Dzhulyunitsa and Samovodene

Overarching period: European Neolithic, 9,000 - 3,700 BP
Specific period: Starčevo Cultures 8,200 - 6,500 BP
Carbon dating: 7,305 - 7,619 years old
Dzhulyunitsa - 43.16° North, 25.88° East
Samovodene - 43.14° North, 25.60° East Site location country: Bulgaria
mtDNA haplogroups: H, T2, K
Y haplogroups: G2, C

Starcevo Pot Transdanubian Linear Pottery from Hungary [23] Neolithic Stone Tools Neolithic Stone Tools from the Starčevo Culture of Hungary [24]

The Starčevo Cultures:

The Starčevo Culture of between 8,200 and 6,500 years ago [9-10] developed in an area that now includes Hungary and the Balkans. At least 66 Starčevo archaeological sites have been found, with many often situated near rivers and lakes [11]. The culture developed slightly earlier than the linear band pottery cultures which became a dominant culture of early farmers across Europe, and remained distinct for over 1,000 years. The people of Starčevo produced polished flint stone tools, bone spoons, V-shaped ceramic vessels, and art objects such as ceramic animal-shaped altarpieces [12]. It is thought that the incised pots made by these people were made at a household level [13] and would have represented shared family traditions.

The first major discoveries of the Starčevo Culture were made in the 1930s along the banks of the Danube near the town of Starčevo, from which the culture gets its name [11]. The site had multiple round dugouts that were likely the foundations of buildings. Within them stone masonry was discovered, as well as artifacts such as beads and weapons. Burials were also found at the site with bodies in a crouched position.

The Individuals from Dzhulyunitsa and Samovodene:

The sites of Dzhulyunitsa and Samovodene lie some 28 kilometres apart and are both found within 30 kms of the city of Veliko in present-day Bulgaria. The site of Dzhulyunitsa has been excavated since 2001 and was inhabited from the Early Neolithic until at least the Bronze Age [14]. The site at Samovodene was excavated in the 1970s and was principally occupied during the Neolithic [15]. Both sites were part of the Starčevo culture and represented early farmers of the Yantra River Valley. Finds at these sites include flint tools and the remains of dwellings [16]. Some artifacts can be directly linked to those found at sites in Anatolian. There were not grave goods buried with the skeletons of the individuals in this sample. Both of these individuals were carbon-dated to between 7,305 and 7,619 years old.

Genetic analysis has shown that these individuals were most closely-related to Anatolian farmers who had moved into the region starting from around 8,200 years ago [14]. Three individuals came from the Dzhulyunitsa site, with two being genetically male. One belonged to the Y chromosome haplogroup G2, which is common in Europe today and is thought to have been brought to the continent by Anatolian farmers and is of either Anatolian or Iranian origins [17]. His mitochondrial DNA came from the 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 [18]. The other male belonged to Y chromosome haplogroup C, which is a very rare lineage among Europeans today but is common in Asia, particularly Japan and Oceania. [19].

Two individuals from these sites, one from Samovodene and the other from Dzhulyunitsa belonged to the T2 mitochondrial lineage, which is another haplogroup of Middle Eastern origin. It is relatively rare in Europe today and likely arrived with the influx of farming cultures [20-21]. The other individual from Dzhulyunitsa belonged to the K mitochondrial lineage, which is Common in Europe today and is thought to be of Middle Eastern Origin, being recently derived from haplogroup U [22].