James LaFond's impression of Greg Cochran's review of David Reich's Who We Are and How We Got Here
Not sure what your thoughts on Greg Cochran are but I thought you should see this post if you hadn't already.
Nothing particularly new here, but it's a great synthesis of a picture of that early Bronze Age expansion that's become impossible to deny now that some genetic results are in. Seemed up your alley.
The Besieged River Valley
Cochran develops a clear, well-modeled picture of the three strands of humanity that became European man. What is most fascinating is his sketch of river valley farming communities surrounded by forested lands inhabited by an enemy race of hunter, seemingly responsible for the fort slaughters that Keeley examined in War Before Civilization:
From Cochran's post:
The original expansion of these Anatolian-origin farmers did not entail much mixing with the local hunter-gatherers: they were about 90% Anatolian. And there was friction, judging from skull-collections and forts, some of which show evidence of being stormed and burned by bow-wielding enemies. But significant numbers of hunter-gatherers hung around (without much genetic mixing) for a long time, a couple of thousand years, and this eventually led to a higher level of hunter-gatherer ancestry. This may have something to do with a style of farming that only worked in a fairly small fraction of the landscape (loess soils), leaving a lot of room for foragers. Farming in general was less effective than you might think, particularly in northern Europe, because the more cold-tolerant grain crops, like rye and oats, hadn’t been domesticated yet.
This suggests a situation very similar to that found in post agriculture stone age America, in which hunting tribes would prey upon agricultural tribes in a skulking fashion, evidencing little interbreeding and punctuated by exterminations of entire communities. What awaited this brutal coexistence of two competing worlds was the arrival of a third group of warlike nomads who might enslave the farmers and use that surplus base to free them for war against the aboriginal hunters. This would later be reflected in ancient and medieval military structures, with The Horse Companions of Macedon reflecting the nomadic element, the Foot Companions the farming element and the Agrianian and other specialized light footmen the hunting element. This would later be reflected in the medieval knight, the peasant levy and the various highland and woodland troop types combined in a three-element force, exemplified in the Hundred Years War by the knights, yeoman archers and Welsh knife men that ravaged France under various English kings. In most such cases the specialized highland and woodland infantry would not be genetically direct descendants of the original hunters and gatherers but rather environmentally adapted men such as Otzi, the Ice Man, having encroached upon the aboriginal territory and adopted native weaponry, tactics and habitation styles, much as the American frontiersman did in Appalachia and beyond.
It seems that the hierarchical structures of European religion, society and military were forced introductions from an Aryan population—a race that spread its language and culture with the force to establish a genetic mapping mechanism for linguists before DNA technology, from Ireland to Bengal—and that there were language and genetic affinities between Amerindians and Caucasians sourcing from a “ghost population” of Siberian hunters. This supposition does make sense in light of the high level of affinity and intermarriage between these two larger racial groups when they collided in the Early Modern Era.
As it turns out, Childe, in The Aryans [from 1926], was right to be contemptuous of archaeologists and anthropologists and that linguistic migration is a much better means of charting genetic migration than digging in the dirt.
Cochran is, refreshingly, a standout asshole, exemplified by such painfully accurate statements as:
Childe is also an interesting example: a man of the Left, in fact a deep-fried Marxist, yet he was able to actually think in a useful way. Back then, leftists dreamt of making steel and shooting kulaks, rather than lavishing praise on incompetents, deviants, and ragheads.The 93% population replacement of dark-haired aboriginal folk in the British Isles is shockingly reminiscent of Robert E. Howard’s mythos, from Kull to Bran Mak Morn, king of a people on the brink of extinction. In the end, what we learn from Cochran, with a deep and broad command of the sources which academia has used to enslave our minds, is that Homer and Howard, a poet and a fantasist, were right, and our evil academics were sterilely wrong. Language is the sound of the river of human blood, as telling to the awakened mind as the song of a brook, stream or river making its way from the heights of its birth down to the sea to rejoin its origin.
(c) 2018 James LaFond