppenheimer uses genetic studies to give an insight into the genetic origins of people in the British Isles and speculates on how to match this evidence with documentary, linguistic and archaeological data to give insights into the origins of Britain, the Celts, the Vikings and the English. Oppenheimer uses DNA databases provided by Weale et al., Capelli et al. and Rosser et al. to provide new analyses of the haplotype distributions in both the male and female lines of the populations of Britain and Ireland (as well as Western Europe).
He breaks down the R1b haplogroup into a detailed set of “clans” that are undefined.
He makes the case that the geography and climate have had an influence on the genetics and culture of Britain, because of coastline changes. These genetic and cultural changes stem from two main zones of contact:
1 The Atlantic fringe, mainly from Spain and Portugal, to the western British Isles
2 Northern Europe, originally across Doggerland to eastern England and from Scandinavia to northern Scotland
Oppenheimer derives much archaeological information from Professor Barry Cunliffe’s ideas of the trading routes using the Atlantic from Spain, and from the writings of:
Simon James (The Atlantic Celts – Ancient People or Modern Invention?)
Francis Pryor (Britain B.C.: life in Britain and Ireland before the Romans
John Collis (The Celts: origins, myths & inventions )
Colin Renfrew, (Archaeology and Language – The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins)
The work of the geneticist Peter Forster has strongly influenced Oppenheimer’s linguistic theories. He uses the evidence that the Germanic genetic contribution to eastern England originated before the Anglo-Saxon conquest of much of England incursion to suggest that the possibility that some inhabitants of the isle of Britain spoke English well before the so-called “Dark Ages”.
Oppenheimer’s main ideas include:
1 The importance of Barry Cunliffe’s Atlantic routes to the settling of Britain.
2 Since much British genetic material dates to the re-settlement of Britain following the ice ages, all subsequent invasions/migrations/immigrations occurred on a relatively small scale and did not replace Britain’s population.
3 The origins of Celtic culture lie in southwestern Europe. The Central European (La Tène culture) theory for Celtic origins has no basis. Celtic culture arrived in the British Isles before the Iron Age and only involved limited movement of people, mainly into the east of England.
4 There are some differences between the male and female origins of the British population, but these are small.
5 Some genetic evidence is in support of Renfrew’s theory that Indo-European origins comes with farming.
6 Genetic evidence suggests that the division between the West and the East of England does not begin with the Anglo-Saxon invasion but originates with two main routes of genetic flow — one up the Atlantic coast, the other from neighbouring areas of Continental Europe. This happened just after the Last Glacial Maximum. There is a cline between east and west, rather than a sharp division.
7 Scandinavian influences, stronger than suspected, may outweigh West Germanic influence.
8 A genetic difference exists between the Saxon areas of England and the Anglian areas. (Oppenheimer suggests that the so-called Anglo-Saxon invasion actually mostly consisted of an Anglian incursion.)
9 English being native to east Britain might explain the lack of Celtic influence on early English and the genetic split between East and West.
10 Classical sources differentiate between Gallic/Celtic and Belgae. Sources state that some of the (northern) Belgae have a German origin. Various archaeological and linguistic evidence make for a weaker case for Celtic presence in Belgium and Eastern England than in Gallic/Celtic or western Britain.
In Origins of the British (2006), Stephen Oppenheimer states (pages 375 and 378):
“By far the majority of male gene types in the British Isles derive from Iberia (Spain and Portugal), ranging from a low of 59% in Fakenham, Norfolk to highs of 96% in Llangefni, north Wales and 93% Castlerea, Ireland. On average only 30% of gene types in England derive from north-west Europe. Even without dating the earlier waves of north-west European immigration, this invalidates the Anglo-Saxon wipeout theory…”
“…75-95% of British Isles (genetic) matches derive from Iberia… Ireland, coastal Wales, and central and west-coast Scotland are almost entirely made up from Iberian founders, while the rest of the non-English parts of the British Isles have similarly high rates. England has rather lower rates of Iberian types with marked heterogeneity, but no English sample has less than 58% of Iberian samples…”
In page 367 Oppenheimer states in relation to Zoë H Rosser’s pan-European genetic distance map:
“In Rosser’s work, the closest population to the Basques is in Cornwall, followed closely by Wales, Ireland, Scotland, England, Spain, Belgium, Portugal and then northern France.”
He reports work on linguistics by Forster and Toth which suggests that Indo-European languages began to fragment some 10,000 years ago (at the end of the Ice Age). Oppenheimer claims that Celtic lanuguages split from Indo-European languages earlier than previously suspected, some 6000 years ago, while English split from Germanic languages before the Roman period, see Forster, Polzin and Rohl.
So all in all, it looks like the basic Brit showed up mostly about the time of the great melt, the flood, and then some more via boats from Iberia later. Now, were there an Atlantis kicking around outside the Mediterranean and the ice is melting causing folks to split on boats, IMHO, they would mostly land on the British Isles, Iberian and French / Dutch / Danish coasts, and some areas of North Africa and islands in the Mediterranean. Forming the genetic base or mixing in with the local base, of those places. Then the language group breaks up and you get Celtic vs Germanic vs Latin vs… But the genetic markers remain. Though we are still left with the question of who is the base and who is the adjunct. There’s a mix of North African (Phoenician) markers with Celtic (R1b) with other bits like the Basque. The language groups are also a bit mixed, with Basque an isolate and Celtic having divergent island vs mainland forms, and North Africa a mess as it was overrun with Romans, and then Arabs, and culture shifted extremely both times.
Discussions on Celts:
An interesting discussion on where all those Celts came from. Seems some folks think Celts were limited to the Hallstatt area then spread out. Daft IMHO. They were everywhere in Europe and others wandered in…
This comment in particular:
Actually all this is really saying is the evidence that Celtic was brought by the Hallstatt and La Tene cultures to Ireland (or indeed that these cultures were the main vector of its spread anywhere) is looking very shaky. You could extend this lack of convincing evidence for a major migration phase spreading Celtic to most of Britain and IMO much of Gaul too. From what I know of Gaulish archaeology there is little convincing evidence for a major migration in the Hallstatt and La Tene periods in most of Gaul either. I think people the realisation is setting in that Hallstatt and La Tene were just regional style changes among an already Celtic Europe. The whole maps of La Tene and Hallstatt centres with arrows spreading out from them cannot be seen as a population spread in much of Europe. The problem seems to have come about that migratory phases into Italy and eastern Europe (perhaps triggered by the collapse of the Hallstatt D north-Alpine chiefdoms) was a unique phase and not the norm and certainly not the story of the spread of Celtic in western Europe (bar Italy). I think it is looking more and more likely that the Atlantic school are right and La Tene and Hallstatt D were late flourishes towards the eastern edge of a much older Celtic world.
Some more of that:
Once you get back to before written history, and especially when dealing with time in thousand year chunks, it is hard to know much. It’s mostly guessing. Genetics shift with wars and invasions. Languages too, but they also shift just from folks being sloppy and not consistent.
I was watching a TV series set in Colombia and another set in southern Spain. The Colombian show has some Mexican settings in it too. The three Spanish dialects are significantly different. Spain Spanish from Andalusia is fast, very fast, and very “clipped”. A rapid utterance of micro-syllables. I can only barely track it at all, and even the English subtitles fly by so fast I can only just read them. The one in South America is laid back slow. I can just listen to the Spanish then shift down to the English subtitle if I’ve missed something (and it doesn’t flash on to the next one immediately…) I find it fairly easy to understand. The Mexican Spanish has a more throaty guttural/nasal quality to my ear, but is mostly understandable (modulo a few non-standard words).
Cultures and “material culture” shift fast too. A new style or method can sweep the world in a generation. The Bronze Age turned to the Iron Age for everyone at about the same time. Cars took over the world in a generation. Music flows with wandering minstrels as well as with iPods.
So anything from prehistory is by definition speculative.
Still, I think it’s pretty certain that there was an Atlantis, it was attested by the Egyptians to the Greeks, and there were “many destructions of mankind” in the Egyptian history (now lost). I believe their date is correct, at the final melt water phase after the Younger Dryas. That catastrophic ocean rise would wipe out all coastal cultures, and the shift of rainfall patterns would highly stress or collapse the inland ones. Mammoth floods would wash out river side cities. Mostly what would survive would be the rural folks living on mountains. Farmers and shepherds.
The Proto Egyptian folks moved from the wet green lush Sahara into the one reliable river valley and “civilization started” along with the formal recording of history. Most archaeologists are content to date all civilization as starting from that remnant. IMHO it must be, at most, a remnant of a preexisting civilization. One does not instantly burst into being with megalithic construction and two forms of writing. Solon was told by the Egyptians that civilization stretched back at least 30,000 years prior, but there were many collapses. Then we “lost the plot” in one of those as the Egyptian libraries were burned.
One of those lost cultures was the Minoans, but we are starting to understand a little of them. For anything much older, we’ll have to dig 400 feet down in the oceans, or under the blowing sands of the Sahara.
Does it matter, really, to us, today? Not much. It would be nice to know. It might illuminate some of our present characteristics. Mostly it would show we need to spend much more time figuring out what knowledge is valuable and preserving it for the future as we, too, shall fall “someday”. I’ve thought of making computer printed ‘stencils’ that could be fired onto tiles. It would let a modern version of clay tablets be made rapidly and effectively. A nice copy of a good encyclopedia, and some technical manuals, along with math, physics, and chemistry texts would give a big leg up to a future society. Maybe even land a set on the Moon near something interesting with the more advanced stuff in it. Paper and Digital storage do not work for a 5000 year horizon. Not even all that well for a 1000 year one. Metals get melted down and reused, or just rust away.
Well, with that, I’m going back to the workshop and see what else I can work on.