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Paleolithicum or Old Stone Age
Homo Heidelbergiensis

Humanoids evolved from their pre-human ancestors in Africa and appeared there some 2 million BP.

In Europe live for more than one and a half million years hominids. Their tool remains are found spread over Europe and Asia, as in Pirro, Southern Italy, in the Caucasus and South China. Human remains are only found in Afrika. (1)

After their first find spots they are named Homo Heidelbergensis. This extinct species of the genus Homo lived in Africa, Europe and Western Asia and survived until 200.000 to 250.000 BP.


Homo heidelbergensis with tools (hand axes) (2)

The Neanderthals and Denosivans

These first hominides were succeeded by the Neanderthalers. The split between the Homo Sapiens and Neanderthalers is estimated to have occurred in Africa between 500,00 - 400,000 BP based on calibration of the human mitochondrial clock using ancient genomes.

They enter Asia and Europe between 400,000 to 300,000 BP. (3)

Reconstructions of Neanderthals are seen at a museum in Mettmann, Germany

Reconstructions of Neanderthals at a museum in Mettmann, Germany.


Neandertals were the first to leave Africa and their remains were first discovered in the Neanderthal, Neander Valley, in Germany after these finding place they are were named. Denosivans, a related group, are named after the Denisova cave in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia.

Remains of Denosivans are in Siberia in the Altai Mountains. They are named after the find-spot the Denosivan cave. These are just a few finger and toe remains and teeth. The age of which is estimated to be about 40,000 years old. Their bones were about twice as heavy as that of modern man. The mitochondrial genome could be determined well. They are a sister group of Neanderthals. They went apart about three quarters of a million BP. Denosivans have quite a few genes of an older unknown humanoid.

All these humanoids came as we did from Africa. After our arrival in Eurasia we lived with them for a few thousand years together, from around 40,000 to around 37,000 BP. Our genes show that there have been fruitful mutual pairings. We inherited some of their genes for a white skin.


Skull of a modern human and a Neanderthal, Museum of Natural History in Cleveland. (4)

Archeolic remains left by Neanderthals include bones and stone tools, which are found in Eurasia, from Western Europe to Central and Northern Asia. Skeletons and stone tools have been found in Israel, which date from 120.000 to 150.000 BP and in southern China from about 130.000 BP, as well as a suspected necklace of eagle talons that would have belonged to Neanderthals living in the same time in present-day Croatia. In the Denisova cave in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia, a finger bone was unearthed which was dated to between 30.000 and 48.000 BP. The mtDNA extracted from this bone lies somewhere between Neanderthals and modern humans.

Homo arch

At these sites remains are found from who archaeologists could determine the genome.

The mtDNA sequences of Neanderthals are completely outside the present human variations; the same applies for the Y-DNA if the age of the first common ancestor is proposed as being younger as a result of reduced diversity, caused by major population declines during which lines became extinct, which could have been a common occurrence.

The Neandertalers had only 4 copies of AMY1 in their saliva, wiule we have in our genes many copies of the α-amylase gene AMY1. In each population ranging from 4, at some Finns, to 18. Europeans usually have 15. Very likely they got after eating of roots and tubers abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Their food consisted of meat from large mammals, fish and fruit with loose sugar. They were not skilled enough to hunt small animals.

Ear bone of a young Neandertal girl

A very complete temporal bone with an auditory ossicle: a complete stapes. Virtual 3D reconstruction techniques enabled this ossicle to be extracted virtually. Skeleton of a 2-year-old Neanderthal child found between 1970 and 1973 and named La Ferrassie 8.

temporal bone and an auditory ossicle

Collections at the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle à Paris.

When the Neanderthals became extinct is not entirely clear. Spain is probably one of the last refuges. The last finds there date from around 42,000 BP. There was a very dry period is geologically known as the Heinrich 5 event . In the struggle for existence during this difficult period when the amount of food decreased the Homo Sapiens could survive on a diet of roots and tubers, draw energy from it and digest them without trouble. (5)

Gene Flow

The estimated split time in Africa between Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens estimated on their mtDNAs is 400,000 years ago. Nonetheless there was still gene flow between Neanderthals and the ancestors of the modern humans in Europe 50,000 - 60,000 BP. This gene flow contributed on the order of 2% of the genetic ancestry of non-Africans. (6)

There was also gene flow from a population related to the Denisovans into the ancestors of present-day aboriginal people from New Guinea, Australia, and the Philippines. It is notable that the populations today that contain the largest proportion of Denisovan ancestry are in Oceania. (7)


Homo Sapiens

The populating history of the World

The time to the first common ancestor of all modern humans is estimated at 250.000 BP. Between 90,000 and 120,000 BP left some Africa and went to the Arabian peninsula. From there groups went to Iran, India, Indonesia and China. In the recently excavated Fuyan cave in southern China, dozens of teeth of modern humans found that could be dated by the surrounding strata between the 80,000 and 120,000 BP. Some of them reached Indonesia and went further to New Guinea and Australia. They largely retained their black skin. (8)

In a relatively agreeable time during the Ice Ages, an interglacial, the modern man, the Homa sapiens, spread from the Arabian Peninsula over Europe and Asia. Along two paths they appear to have gone.

The expansion of modern humans - Jean Manco

Sketch of the population routes in the World.  (KY A= 1000 years). (9)


The populating history of Europe

Europe is populated by two main routes

One path went through Turkey over the Bosphorus which then was narrow and shallow then further to the Danube Valley and from there to Central and Northern Europe. The oldest remains in Europe are found in Romania and the Czech Republic. The radiocarbon dating of the skeletons is between 40,000 and 32,000 BP.

A second path was northward from Iran to Kazakhstan and Siberia and thence westward to Europe, and eastward to Asia.

From the Steppes of Asia is a group pulled back to the west.

Verspr mens Eurazie


The origin of the Europeans

The knowledge about the origins of the current inhabitants of Europe and the history of their precursors is continually enhanced by the many new DNA research techniques. One of the oldest fossils of anatomically modern humans of Europe is Kostenki 14, found on the Middle Don River in Russia. This skeleton dates from 37,000 BP. Its genome shares a close ancestry with the 24,000-year-old Mal'ta boy from Siberia and with many present Europeans and native Americans, but not with modern eastern Asians.

The Kostenki 14 genome shows evidence of shared ancestry with a population basal to all Eurasians and it also relates to the later European Neolithic farmers. It contains more Neandertal DNA, and in longer tracts, than present Europeans. This is consistent with the shorter period of time until the last matings.

His genome reveals the timing of divergence of Western Eurasians and East Asians to be more than 36,200 BP; and shows that European genomic structure today dates back to the Upper Paleolithic deriving from a metapopulation that at times stretched from Europe to central Asia. (11)

The dark skin color has changed into a whiter one through the Neanderthal genes and by natural selection because pigmentation obstructs production of Vitamin D. This was in favor for the whitest people. (12)

The Mal'ta boy belonged to an ancient population spread out across Asia 24,000 BP. They came into contact with an East Asian population and mingled at some point. Native Americans are descended from him.

This population is not related to the Asians who live in the region today. But they also passed down their DNA to Europeans, but much later, in the Bronze Age with people of the Yamnaya culture, who lived 5,500 to 4,300 BP in what is now southwestern Russia. (13)

The Aurignacian culture

The first settlement in Europe by modern humans is thought to have occurred between 50,000 and 40,000 BP. The site of Willendorf II in Austria is till now the oldest known. Here are the first remains of stone-working man, and thus begins the Stone Age. The lithic artifacts date from 43,500 cal B.P. The climate was in that time a medium-cold steppe-type environment. This overlaps with the latest directly radiocarbon-dated Neanderthal remains, suggesting that Neanderthal and modern human presence overlapped in Europe for some millennia, possibly at rather close geographical range. (14)

The oldest human cultural expressions is called the Aurignacian. The name is derived from the French town Aurignac in the Haute-Garonne, the location of an archaeological culture from the late Paleolithic. The Aurignacian ended between 28,000 and 26,000 BP. This culture is associated with the first presence of the Cro-Magnon people, the first modern humans in Europe. Well-dated finds are five individuals from the Mladec cave in the Czech Republic about 32,000 BP and three anatomical modern humans of Pesteracu Oase cave in Romania, 35,000 BP.

The people of this culture produced worked bone or antler points and the earliest known cave art, such as the animal engravings at Aldène and the paintings at Chauvet cave in southern France.

Aurignacian culture map, picture from Wikipedia

The three Pictures here are from Wikipedia

Venus-of-Schelklingen oder Hohle Fels, picture from Wikipedia

The Venus of Hohle Fels (also Venus von Schelklingen) hewn from ivory of a mammoth tusk found in 2008 near Schelklingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germ. It is dated to between 35,000 and 40,000 BP.

The Swabian Alb region has a number of caves that have yielded mammoth-ivory artifacts of the Upper Paleolithic period, totaling about twenty-five items to date. These include the lion-headed figure of Hohlenstein-Stadel dated to 40,000 BP, and an ivory flute found at Geißenklösterle, dated to 42,000 BP.

The "Lion Man", found in the Hohlenstein-Stadel cave of Germany's Swabian Alb, dated at 40,000 years old, is the oldest known anthropomorphic animal figurine in the world.

Lion_man_photo-Aurignacien, picture from Wikipedia
The Late Glacial Maximum

The Neanderthals were extincted during the late glacial Maximum from 25,000 to 19,500 BP, The hunter-gatherers sought, and some found, refugia in South Europe and after this period they repopulated Europe again.

Lascaux culture

The caves of Lascaux in France show then the first artistic expressions of the Homo sapiens, our human species. They date from 20.000 to 12.000 BP.

Lascaux-lions and an Bison

Petroglyph of a Cro-Magnon man in the Lascaux caves in France, 15.000 BP.


New Population

The final stages of this period caused a genetic bottleneck in Europe. This period was followed by a period of climate instability and ended in the Bølling-Allerød interstadial period a warm period that ran from c. 14,700 to 12,700 BP that in Europe was followed by a genetic turn over caused by a new incoming population of hunter gatherers coming from the Near East, that had diverged from the residual population some 30 millennia earlier. (15)

The vast majority of late Pleistocene and Early Holocene individuals between till 14,500 BP belonged to mtDNA haplogr M and. Then they were succeeded by U. Haplogroup M is now mainly present in Asia, Australia and America, but virtually absent in populations with European ancestry. (15a)

Middle Stone Age or Mesolithic

After the last "Ice Age" or Weichselien, the landscape and the people in it changed rather abruptly. This warming started thirteen thousand BP, the polar ice rapidly receded north, and the ice caps on the high mountains melted. Two thousand years later, the tundra with its reindeer and big game, was almost entirely replaced by deciduous forests from the south, which covered the whole of Europe. About 10.000 BP it was even a bit warmer here than it is now.

The Weichselien had an major impact on the anatomically modern human populations in Europe prior to the Neolithic. Craniometric discontinuity at the Last Glacial Maximum in Europe shows this. An new population inhabit Europe in a completely altered nature. (16)

Though it may seem strange and counter to our natural suppositions, the biomass of forest mammals is less than a third of the biomass of mammals on the open tundra and steppe. Because this wildlife was smaller and faster, it was more difficult to hunt. These animals could also keep themselves well hidden. Therefore, hunting required new and different tactics and forms of cooperation. This change came too fast for most people of that era and, by the final glacial cold phase, the population was already greatly diminished. A further dramatic population decline followed, reducing both the number of population sites and the number of residents in them, and simplifying the culture of Cro-Magnon man until it finally disappeared.

A very shrunken and sober population which had been living in the Palaeolithic or Old Stone Age passed on into the Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age.

These people lived as they always had, in small family groups who came together to form larger groups of twenty to several hundred persons during some periods in the year. They followed the wandering herds of cattle and knew the places where suitable food could be grown in different seasons. They regularly came together in larger groups to exchange products and establish contacts, to marry and to observe ritual celebrations.

It was an egalitarian society. Only later did different social strata emerge, as is evidenced by differences in burial gifts and precious goods in some children's graves. This was certainly the case when the wealthier graves were located together. Some cemeteries also contained groups of graves with similar objects, which may indicate different social classes or ethnic groups.

It is noteworthy that dogs had a high position, they were often buried with their master and some had even their own graves with rich burial goods.

However this dog, buried in Alblasserwaard, had nothing, at least nothing that endured through time. (17)

Dogs Grave

Dogs cave -mesolithicum-Alblasserwaard


Neolithic or New Stone Age
Holocene - The emergence of agriculture

In a region in the Near East, the so called Fertile Crescent, lived hunter-gatherers. They roamed this area that was rich in fruits and game. of permanent occupation there is still no trace. The two best known groups are the the Baradostian, 34,000 – 20,000 BP of the Zagros Mountains of western Iran and the Levanto-Aurignacian, 27,000 – 20,000 BP in the Levant.

Here people lived with the Y-DNA haplogroup G. Which was already split in the first subgroups, G1 especially in the eastern part, G2 in the central and western part.

These population evolved gradually to a proto-agrarian semi-sedentary society. In the warm and moist Bølling-Allerød interstadial, 14,700 to 12,700 BP was a rapid population growth and they lived together in a population with Pre-Pottery Neolithic Culture which existed there for about 4 millennia.

Around 12,000-11,000 BP, humans began practicing agriculture here and started making pottery. The first urban society began in Göbekli Tepe around 11,550 BP (9500 BC). Probably this was a special place of worship, they built here their first temples and homes.

The archaeo-botanical remains from Boncuklu Höyük in west Anatolia to Çatal Höyük in south Anatolia in Turkey and Chogha Golan in the Zagros mountains in West Iran represent the earliest records of long-term plant management.

The Origins of Farming in South-West Asia - db_GobekliTepe_Urfa-Region

The craddle of Farming in the World. (18)

Round 8200 BP (6000 BC) was in this region a large and prolonged drought, the Misox oscillation. which lasted for three centuries wherein it stopped raining and got very hot. The crops died and the cattle likely also. Several hundred years later the sea level rose some meters over the whole world and after the breakthrough of the Bosphorus the Black Sea rose extra strong and fast. Here was a level difference of possible as many as thirty meters over a period of perhaps a year, although most think it was during decades. This rise in sea level is assumed to be associated by some with the stories of a great flood in the Gilgamesh epic and the ancient Semitic and Jewisch stories.

Halaf, Tepecik Ciftlik and Çatalhöyük figurines

"Seated Goddess" figurines from the Halaf Culture c. 7,500 BP, Tepecik-Ciftlik before 8,500 BP, and Çatalhöyük c. 9,000 BP.

Leaving the Region

As a result they left the region and migrated in all directions, The most western groups westward to Europe, the eastern groups eastward to central and southern Asia and northward to the Caucasus and the Russian steppes, southward to the Arabian peninsula and back to Africa to Egypt and Libya and probably already then to Morocco.

The persistence of ancient Zagros genetic components in modern day South-Asians lends weight to a strong demic component to this expansion. It makes probable that the Zagros region was the source of an eastern expansion of the SW-Asian domestic plant and animal economy.

Early Aegean farmers dating to ± 8,500-8,000 BP are the main ancestors of early European farmers. They have the Y-DNA haplogroup G2a. They are genetically somewhat different from the former residents of the eastern part of the Fertile Crescent. Who had other G clades. Where the original homeland was is not yet entirely clear. (19)

All have in common that they derived around half their ancestry from a "Basal Eurasian" lineage with none or little Neanderthal admixture, that separated from other non-African lineages prior to their separation from each other, more than 50,000-60,000 BP who. all then plausibly still living in Africa. (20)


There are reports comming about the skin color of the population in Neolithic Europe. A hunter-gatherer from 7,000 BP in northern Spain was still dark skinned. So was an G2b archaeologic find from Wezmeh Cave in Zagros, Iran, old ± 9,250 BP. He had a relatively dark skin. Other Neolithic Iranians carried however reduced pigmentation-associated alleles in several genes at 7 of the 12 loci, showing the strongest signatures of selection in ancient Eurasians. An early Neolithic farmer from Germany possessed also the same alleles for a white skin as found in modern Europeans. (21)

By 6,000 to 5,000 BP, in a time of two millennia, farmers throughout of Europe had acquired much more genes of hunter-gatherer ancestry than their predecessors in Anatolia had.

Y-DNA G2a was present in the majority of the Y lines of this population, together with the MtDNA K1a12a and X2. This genetic picture remains broadly exist until the Bronze Age.

The Neolithic people had come in Europe in two, mutually somewhat different groups.

A Southern group went fron Anatolia along the coast and islands of the Mediterranean, they went into Greece, Italy and Spain. Later some went north, along the river Rhône and reached the Rhine about 6,500 BP. After their pottery used to store food they are called, due to the decorations hereon, the Cardium Pottery or Cardial Ware culture.

The Northern group went through Turkey across the Balkans to Hungary and then along the Danube, the Rhine and the Meuse. and later to the Atlantic coast. They arrived at the Hungarian Plain about 8,000 BP. They have spread throughout the Central European loess belt and flourished in South Limburg, Hesbaye and Condroz since 7300 BP. (21a).

The culture of these Early Neolithic Farmers is characterized by the cultivation of wheat and barley, and the particular shape of pottery with the characteristic decorations, called the Linear Band ceramic Culture, LBK. They brought with them their cattle, sheep and goats from the Middle East to their new living places. The analysis of the clothing, Alpine Ice mummi Ötzi shows this beautifully. (21b).

With stone chisels, axes with a horizontal blade, the LBK farmers cut down parts of the jungle and put on there their fields. Here the first wheats as emmer and einkorn was cultivated, and oilseeds as linseed and poppy seeds.

Through exchange within a wide network farmers knew to obtain raw materials from distant regions, such as hematite, an iron oxide with preservative, for example for hides, and hard. black amfibolite for drawbars.


Reconstruction of a LBK village on the Cannerberg at Maastricht

In a short time the society has changed completely. Settlements Arise in the form of several hamlets from three to five houses. These houses have a wooden frame with wattle walls covered with loess, such as in Caberg at Maastricht. There is a rapid population growth. In the heyday lived in South Limburg up to 2000 people. There appear joint cemeteries. The dead are partly burned partially unburned, buried close together and get objects in the grave.

The pottery has from 7,000 ybp two forms. The famous LBK pottery is rather soft and has open bowls with the distinctive zigzag bands. The new La Hoguette pottery that is found only in Kessel and Sweikhuizen is harder and egg-shaped and has a pointed bottom.

Lineaire_Bandkeramiek_aardewerk_uit Limburg,_Rijksmuseum_van Oudheden,_Leiden

Linear Band Ceramic pottery from Limburg, the National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden, Netherlands

Up to 6,500 ybp these two cultures flourish peacefully together but this ends rather abruptly. In Germany signs are found of social unrest and skeletons from people who violently lost their lives.

The agricultural tradition and the wide exchange network for specific commodities was restored not long after the loss of the LBK by farmers of the Rössen culture, 6,500 to 6,000 ybp such as inter alia in Maastricht to Randwijk. The Rössen vessels are characteristically decorated with double incisions "goat's foot incision".

They are best known for their Breitkeile, massive pole axes of stone, which apparently formed a popular export item. They are found far beyond Limburg to in Southern Germany.

Kugelbecher der Rössener Kultur aus Hüde, Niedersachsen

Kugelbecher der Rössener Kultur (22a)

Tulpenbecher, Michelsberger Kultur

This was followed by the Michelsberg culture, 6,400 to 5,500 BP. Remarkable are their waste pits in which are found their characteristic tulip-shaped cups. These are as a rule found on hilltops and appear to have been fortified settlements.

Along the Meuse are found hundreds of sites of their pottery and flint remains. Their residences have been simple because we hardly find relics, but they left the first still visible traces in the Limburg landscape in the form of flint mines, such as in Rijckholt-St Geertruid and Valkenburg.

The gray flint blocks were collected to a depth of 12 meters from the lime. With deer horns and flint hoes operators dug an extensive system of deep mine shafts.

The Bell Beaker culture (Germ.: Glockenbecher-Kultur) flourished in Europe and England between 4850 and 4140 ybp. The dead were no longer buried in a common grave room. They began a new way of burial, in which the dead were burried in an individual grave covered by a mound of grass or heather sods. In South Limburg started this 4,900 years ago and continued until shortly before the Roman era. Thousands of burial mounds are found consisting of stones and Loess. People of high rank are unburned in squat position with standard grave gifts as cups and utensils.

It is striking that their settlements showed an increase in defensive measures. Notable are the many finds of skeletons that are buried very disorderly, so it seems that that the owners of a relatively large number of skeletons have died a violent death. This indicates a violent end of this era. (22)


The Chalcolithic period or Copper Age

The Carpathians, in the Northern Balkans are rich in copper. The first copper ore is mined in where now is Serbia and Hungary from 7400 to 5800 ypp. there are made the first copper weapons, tools and jewelry.

A century later the first gold is melted and processed in present Bulgaria. This is traded over long distances en is found in the former pastoralist societies in the southern Russian steppe and in the cultural flourishing Asia Minor.

About 4300 ybp the first copper and gold appears in the Netherlands. This was 500 years before the bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, appeared.


Bronze Age

A new population in Europe

Russia was inhabited by a distinctive population of hunter-gatherers with high affinity to a 24,000-year-old Siberian. But the step dwellers of that time were descended not only from the preceding eastern European hunter-gatherers, but also from a population of Near Eastern ancestry although of other origin as in the West.

On the southern Russian steppe flourished during 5,600 and 4,300 BP years ago the Yamnaya Culture. They are held for the proto Indo-Europeans. They are cattle-breeding nomads and the first users of wheeled vehicles pulled by hordes. They bury their dead in pits sometimes covered with mounds that shows their social stratification.

A new population comes round 4,800 BP from their region. Their pottery is called the Corded Ware culture. They harden their copper to bronze. They are also called the Battle Axe People. They conquer in short time whole Europe.


North Eurasian Hunter

There is a drastic replacement of the European population and taken into account the many archaeological finds this happened by intense violence. The dominant Y-DNA haplogroup G2a is in a short time supplanted by haplogroup R1a and the old population survives best in mountain ranges, on the Alps, and on islands.

The old original European population of hunter-gatherers with haplogroup I decreases less in number. No drastic fall is also found in the female mtDNA, inherited through the women.


West Eurasian farmer (23)

From the time of the Late Neolithic, 4,500 BP the population in Western Europe traces 75% of their ancestry to the Yamnaya. This applies to the male Y-DNA in which we see the remarquable fact that the current European population for more than 50 % consists of descendants of one man. It seems that a royal lineage of the Yamnaya people has claimed for the kings and princes all wives and that all other men, even from their own people, were inhibited in their reproduction. (24)

These results provide also support for a steppe origin of at least some of the Indo-European languages of Europe. (25,26)


The Origin of the Dutch

The first description of the peoples of our region comes from Gaius Julius Caesar (100-42 BCE) in his book Commentarii de Bello Gallico [Commentaries on the Gallic War], written in Rome in 51 BCE. He begins with: Gaul is divided into three parts, one inhabited by Belgians, one by Aquitanians, and one by Celts, called by us Galli, and of these three, the Belgians are the bravest.

The Belgians live north of the Seine and the Marne, up to the Rhine. They tell him that most of them are descendants of Trans-Rhine Germans, who expelled the original inhabitants of Gaul.

Some of them took over the names of ancient Celtic peoples: the Atuatuci claim to be descendants of the Cimbri and the Teutons; the Batavians come from Chatti.

The island of the Batavians is formed when the Mosa (Meuse) River intercepts a branch of the Rhine (called Vaculus [Waal]), and then flows into the Rhine itself. As this river approaches the ocean, it divides into several branches, forming many large island which are inhabitated by wild barbaric peoples, some of whom live only on fish and birds' eggs. These are the old hunter-gatherers, the Celts, the Sea Peoples, and especially the Germans.

Arnoldus Buchelius - Northern Netherlands in Roman times - Belgae

The Belgians at the beginning of our era.
Hover your mouse over the map to see only the land north of the Meuse.

Demographic changes before Roman Times

At least so it is told by Caesar, the man who omits many facts to increase his exploits and to cover-up of the genocides and other exaggerates or invents to present these peoples much more primitive than later is found out that they were.

Keltische munt gevonden bij Amby

Golden stater of the Nervii

He says nothing about their advanced hunting weapons, as their boomerangs, while they have had a lot of hostilities and trade. Caesar mentions clearly intentional not that the Belgian peoples struck their own coins and how rich were their temples.

Gold prices fell in the Empire when Caesar sold the many gold items he had looted from the Celtic temples after remelting them to gold bullion. (27).

Keltische munt gevonden bij Amby

Gold coin of the Eburones

It is clear that the peoples between the Somme and the Weser, the later Netherlands had their own language group, which was different and probably older than the Celtic and Germanic language groups.

the different residential areas varied quite often. In this way the Usipeti and the Tencteri crossed in the year 55 BC the Rhine, chased away by the Suebi and settled near their related tribe the Sugambri, now east of Roermond on the river Roer.

There existed in the time of Caesar in these regions no clear boundaries . The Rhine, has been named by Caesar as a border between Gauls (Celts) and Germans. But the Celtic La Tène culture spread across central France, southern Germany and he went to Czech Republic. And in southern Germany lived Celts but no Germans

It was Emperor Claudius, 41-54, who after many unsuccessful attempts to conquer Germania Trans­rhenalis as a border of the Empire at least took the river Rhine.


Aduatuci and Eburones

These tribes stayed between the Scheldt and the Rhine. The Aduatuci probably more on the south side of the Somme. This tribe is overcome by Caesar after a final battle at their fortress at the current Thuin. Caesar claims to have completely wiped out the tribe and their wives and children sold into slavery.

In 52 form the Eburonic kings Ambiorix, and the old Catuvolcus, together with a number of neighboring nations a confederation against the Romans. The Treveri, Nervii, Aduatuci, Menapii and also some Germans staying on this side of the Rhine join them. Caesar collects four legions and invades the country of the Nervii. He forces them to surrender and takes many prisoners with their cattle, he devastated their country and robs it empty..

This Caesar collects a large number of auxiliaries and goes to the land of the Eburones. Initially the Eburons win many battles. But the battle gradually turns into guerrilla with varying infiltrations. To this the fortunes are turned and Ambiorix can only watch how his country is devastated. The old Catuvolcus who no longer can lead the battle kills himself as usual with a potion. (16b)

Keltische munt gevonden bij Amby

Ambiorix is attacked treacherously in his sleep one night. He manages to escape with some faithful and sends messages from across the country that everyone must surrender or find a refuge.

Caesar boasts then to have completely destroyed (vastatis) their country as he has done with the Nervii. The Eburones are gone as an independent nation. Pollen Counts in Jülich, the easternmost area of the Eburones show on growth of agricultural land by forests.

Gold Finds in Heers near Tongeren and Amby at Maastricht are properties that have not been retrieved by their owners. (29).

Coin find at Heers near Tongeren (31)

After the book of Caesar there are no written sources about this region. The attention focuses again on the internal problems in Rome as the battle for the emperorship. An indication of how it fared give the pollen counts in Jülich population in our distant region. They show a replacement of farmland by forests. But that's further on in present day Germany.

Even if only a quarter of the population of Maastricht and Tongeren survived the disaster of 50 BC. the population will quickly began to flourish. However, no historians in that time have written about the population of this for them distant land. We got no longer names.

There are from 43 to 23 BC many indications of small uprisings spread across Gaul, without indicating names or locations. The fortification of Caestert on the edge of the St Pietersberg at Canne south of Maastricht, who as shows dendrologic research is built in 31 BC. indicates such a struggle.

We can assume that the population just subsitst. The roman writer Varro cites a visitor of these lands who saw countrymen improve their land with marl in order to reduce the acidity. This limestone is mined in South Limburg around Maastricht.

In the years shortly before the beginning of our era flourishes on the banks of the Meuse and Scheldt a pottery industry of red and black plates and cups. produced with the turntable, unprecedented here. At the fertile loess soils flourishes grain production. With the help of German slave labor there is a great for the export referred production of salt, iron, cattle and Ardennes ham.

The main road from Cologne on the fertile loess soils over Tongeren to Boulogne sur Mer and on to England is a trade route on one of the most prosperous regions of Gaul.


Demographic changes in Roman Times

For the defense of the Northern Borders treaties are concluded with German tribes. To them is granted to enter the Empire and they get locations at the edge of the Empire with the contract to keep out other interested parties and to become food supplier and to provide recruits for the legions. In our region that are the Batavi and the Tungri,


In our region that are the Batavi, a group from Hessen expelled Chatti, They get the island between Meuse and Waal, current Betuwe. In the neighborhood live Cananefates, who resemble them according to the Romans in behavior and appearance. They speak the same language and had lived longer there. The Batavians come in a rather empty land. Live here less than a hundred thousand people. After their entry, which is about 120,000.

The new peoples are placed under supervision of an administrative center. For the Batavians such a center arises around the current Valkhof in Nijmegen at the beginning of the first century in a place where some years before the beginning of the era was already a small settlement.

Batav- Iniores - Magister peditum I

Both Tungri as Batavi supply troops for the Roman Legions, The Batavi infantry, the Tungri infantry as well as cavalry, and they will fight in many regions under their own leades with their own banner. On the left you see the banner logo of the Batavi Iuniores on the right of the Tungri.

Insignis Tungri

The Batavi have been sent to many places. Still in 360 to Britain probably to counter a rebellion. Later the Batavi returned on the continent, but it is unknown when this happened. Four cohortes of the Tungri are known, they saw many places of the Imperium, also Mauretania.

Nothing more is heard of the Batavians. Perhaps they settled in areas where they had served as auxiliaries in the Roman legions, such as Hungary and England, and even Italy or the eastern borders of Persia.

A Cohort of Tungri was at Vercovicium (now known as Housesteads, Northumberland) on Hadrian's Wall. The cohort Tungri was split in the time of Hadrian in two Cohorts of Tungri, both cohorts 1000 men strong. In the Batavian war a cohort of Tungri defected to Iulius Civilis.


They are mentioned by Pliny for the first time a result of the reorganization of Emperor Augustus which was carried out around 20 BC and the Civitas Tungrorum was formed. It is not clear from which they were composed, but many think that under this name the former residents of the Sambre and Meuse valley, of the Hasbaye, the Condroz and the Ardennes were caught who had survived the massacres of Caesar, together with a group Germani Cisrhenani from the Julich region.

For the Tungri is built a administrative center Atuatuca on the site of the present Tongeren. This is a fortified and walled fortress with stone houses for soldiers and veterans.

Here settle traders and come markets. Local gentlemen are building a stone house in the vicinity of the board and get magistrate positions. There are schools and temples are erected. It seems that the ancient fortress of the Eburones on the edge of Mount St Pieter at Caestert then is abandoned.

The fertile Loess region in Germania Belgica has always been one of the richest areas of Gaul. He produces corn, cattle and horse riders but also infantrymen for the Roman legions.

In the forth century Maastricht becomes more and more important with trade and crafts, richer and more powerful than Atuatuca. It lies at the crossroads of two routes. From North to South, there is the river trade on the Meuse; and from East to West from Cologne over Aachen, Maastricht, Tongeren and Boulogne Sur Mer to England a trade route.

The civil administration moves from Atuatuca to the new city Traiectum ad Mosam and the clerical administration with bishop Servatius follows.

There are still Roman garrisons as the northern border of the empire is shifting to the south and now lies along the trade route from Cologne to England. veterans get here settlements. Among them may have been Romans as well as legionaries of foreign origins, who had no fatherland or were of nomadic origins.


Germani Transrhenales who lived from Cologne to the Saxons at the North Sea were named Franci. In the second half of the third century they live around Xanten, where residents were previously called Sugambri. There are many destructive invasions of Germanic peoples (Franks) in northern Gaul. Atuatuca is destroyed, burned and abandoned around 270 as were the villas on South Dutch and Belgian territory. the region is depopulated.

Around 350 are Salian Franks in Toxandria and in Cologne rules a Frankish king. Emperor Julian takes them in 358 as allies in the Empire. They provide auxiliary troops under their leaders Bauto and Arbogast who get high Roman ranks. Meanwhile, Franks do raids in the Middle Meuse region and occupy two castelli at Maastricht.

After the death of the Great Roman general Aetius in 454 the imperial power ebbs away. Local men fill in the vacuum. The region of the former Tungri from the Rhine in Cologne to Cambray and Tournay comes under local Frankish rulers.


Merovingian Empire in 481 in dark green. (32)

The strongest under the Merovingian warlords was King Childeric in Tournai. He became a Roman Dux, army chief. His son Clodovech, 481-511 also called Clovis, expands its empire over much of northern and central Gaul. He is Roman Consul. It unites local rulers in particular, the Catholic bishops to whose faith he repents. At his baptism, his descent is named Sugamber. The Sugambri lived centuries earlier between Meuse and Rhine near Venlo.

The possibly mythical progenitor of the royal dynasty is Merovech. They are called Merovingians. Their oldest family homelands lie in the former area of the Tungri, west of the Meuse. Not far from their probably native land Sicambria (Sugambria).

Maastrichtse munt circa AD 600

Gold Maastricht coin AD 600 (33)

A burial ground in the village Borgharen Maastricht dates from the seventh century according the golden coin given as Charon's obole. They were from a wealthy family. The man had a sword and shield, a bow and arrow and with him lie under more stirrups and food jars.

The male Y-DNA haplogroup was J2(a1b). The mitochondrial DNA will be determined later.

The woman wore earrings and a rich beaded necklace with amber beads. She had, among other things a comb of stag horn, an amulet with bears teeth, an ivory ring an a kauri shelf coming from the Red Sea. Whith them burried were two young horses. There were food pots and copper, pewter and bronze dishes from the British Isles, Germany and France

The two young children are placed near the woman and are obvious earlier died and reburied children

Noteworthy is that all individuals from the excavation on the basis of the strontium isotopes study to turn out to be of non-local origin. Besides the fact that all seem to be immigrants, the geological origin of these individuals is also highly diverse, the women most likely from this region, the men are from more away from the Eiffel. (34)

And now this man with the richest grave and the only one of whom his Y-DNA is known, from where came his ancestors. that must be from far. J2(a1b) is in this country very rare. He was a considerable horseman, a knight, He stems very probably from a Roman veteran of the auxilia, defending the northern borders of the Roman Empire. The borders lay where now the Belgian language border is.

Veterans who did not return to their native land got mostly land where they had served last. He may have come from Italy but not excluded is the Caucasus, because there are regions where more than half of the population has this haplogroup. And if you want to read a name. Possibly he was a Sarmatian.

The civitas Tungrorum became in that time the pagus Hasbania or Hesbaniensis. Now La Hesbaye in french, Hespenland in dutch. Around AD 600 lived here the ancestor of haplogroup G-Y15220, .

The Middle Ages

Above the rivers live the Frisians. In later centuries, many leave their country when the climate is become word, colder and wet. Together with Angles and Saxons they leave for England. Their land is then taken over by the neighboring Angles, Saxons and Jutes who collectively take over the name Frisians. The area north of the Rhine will always be called Friesland. In the East of our country Saxes come in.


In the eleventh century the notion Holland (Houtland = woodland) arise, land of forests. Agriculture, livestock, fishery and trade create wealth and so growth, so that around the year 1500 nearly a million people lvan live in the Netherlands and in 1650 almost 2 million. This growth is both spontaneous partly by entry of immigrants from Belgium, France (Huguenots), Germany, Spain and Portugal (Sefardim).

The New Time

Large growth and influx originates in the Golden Age from all parts of Europe, traders scientists artists and due to the liberal views many intellectuals who due to the almost complete absence of censorship van publish free.

During the last century many people from their former colonies chose the land of their former oppressor rather than their newly independent country. Dutch industry took in a period of rapid growth missing workers from Asia and Africa. And as always, our country is open to refugees in spite of current against forces. From a demographic point of view, this recent influx is convenient since our birth rates remain far below death rates, and so we are below the replacement value.


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Auteur: Boed Marres

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