African Back Migrations and the Status of Shamanism Origins as well as its Spreading 


“Various DNA studies have found Christian-era and modern Nubians along with modern Afro-Asiatic speaking populations in the Horn of Africa to be descended from a mix of West Eurasian and East African populations.” ref 

“The results showed that King Tut belonged to a genetic profile group, known as haplogroup R1b1a2, to which more than 50 percent of all men in Western Europe belong, indicating that they share a common ancestor. Among modern-day Egyptians this haplogroup contingent is below 1 percent, according to iGENEA. Up to 70 percent of British men and half of all Western European men are related to the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun, geneticists in Switzerland said.” ref 

“A 2020 study by Gad, Hawass, et al. analyzed mitochondrial and Y-chromosomal haplogroups from Tutankhamun‘s family members of the 18th Dynasty, using comprehensive control procedures to ensure quality results. The study found that the Y-chromosome haplogroup of the family was R1b. Haplogroup R1b is carried by modern Egyptians. Modern Egypt is also the only African country that is known to harbor all three R1 subtypes, including R1b-M269. The Y-chromosome profiles for Tutankhamun and Amenhotep III were incomplete and the analysis produced differing probability figures despite having concordant allele results. Because the relationships of these two mummies with the KV55 mummy (identified as Akhenaten) had previously been confirmed in an earlier study, the haplogroup prediction of both mummies could be derived from the full profile of the KV55 data.” ref 

“Genetic analysis indicated the following haplogroups for the 18th Dynasty:

Both Y-DNA haplogroups R1b and G2a, as well as both mtDNA haplogroups H and K, are carried by modern Egyptians.” ref 

In 2020, three mummies, dating from the 1st millennium BCE, from the Pushkin Museum of Arts collection were tested at the Kurchatov Institute of Moscow for their mitochondrial and Y-chromosomal haplogroups. Two of the mummies were found to belong to the Y-chromosomal haplogroup R1b1a1b (R1b-M269), which originated either in Eastern Europe or in the Near East, and to the Y-chromosome haplogroup E1b1b1a1b2a4b5a, which originated in North Africa. They also belonged to mtDNA haplogroups L3h1 and N5, common in Africans and Middle Easterners, respectively. The third mummy was found to belong to mtDNA haplogroup N, which is widely distributed across Eurasia as well as eastern and northeastern Africa.” ref 

(Haplogroup N5 – found in India)

 “In Southern Asia, N5 haplogroup, arose; N5 is extremely rare and has also been recently described in Iran, raising the possibility that this lineage could also have arisen in Southwest Asia. A greater number of N(xR) branches exist in Eastern Asia, Southeast Asia, and Australasia, showing that N(xR) certainly crossed into this region, along with lineages within R haplogroups.” ref 

“”The Predynastic of Upper Egypt and the Late Dynastic of Lower Egypt are more closely related to each other than to any other population” and most similar to modern Egyptians among modern populations, stating that “the Egyptians have been in place since back in the Pleistocene and have been largely unaffected by either invasions or migrations.” The craniometric analysis of predynastic Naqada human remains found that they were closely related to other Afroasiatic-speaking populations inhabiting North Africa, parts of the Horn of Africa and the Maghreb, as well as to Bronze Age and medieval period Nubians and to specimens from ancient Jericho.” ref 

“Kaiser’s chronology began c. 4000 BCE or around 6,000 years ago, but the modern version has been adjusted slightly, as follows:

“The Naqada skeletons were also morphologically proximate to modern osteological series from Europe and the Indian subcontinent. However, the Naqada skeletons and these ancient and recent skeletons were phenotypically distinct from skeletons belonging to modern Niger-Congo-speaking populations inhabiting Sub-Saharan Africa and Tropical Africa, as well as from Mesolithic skeletons excavated at Wadi Halfa in the Nile Valley. ” ref 

“The ancient Egyptian individuals in their own dataset possessed highly similar mtDNA haplogroup profiles, and cluster together, supporting genetic continuity across the 1,300-year transect. Modern Egyptians shared this mtDNA haplogroup profile, but also carried 8% more African component. A wide range of mtDNA haplogroups were found including clades of J, U, H, HV, M, R0, R2, K, T, L, I, N, X, and W. In addition, three ancient Egyptian individuals were analyzed for Y-DNA, two were assigned to Middle Eastern haplogroup J and one to haplogroup E1b1b1a1b2. Both of these haplogroups are carried by modern Egyptians, and are also common among Afroasiatic speakers in Northern Africa, Eastern Africa, and the Middle East. The researchers cautioned that the examined ancient Egyptian specimens may not be representative of those of all ancient Egyptians since they were from a single archaeological site from the northern part of Egypt.” ref 

“The analyses revealed that Ancient Egyptians had higher affinities with Near Eastern and European populations than do modern Egyptians, likely due to the 8% increase in the African component found in modern Egyptians. The absolute estimates of sub-Saharan African ancestry in these three ancient Egyptian individuals ranged from 6 to 15%, and the absolute estimates of sub-Saharan African ancestry in the 135 modern Egyptian samples ranged from 14 to 21%, which show an 8% increase in African component.” ref 

“The age of the ancient Egyptian samples suggests that this 8% increase in African component occurred predominantly within the last 2000 years. Verena Schuenemann and the authors of this study suggest a high level of genetic interaction with the Near East since ancient times, probably going back to Prehistoric Egypt although the oldest mummies at the site were from the New Kingdom: “Our data seem to indicate close admixture and affinity at a much earlier date, which is unsurprising given the long and complex connections between Egypt and the Middle East. These connections date back to Prehistory and occurred at a variety of scales, including overland and maritime commerce, diplomacy, immigration, invasion and deportation. According to the results of an analysis published by FTDNA in 2023, Nakht Ankh’s most likely Y-DNA haplogroup was H-Z19008, a subclade of H2.” ref 

“The primary branch H2 (P96) seems to have been found in sparse levels primarily in Europe and West Asia since prehistory. It has been found in remains of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB), which is part of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, a Neolithic culture centered in upper Mesopotamia and the Levant, dating to c. 10,800 – c. 8,500 years ago, and also the later Linear Pottery culture and Neolithic Iberia. H2 likely entered Europe during the Neolithic with the spread of agriculture. The earliest sample of H2 is found in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B culture of the Levant 10,000 years ago. From ancient samples, it is clear that H2 also has a strong association with the spread of agriculture from Anatolia into Europe, and is commonly found with haplogroup G2a. H2 was found in Neolithic Anatolia, as well as in multiple later Neolithic cultures of Europe, such as the Vinča culture in Serbia, and the Megalith culture of Western Europe. While being found in numerous ancient samples, H2 has only been found scarcely in modern populations across West Eurasia.” ref

I think people have a wrong idea of what hunter-gatherer societies can do. There were many different types of hunter-gatherers, some very complex and some not. People seem to think they all were similar and not complex, which is in error.

Shamanism MORE THEN three ways: with different back-to-Africa migrations of U6, R1b, N1a, and the Austronesian peoples

To me, it is possible that Siberian shamanism came into Africa with U6 DNA, by 30,000 years ago. It is possible that early paganistic shamanism (with totemism and animism) came into Africa with R1b-v88 DNA, by 8,000 years ago or earlier. Then the Cardium pottery people with N1a1 DNA possible with early paganistic shamanism (with totemism and animism). It is possible that early paganistic shamanism (with totemism and animism) came into Africa with Austronesian peoples, who were the first to settle Madagascar during or before the mid-first millennium CE, presumably arriving on outrigger canoes from present-day Indonesia. These were joined around the ninth century CE by Bantu migrants crossing the Mozambique Channel from East Africa. Other groups continued to settle on Madagascar over time, each one making lasting contributions to Malagasy cultural life. Subsequently, the Malagasy ethnic group is often divided into 18 or more subgroups, of which the largest are the Merina of the central highlands. ref

“The Iberomaurusian culture seems to have appeared around the time of the Last Glacial Maximum, sometime between c. 25,000 to 23,000 years ago. It will have lasted until the early Holocene, c. 11,000 years ago. Archaeological evidence has attested that population settlements occurred in Nubia as early as the Late Pleistocene and from the 5th millennium BCE onwards, whereas there is “no or scanty evidence” of human presence in the Egyptian Nile Valley during these periods, which may be due to problems in site preservation.” ref

“In Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, but not in Morocco, the industry is succeeded by the Capsian industry, whose origins are unclear. The Capsian is believed either to have spread into North Africa from the Near East, or to have evolved from the Iberomaurusian. In Morocco and Western Algeria, the Iberomaurusian is succeeded by the Cardial culture after a long hiatus.” ref 

“In 2005, the Mitochondrial DNA of 31 prehistoric skeletons dated from the site of Taforalt, Morocco in a cave called ‘Grotte des pigeons’ was analyzed by the Tunisian geneticist Rym Kefi (Pasteur Institute of Tunis) and her team. The remains at Taforalt were dated between 23,000 to 10,800 years ago (Ferembach 1985). Later analysis of bones and charcoals using a high-precision radiocarbon chronology showed that the Iberomaurusian industry appeared in TAF at least 22,093–21,420 years ago (Barton et al. 2013).” ref

“In 2016 she updated the research and wrote a new article which also included 8 skeletons from the Algerian Iberomaurusian site called ‘Afalou’. The Afalou site is dated from 15,000 to 11,000 years ago. 23 individuals from the original 2005 Taforalt sample were determined in Kefi’s 2016 article to be of the maternal genetic lineage U6 and of Eurasian haplogroups H, U, R0, and at the Algerian Afalou site maternal groups were JT, J, T, H, R0a1 and U. This suggests genetic flow between North Africa and southern Mediterranean littoral since the Epipaleolithic.” ref 

“In an article entitled ‘Pleistocene North African genomes link Near Eastern and sub-Saharan African human populations’, Marieke Van de Loosdrecht et al. (2018) did a full genome-wide analysis including Y-DNA from seven ancient individuals from the Taforalt site. The fossils were directly dated to between 15,100 and 13,900 calibrated years before present. All males at Taforalt belonged to haplogroup E1b1b1a1 (M-78). This haplogroup occurs most frequently in present-day North and East African populations. The closely related E1b1b1b (M-123) haplogroup has been reported for Epipaleolithic Natufians and Pre-Pottery Neolithic Levantines. Loosdrecht states: “Present-day North Africans share a majority of their ancestry with present-day Near Easterners, but not with sub-Saharan Africans” although the predominant Y-DNA of the Maghreb is E-M81 (see Haplogroup E-Z827 ) Maternally, six individuals of the Taforalt remains bore the U6a haplogroup and one individual was of the M1b haplogroup, these haplogroups proposed as markers for autochthonous Maghreb ancestry.” ref

“A two-way admixture scenario using Natufian and modern sub-Saharan samples (including West Africans and the Tanzanian Hadza) as reference populations inferred that the seven Taforalt individuals are best modeled genetically as of 63.5% West-Eurasian-related and 36.5% sub-Saharan ancestry (with the latter having both West African-like and Hadza-like affinities), with no apparent gene flow from the Epigravettian culture of Paleolithic southern Europe. The Sub-Saharan African DNA in Taforalt individuals has the closest affinity, most of all, to that of modern West Africans (e.g., Yoruba, or Mende). In addition to having similarity with the remnant of a more basal Sub-Saharan African lineage (e.g., a basal West African lineage shared between Yoruba and Mende peoples), the Sub-Saharan African DNA in the Taforalt individuals of the Iberomaurusian culture may be best represented by modern West Africans (e.g., Yoruba).” ref

“Iosif Lazaridis et al. (2018), as summarized by Rosa Fregel (2021), contested the conclusion of Loosdrecht (2018) and argued instead that the Iberomaurusian population of Upper Paleolithic North Africa, represented by the Taforalt sample, can be better modeled as an admixture between a Dzudzuana-like [West-Eurasian] component and an “Ancient North African” component, “that may represent an even earlier split than the Basal Eurasians.” Iosif Lazaridis et al. (2018) also argued that an Iberomaurusian/Taforalt-like population contributed to the genetic composition of Natufians “and not the other way around”, and that this Iberomaurusian/Taforalt lineage also contributed around 13% ancestry to modern West Africans “rather than Taforalt having ancestry from an unknown Sub-Saharan African source”. Fregel (2021) summarized: “More evidence will be needed to determine the specific origin of the North African Upper Paleolithic populations.” ref

“Martiniano et al. (2022) later reassigned all the Taforalt samples to haplogroup E-M78 and none to E-L618, the predecessor to EV13. D’Atanasio et al. 2023 found that Iberomaurusian-like ancestry was characterizing for the “ancient Green Saharan” population about 12,000-5,000 years ago, and that modern-day Fula people derive around 30% of their ancestry from this ancient Saharan population, which was “modeled as a sister group of ancient Northern Africans, or alternatively, as an outgroup of all the “Eurasian-ancestry” enriched groups.” ref

Shamans among the Austronesians 

“The most common native terms for shamans among Austronesian groups in Island Southeast Asia are balian, baylan, or cognates and spelling variants thereof. They are all derived from Proto-Western-Malayo-Polynesian *balian, meaning “shaman” (probably originally female, transvestite, or hermaphroditic) or “medium“. Various cognates in other non-Filipino Austronesian languages include babalian, bobolian, and bobohizan (Kadazan-Dusun); wadian (Ma’anyan); belian (Iban); belian (Malay); walen or walyan (Old Javanese); balian (Balinese); bolian (Mongondow); balia (Uma); wulia or balia (Bare’e); balia (Wolio); balian (Ngaju); and balieng (Makassar). However *balian-derived terms have largely disappeared among lowland Filipinos after Christianization in the Spanish era. Some exceptions include Bikol where it persisted and acquired the Spanish feminine suffix -a as balyana. It also survives among some Muslim Filipinos like in Maranao walian, although the meaning has shifted after Islamization.” ref

“The linguist Otto Dempwolff has also theorized that *balian may have ultimately derived from Proto-Austronesian *bali (“escort”, “accompany”) with the suffix *-an, in the meaning of “one who escorts a soul to the other world (a psychopomp)”. However, the linguists Robert Blust and Stephen Trussel have noted that there is no evidence that *balian is a suffixed form, and thus believe that Dempwolff’s interpretation is incorrect. More general terms used by Spanish sources for native shamans throughout the archipelago were derived from Tagalog and Visayan anito (“spirit”), these include terms like maganito and anitera. However, different ethnic groups had different names for shamans, including shamans with specialized roles.ref

“Filipino shamans, commonly known as babaylan (also balian or katalonan, among many other names), were shamans of the various ethnic groups of the pre-colonial Philippine islands. These shamans specialized in communicating, appeasing, or harnessing the spirits of the dead and the spirits of nature. They were almost always women or feminized men (asog or bayok). They were believed to have spirit guides, by which they could contact and interact with the spirits and deities (anito or diwata) and the spirit world. Their primary role were as mediums during pag-anito séance rituals. There were also various subtypes of babaylan specializing in the arts of healing and herbalismdivination, and sorcery.” ref

“The shaman’s power to communicate with the spirit world is derived from their spirit companions that guide them and intercede for them. These spirits are usually referred to in euphemistic terms like abyan (“friend”), alagad or bantay (“guardian”), or gabay (“guide”), among other terms. Shamans have at least one abyan, with more powerful shamans having many. Certain individuals like powerful leaders or warriors (especially those with shaman relatives) are also believed to have their own abyan that give them magical powers. Abyan are also believed to guide, teach, and inspire skilled artists and craftsmen in the community.” ref

“Abyan spirits can be ancestor spirits, but they are more commonly non-human spirits. Shamans either had spirit companions from birth, drew their attention during the “shamanic illness”, or gained their allegiance during initiation into shamanism. Spirits are believed to be social beings, with individual quirks and personalities (both good and bad). The friendship of abyan depend on reciprocity. The shamans do not command them. People with abyan must regularly offer sacrifices to these spirits, usually consisting of food, alcoholic drinks, ngangà, and blood from a sacrificial animal (usually a chicken or a pig) in order to maintain good relations. This friendship of abyan, once earned, is enduring. They become, in essence, part of the family. The abyan of a deceased shaman will often “return” to a living relative who might choose to become a shaman as well. The abyan are essential in shamanistic rituals as they prevent the shaman’s soul from getting lost in the spirit world. They also communicate entreaties on behalf of the shaman to more powerful spirits or deities, as well as fight evil spirits during healing or exorcism rituals.” ref

“On the island of Papua New Guinea, indigenous tribes believe that illness and calamity are caused by dark spirits, or masalai, which cling to a person’s body and poison them. Shamans are summoned in order to purge the unwholesome spirits from a person. Shamans also perform rainmaking ceremonies and can allegedly improve a hunter’s ability to catch animals. In Australia various aboriginal groups refer to their shamans as “clever men” and “clever women” also as kadji. These aboriginal shamans use maban or mabain, the material that is believed to give them their purported magical powers. Besides healing, contact with spiritual beings, involvement in initiation, and other secret ceremonies, they are also enforcers of tribal laws, keepers of special knowledge, and may “hex” to death one who breaks a social taboo by singing a song only known to the “clever men.” ref

“Ust’-Ishim man is the term given to the 45,000-year-old remains of one of the early modern humans to inhabit western Siberia. He belonged to mitochondrial DNA haplogroup R*, differing from the root sequence of R by a single mutation. Ust’-Ishim man belongs to Y-DNA haplogroup K2. The two subclades of K2 are K2a and K2b. Haplogroup K is believed to have originated in the mid-Upper Paleolithic. It is the most common subclade of haplogroup U8b. The haplogroup U8b’s most common subclade is haplogroup K, and makes up a sizeable fraction of European and West Asian mtDNA lineages.” ref, ref, ref

“Both of these haplogroups and descendant subclades are now found among populations throughout Eurasia, Oceania, and The Americas, although no direct descendants of Ust Ishim man’s specific lineages are known from modern populations. Examination of the sequenced genome indicates that Ust’-Ishim man lived at a point in time (270,000 to 45,000 years ago) between the first wave of anatomically modern humans that migrated out of Africa and the divergence of that population into distinct populations, in terms of autosomal DNA in different parts of Eurasia. Consequently, Ust’-Ishim man is not more closely related to the first two major migrations of Homo Sapiens eastward from Africa into Asia: a group that migrated along the coast of South Asia, or a group that moved north-east through Central Asia. When compared to other ancient remains, Ust’-Ishim man is more closely related, in terms of autosomal DNA to Tianyuan man, found near Beijing and dating from 42,000 to 39,000 years ago; Mal’ta boy (or MA-1), a child who lived 24,000 years ago along the Bolshaya Belaya River near today’s Irkutsk in Siberia, or; La Braña man – a hunter-gatherer who lived in La Braña (modern Spain) about 8,000 years ago.” ref

“Ust’-Ishim was equally related to modern East Asians, Oceanians, and West Eurasian populations, such as the ancient Europeans. Modern Europeans are more closely related to other ancient remains. “The finding that the Ust’-Ishim individual is equally closely related to present-day Asians and to 8,000- to 24,000-year-old individuals from western Eurasia, but not to present-day Europeans, is compatible with the hypothesis that present-day Europeans derive some of their ancestry from a population that did not participate in the initial dispersals of modern humans into Europe and Asia.”In a 2016 study, modern Tibetans were identified as the modern population that has the most alleles in common with Ust’-Ishim man. According to a 2017 study, “Siberian and East Asian populations shared 38% of their ancestry” with Ust’-Ishim man. A 2021 study found that “the Ust’Ishim and Oase1 individuals showed no more affinity to western than to eastern Eurasian populations, suggesting that they did not contribute ancestry to later Eurasian populations, as previously shown.” ref

Paleolithic Y-chromosomal haplogroups by chronological period

  • Proto-Aurignacian (47,000 to 43,000 years before present; eastern Europe): F
  • Aurignacian Culture (43,000 to 28,000 ybp ; all ice-free Europe): CT, C1a, C1b, I
  • Gravettian Culture (31,000 to 24,000 ybp ; all ice-free Europe): BT, CT, F, C1a2
  • Epiravettian Culture (22,000 to 8,000 ybp ; Italy): R1b1a
  • Magdalenian Culture 17,000 to 12,000 ybp ; Western Europe): IJK, I
  • Epipaleolithic France (13,000 to 10,000 ybp): I
  • Azilian Culture (12,000 to 9,000 ybp ; Western Europe): I2 ref

Paleolithic mitochondrial haplogroups by chronological period

  • Proto-Aurignacian (47,000 to 43,000 years before present ; eastern Europe): N, R*
  • Aurignacian Culture (43,000 to 28,000 ybp ; all ice-free Europe): M, U, U2, U6
  • Gravettian Culture (31,000 to 24,000 ybp ; all ice-free Europe): M, U, U2’3’4’7’8’9, U2 (x5), U5 (x5), U8c (x2)
  • Solutrean Culture (22,000 to 17,000 ybp ; France, Spain): U
  • Epiravettian Culture (22,000 to 8,000 ybp ; Italy): U2’3’4’7’8’9, U5b2b (x2)
  • Magdalenian Culture 17,000 to 12,000 ybp ; Western Europe): R0, R1b, U2’3’4’7’8’9, U5b (x2), U8a (x5)
  • Epipaleolithic France (13,000 to 10,000 ybp): U5b1, U5b2a, U5b2b (x2)
  • Epipaleolithic Germany (13,000 to 11,000 ybp): U5b1 (x2)
  • Azilian Culture (12,000 to 9,000 ybp ; Western Europe): U5b1h ref

Mesolithic Y-chromosomal haplogroups by country

  • Ireland: I2a1b, I2a2
  • Britain: IJK, I2a2 (x2)
  • France: I (x3), I2a1b2
  • Luxembourg: I2a1b
  • Germany: I2a2a
  • Spain: C1a2
  • Italy: I, I2a2
  • Sweden: I2a1 (x2), I2a1a1a*, I2a1b (x2), I2c2
  • Estonia: R1a-YP1272
  • Latvia: I2a1 (x2), I2a1b, I2a2a1, I2a2a1b (x2), Q1a2, R1b1a1a-P297 (x7)
  • Lithuania: I2a1b, I2a1a2a1a-L233
  • Serbia: I, I2 (x2), I2a1, I2a2, I2a2a-M223, I2a2a-Z161 (x2), R, R1b1a-L794 (x8)
  • Romania: R, R1, R1b
  • Ukraine: IJ, I (x4), I2, I2a1, I2a2, I2a2a, I2a2a1b1-L702 (x2), R1a, R1b1a-L794
  • Russia: J, R1a1* (x3), R1a1-YP1301, R1b1a, R1b1a1a-P297 ref

Mesolithic mitochondrial haplogroups by country

Note that the very late Mesolithic Pitted Ware culture (c. 3200–2300 BCE) in Sweden is listed separately as it is possible that intermarriages with Neolithic or Chalcolithic neighbors took place.

  • Croatia: U5b2a5
  • France: U5a2 (x2), U5b1, U5b1b
  • Germany, Luxembourg: U2e, U4, U5a, U5a2c (x2), U5a2c3, U5b (x2), U5b1a, U5b1d1 (x2), U5b2a2, U5b2c1
  • Greece: K1c (x2)
  • Italy: U5b1
  • Lithuania: U4, U5b (x3)
  • Poland: U5a, U5b (x2), U5b1b
  • Spain: U5b, U5b1, U5b2c1 (x2)
  • Russia: C, C1g, C5d, D, H, U2e, U4 (x3), U4a, U4a1, U5a (x3), U5a1 (x2), U5a1d, T, Z1a (x2)
  • Sweden: U2e1 (x2), U4b1, U5a1 (x3), U5a2, U5a2d (x2)
  • Sweden (Pitted Ware): H, H1f, HV0 (x2), K1a, K1a1 (x3), T2b (x2), U, U4 (x8), U4a1, U4d (x3), U5a, U5a1a’g (x2), U5b (x2), U5b1, U5b2b1a ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

To me, Animism starts in Southern Africa, then to West Europe, and becomes Totemism. Another split goes near the Russia and Siberia border becoming Shamanism, which heads into Central Europe meeting up with Totemism, which also had moved there, mixing the two which then heads to Lake Baikal in Siberia. From there this Shamanism-Totemism heads to Turkey where it becomes Paganism.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


“When researchers completed the final analysis of the Human Genome Project in April 2003, they confirmed that the 3 billion base pairs of genetic letters in humans were 99.9 percent identical in every person. It also meant that individuals are, on average, 0.1 percent different genetically from every other person on the planet. And in that 0.1 percent lies the mystery of why some people are more susceptible to a particular illness or more likely to be healthy than their neighbor – or even another family member.” ref


In terms of mitochondrial haplogroups, the mt-MRCA is situated at the divergence of macro-haplogroup L into L0 and L1–6. As of 2013, estimates on the age of this split ranged at around 155,000 years ago, consistent with a date later than the speciation of Homo sapiens but earlier than the recent out-of-Africa dispersal.” ref

There were at least several “out-of-Africa” dispersals of modern humans, possibly beginning as early as 270,000 years ago, including 215,000 years ago to at least Greece, and certainly via northern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula about 130,000 to 115,000 years ago. There is evidence that modern humans had reached China around 80,000 years ago. Practically all of these early waves seem to have gone extinct or retreated back, and present-day humans outside Africa descend mainly from a single expansion out 70,000–50,000 years ago. The most significant “recent” wave out of Africa took place about 70,000–50,000 years ago, via the so-called “Southern Route“, spreading rapidly along the coast of Asia and reaching Australia by around 65,000–50,000 years ago, (though some researchers question the earlier Australian dates and place the arrival of humans there at 50,000 years ago at earliest, while others have suggested that these first settlers of Australia may represent an older wave before the more significant out of Africa migration and thus not necessarily be ancestral to the region’s later inhabitants) while Europe was populated by an early offshoot which settled the Near East and Europe less than 55,000 years ago.” ref

Haplogroup L3 is a human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup. The clade has played a pivotal role in the early dispersal of anatomically modern humans. It is strongly associated with the out-of-Africa migration of modern humans of about 70–50,000 years ago. It is inherited by all modern non-African populations, as well as by some populations in Africa. Haplogroup L3 arose close to 70,000 years ago, near the time of the recent out-of-Africa event. This dispersal originated in East Africa and expanded to West Asia, and further to South and Southeast Asia in the course of a few millennia, and some research suggests that L3 participated in this migration out of Africa. L3 is also common amongst African Americans and Afro-Brazilians. A 2007 estimate for the age of L3 suggested a range of 104–84,000 years ago. More recent analyses, including Soares et al. (2012) arrive at a more recent date, of roughly 70–60,000 years ago. Soares et al. also suggest that L3 most likely expanded from East Africa into Eurasia sometime around 65–55,000 years ago years ago as part of the recent out-of-Africa event, as well as from East Africa into Central Africa from 60 to 35,000 years ago. In 2016, Soares et al. again suggested that haplogroup L3 emerged in East Africa, leading to the Out-of-Africa migration, around 70–60,000 years ago.” ref

“Haplogroups L6 and L4 form sister clades of L3 which arose in East Africa at roughly the same time but which did not participate in the out-of-Africa migration. The ancestral clade L3’4’6 has been estimated at 110 kya, and the L3’4 clade at 95 kya. The possibility of an origin of L3 in Asia was also proposed by Cabrera et al. (2018) based on the similar coalescence dates of L3 and its Eurasian-distributed M and N derivative clades (ca. 70 kya), the distant location in Southeast Asia of the oldest known subclades of M and N, and the comparable age of the paternal haplogroup DE. According to this hypothesis, after an initial out-of-Africa migration of bearers of pre-L3 (L3’4*) around 125 kya, there would have been a back-migration of females carrying L3 from Eurasia to East Africa sometime after 70 kya. The hypothesis suggests that this back-migration is aligned with bearers of paternal haplogroup E, which it also proposes to have originated in Eurasia. These new Eurasian lineages are then suggested to have largely replaced the old autochthonous male and female North-East African lineages.” ref

“According to other research, though earlier migrations out of Africa of anatomically modern humans occurred, current Eurasian populations descend instead from a later migration from Africa dated between about 65,000 and 50,000 years ago (associated with the migration out of L3). Vai et al. (2019) suggest, from a newly discovered old and deeply-rooted branch of maternal haplogroup N found in early Neolithic North African remains, that haplogroup L3 originated in East Africa between 70,000 and 60,000 years ago, and both spread within Africa and left Africa as part of the Out-of-Africa migration, with haplogroup N diverging from it soon after (between 65,000 and 50,000 years ago) either in Arabia or possibly North Africa, and haplogroup M originating in the Middle East around the same time as “N.” A study by Lipson et al. (2019) analyzing remains from the Cameroonian site of Shum Laka found them to be more similar to modern-day Pygmy peoples than to West Africans, and suggests that several other groups (including the ancestors of West Africans, East Africans, and the ancestors of non-Africans) commonly derived from a human population originating in East Africa between about 80,000-60,000 years ago, which they suggest was also the source and origin zone of haplogroup L3 around 70,000 years ago.” ref

Pic ref 

ref, ref

Our origins originate from Southern African (NOT THE FIRST ANCESTORS EVER AS THAT WOULD BE NORTH AFRICA AROUND 300,000 YEARS AGO TO EAST AFRICA AROUND 200,000 YEARS AGO OR SO BUT RATHER OUR LAST MAIN COMMON ANCESTORS AROUND 100,000 YEARS AGO), with a population divergence around 120,000 to 110,000 years ago and this is after the two other main areas of North and East Africa either migrated south or largely went extinct around 100,000 years ago. This is the most recent glacial era that consisted of a larger pattern of glacial and interglacial periods beginning around 115,000 which may have influenced both the migrating south and possibly could connect to some of the influences relating to the extinctions as well. Moreover, as these Ancient Southern African peoples developed over time, they also expanded out from there to populate the globe and the DNA of us all points to a southern African origin. Furthermore, it seems as they expanded back out, they either replaced the other populations in central and east Africa that may have been left or absorbed any remaining individuals. ref

Southern African Middle Stone Age sites:

(Ap) Apollo 11; (BAM) Bambata; (BBC) Blombos Cave; (BC) Border Cave; (BGB)Boegoeberg; (BPA) Boomplaas; (BRS) Bushman Rock Shelter; (BUN) Bundu Farm; (CF)Cufema Reach; (CK) Canteen Kopje; (COH) Cave of Hearths; (CSB) Cape St Blaize; (DK)Die Kelders Cave 1; (DRS) Diepkloof Rock Shelter; (EBC) Elands Bay Cave; (FL) Florisbad; (≠GI) ≠Gi; (HP) Howiesons Poort; (HRS) Hollow Rock Shelter; (KD) Klipdrift; (KKH) Klein Kliphuis; (KH) Khami; (KK) Kudu Koppie; (KP) Kathu Pan; (KRM) Klasies River Main Site; (L) Langebaan; (MBA) Mumbwa Caves; (MC) Mwulu’s Cave; (MEL)Melikane; (MON) Montagu Cave; (NBC) Nelson Bay Cave; (NG) Ngalue; (NT) Ntloana Tšoana; (OBP) Olieboomspoort; (PC) Peers Cave; (POC) Pockenbank; (PL) Plover’s Lake; (POM) Pomongwe; (PP) Pinnacle Point; (RCC) Rose Cottage Cave; (RED) Redcliff; (RHC) Rhino Cave; (SCV) Seacow Valley; (SFT) Soutfontein; (SEH) Sehonghong; (SIB)Sibudu Cave; (SPZ) Spitzkloof Rock Shelter; (SS) Sunnyside 1; (STB) Strathalan Cave B; (STK) Sterkfontein; (TR) Twin Rivers; (UMH) Umhlatuzana; (VR) Varsche Rivier 003; (WPS) White Paintings Shelter; (WK) Wonderkrater; (WW) Wonderwerk; (YFT)Ysterfontein 1; (ZOM) Zombepata Cave. ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


Animism: a belief among some indigenous people, young children, or all religious people!

Over 100,000 years ago or so, Southern Africa, in the Land before and the beginning Time of Animism: LINK

Animism: an approximately 100,000-year-old belief system?

Qafzeh Cave held early modern human remains dating to the Middle Paleolithic period which is the oldest levels are dated to the Mousterian culture period, about 80,000-100,000 years ago. At the site there were hearths; and stone tools use the Levallois technique on the stone tools. various layers at Qafzeh were dated to an average of 96,000-115,000 years ago and the Qafzeh cave contains some of the earliest evidence for burials in the world and included 27 anatomically modern humans, with some archaic features dating to around 92,000 years ago and were directly associated with Levallois-Mousterian assemblage, appear to have been purposefully buried: dated to around 92,000 years ago. The remains are from anatomically modern humans, with some archaic features; they are directly associated with Levallois-Mousterian assemblage. Modern behaviors indicated at the cave include the purposeful burials; the use of ochre for body painting; the presence of marine shells, used as ornamentation, and most interestingly, the survival and eventual ritual interment of a severely brain-damaged child. Moreover, deer antlers at Qafzeh 11 seem to be associated with burials unlike the marine shells which do not seem to be associated with burials, but rather are scattered more or less randomly throughout the site, possibly as a sacred offering, one that sanctifies an area? Or kind of blessing the aria? ref

Animism (such as that seen in Africa: 100,000 years ago)

Animism is approximately a 100,000-year-old belief system and believe in spirit-filled life and/or afterlife. If you believe like this, regardless of your faith, you are a hidden animist.

The following is evidence of Animism: 100,000 years ago, in Qafzeh, Israel, the oldest intentional burial had 15 African individuals covered in red ocher was from a group who visited and returned back to Africa. 100,000 to 74,000 years ago, at Border Cave in Africa, an intentional burial of an infant with red ochre and a shell ornament, which may have possible connections to the Africans buried in Qafzeh, Israel. 120,000 years ago, did Neanderthals teach us Primal Religion (Pre-Animism/Animism) as they too used red ocher and burials? ref, ref

It seems to me, it may be the Neanderthals who may have transmitted a “Primal Religion (Animism)” or at least burial and thoughts of an afterlife. The Neanderthals seem to express what could be perceived as a Primal “type of” Religion, which could have come first and is supported in how 250,000 years ago, the Neanderthals used red ochre and 230,000 years ago shows evidence of Neanderthal burial with grave goods and possibly a belief in the afterlife. ref

Do you think it is crazy that the Neanderthals may have transmitted a “Primal Religion”? Consider this, it appears that 175,000 years ago, the Neanderthals built mysterious underground circles with broken off stalactites. This evidence suggests that the Neanderthals were the first humans to intentionally bury the dead, doing so in shallow graves along with stone tools and animal bones. Exemplary sites include Shanidar in Iraq, Kebara Cave in Israel and Krapina in Croatia. Other evidence may suggest the  Neanderthals had it transmitted to them by Homo heidelbergensis, 350,000 years ago, by their earliest burial in a shaft pit grave in a cave that had a pink stone axe on the top of 27 Homo heidelbergensis individuals and 250,000 years ago, Homo naledi had an intentional cemetery in South Africa cave.  refref, ref, refref

  • “120,000–90,000 years ago: Abbassia Pluvial in North Africa—the Sahara desert region is wet and fertile.
  • 120,000 to 75,000 years ago: Khoisanid back-migration from Southern Africa to East Africa.
  • 82,000 years ago: small perforated seashell beads from Taforalt in Morocco are the earliest evidence of personal adornment found anywhere in the world.
  • 75,000 years ago: Toba Volcano supereruption that almost made humanity extinct. Populations could have been lowered to about 3000-1000 people on the Earth.
  • 70,000 years ago: earliest example of abstract art or symbolic art from Blombos Cave, South Africa—stones engraved with grid or cross-hatch patterns.
  • 70,000 years ago: Recent African originseparation of sub-Saharan Africans and non-Africans.” ref

Did Neanderthals Help Inspire Totemism?

Because there is Art Dating to Around 65,000 Years Ago in Spain?

“What About Neanderthals and Religion”

Scientists have found the first major evidence that Neanderthals made cave paintings, indicating they may have had an artistic sense similar to our own. A new study led by the University of Southampton and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology shows that paintings in three caves in Spain were created more than 64,000 years ago – 20,000 years before modern humans arrived in Europe. This means that the Palaeolithic (Ice Age) cave art – including pictures of animals, dots, and geometric signs – must have been made by Neanderthals, a ‘sister’ species to Homo sapiens, and Europe’s sole human inhabitants at the time. It also indicates that they may have had a similar artistic sense, in terms of thinking symbolically, to modern humans. Published today in the journal Science, the study reveals how an international team of scientists used a state-of-the-art technique called uranium-thorium dating to fix the age of the paintings as more than 64,000 years. Until now, cave art has been attributed entirely to modern humans, as claims to a possible Neanderthal origin have been hampered by imprecise dating techniques. However, uranium-thorium dating provides much more reliable results than methods such as radiocarbon dating, which can give false age estimates. Results show that the paintings we dated are, by far, the oldest known cave art in the world, and were created at least 20,000 years before modern humans arrived in Europe from Africa so it is assumed – therefore they may have been painted by Neanderthals. All three caves contain red (ochre) or black paintings of groups of animals, dots, and geometric signs, as well as hand stencils, handprints, and engravings. According to the researchers, creating the art must have involved such sophisticated behavior as the choice of a location, planning of light source and mixing of pigments. There is evidence that Neanderthals in Europe used body ornamentation around 40,000 to 45,000 years ago, but many researchers have suggested this was inspired by modern humans who at the time had just arrived in Europe. Study co-author Paul Pettitt, of Durham University, commented: “Neanderthals created meaningful symbols in meaningful places. The art is not a one-off accident. ref

Neanderthals are our closest extinct relative, but for a long time, they had a reputation for being pretty backward. Early modern humans, for example, made cave paintings. But even though Neanderthals used pigments and decorated themselves with eagle claws and shells, there was no clear proof that they painted caves. One theory goes that Neanderthals developed their rudimentary culture only after early modern humans arrived in Europe some 40,000 to 50,000 years ago. The most recent painting is at least 64,800 years old, according to this technique, and the oldest is more than 66,000 years old. ref

The Neanderthal was the only proven Human of Europe at the time, but was his or her brain up to the job? Or did modern humans reach Europe tens of thousands of years earlier than thought? The ancient art forms are symbolic but not figurative, explain their finders. In Spain, a cave in Maltravieso features hand stencils more than 66,000 years old, Prof. Dirk Hoffmann of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and others report in their paper, published Thursday in Science. The La Pasiega Cave in Cantabria features a ladder form composed of red horizontal and vertical lines that were created more than 64,000 years ago, they say. Further supporting the Neanderthal-as-artist theory, a related paper published Thursday in Science Advances reports that dyed and decorated seashells found in a Spanish cave dated to more than 115,000 years ago. Perforated shells found in sediments in Cueva de los Aviones that date to between 115,000 and 120,000 years. There’s no argument that there were Neanderthals in Europe 64,000 years ago. Homo sapiens, on the other hand, was thought to have reached Europe only 45,000 to 40,000 years ago. There is no evidence for modern humans in Iberia before 41,000 years ago, and there is evidence for Neanderthal presence until about 36,000 years ago in southern Spain and Portugal. Neanderthals existed for twice the time modern people have, if not more, and were once the dominant hominin in Europe. While Neanderthals may have etched a crisscross and perhaps carved a flute, look what Homo sapiens achieved, Coolidge says. The Paleolithic record is replete with exquisite works, from cave paintings to carvings done tens of thousands of years ago – such as the Lion Man sculpture found in a German cave and made of mammoth ivory some 38,000 years ago. ref

Neanderthal ritual or religious practice at around 50,000 years old burial in Sima de las Palomas in MurciaSoutheast Spain of a female covered with rocks inturned with a cut off panther paw, suggesting that Neanderthals—much like today’s bear hunters—ceremoniously cut off panther paws and kept them as totemistic trophies. This 50,000-year-old Neanderthal burial ground actually includes the remains of at least three individuals intentionally buried, with each Neanderthal’s arms folded such that the hands were close to the head. Remains of other Neanderthals have been found in this position, suggesting that it held meaning. The remains of six to seven other Neanderthals, including one baby and two juveniles, have also been excavated at the site. The tallest individual appears to have been an adult who stood around 5 feet 1 inch tall. refref

Adapted from: ref

Here we see the tracings of the engraved ochres from the Blombos cave site’s in South Africa, from its Middle Stone Age layers and their stratigraphic locations where they were found in the dirt and the years they relate to. M1 dates to around 73,000 years ago, M2 around 85,000 to 77,000 years ago, and M3 dates to around 100,000 to 99,000 years ago. Middle Stone Age generally started around 280,000 years ago and ended around 25,000 years ago or so. Therefore, amazing as it is, here we have proof that “Symbolic Meaning,” seems to be clear at the beginning of Animism, as seen in Africa 100,000 years ago. In a landmark study, it was demonstrated, for the first time, that there are seeming tradition in the production of geometric engraved representations, includes the production of a number of different patterns and this set of evolving traditions have roots that go back in time to at least 100,000 years ago (around a time I say Animism begins in Africa). The fact that they were created, that most of them are deliberate and were made with representational intent, strongly suggests they functioned as artifacts within a society by symbols with meaning. ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref, ref

I classify Animism (animated ‘spirit‘ or “supernatural” perspectives).

I see all religious people as at least animists, so, all religions have at least some amount, kind, or expression of animism as well.

Stone Snake of South Africa: “first human worship” 70,000 years ago

75,000 – 70,000 Years Ago – (South Africa), found engraved pieces of sacralized rock art composed of red ochre and decorated with abstract pattern at Klein Kliphuis, Wonderwerk Cave, Klasies River Cave like those mentioned earlier at Blombos Cave. 70,000 Years Ago – Tsodilo Hills (Southern Africa), found the “first human worship” of a megalithic serpent/ python /snake-shaped rock with ritual carvings on it in python cave or rhino cave. The large python looking stone item monument comes out of a cave and links to mythology of modern local people like a mecca of sorts calling it mountain of the gods. The worship has a greater conformation of worship such as offerings such as 100 multicolored spear points some burned or smashed and 22 tips made from red stone, which leads to some kind of proto early religion, animistic mysticism or totemistic supernaturalism. Hunter-gatherer monuments occur on every inhabited continent, such communities commonly recognize natural features seeing mystical essence, physically altering them to ritual emphasis understood as veneration of natural things or places. African ethnography exposes the distinction through the contrast between ‘places of power’ and ‘shrines of the land’. Monuments of either ‘places of power’ or ‘shrines of the land’ connect not only to the landscapes but may indeed be a fundamental characteristic or tendency to anthropomorphism. I would like to highlight the possible continuing theme of shake sacralization that is seen at the first human worship of a megalithic stone snake located in South Africa; which is similar to the seeming snake reverence at Gobekli Tepe, the first human made temple located in southeast Turkey, with an extra significance of sacralized snakes, even some seeming to suggesting a believed magical connection to women and birth. This python cave with the megalithic snake-shaped rock in the Tsodilo Hills is a long list thing of worship but the theme is quite alive and well seen in how the area is still venerated as the “Mountains of the Gods” and python is one of the most important animals by the San people (or Bushmen), various indigenous hunter-gatherer people basically from Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and South Africa. What is similarly intriguing is how the San people’s myth of humanities conception involved a python (seeing to show a birth connection theme with snakes) and streams around the hills are sacralized as having been created by the python as it circled the hills endlessly searching for water. DNA tests show that the ancestors of today’s San hunter-gatherers seem to have separated from other human populations in Africa about 200,000 years ago, to then become genetically isolated around 100,000 years ago, when humans where still confined to the African continent. It is speculated the split involved two separate populations where the San hunter-gatherers evolved in isolation until they came started to come back together about 50, 000 to 40,000 years ago, reforming a single pan-African human population. Also of note found artifacts dating to around 44,000 years ago, demonstrating some of the earliest evidence for modern human behaviors, at a time close to the remerging of all humans demonstrates ancient hunter-gatherer’s tools of southern Africa are almost identical to ones used by modern San hunter-gatherers.


World’s Oldest Ritual Discovered — Worshipped The Python 70,000 Years Ago

Per, “A startling archaeological discovery this summer changes our understanding of human history. While, up until now, scholars have largely held that man’s first rituals were carried out over 40, 000 years ago in Europe, it now appears that they were wrong about both the time and place. Associate Professor Sheila Coulson, from the University of Oslo, can now show that modern humans, Homo sapiens, have performed advanced rituals in Africa for 70,000 years. She has, in other words, discovered mankind’s oldest known ritual. The archaeologist made the surprising discovery while she was studying the origin of the Sanpeople. A group of the San live in the sparsely inhabited area of north-western Botswana known as Ngamiland. Coulson made the discovery while searching for artifacts from the Middle Stone Age in the only hills present for hundreds of kilometers in any direction. This group of small peaks within the Kalahari Desert is known as the Tsodilo Hills and is famous for having the largest concentration of rock paintings in the world. The Tsodilo Hills are still a sacred place for the San, who call them the “Mountains of the Gods” and the “Rock that Whispers”. The python is one of the San’s most important animals. According to their creation myth, mankind descended from the python and the ancient, arid streambeds around the hills are said to have been created by the python as it circled the hills in its ceaseless search for water. Sheila Coulson’s find shows that people from the area had a specific ritual location associated with the python. The ritual was held in a little cave on the northern side of the Tsodilo Hills. The cave itself is so secluded and access to it is so difficult that it was not even discovered by archaeologists until the 1990s. When Coulson entered the cave this summer with her three master’s students, it struck them that the mysterious rock resembled the head of a huge python. On the six meter long by two meter tall rock, they found three-to-four hundred indentations that could only have been man-made. “You could see the mouth and eyes of the snake. It looked like a real python. The play of sunlight over the indentations gave them the appearance of snake skin. At night, the firelight gave one the feeling that the snake was actually moving”. They found no evidence that work had recently been done on the rock. In fact, much of the rock’s surface was extensively eroded. When they saw the many indentations in the rock, the archaeologists wondered about more than when the work had been done. They also began thinking about what the cave had been used for and how long people had been going there. With these questions in mind, they decided to dig a test pit directly in front of the python stone. At the bottom of the pit, they found many stones that had been used to make the indentations. Together with these tools, some of which were more than 70,000 years old, they found a piece of the wall that had fallen off during the work. In the course of their excavation, they found more than 13,000 artifacts. All of the objects were spearheads and articles that could be connected with ritual use, as well as tools used in carving the stone. They found nothing else. As if that were not enough, the stones that the spearheads were made from are not from the Tsodilo region but must have been brought from hundreds of kilometers away. The spearheads are better crafted and more colourful than other spearheads from the same time and area. Surprisingly enough, it was only the red spearheads that had been burned. “Stone age people took these colourful spearheads, brought them to the cave, and finished carving them there. Only the red spearheads were burned. It was a ritual destruction of artifacts. There was no sign of normal habitation. No ordinary tools were found at the site. Our find means that humans were more organised and had the capacity for abstract thinking at a much earlier point in history than we have previously assumed. All of the indications suggest that Tsodilo has been known to mankind for almost 100,000 years as a very special place in the pre-historic landscape.” says Sheila Coulson. Sheila Coulson also noticed a secret chamber behind the python stone. Some areas of the entrance to this small chamber were worn smooth, indicating that many people had passed through it over the years. “The shaman, who is still a very important person in San culture, could have kept himself hidden in that secret chamber. He would have had a good view of the inside of the cave while remaining hidden himself. When he spoke from his hiding place, it could have seemed as if the voice came from the snake itself. The shaman would have been able to control everything. It was perfect.” The shaman could also have “disappeared” from the chamber by crawling out onto the hillside through a small shaft. While large cave and wall paintings are numerous throughout the Tsodilo Hills, there are only two small paintings in this cave: an elephant and a giraffe. These images were rendered, surprisingly, exactly where water runs down the wall. Sheila Coulson thinks that an explanation for this might come from San mythology. In one San story, the python falls into a body of water and cannot get out by itself. The python is pulled from the water by a giraffe. The elephant, with its long trunk, is often used as a metaphor for the python. “In the cave, we find only the San people’s three most important animals: the python, the elephant, and the giraffe. That is unusual. This would appear to be a very special place. They did not burn the spearheads by chance. They brought them from hundreds of kilometers away and intentionally burned them. So many pieces of the puzzle fit together here. It has to represent a ritual.” concludes Sheila Coulson. It was a major archaeological find five years ago that made it possible for Sheila Coulson to date the finds in this little cave in Botswana. Up until the turn of the century, archaeologists believed that human civilisation developed in Europe after our ancestors migrated from Africa. This theory was crushed by Archaeologist Christopher Henshilwood when he published his find of traces from a Middle Stone Age dwelling in the Blombos Cave in Southern Cape, South Africa.” –

Göbekli Tepe, Python Rock, and Primitive Spirituality

Per Dr. Heather Lynn, “The Tsodilo Hills Site is known for having the largest concentration of rock paintings in the world. To this day, the Tsodilo Hills are sacred to the local San people, who call them the “Mountains of the Gods.” The San people also still consider the python as their most sacred animals.  According to their creation myth, man descended from the python in the sky. The streambeds around the hills are believed to have been created by the python as it circled the hills looking for water. In order to get a San guide into the hills, one must first gain permission from the ancient serpent. Even after permission has been “granted” by the python god, reaching the cave is no easy feat. It is extremely difficult to access and so secluded, that it was not even discovered by archaeologists until the 1990s. At the site, there are two rock paintings on one side of the cave and a rock with a three-to-four hundred man-made indentations in it. This strange rock resembled the head of a large python, measuring six meters in length and two meters in height. With the sunlight glistening on the indentations, it gives the appearance of snake skin. An even more stunning site is at night, when the radiant glow of firelight bounces and flickers on the “scales” of the python, giving the feeling that the snake is undulating through the darkness. To find out more about what specific rituals may have been performed at the site, archaeologists dug a test pit in front of the python stone. There, they uncovered a number of the stones that were likely used in the making of the indentations. These stones, as well as ancient tools, dating to at least 70,000 years ago, were found with more than 13,000 artifacts. An even more interesting detail, is that the spearheads were made from material not from the Tsodilo region, but from areas much further away, indicating these were indeed, special. Additionally, the spearheads found were of better quality and more colorful than other spearheads from the same region and era. Archaeologist found that only the red colored spearheads had been burned. They theorized that the early inhabitants of this site took an assortment of colored spearheads to the cave where they would finish carving them. Then, they would perform a ritual burning of the red ones. Given the absence of any other artifact type at the site, it is believed that no one lived here. Much like Göbekli Tepe, there are no signs of cooking hearths or other evidence of domestic life at the site. Rather, it points to the site as serving a special ritual purpose. All of this points to the idea that early humans were capable of abstract thinking, much earlier than previously accepted. Moreover, behind the python rock is a secret chamber, believed to be accessed only by a shaman. It is there, that he may very well have hidden and spoke to pilgrims from his hiding place. From his vantage point, he would have had keen view of the comings and goings of people around him. He would also be in complete control, as the illusion would have been mesmerizing to an early human ancestor, having never before seen our experienced such a thing. Just imagine for a moment you are an early human ancestor, approaching the summit after a long journey. Here, you catch a glint of light jutting off of what appears to be one of the most universally dreaded creatures in natural human history; the serpent. Although trembling in fear, you proceed. After all, this is what you came here for. Perhaps you are bringing your spearheads to be blessed so that you have luck in the hunt. Maybe you seek healing; a common association with serpent symbolism. As you stand in awe and reverence at the serpent, a low, cavernous voice bellows out to you. You would be in a highly suggestible state, having been scared and manipulated into submission to the will of the great serpent. Had you been a cleverer fellow, you may have had some suspicion. Maybe you are brave and decide to go directly into the belly of the beast to see from where this voice was emanating. Alas, you would have likely been tricked, as the shaman would have disappeared from the chamber by way of the small shaft leading out onto the hillside! There is so much yet to learn about early man and his religions. Sites like Göbekli Tepe are still being researched and many more have yet to be discovered. In time, I believe we will find evidence of an even earlier, advanced civilization in the region. On a recent radio interview, I was asked about the idea of a “Civilization X,” an idea sometimes proposed by Graham Hancock and others. I am not an adherent to any one Atlantis-like lost civilization theory, as I feel that it is too Reductionist in nature. I would hedge my bets on there being more than an X, but perhaps Civilizations A, B, and C; all of which having their own derivative sub-civilizations. I think the desire to find a Civilization X is no different than that of the Evolutionist’s desire to find a “missing link.” It is so alluring because of its simplicity. It is as if there is a promise that if you search far enough, you will find the one puzzle piece that can provide us with the complete picture of human origins. I happen to think that there are more than just one puzzle piece. In fact, I would go so far as to say there is more than one puzzle completely. If you think you have compelling evidence to support the idea of a Civilization X, please email me. I would genuinely love to take a look. Like most of you, I am just a humble truth-seeker, lover of knowledge, and explorer on this mystery quest.” – Dr. Heather Lynn


Ritualized Behavior in the Middle Stone Age: Evidence from Rhino Cave, Tsodilo Hills, Botswana


“Rhino Cave, located at the World Heritage site of Tsodilo Hills, is one of the three main Middle Stone Age (MSA) sites in Botswana. Initial investigations during the mid-1990s left unanswered a number of key questions regarding the early use of the cave. This prompted the current investigations, which have unearthed a wealth of MSA artifacts from a lag deposit. Results of a selectively employed chaîne opératoire analysis have revealed a very special set of behavioral patterns. It will be argued that the best-fit interpretation of the results from this investigation lies within the realm of ritualized behavior. The assemblage is characterized by an unexpectedly large number of MSA points, which are for the most part produced in non-locally acquired raw materials. These points are colorful, carefully and often elaborately made, and, once complete, never left the cave. They were either deliberately burned to the point where they could no longer be used, abandoned, or intentionally smashed. These artifacts were found together with tabular grinding slabs and pieces of the locally available pigment, specularite. This assemblage was recovered directly beneath a massive, virtually free-standing rock face that has been carved with hundreds of cupules of varying sizes and shapes. A section of the carved rock face was recovered from well within the MSA deposits in association with handheld grinding stones.” ref

ref , ref, ref 

At Border Cave, a “savanna-woodland” vegetation community is implied before 100,000 years ago and the matching density of stone tools vary considerably through time, with high frequencies of stone blades occurring before 100,000 years ago. ref 

Around 74,000 years ago, in Border Cave, South Africa, the burial of a 4 to 6-month-old child was found in a pit with a personal ornament, a perforated Conus shell. ref

Border Cave is the only African site covering a time span of 250,000 years, with Middle Stone Age human remains, and also records the first emergence of key cultural innovations such as things like grass bedding dated between 70,000 to 30,000 years ago. ref 

In South Africa, some of the oldest beads are made of marine shells that come from the Still Bay layers of Blombos Cave dating back to around 72,000 years ago, and engraved ostrich eggshells dated to around 60,000 years ago from Diepkloof in South Africa. Some of the oldest beads made of non-marine shells involve ostrich eggshells and from Border Cave, there are some that date to around 42,000 years ago. Beads were also collected from the late MSA/early LSA context of similar age at Apollo 11 and from layers associated with MSA at Boomplaas Cave. Furthermore, beads were also reported from the MSA at Cave of Hearths. Other sub-contemporaneous beads have been recovered north of South Africa. ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

refrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefref,  refrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefref,

Explaining the Earliest Religious Expression, that of Animism (beginning 100,000 to 70,000 years ago?) to Totemism (beginning 30,000 to 3,000 years ago?) in Southern Africa: LINK

Animism: an approximately 100,000-year-old belief system?

Animism (from Latin anima, “breath, spirit, life”) is the religious belief that objects, places, and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence. Potentially, animism perceives all things—animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather systems, human handiwork and perhaps even words—as animated and alive. Animism is the oldest known type of belief system in the world that even predates paganism. It is still practiced in a variety of forms in many traditional societies. Animism is used in the anthropology of religion as a term for the belief system of many indigenous tribal peoples, especially in contrast to the relatively more recent development of organized religions. Although each culture has its own different mythologies and rituals, “animism” is said to describe the most common, foundational thread of indigenous peoples’ “spiritual” or “supernatural” perspectives. The animistic perspective is so widely held and inherent to most animistic indigenous peoples that they often do not even have a word in their languages that corresponds to “animism” (or even “religion”); the term is an anthropological construct. ref

“animist” Believe in spirit-filled life and/or afterlife (you are a hidden animist/Animism : an approximately 100,000-year-old belief system Qafzeh: Oldest Intentional Burial of 15 individuals with red ocher and Border Cave: intentional burial of an infant with red ochre and a shell ornament (possibly extending to or from Did Neanderthals teach us “Primal Religion (Animism?)” 120,000 Years Ago, as they too used red ocher? well it seems to me it may be Neanderthals who may have transmitted a “Primal Religion (Animism?)” or at least burial and thoughts of an afterlife they seem to express what could be perceived as a Primal “type of” Religion, which could have come first is supported in how 250,000 years ago Neanderthals used red ochre and 230,000 years ago shows evidence of Neanderthal burial with grave goods and possibly a belief in the afterlife. Think the idea that Neanderthals who may have transmitted a “Primal Religion” as crazy then consider this, it appears that Neanderthals built mystery underground circles 175,000 years ago. Evidence suggests that the Neanderthals were the first humans to intentionally bury the dead, doing so in shallow graves along with stone tools and animal bones. Exemplary sites include Shanidar in Iraq, Kebara Cave in Israel and Krapina in Croatia. Or maybe Neanderthals had it transmitted to them Evidence of earliest burial: a 350,000-year-old pink stone axe with 27 Homo heidelbergensis. As well as the fact that the oldest Stone Age Art dates to around 500,000 to 233,000 Years Old and it could be of a female possibly with magical believed qualities or representing something that was believed to) 

No, Religion and Gods were not Created due to fear of Lightning.
I hear some say that the fear of lightning cased or inspired religion it most likely did not as it is not well represented in the most ancient religion forms like animism at least 100,000 years ago and rather seems to gain its importance around the time of agriculture after paganism around 12,000 years ago relating to the bull and was connected to the early goddess faiths connected to the worship of cereal grains believed to be goddesses and rain/thunderstorms/lightning the bull was worshiped as it was thought to help fertilize the goddess. To the animist, spirit believer the goal is to create the proper atmosphere so that spirits add their benefit and not their harm. All existence is connected commonly lacking strict or permanent divisions or distinctions between that seen as animate or inanimate, human or non-human and while there may be prescribed pattern to avoid discomfort to the spirits even a fear in doing so, animists don’t generally view themselves as a helpless or passive victim of the world nor do they hesitate in utilizing almost any means which will provide protection as it is merely a way of relating effectively in the world. ref

Understanding Religion Evolution

My thoughts on Religion Progression

  1. Animism (a belief in a perceived spirit world) passably by at least 100,000 years ago “the primal stage of early religion”
  2. Totemism (a belief that these perceived spirits could be managed with created physical expressions) passably by at least 50,000 years ago “progressed stage of early religion”
  3. Shamanism (a belief that some special person can commune with these perceived spirits on the behalf of others by way rituals) passably by at least 30,000 years ago
  4. Paganism “Early organized nature-based religion” mainly like an evolved shamanism with gods (passably by at least 12,000 years ago).
  5. Institutional religion “organized religion” as a social institution with official dogma usually set in a hierarchical/bureaucratic structure that contains strict rules and practices dominating the believer’s life.


South Africans used spearthrower‐and‐darts 80,000 to 70,000 years ago 

“Well, evidence grows apace for ever-more ancient bow-and-arrow use. List of age estimates, locations, and current evidence bundles for the use of either arrows or darts by/before 30,000 years ago, the list may not be exhaustive, but we suggest that it broadly summarizes current knowledge (MSA = middle stone age).” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

“There are two geographically plausible routes that have been proposed for humans to emerge from Africa: through the current Egypt and Sinai (Northern Route), or through Ethiopia, the Bab el Mandeb strait, and the Arabian Peninsula (Southern Route).” ref

“Although there is a general consensus on the African origin of early modern humans, there is disagreement about how and when they dispersed to Eurasia. This paper reviews genetic and Middle Stone Age/Middle Paleolithic archaeological literature from northeast Africa, Arabia, and the Levant to assess the timing and geographic backgrounds of Upper Pleistocene human colonization of Eurasia. At the center of the discussion lies the question of whether eastern Africa alone was the source of Upper Pleistocene human dispersals into Eurasia or were there other loci of human expansions outside of Africa? The reviewed literature hints at two modes of early modern human colonization of Eurasia in the Upper Pleistocene: (i) from multiple Homo sapiens source populations that had entered Arabia, South Asia, and the Levant prior to and soon after the onset of the Last Interglacial (MIS-5), (ii) from a rapid dispersal out of East Africa via the Southern Route (across the Red Sea basin), dating to ~74,000-60,000 years ago.” ref

“Within Africa, Homo sapiens dispersed around the time of its speciation, roughly 300,000 years ago. The so-called “recent dispersal” of modern humans took place about 70–50,000 years ago. It is this migration wave that led to the lasting spread of modern humans throughout the world. The coastal migration between roughly 70,000 and 50,000 years ago is associated with mitochondrial haplogroups M and N, both derivative of L3. Europe was populated by an early offshoot that settled the Near East and Europe less than 55,000 years ago. Modern humans spread across Europe about 40,000 years ago, possibly as early as 43,000 years ago, rapidly replacing the Neanderthal population.” ref, ref

The African Shaman: Some Qualifications

The African Shaman: Some Qualifications, A response to Episode 334 ‘Exploring African Shamanism and White Sangomas in South Africa’ with Ullrich Relebogilwe Kleinhempel by James Cox

“In this interview, Ullrich Relebogilwe Kleinhempel outlines the place of indigenous healers and spiritual mediators in Bantu societies by focusing on the South African traditional practitioner, called a sangoma. Other terms are used to designate this same functionary in different countries across central and southern Africa. For example, in Zimbabwe, where I worked for a number of years, the Shona word for what is commonly called a traditional healer, is n’anga. Kleinhempel defines a sangoma as a ‘Bantu shaman’. For Kleinhempel, this serves as an umbrella term to classify a variety of practitioners who are specialists in esoteric methods through which they diagnose the causes of misfortune, provide treatments to alleviate problems and offer prognoses aimed at ensuring long-term well-being. Some sangomas primarily are herbalists, who frequently use mystical means to determine the causes of illness, such as being led in a dream to the appropriate herb to prescribe the remedy for a particular affliction. Others act as diviners, who, in southern Africa, use specially engraved bones or sticks (hakata in Shona) to diagnose the cause of individual or group afflictions and prescribe remedies. After throwing or casting the bones, the diviner ‘reads’ or interprets them according to their configuration. Perhaps the most revered traditional practitioner is one who becomes possessed by a spirit, often an ancestor spirit, who has adopted a descendant as his or her host. The adopted host becomes the ancestor’s voice and, in rituals of possession, the ancestor communicates directly with kinsfolk about causes and solutions to communal misfortune. In many cases that I have recorded in Zimbabwe, the ancestor, during the possession ceremony, claims to have been neglected ritually and, as a result, has permitted a series of misfortunes to occur, such as the failure of crops, a cluster of illnesses and deaths in the community or even social conflict. Only after the ancestor has been remembered and honoured in rituals of respect is the ancestral protection restored bringing a halt to the misfortunes. After the possession ritual is concluded, the spirit’s medium does not remember what occurred.” ref

“Kleinhempel’s choice of the term ‘shaman’ to describe the traditional African healing specialist is problematic for two reasons. First, shamanism, as a collective and universal category, requires careful examination. It needs to be situated culturally as being derived from Arctic peoples, where it refers to a type of practitioner characterized by entering into trance experiences, during which the shaman ‘travels’ out of the body to lower, middle and upper worlds, or in the case of the Yup’ik shaman of Alaska, is transported to the edge of the world, goes under the ice into the sea or flies to the moon.  In this context, the term ‘Bantu shaman’ can be misleading because it implies that it forms part of a worldwide, unified phenomenon. That this is Kleinhempel’s meaning is confirmed by his endorsement of Jungian psychotherapy in which the typological classification ‘shaman’ is interpreted as fitting into the collective unconscious. In most indigenous societies, specialists exist who apply spiritual remedies in response to individual and group misfortune, but they do not constitute a coordinated, universal movement. It is far better to consider the specialists called ‘shamans’ as sharing characteristics in common, while acknowledging that any similarities must be qualified by the cultural and social contexts in which they occur.” ref

“A second, related, problem with using the term ‘Bantu shaman’ without clarification results from the distinction between shamanic trance and spirit possession. For example, traditional shamans, who operated until the early part of the twentieth century in Alaska, or Greenlandic shamans of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, as recorded in the historical study by Merete Jakobsen, harnessed a host of helping spirits that they employed when they went on their shamanic journeys. These spirits had been mastered over a long period of struggle that caused the shaman deep suffering. After the spirits were fully in the shaman’s control, they assisted the shaman in overcoming powerful and dangerous spirits that threatened the welfare of the community. The shaman thus was the ‘master of spirits’, who fully remembered what happened during trance states. By contrast, in southern Africa, where spirit possession is the principal form of communication between the spirit world and the living community, the medium does not control, but is controlled by, the spirit. The calling to become a medium is initiated by the spirit and the success of the ritual during which the possession occurs depends on the spirit choosing to become manifest through the medium. That the medium does not remember what occurred during the possession experience further confirms that, unlike the Arctic shaman, a spirit medium is not in control of the possessing spirit, but is subject to the authority of the ancestor. The African medium can only be said to be in control of the spirit if this is understood in community terms. If the community follows the proper ritual protocols and prepares all the elements necessary for the ritual to succeed (such as brewing beer and informing the ancestors of their intentions), the spirit will appear through the chosen medium and converse with the community. The term shaman can only be applied in the strict sense if it is understood as ‘community shamanism’, where the control of events is dictated by community behavior.  This distinction is important if we are to avoid using unqualified generalizations to categorize localized cultural practices.” ref

“Another issue raised by Kleinhempel in his interview that I wish to address is methodological.  He quite rightly draws attention to the way African traditional worldviews were denigrated and at times demonized under the influences of colonialism, Christian missions, and Western education. He sees this tendency persisting today in the form of scientific reductionism, which rejects any spiritual or mystical explanation for causes of misfortune. In Africa, such explanations are found everywhere, although these are not generally understood by African communities as contradicting Western scientific rationality. Rather, they complement Western worldviews, adding depth to them by granting access to alternate forms of healing and sources of well-being. This point is well made by Kleinhempel, but I think he goes one step too far. His aim is not only to foster respect for African cultural practices, but he extends beyond this worthwhile goal by claiming that the African spirit world is ‘real’. What he means by ‘real’ is left somewhat unclear, but he appears to be claiming that the ubiquity of spirits that populate African cultural perspectives actually exist. He cites phenomenological principles in support of this assertion and claims affinity with Victor and Edith Turner on this viewpoint. It is well known that after Victor Turner died, Edith, who was then working in Alaska, claimed that she had encountered spirits and as a result confirmed their ‘reality’.” ref

“Although phenomenology has a well-developed philosophical tradition fostering intense empathy and intersubjectivity, as it has been applied in the study of religions, it refuses to make judgments on the reality or unreality of the beliefs of religious communities. This approach was voiced clearly by Ninian Smart in what he called ‘methodological agnosticism’. I have argued that stage one in the phenomenological method employs the idea of epoché,  the suspension or bracketing out of prior assessments, such as ideas of ranking religions according to their proximity to rational thinking or previously formed opinions based on theological assumptions. This technique allows researchers to enter into communities they are studying by bringing to their consciousness their most obvious and distorting presuppositions. By reflexively becoming aware of their predispositions and placing them in brackets (the epoché), researchers can then employ the second stage in the method, empathetic interpolation, whereby they cultivate a feeling for the subjects of their research and relate what otherwise might appear to them as strange or bizarre in terms that are culturally comprehensible. The stage of empathetic interpolation aims at achieving understanding in depth (Verstehen) without either endorsing or rejecting the truth claims of believing communities. The third phase I have outlined is most relevant at this point: maintaining epoché, that is, continuing to suspend judgments about claims to truth or falsehood, either from believers’ perspectives or from the point of view of scientific rationality. The question of ‘real’ or ‘unreal’ does not arise; it remains bracketed.” ref

“If this interpretation of phenomenology is applied in the case of the belief in African spirits and mystical causality, Kleinhempel’s objections to Western rationalism, scientific reductionism, and cognitive science, although understandable, are no more relevant to the academic study of religions than are his assertions about the ‘reality’ of the African spirit world. By combining the techniques of epoché and empathetic interpolation, the researcher conveys respect for the beliefs, practices, and alternate therapies forming the African worldview without either sanctioning or refuting them. Subsequent academic interpretations of African traditional practitioners and ritual specialists in this way are formed against the backdrop gained by the researcher entering into African perceptions of a spirit world without falling prey to errors created by models derived from confessional theology.” ref

African Shamanism

In Mali, Dogon sorcerers (both male and female) communicate with a spirit named Amma, who advises them on healing and divination practices. The classical meaning of shaman as a person who, after recovering from a mental illness (or insanity) takes up the professional calling of socially recognized religious practitioner, is exemplified among the Sisala (of northern Gold Coast): “the fairies “seized” him and made him insane for several months. Eventually, though, he learned to control their power, which he now uses to divine.” ref

“The term sangoma, as employed in Zulu and congeneric languages, is effectively equivalent to shaman. Sangomas are highly revered and respected in their society, where illness is thought to be caused by witchcraft, pollution (contact with impure objects or occurrences), bad spirits, or the ancestors themselves, either malevolently, or through neglect if they are not respected, or to show an individual her calling to become a sangoma (thwasa). For harmony between the living and the dead, vital for a trouble-free life, the ancestors must be shown respect through ritual and animal sacrifice.” ref

“The term inyanga also employed by the Nguni cultures is equivalent to ‘herbalist’ as used by the Zulu people and a variation used by the Karanga, among whom remedies (locally known as muti) for ailments are discovered by the inyanga being informed in a dream, of the herb able to effect the cure and also of where that herb is to be found. The majority of the herbal knowledge base is passed down from one inyanga to the next, often within a particular family circle in any one village. Shamanism is known among the Nuba of Kordofan in Sudan.” ref

Insight into African Shamanic Healing 

Understanding the Ancient and Traditional African Shamanic Techniques of Healing.

“African shamanic healing, when compared to other shamanic practices, is somehow similar because they deal with unseen supernatural forces. And most of the time the shamans are people who are on their path, a path of inner awakening. As they advance they become aware of spiritual realities. Finally, they can see how the interaction of these spiritual realms affects physical matter. So then they can help people along their path.” ref

“You will be surprised that the terms might be different but they are more or less talking about the same things. The fundamentals of African shamanism to deal with:

· Your ancestors,

· Your deities,

· And your Celestial STAR and Shadow.

· Plant Medicine.

· Animal spirits.” ref

Ancestral healing in African Shamanic healing.

“It is interesting that the further back you dive into the wisdom of the ancient the closer you find yourself dealing with cutting-edge and new discoveries in modern medicine, that most of the things that we are discovering are things that the ancient people knew about them. Social problems are addressed by ancestral healing. The ancient Africans noticed that if there are unresolved conflicts among members of a family, that energetic pattern represents itself on the physical level in many different ways. So maybe if a woman is married, she might have problems getting pregnant or a woman might get a lot of miscarriages.” ref

“A man might get attacked by the same animals twice, or a certain accident might lurk around a certain person over and over. They would sit down and ask themselves why such things happen. They would trace it back to a conflict between family members, and if they solved it, then everything went smoothly. In some cases, the conflict is overdue, and the person has passed away long ago. Therefore, you might notice that a particular family has certain problems that occur from father to son to grandson. They then seek out the shaman who dives into the ancestral tree.” ref

Traditional healers of Southern Africa

“Traditional healers of Southern Africa are practitioners of traditional African medicine in Southern Africa. They fulfill different social and political roles in the community like divination, healing physical, emotional, and spiritual illnesses directing birth or death rituals, finding lost cattle, protecting warriors, counteracting witchcraft and narrating the history, cosmology, and concepts of their tradition. There are two main types of traditional healers within the Nguni, Sotho-Tswana, and Tsonga societies of Southern Africa: the diviner (isangoma) and the herbalist (inyanga). These healers are effectively South African shamans who are highly revered and respected in a society where illness is thought to be caused by witchcraft, pollution (contact with impure objects or occurrences) or through neglect of the ancestors.” ref

“It is estimated that there are as many as 200,000 traditional healers in South Africa compared to 25,000 doctors trained in bio-medical medicine. Traditional healers are consulted by approximately 60% of the South African population, usually in conjunction with modern biomedical services. For harmony between the living and the dead, vital for a trouble-free life, traditional healers believe that the ancestors must be shown respect through ritual and animal sacrifice. They perform summoning rituals by burning plants like impepho (Helichrysum petiolare), dancing, chanting, channeling, or playing drums.” ref

“Traditional healers will often give their patients muthi—medications made from plant, animal, and minerals—imbued with spiritual significance. These muthi often have powerful symbolism; for example, lion fat might be prepared for children to promote courage. There are medicines for everything from physical and mental illness, social disharmony, and spiritual difficulties to potions for protection, love and luck.” ref

“Although sangoma is a Zulu term that is colloquially used to commonly describe all types of Southern African traditional healers, there are differences between practices: an inyanga is concerned mainly with medicines made from plants and animals, while a sangoma relies primarily on divination for healing purposes and might also be considered a type of fortune teller. A trainee sangoma (or ithwasane) starts his Ukuthwasa or ubungoma (in Xhosa) journey which is associated with the “calling” to become a sangoma, though this event also involves those with schizophrenia. A similar term, Amafufunyana refers to claims of demonic possession due to members of the Xhosa people exhibiting aberrant behaviour and psychological concerns. After study, it was discovered that this term is directed toward people with varying types of schizophrenia.” ref

“In modern times, colonialism, urbanisation, apartheid, and transculturation have blurred the distinction between the two, and traditional healers tend to practice both arts. Traditional healers can alternate between these roles by diagnosing common illnesses, selling and dispensing remedies for medical complaints, and divining cause and providing solutions to spiritually or socially centered complaints. Each culture has their own terminology for their traditional healers. Xhosa traditional healers are known as amaxhwele (herbalists) or amagqirha (diviners). Ngaka and selaoli are the terms in Northern Sotho and Southern Sotho respectively, while among the Venda they are called mungome. The Tsonga refer to their healers as n’anga or mungoma.” ref

“A sangoma is a practitioner of Ngoma, a philosophy based on a belief in ancestral spirits (siSwati: amadloti; Zulu: amadlozi; Sesotho: badimo; Xhosa: izinyanya) and the practice of traditional African medicine, which is often a mix of medicinal plants and various animal body fats or skin. Sangomas perform a holistic and symbolic form of healing by drawing on the embedded beliefs of the Bantu peoples in South Africa, who believe that ancestors in the afterlife guide and protect the living. Sangomas are called to heal, and through them, it is believed that ancestors from the spirit world can give instruction and advice to heal illness, social disharmony, and spiritual difficulties. Traditional healers work in a sacred healing hut or indumba, where they believe their ancestors reside. Where no physical ‘indumba’ is available, a makeshift miniature sacred place called imsamo can be used.” ref

“Sangomas believe they are able to access advice and guidance from their ancestors for their patients through spirit possession by an ancestor, or mediumship, throwing bones, or by dream interpretation. In possession states, the sangoma works themself into a trance through drumming, dancing and chanting, and allows their ego to step aside for an ancestor to take possession of his or her body and communicate directly with the patient, or dancing fervently beyond their stated ability. The sangoma will provide specific information about the problems of the patient. Some sangomas speak to their patients through regular conversation, whilst others speak in tongues or languages foreign to their patients, but all languages used by sangomas are indigenous Southern African languages depending on the specific ancestors being called upon. Not all sangomas follow the same rituals or beliefs.” ref

“Ancestral spirits can be the personal ancestors of the sangoma or the patient, or they might be general ancestors associated with the geographic area or the community. It is believed that the spirits have the power to intervene in people’s lives who work to connect the sangoma to the spirits that are acting in a manner to cause affliction. For example, a crab could be invoked as a mediator between the human world and the world of spirits because of its ability to move between the world of the land and the sea. Helping and harming spirits are believed to use the human body as a battleground for their own conflicts. By using ngoma, the sangoma believes they can create harmony between the spirits, which is thought to bring an alleviation of the patient’s suffering. The sangoma may burn incense (like impepho) or sacrifice animals to please the ancestral spirits. Snuff is also used to communicate with the ancestors through prayer.” ref

“A sangoma’s goal in healing is to establish a balanced and harmless relationship between the afflicted patient and the spirits that are causing their illness or problem. The healer intercedes between the patient and the world of the dead in order to make restitution. This is generally performed through divination (throwing the bones or ancestral channelling), purification rituals, or animal sacrifice to appease the spirits through the atonement. Throwing the bones to access the advice of ancestors is an alternative practice to the exhausting ritual of possession by the ancestor. In a typical session, a patient will visit the sangoma, and the sangoma must determine what the affliction is or the reason the patient has come to them for help.” ref

“Before the throwing of the bones, the healer should first ask for the name and surname of the patient; the healer then calls the ancestors by names, starting with their initiators’ names, then his/hers, followed by the patient’s ancestor’s names. The patient or diviner throws bones on the floor, which may include animal vertebrae, dominoes, dice, coins, shells and stones, each with a specific significance to human life. For example, a hyena bone signifies a thief and will provide information about stolen objects. The sangoma, or the patient, throws the bones, but the ancestors control how they lie. The sangoma then interprets this metaphor in relation to the patient’s afflictions, what the ancestors of the patient require, and how to resolve the disharmony. In the same way, sangomas will interpret metaphors present in dreams, either their own or their patients.” ref

“When the diviner comes to an acceptable understanding of the problem and the patient agrees, the diviner then to throw the bones again to ask the ancestors if he/she could help the patient. Depending on the feedback from the bones, they will instruct the patient on a course of medicine, which may include the use of ngoma, referral to a herbalist, inyanga (if the sangoma does not have the knowledge themselves), or recommend a Western medicine regimen. The spiritually curative medicines prescribed by a traditional healer are called muthi. They may be employed in healing as warranted in the opinion of the herbal specialist or inyanga. Muthi is a term derived from a Zulu word for tree.” ref

“African traditional medicine makes extensive use of botanical products but the medicine prescribed by an inyanga may also include other formulations which are zoological or mineral in composition. Traditional medicine uses approximately 3,000 out of 30,000 species of higher plants of Southern Africa. Over 300 species of plants have been identified as having psychoactive healing effects on the nervous system, many of which need further cultural and scientific study In South African English and Afrikaans, the word muthi is sometimes used as a slang term for medicine in general. Bapedi traditional healers use 36 plant species to manage reproductive health problems .These medicinal species are distributed among 35 genera and 20 families. The largest proportion of medicinal species collected belongs to the family Asteraceae (such as Calendula) followed by Fabaceae (such as the butterfly pea plant), and Euphorbiaceae (such as Phyllanthus Muellerianus).” ref

“Muthis are prepared, and depending on the affliction, a number of purification practices can be administered Ukuzila Fasting one of the most important thing to do in preparing muthi and healing. These practices include bathing, vomiting, steaming, nasal ingestion, enemas, and cuttings:

  1. Bathing – Herbal mixtures are added to bath water to purify the patient
  2. Vomiting (phalaza) – A large volume (up to +-2 liters) of a weak, lukewarm herbal infusion is drunk and a process of self-induced vomiting occurs to cleanse and tone the system.
  3. Steaming (futha) – Medicinal herbs are commonly inhaled by steaming them in a bucket of boiling water. A blanket is used to cover the patient and container. Hot rocks or a portable stove may be included to keep the bucket boiling. The patient sits under the blanket or plastic (preferably) as blankets get to absorb the heat and the steam does not rotate well, breathes in the herbal steam and sweats.
  4. Nasally – A variety of plants can be taken dried and powdered as snuff. Some are taken to induce sneezing which may traditionally be believed to aid the expulsion of disease. Others are taken for the common conditions such as headaches.
  5. Enemas – Infusions and some decoctions are commonly administered as enemas. The enema is a preferred route of administration of certain plant extracts, as it is believed they are more effective when administered this way.
  6. Cuttings (ukugcaba) – Extracts or powders are directly applied to small cuts made with a razor blade in the patient’s skin.” ref

“An experienced inyanga/Sangoma will generally seek the guidance of an ancestral spirit before embarking to find and collect muthi and you can also go to herbalists to ask for a certain plant/herb you need. The healer, through dreams or during prayers, believes they are advised of auspicious times for collecting the plants. In some cases, symbols and dreams are also interpreted to determine which particular plants to collect for a specific patient and where these plants are located, not in all cases as most traditional healers have their herbs stored in their huts(eNdumbeni). The healer supplements the perceived advice from an ancestral spirit with their own knowledge, training, and experience.” ref

“Both men and women can become traditional healers. A sangoma is believed to be “called” to heal through an initiation illness; symptoms involve psychosis, headaches, intractable stomach pain, shoulder, neck complaints, short breath, swollen feet and waist issues or illness that cannot be cured by conventional methods. These problems together must be seen by a sangoma as thwasa or the calling of the ancestors, though this event also involves those with schizophrenia. Sangomas believe that failure to respond to the calling will result in further illness until the person concedes and goes to be trained. The word thwasa is derived from thwasa which means ‘the light of the new moon’ or from ku mu thwasisa meaning ‘to be led to the light’.” ref

“A trainee sangoma (or ithwasane) trains formally under another sangoma for a period of anywhere between a number of months and many years. The training involves learning humility to the ancestors, purification through steaming, washing in the blood of sacrificed animals, and the use of muti, medicines with spiritual significance. The ithwasa may not see their families during training and must abstain from sexual contact and often live under harsh and strict conditions. This is part of the cleansing process to prepare the healer for a life’s work of dedication to healing and the intense experiences of training tend to earn a deeply entrenched place in the sangoma’s memory.” ref

“The training period or ukuthwasa is a deeply personal and spiritual one, marked by various rituals, teachings, and preparations. The process of ukuthwasa can vary in length, with some sources suggesting a minimum duration of nine months to fully explore and develop the abilities and knowledge of an initiate. The Xhosa term “ukuthwasa” translates to “come out” or “be reborn,” symbolising the transformative nature of the experience. A similar term, Amafufunyana refers to claims of demonic possession due to members of the Xhosa people exhibiting aberrant behaviour and psychological concerns. After study, it was discovered that this term is directed toward people with varying types of schizophrenia.” ref

“During the training period the ithwasa will share their ailments in the form of song and dance, a process that is nurtured by the analysis of dreams, anxieties, and with prayer. The story develops into a song which becomes a large part of the graduation-type ceremony that marks the end of the ukuthwasa training. At times in the training, and for the graduation, a ritual sacrifice of an animal is performed (usually chickens and a goat or a cow). At the end of ukuthwasa and during initiation, early hours of the morning a goat that will be slaughtered should be a female one, that’s for Umguni, the second one will be slaughtered the following morning after the chickens, which are sacrificed at the river Abamdzawo. All these sacrifices are to call to the ancestors and appease them.” ref

“The local community, friends and family are all invited to the initiation to witness and celebrate the completion of training. The ithwasane is also tested by the local elder sangomas to determine whether they have the skills and insight necessary to heal. The climactic initiation test is to ensure the ithwasa has the ability to “see” things hidden from view. This is signified and proved when other sangomas hide the ithwasa’s sacred objects, including the gall bladder of the goat that was sacrificed and the thwasane must, in front of the community, call upon their ancestors, find the hidden objects, which includes the skin of the goat, Umgamase, the ancestors clothes and return them back to the sangomas that hid them, thus proving they have the ability to “see” beyond the physical world. The heading practice is also done at night after taking off all those traditional clothing you had worn all day, they hide them for that thwasane to look for them again. The graduation ceremony takes three days from Friday to Sunday, the early hours of the morning the thwasane needs to sweep the whole yard, wash his/her clothes and also to bath at the river; he/she should return home when they are dry.” ref

“Sangoma can also literally mean ‘person of the drum’ or ‘the drumming one’ and drumming is an important part of summoning the ancestors. During times of celebration (e.g. at an Initiation) the possessed sangoma is called to dance and celebrate their ancestors. The sangoma will fall into trance (when in trance the Sangoma is not conscious of what is happening, so after that he/she will be told of the things he/she had said) where the ancestors will be channeled (which is signified in Zulu traditions by episodes of convulsive fits) followed by the singing of ancestral songs. These songs are echoed back to the ancestor via the audience in a process of call and response. The possessed sangoma will then change into their traditional ancestral clothing and dance vigorously while others drum and sing in celebration.” ref

“The Zulu word with prefix is isangoma (pl. izangoma), alternatively it is also spelled as umngoma (pl. abangoma), sa ngoma means ‘do ngoma and i sa ngoma means “those who do ngoma“, so sangoma or isangoma refers specifically to the practitioner of the ngoma practice. The term sangoma is often used colloquially in South Africa for equivalent professions in other Bantu cultures in Southern Africa. Forms of the ngoma ritual are practiced throughout southern and south-eastern Africa in countries such as South Africa, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Kenya, and Batswana. In more northern areas the practices are generally more diverse and less organized than the southern practices. Among the Kongo, the practice is called loka or more negatively doga, a term meaning witchcraft.” ref

“Ngoma is believed to have come to southern Africa during the western Bantu migration that began around 2000 BCE and was further influenced by the eastern Bantu migration that occurred until 500 CE. The practice has evolved along with the social problems of its users. In pre-colonial form ngoma songs dealt mainly with issues of hunting. Over time the system adapted to include the introduction of guns, and later the racial and class struggles of practitioners under colonial rule. In Zimbabwe, the civil war experience led to a revival of ngoma practice with a new emphasis on the spirits of the victims of war. The service allowed the sangoma to help people cope with their own violent acts as well as those they had fallen victim to. An example of this is the Tsonga who believe that one of the main alien spirits that can bestow powers of clairvoyance and the ability to detect witchcraft is the Ndau Spirit. The Ndau spirit possesses the descendants of the Gaza soldiers who had slain the Ndau and taken their wives. Once the Ndau spirit has been converted from hostile to benevolent forces, the spirits bestow the powers of divination and healing on the n’angna.” ref

“In addition, ngoma has been adapted by many to include both Christian and Muslim beliefs. Sangomas are legally recognized in South Africa as “traditional health practitioners”, under the Traditional Health Practitioners Act of 2007 (Act. 22 of 2007) as diviners alongside herbalists, traditional birth attendants, and traditional surgeons. The act calls for the establishment of a national council of traditional health practitioners to regulate and register a.o. sangomas in the country. However, it was only in December 2011 that the National Department of Health took action and opened nominations for seats on an interim council. In October 2012, Health Department spokesperson Joe Maila advised that the department aimed to have the council up and running by the end of 2012. The Interim Traditional Health Practitioners Council was eventually inaugurated on 12 February 2013. Several sections of the act, dealing with the establishment and governance of the national council and the registration of practitioners, came into effect on 1 May 2014.” ref

“Previously, the South African Parliament had passed the Traditional Health Practitioners Act of 2004 (Act. 35 of 2004). However, the act was ruled unconstitutional after Doctors for Life International challenged it at the Constitutional Court, citing the insufficient public participation at provincial level in the drafting of the act.” ref 

“The South African Law Reform Commission received a submission from the Traditional Healers Organisation requesting the investigation of the constitutionality of the Witchcraft Suppression Act of 1957 and the Mpumalanga Witchcraft Suppression Bill of 2007, the drafting of which was suspended in 2008. On 23 March 2010 the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development approved a South African Law Reform Commission project to review witchcraft legislation. In March 2012 the South African Law Reform Commission advised that Ms Jennifer Joni has been designated as researcher and Judge Dennis Davis has been designated as project leader for Project 135: Review of witchcraft legislation. Dr Theodore Petrus, who completed a doctoral thesis on witchcraft-related crime in 2009, was invited to become part of an advisory committee to assist in the review.” ref


witch doctor (also spelled witch-doctor) was originally a type of healer who treated ailments believed to be caused by witchcraft. The term is now more commonly used to refer to healers, particularly in regions which use traditional healing rather than contemporary medicineIn its original meaning, witch doctors were not exactly witches themselves, but rather people who had remedies to protect others against witchcraft.” ref

“Witchcraft-induced conditions were their area of expertise, as described in this 1858 news report from England:

Recourse was had by the girl’s parents to a cunning man, named Burrell, residing at Copford, who has long borne the name of “The Wizard of the North:” but her case was of so peculiar a character as to baffle his skill to dissolve the spell, Application was next made to a witch doctor named Murrell, residing at Hadleigh, Essex, who undertook to effect a cure, giving a bottle of medication, for which he did not forget to charge 3s. 6d., and promising to pay a visit on Monday evening to the “old witch,” Mrs. Mole, and put an end to her subtle arts… …the news of the expected coming of the witch-doctor spread far and wide, and about eight o’clock there could not have been less than 200 people collected near the cottage of Mrs. Mole to witness the supernatural powers of the Hadleigh wizard.” ref

“In southern Africa, traditional healers are known as sangomas. The Oxford English Dictionary states that the first use of the term “witch doctor” to refer to African shamans (i.e. medicine men) was in 1836 in a book by Robert Montgomery Martin. BBC News reported, on March 12, 2015, that, “More than 200 witchdoctors and traditional healers have been arrested in Tanzania in a crackdown on the murder of albino people. The killings have been driven by the belief – advanced by some witchdoctors – that the body parts have properties that confer wealth and good luck. According to the Red Cross, witchdoctors are prepared to pay $75,000 (£57,000) for a complete set of albino body parts. Nearly 80 albino Tanzanians have been killed since 2000, the UN says. The latest victims include a one-year-old albino boy, killed in north-western Tanzania. The government banned witchdoctors in January 2015 as part of its efforts to prevent further attacks and kidnappings targeting people with albinism.” ref

“While non-Native anthropologists often use the term shaman for Indigenous healers worldwide, including the Americas, shaman is the specific name for a spiritual mediator from the Tungusic peoples of Siberia and is not used in Native American or First Nations communities. A medicine man or medicine woman is a traditional healer and spiritual leader who serves a community of Indigenous people of the Americas. Individual cultures have their own names, in their respective languages, for spiritual healers and ceremonial leaders in their particular cultures. In the ceremonial context of Indigenous North American communities, “medicine” usually refers to spiritual healing. Medicine men/women should not be confused with those who employ Native American ethnobotany, a practice that is very common in a large number of Native American and First Nations households.” ref

Understanding Religion Evolution per Damien’s speculations from the evidence:

Pre-Animism (at least 300,000 years ago) possibly Africa, Middle East, and Eurasia

Animism (at least 100,000 years ago) possibly Southern Africa or maybe Central Africa

Totemism (at least 50,000/45,000 years ago) possibly around Germany, France, or somewhere in West Europe

Shamanism (at least 30,000/35,000 years ago) possibly West Siberia or East Russia

Paganism (at least 12,000/13,000 years ago) Turkey And/or Levant: “Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria”

Progressed organized religion (at least 5,000 years ago), (Egypt, the First Dynasty 5,150 years ago)

Africans, too, carry Neanderthal genetic legacy. Ancient Europeans took Neanderthal DNA back to Africa.

“A study in 2023 revealed an unexpectedly large amount of Neanderthal ancestry in modern populations across Africa. It suggests much of that DNA came from Europeans migrating back into Africa over the past 20,000 years. As members of Homo sapiens spread from Africa into Eurasia some 70,000 years ago, they met and mingled with Neanderthals. Researchers knew that later back-migrations of Europeans had introduced a bit of Neanderthal DNA into African populations, but previous work suggested it was a just a smidgen. In contrast, modern Europeans and East Asians apparently inherited about 2% of their DNA from Neanderthals.” ref

“The best fit model for where Africans got all this Neanderthal DNA suggests about half of it came when Europeans—who had Neanderthal DNA from previous matings—migrated back to Africa in the past 20,000 years. The model suggests the rest of the DNA shared by Africans and the Altai Neanderthal (Altai Mountains: Central Asia/Siberia) might not be Neanderthal at all: Instead, it may be DNA from early modern humans that was simply retained in both Africans and Eurasians—and was picked up by Neanderthals, perhaps when moderns made a failed migration from Africa to the Middle East more than 100,000 years ago.” ref

“By suggesting that Europeans introduced Neanderthal sequences into Africa, the new study points to an explanation: Researchers previously assumed that Neanderthal sequences shared by Europeans and Africans were modern and subtracted them out. After correcting for that bias, the new study found similar amounts of Neanderthal DNA in Europeans and Asians—51 and 55 Mb, respectively. It’s a “convincing and elegant” explanation, Harris says.” ref

I want to try to trace shamanism from its origins and then the spread and evolution of shamanism starting in likely in Siberia, to me. As I am wanting to address shamanism in Siberia, China, Scandinavia, and the Americas. Shamanism as seen in related artifacts, seeming behaviors, and likely mythologies.

“The sheer magnitude of our shamanic ancestry means one of two things: either shamanism originated once prior to the human diaspora some 70,000 years ago and has been preserved since, or it has arisen independently countless times in premodern human cultures.” ref 

I don’t agree that this is the only option as mass migrations from Siberia, North Asia, and Eurasia more generally can also hint at a later origin.

To me, shamanism origin is sometime close to 30,000 years ago, and the spreading of shamanism with a few main DNA branches, such as Haplogroup R and its subbranch of U. As well as Q, that is one of the two branches of P1 (possible place of origin: Central Asia or Siberia 38,000 BCE), the other being R. P1, as well as R* and Q* were observed among Ancient North Eurasians, a Paleolithic Siberian population. Basal U was found in the 26,000 years old remains of Ancient North EurasianMal’ta boy (MA1). And only one confirmed example of basal R* has been found, in 24,000-year-old remains, known as MA1, found at Mal’ta–Buret’ culture near Lake Baikal in Siberia. A 2018 study found basal P1* in two Siberian individuals dated to the Upper Paleolithic (around 31,630 years old) from a Yana river archaeological site in northeastern Siberia, Russia, north of the Arctic Circle in the far west of Beringia. Archaeologists have noted similarities between the Yana RHS and the Clovis culture, especially their respective stone industries and distinctive spear foreshafts.

I think animism started 100,000 years ago, totemism 50,000-45,000 years ago, and shamanism 30,000-35,000 years ago.

Animism (simplified to me as a belief in a perceived spirit world) passably by at least 100,000 years ago “the primal stage of early religion” To me, Animistic Somethingism: You just feel/think there has to be something supernatural/spirit-world or feel/think things are supernatural/spirit-filled.

Totemism (simplified to me, as a belief that these perceived spirits could be managed or related with by created physical expressions) passably by at least 50,000 years ago “progressed stage of early religion” A totem is a representational spirit being, a sacred object, or symbol of a group of people, clan, or tribe.

Shamanism (simplified to me as a belief that some special person can commune with these perceived spirits on the behalf of others by way of rituals) passably by at least 30,000 years ago Shamanism is an otherworld connection belief thought to heal the sick, communicate with spirits/deities, and escort souls of the dead.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

Here are my thoughts/speculations on where I believe is the possible origin of shamanism, which may have begun sometime around 35,000 to 30,000 years ago seen in the emergence of the Gravettian culture, just to outline his thinking, on what thousands of years later led to evolved Asian shamanism, in general, and thus WU shamanism as well. In both Europe-related “shamanism-possible burials” and in Gravettian mitochondrial DNA is a seeming connection to Haplogroup U. And the first believed Shaman proposed burial belonged to Eastern Gravettians/Pavlovian culture at Dolní Věstonice in southern Moravia in the Czech Republic, which is the oldest permanent human settlement that has ever been found. It is at Dolní Věstonice where approximately 27,000-25,000 years ago a seeming female shaman was buried and also there was an ivory totem portrait figure, seemingly of her.

And my thoughts on how cultural/ritual aspects were influenced in the area of Göbekli Tepe. I think it relates to a few different cultures starting in the area before the Neolithic. Two different groups of Siberians first from northwest Siberia with U6 haplogroup 40,000 to 30,000 or so. Then R Haplogroup (mainly haplogroup R1b but also some possible R1a both related to the Ancient North Eurasians). This second group added its “R1b” DNA of around 50% to the two cultures Natufian and Trialetian. To me, it is likely both of these cultures helped create Göbekli Tepe. Then I think the female art or graffiti seen at Göbekli Tepe to me possibly relates to the Epigravettians that made it into Turkey and have similar art in North Italy. I speculate that possibly the Totem pole figurines seen first at Kostenki, next went to Mal’ta in Siberia as seen in their figurines that also seem “Totem-pole-like”, and then with the migrations of R1a it may have inspired the Shigir idol in Russia and the migrations of R1b may have inspired Göbekli Tepe.

Haplogroup R possible origin in Central Asia, South Asia, or Siberia and seen in several cultures:

Mal’ta–Buret’ culture (24,000-15,000 years ago)

Afontova Gora culture (21,000-12,000 years ago)

Trialetian culture (16,000–8000 years ago)

Samara culture (7,000-6,500 years ago)

Khvalynsk culture (7,000-6,500 years ago)

Afanasievo culture (5,300-4,500 years ago)

Yamna/Yamnaya Culture (5,300-4,500 years ago)

Andronovo culture (4,000–2,900 years ago) 

“Haplogroup U is a human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup (mtDNA). The clade arose from haplogroup R, likely during the early Upper Paleolithic. Basal U was found in the 26,000 years old remains of Ancient North Eurasian, Mal’ta boy (MA1 24,000 years old). Its various subclades (labelled U1–U9, diverging over the course of the Upper Paleolithic) are found widely distributed across Northern and Eastern Europe, Central, Western and South Asia, as well as North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and the Canary Islands. In a 2013 study, all but one of the ancient modern human sequences from Europe belonged to maternal haplogroup U, thus confirming previous findings that haplogroup U was the dominant type of Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in Europe before the spread of agriculture into Europe and the presence and the spread of the Indo-Europeans in Western Europe. The age of U5 is estimated at between 25,000 and 35,000 years old, roughly corresponding to the Gravettian culture. Approximately 11% of Europeans (10% of European-Americans) have some variant of haplogroup U5. U5 was the predominant mtDNA of mesolithic Western Hunter Gatherers (WHG).” ref

“U5 has been found in human remains dating from the Mesolithic in England, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, France and Spain. Neolithic skeletons (around 7,000 years old or so) that were excavated from the Avellaner cave in Catalonia, northeastern Spain included a specimen carrying haplogroup U5. Haplogroup U5 and its subclades U5a and U5b today form the highest population concentrations in the far north, among Sami, Finns, and Estonians. However, it is spread widely at lower levels throughout Europe. This distribution, and the age of the haplogroup, indicate individuals belonging to this clade were part of the initial expansion tracking the retreat of ice sheets from Europe around 10,000 years ago. U5b1b: has been found in Saami of Scandinavia, Finnish and the Berbers of North Africa, which were found to share an extremely young branch, aged merely around 9,000 years old or so. U5b1b was also found in Fulbe and Papel people in Guinea-Bissau and Yakuts people of northeastern Siberia. It arose around 11,000 years ago.” ref 

Gravettian Culture “last European culture many consider unified” (33/35,000–24/20,000 years ago). Which Damien thinks expresses the first earliest shamanism.

Pavlovian Culture “variant of the Gravettian” as seen in Czech Republic, Austria, and Poland (29,000–25,000 years ago). Which Damien thinks expresses the earliest burial of a shaman.

Epigravettian Culture (Greek: epi “above, on top of”, and Gravettian, because they likely continued a lot of the Gravettian Culture) as seen in Southern and Eastern Europe (20,000–10,000 years ago) Which Damien thinks may have brought/influenced the people in the Middle East/Turkey to add belief in goddesses and female art/figurine themes to their early paganism emerging out or older shamanism 11,000/10,000 years ago.

Magdalenian Culture as seen in Western Europe: “The earliest Magdalenian sites are in France and the Epigravettian is a similar culture appearing around the same time” (17,000–12,000 years ago) Which Damien thinks started to evolve Western Eurasian shamanism.

“The Magdalenian constitutes a civilization in the full meaning of the term, with its unique metaphysics, social rules, exchanges codified with nature via its art and weaponry. Before any climatic improvement then, daring was enough to both distinguish these populations from those that disappeared on a European scale and to invent facultative weapons, a conquering mythology, appropriate displacements, episodic ruptures, long-distance relays, flexibility in control over all kinds of environments, ritual delegation by shamanism, the “descent” of mythical decoration of rock walls in favor of mobile supports, such as modern crucifixes or portable altars.” 

The Evidence of Shamanism Rituals in Early Prehistoric Periods of Europe and Anatolia

“Shamanism Rituals in Palaeolithic Siberian shamans (Eastern Eurasian Shamanism) believe that shamanism emerged in the period when hunting and gathering was the main means to support. Ethnographic evidence suggests that hunter-gatherer groups would have seen the environment as giving and reciprocating, and that their spirit worlds would have consisted largely of animals and natural features with which shaman-like figures may have mediated. From this point of view, it is best to begin investigating prehistoric shamanism in Palaeolithic rituals and related cave paintings of Europe. The shamanic hypothesis that cave art is based on a fusion of direct evidence from the caves themselves with observations of more recent hunter-gatherer societies that still produce rock art. However, not all cultures have specific shamanic ritual locations, and even when they are present, shamans will perform some rituals away from them. Ritual areas are typically viewed as the literal doorway between the spiritual and physical worlds, and are often an opening into the earth, like caves or springs, or elevated spaces such as mountains and even caves in mountains.” ref 

“Analyses of mtDNA genomes place SI-SIV in haplogroup U, consistent with West Eurasian and Siberian Paleolithic and Mesolithic genomes. SI belonged to haplogroup U8c; the sequences for the three individuals from the double burial (SII-SIV) were identical, and belonged to haplogroup U2, which is closely related to the Upper Paleolithic Kostenki 12 and Kostenki 14 individuals. Adding the low coverage Kostenki 12 individual suggests a closer relationship to the Sunghir group rather than with the earlier Kostenki 14 individual. Finally, Kostenki 14 shows substantial population-specific drift after its divergence from the shared ancestor with Sunghir, allowing us to reject a direct ancestral relationship to both Sunghir and Kostenki 12. These results suggest that the people at Kostenki were at least partially replaced by later groups related to Sunghir, which exhibit genetic affinities with individuals of the more western Gravettian culture.” ref

“Sungir is an Upper Paleolithic archaeological site in Russia and one of the earliest records of modern Homo sapiens in Eurasia. It is situated about two hundred kilometres east of Moscow, on the outskirts of Vladimir, near the Klyazma River. It is dated by calibrated carbon analysis to between 32,050 and 28,550 BCE. Graves 1 and 2 at Sungir are described as “the most spectacular” among European Gravettian burials. The adult male was buried in what is called Grave 1 and the two adolescent children in Grave 2, placed head-to-head, together with an adult femur filled with red ochre. The three people buried at Sungir were all adorned with elaborate grave goods that included ivory-beaded jewelry, clothing, and spears. More than 13,000 beads were found (which would have taken 10,000 hours to produce). Red ochre, an important ritual material associated with burials at this time, covered the burials.” ref

“The children are considered a twin burial, thought to have ritual purpose, possibly sacrifice. The findings of such complete skeletons are rare in late Stone Age, and indicate the high status of the male adult and children. The children had the same mtDNA, which may indicate the same maternal lineage, but new analyses determined they were not siblings. The site is one of the earliest examples of ritual burials and constitutes important evidence of the antiquity of human religious practices. The extraordinary collection of grave goods, the position of the bodies, and other factors all indicate it was a burial of high importance. Two other remains at the site are partial skeletons.” ref

“In 2017, researchers successfully sequenced the DNA of multiple individuals from Sungir, including one from Burial 1 (Sunghir I) and three from Burial 2: the two adolescent burials (Sunghir II and Sunghir III) and the adult femur accompanying the burial (Sunghir IV). The younger adolescent from Burial 2, Sunghir III, yielded high coverage genomes. Sungir III was previously thought to be female; however, genetic analysis shows that all four of the tested individuals at Sungir were male. Contrary to previous interpretations of the burials, genetic analysis shows that none of the individuals are closely related (none of the individuals were third-degree relatives or closer).” ref

“However, when compared against other populations, the individuals at Sungir are genetically closest to each other. The individuals at Sungir show closest genetic affinity to the individuals from Kostenki, while showing closer affinity to the individual from Kostenki 12 than to the individual from Kostenki 14. The Sungir individuals descended from a lineage that was related to the individual from Kostenki 14, but were not directly related. The individual from Kostenki 12 was also found to be closer to the Sungir individuals than to the individual from Kostenki 14. The Sungir individuals also show close genetic affinity to various individuals belonging to Vestonice Cluster buried in a Gravettian context, such as those excavated from Dolní Věstonice.” ref 

“The Gravettian was an archaeological industry of the European Upper Paleolithic that succeeded the Aurignacian circa 33,000 years ago. It is archaeologically the last European culture many consider unified, and had mostly disappeared by c. 22,000 years ago, close to the Last Glacial Maximum, although some elements lasted until c. 17,000 years ago. In Spain and France, it was succeeded by the Solutrean, and developed into or continued as the Epigravettian in Italy, the Balkans, Ukraine and Russia. The Gravettian culture is known for Venus figurines, which were typically carved from either ivory or limestone. The culture was first identified at the site of La Gravette in the southwestern French department of Dordogne.” ref

“The Gravettians were hunter-gatherers who lived in a bitterly cold period of European prehistory, and the Gravettian lifestyle was shaped by the climate. Pleniglacial environmental changes forced them to adapt. West and Central Europe were extremely cold during this period. Archaeologists usually describe two regional variants: the western Gravettian, known mainly from cave sites in France, Spain, and Britain, and the eastern Gravettian in Central Europe and Russia. The eastern Gravettians, which include the Pavlovian culture, were specialized mammoth hunters, whose remains are usually found not in caves but in open air sites.” ref

“Gravettian culture thrived on their ability to hunt animals. They utilized a variety of tools and hunting strategies. Compared to theorized hunting techniques of Neanderthals and earlier human groups, Gravettian hunting culture appears much more mobile and complex. They lived in caves or semi-subterranean or rounded dwellings which were typically arranged in small “villages”. Gravettians are thought to have been innovative in the development of tools such as blunted-back knives, tanged arrowheads and boomerangs. Other innovations include the use of woven nets and oil lamps made of stone. Blades and bladelets were used to make decorations and bone tools from animal remains.” ref

“Gravettian culture extends across a large geographic region, as far as Estremadura in Portugal, but is relatively homogeneous until about 27,000 years ago. They developed burial rites, which included the inclusion of simple, purpose-built offerings and/or personal ornaments owned by the deceased, placed within the grave or tomb. Surviving Gravettian art includes numerous cave paintings and small, portable Venus figurines made from clay or ivory, as well as jewelry objects. The fertility deities mostly date from the early period; there are over 100 known surviving examples. They conform to a very specific physical type, with large breasts, broad hips and prominent posteriors. The statuettes tend to lack facial details, and their limbs are often broken off. During the post glacial period, evidence of the culture begins to disappear from northern Europe but was continued in areas around the Mediterranean.” ref

Here are Shaman Headdresses from Siberia, Africa, and Mongolia showing the covering of the eyes and may thus, to me relate to why the Venus of Willendorf has a hat that covers the face, meaning I speculate that this hat, also seen in the possible shaman burials in Italy all are related to shamanism.

Venus of Willendorf: Shamanism Headdresses that Cover the Eyes?

“Venus figurines have been unearthed in Europe, Siberia, and much of Eurasia. 
Most date from the Gravettian period but start in the Aurignacian era, and lasts to the Magdalenian time.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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“Aurignacian (43,000 to 26,000 years ago), Gravettian (33,000 to 21,000 years ago), Magdalenian (17,000 to 12,000 years ago), and Sami (Haplogroup N  Y-DNA) at least by 3,500 years ago until the fifteenth century) were all nomadic peoples of Ancient Europe. N1c correlates closely with the distribution of the Finno-Ugrian languages. The Sami languages are thought to have split from their common ancestor about 3300 years ago.” ref, ref

“Mitochondrial DNA studies of Sami people, haplogroup U5 are consistent with multiple migrations to Scandinavia from Volga-Ural region, starting 6,000 to 7,000 years before present.” ref

“Nearly half of all Sami and one-fifth of Finnish maternal lineages belong to U5. U5 arrived in Europe with the Gravettian and appears to have been a major maternal lineage among the Paleolithic European hunter-gatherers and even the dominant lineage during the European Mesolithic at more than 80%. Among 16 Gravettian samples, six belonged to U5.” ref

“U5b1b1 arose approximately 10,000 years ago, over two millennia after the end of the Last Glaciation, when the Neolithic Revolution was already underway in the Near East. Despite this relatively young age, U5b1b1 is found scattered across all of Europe and well beyond its boundaries. The Saami, who live in the far European North and have 48% of U5 and 42% of V lineages, belong exclusively to the U5b1b1 subclade. Amazingly, the Berbers of Northwest Africa also possess that U5b1b1 subclade and haplogroup V. How could two peoples separated by some 6,000 km (3,700 mi) share such close maternal ancestry? The Berbers also have other typically Western European lineages such as H1 and H3, as well as African haplogroups like M1, L1, L2, and L3. The Saami and the Berbers presumably descend from nomadic hunter-gatherers from the Franco-Cantabrian refugium who recolonized Europe and North Africa after the LGM.” ref

“The journey of U5b1b1 didn’t stop there. The Fulbe of Senegal were also found to share U5b1b1b with the Berbers, surely through intermarriages. More impressively, the Yakuts of eastern Siberia, who have a bit under 10% of European mtDNA (including haplogroups H, HV1, J, K, T, U4, U5, and W), also share the exact same deep subclade (U5b1b1a) as the Saami and the Berbers.” ref

Genetic Studies on Sami

“Genetic studies on Sami are the genetic research that has been carried out on the Sami people. The Sami languages belong to the Uralic languages family of Eurasia. Siberian origins are still visible in the Sámi, Finns, and other populations of the Finno-Ugric language family. An abundance of genes has journeyed all the way from Siberia to Finland, a recent study indicates. As late as the Iron Age, people with a genome similar to that of the Sámi people lived much further south in Finland compared to today. The first study on the DNA of the ancient inhabitants of Finland has been published, with results indicating that a copious number of Siberian genetic variants are present in modern Sami populations.” ref

“Genetic material from remains associated with Western Siberian hunter-gatherers has been found in the inhabitants of the Kola Peninsula from as far back as approximately 4,000 years ago, later spreading also to Finland. The study also corroborates the assumption that people genetically similar to the Sámi lived much further south than currently. The Western Siberian hunter-gatherers (WSHG) themselves harbored about 30% EHG (Eastern European Hunter-Gatherers) ancestry, 50% ANE (Ancient North Eurasian) ancestry, and 20% East Asian ancestry, therefore mostly European-related ancestry, and also resembled the earlier Botai samples of northern Central Asia. The genetic samples compared in the study were collected from human bones found in a 3,500-year-old burial place in the Kola Peninsula and the 1,500-year-old lake burial site at Levänluhta in South Ostrobothnia, Finland. All of the samples contained identical Siberian genes.” ref

Sami Y-DNA

“Three Y chromosome haplogroups dominate the distribution among the Sami: N1c (formerly N3a), I1 – today is more commonly known as I-M253 – and R1a, at least in the study carried out by K. Tambets et al. in 2004. The most common haplogroup among the Sami is N1c, with I1 as a close second according to that study. Haplogroup R1a in Sami is mostly seen in the Swedish Sami and Kola Sami populations, with a low level among the Finnish Sami according to Tambets and colleagues, a finding that suggests that N1c and R1a probably reached Fennoscandia from eastern Europe, where these haplogroups can be found in high frequencies. In Finland, there is also a general difference within the Finnish population between eastern and western Finland, where the eastern show a dominance of N-haplogroup and the west a dominance of I-haplogroup, where the latter is explained by a migration from southern parts of today’s Norway and Sweden over to Finland as we know it today.” ref

“But the spread of R1a-haplogroup amongst Sami in Sweden shows a big span from 10.1% to 36.0%, with an average of 20%, to be compared with Sami in Finland with a span from 9% to 9.9% Because Sami groups in Sweden show differences between haplogroups – such as U5b and V even thought that are mtDNA-groups – in the south of Sweden and in the north of the country (see below), the spread of Y-haplogroups such as R1a amongst groups of Sami in Sweden might be significant as well. No such study has yet been done though.” ref

“However the two haplogroups R1a and N1c have a distinctly distribution when it comes to linguistics. R1a is common among Eastern Europeans speaking Indo-European languages, while N1c correlates closely with the distribution of the Finno-Ugrian languages. For example, N1c is common among the Finns, while haplogroup R1a is common among all the neighbours of the Sami.” ref

“Haplogroup I1 is the most common haplogroup in Sweden, and the Jokkmokk Sami in Sweden have a similar structure to Swedes and Finns for haplogroup I1 and N1c. Haplogroup I-M253 in Sami is explained by immigration (of men) during the 14th century. That is quite late in Sami history bearing in mind that an distinctive Sami culture can be traced and first observed back to 1000 BCE. The Sami languages are thought to have split from their common ancestor about 3300 years ago.” ref

Sami mtDNA

“Classification of the Sami mtDNA lineages revealed that the majority are clustered in a subset of the European mtDNA pool. The two haplogroups V and U5b dominate, between them accounting for about 89% of the total. This gives the Sami regions the highest level of Haplogroups V and U5b thus far found. Both haplogroups V and U5b are spread at moderate frequencies across Europe, from Iberia to the Ural Mountains. Haplogroups H, D5, and Z represent most of the remaining averaged total. Overall 98% of the Sami mtDNA pool is encompassed within haplogroups V, U5b, H, Z, and D5. Local frequencies among the Sami vary.” ref

“The divergence time for the Sami haplogroup V sequences was estimated by Max Ingman and Ulf Gyllensten at 7600 YBP (years before present), and for U5b1b1 as 5500 YBP amongst Sami and 6600 YBP amongst Sami and Finns. This suggests to them an arrival in the region soon after the retreat of the glacial ice. Other research on Sami shows that most of them do not belong to the mtDNA Haplogroup I (not to be confused for the aforementioned paternal Haplogroup I-M170) that is shared by many Finnic peoples.” ref

Sami U5b

“The great majority of Sami belong to U5b Haplogroup U (mtDNA) even though a small proportion falls into U4. The percentage of total Sami mtDNA samples tested by K. Tambets and her colleagues (published in 2004) which were U5b ranged from 56.8% in Norwegian Sami to 26.5% in Swedish Sami. In research made by M. Ingman and U. Gyllensten in 2006 is a slightly different setting shown: Norwegian Sami belongs to U5b as well as U5b1b1 to 56.8%, Finnish Sami with 40.6%, Northern Sami in Sweden to 35.5% and Southern Sami in Sweden within reindeer herding to 23.9% while Southern Sami in Sweden outside of reindeer herding/other occupation belong to U5b to 16.3% and to U5b1b1 to 12%.” ref

“Sami U5b falls into subclade U5b1b1. The Sami U5b1b1 sub-clade is present in many different populations, e.g. 3% or higher frequencies in Karelia, Finland, and Northern-Russia. The Sami U5b1 motif is additionally found in very low frequencies for instance in the Caucasus region, however this is explained as recent migration from Europe. However, 38% of the Sami U5b1b1 mtDNAs have haplotype so far exclusive to the Sami, containing a transition at np 16148. Alessandro Achilli and colleagues noted that the Sami and the Berbers share U5b1b, which they estimated at 9,000 years old, and argued that this provides evidence for a radiation of the haplogroup from the Franco-Cantabrian refuge area of southwestern Europe.” ref

“M. Engman’s and U. Gyllensten’s studie on mtDNA amongst Sami in Scandinavia also reveals that haplogroup H is 15.2% within the Sami traditional group in the south of Sweden, and 34.8% amongst Southern Sami in Sweden, and as high as 44.6% amongst Southern non-traditional Sami in Sweden, but just 2.6% amongst Northern Sami in Sweden, and 2.9 within the Sami group in Finland and amongst Sami in Norway to 4.7%. That result points in the direction that South Sami in Sweden have been more exposed to and/or intermarried the continental European haplogroup H earlier, and much more frequent, than Sami in the north of Sweden, in Finland and in Norway, which can be explained by Scandinavian/Swedish settlers that migrated into Southern Sami areas in Sweden from areas like Mälardalen.” ref

Sami V

“The divergence time for the Sami haplogroup V sequences is estimated by M. Ingman and U. Gyllensten at 7,600 years ago. But there is a difference within the Sami group in Sweden according to their study. North Sami (Sami in the North of Swedish Lapland) belong to haplogroup V with 58.6% and South Sami (Sami in the South of Swedish Lapland) within reindeer herding to 37.0% and South Sami outside reindeer herding/other occupation to 8.7%. That can be compared with Sami in Norway that has a 33.1% belonging to haplogroup V and Sami in Finland to 37.7%. Sami in Finland and South Sami within reeinder herding in Sweden have the same percentage belonging to haplogroup V.” ref

“But according to K. Tambets’ et al. study is haplogroup V the most frequent haplogroup in the Swedish Sami and is present at significantly lower frequencies in Norwegian and Finnish subpopulations. Note though, that in the study made by K. Tambet’s et al. has no differentiation between Sami in the north and the south of Sweden been made, which otherwise probably would change the outcome of their study. Torroni and colleagues have suggested that the spread of haplogroup V in Scandinavia and in eastern Europe is due to its late Pleistocene/early Holocene expansion from a Franco-Cantabrian glacial refugium.” ref

“However subsequent studies found that haplogroup V is also significantly present in eastern Europeans. Furthermore, haplogroup V lineages with HVS-I transitions 16153 and 16298 that are frequent in the Sami population are much more widespread in eastern than in western Europe. So haplogroup V might have reached Fennoscandia via central/eastern Europe. Such a scenario is indirectly supported by the absence, among the Sami, of the pre-V mtDNAs that are characteristic of southwestern Europeans and northwestern Africans.” ref

Sami Z

Haplogroup Z is found at low frequency in the Sami and Northern Asian populations but is virtually absent in Europe. Several conserved substitutions group the Sami Z lineages with those from Finland and the Volga-Ural region of Russia. The estimated dating of the lineage at 2700 years suggests a small, relatively recent contribution of people from the Volga-Ural region to the Sami population.” ref

“Haplogroup Z is most frequent in Northeastern Asia. It is also present in Siberian populations as well as in the region of Volga-Ural, as just mentioned. Subhaplogroup Z1 is present in lineages in Western Asia and Northern Europe as well as in the Koryak and Itel’men populations. Interestingly enough is haplogroup Z most frequent amongst maritim Koryaks with just a bit over 10%, but is not at all present in reindeer-herding Koryaks. The Itel’men and Koryak populations live on the Kamchatka peninsula, the former in the south and the latter in the very north.” ref

Sámi Shamans and their Drums

Shaman´s drum symbols in Scandinavia

“In Sámi shamanism, the “noaidi/shaman” used the drum to get into a trance, or to obtain information from the future, or other realms. The drum was held in one hand, and beaten with the other. While the noaidi was in trance, his “free spirit” was said to leave his body to visit the spirit-world. When used for divination, the drum was beaten with a drum hammer; a vuorbi (‘index’ or ‘pointer’), a kind of die made of brass or horn, would move around on the drumhead when the drum was struck. Future events would be predicted according to the symbols upon which the vuorbi stopped on the membrane. 
The patterns on the drum membrane reflect the worldview of the owner and his family, both in religious and worldly matters, such as reindeer herding, hunting, householding, and relations with their neighbors and the non-Sámi community.” ref

“The drum of Anders Paulsen (top left) and the Bindal drum (top right) represent variations in Sami drums, their shape, decoration and history. Paulsen’s drum was confiscated in Vadsø in 1691, while the Bindal drum was bought by a museum official in 1925; Vadsø and Bindal being in opposite corners of the Sami world. Paulsens’s drum has a typical Northern Sámi pattern, with several separate levels representing the different layers of spiritual worlds. The Bindal drum has a typical Southern Sami decoration: a rhombus-shaped sun symbol in the center, with other symbols around the sun, representing people, animals, landscape and deities.” ref

(Decolonize Russia/Siberian Land Back) Russian Conquest of Siberia and the spread of Russian Imperialism/Colonialism

Anders Paulsen

Anders Poulsen (died 1692), was a Saminoaidi/shaman,” who was the last victim of the many Vardø witch trials, which took place between 1621 and 1692. In Sámi form his name was Poala-Ánde. He was born in Torne Lappmark in Sweden, married and lived in Varanger. He was active as a noaidi, and as such used a Sámi drum. The drum was taken from him by force on 7 December 1691 during the Christianization of the Sámi people, and he was put on trial for idolatry for being a follower of the Pagan Sami shamanism religion. The law used to persecute him was however formally the witchcraft law. Poulsen explained the drum’s use during his trial in February 1692. The case was considered significant and the local authorities sent a request to Copenhagen about how to deal with it. Before a sentence could be reached, however, he was killed by a fellow prisoner who suffered from insanity.” ref

Poulsen’s drum became part of the Danish royal collection after his death and eventually entered the collections of the National Museum of Denmark. It was on loan to the Sámi Museum in Karasjok, northern Norway from 1979 but it took “a 40-year struggle” for it to be officially handed back to the Sámi people in 2022, according to Jelena Porsanger, director of the museum, following an appeal by Norway’s Sámi president to Queen Margrethe of Denmark.” ref

Three inhabitants of Dolní Věstonice, lived 31,155 years ago (calibrated date) and to have mitochondrial haplogroup U, and one inhabitant mitochondrial haplogroup U8. A burial of an approximately forty-year-old woman was found at Dolní Věstonice in an elaborate burial setting (I see this as a shamanism burial). Various items found with the woman have had a profound impact on the interpretation of the social hierarchy of the people at the site, as well as indicating an increased lifespan for these inhabitants. The remains were covered in red ochre, a compound known to have religious significance, indicating that this woman’s burial was ceremonial in nature. Also, the inclusion of a mammoth scapula and a fox are indicative of a high-status burial.” ref

This woman’s burial was located near the huts, and revealed a human female skeleton aged to 40+ years old, ritualistically placed beneath a pair of mammoth scapulae, one leaning against the other. Surprisingly, the left side of the skull was disfigured in the same manner as the aforementioned carved ivory figure, indicating that the figure was an intentional depiction of this specific individual. The bones and the earth surrounding the body contained traces of red ocher, a flint spearhead had been placed near the skull, and one hand held the body of a fox. This evidence suggests that this was the burial site of a shaman. This is the oldest site not only of ceramic figurines and artistic portraiture, but also of evidence of female shamans.” ref

“Haplogroup U5 is estimated to be about 30,000 years old, and it is primarily found today in people with European ancestry. Both the current geographic distribution of U5 and testing of ancient human remains indicate that the ancestor of U5 expanded into Europe before 31,000 years ago. A 2013 study by Fu et al. found two U5 individuals at the Dolni Vestonice burial site in the Czech Republic that has been dated to 31,155 years ago.  A third person from the same burial was identified as haplogroup U8. The Dolni Vestonice samples have only two of the five mutations ( C16192T and C16270T) that are found in the present day U5 population. This indicates that the U5-(C16192T and C16270T) mtDNA sequence is ancestral to the present day U5 population that includes the additional three mutations T3197C, G9477A and T13617C.” ref

“Because there are five additional mutations (T3197C, G9477A, T13617C, C16192T and C16270T) that distinguish present day U5 from U, we can conclude that U5 experienced a long period of very slow population growth or a population bottleneck in Europe. The earliest branching of U5 is its two subclades U5a and U5b that have been dated to about 27,000 years ago by Soares et al., while Behar et al. have a younger estimate of about 22,000 years. U5a is defined by two additional mutations A14793G and C16256T, while U5b is defined by three additional mutations C150T, A7768G and T14182C.” ref

“Beginning about 27,000 years ago, the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) forced U5a and U5b into ice age refugia in southern Europe and perhaps Ukraine and the Near East. U5a has only two known subclades, U5a1 and U5a2, both estimated to be about 20,000 years old. U5b has only three known subclades, U5b1, U5b2 and U5b3, also estimated to be about 20,000 years old. However, age estimates for these subclades from Behar and from Soares vary over a range of 16,000 to 24,000 years. While there is uncertainty in the age estimates of these subclades, it seems likely that a population decline during the LGM is the cause of the lack of ancient diversity or branching in haplogroup U5. It also seems likely that U5a1, U5a2, U5b1, U5b2 and U5b3 were each present in ice age refugia in southern Europe.” ref

“As the ice began to retreat about 19,000 years ago, haplogroup U5 was among the first people to repopulate central and northern Europe. We know this because U5 is the dominant haplogroup in ancient remains of early hunter-gatherer populations in Europe, with U5 and its sister group U4 representing about 90% of the earliest Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. The 2013 Fu et al. study found haplogroup U5 in both pre-ice age Paleolithic remains and post-ice age Mesolithic remains, and they conclude:  “Because the majority of late Paleolithic and Mesolithic mtDNAs analyzed to date fall on one of the branches of U5, our data provide some support for maternal genetic continuity between the pre- and post-ice age European hunter-gatherers from the time of first settlement to the onset of the Neolithic.” ref

“Also beginning around 15,000 years ago we begin to see increasing expansion and diversity in the daughters of U5a1, U5a2, U5b1, U5b2 and U5b3. Each of these has eight or more surviving subclades, and this increase in diversity is consistent with a growing population as U5 expanded from ice age refugia into central and northern Europe. However, U5 was largely replaced by early farmers and other Neolithic immigrants to Europe, and currently, U5 represents only about 9% of European mtDNA. Some of the very old subclades of U5 are extremely rare today, perhaps because they represent the remnants of hunter-gatherers who were mostly replaced by Neolithic immigrants.” ref

Yana Rhinoceros Horn Site

“In a 2019 genetic study, DNA extracted from two of these teeth, which were found to be from two unrelated males, were found to represent a distinct archaeogenetic lineage which can be modelled as a mixture of early West Eurasian with an approximately 22% contribution from early East Asians, an ancestral lineage that the authors have named Ancient North Siberian (ANS), thought to have diversified around 38,000 years ago. The study argues that the so-called ‘Mal’ta boy’ (‘MA-1’) can be successfully modelled as a descendant of the ANS lineage, with a minor contribution from another lineage that is ancestrally related to Caucasus hunter-gatherers. The study also finds that the Ancient Palaeo-Siberian male from Kolyma (‘Kolyma1’) can be modelled as a mixture of East Asian and ANS-related ancestry, similar to that found in Native Americans, but with a greater (75%) contribution of East Asian ancestry. Both individuals from the Yana site were found to belong to mitochondrial haplogroup U, and Y chromosome haplogroup P1. This is currently the oldest human genetic material retrieved from Siberia.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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U6 back migration to Africa

“Although now found primarily in western, northern and north-eastern Africa, haplogroup U6 descends from the western Eurasian haplogroup U, and therefore represents a back migration to Africa. Secher et al. (2014) estimated that U6 arose very approximately 35,000 years ago (±11 ky), during the Early Upper Paleolithic, and prior to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM).” ref

“The oldest and largest subclade, U6a, would have appeared around the LGM. U6a lineages are thought to have spread in several waves across North Africa, probably starting around 20,000 years ago, following the northern coastline of Africa. Several U6a branches (U6a1, U6a3, U6a6, U6a6b, U6a7, and U6a7b) appear to have expanded within the Maghreb from 20,000 years ago, with some spreading to the Iberian Peninsula (U6a1, U6a1b).” ref

“Marieke van de Loosdrecht et al. (2018) tested the DNA of seven 15,000-year-old modern humans from Taforalt Cave in northeastern Morocco, and six out of seven of them belonged to haplogroup U6a (clades U6a1b, U6a6b, U6a7 and U6a7b) – the last one belonging to M1b.” ref

U6 Neolithic expansion

“U6a and U6b lineages underwent the most spectacular expansion since the Neolithic period, spreading from the Maghreb to West Africa (U6a3c, U6a3f, U6a5, U6b) and the Canary Islands (U6b1a), and crossing the Sahara all the way to the Sudan to Arabia (U6a3d). This expansion might have been carried by the arrival of domesticated cattle from the Middle East by men belonging to Y-haplogroup R1b-V88 as U6b is typically found in herding populations in which both R1b-V88 and U6b are present, including the Berbers of the Maghreb, the Fulani people of the Sahel and the Hausa people of Sudan.” ref

“R1b-V88 cattle herders are believed to have started advancing into northern Africa during the Neolithic Subpluvial (c. 7250 BCE to 3250 BCE), when the Sahara was considerably wetter and greener than today, and would have reached the Maghreb by 4,500 BCE. Consequently, the expansion of R1b-V88 with the assimilated Maghreban lineages of that period (mostly H1, H3, U6 and HV0/V) would have taken place from c. 6,000 years ago, and may have continued until fairly recently in some regions.” ref 

“Haplogroup U descends from the haplogroup R mtDNA branch of the phylogenetic tree. The defining mutations (A11467G, A12308G, G12372A) are estimated to have arisen between 43,000 and 50,000 years ago, in the early Upper Paleolithic (around 46,530 ± 3,290 years before present, with a 95% confidence interval per Behar et al., 2012).” ref

“Ancient DNA classified as belonging to the U* mitochondrial haplogroup has been recovered from human skeletal remains found in Western Siberia, which have been dated to c. 45,000 years ago. The mitogenome (33-fold coverage) of the Peştera Muierii 1 individual (PM1) from Romania (35 ky cal BP) has been identified as the basal haplogroup U6* not previously found in any ancient or present-day humans. Basal U was found in the 26,000 years old remains of Ancient North EurasianMal’ta boy (MA1).” ref

“Haplogroup U has been found among Iberomaurusian specimens dating from the Epipaleolithic at the Taforalt and Afalou prehistoric sites. Among the Taforalt individuals, around 13% of the observed haplotypes belonged to various U subclades, including U4a2b (1/24; 4%), U4c1 (1/24; 4%), and U6d3 (1/24; 4%). A further 41% of the analysed haplotypes could be assigned to either haplogroup U or haplogroup H. Among the Afalou individuals, 44% of the analysed haplotypes could be assigned to either haplogroup U or haplogroup H (3/9; 33%). Haplogroup U has also been observed among ancient Egyptian mummies excavated at the Abusir el-Meleq archaeological site in Middle Egypt, dated to the 1st millennium BCE.” ref

“The age of Haplogroup U5 is estimated at between 25,000 and 35,000 years old, roughly corresponding to the Gravettian culture. Approximately 11% of Europeans (10% of European-Americans) have some variant of haplogroup U5. U5 was the predominant mtDNA of mesolithic Western Hunter Gatherers (WHG). Haplogroup U5 and its subclades U5a and U5b today form the highest population concentrations in the far north, among Sami, Finns, and Estonians. However, it is spread widely at lower levels throughout Europe. U5b arose between 19,000 and 26,000 years ago and has polymorphisms in 150 7768 14182 ( + U5 polymorphisms). Found among Siwa Berbers of the Siwa Oasis. U5b1 arose between 11,000 and 20,000 years ago. U5b1b: has been found in Saami of Scandinavia, Finnish and the Berbers of North Africa, which were found to share an extremely young branch, aged merely ~9,000 years. U5b1b was also found in Fulbe and Papel people in Guinea-Bissau and Yakuts people of northeastern Siberia. It arose aroun11,000 years ago.” ref

“Haplogroup U6 was dated to between 31,000 and 43,000 years ago by Behar et al. (2012). Basal U6* was found in a Romanian specimen of ancient DNA (Peștera Muierilor) dated to 35,000 years ago. Hervella et al. (2016) take this find as evidence for Paleolithic back-migration of Homo sapiens from Eurasia into Africa. The discovery of basal U6* in ancient DNA contributed to setting back the estimated age of U6 to around 46,000 years ago.” ref

“Usually U6 genetic history is envisioned as a migration from southwest Asia through North Africa. This hypothesis is based on the general origin of haplogroup U sub-clades in Southwest Asia, which is also the center of the geographical distribution of U sub-clades: Europe, India, Central Asia, East Africa and North Africa. Two possible scenarios for the first U6 haplotype (bearing mutations 3348 and 16172) can be advanced: i) these mutations aroused in the founder region but did not leave any genetic legacy in current human populations there; ii) they originated probably somewhere in North Africa, after the arrival of the U6 founder haplotype. Within North Africa U6 is only significantly frequent at its western edge (as well as in South-western Europe). More importantly, all the most basal branches are virtually restricted to that region (U6b, U6c and U6d), what could indicate its western origin. Nevertheless, it cannot be excluded the major sub-clade U6a, which shows a richness of sub-clades in Northwest Africa although a few of derivative branches also include sequences from East African and the Middle Eastern populations (e.g. U6a2).” ref

“Haplogroup U6 is common (with a prevalence of around 10%) in Northwest Africa (with a maximum of 29% in an Algerian Mozabites) and the Canary Islands (18% on average with a peak frequency of 50.1% in La Gomera). It is also found in the Iberian peninsula, where it has the highest diversity (10 out of 19 sublineages are only found in this region and not in Africa),  Northeast Africa and occasionally in other locations. U6 is also found at low frequencies in the Chad Basin, including the rare Canarian branch. This suggests that the ancient U6 clade bearers may have inhabited or passed through the Chad Basin on their way westward toward the Canary Islands.” ref

“U6 is thought to have entered North Africa from the Near East around 30,000 years ago. It has been found among Iberomaurusian specimens dating from the Epipaleolithic at the Taforalt prehistoric site.[59] In spite of the highest diversity of Iberian U6, Maca-Meyer argues for a Near East origin of this clade based on the highest diversity of subclade U6a in that region, where it would have arrived from West Asia, with the Iberian incidence primarily representing migration from the Maghreb and not persistence of a European root population. According to Hernández et al. 2015 “the estimated entrance of the North African U6 lineages into Iberia at 10 ky correlates well with other L African clades, indicating that U6 and some L lineages moved together from Africa to Iberia in the Early Holocene.” ref 

“U6 branches with different coalescence ages were tentatively correlated with different North African lithic cultures, such as the Aterian, Dabban, Iberomaurusian or Capsian; and perhaps more speculatively, with the spread of the Afroasiatic language family. African expansion of U6a from out of Africa into the Maghreb occurred in Morocco around 26 kya ruling out the earlier Aterian, and suggested the Iberomaurusian as the most probable archaeological and anthropological correlate of this spread in the Maghreb. U5 correlates closely with the spread of Aurignac culture in Europe and, from an archaeological perspective, it has been argued that Central Asia, not the Levant, was the most probable origin of this migration.” ref

“After the first spread out of Africa, one of the most important modern human movements was a Paleolithic back-flow to Africa. Clear signals of this return were deduced from the phylogeny and phylogeography of the mtDNA haplogroups U6 and M1, which show major North and East African distributions. The genealogy and geographic distribution of at least two African branches of the West-Eurasian Y-chromosome haplogroups R and T (R-V88 and T-M70, respectively), gave additional evidence for this back migration from a paternal perspective.” ref

“Primary and secondary radiations of U6 branches with different coalescence ages were tentatively correlated with different North African lithic cultures, such as the Aterian, Dabban, Iberomaurusian or Capsian; and perhaps more speculatively, with the spread of the Afroasiatic language family. The Aterian was thought to have existed between 40–20 kya but recent archaeological age determinations, based on thermal luminescence, have pushed back this period, to 90–40 kya [14–16]. As the estimated age for the whole of haplogroup U6 is around 35 kya, this removes the Aterian from consideration for association with the genetic signal for dispersal in North Africa.” ref

“However, as U6 persists in modern day African populations we can assume a maternal continuity since around 35 kya, the age of this haplogroup. This continuity has received some support from ancient DNA studies on Iberomaurusian remains, with an age around 12 kya, exhumed from the archaeological site of Taforalt in Morocco. In this analysis, haplotypes tentatively assignable to haplogroups H, JT, U6 and V were identified, pointing to a local evolution of this population and a genetic continuity in North Africa. On the other hand, only one haplotype harbored the 16223 mutation, which if assigned to an L haplogroup would represent a sub-Saharan African influence of about 4%. This would equate to a frequency five times lower than that found in current Moroccan populations (20%) and would support the proposal that the penetration of sub-Saharan mtDNA lineages to North Africa mainly occurred since the beginning of the Holocene onwards.” ref

“Homo sapiens left Africa about 70-50,000 years ago, and between 30,000-15,000 years ago migrated back into Northern Africa. The people migrating back to Africa were closely related to the Neolithic farmers who had brought agriculture from the Near East to Europe about 7,000 years ago. This population is also closely related to present-day Sardinians.[1] A study from 2020 inferred two sources for the spread of Eurasian admixture in Northeastern Africa, with one associated with pastoralism. The initial phase was 6-5 kya, involving groups originating from the Levant and North Africa that gave rise to the Pastoral Neolithic. Further studies have shown that the back-migration into the region was a complex process, identifying multiple origins for the Eurasian component in Northeast African groups today. ” ref 

“African populations such as M1 supports the scenario that M1 and U6 were part of the same population expansion from Asia to Africa. M is the most common mtDNA haplogroup in Asia, super-haplogroup M is distributed all over Asia, where it represents 60% of all maternal lineages. One of the basal lineages of M1 lineages has been found in Northwest Africa and in the Near East but is absent in East Africa.” ref

“M1 is not restricted to Africa. It is relatively common in the Mediterranean, peaking in Iberia. M1 also enjoys a well-established presence in the Middle East, from the South of the Arabian Peninsula to Anatolia and from the Levant to Iran. In addition, M1 haplotypes have occasionally been observed in the Caucasus and the Trans Caucasus, and without any accompanying L lineages. M1 has also been detected in Central Asia, seemingly reaching as far as Tibet.” ref

“The fact that the M1 sub-clade of macrohaplogroup M has a coalescence age which overlaps with that of haplogroup U6 (a Eurasian haplogroup whose presence in Africa is due to a back-migration from West Asia) and the distribution of U6 in Africa is also restricted to the same North African and Horn African populations as M1 supports the scenario that M1 and U6 were part of the same population expansion from Asia to Africa.” ref

“The timing of the proposed migration of M1 and U6-carrying peoples from West Asia to Africa (between 40,000 to 45,000 ybp) is also supported by the fact that it coincides with changes in climatic conditions that reduced the desert areas of North Africa, thereby rendering the region more accessible to entry from the Levant. This climatic change also temporally overlaps with the peopling of Europe by populations bearing haplogroup U5, the European sister clade of haplogroup U6.” ref

‘Mal’ta boy’

“A boy whose remains were found near Mal’ta is usually known by the abbreviation MA-1 remains have been dated to 24,000 years ago. According to research published since 2013, MA-1 belonged to a population related to the genetic ancestors of Siberians, American Indians, and Bronze Age Yamnaya and Botai people of the Eurasian steppe. In particular, modern-day Native Americans, Kets, Mansi, and Selkup have been found to harbor a significant amount of ancestry related to MA-1.” ref

“MA-1 is the only known example of basal Y-DNA R* (R-M207*) – that is, the only member of haplogroup R* that did not belong to haplogroups R1, R2, or secondary subclades of these. The mitochondrial DNA of MA-1 belonged to an unresolved subclade of haplogroup U. The term Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) has been given in genetic literature to an ancestral component that represents descent from the people similar to the Mal’ta–Buret’ culture or a population closely related to them.” ref

“A people similar to MA1 and Afontova Gora were important genetic contributors to Native Americans, Siberians, Northeastern Europeans, Caucasians, Central Asians, with smaller contributions to Middle Easterners and some East Asians. Lazaridis et al. (2016) notes “a cline of ANE ancestry across the east-west extent of Eurasia.” MA1 is also related to two older Upper Paleolithic Siberian individuals found at the Yana Rhinoceros Horn Site called Ancient North Siberians (ANS).” ref 

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

refref, ref

Ancient North Eurasian (ANE)

Ancient Beringian/Ancestral Native American (AB/ANA)

Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG)

Western Hunter-Gatherers (WHG)

Western Steppe Herders (WSH) 

Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherer (SHG)

Early European Farmers (EEF)

Jōmon people (Ainu people OF Hokkaido Island) 

Neolithic Iranian farmers (Iran_N) (Iran Neolithic)

Amur Culture (Amur watershed)

Haplogroup R possible time of origin about 27,000 years in Central Asia, South Asia, or Siberia:


Groups partially derived from the Ancient North Eurasians

“The ANE lineage is defined by association with the MA-1, or “Mal’ta boy”, remains of 24,000 years ago in central Siberia Mal’ta-Buret’ culture 24,000-15,000 years ago. The Ancient North Eurasians (ANE) samples (Afontova Gora 3, Mal’ta 1, and Yana-RHS) show evidence for minor gene flow from an East Asian-related group (simplified by the Amis, Han, or Tianyuan) but no evidence for ANE-related geneflow into East Asians (Amis, Han, Tianyuan), except the Ainu, of North Japan.” ref 

“The ANE lineage is defined by association with the MA-1, or “Mal’ta boy”, remains of 24,000 years ago in central Siberia Mal’ta-Buret’ culture 24,000-15,000 years ago “basal to modern-day Europeans”. Some Ancient North Eurasians also carried East Asian populations, such as Tianyuan Man.” ref

“Bronze-age-steppe Yamnaya and Afanasevo cultures were ANE at around 50% and Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG) at around 75% ANE. Karelia culture: Y-DNA R1a-M417 8,400 years ago, Y-DNA J, 7,200 years ago, and Samara, of Y-haplogroup R1b-P297 7,600 years ago is closely related to ANE from Afontova Gora, 18,000 years ago around the time of blond hair first seen there.” ref 

Ancient North Eurasian

“In archaeogenetics, the term Ancient North Eurasian (often abbreviated as ANE) is the name given to an ancestral West Eurasian component that represents descent from the people similar to the Mal’ta–Buret’ culture and populations closely related to them, such as from Afontova Gora and the Yana Rhinoceros Horn Site. Significant ANE ancestry are found in some modern populations, including Europeans and Native Americans.” ref 

“The ANE lineage is defined by association with the MA-1, or “Mal’ta boy“, the remains of an individual who lived during the Last Glacial Maximum, 24,000 years ago in central Siberia, Ancient North Eurasians are described as a lineage “which is deeply related to Paleolithic/Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in Europe,” meaning that they diverged from Paleolithic Europeans a long time ago.” ref

“The ANE population has also been described as having been “basal to modern-day Europeans” but not especially related to East Asians, and is suggested to have perhaps originated in Europe or Western Asia or the Eurasian Steppe of Central Asia. However, some samples associated with Ancient North Eurasians also carried ancestry from an ancient East Asian population, such as Tianyuan Man. Sikora et al. (2019) found that the Yana RHS sample (31,600 BP) in Northern Siberia “can be modeled as early West Eurasian with an approximately 22% contribution from early East Asians.” ref

“Populations genetically similar to MA-1 were an important genetic contributor to Native AmericansEuropeansCentral AsiansSouth Asians, and some East Asian groups, in order of significance. Lazaridis et al. (2016:10) note “a cline of ANE ancestry across the east-west extent of Eurasia.” The ancient Bronze-age-steppe Yamnaya and Afanasevo cultures were found to have a noteworthy ANE component at ~50%.” ref

“According to Moreno-Mayar et al. 2018 between 14% and 38% of Native American ancestry may originate from gene flow from the Mal’ta–Buret’ people (ANE). This difference is caused by the penetration of posterior Siberian migrations into the Americas, with the lowest percentages of ANE ancestry found in Eskimos and Alaskan Natives, as these groups are the result of migrations into the Americas roughly 5,000 years ago.” ref 

“Estimates for ANE ancestry among first wave Native Americans show higher percentages, such as 42% for those belonging to the Andean region in South America. The other gene flow in Native Americans (the remainder of their ancestry) was of East Asian origin. Gene sequencing of another south-central Siberian people (Afontova Gora-2) dating to approximately 17,000 years ago, revealed similar autosomal genetic signatures to that of Mal’ta boy-1, suggesting that the region was continuously occupied by humans throughout the Last Glacial Maximum.” ref

“The earliest known individual with a genetic mutation associated with blonde hair in modern Europeans is an Ancient North Eurasian female dating to around 16000 BCE from the Afontova Gora 3 site in Siberia. It has been suggested that their mythology may have included a narrative, found in both Indo-European and some Native American fables, in which a dog guards the path to the afterlife.” ref

“Genomic studies also indicate that the ANE component was introduced to Western Europe by people related to the Yamnaya culture, long after the Paleolithic. It is reported in modern-day Europeans (7%–25%), but not of Europeans before the Bronze Age. Additional ANE ancestry is found in European populations through paleolithic interactions with Eastern Hunter-Gatherers, which resulted in populations such as Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherers.” ref

“The Ancient North Eurasians (ANE) split from the ancestors of European peoples somewhere in the Middle East or South-central Asia, and used a northern dispersal route through Central Asia into Northern Asia and Siberia. Genetic analyses show that all ANE samples (Afontova Gora 3, Mal’ta 1, and Yana-RHS) show evidence for minor gene flow from an East Asian-related group (simplified by the Amis, Han, or Tianyuan). In contrast, no evidence for ANE-related geneflow into East Asians (Amis, Han, Tianyuan), except the Ainu, was found.” ref

“Genetic data suggests that the ANE formed during the Terminal Upper-Paleolithic (36+-1,5ka) period from a deeply European-related population, which was once widespread in Northern Eurasia, and from an early East Asian-related group, which migrated northwards into Central Asia and Siberia, merging with this deeply European-related population. These population dynamics and constant northwards geneflow of East Asian-related ancestry would later gave rise to the “Ancestral Native Americans” and Paleosiberians, which replaced the ANE as dominant population of Siberia.” ref

Groups partially derived from the Ancient North Eurasians

Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG) is a lineage derived predominantly (75%) from ANE. It is represented by two individuals from Karelia, one of Y-haplogroup R1a-M417, dated c. 8.4 kya, the other of Y-haplogroup J, dated c. 7.2 kya; and one individual from Samara, of Y-haplogroup R1b-P297, dated c. 7.6 kya. This lineage is closely related to the ANE sample from Afontova Gora, dated c. 18 kya. After the end of the Last Glacial Maximum, the Western Hunter-Gatherers (WHG) and EHG lineages merged in Eastern Europe, accounting for early presence of ANE-derived ancestry in Mesolithic Europe. Evidence suggests that as Ancient North Eurasians migrated West from Eastern Siberia, they absorbed Western Hunter-Gatherers and other West Eurasian populations as well.” ref

Caucasian Hunter-Gatherer (CHG) is represented by the Satsurblia individual dated ~13 kya (from the Satsurblia cave in Georgia), and carried 36% ANE-derived admixture. While the rest of their ancestry is derived from the Dzudzuana cave individual dated ~26 kya, which lacked ANE-admixture, Dzudzuana affinity in the Caucasus decreased with the arrival of ANE at ~13 kya Satsurblia.” ref

Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherer (SHG) is represented by several individuals buried at Motala, Sweden ca. 6000 BC. They were descended from Western Hunter-Gatherers who initially settled Scandinavia from the south, and later populations of EHG who entered Scandinavia from the north through the coast of Norway.” ref

“Iran Neolithic (Iran_N) individuals dated ~8.5 kya carried 50% ANE-derived admixture and 50% Dzudzuana-related admixture, marking them as different from other Near-Eastern and Anatolian Neolithics who didn’t have ANE admixture. Iran Neolithics were later replaced by Iran Chalcolithics, who were a mixture of Iran Neolithic and Near Eastern Levant Neolithic.” ref

Ancient Beringian/Ancestral Native American are specific archaeogenetic lineages, based on the genome of an infant found at the Upward Sun River site (dubbed USR1), dated to 11,500 years ago. The AB lineage diverged from the Ancestral Native American (ANA) lineage about 20,000 years ago.” ref

“West Siberian Hunter-Gatherer (WSHG) are a specific archaeogenetic lineage, first reported in a genetic study published in Science in September 2019. WSGs were found to be of about 30% EHG ancestry, 50% ANE ancestry, and 20% to 38% East Asian ancestry.” ref

Western Steppe Herders (WSH) is the name given to a distinct ancestral component that represents descent closely related to the Yamnaya culture of the Pontic–Caspian steppe. This ancestry is often referred to as Yamnaya ancestry or Steppe ancestry.” ref

“Late Upper Paeolithic Lake Baikal – Ust’Kyakhta-3 (UKY) 14,050-13,770 BP were mixture of 30% ANE ancestry and 70% East Asian ancestry.” ref

“Lake Baikal Holocene – Baikal Eneolithic (Baikal_EN) and Baikal Early Bronze Age (Baikal_EBA) derived 6.4% to 20.1% ancestry from ANE, while rest of their ancestry was derived from East Asians. Fofonovo_EN near by Lake Baikal were mixture of 12-17% ANE ancestry and 83-87% East Asian ancestry.” ref

Hokkaido Jōmon people specifically refers to the Jōmon period population of Hokkaido in northernmost Japan. Though the Jōmon people themselves descended mainly from East Asian lineages, one study found an affinity between Hokkaido Jōmon with the Northern Eurasian Yana sample (an ANE-related group, related to Mal’ta), and suggest as an explanation the possibility of minor Yana gene flow into the Hokkaido Jōmon population (as well as other possibilities). A more recent study by Cooke et al. 2021, confirmed ANE-related geneflow among the Jōmon people, partially ancestral to the Ainu people. ANE ancestry among Jōmon people is estimated at 21%, however, there is a North to South cline within the Japanese archipelago, with the highest amount of ANE ancestry in Hokkaido and Tohoku.” ref


“MA-1 genetic affinities of Mal’ta–Buret’ culture.” ref


Mal’ta–Buret’ culture of Siberia near Lake Baikal

The Mal’ta–Buret’ culture is an archaeological culture of c. 24,000 to 15,000 years ago in the Upper Paleolithic on the upper Angara River in the area west of Lake Baikal in the Irkutsk Oblast, Siberia, Russian Federation. The type sites are named for the villages of Mal’ta, Usolsky District, and Buret’, Bokhansky District (both in Irkutsk Oblast). And a buried boy whose remains were found near Mal’ta is usually known by the abbreviation MA-1, remains have been dated to 24,000 years ago. According to research published since 2013, MA-1 belonged to a population related to the genetic ancestors of Siberians, American Indians, and Bronze Age Yamnaya and Botai people of the Eurasian steppe. In particular, modern-day Native Americans, Kets, Mansi, and Selkup have been found to harbor a significant amount of ancestry related to MA-1.” ref

“MA-1 is the only known example of basal Y-DNA R* (R-M207*) – that is, the only member of haplogroup R* that did not belong to haplogroups R1, R2, or secondary subclades of these. The mitochondrial DNA of MA-1 belonged to an unresolved subclade of haplogroup U. The term Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) has been given in genetic literature to an ancestral component that represents descent from the people similar to the Mal’ta–Buret’ culture or a population closely related to them. A people similar to MA1 and Afontova Gora were important genetic contributors to Native Americans, Siberians, Northeastern Europeans, Caucasians, Central Asians, with smaller contributions to Middle Easterners and some East Asians. Lazaridis et al. (2016) notes “a cline of ANE ancestry across the east-west extent of Eurasia.” MA1 is also related to two older Upper Paleolithic Siberian individuals found at the Yana Rhinoceros Horn Site called Ancient North Siberians (ANS).” ref


Are the people in Africa’s R1b European? (R1b-V88)

Haplogroup R1b

“According to ancient DNA studies, most R1a and R1b lineages would have expanded from the Caspian Sea along with the Indo-European languages and shared religious ideas. The Proto-Indo-European religious beliefs includes a number of securely reconstructed deities, since they are both cognates – linguistic siblings from a common origin – and associated with similar attributes and body of myths: such as *Dyḗws Ph₂tḗr, the daylight-sky god; his consort *Dʰéǵʰōm, the earth mother; his daughter *H₂éwsōs, the dawn goddess; his sons the Divine Twins; and *Seh₂ul, a solar goddess. Some deities, like the weather god *Perkʷunos or the herding-god *Péh₂usōn.” ref, ref 

“Haplogroup R1b is the most frequently occurring paternal lineage in Western Europe, as well as some parts of Russia (e.g. the Bashkirs) and pockets of Central Africa (e.g. parts of Chad and among the Chadic-speaking minority ethnic groups of Cameroon). The clade is also present at lower frequencies throughout Eastern Europe, Western Asia, as well as parts of North Africa, South Asia and Central Asia. R1b has two primary branches: R1b1-L754 and R1b2-PH155. R1b1-L754 has two major subclades: R1b1a1b-M269, which predominates in Western Europe, and R1b1b-V88, which is today common in parts of Central Africa.” ref


Basic phylogenetic tree for R1b

R1b1b (R-V88)

“R1b1b (PF6279/V88; previously R1b1a2) is defined by the presence of SNP marker V88, the discovery of which was announced in 2010 by Cruciani et al. Apart from individuals in southern Europe and Western Asia, the majority of R-V88 was found in the Sahel, especially among populations speaking Afroasiatic languages of the Chadic branch.” ref

“Studies in 2005–08 reported “R1b*” at high levels in JordanEgypt and Sudan. Subsequent research by Myres et al. (2011) indicates that the samples concerned most likely belong to the subclade R-V88, which is now concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to Myres et al. (2011), this may be explained by a back-migration from Asia into Africa by R1b-carrying people. Gonzales et al. (2013), using more advanced techniques, indicate that it is equally probable that V88 originated in Central Africa and spread northward towards Asia. The patterns of diversity in African R1b-V88 did not seem to fit with a movement of Chadic-speaking people from the North, across the Sahara to West-Central Africa, but was compatible with the reverse. An origin of V88 lineages in Central Africa, followed by a migration to North Africa. However, Shriner, D., & Rotimi, C. N. (2018), associate the introduction of R1b into Chad, with the more recent movements of Baggara Arabs.” ref

“D’Atanasio et al. (2018) propose that R1b-V88 originated in Europe about 12,000 years ago and crossed to North Africa by about 8,000 years ago; it may formerly have been common in southern Europe, where it has since been replaced by waves of other haplogroups, leaving remnant subclades almost exclusively in Sardinia. It first radiated within Africa likely between 7 and 8 000 years ago – at the same time as trans-Saharan expansions within the unrelated haplogroups E-M2 and A-M13 – possibly due to population growth allowed by humid conditions and the adoption of livestock herding in the Sahara. R1b-V1589, the main subclade within R1b-V88, underwent a further expansion around 5,500 years ago, likely in the Lake Chad Basin region, from which some lines recrossed the Sahara to North Africa.” ref

“Marcus et al. (2020) provide strong evidence for this proposed model of North to South trans-saharan movement: The earliest basal R1b-V88 haplogroups are found in several Eastern European Hunter Gatherers close to 10,000 years ago. The haplogroup then seemingly further spread with the Neolithic Cardial Ware expansion, which established agriculture in the Western Mediterranean around 7,500 years ago: R1b-V88 haplogroups were identified in ancient Neolithic individuals in central Italy, Iberia and, at a particularly high frequency, in Sardinia. A part of the branch leading to present-day African haplogroups (V2197) is already derived in some of these ancient Neolithic European individuals, providing further support for a North to South trans-saharan movement.” ref

Distribution of R-V88 in Africa Central Sahel Region is 23.0% and in Northern Africa 5.2%

“The Sahel part of Africa includes – from west to east – parts of northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, central Mali, northern Burkina Faso, the extreme south of Algeria, Niger, the extreme north of Nigeria, Cameroon and Central African Republic, central Chad, central and southern Sudan, the extreme north of South Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia. As can be seen in the data table, R-V88 is found in northern Cameroon in west central Africa at a very high frequency, where it is considered to be caused by a pre-Islamic movement of people from Eurasia.” ref, ref

Ouldeme people of Cameroon speaking the Chadic and Afro-Asiatic languages are R-V88 as high as 95.5%

Mafa people of Cameroon speaking the Chadic and Afro-Asiatic languages are R-V88 as high as 87.5%

Mada people of Cameroon speaking the Chadic and Afro-Asiatic languages are R-V88 as high as 82.4%

Guiziga people of Cameroon speaking the Chadic and Afro-Asiatic languages are R-V88 as high as 77.8%

Guidar people of Cameroon speaking the Chadic and Afro-Asiatic languages are R-V88 as high as 66.7%

Moundang people of Cameroon speaking the Niger–Congo and Adamawa languages are R-V88 as high as 66.7%

Daba people of Cameroon speaking the Chadic and Afro-Asiatic languages are R-V88 as high as 42.1%

Shuwa Arab people of Cameroon speaking the Semitic and Afro-Asiatic languages are R-V88 as high as 40.0%

Massa people of Cameroon speaking the Chadic and Afro-Asiatic languages are R-V88 as high as 28.6%

Berbers from Siwa people of Egypt speaking the Berber and Afro-Asiatic languages are R-V88 as high as 28.6%

Fali people of Cameroon speaking the the Niger–Congo and Adamawa languages are R-V88 as high as 20.8% ref

“Migration from Siberia behind the formation of Göbeklitepe: Expert states. People who migrated from Siberia formed the Göbeklitepe, and those in Göbeklitepe migrated in five other ways to spread to the world, said experts about the 12,000-year-old Neolithic archaeological site in the southwestern province of Şanlıurfa.“ The upper paleolithic migrations between Siberia and the Near East is a process that has been confirmed by material culture documents,” he said.” ref

“Semih Güneri, a retired professor from Caucasia and Central Asia Archaeology Research Center of Dokuz Eylül University, and his colleague, Professor Ekaterine Lipnina, presented the Siberia-Göbeklitepe hypothesis they have developed in recent years at the congress held in Istanbul between June 11 and 13. There was a migration that started from Siberia 30,000 years ago and spread to all of Asia and then to Eastern and Northern Europe, Güneri said at the international congress.” ref

“The relationship of Göbeklitepe high culture with the carriers of Siberian microblade stone tool technology is no longer a secret,” he said while emphasizing that the most important branch of the migrations extended to the Near East. “The results of the genetic analyzes of Iraq’s Zagros region confirm the traces of the Siberian/North Asian indigenous people, who arrived at Zagros via the Central Asian mountainous corridor and met with the Göbeklitepe culture via Northern Iraq,” he added.” ref

“Emphasizing that the stone tool technology was transported approximately 7,000 kilometers from east to west, he said, “It is not clear whether this technology is transmitted directly to long distances by people speaking the Turkish language at the earliest, or it travels this long-distance through using way stations.” According to the archaeological documents, it is known that the Siberian people had reached the Zagros region, he said. “There seems to be a relationship between Siberian hunter-gatherers and native Zagros hunter-gatherers,” Güneri said, adding that the results of genetic studies show that Siberian people reached as far as the Zagros.” ref

“There were three waves of migration of Turkish tribes from the Southern Siberia to Europe,” said Osman Karatay, a professor from Ege University. He added that most of the groups in the third wave, which took place between 2600-2400 BCE, assimilated and entered the Germanic tribes and that there was a genetic kinship between their tribes and the Turks. The professor also pointed out that there are indications that there is a technology and tool transfer from Siberia to the Göbeklitepe region and that it is not known whether people came, and if any, whether they were Turkish.” ref

“Around 12,000 years ago, there would be no ‘Turks’ as we know it today. However, there may have been tribes that we could call our ‘common ancestors,’” he added. “Talking about 30,000 years ago, it is impossible to identify and classify nations in today’s terms,” said Murat Öztürk, associate professor from İnönü University. He also said that it is not possible to determine who came to where during the migrations that were accepted to have been made thousands of years ago from Siberia. On the other hand, Mehmet Özdoğan, an academic from Istanbul University, has an idea of where “the people of Göbeklitepe migrated to.” ref

“According to Özdoğan, “the people of Göbeklitepe turned into farmers, and they could not stand the pressure of the overwhelming clergy and started to migrate to five ways.” “Migrations take place primarily in groups. One of the five routes extends to the Caucasus, another from Iran to Central Asia, the Mediterranean coast to Spain, Thrace and [the northwestern province of] Kırklareli to Europe and England, and one route is to Istanbul via [Istanbul’s neighboring province of] Sakarya and stops,” Özdoğan said. In a very short time after the migration of farmers in Göbeklitepe, 300 settlements were established only around northern Greece, Bulgaria, and Thrace. “Those who remained in Göbeklitepe pulled the trigger of Mesopotamian civilization in the following periods, and those who migrated to Mesopotamia started irrigated agriculture before the Sumerians,” he said.” ref

12,000-year-old Gobekli Tepe: “first human-made pagan temple”

Just think of the kind and amount of religious faith one would need to build such a site as this. Speaking of building, one of the most fascinating facts about this site is that they didn’t have the wheel nor metal tools. All they had were stone tools and little else.

Haplogroup R (Y-DNA)

“Haplogroup R* originated in North Asia just before the Last Glacial Maximum (26,500-19,000 years ago). This haplogroup has been identified in the remains of a 24,000 year-old boy from the Altai region, in south-central Siberia (Raghavan et al. 2013). This individual belonged to a tribe of mammoth hunters that may have roamed across Siberia and parts of Europe during the Paleolithic. Autosomally this Paleolithic population appears to have contributed mostly to the ancestry of modern Europeans and South Asians, the two regions where haplogroup R also happens to be the most common nowadays (R1b in Western Europe, R1a in Eastern Europe, Central and South Asia, and R2 in South Asia).” ref

“The oldest forms of R1b (M343, P25, L389) are found dispersed at very low frequencies from Western Europe to India, a vast region where could have roamed the nomadic R1b hunter-gatherers during the Ice Age. The three main branches of R1b1 (R1b1a, R1b1b, R1b1c) all seem to have stemmed from the Middle East. The southern branch, R1b1c (V88), is found mostly in the Levant and Africa. The northern branch, R1b1a (P297), seems to have originated around the Caucasus, eastern Anatolia or northern Mesopotamia, then to have crossed over the Caucasus, from where they would have invaded Europe and Central Asia. R1b1b (M335) has only been found in Anatolia.” ref

“It has been hypothesized that R1b people (perhaps alongside neighboring J2 tribes) were the first to domesticate cattle in northern Mesopotamia some 10,500 years ago. R1b tribes descended from mammoth hunters, and when mammoths went extinct, they started hunting other large game such as bisons and aurochs. With the increase of the human population in the Fertile Crescent from the beginning of the Neolithic (starting 12,000 years ago), selective hunting and culling of herds started replacing indiscriminate killing of wild animals. The increased involvement of humans in the life of aurochs, wild boars, and goats led to their progressive taming. Cattle herders probably maintained a nomadic or semi-nomadic existence, while other people in the Fertile Crescent (presumably represented by haplogroups E1b1b, G, and T) settled down to cultivate the land or keep smaller domesticates.” ref

“The analysis of bovine DNA has revealed that all the taurine cattle (Bos taurus) alive today descend from a population of only 80 aurochs. The earliest evidence of cattle domestication dates from circa 8,500 BCE in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic cultures in the Taurus Mountains. The two oldest archaeological sites showing signs of cattle domestication are the villages of Çayönü Tepesi in southeastern Turkey and Dja’de el-Mughara in northern Iraq, two sites only 250 km away from each others. This is presumably the area from which R1b lineages started expanding – or in other words the “original homeland” of R1b.” ref

“The early R1b cattle herders would have split in at least three groups. One branch (M335) remained in Anatolia, but judging from its extreme rarity today wasn’t very successful, perhaps due to the heavy competition with other Neolithic populations in Anatolia, or to the scarcity of pastures in this mountainous environment. A second branch migrated south to the Levant, where it became the V88 branch. Some of them searched for new lands south in Africa, first in Egypt, then colonizing most of northern Africa, from the Mediterranean coast to the Sahel. The third branch (P297), crossed the Caucasus into the vast Pontic-Caspian Steppe, which provided ideal grazing grounds for cattle. They split into two factions: R1b1a1 (M73), which went east along the Caspian Sea to Central Asia, and R1b1a2 (M269), which at first remained in the North Caucasus and the Pontic Steppe between the Dnieper and the Volga. It is not yet clear whether M73 actually migrated across the Caucasus and reached Central Asia via Kazakhstan, or if it went south through Iran and Turkmenistan. In any case, M73 would be a pre-Indo-European branch of R1b, just like V88 and M335.” ref

“R1b-M269 (the most common form in Europe) is closely associated with the diffusion of Indo-European languages, as attested by its presence in all regions of the world where Indo-European languages were spoken in ancient times, from the Atlantic coast of Europe to the Indian subcontinent, which comprised almost all Europe (except Finland, Sardinia and Bosnia-Herzegovina), Anatolia, Armenia, European Russia, southern Siberia, many pockets around Central Asia (notably in Xinjiang, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan), without forgetting Iran, Pakistan, northern India and Nepal. The history of R1b and R1a are intricately connected to each others.” ref

The Levantine & African branch of R1b (V88)

“Like its northern counterpart (R1b-M269), R1b-V88 is associated with the domestication of cattle in northern Mesopotamia. Both branches of R1b probably split soon after cattle were domesticated, approximately 10,500 years ago (8,500 BCE). R1b-V88 migrated south towards the Levant and Egypt. The migration of R1b people can be followed archeologically through the presence of domesticated cattle, which appear in central Syria around 8,000-7,500 BCE (late Mureybet period), then in the Southern Levant and Egypt around 7,000-6,500 BCE (e.g. at Nabta Playa and Bir Kiseiba). Cattle herders subsequently spread across most of northern and eastern Africa. The Sahara desert would have been more humid during the Neolithic Subpluvial period (c. 7250-3250 BCE), and would have been a vast savannah full of grass, an ideal environment for cattle herding.” ref

“Evidence of cow herding during the Neolithic has shown up at Uan Muhuggiag in central Libya around 5500 BCE, at the Capeletti Cave in northern Algeria around 4500 BCE. But the most compelling evidence that R1b people related to modern Europeans once roamed the Sahara is to be found at Tassili n’Ajjer in southern Algeria, a site famous pyroglyphs (rock art) dating from the Neolithic era. Some painting dating from around 3000 BCE depict fair-skinned and blond or auburn haired women riding on cows. The oldest known R1b-V88 sample in Europe is a 6,200 year-old farmer/herder from Catalonia tested by Haak et al. (2015). Autosomally this individual was a typical Near Eastern farmer, possessing just a little bit of Mesolithic West European admixture.” ref

“After reaching the Maghreb, R1b-V88 cattle herders could have crossed the Strait of Gibraltar to Iberia, probably accompanied by G2 farmers, J1 and T1a goat herders. These North African Neolithic farmers/herders could have been the ones who established the Almagra Pottery culture in Andalusia in the 6th millennium BCE.” ref

“Nowadays small percentages (1 to 4%) of R1b-V88 are found in the Levant, among the Lebanese, the Druze, and the Jews, and almost in every country in Africa north of the equator. Higher frequency in Egypt (5%), among Berbers from the Egypt-Libya border (23%), among the Sudanese Copts (15%), the Hausa people of Sudan (40%), the the Fulani people of the Sahel (54% in Niger and Cameroon), and Chadic tribes of northern Nigeria and northern Cameroon (especially among the Kirdi), where it is observed at a frequency ranging from 30% to 95% of men. According to Cruciani et al. (2010) R1b-V88 would have crossed the Sahara between 9,200 and 5,600 years ago, and is most probably associated with the diffusion of Chadic languages, a branch of the Afroasiatic languages. V88 would have migrated from Egypt to Sudan, then expanded along the Sahel until northern Cameroon and Nigeria. However, R1b-V88 is not only present among Chadic speakers, but also among Senegambian speakers (Fula-Hausa) and Semitic speakers (Berbers, Arabs).” ref

“R1b-V88 is found among the native populations of Rwanda, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau. The wide distribution of V88 in all parts of Africa, its incidence among herding tribes, and the coalescence age of the haplogroup all support a Neolithic dispersal. In any case, a later migration out of Egypt would be improbable since it would have brought haplogroups that came to Egypt during the Bronze Age, such as J1, J2, R1a or R1b-L23. The maternal lineages associated with the spread of R1b-V88 in Africa are mtDNA haplogroups J1b, U5 and V, and perhaps also U3 and some H subclades (=> see Retracing the mtDNA haplogroups of the original R1b people).” ref

R1b-v88 haplogroup

According to ancient DNA studies, most R1a and R1b lineages would have expanded from the Pontic Steppe along with the Indo-European languages. Analysis of ancient Y-DNA from the remains from early Neolithic Central and North European Linear Pottery culture settlements have not yet found males belonging to haplogroup R1b-M269. Olalde et al. (2017) trace the spread of haplogroup R1b-M269 in western Europe, particularly Britain, to the spread of the Beaker culture, with a sudden appearance of many R1b-M269 haplogroups in Western Europe ca. 5000–4500 years BP during the early Bronze Age. Two branches of R-V88, R-M18 and R-V35, are found almost exclusively on the island of Sardinia. As can be seen in the above data table, R-V88 is found in northern Cameroon in west central Africa at a very high frequency, where it is considered to be caused by a pre-Islamic movement of people from Eurasia.” ref

R1b1b (R-V88)

“R1b1b (PF6279/V88; previously R1b1a2) is defined by the presence of SNP marker V88, the discovery of which was announced in 2010 by Cruciani et al. Apart from individuals in southern Europe and Western Asia, the majority of R-V88 was found in the Sahel, especially among populations speaking Afroasiatic languages of the Chadic branch. Studies in 2005–08 reported “R1b*” at high levels in Jordan, Egypt and Sudan. Subsequent research by Myres et al. (2011) indicates that the samples concerned most likely belong to the subclade R-V88, which is now concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa.” ref

“According to Myres et al. (2011), this may be explained by a back-migration from Asia into Africa by R1b-carrying people. Gonzales et al. (2013), using more advanced techniques, indicate that it is equally probable that V88 originated in Central Africa and spread northward towards Asia. The patterns of diversity in African R1b-V88 did not seem to fit with a movement of Chadic-speaking people from the North, across the Sahara to West-Central Africa, but was compatible with the reverse. An origin of V88 lineages in Central Africa, followed by a migration to North Africa. However, Shriner, D., & Rotimi, C. N. (2018), associate the introduction of R1b into Chad, with the more recent movements of Baggara Arabs.” ref

“D’Atanasio et al. (2018) propose that R1b-V88 originated in Europe about 12 000 years ago and crossed to North Africa by about 8000 years ago; it may formerly have been common in southern Europe, where it has since been replaced by waves of other haplogroups, leaving remnant subclades almost exclusively in Sardinia. It first radiated within Africa likely between 8000 and 7000 years ago – at the same time as trans-Saharan expansions within the unrelated haplogroups E-M2 and A-M13 – possibly due to population growth allowed by humid conditions and the adoption of livestock herding in the Sahara. R1b-V1589, the main subclade within R1b-V88, underwent a further expansion around 5500 years ago, likely in the Lake Chad Basin region, from which some lines recrossed the Sahara to North Africa.” ref

“Marcus et al. (2020) provide strong evidence for this proposed model of North to South trans-Saharan movement: The earliest basal R1b-V88 haplogroups are found in several Eastern European Hunter Gatherers close to 10,000 years ago. The haplogroup then seemingly further spread with the Neolithic Cardial Ware expansion, which established agriculture in the Western Mediterranean around 7500 years ago: R1b-V88 haplogroups were identified in ancient Neolithic individuals in central Italy, Iberia and, at a particularly high frequency, in Sardinia. A part of the branch leading to present-day African haplogroups (V2197) is already derived in some of these ancient Neolithic European individuals, providing further support for a North-to-South trans-Saharan movement.” ref

“Early human remains found to carry R1b include:

  • Villabruna 1 (individual I9030), a Western Hunter-Gatherer (WHG), found in an Epigravettian culture setting in the Cismon valley (modern Veneto, Italy), who lived circa 14000 years ago and belonged to R1b1a.
  • Several males of the Iron Gates Mesolithic in the Balkans buried between 11,200 to 8,200 years ago carried R1b1a1a. These individuals were determined to be largely of WHG ancestry, with slight Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG) admixture.
  • Several males of the Mesolithic Kunda culture and Neolithic Narva culture buried in the Zvejnieki burial ground in modern-day Latvia c. 9,500–6,000 years ago carried R1b1b. These individuals were determined to be largely of WHG ancestry, with slight EHG admixture.
  • Several Mesolithic and Neolithic males buried at Deriivka and Vasil’evka in modern-day Ukraine c. 9500-7000 years ago carried R1b1a. These individuals were largely of EHG ancestry, with significant WHG admixture.
  • A WHG male buried at Ostrovul Corbuli, Romania c. 8,700 years ago carried R1b1c.
  • A male buried at Lepenski Vir, Serbia c. 8,200-7,900 years ago carried R1b1a.
  • An EHG buried near Samara, Russia 7,500 years ago carried R1b1a1a.
  • An Eneolithic male buried at Khvalynsk, Russia c. 7,200-6,000 years ago carried R1b1a.
  • A Neolithic male buried at Els Trocs, Spain c. 7,178-7,066 years ago, who may have belonged to the Epi-Cardial culture, was found to be a carrier of R1b1.
  • A Late Chalcolithic male buried in Smyadovo, Bulgaria c. 6,500 years ago carried R1b1a.
  • An Early Copper Age male buried in Cannas di Sotto, Carbonia, Sardinia c. 6,450 years ago carried R1b1b2.
  • A male of the Baalberge group in Central Europe buried c. 5,600 years ago carried R1b1a.
  • A male of the Botai culture in Central Asia buried c. 5,500 years ago carried R1b1a1 (R1b-M478).
  • 7 males that were tested of the Yamnaya culture were all found to belong to the M269 subclade of haplogroup R1b.” ref

“R1b is a subclade within the “macro-haplogroup K (M9), the most common group of human male lines outside of Africa. K is believed to have originated in Asia (as is the case with an even earlier ancestral haplogroup, F (F-M89). Karafet T. et al. (2014) “rapid diversification process of K-M526 likely occurred in Southeast Asia, with subsequent westward expansions of the ancestors of haplogroups R and Q.” ref

“Three genetic studies in 2015 gave support to the Kurgan hypothesis of Marija Gimbutas regarding the Proto-Indo-European homeland. According to those studies, haplogroups R1b-M269 and R1a, now the most common in Europe (R1a is also common in South Asia) would have expanded from the West Eurasian Steppe, along with the Indo-European languages; they also detected an autosomal component present in modern Europeans which was not present in Neolithic Europeans, which would have been introduced with paternal lineages R1b and R1a, as well as Indo-European languages.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

refrefrefrefrefref, ref

Trialetian culture (16,000–8000 years ago) the Caucasus, Iran, and Turkey, likely involved in Göbekli Tepe. Migration 1?


Haplogroup R possible time of origin about 27,000 years in Central Asia, South Asia, or Siberia:

Trialetian sites

Caucasus and Transcaucasia:

Eastern Anatolia:

Trialetian influences can also be found in:

Southeast of the Caspian Sea:

  • Hotu (Iran)
  • Ali Tepe (Iran) (from cal. 10,500  to 8,870 BCE)
  • Belt Cave (Iran), layers 28-11 (the last remains date from ca. 6,000 BCE)
  • Dam-Dam-Cheshme II (Turkmenistan), layers7,000-3,000 BCE)” ref

“The belonging of these Caspian Mesolithic sites to the Trialetian has been questioned. Little is known about the end of the Trialetian. 6k BC has been proposed as the time on which the decline phase took place. From this date are the first evidence of the Jeitunian, an industry that has probably evolved from the Trialetian. Also from this date are the first pieces of evidence of Neolithic materials in the Belt cave.” ref

“In the southwest corner of the Trialetian region it has been proposed that this culture evolved towards a local version of the PPNB around 7,000 BCE, in sites as Cafer Höyük. Kozłowski suggests that the Trialetian does not seem to have continuation in the Neolithic of Georgia (as for example in Paluri and Kobuleti). Although in the 5,000 BCE certain microliths similar to those of the Trialetian reappear in Shulaveris Gora (see Shulaveri-Shomu) and Irmis Gora.” ref

“The genome of a Mesolithic hunter-gatherer individual found at the layer A2 of the Kotias Klde rock shelter in Georgia (labeled KK1), dating from 9,700 years ago, has been analyzed. This individual forms a genetic cluster with another hunter-gatherer from the Satsurblia Cave, the so-called Caucasian Hunter-Gatherer (CHG) cluster. KK1 belongs to the Y-chromosome haplogruoup J2a (an independent analysis has assigned him J2a1b-Y12379*).” ref

“Although the belonging of the Caspian Mesolithic to the Trialetian has been questioned, it is worth noting that genetic similarities have been found between an Mesolithic hunther-gatherer from the Hotu cave (labeled Iran_HotuIIIb) dating from 9,100-8,600 BCE and the CHG from Kotias Klde. The Iran_HotuIIIb individual belongs to the Y-chromosome haplogroup J (xJ2a1b3, J2b2a1a1) (an independent analysis yields J2a-CTS1085(xCTS11251,PF5073) -probably J2a2-). Then, both KK1 and Iran_HotuIIIb individuals share a paternal ancestor that lived approximately 18.7k years ago (according to the estimates of full). At the autosomal level, it falls in the cluster of the CHG’s and the Iranian Neolithic Farmers.” ref

Göbekli Tepe (“Potbelly Hill”) is a Neolithic archaeological site near the city of Şanlıurfa in Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey. Dated to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, between c. 9500 and 8000 BCE, the site comprises a number of large circular structures supported by massive stone pillars – the world’s oldest known megaliths. Many of these pillars are richly decorated with abstract anthropomorphic details, clothing, and reliefs of wild animals, providing archaeologists rare insights into prehistoric religion and the particular iconography of the period..” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


A Unique Human-Fox Burial from a Pre-Natufian Cemetery in the Levant (Jordan)

Abstract: New human burials from northern Jordan provide important insights into the appearance of cemeteries and the nature of human-animal relationships within mortuary contexts during the Epipalaeolithic period (around 23,000–11,600 years ago) in the Levant, reinforcing a socio-ideological relationship that goes beyond predator-prey. Previous work suggests that archaeological features indicative of social complexity occur suddenly during the latest Epipalaeolithic phase, the Natufian (around 14,500–11,600 years ago). These features include sedentism, cemeteries, architecture, food production, including animal domestication, and burials with elaborate mortuary treatments. Our findings from the pre-Natufian (Middle Epipalaeolithic) cemetery of ‘Uyun al-Hammam demonstrate that joint human-animal mortuary practices appear earlier in the Epipalaeolithic. We describe the earliest human-fox burial in the Near East, where the remains of dogs have been found associated with human burials at a number of Natufian sites. This is the first time that a fox has been documented in association with human interments pre-dating the Natufian and with a particular suite of grave goods. Analysis of the human and animal bones and their associated artifacts provides critical data on the nature and timing of these newly-developing relationships between people and animals prior to the appearance of domesticated dogs in the Natufian.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref

A 12,000-year-old Shaman burial from the southern Levant (Israel)

Abstract: The Natufians of the southern Levant (15,000–11,500 cal BP) underwent pronounced socioeconomic changes associated with the onset of sedentism and the shift from a foraging to farming lifestyle. Excavations at the 12,000-year-old Natufian cave site, Hilazon Tachtit (Israel), have revealed a grave that provides a rare opportunity to investigate the ideological shifts that must have accompanied these socioeconomic changes. The grave was constructed and specifically arranged for a petite, elderly, and disabled woman, who was accompanied by exceptional grave offerings. The grave goods comprised 50 complete tortoise shells and select body-parts of a wild boar, an eagle, a cow, a leopard, and two marten weasels (somewhat similar to a fox to me), as well as a complete human foot. The interment rituals and the method used to construct and seal the grave suggest that this is the burial of a shaman, one of the earliest known from the archaeological record. Several attributes of this burial later become central in the spiritual arena of human cultures worldwide.” ref

Fox Mythology

“The fox appears in the folklore of many cultures, but especially European and East Asian, as a figure of cunning, trickery, or as a familiar animal possessed of magic powers, and sometimes associated with transformation. In Dogon African mythology, the fox is reported to be either the trickster god of the desert, who embodies chaos, or a messenger for the gods. Kuma Lisa is a female fox from Bulgarian folklore and Russian folklore who usually plays the role of the trickster. Kuma Lisa is encountered with another character known as Kumcho Vulcho – a wolf which is opposite to her and very often suffers from her tricks.” ref

“In Scotland, the trickster figure of the fox (or tod in traditional Scots) was represented as Lowrence, as in the Morall Fabillis of Robert Henryson. In Finnish mythology, the fox is depicted usually as a cunning trickster, but seldom evil. The fox, while weaker, in the end outsmarts both the evil and voracious wolf and the strong but not-so-cunning bear. It symbolizes the victory of intelligence over both malevolence and brute strength. In Northern Finland, the fox is said to conjure the aurora borealis while it runs through the snowy hills. When the fox’s fur touches the snow it creates magical sparks and sets the sky ablaze. Still today, the Finnish word for the aurora is “revontulet” which literally translates to “fox-fires.” ref

“In the ancient Greek story of the Teumessian Fox, the god Dionysus sends a giant fox as punishment to eat the children of Thebes. To defend the children, Creon, the leader of Thebes, sends a dog with special powers to catch the giant fox. Zeus then intervenes and turns both animals into stone and throws them into the sky, where they become the constellations Canis Major and Canis Minor. In early Mesopotamian mythology, the fox is one of the sacred animals of the goddess Ninhursag. The fox acts as her messenger. The Bible‘s Song of Solomon (2:15) includes a well-known verse “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom” which had been given many interpretations over the centuries by Jewish and Christian Bible commentators.” ref

“In Classic of Mountains and Seas (edited by Liu Xiang in Han Dynasty and probably composed by people before Qin Dynasty), foxes eat people, and predicts war. In Chinese, Japanese, and Korean folklores, foxes (huli jing in China, kitsune in Japan, and kumiho in Korea) are powerful spirits that are known for their highly mischievous and cunning nature, and they often take on the form of female humans to seduce men. In contemporary Chinese, the word huli jing is often used to describe a mistress negatively in an extramarital affair. In Shinto of Japan, kitsune sometimes helps people as an errand of their deity, Inari. And the Moche people of ancient Peru worshipped animals and often depicted the fox in their art. The Moche people believed the fox to be a warrior that would use his mind to fight. The fox would not ever use physical attack, only mental.” ref

“The fox spirit (Chinese: pinyin: húlijīng) is a mythical fox entity originating from Japanese mythology that is a common motif in East Asian mythology. In East Asian folklore, foxes are depicted as a spirit possessed of magic powers. These foxes are depicted as mischievous, usually tricking other people, with the ability to disguise themselves as a beautiful woman. The fox spirit is an especially prolific shapeshifter, known variously as the húli jīng (fox spirit) and jiǔwěihú (nine-tailed fox) in China, the kitsune (fox) in Japan, the kumiho (nine-tailed fox) in Korea, and the hồ ly tinh (fox spirit) or cáo tinh (fox goblin) and cửu vĩ hồ or cáo chín đuôi (nine-tailed fox) in Vietnam. Although the specifics of the tales vary, these fox spirits can usually shapeshift, often taking the form of beautiful young women who attempt to seduce men, whether for mere mischief or to consume their bodies or spirits.” ref

Inari Ōkami also called Ō-Inari is the Japanese kami of foxes, fertility, rice, tea and sake, of agriculture and industry, of general prosperity and worldly success, and one of the principal kami of Shinto. In earlier Japan, Inari was also the patron of swordsmiths and merchants. Represented as male, female, or androgynous, Inari is sometimes seen as a collective of three or five individual kami. kami are the deities, divinities, spirits, phenomena, or “holy powers.” ref, ref

Húxiān (“Fox Immortal”), also called Húshén (“Fox God”) or Húwáng (“Fox Ruler”) is a deity in Chinese religion whose cult is present in provinces of north China (from Henan and Shandong upwards), but especially in northeast China where it can be said to be the most popular deity. The deity can be represented as either male or female, but is most frequently identified as the female Húxiān Niángniáng (“Fox Immortal Lady”) whose animal form is a nine-tailed fox. She is the Chinese equivalent of the Japanese Shintō cult of Inari Ōkami, both god(desses) of the foxes or collective representations of the fox spirits.” ref

“Mythology tells that fox spirits are masters of the arts of metamorphosis, and can manifest in human form to seduce men or women. In exchange, they convey wealth and property. In mystical literature, influenced by Taoism, fox spirits are immortal or transcendent beings of a high level in the spiritual hierarchy or beings who engage in the pursuit of becoming immortals. The fox deity is also represented as a couple of gods, male and female, called the Great Lord of the Three Foxes (Húsān Tàiyé) and the Great Lady of the Three Foxes (Húsān Tàinǎi). As a goddess, the Fox Immortal is related to Xīwángmǔ (“Queen Mother of the West”), the great goddess guardian of Mount Kunlun (axis mundi).” ref

Tails of animism: a joint burial of humans and foxes in Pre-Pottery Neolithic Motza, Israel

Abstract: The recent discovery of a Late/Final Pre-Pottery Neolithic B burial of an adult and two children associated with fox bones at the site of Motza, Israel, demonstrates the broader socio-cultural perspective, and possibly continued animistic world views, of Neolithic foragers at the onset of the agricultural revolution. Recent excavations at the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B mega-site of Motza (7600–6000 BCE), central Israel, have revealed a rare human burial with two foxes. The fox bones were dismembered, except for one foot found in articulation, and scattered among the human remains. What could this burial reveal about interactions between humans and small carnivores in the eighth and seventh millennia BC? We propose that Neolithisation entails closer relations between humans and small carnivores, relations that find expression in ritual practice. This is an animistic reflection of an anthropogenic ecology, which is advantageous to such animals and can be related to the general transition to agriculture in the Levant during this period.” ref

The silver fox domestication experiment

“The experiment was the brainchild of Trut’s mentor, Dmitri Belyaev, who, in 1959, began an experiment to study the process of domestication in real time. He was especially keen on understanding the domestication of wolves to dogs, but rather than use wolves, he used silver foxes as his subjects. Today the domesticated foxes at an experimental farm near the Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Novosibirsk, Siberia are inherently as calm as any lapdog. What’s more, they look eerily dog-like. Domesticated foxes like many domesticated animals, have longer reproductive periods than their wild progenitors. Another change associated with selection for tameness is that the domesticated foxes, unlike wild foxes, are capable of following human gaze as well as dogs do. A “hotspot” for changes associated with domestication has been located on fox chromosome 15. SorCS, one gene in this hotspot, is linked with synaptic plasticity, which itself is associated with memory and learning, and so together, these studies are helping us better understand how the process of domestication has led to important changes in cognitive abilities.” ref

“Prehistoric rock art in Saudi Arabia adds to 13,000-year-old burials in Israel with pets, dog pottery in ancient Iran, a Phoenician predilection for pooch and canine cemeteries in Ashkelon. The authors of the paper in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology date the Arabian art to roughly 9,000 years ago, though critics cavil that the date could be off by centuries if not millennia. Even the writers themselves, led by Maria Guagnin of Max Planck, admit that the dating is speculative. Even if that dating from 8,000 to 9,000 years ago for the Arabian art is askew, pottery fragments with dog pictures found in Khuzistan, Iran, date to about 8,000 years ago. The shards arguably show dogs, not wolves, on the grounds that wolves do not normally sport merrily curling tails. People were found buried with dogs in prehistoric sites in Israel. At Eynan (a.k.a. Ain Mallaha), one of 12 bodies found was a woman with her hand resting on a puppy, dated to around 12,000 years ago. At Hayonim Terrace, a man was found interred with two small dogs, some 13,000 years ago. “A detailed analysis of these dogs, and a comparison with all known Natufian remains, suggested that genuine dogs were already living around and within human habitations during this period,” wrote Eitan Tchernov and Francois Valla in 1997. (Do not confuse these with the enigmatic pre-Natufian burial with a fox, found in Jordan). The dogs of the Natufian (around 12,500 to 9,500 BCE) looked like dogs.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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“Woman’s pelvis decorated with fox teeth, Hayonim Cave, Natufian Culture, 12,500–9500 BCE.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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At present, these fragments represent the oldest ever evidence of a skull cult. 

“The researchers at this site of Göbekli Tepe do not know who the skulls belonged to. One appears to be a female aged between 25 and 40, but the condition of the skull means scientists cannot be certain of the sex of any of them. It is believed they were carved for ritual purposes, for a possible number of reasons. As well as being unusual incisions that analysis shows must have been made with manmade tools (rather than being gnawed by animals), one of them also had traces of red ochre, a substance known to have been used in Neolithic rituals. So they made this cult at this time after they built the structures. “The ochre was stuck to the skull and the skull was found next to where ochre was spread. Ochre in the Neolithic has ritual significance—mainly it’s used in burials to cover the dead and is connected to some rituals. This underlines the special meaning of that skull.” ref

“The skull fragments are thought to be around 10,000 years ago, the already striking presence of Göbekli Tepe in southeastern Turkey could have been even more impressive—as human skulls might have dangled in what is considered the world’s oldest temple. The marks may only appear on a few fragments of bone that date between 10,000 and 7,000 years ago, but archaeologists believe that this find is extremely significant and means that this society, like many others in this part of the world at the time, was a “skull cult” that venerated the human skull after death.” ref

“The 9,000 years old  masks weigh around 2 to 4 lbs, each of the artifacts represents a oval visage with glaring ocular cavities, toothy maws, and a set of holes along the outer edge. They were likely painted in antiquity, but only one has remnants of pigment. Each of the 12 is unique, and possibly depicts individuals. Some of the faces are old, others appear younger. One is a miniature, the size of a brooch. They may represent ancestors venerated as part of an early Stone Age religion.” ref

“Based on years of attribute analysis of their iconography, it is believes that the carved limestone masks were used as part of an ancestor cult, and that shamans or tribal chiefs wore the masks during a ritual masquerade honoring the dead.” ref

“These skulls were fleshed out with plaster 9,500 years ago, pertaining the the skull cult that in all the areas consisted of more than 60 such ornamented skulls so far discovered in Neolithic sites from the Middle East, found from Israel to central Turkey. And were from a vast Middle East ancestor cult, archaeologists say. They are among the oldest portraits known and are now believed to be linked to the rise of civilization.” ref, ref

“Skull cults, involve the veneration of human skulls, usually those of ancestors, by various prehistoric and some modern primitive people. Begun probably as early as the Early Paleolithic Period, the practice of preserving and honoring the skull apart from the rest of the skeleton appears to have continued in different forms throughout prehistoric times. Most authorities agree that the skulls were cleaned and set up for worship long after death. Prehistoric humans also paid special attention to animal skulls. This practice is believed to have been a type of hunting magic, whereas the human skulls were honored with the reverence accorded to heroic ancestors and perhaps also were thought to assure the possessor of the protection and help of the deceased.” ref

“The Neolithic period is important because it is when we first find good evidence for a high increase of cult ritualism with religious and cultural practices, particularly those relating to burial customs. In Jericho, as well as placing the deceased under the floors of homes, the people also engaged in another unique mortuary practice. In some cases their skulls were removed and covered with plaster in order to create very life-like faces, complete with shells inset for eyes and paint to imitate hair and moustaches. The flesh and jawbones were removed from the skulls in order to model the plaster over the bone and the physical traits of the faces seem specific to individuals, suggesting that these decorated skulls were portraits of the deceased. The subtle modelling used to create the life-like flesh is impressive in itself, but even more so given the very early date of these artefacts. Evidence suggests that the skulls were then displayed or stored with other plaster skulls.” ref

“Skull cult plaster skulls have been found at six sites around the area of the Levant, usually dated to 9,000 – 8,000 years ago, but some go back as far as 10,000 years ago. Other sites beside Jericho where plastered skulls were excavated include Ain Ghazal and Amman, Jordan, and Tell Ramad, Syria. Most of the plastered skulls were from adult males, but some belonged to women and children. Some experts maintain that there is a religious aspect to the practice reflecting a belief that life continues after death through the preservation of the individual characteristics of the deceased.” ref

Pre-ceramic Neolithic B (10,800-9,000 years ago), and the first urbanization

“The houses were, unlike the round houses of the preceding epoch, typically multi-room and rectangular. The lithic inventory includes, for example, Byblos and Helwan peaks. In the primary production of the flint industries, a technological standardization of the tool blanks, the bi-directional core techniques, was developed for the first time. These not only saved raw material and provided a technically efficient solution for the mass production of standardized blades. They also promoted quality standardization of the end products. In addition, specialized, trained skills were created that could lead to an emerging craft. Later, masons and lime kilns were added as more early crafts.” ref

“In the early phase until about 8300 BC BC was the space where settlements grew crops or vegetables small. He limited himself to the Jordan Valley or the Golan, as well as a few other, convenient locations. Between 8300 and 7600 BC BC, the more settled settlement spread to less favored areas. This could indicate an increase in population, especially as a number of new settlements emerged. In addition, the food focus shifted from the gazelle to the goat, which opened up new spaces of use. Around 7600 BC There was a drastic expansion of settlement activity, apparently accompanied by migratory movements, possibly with stronger population growth. From the nuclear families of the Middle PPNB, apparently later, larger ancestral families or “lineage families” became apparent. Most of the older settlements were abandoned.” ref

“Central places in the sense of a centralized settlement hierarchy do not seem to have existed yet. In this phase of about 500 years, “centrally” does not mean, as usual, a hierarchy of settlements, but designates settlements that formed centers of their own local patterns of development. The surplus of individual settlements – as Basta produced blade blanks, Ba’ja sandstone rings, es-Sifiya basalt, ‘Ain Ghazal flint raw material – could have become the cause of defensive measures. On their basis, long-term new social and spatial hierarchies would have arisen if these “mega-villages” had not been deprived of the potential for development through the degradation of the environment.” ref

“Central places in the sense of a centralized settlement hierarchy do not seem to have existed yet. In this phase of about 500 years, “centrally” does not mean, as usual, a hierarchy of settlements, but designates settlements that formed centers of their own local patterns of development. The surplus of individual settlements – as Basta produced blade blanks, Ba’ja sandstone rings, es-Sifiya basalt, ‘Ain Ghazal flint raw material – could have become the cause of defensive measures. On their basis, long-term new social and spatial hierarchies would have arisen if these “mega-villages” had not been deprived of the potential for development through the degradation of the environment.” ref

“Central places in the sense of a centralized settlement hierarchy do not seem to have existed yet. In this phase of about 500 years, “centrally” does not mean, as usual, a hierarchy of settlements, but designates settlements that formed centers of their own local patterns of development. The surplus of individual settlements – as Basta produced blade blanks, Ba’ja sandstone rings, es-Sifiya basalt, ‘Ain Ghazal flint raw material – could have become the cause of defensive measures. On their basis, long-term new social and spatial hierarchies would have arisen if these “mega-villages” had not been deprived of the potential for development through the degradation of the environment. a hierarchy of settlements, but designated settlements, the centers of their own local development patterns formed.” ref

“The surplus of individual settlements – as Basta produced blade blanks, Ba’ja sandstone rings, es-Sifiya basalt, ‘Ain Ghazal flint raw material – could have become the cause of defensive measures. On their basis, long-term new social and spatial hierarchies would have arisen if these “mega-villages” had not been deprived of the potential for development through the degradation of the environment. a hierarchy of settlements, but designated settlements, the centers of their own local development patterns formed. The surplus of individual settlements – as Basta produced blade blanks, Ba’ja sandstone rings, es-Sifiya basalt, ‘Ain Ghazal flint raw material – could have become the cause of defensive measures.” ref

“On their basis, long-term new social and spatial hierarchies would have arisen if these “mega-villages” had not been deprived of the potential for development through the degradation of the environment. Ain Ghazal flint raw material – could have become the cause of defensive measures. On their basis, long-term new social and spatial hierarchies would have arisen if these “mega-villages” had not been deprived of the potential for development through the degradation of the environment. Ain Ghazal flint raw material – could have become the cause of defensive measures. On their basis, long-term new social and spatial hierarchies would have arisen if these “mega-villages” had not been deprived of the potential for development through the degradation of the environment.” ref

“Clay and other materials were used to make animal and human figurines, but vessels made of gypsum or burnt lime. Especially burial burials are known, grave goods became common. The faces of the dead were partially replicated in plaster, as in Jericho or Nahal Hemar. The latter site is a cave containing wooden artifacts and pavement. There were also pearls that had probably belonged to special items of clothing. Decorated skulls, animal figurines and knives probably indicate rituals. According to the excavators, these finds belong to the oldest stratum (4), and are thus predominantly in the period between 8210 and 7780 BC. To date. The periodization with a PPNB subsequent Präkeramischen Neolithikum C (7000-6400 BC) is only common in Israel.” ref

“The last phase of the Gazelle hunt ( Gazella gazella ) was at the early and middle PPNB site Motza investigate in the Judean mountains around Jerusalem. The settlement contained tools from gazelle bones, as they were common in the previous Sultanien, as well as other PPNA traditions were often continued; the Motza finds date back to the early PPNB, not as long believed only in the Middle. Heluan and Jerichoklings dominated. At the burial of the dead in Motza there was no preferred orientation, even if they were buried heavily inflexible. Three adult tombs show signs that the skull was later removed.” ref

“Covering an area of 40,000 square meters, the Atlit Yam site stretched 200 to 400 meters off the coast of Israel, where the Oren on the Carmel coast joins the Mediterranean Sea. Underwater archaeologists worked at a depth of 8 to 12 meters at the site, dating back to between 8,900-8,300 years ago. Was dated to Chr. At that time, the coastline was about one kilometer further west. It is possible that the settlement, which is the oldest evidence of a village inhabited by peasants and fishermen, fell victim to a tsunami. This was triggered by the Atna. But it could also have been abandoned due to the salinization of well water. The archaeologists found rich, left-behind supplies of fish, which could point to an escape. In addition to a series of rectangular houses and a well of 5.5 m depth and 1.5 m diameter, they discovered a stone semicircle around a (possible) source.” ref

“The seven megaliths were between one and 2.1 m high, the semicircle they formed had a diameter of 2.5 m. West of it were lying rock slabs of 0.7 to 1.2 m in length. Another structure, apparently serving ritual purposes, was in the form of three oval stones surrounded by furrows that represented schematic, anthropomorphic figures. On the corpses of a woman and a child were discovered traces of the oldest case of tuberculosis. In addition, some men had severe ear damage, suggesting deadly seafood dives. The animal bones from game animals, but grain stocks appear to have been created.” ref

“An approximately 3 m high city wall, the purpose of which is still unclear, was found two kilometers northwest of the present city center of Jericho in the 21 m high Tell es-Sultan . The settlement also contained the oldest, more than 10,000 years old, 8,25 m high tower and probably defenses. [84] At this time, about 4,000 people are estimated to live in the 4-hectare settlement, which is often considered the beginning of urbanization. Pottery and metalworking were still unknown. The economic basis of the “city” was the cultivation of emmer , barley and legumesLivestock and hunting continued. After this phase, the settlement was empty and was formed again at the end of the 7th millennium BC. A settlement was settled for the period between 7700 and 7220 BC. Not prove.” ref

“Between 9,220-8,400 years ago, from the end of the Präkeramischen Neolithikum B to the Präkeramischen Neolithikum C large rectangular mud brick houses were inhabited. A new wall was built, which was destroyed and rebuilt several times. Numerous crops and traces of sheep breeding could be detected. In the homes of human skulls were near the entrances zweitbestattet. Partially the faces were the skull with plaster reconstructed and sometimes replaced the eyes with shells. Burial sites of this kind were found next to Jericho, where seven skulls were found, in Ain Ghazal and Beisamoun in the upper Jordan Valley, but also in Tell Ramad near Damascus.” ref

Ceramic Neolithic (9,000 – 8,400 BC), pastoralization

“The ceramic Neolithic of South Palestine, in turn, has completely different characteristics than the previous epoch. There was a pastoralization and the dissolution of previous ways of life. There was an adaptation in steppe economies, in which ecological factors may have been more prominent. The reduced migration patterns of the eras before the “mega-villages” were resumed. In addition, there were still stationary settlements. Only after this phase stabilization took place, which provided the conditions for urban structures.” ref

“Yarmukien is the oldest ceramic culture of Israel, its most important site Sha’ar HaGolan in Yarmuktal. it became the south of the Sea of

Galilee lying locality recognized as belonging to the ceramic Neolithikum. It stretches over 20 ha, making the settlement the largest of its era, and was built between 8,400-8,000 years ago. Dated. There were large houses with courtyards measuring between 250 and 700 m². In terms of architectural history, they represent an important new development, because this type of house still exists in the Mediterranean region today. In addition, the settlement differed from the contemporary large housing estates of Anatolia in that the houses were separated by roads.” ref

“The widest of these streets measured 3 m and was covered with clay pebbles. Another, winding road was only a meter wide. A 4.15 m deep well provided drinking water. obsidian blades whose base material came from Anatolian volcanoes over 700 km away were also discovered. Sha’ar HaGolan is the first Neolithic site in Israel with extensive ceramics production. More than 300 artefacts interpreted as art objects were found, of which alone 70 figurines in one house. The figurines, made of clay, are much finer and more detailed, those made of stone more abstract.” ref

“Another important site of this period is Megiddo , a Tell or settlement hill about 30 km southeast of Haifa, which dates back to the 7th millennium, or Munhata, 11 km southwest of the Sea of

Galilee. Yarmukien pottery was also found in a 100-square-meter excavation in what is today the village of Hamadia, north of Bet Ash’an in the central Jordan Valley.” ref

“The beginning Neolithic of Egypt is fundamentally different from that of Israel, because it was not associated with tillage, as was the case throughout the Fertile Crescent. Merimde Beni Salama, located about 45 km northwest of today’s Cairo, was the original settlement of the Merimde culture, which can be classified in the beginning of the ceramic Neolithic. It seems to have southwest Asian roots, which may indicate cultural contacts or migrations.” ref

“Within the ceramic Neolithic, Yarmukia was followed by Lodien in some areas of Palestine or followed by the Wadi Rabah culture, which is, however, at least partially attributed by some archaeologists to the Chalcolithic period. However, relations with northern cultures are unclear due to the lack of excavations in Syria and Lebanon. It is possible to suggest that the Lodian culture occupied the Hula Valley at the same time as the Yarmukian spread through other areas.” ref, ref

“While no occupation in the Hula Valley can be securely attributed to the Yarmukian culture—the earliest pottery bearing cultural entity in the Southern Levant—while the later Lodian and Wadi Rabah cultural horizons were widely reported. This alone may be taken to imply a gap in the local cultural sequence, which the site of Tel Ro’im West might help fill, a suggestion that is reinforced by the Yarmukian characteristics of the flint assemblage. Several culture-historical implications follow from this. On a local scale, a suggestion implies that the Hula Valley experienced exchanges of northern and southern influences during the Early PN as in later parts of the Pottery Neolithic (see also Rosenberg 2010b and in press). At least insofar as ceramic traditions are concerned, it seems that the earliest Pottery Neolithic cultures in this area was marked by northern influences and were later replaced or evolved into a more distinctive southern facies, associated with the Lodian culture.” ref

Tree of Life Goddess

“According to the Israel Museum, Jerusalem: this 7,500-year-old goddess figurine from Neve Yam is among the world’s earliest evidence for established religion, the origins of which date back to the agricultural revolution, around 10,000 years ago. This figurine of a goddess is decorated with palm fronds or stalks of grain found at Neve Yam, Wadi Rabah culture, Late Neolithic Period. This culture is named after the site where it was first discovered (in the region of Rosh Ha-Ayin), and is common in Israel from the end of the sixth millennium and beginning of the fifth millennium BCE”. 7,500 years ago, incised bone from the collection of Israel Antiquities Authority and it is similar to contemporaneous figurines, especially the one discovered at Hagosherim, some 100 km away. The striking resemblance between the two objects indicates that the cult of the goddess was widespread by this time. In later periods, the combination of a plant motif (the Tree of Life) with the image of a woman (the goddess) became a common image throughout the Ancient Near East, where it represented the goddess Asherah.” ref, ref

“Neve Yam is in northern Israel. Located around twenty kilometers south of Haifa. Neve-Yam is one of five submerged PN settlements along the Carmel coast linked to the Wadi Rabah culture. The other localities are Megadim, Tel-Hreize, Kfar-Galim, and Kfar Samir. The faunal remains indicate that the animal economy was based on domestic sheep, goat, cattle, and pig. The scarce remains of wild animals (gazelle, badger and maybe wild boar and wild sheep) attest to the minor role played by hunting in the settlement economy. About one-third of the cattle and sheep/ goats were adults that were probably maintained for breeding purposes. The kill-off patterns, namely slaughtering juvenile males, indicating that the management of cattle, sheep/goats and probably also pigs was aimed at meat procurement.” ref, ref

“There was evidence for a Separate Burial Ground at the Submerged Pottery Neolithic Site of Neve-Yam, Israel. Neve-Yam, a submerged Pottery-Neolithic (PN) Wadi Rabah settlement second half of the 8th-millennium” (8th-millennium: 10,000-9,000 years ago) of the Carmel coast revealed unique stonebuilt graves. They were concentrated in a specific and separate section of the site devoted to burial and associated activities. There were no dwellings in this burial area and no graves were found in the occupation area. The oval graves, oriented in an east-west direction, were built of undressed stones and some were covered by stone slabs.” ref

“This is an early example for a clear division between a dwelling zone and a burial ground with stone-built graves in a Neolithic settlement. Three concentrations of charred seeds in the burial area are possibly associated with ritual activities. The separation of the living from the dead in this late PN site is notably different from earlier PN and Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) burial practices and should be considered in light of the later Chalcolithic Ghassulian “starting in middle 7th-millennium” (7th-millennium: 9,000-8,000 years ago) appearance of formal off-site cemeteries.” ref

“Neve Yam involved the Wadi Rabah culture as did the site of En Zippori a
prehistoric settlement remains that range in date from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period (around 10,000 years ago) to the Early Bronze Age (around 5,000 years ago). Remains of an extensive settlement from the end of the Neolithic period and the beginning of the Chalcolithic period in the country belonging to the “Wadi Rabah” culture.” Wadi Rabah culture as a distinct cultural entity of the southern Levant and suggested possible interconnections to the northern Levant.” ref, ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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I think the mask aspect of the ancestor cult starts in Turkey seen at Gobekli Tepe: the “first human-made pagan temple” (around 11,130-10,620 years ago) as well as at Nevalı Çori (around 10,400-10,100 years ago) known for having some of the world’s oldest known communal buildings. And both have masks and seem to have the earliest skull cult evidence. ref, ref


Pre-pottery Neolithic “Skull Cult/Ancestor Cult” Sites in the Levant and Predominant in Israel

Info on the listed sites:

*Abu Gosh: Link, Link, Link

*Ain Ghazal: Link, Link

*Basta: Link, Link

*Beidha: Link, Link

*Beisamoun: Link

*El-Hemmeh: Link, Link

*El-Wad: Link

*Erq el-Ahmar: Link, Link

*Es-Sifiye: Link, Link

*Ghwair: Link, Link, Link, Link

*Hatula: Link

*Hayonim Cave: Link, Link

*Iraq ed-Dubb: Link, Link

*Jericho: Link, Link, Link

*Kfar Hahoresh: Link

*Khirbet Hammam: Link, Link, Link

*Mallaha: Link

*Munhata: Link

*Nahal Hemar: Link, Link, Link

*Nahal Oren: Link, Link

*Netiv Hagdud: Link, Link

*Shuqbah: Link, Link

*Tell Aswad: Link

*Tell Qarassa: Link, Link

*Tell Ramad: Link

*Wadi Hammeh: Link, Link

*Wadi Shu’eib: Link, Link, Link

*Yiftahel: Link, Link

*Zahrat adh-Dhra: Link, Link

“In the Levant, plastered and remodeled skulls have been found in several PPNB sites, such as Jericho, Tell Ramad, Beisamoun, Kfar Hahoresh, Tell-Aswad, ‘Ain Ghazal, and Nahal Hemar and are thus considered part of a mortuary practice typical of the PPNB. This practice seems to have continued in Anatolia, as plastered skulls have been found at Köşk Höyük [ref][ref] and Çatal Hüyük [ref] in much later PN contexts. It is still unclear how the central Anatolian plastered skulls relate to those of the Levant, when there are none of such plastered skulls in Anatolia during the PPNB, and none in the Levant during the PN.” ref

“In the Levant, planned burial customs, performed for ritualistic purposes, date as far back as the Middle Paleolithic [ref]. Skull-related funerary practices began during the late and the final Natufian of the southern Levant (12,500–11,800 tears ago), as evidenced in the Hayonim Cave and Eynan sites, where skulls were detached from the rest of the skeleton [ref]. In PPNA Jericho, group burials of isolated unadorned skulls (nested skulls), organized in various configurations, have been found. The same phenomenon was reported in the EPPNB site of Motza [ref]. During the Mid-late PPNB, mortuary customs developed, involving the artificial remodeling of skulls, evidence of which has been found across the Near East. Skulls covered by plaster masks have been located in Jericho, Beisamoun [ref], ‘Ain Ghazal [ref], [ref], Kfar Hahoresh [ref], Tell Ramad [ref][ref], and Tell Aswad [ref]. Three plastered facial masks, without the human skulls, were found buried together in a pit at ‘Ain Ghazal [ref]. At Nahal Hemar, three skulls ornamented with asphalt motifs and one burned skull were found [ref], [ref].” ref

“In Ujrat el Mehed (southern Sinai), adult skulls were removed from the post-cranial skeleton, similarly to other Neolithic Levantine sites [ref]. Other special remains include a skull painted with red ochre from Tell Abu Hureyra [ref], a skull decorated with red and black substances from ‘Ain Ghazal [ref] and painted stone masks from Nahal Hemar [ref] and the area of Er-Ram (exact provenance unknown) [ref]. Thus, the three plastered skulls uncovered at Yiftahel join a growing record of artificially treated skulls from the Levantine PPNB. Most of the plastered skulls found to date belong to adult individuals, and both sexes are represented. For our case, it is important to note that the PPNB is characterized by the shift from hunter-gatherer groups to agricultural societies. This process took place on many different levels, e.g., demographic, societal, religious, economic and epidemiological levels [ref][ref].” ref

“It is difficult to draw interpretation from these finds but clearly show the first appearance and gradual affirmation of skulls separation, with special reference to individuals and preserving individual identities. Evidence has shown how facial recognition is a major issue for establishing any kind of personal and social relationships. The memory of dead persons and, furthermore, materializing their identities by means of their skulls was the first step to give them an “after death” life (afterlife ancestor worship) to be oriented towards the ideological needs of the new agricultural society.” ref

“The planners and builders of Gobeklitepe still remain a big mystery, and no one has been able to crack the code so far. It is also surmised that Gobeklitepe’s main function was primarily ritual burials, and in some lesser capacity big feasts and social gatherings. In human terms it is roughly estimated that a minimum of 500 bodies might pull it off.Archaeologists believe that the tail end of Hunter- Gatherer societies were organized in a shamanic way, suggesting that some individuals among them were more developed, a solid system and a sound hierarchy and as such became religious leaders, who presided over – and organized – their clans and societies seemingly a level of priest/priestess-hood, as seen in paganism.” ref

“Skull cult can take on different forms, that is, with skull modifications frequently underlying very specific cultural codes. In the Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN; 9600–7000 calBC) of Southeast Anatolia and the Levant, there is an abundance of archaeological evidence for the special status assigned to the human skull: In addition to the deposition of skulls in special places, as attested by the “skull depot” at Tell Qaramel or the “skull building” at Çayönü, human skulls are also known to have been decorated, for example, where the soft tissue and facial features have been remodeled in plaster and/or color was applied to the bone.” ref

“A hitherto unknown type of skull modification has recently been observed at Göbekli Tepe in Southeast Anatolia. And although human burials are still absent from Göbekli Tepe, a considerable number of fragmented human bones (n = 691) have been recovered. Notably, most of the human bone fragments (n = 408) stem from the skull, whereas postcranial fragments are less frequent (n = 283). Although these statistics could reflect taphonomic processes at work, a positive selection of skull material could be indicated. A total of 40 skull fragments (9.8%) carry cut marks from defleshing activities; additional signs of skeletal processing (decapitation) are represented by cut marks on two (of just seven) cervical vertebrae so far discovered at the site.” ref

A total of 12 stone cult ‘spirit’ masks from the Judean Desert and surroundings Hills in Israel that display Neolithic ancestor worship.

“The Judaean Desert or Judean Desert is a desert in Israel and the West Bank that lies east of Jerusalem and descends to the Dead Sea. It stretches from the northeastern Negev to the east of Beit El, and is marked by natural terraces with escarpments. It ends in a steep escarpment dropping to the Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley.” ref

“They are current some of the oldest masks in the world and likely connect to shamanistic-paganism depicting vacant sockets and jaws agape, they stare at you like the skulls of the dead.” ref

To me, they may also connect to the skull cult also known in the same general area as well as others areas as far as Turkey.


“Although human Y chromosomes belonging to haplogroup R1b are quite rare in Africa, being found mainly in Asia and Europe, a group of chromosomes within the paragroup R-P25* are found concentrated in the central-western part of the African continent, where they can be detected at frequencies as high as 95%. Phylogenetic evidence and coalescence time estimates suggest that R-P25* chromosomes (or their phylogenetic ancestor) may have been carried to Africa by an Asia-to-Africa back migration in prehistoric times.” ref

“The Bata, Fali, Fata, Gemjek, Guidar, Giziga, Hurza, Kapsiki, Mada, Mafa, Massa, Matakam, Mofou, Mora, Mousgoum, Muyang, Ouldeme, Podoko, Toupouri people, Vame and Zulgo are all considered Kirdi, due to their resistance to Islam. They speak Chadic and Adamawa languages.” ref 

Kirdi Afracan Religion

“The Kirdi are the many cultures and ethnic groups who inhabit northwestern Cameroon and northeastern Nigeria. The kirdi, in keeping with their traditional practices prior to non-traditional religious beliefs like Christianity or Islam, had practiced pagan beliefs. These beliefs had been identified as monotheistic. The followers of the Fali religion have kept this faith for thousands of years. Their beliefs include that there is a creator god that is omnipotent. This superior overarching character to the Fali and similar branches have dubbed it as Muttaf, although other names have also been adopted for the same general concept.” ref

“As well as the creator god, the Fali believe, there is another by the name of Ona, which has come to signify mother earth. The Ona deity has been used interchangeably with the planet Earth. When the Fali speak of the planet, the soil, the natural resources, and the passing of time, they do so in respect to Ona. Ona, together with Muttaf, is responsible for the creation of all things. These creations credited to the deity known as Muttaf, range from relatives, ancestors, the individual, the natural resources of the Earth, the Earth included, the sky, and everything else. However, Muttaf is not singularly the creator of all things, such as the monotheistic god adopted by Abrahamic religions, but rather they identify him as purely one who is undetectable to human intelligence.” ref 

Fali people

“The Fali people (called the Bana in Nigeria) are any of several small ethnic groups of Africa. The Fali are concentrated in mountainous areas of northern Cameroon, but some also live in northeastern Nigeria. The Fali are sometimes referred to as the Kirdi, meaning “pagan,” a term given by the neighboring Muslim Fulani; after they fought against the jihadists and rejected Islam. Today the Fali in Mubi North Adamawa state are predominantly Christians.

“The original Fali religion is traditional African. It has been identified as monotheistic, involving belief in a creator god, Muttaf, and a mother goddess, Ona, the Earth. Followers of the Fali religion make prayers and offerings to ancestors to intercede with Faw on behalf of the living. The Fali “conceive of Muttaf not only as creator and organizer, but also as a just God who is undepictable by human intelligence.” The religion also includes belief in supernatural beings, including genies, sacred crocodiles, and the black snake, the master of darkness.” ref

Dense sampling of ethnic groups within African countries reveals fine-scale genetic structure and extensive historical admixture

“Abstract: Previous studies have highlighted how African genomes have been shaped by a complex series of historical events. Despite this, genome-wide data have only been obtained from a small proportion of present-day ethnolinguistic groups. By analyzing new autosomal genetic variation data of 1333 individuals from over 150 ethnic groups from Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Nigeria, and Sudan, we demonstrate a previously underappreciated fine-scale level of genetic structure within these countries, for example, correlating with historical polities in western Cameroon. By comparing genetic variation patterns among populations, we infer that many northern Cameroonian and Sudanese groups share genetic links with multiple geographically disparate populations, likely resulting from long-distance migrations. In Ghana and Nigeria, we infer signatures of intermixing dated to over 2000 years ago, corresponding to reports of environmental transformations possibly related to climate change. We also infer recent intermixing signals in multiple African populations, including Congolese, that likely relate to the expansions of Bantu language–speaking peoples.” ref

“The expansion of Bantu language–speaking peoples from the Cameroon/Nigeria border region throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa beginning roughly 3500 years before present (B.P.) radically reshaped the genetic structure of the continent and led to extensive admixture between migrants and local populations.” ref 

Main African Language families, shown above:

“The Bantu migration from their origins in southern West Africa saw a gradual population movement sweep through the central, eastern, and southern parts of the continent starting in the mid-2nd millennium BCE and finally ending before 1500 CE.” ref

“The impact of the Bantu expansion on pre-existing hunter-gatherer communities was also appreciable. The contribution of Bantu-speaking peoples to the male-specific gene pool of the Pygmies is >50%, and a similar degree of admixture is detected also in the Khoisan-speaking !Kung (45%) and Khwe (58%). These Y-chromosome data agree with mtDNA data showing a higher “Bantu component” in the Khwe than in the !Kung, and they also correlate with the physical appearance of the former. However, the impact of the Bantu on the hunter-gatherer communities could have been less extreme in other southern African regions, as is possibly indicated by the 17% of Bantu chromosomes observed in the composite Khoisan sample analyzed.” ref

“Surprisingly, the ancient DNA sequenced from the four children – one pair buried 8,000 years ago, the other 3,000 years ago – reveals ancestry very different from that of most Bantu-speakers today. The research team sequenced DNA from four children buried 8,000 and 3,000 years ago at Shum Laka in Cameroon. Shum Laka is a rock shelter located in the ‘Grassfields’ region of Cameroon, a place long pinpointed by linguists as the probable cradle of Bantu languages, a widespread and diverse group of languages spoken by more than a third of Africans today.” ref

“Linguists, archaeologists and geneticists have been studying the origin and spread of Bantu languages for decades, and the Grassfields region is key to this question,” said Mary Prendergast, Ph.D., a professor of anthropology and chair of humanities at Saint Louis University’s campus in Madrid, and a co-supervising author of the study. “The consensus is that the Bantu language group originated in west-central Africa, before spreading across the southern half of the continent after about 4,000 years ago.” This expansion is thought to be the reason why most people from central, eastern, and southern Africa are genetically closely related to each other and to West Africans.” ref

African Bantu mythology

“The nature of the supreme and highest God of all gods and deities is often only vaguely defined or even lacking, although he may be associated with the Sun, or the oldest of all ancestors, or have other specifications.” ref

MARK_OLOO_ @MK_OL_ Melophile, Physicist, Sapiophile. Nairobi, Kenya – Am a bantu. Interesting fact, the bantu has many tribes with their unique language. So many languages.

My response, I enjoy learning about how culture evolves and changes. I think it interesting to learn language migrations like that of Bantu.

MARK_OLOO_ – The coastal bantus of kenya intermarried with the arabs long ago & their union of culture and language brought about kiswahili language spoken by the swahili people.

My response, That is interesting, do they share any similar religion beliefs from this interaction?

MARK_OLOO_ – They have they own genesis story & each tribe has it’s own version of the genesis of life. For example the maasai people are bantus who believed their first ancestors descended from heaven with a ladder.

My response, Do you feel Bantu religion involves shamanism? Some people think so others question this.

MARK_OLOO_ – Traditionally the bantu had rain makers medicine men & religious leaders as well as a council of elders who governed with their great wisdom. They also believed in witchcraft and anyone suspected of practicing dark magic was banished from the community to the forest to be eaten by predatory wildlife.

My response, Did people who did light or dark magic have the same or different names or just different behaviors under the same name?

MARK_OLOO_ – Rain makers prayed for rain during prolonged droughts, healers or medicine men had expertise in herbs and had magical powers too. The healer is called mganga (kiswahili) & a sorcerer/witch is mchawi(witch) also kiswahili.

My response, In some cultures a shaman and a sorcerer are similar with shamans helping the people and sorcerers working for governments or elites. I think Bantu involved Animism and Totemism and some version of shamanism as well but under different names but some similar stuff to shamanism but wanted to see what you thought.

(2002) “The shaman is, above all, a connecting figure, bridging several worlds for his people, traveling between this world, the underworld, and the heavens. He transforms himself into an animal and talks with ghosts, the dead, the deities, and the ancestors. He dies and revives. He brings back knowledge from the shadow realm, thus linking his people to the spirits and places which were once mythically accessible to all.–anthropologist Barbara Meyerhoff” ref

John Hoopes (Department of Anthropology, University of Kansas), who Graham Hancock thinks is “the most vehement and insulting of all archaeologists” and I think is great, addresses Pseudoarchaeology, Pseudohistory, and Pseudoscience

 John Hoopes @KUHoopes a professional archaeologist and professor in a privet message said to me, “There are good reasons to suspect that Siberian shamanism was not so much an ancient, Ice Age tradition as an echo of practices in Neolithic and urban, Bronze Age China to the south. The spread of what’s labeled “shamanism” for some societies (and not others) and the variety of practices associated with it are two different things. Look into ngoma and tell me it’s not basically the same category. Ngoma means “drum,” but it also refers to the uses of drumming.”

My response, I don’t see things this way, Siberian shamanism seems present around 24,000 years ago but the first shaman was in Europe earlier, to me. Yes, Ngoma seems related to a version of shamanism, but more related to animism and totemism relates to the spread of Bantu, likely. Ngoma are musical instruments used by certain Bantu populations of Africa.

Ngoma (also called engoma or ng’oma or ingoma) are musical instruments used by certain Bantu populations of Africa. Ngoma is derived from the Kongo word for “drum”. Different Bantu-inhabited regions have their own traditions of percussion, with different names for their instruments. In Kikongo, “ngoma” is used by extension to signify specific dances, social occasions, and rhythms. In Swahili, Ngoma music is used to describe music, dance, instruments including the drums, and events together as a joint cultural practice.” ref

“The ngoma drum is known as engoma throughout the African Great Lakes region. In Swahili, ngoma resulted because of unease in pronouncing engoma by dropping the syllable e. The Banyankore hold drums in high regard; especially the royal drums headed by Bagyendanwa, without which a prince never laid claim to kingship.” ref

“The Baganda of Uganda have a special relationship with ngoma drums, so much so that it is thought by many people that theirs is the country where this type of drum actually originated. The Baganda are fondly thought of as the children of Ngoma. The ngoma is used for communication and celebration and is also a symbol of authority. Ngoma is also used for storytelling.” ref

“The ngoma are made of wood, which is covered with cow skin pegged on both ends, although you’ll also find tourist versions of these drums covered with zebra skins. Typically, they are played in groups of seven drums, each drum having its own voice and function within the ensemble. Another popular configuration is made with at least four drums. Each of these drums are treated as individuals, thus they each have a specific name.” ref

“Throughout Central and South Africa, ngoma ceremonies are used to assist in healing during ceremonies. The rituals involve rhythmic music and dance, and can result in “stress reduction, social support, support of prosocial behaviors, psychodynamic growth, and placebo effect”. Ngoma often serves as a tool to unify the tribe, and assist in health or life transitions and a way to communicate to the spirits. The ngoma drum is also used in Zimbabwe, mainly for traditional dances and celebrations.” ref

Shamanism Past and Present ANTH 603 by John W. Hoopes, Professor

Course Description

“Shamanism has long been identified as the oldest form of human spiritual activity. One of its principal purposes was diagnosing and curing illnesses prior to the development of modern biomedical models for the causes and treatment of disease. Historically, shamans have been respected, honored, feared, and persecuted as witch doctors, witches, wizards, magicians, and sorcerers. They have long been the subjects of both fantastic and scientific speculation. The manifestations of shamanism in the past and present are enormously varied. Some archaeologists have identified shamanism as a motivation for the earliest known works of art, dating to more than 35,000 years ago. Others identify its practice in the earliest Neolithic farming communities, where they suggest it provided the foundations for the origins of organized
religion. Shamanism also has been identified as the foundation for highly complex religious systems as practiced by ancient chiefdoms and states in Asia and the Americas. It continues to be practiced today by indigenous people around the world. Shamanism is also being promoted and embraced within the context of contemporary Western culture as a form of alternative medicine and a path to spiritual growth.” – by John W. Hoopes, Professor

“This course is designed to provide an in-depth study of shamanism from a holistic perspective that draws upon information from ethnology, ethnohistory, archaeology, history, psychology, religious studies, and sociology. It will examine the evidence for the origins of shamanism in the Paleolithic period as well as its continued practice throughout human history, from the Neolithic period up to the present. However, it is essential to acknowledge that shamanism is the subject of intense controversy. Rather than assuming that all interpretations of shamanism are correct, this course will strive to apply critical thinking to evaluate the quality of the evidence and its interpretation. The principal goal of this course is to provide students with a sufficient background in scholarship on shamanism, drawing on classic literature as well as current debates, for them to arrive at their own informed conclusions. regarding the practice of shamanism in the past and present.” – by John W. Hoopes, Professor

Semester Schedule

Week 1  – Introduction to Shamanism
Tuesday – What is Shamanism?
Thursday – Interpreting “Shamanism” in Art and Archaeology
Reading Assignment
“A 12,000-year-old Shaman burial from the southern Levant (Israel)” (Grosman et
al. 2008)
“Shamanism: An Inquiry into the History of the Scholarly Use of the Term in
English-Speaking North America” (Jones 2006)
“The Role of Shamanism in Mesoamerican Art: A Reassessment” (Klein et al. 2002)

Week 2  – Anthropology and Shamanism
Tuesday – Mircea Eliade and Religious Studies
Thursday – Eliadean “Shamanism”
Reading Assignment
Chapters I – III of Shamanism, by Mircea Eliade
Leach 1966 “Sermons By a Man on a Ladder” (online)

Week 3 – Siberian and Central Asian Shamanism
Tuesday – Becoming a Shaman
Thursday – Guest Presentation: Prof. Arienne Dwyer, Tengrism and Shamanism
Reading Assignment
Chapters IV – VI of Shamanism, by Mircea Eliade
Stigliano 2002 “Fascism’s Mythologist” (online)
Lachman 2008 “Archangels of Our Darker Nature (online)

Week 4 – Origins of Shamanism in the Paleolithic and Mesolithic
Tuesday – Cave Art of the Upper Paleolithic
Thursday – The San of South Africa, Rituals, and Rock Art
Reading Assignment
Chapters VII – VIII of Shamanism, by Mircea Eliade
Chapters 3 & 4 of The Mind in the Cave, by David Lewis-Williams
Lewis-Williams and Dowson 1988 “Signs of All Times: Entoptic Phenomena in
Upper Paleolithic Cave Art”

Week 5 – Seeing Shamans in Rock Art
Tuesday – Rock Art of North Africa
Thursday – Rock Art of the Americas
Reading Assignment
Chapters 5, 6 & 7 of The Mind in the Cave, by David Lewis-Williams

Week 6 – Shamans of Ancient Europe
Tuesday – Do We Believe in Magic?
Thursday – Psychological Components of Healing
Reading Assignment
Chapters 8 & 9 of The Mind in the Cave, by David Lewis-Williams
Winkelman 1982 “Magic: A Theoretical Reassessment”
Winkelman 2004 “Shamanism as the Original Neurotheology”

Week 7 – Shamanism in Lowland South America
Tuesday – Critical Thinking about Religion; Critiques of Eliade and Lewis-Williams
Thursday – Michael Harner and “Core Shamanism”
Reading Assignment
Shamans and Religion: An Anthropological Exploration of Critical Thinking, by
Alice Beck Kehoe
Harner 1980, The Way of the Shaman (online excerpt)

Week 8 – Shamans of the Andes
Friday, March 9 – MIDTERM EXAM
Tuesday – Chavín, Paracas, and Moche Cultures of the Andes
Thursday – Can We Recognize Shamans in Pre-Columbian Art?
Required Reading
Shamans and Religion: An Anthropological Exploration of Critical Thinking, by
Alice Beck Kehoe

Week 9 – African and South American Shamanism
Tuesday – Guest Presentation: African Healing (Prof. John Janzen)
Thursday – Central and South American Shamanism
Reading Assignment
Janzen 1992, Chapter 5, “How Ngoma Works,” from Ngoma: Discourses of
Healing in Central and Southern Africa, by John Janzen (online)
Stephen Beyer, Singing to the Plants (read as much as you can over Spring Break)
Rock et al. 2008 “Ego Boundaries, Shamanic-Like Techniques, and Subjective
Experience: An Experimental Study”

Reading Assignment
Stephen Beyer, Singing to the Plants (read as much as you can over Spring Break)
Week 11 (March 22 – 28) – Shamanism in Africa, Mexico, and Central America
Tuesday – Ayahuasca Pilgrimage and Mestizo Shamanism
Thursday – Guest Presentation: Stephen Beyer via Skype
Reading Assignment
Stephen Beyer, Singing to the Plants

Week 12 – Indigenous Shamanism in North America
Tuesday – Wovoka and the Ghost Dance
Thursday – Black Elk, Medicine Men, and Native Shamans
Reading Assignment
Black Elk Speaks (online excerpt)
DeLoria 2006 The World We Used to Live In (online excerpt)

Week 13 – The Dark Side of Shamanism
Tuesday – The Scary Case of Kanaimà and Revenge Sorcery in Guyana
Thursday – Therianthropy and Shamanism in Folklore and Art
Reading Assignment
Hoopes 2007, “Sorcery and the Taking of Trophy Heads in Ancient Costa Rica”
Whitehead 2002, Dark Shamans: Kanaimà and the Poetics of Violent Death
(selected chapters)

Week 14 – Shamanism & Cultural Revival
Tuesday – Varieties of South American Shamanism
Thursday – Psychedelic Culture and Shamanism
Reading Assignment
Whitehead 2002, Dark Shamans: Kanaimà and the Poetics of Violent Death
(selected chapters)
Listening Assignment
Selected lectures by Terence McKenna (online recordings)

Week 15 – Shamanism & Consciousness
Monday, April 20 – Second Assignment Due
Tuesday – A History of New Age Thought
Thursday – Shamanism in Western Context
Reading Assignment
Winkelman 2004, “Shamanism as the Original Neurotheology” (online)
Sidky 2010, “On the Antiquity of Shamanism” (online)
Boeckhoven 2011, Genealogies of Shamanism (online excerpts)

Week 16 – Shamanism in Contemporary Culture
Tuesday – Shamanism and New Age Syncretisms
Thursday – Cybershamanism and Transformation Festivals
Reading Assignment
Hutson 2000 “The Rave: Spiritual Healing in Modern Western Subcultures” (online)
York 2001 “New Age Commodification and Appropriation of Spirituality” (online)

Week 17 – The Future of Shamanism
Final Exam: The questions for the take-home essays will be available on Blackboard beginning
at 5:00 pm on Friday, December 11 and will be due by 5:00 pm on Friday, December 18. For
more information, see the “Assignments” section in Blackboard. – by John W. Hoopes, Professor

Chinese shamanism, alternatively called Wuism (Chinese: 巫教; pinyin: wū jiào; lit. ‘wu religion, shamanism, witchcraft’; alternatively 巫觋宗教 wū xí zōngjiào), refers to the shamanic religious tradition of China. Its features are especially connected to the ancient Neolithic cultures such as the Hongshan culture. Shamanism is practiced in Northeast China and is considered different from those of central and southern Chinese folk religion, as it resulted from the interaction of Han religion with folk religion practices of other Tungusic people such as Manchu shamanism. The shaman would perform various ritual functions for groups of believers and local communities, such as moon drum dance and chūmǎxiān (出馬仙 “riding for the immortals”).” ref

“Chinese shamanic traditions are intrinsic to Chinese folk religion. Various ritual traditions are rooted in original Chinese shamanism: contemporary Chinese ritual masters are sometimes identified as wu by outsiders, though most orders don’t self-identify as such. Also Taoism has some of its origins from Chinese shamanism: it developed around the pursuit of long life (shou 壽/寿), or the status of a xian (仙, “mountain man”, “holy man”). The Chinese word wu 巫 “shaman, wizard”, indicating a person who can mediate with the powers generating things (the etymological meaning of “spirit”, “god”, or nomen agentis, virtus, energeia), was first recorded during the Shang dynasty (ca. 1600-1046 BCE), when a wu could be either sex. During the late Zhou dynasty (1045-256 BCE) wu was used to specify “female shaman; sorceress” as opposed to xi 覡 “male shaman; sorcerer” (which first appears in the 4th century BCE Guoyu). Other sex-differentiated shaman names include nanwu 男巫 for “male shaman; sorcerer; wizard”; and nüwu 女巫, wunü 巫女, wupo 巫婆, and wuyu 巫嫗 for “female shaman; sorceress; witch.” ref

“The word tongji 童乩 (lit. “youth diviner”) “shaman; spirit-medium” is a near-synonym of wu. Modern Chinese distinguishes native wu from “Siberian shaman”: saman 薩滿 or saman 薩蠻; and from Indian Shramana “wandering monk; ascetic”: shamen 沙門, sangmen 桑門, or sangmen 喪門. Berthold Laufer (1917:370) proposed an etymological relation between Mongolian bügä “shaman”, Turkic bögü “shaman”, Chinese bu, wu (shaman), buk, puk (to divine), and Tibetan aba (pronounced ba, sorcerer). Coblin (1986:107) puts forward a Sino-Tibetan root *mjaɣ “magician; sorcerer” for Chinese wu < mju < *mjag 巫 “magician; shaman” and Written Tibetan ‘ba’-po “sorcerer” and ‘ba’-mo “sorcereress” (of the Bön religion). Further connections are to the bu-mo priests of Zhuang Shigongism and the bi-mo priests of Bimoism, the Yi indigenous faith.” ref

“Also Korean mu 무 (of Muism) is cognate to Chinese wu 巫. Schuessler lists some etymologies: wu could be cognate with wu 舞 “to dance”; wu could also be cognate with mu 母 “mother” since wu, as opposed to xi 覡, were typically female; wu could be a loanword from Iranian *maghu or *maguš “magi; magician”, meaning an “able one; specialist in ritual”. Mair (1990) provides archaeological and linguistic evidence that Chinese wu < *myag 巫 “shaman; witch, wizard; magician” was maybe a loanword from Old Persian *maguš “magician; magi”. Mair connects the nearly identical Chinese Bronze script for wu and Western heraldic cross potent ☩, an ancient symbol of a magus or magician, which etymologically descend from the same Indo-European root.” ref

Racist and sexist depictions of human evolution still permeate science, education and popular culture today

“Systemic racism and sexism have permeated civilization since the rise of agriculture, when people started living in one place for a long time. Early Western scientists, such as Aristotle in ancient Greece, were indoctrinated with the ethnocentric and misogynistic narratives that permeated their society. More than 2,000 years after Aristotle’s writings, English naturalist Charles Darwin also extrapolated the sexist and racist narratives he heard and read in his youth to the natural world.” ref

“Darwin presented his biased views as scientific facts, such as in his 1871 book “The Descent of Man,” where he described his belief that men are evolutionarily superior to women, Europeans superior to non-Europeans, and hierarchical civilizations superior to small egalitarian societies. In that book, which continues to be studied in schools and natural history museums, he considered “the hideous ornaments and the equally hideous music admired by most savages” to be “not so highly developed as in certain animals, for instance, in birds,” and compared the appearance of Africans to the New World monkey Pithecia satanas.” ref

Addressing Possible Basis Surrounding Understanding the Concepts Involved in Shamanism? 

John Hoopes @KUHoopesWhen you define “shamanism” on the basis of Siberian shamanism, don’t be surprised when Siberia looks like the “heartland of shamanism.” – from Twitter

John Hoopes @KUHoopes“Any critical evaluation of “shamanism” requires a critical evaluation of Mircea Eliade.” – from Twitter

“Mircea Eliade (1907 – 1986) was a Romanian historian of religion, fiction writer, philosopher, and professor at the University of Chicago. He was a leading interpreter of religious experience, who established paradigms in religious studies that persist to this day. His theory that hierophanies form the basis of religion, splitting the human experience of reality into sacred and profane space and time, has proved influential. One of his most instrumental contributions to religious studies was his theory of eternal return, which holds that myths and rituals do not simply commemorate hierophanies, but, at least in the minds of the religious, actually participate in them.” ref

“His literary works belong to the fantastic and autobiographical genres. The best known are the novels Maitreyi (‘La Nuit Bengali’ or ‘Bengal Nights’), Noaptea de Sânziene (‘The Forbidden Forest’), Isabel și apele diavolului (‘Isabel and the Devil’s Waters’), and Romanul Adolescentului Miop (‘Novel of the Nearsighted Adolescent’); the novellas Domnișoara Christina (‘Miss Christina’) and Tinerețe fără tinerețe (‘Youth Without Youth’); and the short stories Secretul doctorului Honigberger (‘The Secret of Dr. Honigberger’) and La Țigănci (‘With the Gypsy Girls’).” ref

“Early in his life, Eliade was a journalist and essayist, a disciple of Romanian philosopher and journalist Nae Ionescu, and a member of the literary society Criterion. In the 1940s, he served as cultural attaché to the United Kingdom and Portugal. Several times during the late 1930s, Eliade publicly expressed his support for the Iron Guard, a Christian fascist political organization. His political involvement at the time, as well as his other far right connections, were frequently criticized after World War II.” ref

“Noted for his vast erudition, Eliade had fluent command of five languages (Romanian, French, German, Italian, and English) and a reading knowledge of three others (Hebrew, Persian, and Sanskrit). He was elected a posthumous member of the Romanian Academy. In his work on the history of religion, Eliade is most highly regarded for his writings on Alchemy, ShamanismYoga, and what he called the eternal return—the implicit belief, supposedly present in religious thought in general, that religious behavior is not only an imitation of, but also a participation in, sacred events, and thus restores the mythical time of origins.” ref 

John Hoopes @KUHoopes – “Eliade’s “Chamanisme” (1951) was popular with beatniks who read French. The English translation, published in 1964, was popular with hippies. Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy (Bollingen Series, 24)” – from Twitter

John Hoopes @KUHoopes – “The Bollingen Foundation, named after Carl Jung’s retreat in Switzerland, was created by philanthropists (and Jung clients) Paul Mellon and Mary Conover Mellon to publish English translations of Jung’s work. This book about Jung’s former clients, some of them also lovers, is revealing. Jung’s Circle of Women: The Valkyries” – from Twitter

John Hoopes @KUHoopes – “Jung’s work was highly influential in some circles, both directly and indirectly. It’s worth knowing about. He also wrote a book about flying saucers, a.k.a. UFOs. Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies. As with Jung, the Mellons were fascinated by magic. They amassed a large collection of occult and alchemical books and manuscripts that is now part of the Beinecke Library at Yale University.” – from Twitter

John Hoopes @KUHoopes – Eliade also had a strong interest in the occult and alchemy, as well as yoga (the topic of his dissertation). However, his extreme antisemitism and direct involvement with the fascist Romanian Iron Guard cannot be ignored.” – from Twitter 

“The Iron Guard (RomanianGarda de Fier) was a Romanian militant revolutionary fascist movement and political party founded in 1927 by Corneliu Zelea Codreanu as the Legion of the Archangel Michael (Legiunea Arhanghelul Mihail) or the Legionary Movement (Mișcarea Legionară). It was strongly anti-democraticanti-capitalistanti-communist, and anti-Semitic. It differed from other European right-wing movements of the period due to its spiritual basis, as the Iron Guard was deeply imbued with Romanian Orthodox Christian mysticism.” ref

John Hoopes @KUHoopes – Eliade had left Romania before the horrendous Bucharest pogrom, but his former friends and compatriots, the Legionnaires of St Michael, were responsible for it. Eliade’s definition of shamanism is infused with his own devout Orthodox Christianity. He sought to derive Christian mysticism from ancient, non-Jewish roots “in illo tempore” and to find a Christian cosmology of Crucifixion and Resurrection in it (along with Heaven and Hell).” – from Twitter 

Legionnaires’ Rebellion and Bucharest pogrom, Between 21 and 23 January 1941, a rebellion of the Iron Guard paramilitary organization, whose members were known as Legionnaires, occurred in Bucharest, Romania. As their privileges were being gradually removed by the ConducătorIon Antonescu, the Legionnaires revolted. During the rebellion and subsequent pogrom, the Iron Guard killed 125 Jews, and 30 soldiers died in the confrontation with the rebels. Following this, the Iron Guard movement was banned and 9,000 of its members were imprisoned.” ref

John Hoopes @KUHoopes – Hence the significance of the Cosmic Mountain (the hill of Calvary) and the World Tree (the cross upon which the Crucifixion occurred).” – from Twitter

“A calvary, also called calvary hillSacred Mount, or Sacred Mountain, is a type of Christian sacred place, built on the slopes of a hill, composed by a set of chapels, usually laid out in the form of a pilgrims’ way. It is intended to represent the passion of Jesus Christ and takes its name after Calvary, the hill in Jerusalem where, according to tradition, Jesus was crucified.” ref

John Hoopes @KUHoopes – The concept of hierophany is central to Eliade’s cosmology. It is an apprehension of the sacred, for which the archetype is a personal experience of the redemptive resolution of the Resurrection.” – from Twitter

“A hierophany is a manifestation of the sacred. The word is a formation of the Greek adjective hieros (Greekἱερός, ‘sacred, holy’) and the verb phainein (φαίνειν, ‘to reveal, to bring to light’). The word hierophany recurs frequently in the works of religious historian Mircea Eliade, who preferred the term to the more constrictive word theophany, an appearance of a god. Eliade argues that religion is based on a sharp distinction between the sacred and the profane. According to Eliade, for traditional man, myths describe “breakthroughs of the sacred (or the ‘supernatural’) into the World”—that is, hierophanies.” ref

“In the hierophanies recorded in myth, the sacred appears in the form of ideal models (the actions and commandments of gods, heroes, etc.). By manifesting itself as an ideal model, the sacred gives the world value, direction, and purpose: “The manifestation of the sacred, ontologically founds the world.” According to this view, all things need to imitate or conform to the sacred models established by hierophanies, in order to have true reality: things “acquire their reality, their identity, only to the extent of their participation in a transcendent reality.” ref

John Hoopes @KUHoopes – “For some critical analysis of Eliade’s shamanism, Daniel Noel’s book is superb. He also critiques Carlos Castaneda. The Soul of Shamanism: Western Fantasies, Imaginal Realities and Jeroen Boekhoven’s book is also an excellent source. Genealogies of Shamanism: Struggles for Power, Charisma and Authority” – from Twitter

John Hoopes @KUHoopes – @McCutcheonSays has also written a thoughtful critique of Eliade and his influence on studies of comparative religion. Manufacturing Religion: The Discourse on Sui Generis Religion and the Politics of Nostalgia” – from Twitter

John Hoopes @KUHoopes – “To put the Bollingen Foundation in context, this book by William McGuire is eye-opening. The Bollingen Series also included influential editions of the I Ching, Plato’s dialogues, & books by Joseph Campbell. Bollingen: An Adventure in Collecting the Past” – from Twitter

John Hoopes @KUHoopes – “In fact, a great deal of current New Age thought is the legacy of philanthropist and horse enthusiast Paul Mellon (the son of railroad magnate Andrew Mellon) and his first wife Mary Conover Mellon, the daughter of a Kansas City chiropractor and homeopath.” – from Twitter

John Hoopes @KUHoopes – “It can also be traced to a former Jung client (and lover?) Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn, a spiritualist, occultist, and Theosophist who organized the Eranos Conferences, attended by Eliade and other influential writers.” – from Twitter

John Hoopes @KUHoopes – Eranos was started by Fröbe-Kapteyn at the suggestion of religious historian Rudolf Otto (who coined the term “numinous”). Its attendees were a Who’s Who of 20th century intellectuals who defined Western concepts of world religions.” – from Twitter

Eranos is an intellectual discussion group dedicated to humanistic and religious studies, as well as to the natural sciences which has met annually in Moscia (Lago Maggiore), the Collegio Papio, and on the Monte Verità in Ascona, Switzerland since 1933. It has also been the name for a circle of scholars at Heidelberg (Germany) in the early 20th century. Among others, Max Weber and Ernst Troeltsch were members of the “Heidelberg Eranos.” ref

“The name is derived from the Ancient Greek word ἔρανος meaning “a banquet to which the guests bring contributions of food, a no-host dinner.” The circle at Moscia was founded by Olga Froebe-Kapteyn in 1933, and these conferences have been held annually on the grounds of her estate (on the shores of Lago Maggiore near Ascona in Switzerland) ever since. For over seventy years this event has served as a point of contact for thinkers from disparate fields of knowledge ranging from depth psychology and comparative religion to history, literary criticism, and folklore, and provides a setting and a congenial group within which to discuss all things spiritual.” ref

John Hoopes @KUHoopes – “As a footnote to Eliade’s legacy, the 1991 murder of University of Chicago professor of religious studies Ioan Culianu in Swift Hall, the location of the University of Chicago Divinity School, remains unsolved. “An expert in Gnosticism and Renaissance magic, he was encouraged and befriended by Mircea Eliade, though he gradually distanced himself from his mentor. Culianu published seminal work on the interrelation of the occult, Eros, magic, physics, and history.” – from Twitter

John Hoopes @KUHoopes – “In 2007, Francis Ford Coppola released a film he had directed that was based on a novel by Mircea Eliade about hierophany and mystical experiences. Youth Without Youth “Official Trailer” (2007)

“Youth Without Youth is a 2007 fantasy drama film written, produced, and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the novella of the same name by Romanian author Mircea Eliade. The film is a co-production between the United States, Romania, France, Italy, and Germany. It was the first film that Coppola had directed in ten years, since 1997’s The Rainmaker.” ref

Again here are Damien’s thoughts on Shamanism (simplified to me as a belief that some special person can commune with these perceived spirits on the behalf of others by way of rituals) is an otherworld connection belief thought to heal the sick, communicate with spirits/deities, and escort souls of the dead.

John Hoopes @KUHoopes – “Yes, these are all elements of how shamanism is understood today. Eliade added to it a cosmology of archetypes—the shaman’s initiation and journey, its metaphorical cosmogram (the Cosmic Mountain and axis mundi), the regalia and paraphernalia, and other related themes.” from Twitter

You are fun to talk to John as you know so much I (Damien) am unaware of. I think you are great, I enjoy your archaeology and anthropology knowledge, and how you address all manner of nonsense. I think you are cool, for always standing up for others especially marginalized groups and individuals. And you are open to helping people. That makes you great.

John Hoopes @KUHoopes – “Thanks so much! It’s really nice of you to say so. I’ve been an aficionado of esoteric knowledge for a long time. It’s nice to find someone who shares an interest in this stuff, which is oddly mainstream while also being poorly known.” from Twitter

John Hoopes @KUHoopes – “Damien. Not to discount my own background, but if you want to have some deep and unforgettable conversations about shamanism, archaeology, religion, and related things, you really need to talk to Alice Beck Kehoe. She’s an anthropologist, archaeologist, lifelong atheist, and all-around kickass. She’s also a respected elder.”

Check out these books by her.

The Ghost Dance: Ethnohistory and Revitalization / The Ghost Dance: Ethnohistory and Revitalization

Shamans and Religion: An Anthropological Exploration in Critical Thinking

Girl Archaeologist: Sisterhood in a Sexist Profession

Militant Christianity: An Anthropological History

Supernatural explanations across 114 societies are more common for natural than social phenomena

Abstract: Humans across the globe use supernatural beliefs to explain the world around them. This article explores whether cultural groups invoke the supernatural more to explain natural phenomena (for example, storms, disease outbreaks) or social phenomena (for example, murder, warfare). Quantitative analysis of ethnographic text across 114 geographically and culturally diverse societies found that supernatural explanations are more prevalent for natural than for social phenomena, consistent with theories that ground the origin of religious belief in a human tendency to perceive intent and agency in the natural world. Despite the dominance of supernatural explanations of natural phenomena, supernatural explanations of social phenomena were especially prevalent in urbanized societies with more socially complex and anonymous groups. Our results show how people use supernatural beliefs as explanatory tools in non-industrial societies, and how these applications vary across small-scale communities versus large and urbanized groups.” ref


Human Y chromosome haplogroup R-V88: a paternal genetic record of early mid Holocene trans-Saharan connections and the spread of Chadic languages

“Although human Y chromosomes belonging to haplogroup R1b are quite rare in Africa, being found mainly in Asia and Europe, a group of chromosomes within the paragroup R-P25* are found concentrated in the central-western part of the African continent, where they can be detected at frequencies as high as 95%. Phylogenetic evidence and coalescence time estimates suggest thatR-P25* chromosomes (or their phylogenetic ancestor) may have been carried to Africa by an Asia-to-Africa back migration in prehistoric times. Here, we describe six new mutations that define the relationships among the African R-P25* Y chromosomes and between these African chromosomes and earlier reported R-P25 Eurasian sub-lineages. The incorporation of these new mutations into a phylogeny of the R1b haplogroup led to the identification of a new clade (R1b1a or R-V88) encompassing all the African R-P25* and about half of the few European/west Asian R-P25* chromosomes.” ref

“A worldwide phylogeographic analysis of the R1b haplogroup provided strong support to the Asia-to-Africa back-migration hypothesis. The analysis of the distribution of the R-V88 haplogroup in 41800 males from 69 African populations revealed a striking genetic contiguity between the Chadic-speaking peoples from the central Sahel and several other Afroasiatic-speaking groups from North Africa. The R-V88coalescence time was estimated at 9200–5600 years ago, in the early mid Holocene. We suggest that R-V88 is a paternal genetic record of the proposed mid-Holocene migration of proto-Chadic Afroasiatic speakers through the Central Sahara into the Lake Chad Basin, and geomorphological evidence is consistent with this view.” ref

“After a hyper-arid period about 23,000–14,500 years ago, the Saharan region experienced a monsoonal moist climate, characterized by increased rainfall. During the Holocene Climatic Optimum (about 10,000–5,000 years ago), a few thousand years after the beginning of the humid period, flora and fauna repopulated the desert, and a mosaic of savannah and woodland became well-established throughout much of the Sahara. At the same time, the Sahara was home to giant lakes, the largest of which, the paleolake Megachad, may have possibly covered an area of at least 400 000 km2, more than the Caspian Sea, the biggest lake on earth today. This greening scenario was interrupted by a number of arid episodes, and at about 5,000–6,000 years ago, the region experienced a rapid onset of dryer conditions. These marked the beginning of a shift towards permanent aridity, with variations in the distribution and timing of these changes between the eastern and central/westernSahara.3Human–environment interactions in the Sahara have been greatly influenced by these climate fluctuations.” ref

“Close links between climatic variations and prehistoric human occupation of the Sahara during the early mid Holocene (10,000–5,000 years ago) are documented by archeological6–8 and paleoanthropological9,10evidence. However, genetic studies have been limited and mainly focused on uniparental markers and the role of the Nile basin as a corridor for human movements between northeastern and eastern Africa. There have only been a few high-resolution analyses to date regarding the distribution of Y-specific haplogroups in the African continent. The emerging picture indicates a clear differentiation between central/western sub-Saharan and northern African populations. Haplogroup E-DYS271, which accounts for 470% of the Y chromosomes in most of the populations south of the Sahara, is found on an average at a frequency of 2–3% in Northern Africa, whereas haplogroups J-M304, E-M81, and E-M78, which on the whole account for 50–90% of the northern African male-specific region of the Y chromosome (MSY) gene pool, have been only rarely observed in west/central sub-Saharan Africa.” ref

Shamanism by Donald Pollock 2018-2019

“Shamanism has been regarded as one of the world’s oldest religions as well as one of its newest; evidence of shamanic practice has been found in Paleolithic cave art, and shamanic experiences are being cultivated in contemporary societies, especially in its “New Age” or neoshamanism variations. The narrowest conceptions of shamanism restrict the use of the term to a specific form of religious practice found in Siberia, where the Tungus religious practitioner called šamán provided the model; Mircea Eliade’s classic study of shamanism (see Eliade 1964, cited under History of Shamanism and Shamanism Studies) grants historical and conceptual priority to this form of belief and practice, and traces its spread from those Siberian roots. Alternatively, it has been argued that the concept of shamanism should be extended to a nearly universal set of beliefs about spirits, spiritism, and occult realms.” ref 

“Bean 1992, for example (cited under North American and Native American Shamanism), comments that “Shamanism is the religion of all hunting and gathering cultures, and it forms the basis of many more formalized religions that retain shamanistic elements” (p. 8). Anthropologists have often adopted this broader perspective, seeking similarities among overtly different traditions typically by linking them according to the social functions served by shamans (e.g., healing through spirit intervention, community protection from malign spirit attack, and the pursuit of community political goals through the medium of spiritism). This bibliography adopts the relatively broad view that “shamanism” is a useful concept to describe a set of religious phenomena of historical depth and wide ethnographic extent, and that there is value in considering how a range of beliefs and practices are related to a basic set of defining characteristics, along with their relationship to other social and cultural phenomena.” ref 

“Shamanism” has been recently described as a form of interaction between a practitioner and spirits, one that is not available to other members of a community; the practitioner (a “shaman”) acts on behalf of that community—or on behalf of individual members of that community—to perform a variety of social roles that may include healing as well as harming, affecting the outcome of subsistence activities, and so on, by intervention with spirits or through knowledge gained by communication with spirits (see Webb 2013 under the Nature of Shamanism, p. 62). As such, shamans are found in a variety of cultures that are not traditionally associated with the concept, for example as spirit mediums in sub-Saharan Africa and through spirit possession in East Asia. This bibliography considers these themes through sections on the history of the concept itself, studies of the nature of shamanism, and analyses of shamanism in various cultures around the world.” ref 

“Shamanism has a long and storied history, considered by some to have originated in Siberia where members of indigenous tribes would gather the sometimes poisonous and highly psychoactive fly agaric or Amanita muscaria mushroom. But when this practice was recognized and classified as shamanism, it became apparent many cultures around the world conducted similar practices.” ref

“Shamanism is the oldest form of human healing. It is a type of religious medicine that originated over 25,000 years ago in the Paleolithic hunting cultures of Siberia and Central Asia.” ref  

“Shamanism in contemporary culture often evokes stereotypical images of witch doctors, New Age gurus and Carlos Castaneda. Yet this religious and cultural tradition is one of the oldest forms of healing (some estimate that shamanism originated over 10,000 years ago) and is a part of many regions throughout the world. It has been widely practiced in South America, Oceania, China, Tibet and Korea. It is also an important part of many Eskimo, Native American and Celtic cultures.” ref 

Genealogies of Shamanism: Struggles for Power, Charisma and Authority

“After Western-Europeans first heard the word ‘shaman’ in Siberia at the end of the seventeenth century, the term rapidly acquired a remarkable range of meanings in different contexts. This book traces the long genealogical journey of the notions of ‘shaman’ and ‘shamanism’. It starts with the eighteenth-century discovery of Siberian shamans and ends with the contemporary field of shamanism in the Netherlands. By exploring the ways in which the notions came to be constructed and authorised historically, the various interpretations and conceptualisations of ‘shaman’ and ‘shamanism’ are interpreted as outcomes of struggles within distinct milieus.” ref 

The Soul of Shamanism: Western Fantasies, Imaginal Realities

“From the Merlin of Arthurian romances to Mircea Eliade’s academic researches, from Carlos Castaneda’s Don Juan to the archetypal images of Carl Jung, the figure of the shaman has fascinated Western storytellers, scholars, and seekers. In the first part of The Soul of Shamanism, Daniel Noel gives a thorough interpretive overview of how the West has imagined this figure of healing wisdom — starting with Eliade’s authoritative work on the topic almost fifty years ago and continuing through to the latest popular books of workshop neoshamanism.” ref

“In the second part, Noel draws more directly on the Jungian psychology of imagination informing his critical assessment of authentic shamanic imagining for those on the path of soulful spirituality. With telling anecdotes from over two decades of work with this material, Noel reveals the psychological assumptions and anxieties underlying the Western understanding and emulation of the shaman.” ref

“By radically honoring imagination in our own dreaming and waking lives, Noel concludes, we can join in recovering the lost soul of Western consciousness and culture. In doing so, Daniel Noel, like his Jungian colleagues James Hillman and Thomas Moore, argues that we are making possible a true return of the shaman from within the West’s native psychocultural resources.” ref 

Shamans and Religion: An Anthropological Exploration in Critical Thinking

“The word “shaman” has been used throughout the history of anthropology to describe indigenous healers around the world. In this outstanding text, Kehoe argues compellingly that the term is misused when applied to practitioners other than those from Siberia, where the term originated. Applying critical thinking techniques as a way of examining assumptions presented as fact, she deconstructs many commonly held notions of what shamanism is and isn’t, closely critiquing widely cited articles and books on the subject. The problems discussed bring up important anthropological questions not limited to the anthropology of religion. How does the ethnographer distance his or her own (usually Western) socialization when describing the empirical reality of a culture? How does the reader of the anthropological literature do the same when analyzing others’ writings? Kehoe maintains that critical thinking, long the fundamental method guiding both academic scholarship and pedagogy, helps answer these questions.” ref 

Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy (Bollingen Series, 24)

“First published in 1951, Shamanism soon became the standard work in the study of this mysterious and fascinating phenomenon. Writing as the founder of the modern study of the history of religion, Romanian émigré–scholar Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) surveys the practice of Shamanism over two and a half millennia of human history, moving from the Shamanic traditions of Siberia and Central Asia–where Shamanism was first observed–to North and South America, Indonesia, Tibet, China, and beyond. In this authoritative survey, Eliade illuminates the magico-religious life of societies that give primacy of place to the figure of the Shaman–at once magician and medicine man, healer and miracle-doer, priest, mystic, and poet. Synthesizing the approaches of psychology, sociology, and ethnology, Shamanism will remain for years to come the reference book of choice for those intrigued by this practice.” ref

“Siberian shaman should be the present definition. Some scholars stipulated only the belief-systems of the cultures of northern Asia and the Ural-Altaic and the peoples of the Arctic, Central Asia and North America should be identified as true shamanism.” ref

“The subject of Shamanism in Africa has been a contested debate within academia for many years. Specifically, did certain spiritual practices in African societies fall under the umbrella of ‘classical’ Shamanism first encountered in the regions of Siberia? Shamanic beliefs were believed to have spread through migratory diffusion across the Bering Straits into Canada and North America and alternatively into Central Asia. Many scholars feel that the same line of reasoning cannot be applied to Africa. Therefore, the two popular approaches supporting the idea of African shamanism will be studied for evaluation. However, the definition of Shamanism is itself problematic and this will also be considered.  The first part of this paper will historically describe shamanism, and will include a profile of the ‘classical’ Siberian shaman. The following section will explore the two popular methods used to identify shamanism in Africa. The first was the analysis of spiritual and social roles of African mystics in order to identify similarities between their Siberian counter-parts. The second was the use of the entoptic model proposed by Lewis-Williams and Dowson (1998) to recognise shamanic ‘altered states of consciousness’ in African rock art. Shamans can be male or female but due to lack of adequate terminology will be referred to as ‘he’ in many instances. Subsequently, this author will propose an alternate approach for identifying shamanism.” ref

“The definition of shamanism in the online Oxford dictionary is: “A person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of good and evil spirits, especially among some peoples of northern Asia and North America. Typically such people enter a trance state during a ritual, and practice divination and healing” (Oxford Dictionaries 2015). This description initially applied to magico-spiritual practices in northern Siberia. However, it came to typify comparable practices around the world causing uncertainty within shamanic studies.” ref

“Siberian shamanism was not a static or fixed specialism, it absorbed a number of different beliefs and tribal cultural traits (Buddhist Lamaism, Mongol, Manchu, Dahor and Yakut peoples) (Eliade 1964: 496-8, Lewis 1984: 11). Fundamentally, it was fervently linked to totemism and zoomorphic relations. Many spirit-helpers had animal connotations. The bear, moose, and deer were important aspects of Evenki shamanic practices and beliefs (Basilov 1984: 50). Shamans were individuals from either gender, who practiced as priests, doctors, social workers, and mystics within their societies (Vitebsky 1995: 10, Prokofyeva 1963: 124). Many anthropologists had labeled practices across the world involving ecstatic experiences, visions, and psychotropic drugs as shamanic, possibly because shamanism was viewed as a universal constant in religious beliefs (Voight 1984: 13). However, other scholars (Lewis 1989: 187) have insisted that shamanism should only refer to those spiritual activities practiced in Siberia. This conflict in shamanic studies is primarily due to how shamanism is defined, either as an ethno-cultural phenomenon or as a spiritual phenomenon.” ref

“The question of shamanism in Africa had been approached from two perspectives. The first attempted to compare ecstatic trance-states and the social roles played by African spiritualists with their Siberian equivalents. The second approach endeavored to identify entoptic (geometric) symbols in rock art, which would indicate shamanic trance-states in ‘altered states of consciousness?’ This chapter will analyze both approaches with the intention of discovering if they have been effective.” ref 

“The continent of Africa contains abundant figures such as magicians, medicine men, sorcerers, and witch-doctors who practice their abilities, yet, these terminologies can become blurred (Gilberg 1984: 21).  Therefore, how does one differentiate shamanism from a plethora of similar practitioners? Gilberg (ibid 22) defined the traits of shamanism as: the ability to control spirits, a social role in the community, and a traditional validation for his/her actions. The shaman also experienced a state of ecstasy during proceedings. This ecstasy was paramount to the initiation of a ‘soul journey’ to contact the supernatural world. Thorp (1990: 51) also inferred a number of qualities: a preliminary sickness, an interval of social removal, the prospect of sex and age restrictions, a deliberation of the inherited vocation, and the community sanction. This author will additionally compare religious beliefs and material paraphernalia, which were not primarily included in the following approaches. An analysis of the Nyima tribal healers, the Zar cult, and the Hausa Bori cult will be conducted to determine any ‘shamanic’ qualities.” ref

“Shamanism was thought to be prevalent in Africa and recognized under such descriptions as ‘spirit possession’ (Lewis 1971, Frobenius 1913, cited in Lewis 1989: 181-3). The spiritual activities practiced by the Nyima tribe were firmly categorized as shamanism by Nadel. The ‘shaman’ controlled the powers invoked through hysterical fits to cure subjects linked to mental disorders. However, the shaman did not contend with physical maladies nor did he employ the use of drums, so essential in many Siberian practices (ibid 25-6). Anthropologists working during the Anglo-Egyptian Cooperative (early 20th Century) in Sudan referred to spiritual healers by different names. Healers in the south and west of Sudan were categorized as shamans, medicine men, and witch-doctors, while those from the north were termed as basirs, fakirs and habl midwives (Al Safi 2001). Yet, without an established consensus it is difficult to separate the ability of the many spiritual practitioners.” ref

“The Nyima spiritual name ‘Kujur’ was translated as shaman (Nadel 1946: 25) because the priests entered into trance states to invoke spirits. The criteria from Siberian shamanism was believed to be credible because the rituals originated from psychological trauma and the social position invoked wealth and high status within society (ibid 25, 31). Also, the priest/shaman by actively inducing the spiritual contact became an equal partner in the merging and gained control over the spirit (Lewis 1989: 182). However, spiritual possession was not restricted to the Nuba Mountains. The jok doctors of the Mandari and the medicine-men of the Azande, Dinka, and Nuer were also mystical healers (Al Safi 2001). According to Nuban mythology, the spirits summoned came from three sources: ancestor spirits, the celestial creator, and spirits which resided in the rocks, caves, and the land (Nadel 1946: 26-7).  A number of similarities appear within the Nyima practices: the primary illness, the control of spirits, and the high status achieved but these can be manifested without shamanic influences.” ref

“It would be supportive to identify comparable classical ritual instruments and material spiritual pendants and supernatural deities. The lack of zoomorphic spiritual beliefs, costumes and drums, which are paramount to classical shamanism make the Nyima healers appear distinct from the original shamanic template. Additionally, the ecstatic behavior associated with shamanism is alluded to but does not seem paramount and the practice is male-orientated (Nadel 1946: 27), while, classical forms invite both sexes. There are many outward attributes present but evidence for shamanic influences such as the soul journey and corresponding dance techniques are also vague. Importantly, how does one compare ecstatic trance-states without a proven methodology? These inconsistencies require investigation and highlight the need for more research. Finally, without a clarification of the distinctions between the neighboring healers, it is difficult to distinguish the Nyima ‘shaman’ from other native practitioners, let alone his Siberian counterpart.” ref

“The classical profile of a Siberian shaman should be the present definition. Some scholars stipulated only the belief-systems of the cultures of northern Asia and the Ural-Altaic and the peoples of the Arctic, Central Asia, and North America should be identified as true shamanism (Eliade 1964: 4, 2015). This writer is in agreement because the study of shamanism is so convoluted (Hutton 2001: vii) that it is almost impossible to define. However, if any practice is found to contain the combined classical spiritual, social, and material facets should also be termed as shamanic. Without this recognizable template inconsistencies can exist, such as only Kalahari Bushmen appear to journey to the spirit world (the climb to the sky) but do not exhibit classical instruments (Vitebsky 1995: 50). Korean ‘shamans’ do not enter ecstatic soul journeys but are regarded as shamans (ibid 10).  Also, inauthentic practitioners can be approved under permeable conditions. The Peruvian ‘shaman’ Eduardo Calderón Palomino discovered in 1965 was exposed as a fake. His teachings of ‘healing states’ proved unreliable (Joralemon 2004: 7-8). Finally, non-shamanic practices can contain similarities which can be argued as shamanic.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref, ref

There are other clothing resembling miniskirts that have been identified by archaeologists and historians as far back as 3,390–3,370 years ago. But this is much older. ref

Leopard claw-bone pendant from the Possible Woman Shaman/Priestess burial with the plastered and painted woman’s head in her arms that is several generations removed. She was buried under the floor of the history house (house with multiple burials beyond that of the connected family) with the twin facing leopards at Catal Huyuk. Ref

“From about 7500 B.C.E to 5700 B.C.E., early farmers grew wheat, barley, and peas, and raised sheep, goats, and cattle. At its height, some 10,000 people lived there. Among its more noteworthy features, Çatalhöyük’s inhabitants were obsessed with plaster, lining their walls with it, using it as a canvas for artwork, and even coating the skulls of their dead to recreate the lifelike countenances of their loved ones.” ref 

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref

Shamanistic rock art from central Aboriginal Siberians

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


Native American Rock art that likely relates to Shamanism

Siberian shamanism, moreover, is involved in the cult of the dead, of ancestors and mountains, and in rituals of animal sacrifice. Ivar Paulson, who, after his monograph on the soul concepts (“Seelenvorstellungen”) in Northern Eurasia, studied the phenomenology of shamanism, and wrote that “shamanism is an animistic ideology, one of the characteristics of which is the use of an ecstatic-visionary technique” (Paulson: 1964: 131). Another distinctive feature of Eurasian shamanism is the dualistic soul concept. According to the Estonian scholar the “free soul,” during ecstasy, is able to leave the body, and shamans send this soul to the world of spirits and gods, in other words, this is the type of soul which practices the so-called shamanic soul-flight.” ref 

“A. Gogolev mentions them in his work on Yakut mythology thus: “According to Yakut beliefs, the icci is a unique category of being, present in certain specific objects and natural phenomena as a mysterious inner force. Among the icci there is a higher category equal to the gods. These beings do not belong to the categories of either ayi or abasi. If certain rules are observed, they can be helpful to human beings in various life situations, people can regard them as protectors… For all the icci bloodless sacrifices were made. Among the icci a special place was accorded to the spirit of Mother Earth, Aan Doydu iccite.” (Gogolev 1994: 42). The spirit of Mother Earth was regarded as Important and worthy of a special respect by peoples throughout Siberia (as well as by North American Indians). “The Shors believe in the existence of mountain spirits (tag-azi) and water spirits (shug-azi). Every clan had its own clan mountain and its mountain spirit, who protected the members of the clan. Every three years sacrificial ceremonies were held on that mountain.” ref 

“To express their respect, every Shor threw a libation the spirit owner of the mountain or river, when he or she was near the mountain or river… The spirit owner of the waters was imagined as a long-armed naked woman by the Kumandines… The Tuvans used to believe in the spirit owners of the waters. They made an ovaa of stones and dry branches for her, too, on the riverbanks, and near the fords. This looked like a hut, and they placed the sacrificial objects in it: stones, rags, horsehair etc. Before crossing the river they usually performed a sacrifice.” (Alekseev 1980: 72-73). Among the Tuvans the cult of springs (arzhan), especially that of medicinal springs was intertwined with the cult of the trees growing around the springs. This was especially true of the trees whose growth or shape differed from the usual – for instance, they had a double trunk, or their fronds consisted of branches grown irregularly. Trees of this kind were called “shaman trees.” I took a picture of one such tree in Yakutia in 1990 (Hoppál 1995: 227) – if such a tree stood near a spring, under the tree shamans made their ceremonies.” ref 

“In Siberian shamanism, there are some distinctive features such as worship of nature, belief in the world tree, an invisible pole that is a representation of the universe and three layers of the world (upper world, middle world, and the underworld). Many of these ethnic groups were hunters and lived a nomadic lifestyle. Hunting was a sacred ritual and in order for the hunt to succeed, the job of the shaman was to take shape of an animal and travel to meet the deity who was in charge of the hunting. The shaman would dress up as animals and mimic their sounds and movements.” ref 

“There is a lot of diversity among the sacred animals in Siberian shamanism. Among Samoyed and Uralic groups, a sacred animal was the bear who was believed to be the sacred ancestor of the tribe. In Mongolia and among Turkic groups stags and horses were the most important animals. Among the Yukip, Nenetsi and the Saami´s reindeer was the sacred animal ancestor. The creation myth about the earth-diver is common among all groups whose roots are in Siberia and water birds play a significant part in the shamanic practice. In Siberian shamanism, there are some distinctive features such as worship of nature, belief in the world tree, an invisible pole that is a representation of the universe and three layers of the world (upper world, middle world, and the underworld).” ref 

“Big Raven, Whale, little earth spirits, and a deity named Vahiyinin, are the actors in a tale a Siberian Koryak shaman told a Russian ethnographer at the turn of the nineteenth sentry. Big Raven is both a cultural hero and trickster in tribal Siberia.” ref  

“Amanita muscaria psychoactive mushroom was widely used as an entheogen by many of the indigenous peoples of Siberia. Its use was known among almost all of the Uralic-speaking peoples of western Siberia and the Paleosiberian-speaking peoples of the Russian Far East. There are only isolated reports of A. muscaria use among the Tungusic and Turkic peoples of central Siberia and it is believed that on the whole entheogenic use of A. muscaria was not practised by these peoples. In western Siberia, the use of A. muscaria was restricted to shamans, who used it as an alternative method of achieving a trance state. (Normally, Siberian shamans achieve trance by prolonged drumming and dancing.) In eastern Siberia, A. muscaria was used by both shamans and laypeople alike, and was used recreationally as well as religiously. In eastern Siberia, the shaman would take the mushrooms, and others would drink his urine. This urine, still containing psychoactive elements, may be more potent than the A. muscaria mushrooms with fewer negative effects such as sweating and twitching, suggesting that the initial user may act as a screening filter for other components in the mushroom.” ref

“The Koryak of eastern Siberia have a story about the fly agaric (wapaq) which enabled Big Raven to carry a whale to its home. In the story, the deity Vahiyinin (“Existence”) spat onto earth, and his spittle became the wapaq, and his saliva becomes the warts. After experiencing the power of the wapaq, Raven was so exhilarated that he told it to grow forever on earth so his children, the people, could learn from it. Among the Koryaks, one report said that the poor would consume the urine of the wealthy, who could afford to buy the mushrooms. It was reported that the local reindeer would often follow an individual intoxicated by the muscimol mushroom, and if said individual were to urinate in snow the reindeer would become similarly intoxicated and the Koryak people’s would use the drunken state of the reindeer to more easily rope and hunt them.” ref

“The Finnish historian T. I. Itkonen mentions that A. muscaria was once used among the Sami people: sorcerers in Inari would consume fly agarics with seven spots. In 1979, Said Gholam Mochtar and Hartmut Geerken published an article in which they claimed to have discovered a tradition of medicinal and recreational use of this mushroom among a Parachi-speaking group in Afghanistan. There are also unconfirmed reports of religious use of A. muscaria among two Subarctic Native American tribes. Ojibwa ethnobotanist Keewaydinoquay Peschel reported its use among her people, where it was known as miskwedo (an abbreviation of the name oshtimisk wajashkwedo (= “red-top mushroom”)).[98][99] This information was enthusiastically received by Wasson, although evidence from other sources was lacking. There is also one account of a Euro-American who claims to have been initiated into traditional Tlicho use of Amanita muscaria. The flying reindeer of Santa Claus, who is called Joulupukki in Finland, could symbolize the use of A. muscaria by Sámi shamans.” ref


Regional forms of Shamanism

“Shamanism is a religious practice present in various cultures and religions around the world. Shamanism takes on many different forms that vary greatly by region and culture, shaped by the distinct histories of its practitioners. Siberia is regarded as the locus classicus (considered to be the best known or most authoritative) of shamanism. The area is inhabited by many different ethnic groups, and many of its peoples observe shamanistic practices, even in modern times. Many classical ethnographic sources of “shamanism” were recorded among Siberian peoples.” ref

“The shamanic ceremony is both a religious ceremony and an artistic performance. The dramatic displays are not to draw attention or to create a spectacle, but to lead the tribe in a solemn ritualistic process. Performances consist of four elements: dance, music, poetry, and dramatic or mimetic action. The use of these elements serves the purpose of outwardly expressing his mystical communion with nature and the spirits for the rest of the tribe.” ref

“The true shaman can make the journey to the spirit world at any time and any place, but shamanic ceremonies provide a way for the rest of the tribe to share in this religious experience. The shaman changes his voice mimetically to represent different persons, gods, and animals while his music and dance change to show his progress in the spirit world and his different spiritual interactions. Many shamans practice ventriloquism and make use of their ability to accurately imitate the sounds of animals, nature, humans, and other noises in order to provide the audience with the ambiance of the journey. Elaborate dances and recitations of songs and poetry are used to make the shamans spiritual adventures into a matter of living reality to his audience.” ref

(2011) Shamanism in Northern and Southern Eurasia: Their distinctive methods of change of consciousness

“This article seeks to establish that the ‘southern’ shamanism of the San, Andamanese and Australian Aboriginals differs substantially from the well-known ‘classical’ Siberian version found in various forms in large parts of Eurasia and the Americas (‘Laurasia’). The typical southern (‘Gondwana’) shamanistic features of heat rising up the spine are linked to medieval Indian Kundalini yoga and some representations in Paleolithic art. This process is an important aspect of the change of consciousness initiated by shamanistic initiation and practice.” ref

“Shamanism is a tradition of part-time religious specialists who establish and maintain personalistic relations with specific spirit beings through the use of controlled and culturally scripted altered states of consciousness (ASC). Shamans employ powers derived from spirits to heal sickness, to guide the dead to their final destinations, to influence animals, and forces of nature in a way that benefits their communities, to initiate assaults on enemies, and to protect their own communities from external aggression. Shamans and shamanism are probably the most evocative symbols of circumpolar religion and worldview (see Shamanism).” ref

“There is no doubt that—until recently—most Arctic communities had religious functionaries who were able to communicate with and to ‘master’ spirits. These ‘shamans’ were engaged in healing and other activities aimed at improving communal and individual well-being. In the small-scale societies under consideration here, these functionaries held extremely important social positions, which sometimes led to an abuse of power. However, the notion of ‘shamanism’ can easily be misconstrued as a unified system of beliefs, which it never was in the Arctic. Instead, in addition to a limited number of common elements, circumpolar shamanisms show profound differences in the belief systems with which they are associated.” ref

“Through ethnographic analogy comparing the ivory objects and burials at Mal’ta 24,000 years old with objects used by 19th and 20th century Siberian shamans, it has been suggested that they are evidence of a fully developed shamanism.” ref

Exploring the Cave Rock Art of Siberian Trans-Baikal: Fertility, Shamanism, and Gender

“Abstract: The paper explores the phenomenon of rock art found in and around rock art cavities in Trans-Baikal region of South-East Siberia. Although many researchers noticed that caves have had a special value in cultures around the globe, no research has been carried out specifically into the cave rock art of Trans-Baikal which was not distinguished from other rock art found in open localities and shelters. This study was conducted based on field data collected by the author in 2017. In order to answer the question whether the cave sites had a specific role in the cultures of Bronze Age Trans-Baikal, the sets of motifs of the cave sites were compared to those of the closest open sites. Drawing on the stylistic difference revealed by the analysis and landscape context, it is suggested that the cave rock art sites could be places where rituals of more restricted nature took place. Ethnographic records may imply that these ceremonies were aimed at the fertility increasing being performed by shamans or shamannesses or without their assistance. It is also possible that the ceremonies could be gender-exclusive, conducted only for women, although this interpretation needs further research.” ref

“Ancient peoples spoke ancestral Niger-Congo languages, arose from the 17,000 BCE. But the Niger-Congo religious beliefs change at least by the sixth millennium BCE (6000 to 5001 BCE) or between 8,000 to 7,000 years ago when these beliefs consisted of a creator god.” ref 

“Neolithic culture and technology had spread from the Near East and into Eastern Europe by 6000 BCE. Its development in the Far East grew apace and there is increasing evidence through the millennium of its presence in prehistoric Egypt and the Far East. In much of the world, however, including Northern and Western Europe, people still lived in scattered Palaeolithic hunter-gatherer communities. The world population is believed to have increased sharply, possibly quadrupling, as a result of the Neolithic Revolution. It has been estimated that there were perhaps forty million people worldwide at the end of this millennium, growing to 100 million by the Middle Bronze Age c. 1600 BCE. The oldest fort is in Siberia around 6000 BCE. Approximately 8,000 years ago (c. 6000 BCE), a massive volcanic landslide off Mount EtnaSicily, caused a megatsunami that devastated the eastern Mediterranean coastline on the continents of Asia, Africa and Europe.” ref

“The Niger-Congo-speaking peoples of a religious belief system that included an omnipotent god of creation can be traced back to the sixth-millennium BCE. These ancient peoples spoke ancestral Niger-Congo languages, inhabited the woodland savanna of West Africa, and produced microlithic stone tools from the seventeenth-millennium BCE.” ref  

“Niger-Congo religious beliefs and practices centered on basic human concerns regarding the creation of the world, human origins, malevolence caused by evildoers, and protection and beneficence emanating from the spiritual (divine) sphere. From at least the sixth millennium BCE, Niger-Congo religious philosophy consisted of a creator god, who stood at the zenith of the religious hierarchy and was the maker of all things; various other levels of spirits; and a realm of evil. The spirits included ancestral and territorial spirits, which were both forces that had more immediate consequences for the day-to-day lives of the Niger-Congo than did the creator god. Evil was believed to be caused by human malice or ill will that was animated through curses and medicinal mixtures employed with witchcraft.” ref

“Evil was perceived by the ancient Niger-Congo peoples to be a human force caused by people’s feelings of resentment, envy, greed, or the like combined with techniques of witchcraft. This faith had no devil figure, no embodiment of evil. Wicked individuals faced serious consequences for their actions, but at no time were they thought to have communed with a satanic figure. An evil person’s punishment was the most extreme retribution Niger-Congo society could confer on any person: The individual was ritually forgotten by his or her society and thus unable to receive blessings, bound to roam Earth alone. In societies such as the Niger-Congo, in which belonging to a lineage through sanguine or fictive ties was crucial to religious and social existence, becoming a social outcast was a highly undesirable fate. Integral to the notion of evil was the potential for remedy through assistance from ancestors and doctor-diviners who diagnosed causes and prepared curative therapy with medicines and religious rituals. The Niger-Congo religion had no concept of a final redemption and did not focus on an afterlife. Its main focus was life itself.” ref

“According to ancient Niger-Congo religious beliefs, ancestral spirits remained part of the lineage or family line as participating members who could help or harm the kin group and therefore had to be paid due respect and be formally remembered in ceremonial acts. Because of the belief that ancestral spirits continued to play an active role and could thus have momentous impact on community welfare and well-being, these spirits were venerated and called on in times of misfortune or tragedy and for sanctions of celebrations and as sources of goodwill. Ancestor spirits were not gods, so they were not worshiped but venerated.” ref

“Niger-Congo territorial spirits were important because they inhabited or presided over specific places such as a meadow, a river, a woodland, or a particular village. They were spirits bound to a particular territory. In the minds of believers and practitioners of the Niger-Congo religion, these territorial spirits affected the outcome of events that occurred within their sphere of influence. For example, the favor of a river spirit granted safety on the water, while disfavor could cause harm. In this sense, the social and physical landscape, which included the spirit or spirits that inhabited the space, affected social life.” ref

“Religious belief and practice carried over into the social and political realm. Niger-Congo clan chiefs wielded religious power and were accountable for particular ritual responsibilities. Therefore, there was a close connection between cosmology and political power that translated into a view of the kin leader as an individual who had the power to protect the lineage. The perception that a particular individual had the ability to communicate personally or through diviner-priests with ancestral and territorial spirits meant the difference between a community accepting or rejecting a leader. One of the critical precepts of the Niger-Congo religion was the scope of human society. In this religion, the creator god and spirits of the religion were seen as being on a communal level. Religion permeated every aspect of a community’s life, from economic, social, and political activities to the events of birth and death.” ref

“Although the Niger-Congo religious ideology consisted of many levels of spirits, at the zenith was a creator god, seen as the first being in the world, but one who participated little in the daily lives of the Niger-Congo people. The word for creator god varied by culture; today some Niger-Congo descendant communities call this figure Muumba, Obassi, or Choko. Regardless of the word used, this god figure was the creator of all. This concept is traced with confidence to the sixth millennium BCE, and its nascent origins seem to have taken root even earlier.” ref

“Niger-Congo places of worship tended to be in nature. People thought of mountains, rivers, and forests as places of deep religious significance (interestingly, the sun has never been an object of worship for these peoples). However, while Niger-Congo society worshiped in nature, they never worshiped nature itself. Mountains, trees, rivers, and other such landscape features were never prayed to but were places of worship, sites seen as somehow sacred for being connected to a specific spirit or to the creator god.” ref

“Historians’ knowledge of ancient Niger-Congo religion comes from linguistic evidence, archaeological findings, and oral traditions of the Niger-Congo descendant peoples. Written literature or religious texts from ancient Niger-Congo communities are not available for analysis, as this was an oral not a literary society. By comparing vocabularies from the descendant Niger-Congo languages that spread throughout western, eastern, central, and southern Africa, it has been determined that the concept of the creator god goes back to a period before the widespread growth, expansion, and divergence of Niger-Congo peoples. Similarly, scholars have compared oral traditions across the Niger-Congo language family and have been able to reconstruct elements of prototraditions based on specific commonalities within the traditions on religious beliefs and practices.” ref


Hunter-Gatherers and the Origins of Religion

Abstract: Recent studies of the evolution of religion have revealed the cognitive underpinnings of belief in supernatural agents, the role of ritual in promoting cooperation, and the contribution of morally punishing high gods to the growth and stabilization of human society. The universality of religion across human society points to a deep evolutionary past. However, specific traits of nascent religiosity, and the sequence in which they emerged, have remained unknown. Here we reconstruct the evolution of religious beliefs and behaviors in early modern humans using a global sample of hunter-gatherers and seven traits describing hunter-gatherer religiosity: animism, belief in an afterlife, shamanism, ancestor worship, high gods, and worship of ancestors or high gods who are active in human affairs.” ref

“Researchers reconstruct ancestral character states using a time-calibrated supertree based on published phylogenetic trees and linguistic classification and then test for correlated evolution between the characters and for the direction of cultural change. Results indicate that the oldest trait of religion, present in the most recent common ancestor of present-day hunter-gatherers, was animism, in agreement with long-standing beliefs about the fundamental role of this trait. Belief in an afterlife emerged, followed by shamanism and ancestor worship. Ancestor spirits or high gods who are active in human affairs were absent in early humans, suggesting a deep history for the egalitarian nature of hunter-gatherer societies. There is a significant positive relationship between most characters investigated, but the trait “high gods” stands apart, suggesting that belief in a single creator deity can emerge in a society regardless of other aspects of its religion.” ref

Shamanism is ancient and worldwide. So, what makes Siberia the heartland?

“A large minority of people in North Asia, particularly in Siberia, follow the religio-cultural practices of shamanism. Some researchers regard Siberia as the heartland of shamanism.” ref

I think Shamanism likely started in Siberia/Russia but also agree, “It’s ancient and worldwide” with it found among 33 hunter-gather tribes studied across the world at 79% Shamanism. So, I focus on its origins, not trying to state any heartland in a current time reference.

Shamanism and the Origins of Spirituality and Ritual Healing”

“Abstract: Although the term “shamanic” is used to refer to a diverse range of phenomena, it nonetheless reflects something empirical. Cross-cultural research illustrates that the concept of the shaman reflects the existence of similar spiritual healing practices found in pre-modern foraging and simple horticultural and pastoral societies around the world (Winkelman, 1992; 2000). This cross-cultural concept of the shaman was initially proposed by the renowned scholar of comparative religion, Mircea Eliade (1964). However, his various characterizations of shamans were in part responsible for subsequent confusion regarding their exact nature and function. While offering very general characterizations of the shaman as someone who entered a state of “ecstasy” to interact with “spirits” on behalf of the community, Eliade also cited many additional specific concepts of the shaman which some subsequent researchers neglected in their applications of this term. This paper presents the findings of cross-cultural and crossspecies research that provides a basis for describing shamanism, its relationships to human nature, and its deep evolutionary origins. Shamanism has its bases in innate aspects of human cognition, engaging the use of altered states of consciousness to integrate information across several levels of the brain to produce visual symbolism exemplified in visionary experiences. The deeper evolutionary roots of shamanism are found in the capacities for ritual, which provide the most important communication and integrative processes in lower animal species. The evolution of shamanism can be deduced from these bases and the similarities of shamanic practices to the rituals of chimpanzees. Drumming, group vocalization, and other displays were the foundations from which the uniquely human mimetic capacity evolved and provided a basis for shamanism.” ref 

Shamanism and the Evolutionary Origins of Spirituality and Healing (better/clearer PDF)


Totemism: Group Relations and Identity

“Shamanism and other group oriented religious practices (e.g., ancestor worship) use animal species for personal and social representations, as manifested in totemism. The significance of totemism for anthropological studies of cognition are exemplified in both the classic book Totemism by Levi-Strauss and in work linking totemic thought to ecological relations and balance. Totemism involves establishing a metaphoric relationship between the natural history domains of animals and social groups, conceptualizing humans through models provided by the animal world. Totemic thought involves analogical processes, establishing a homology between animal species and human groups, who are represented through the differences among animal species (e.g., animal clans). Totemism distinguishes human groups by attributing the characteristics derived from the animal world, representing group identity and intergroup difference through models provided by animal species. The use of animals in social and cognitive modeling is one of the most fundamental aspects of metaphoric and analogical thought, a universal human system for expression of meaning and creation of social and personal identity through the use of the innate module for animal species categorization.” ref

“Samuel suggested that shamanic activities provide mechanisms of altering both individual situations and group circumstances. This is achieved through ritual activities that link humans’ unconscious structures of perception to create a flow and integration of information that produces a sense of relatedness. Shamanic ASCs produce dissociation from habitual automatizations and provide means of tuning the modal states of entire communities, synchronizing group and individual cognition through use of the analogical cognitive processes embodied in ritual, mimesis, and symbols. These symbolic enactments provide cultural programming of neuronal structures, an adaptive tool that Laughlin, McManus, and d’Aquili referred to as the “theater of the mind.” It is also the “theater of the social self,” where rituals involve socialization processes linking individual and collective identities in ways that produce healing.” ref 

The Origins of Shamanism, Spirit Beliefs, and Religiosity: A Cognitive Anthropological Perspective


“In The Origins of Shamanism, Spirit Beliefs, and Religiosity, H. Sidky examines shamanism as an ancient magico-religious, divinatory, medical, and psychotherapeutic tradition found in various parts of the world. Sidky uses first-hand ethnographic fieldwork and scientific theoretical work in archaeology, cognitive and evolutionary psychology, and neurotheology to explore the origins of shamanism, spirit beliefs, the evolution of human consciousness, and the origins of ritual behavior and religiosity.” ref

The Origins of Shamanism, Spirit Beliefs, and Religiosity: A Cognitive Anthropological Perspective Hardcover – June 21, 2017 by H. Sidky (Author) professor of anthropology at Miami University

Wondrous Healing: Shamanism, Human Evolution, and the Origin of Religion

“For thousands of years, spiritual questions have haunted the hearts and minds of humankind. Do higher powers exist, and if so, what is our relationship to them? And how else might we interpret seemingly miraculous events such as faith healing, out-of-body experiences, and extrasensory perceptions? Wondrous Healing traces the human capacity for religious belief to the success of ancient healing rituals, such as chanting to calm women in childbirth or rhythmic dancing to reduce trauma from wounds. Those who accepted these hypnotic suggestions were far more likely to receive positive benefits from the “healing.” The apparent success of such rituals, McClenon argues, led to the development of shamanism, humankind’s first religion. Controversial and daring, McClenon’s theory is based on his extensive research and firsthand observation of modern shamanistic performances across Asia and North America. His evidence supports the argument that evolutionary processes developed a biological basis for religion. McClenon’s historical and anthropological analyses of these issues explore the relationship between science, society, and spirituality.” ref 

John Hoopes @KUHoopes in a privet message stated, “James McClenon suggested that the evolution of “magical healing” through shamanic practices occurred along with a genetic predisposition to be healed by these means. He may be onto something with regard to psychological states and mind-body connections, but I’m not sure I buy it. He does deserve credit for considering faith healing in a non-supernatural context.”

“In the heart of Peru, the Amazonian shamans (knowns as P’akkos) continue to practice healing methods, passed down through generations over thousands of years. These native healers are the wisdom keepers of the ancient Incan traditions of the Andes and the jungle of Peru, with deep knowledge of the mystical, natural medicines of Pachamama (Mother Earth) and a Cosmic understanding of the nature of all reality.” ref


“At the highest altitudes in the Andes Mountains in Peru live a group of indigenous Indians called the Q’eros. They are the direct descendants of the ancient Inca people who were invaded by the Spanish Conquistadores in the 1500’s. During that time many of the Inca people were forced into labor in the gold and silver mines by the Spanish, but a few others escaped to the “villages in the clouds” in the refuge of the holy mountains (Apus). These people survived and safe guarded much of the sacred knowledge keeping it intact over the centuries.” ref

“Protected by the Andean mountains (Apus) and hidden from the Spanish Conquistadors and modern civilization for 500 years, the Q’ero people have miraculously been able to preserve and orally pass on their sacred Inca traditions and ceremonies from one generation to the next.” ref

“Since the Q’ero were completely isolated for 500 years, their ancient wisdom is very pure and unaffected by any other cultures, teachings, and religions. Their wisdom has been verbally passed down from father and mother to son and daughter for hundreds of generations and they have continued developing these advanced techniques in healing, divination, and ceremony.” ref

“Many believed the Inca Q’ero to be nothing more than a myth of a long lost people and way of life.  But, in the early 1990s the people of the Q’ero saw signs on the horizon which indicated the time of ancient prophecy had arrived, and realized it was time for their Q’ero shamans to finally wander down from the mountains with their rainbow colored clothes. A people who have been a myth for almost 500 years began to answer the call of their ancient prophesies, and now share their 10,000-year-old healing tradition and medicine with the societies of the modern world.” ref

“The prophecies spoke about a new age when large changes would start to happen on the planet. “When there is a tear in the sky that causes the sun to shine and damage us, when the glaciers melt, when the climate changes and natural disasters come and when the Condor is close to dying out, shall we walk down and share our spiritual tradition and wisdom with the world. It is time for the people from the West’s to wake up from a deep sleep. A new age has been born, and the modern human of intellect and brain is now touched by the heat, heart and soul of Andes.” ref

What is Andean Shamanism?

“Shamanism is an essential part of the culture of the Amazon, a land full of mysticism and magic. The shamans of Peru represent a group of healers, offering authentic Andean and jungle ceremonies for spiritual transformation and are known as P’akkos.” ref

“For thousands of years, the shamans provided an essential role in Amazonian cultures. These wise men and women in the community had deep knowledge of healing.  Shamans – or P’akkos were once members of an ancient religious cult and temple building culture, known as Chavin. Long ago, members of the Chavin worshiped at temples in the Sacred Valley of Peru, including the world-famous Temple of Light, Machu Picchu and the Chavín de Huantar near Huaraz.” ref

“The ruins of these once mighty temple complexes remain standing thousands of years later. Sacred pottery, architecture, and archaeological relics display likenesses of their feline deity, a stern-faced god always showing its fangs. Although the apex of the Incan civilization has long since passed, their temples still resonate the powerful healing energy.” ref

An investigation into the origin of the term “shaman”

“Abstract : The origin and meaning of the term shaman is a fundamental question in shamanic studies. There are conflicting views on this question in academic circles in China and overseas. Based on historical Chinese documents and Manchu-Tungus ethnic linguistic chronicles, this article argues that the term shaman originated from the language spoken by the Jurchen people of ancient northern China and was transmitted through the practices of generations of Jurchen descendants of the Manchu-Tungus peoples. The term shaman, as it is commonly used, is based on the root sar, which means knowing, or understanding, in the Manchu-Tungus linguistic family. The article concludes that shaman means “a wise man who knows everything.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

refrefref, ref, ref, ref

The Shaman’s Secret: 9,000 years ago, two people were buried in Germany with hundreds of ritual objects—who were they? – By ANDREW CURRY 2023

Bad Dürrenberg is a modest spa town in eastern Germany, perched on a bluff overlooking the Saale River. Among the finds that emerged from the grave that afternoon was a second, tiny skull belonging to an infant of less than a year old, found between the thighs of the adult burial. Other unusual items included the delicate antlers of a roe deer, still attached to part of the skull, that could have been worn as a headdress. Henning also unearthed a polished stone ax similar to a type known from other sites in the area and 31 microliths, small flint blades barely an inch long.” ref 

In the 1950s, researchers reexamined the skeleton and, based on the shape of the pelvis and other bones, suggested that they belonged to a woman. The copious grave goods—in addition to the antler headdress, blades, mussel shells, and boar tusks there were hundreds of other artifacts, including boars’ teeth, turtle shells, and bird bones—clearly marked the burial as special. The flints and other finds were firmly rooted in the world of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers who lived between 12,000 and 6,000 years ago. The few Mesolithic graves that had been unearthed in Europe contained a flint blade or two, at most. In comparison, the Bad Dürrenberg grave was uniquely rich for the period.” ref

“It wasn’t until the late 1970s that radiocarbon dating showed that the bones were 9,000 years old, predating farming in central Europe by about 2,000 years and confirming earlier suspicions that the grave dated to the Mesolithic period. Surrounded by tall steel shelves storing artifacts and remains from other graves in the region, they set about excavating the blocks. They worked slowly, sieving the soil from the original dig, and recovered hundreds of additional artifacts. The new finds included dozens more microliths, and additional bird, mammal, and reptile bones. The team also found missing pieces of the woman’s skeleton and more tiny bones belonging to the baby buried with her.” ref

The shaman lived at a pivotal point in Europe’s past when the climate was changing, pushing people to adapt. People adapted quickly, becoming less mobile and more specialized in response to the changing environment. In the absence of herds of mammoth and reindeer to hunt, such specialization let them wrest more fish and game out of rivers and forests while remaining in a smaller territory. Meller believes that the Bad Dürrenberg burial is proof that human spirituality became more specialized at this time, too, with specific people in the community delegated to interact with the spirit world, often with the help of trances or psychoactive substances. Combined with the earlier analysis of the woman’s grave, the team’s new finds and meticulous look at her bones painted a more complete picture of the shaman. They conjectured that, from an early age, she had been singled out as different from other members of her community.” ref

“Even in death, her unusually rich grave marked her as exceptional. Earlier scholars, including Grünberg, had speculated that she was a shaman who served as an intermediary between her community and the spirit world, and Meller says that the new finds prove it beyond a doubt. In her role as a shaman, the woman would have interceded with supernatural powers on behalf of the sick and injured or to ensure success in the hunt. “You travel in other worlds on behalf of your people with the help of your spirit animal,” says Meller. Just as some people in the Mesolithic specialized in fishing or carving, the Bad Dürrenberg woman specialized in accessing the spirit world. “She must have had talents or skills that were highly esteemed in society,” Jöris says.” ref

“As part of the new archaeological project that started with the reexcavation of the grave in 2019, researchers took yet another look at the woman’s skeleton. A closer examination of her teeth showed that they had been deliberately filed down, exposing the pulp inside. This would have been extremely painful and would have produced a steady flow of blood as the pulp died. The woman would have had to keep the now hollow teeth scrupulously clean to avoid deadly infections. This excruciating procedure, Meller says, might have been a pain ritual to establish her as an interlocutor with the spirit world. Upon close inspection, the woman’s spine revealed a deformity that may have further enhanced her mystical aura.” ref

“According to Orschiedt and Walter Wohlgemuth, head of radiology at Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, the woman had an unusual nub of bone on the inside of her second cervical vertebra that would have compressed a vital artery when she tilted her head back and to the left, cutting off blood flow to her brain. The result was likely an extremely rare condition called nystagmus, a rhythmic twitch of the eyeball that is impossible to deliberately reproduce and would have appeared uncanny to the people in her community. She would have been able to switch it off by angling her head forward to relieve pressure on the artery. “She could deliberately put her head back and induce nystagmus,” Meller says. “It must have added greatly to her credibility as a shaman.” ref

The woman’s skeleton and the remains of the baby she cradled also contain invisible clues to their identities. Techniques of ancient DNA analysis unavailable just a decade ago have made it possible to answer other questions. Among the finds recovered from the soil by Meller’s team was an inner ear bone belonging to the baby. Not much bigger than a fingernail, this pyramid-shaped bone, which protects fragile parts of the ear, is unusually dense and preserves genetic material particularly well. The shaman’s inner ear bone, too, was preserved along with her skull, which was found during the original excavation. DNA analysis conducted by geneticist Wolfgang Haak of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology confirmed that the shaman was female, as had first been suggested by researchers in the 1950s, and added color to her portrait. Genes for skin pigmentation and hair and eye color showed she was probably dark-skinned, dark-haired, and light-eyed, a far cry from the blond Aryan man imagined by the original excavators. The baby, the researchers found, was a boy.ref

“DNA extracted from the inner ear bones of the woman and the baby also helped establish their relationship to each other, which was more complex than supposed. They were not, in fact, mother and child, as archaeologists had expected. “It was always assumed the baby was hers,” says Haak. “And it turns out that he’s not.” Instead, the two were distantly related on the mother’s side, second cousins, perhaps, or the woman may have been the baby’s great-great grandmother. Because she was only in her 30s when she died, the latter would mean the baby was placed inside the grave long after her death. “Maybe she took care of the baby in her role as a healer,” Meller says, and was buried with him after they both died at the same time.” ref

The grave itself, along with the objects deposited inside, provided the final clues to understanding the power of the shaman’s mystical abilities. Researchers believe that the animal remains placed in the burial might have had symbolic meaning. Prey species such as deer and bison or aurochs may have been meant to evoke shamanic rituals intended to provide luck in the hunt. Marsh birds such as cranes, whose bones were also found in the grave, were the ultimate boundary-crossers, capable of flying in the heavens, nesting on the ground, and swimming underwater—a power the shaman might have called upon in her efforts to cross into the spirit world. The birds’ annual migration might also have had mystical significance, as they disappeared in winter and returned each spring. Turtles, whose shells were found by the dozen among the grave offerings, also cross from land to water. “It’s mind-boggling the spectrum of animal remains there are,” Haak says. “It’s a bit of a zoo.” ref

“The team’s analysis of the grave goods further showed that the shaman was connected to a wider community. The flints they found in the block were fashioned from more than 10 different rock sources, some located more than 50 miles away. “What goes in the grave is about how highly regarded she was and how big her community was,” Jöris says. “There were probably people who came from a long distance away for her burial.” During the reexcavation of the shaman’s grave, the team also turned their attention to the area surrounding the burial. As part of preparations for planting trees for the garden show, researchers dug dozens of test holes, but unearthed no other bones or Mesolithic artifacts.ref

“Barely three feet away from the location of the shaman’s carefully arranged grave, however, they did uncover another small pit containing a pair of red deer antler headdresses. Both headdresses were pointed toward the shaman’s grave, a position scholars believe is unlikely to have been accidental. The fact that an offering had been made to the departed shaman came as no surprise. But radiocarbon dates the team gathered in 2022 indicate that these gifts are around 600 years younger than the woman’s grave, meaning they were placed there more than 20 generations after her death. This antler offering was made around 8,400 years ago and coincided with a dramatic cold spell in prehistoric Europe. Perhaps, Meller says, later shamans called on their distant ancestor for help in troubled times.ref

“That a preliterate society may have preserved not only the woman’s memory but also recalled the precise location of her grave for so long is a display of sophistication not usually associated with hunter-gatherers. Meller believes that the idea that Mesolithic peoples lacked social complexity does these cultures a great disservice. The impressive level of attention to her grave, in her own time as well as centuries later, speaks to the significance of the shaman herself. “She was so charismatic and powerful,” Meller says, “that people were still talking about this woman six centuries after she died.” With a book on the team’s research published last year and plans for an updated exhibition in the museum in the works, people are talking about her nearly 10,000 years later, too.ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref, ref, ref

  1. From a Gerzeh/Naqada II Late Predynastic Egyptian palette with a goddess “Bat/Hathor” cow-head sun/stars motif.
  2. From a Hierakonpolis late Gerzeh/Naqada II Predynastic or early Naqada III Proto-Dynastic Egyptian porphyry fluted bowl with two reliefs on the rim, one of which was a goddess “Hathor/Bat” cow-head sun/stars motif.
  3. From an Abydos tomb, u-210 which held a small seal with a goddess “Bat/Hathor” sun/stars motif from the Gerzeh/Naqada II Late Predynastic Egyptian period.
  4. A Mongolian Copper Age bull sun/star shamanism petroglyph
  5. A Mongolian Bronze Age deer sun/star shamanism petroglyph symbol.
  6. A Kyrgyzstan Saimaly-Tash possibly Bronze Age shamanism cow-sun person symbol petroglyph.
  7. Similar X-ray style images among different peoples of the North from Siberia to Central Asia with shamanism petroglyphs of horned animals with sun symbols from possibly as old as the Neolithic to the Bronze Age. ref, ref, ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

People don’t commonly teach religious history, even that of their own claimed religion. No, rather they teach a limited “pro their religion” history of their religion from a religious perspective favorable to the religion of choice. 

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

Do you truly think “Religious Belief” is only a matter of some personal choice?

Do you not see how coercive one’s world of choice is limited to the obvious hereditary belief, in most religious choices available to the child of religious parents or caregivers? Religion is more commonly like a family, culture, society, etc. available belief that limits the belief choices of the child and that is when “Religious Belief” is not only a matter of some personal choice and when it becomes hereditary faith, not because of the quality of its alleged facts or proposed truths but because everyone else important to the child believes similarly so they do as well simply mimicking authority beliefs handed to them. Because children are raised in religion rather than being presented all possible choices but rather one limited dogmatic brand of “Religious Belief” where children only have a choice of following the belief as instructed, and then personally claim the faith hereditary belief seen in the confirming to the belief they have held themselves all their lives. This is obvious in statements asked and answered by children claiming a faith they barely understand but they do understand that their family believes “this or that” faith, so they feel obligated to believe it too. While I do agree that “Religious Belief” should only be a matter of some personal choice, it rarely is… End Hereditary Religion!

Opposition to Imposed Hereditary Religion

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


Animism: Respecting the Living World by Graham Harvey 

“How have human cultures engaged with and thought about animals, plants, rocks, clouds, and other elements in their natural surroundings? Do animals and other natural objects have a spirit or soul? What is their relationship to humans? In this new study, Graham Harvey explores current and past animistic beliefs and practices of Native Americans, Maori, Aboriginal Australians, and eco-pagans. He considers the varieties of animism found in these cultures as well as their shared desire to live respectfully within larger natural communities. Drawing on his extensive casework, Harvey also considers the linguistic, performative, ecological, and activist implications of these different animisms.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

We are like believing machines we vacuum up ideas, like Velcro sticks to almost everything. We accumulate beliefs that we allow to negatively influence our lives, often without realizing it. Our willingness must be to alter skewed beliefs that impend our balance or reason, which allows us to achieve new positive thinking and accurate outcomes.

My thoughts on Religion Evolution with external links for more info:

“Religion is an Evolved Product” and Yes, Religion is Like Fear Given Wings…

Atheists talk about gods and religions for the same reason doctors talk about cancer, they are looking for a cure, or a firefighter talks about fires because they burn people and they care to stop them. We atheists too often feel a need to help the victims of mental slavery, held in the bondage that is the false beliefs of gods and the conspiracy theories of reality found in religions.

“Understanding Religion Evolution: Animism, Totemism, Shamanism, Paganism & Progressed organized religion”

Understanding Religion Evolution:

“An Archaeological/Anthropological Understanding of Religion Evolution”

It seems ancient peoples had to survived amazing threats in a “dangerous universe (by superstition perceived as good and evil),” and human “immorality or imperfection of the soul” which was thought to affect the still living, leading to ancestor worship. This ancestor worship presumably led to the belief in supernatural beings, and then some of these were turned into the belief in gods. This feeble myth called gods were just a human conceived “made from nothing into something over and over, changing, again and again, taking on more as they evolve, all the while they are thought to be special,” but it is just supernatural animistic spirit-belief perceived as sacred.


Quick Evolution of Religion?

Pre-Animism (at least 300,000 years ago) pre-religion is a beginning that evolves into later Animism. So, Religion as we think of it, to me, all starts in a general way with Animism (Africa: 100,000 years ago) (theoretical belief in supernatural powers/spirits), then this is physically expressed in or with Totemism (Europe: 50,000 years ago) (theoretical belief in mythical relationship with powers/spirits through a totem item), which then enlists a full-time specific person to do this worship and believed interacting Shamanism (Siberia/Russia: 30,000 years ago) (theoretical belief in access and influence with spirits through ritual), and then there is the further employment of myths and gods added to all the above giving you Paganism (Turkey: 12,000 years ago) (often a lot more nature-based than most current top world religions, thus hinting to their close link to more ancient religious thinking it stems from). My hypothesis is expressed with an explanation of the building of a theatrical house (modern religions development). Progressed organized religion (Egypt: 5,000 years ago)  with CURRENT “World” RELIGIONS (after 4,000 years ago).

Historically, in large city-state societies (such as Egypt or Iraq) starting around 5,000 years ago culminated to make religion something kind of new, a sociocultural-governmental-religious monarchy, where all or at least many of the people of such large city-state societies seem familiar with and committed to the existence of “religion” as the integrated life identity package of control dynamics with a fixed closed magical doctrine, but this juggernaut integrated religion identity package of Dogmatic-Propaganda certainly did not exist or if developed to an extent it was highly limited in most smaller prehistoric societies as they seem to lack most of the strong control dynamics with a fixed closed magical doctrine (magical beliefs could be at times be added or removed). Many people just want to see developed religious dynamics everywhere even if it is not. Instead, all that is found is largely fragments until the domestication of religion.

Religions, as we think of them today, are a new fad, even if they go back to around 6,000 years in the timeline of human existence, this amounts to almost nothing when seen in the long slow evolution of religion at least around 70,000 years ago with one of the oldest ritual worship. Stone Snake of South Africa: “first human worship” 70,000 years ago. This message of how religion and gods among them are clearly a man-made thing that was developed slowly as it was invented and then implemented peace by peace discrediting them all. Which seems to be a simple point some are just not grasping how devastating to any claims of truth when we can see the lie clearly in the archeological sites.

I wish people fought as hard for the actual values as they fight for the group/clan names political or otherwise they think support values. Every amount spent on war is theft to children in need of food or the homeless kept from shelter.

Here are several of my blog posts on history: