Archeological artefacts (pottery, bracelets, arrowheads, a polished dogtooth, a fibula…) date the remains as 1000 to 700 BC (= the Urnfieldsculture of the Late Bronze period).
In the bronze-age the family was the biological, social and economic centre. Communities consisted out of 5 to 8 families of 5 to 10 members. These extended families lived 3 to 5 generations in the same community/location. When the soil became exhausted the community had to look for new fertile grounds.
Possibly the Lichtenstein-people lived near a fortification (Burg) in Osterode: the Pipinburg. The cave is located along the road that connected the Pipinsburg with the Thüringer plain. The presence of a Burg indicates violent and turbulent times. On the other hand Burgs were also centres of commerce and craftmenship.
Culturally the archeological artefacts belong to the Unstrut-Group. This culture blossomed in between the Unstrut river and the Southern Harz mountains. The centre of the culture was the Thüringen-valley where the fertile löss-soil was used for agriculture and raising cattle. The disappearance of the culture coincidences the end of the usage of the Lichtenstein-cave as a burial chamber.
This Untstrut-group developed out of the Funnelbeaker-culture and developped later into the Jastorf-culture (that united all local cultures to a unified ‘German’ culture).
[. . .]
DNA-reserach, by the team of Dr. Susanne Hummel, showed that all skelettons belonged to one extended family of 4 or 5 generations. This found supports the theory that the cave was used as a burial chamber. It also indicates that the cremations of the Urnfieldculture weren’t that widespread as was thought.
Bones that were found in caves in the Thüringer neighbourhood are supposed to be of persons who were ritually killed (there is even some evidence of cannibalism). For this reason it was first thought that the Lichtenstein-people also were ritually killed. But:
- the bones showed no signs of violence or cutting
- it is unlikely that a whole family was sacrified (usually the sacrified young women)
[. . .]
The mitochondrionale haplogroups of 36 individuals (men and women) are:
· MtHG J: 5 individuals, 14%
· MtHG T: 5 individuals, 14%
· MtHG U: 9 individuals, 25%
· MtHG H: 17 individuals, 47%
The mitochondrional-DNA research showed that there are more female haplotypes (20) than male haplotypes (5). This supports the hypothesis that the Lichtensteiners belonged to a patrilocal culture, where women married into the clan of the men).
The poster above (hansdb) ran Y-STR profiles reported for the remains through White Athey's haplogroup predictor; he determined most of the males belonged to haplogroup I1b2, two were R1a, and one was R1b. Interestingly:
In 2006 reseachers took DNA-samples among 220 people who lived for at least 3 generations in the Sösethal.
Eleven people had STR-values matched those of Lichtensteiners. Five men belonged to the rare I1b2*-haplotypes; meaning this family-line strechtes beck forr 3000 years in the same region.
But keep in mind these are only 12-marker haplotypes.
Still waiting for the aDNA analysis of the Mycenaean shaft grave royalty, which Greeks have been promising for years. . .