Szederkény-Kukorica-dülö and Versend-Gilencsa

Overarching period: European Neolithic, 9,000 - 3,700 BP
Specific period: Vinča Culture 7,700 - 6,500 BP
Carbon dating: 6,851 - 7,400 BP
Szederkény-Kukorica-dülö - 46.01° North, 18.30° East
Versend-Gilencsa - 46.00° North, 18.48° East
Site location country: Hungary
mtDNA haplogroups: H, T, U, K
Y haplogroups: G, H

Clay Figurine Vinča clay figurine [25]

The Vinča Culture:

The Vinča was a Neolithic culture that primarily existed in the present-day countries of Romania and Serbia, with the northwestern margins extending into present-day Hungary between 7,700 and 6,500 years ago [9]. It was named after the large settlement discovered in 1908 at Vinča-Belo Brdo [10], which is still being analyzed by archaeologists to this day. It was a very rich early agricultural society that produced an array of ceramics, and complex stone tools. They were particularly known for their clay figurines depicting people and animals, as well as possibly mythical figures [11]. It is also thought that there was a large increase in population during this period, making this one of the most productive areas of Europe during the time [12].

Near the end of the Vinča period, copper objects and evidence of copper metallurgy appeared which is believed to be the first example of this technology within Europe [13]. The end of the Vinča heralded the start of the Copper Age.

The Individuals from Szederkény-Kukorica-dülö and Versend-Gilencsa:

The six individuals in this sample came from two sites near the southern border of present-day Hungary, to the north of Croatia. The site of Szederkény-Kukorica-dülö is located 19 kilometers (12 miles) Southeast of the city of Pécs with the site of Versend-Gilencsa nearby by, being found only 5 kilometers (3 miles) to the east. These individuals were carbon-dated to between 6,851 and 7,400 years old [14].

These sites are thought to have represented a small colony of Vinča people [15] at the northernmost part of this culture’s range. The site of Szederkény was inhabited from the Neolithic through to the Bronze Age, with evidence for Neolithic houses. The graves used for this sample dated to the early Vinča period [16-17]. There were no reported grave goods. The site of Versend-Gilencsa also had evidence for Neolithic houses, with artifacts such as pottery showing connections with the neighbouring Sopot culture. The analysis of this site’s skeletons remains unpublished [14].

Genetic analysis has shown that peoples from the Vinča Culture were closely-related to people from the Tisza, Sopot, and Starčevo cultures. These people were the descendants of farmers that had migrated from Anatolia, but also had genetic input from hunter-gatherers that had previously lived in the region [14]. The amount of hunter-gatherer content varied, and likely represented different types of interactions between these peoples, some of which were friendly and some hostile.

One individual belonged to the mitochondrial H haplogroup which is also commonly found in Europe today and is known to have Middle Eastern origins. It has also been found in Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, and exist in Europe prior to the arrival of agriculture. It is common in Europe today is of Middle Eastern Origin, having been tracked out of Franco-Cantabrian region, and was around in Europe during the Paleolithic [18]. Two individuals belonged to the mitochondrial T haplogroup, which occurs at low frequencies in Europe today and is also through to be of Middle Eastern origin, as well as being found throughout Central Asia [19-20]. One individuals belonged to the mitochondrial U haplogroup which was the most common haplogroup among European hunter-gatherers of the Paleolithic and still exists in Europe today although at lower frequencies due to the genetic contribution of incoming European farmers [21]. Two individuals belonged to the K haplogroup, which is common in Europe today and is thought to be of Middle Eastern origin, having been recently derived from U [22].

Of the three males in this sample, two belonged to haplogroup G, which is common in Europe today and is thought to be of Anatolian or Iranian origin [23]. One male belonged to haplogroup H, which is uncommon in Europe today, but certain version of this haplogroup have been associated with the Neolithic in Europe and the Middle East. It is one of the more common versions found in India. [24].