Monday, March 25, 2024

Linguistic is a mature science and we should not expect any groundbreaking findings from a new paper.

 Linguistic is a mature science and we should not expect any groundbreaking findings from a new paper. What can do a modern linguist is to have a new interpretation of already known facts, or at best he can find a few new lexical parallels. Nielsen's paper is important because it shows that the linguistic data do not contradict to the available genetic data about the origins of Armenians. And more important it can reinforce it, giving new details.

The most important argument for Proto Armenians dwelling in the northern parts of historic Armenia is the phonetic system of Armenian which is very close to Georgian and Zan phonetic systems.
Creanza et al. 2015 analyzed more than 2000 languages and based that came to the conclusion that the phonetic systems of two neighboring languages correlates better with geographic distance than with their affiliated linguistic families. Another interesting conclusion was that an isolated language drifts. But unlike the genetics were the drift decrease the diversity, the drift in the language increases the number of phonemes.
This by the way can explain the high number of phonemes in the North Caucasian languages. Returning to the Armenian and Kartvelian we can say that similar phonetic systems mean relatively long period of coexistence.
On the other hand, this do not mean that the Kur-Araxian culture which became the substrate for the Armenian language was necessarily and predominantly Kartvelian. First the number of mutual loanwords is too small for that. Most loanwords in Armenian are from the Zan branch which can be connected to the Colchian archaeological culture. Moreover we do not know well about the phonetic system of Urartian. Given that we know about their phonology only via the cuneiform it is possible that their phonetic system was also close to the Armenian.
Another important question is the migration of IE Anatolians. If further genetic data do not show evidence that they migrated via Balkans, then the only available option left will be their origins or migration via the historic Armenia. In this scenario Kura-Araxes becomes indispensable for their spread. So, there is a need to look at the possible IE Anatolian substrate in Armenian. Nielsen mentions this.
And finally based on the available genetic and archaeological data there is little doubt that the Nakh-Daghestani linguistic family descend from a subset of Kura-Araxes. We can't now deduce the exact boundary of this subset, but we can expect that Proto-Armenian would have a contact with them also. So, another analyze of Armenian and Nakh-Daghestani connections is needed.
Returning to the Kartvelian family. Based on the current genetic and archaeological data the most likely cultures related to the Kartvelian family were the Proto-Colchian (2700-1700/1500BCE) and the Colchian culture (1700/1500-700BCE) in the western Georgia. Some Kartvelian presence in Koban culture is also possible but it's not relevant for ancient Armenian connections. What is more important is that Colchian culture axes were found in northwestern regions of historic Armenia which can explain the stronger presence of Zan loanwords in the Armenian. More ancient DNA and archaeological research from that region, will help to better understand this question.


Wednesday, March 13, 2024

The origins of Grey ware culture in Iran

 The origins of Grey ware culture in Iran

We have a decent number of ancient DNA from Urmia basin. Based on that we can say that the Urmia basin was a dynamic place. One of interesting findings is the increase of Iran/Zagros Neolithic ancestry in LBA period. (after the 1600bc). This increase started probably at the end of MBA.
The best archaeologic event that match this genetic shift is the spread of Grey ware. Initially Grey ware was considered as an Iron Age pottery but new studies of Iranian archaeologists propose a Bronze Age spread of this pottery which is found in many sites in North Iran (see the map )
Apparently the current genetic data supports their theory. The origins of this pottery was debated. North eastern Iranian origin was proposed, but a North Central Iranian origin is also possible. The closest populations to Dinkha tepe 2 are Lors and Mazandarani. If this has any predictive value then a Central Iranian origin seems more plausible.
In any case the current genetic data supports a more eastern origin of this pottery than the lake Urmia.
As for the ethnicities related to this pottery, the best candidate are the Kassites. Kassite's language remain unclassified. But it seems that they had an Aryan adstrate which is quite plausible given that Mitanni Aryans appear roughly the same period. They were also horse worshippers which also was in most likelihood an Aryan influence.
It is quite possible that Mitanni Aryans were also making the Grey ware before they moved to Syria. Where different potteries were produced by locals.


Friday, January 12, 2024

Koban culture 1200-400BC

 Koban culture 1200-400BC

This data was already published in a Russian paper, now it is corrected and translated in English.
Judging by their autosomes the Koban people were migrants from south. In most likelihood from western parts of southern Caucasus. Their Y dna G2a1 also supports that idea. Other Y dna found there is the R1b almost certainly a remnant from earlier periods.
Koban culture also had steppe rich people. One of them was from north Balkans. The authors think that it was a Scythian but I have a feeling that with more sampling we will find other possible candidates. In any case sometimes after 600BC the area was gradually conquered by Scythians and few centuries later by Sarmatians and a new Iranic people formed there. The Alanians.
Klin-Yar III:ID355 Lib2al Female 0.286153
Zayukovo-3:ID72 Lib7al Male 0.042127 G2a1a1a1b1
Zayukovo-3:ID79/1 Lib8al Male 0.449777
Zayukovo-3:ID80 Lib9al Male 0.016644 G2a1a1a
Zayukovo-3:ID82/1 Lib11al Male 0.017636 R1b1a1b
Bratskiye 1-ye Kurgany:ID1402 Lib40al Female 0.338059

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Chalcolithic period cultures.

 Chalcolithic period cultures.

Chaff faced ware (4300-3500bc) was stretched from Cilicia to Caspian sea. This cultural horizon is the common denominator of Minoan Y dna and Maykop Y dna. Their common ancestor.
One group moved to north from South Caucasus were a variant of this culture is known as Leila tepe. In the north they participated to the formation of Maykop culture. While another group moved to Crete and Greek islands..From Aintab-Urfa region. It's also possible that CFW related groups moved to Central Asia.
This is the reason why we have similar haplotypes in both places. T1a3 and L2 both in Maykop and Greece. With more sampling from Maykop we will find more common haplotypes.
We have some aDNA from CFW period. It's Areni from Armenia and Azerbaijan LC. Both can be used for the modeling of Maykop in qpadm. See qpadm models in the comments.
As for Sioni-Adablur culture (5300-4300/4000bc) they were a different group who were adding grit to the pottery. We don't have ancient DNA from that period and sites.
From Sagona's book

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Unexpected ancient DNA results from pre-Islamic Bahrain.

 Unexpected ancient DNA results from pre-Islamic Bahrain. They are different from modern day Arabs living there and plot close to ancient Mesopotamian samples from Iraq. On the PCA they plot just in the vicinity of ancient samples from South Caucasus, North-West Iran and North Iraq LBA. In this group we use the term "Central farmers" for this type of ancestry.

Assuming those samples were not some kind random migrants then we can imagine that most of Mesopotamia was like this prior the arrival of Arabs.
This data gives us a hint what we can expect from more ancient inhabitants of Mesopotamia. Sumerians and Akkadians.
The island Bahrain is usually connected with the land Dilmun in ancient Mesopotamian texts. Although other opinions also exist on the location of Dilmun.
Below are some excerpts from the paper.
Lastly, we evaluate the ancestry of Bahrain Tylos individuals in a context of Near Eastern variation by estimating ancestry proportions using a previously published 12 three-way model with TUR_Pınarbaşı_EpiP, ISR_Natufian_EpiP and CHG as sources in a set of relevant ancient groups which can also be modelled in this way (Figure 3C) 12. In this model, the Bahrain_Tylos samples present similar ancestry proportions to AZE_ChL, Mesopotamia_PPN and IRQ_Nemrik9_LBA, IRN_Dinkha_Tepe_A, LBN_IA and to ARM_Aknashen_N. Accordingly, rank=0 qpAdm models show that Tylos-period Bahrainis form a clade with several of these ancient groups (p≥0.01; Table S6), suggesting that similar sources have contributed to their ancestry.
Tylos-Period Bahrainis are genetically closer to present-day Levantine populations than to present-day Arabians
Regarding affinities with present-day populations, the temporally aware model-based clustering analysis (Figure 1B) suggests that Tylos period Bahrain samples are more similar to present-day Levantine groups than to present-day Arabians or South Asians,
In order to gain further insights into the relationship of Tylos to present-day populations from the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant, we tested if the Bahraini samples form a clade with any modern population in our dataset using a set of reference populations (as outgroups) that can differentiate the different ancestries in the Near East. We found that Iraqis, Assyrians and Jewish groups from Iran, Georgia and Iraq could derive all their ancestries from Tylos-period Bahrainis (Table S8). Arabians such as Saudis, Emiratis and Yemenis have, in addition to ancestry from Tylos-period Bahrain, ancestry from East Africa, while Levantines such as Druze and Lebanese have additional Southeast European ancestry (Table S9)

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Origins of Dolmen culture

 Origins of Dolmen culture

Dolmen culture (2900-1300bc) was a remarkable archaeological horizon in north west of Caucasus that appeared after the Maykop culture (3700-3000bc) and the older Darkveti-Meshoko (4500-3500bc). Many scholars believe that Proto NWC people (ancestral to Abkhaz, Adyghe, Cherkez, Kabardin and extinct Ubykh language) were the builders of those dolmens before they separate into modern existing groups.
We have only one ancient DNA sample from Dolmen builders. It's low coverage that is why it is absent in G25. Nevertheless with qpadm models we can try to understand it's origins.
Given that dolmens are found all over Europe some scholars assumed that those north west Caucasian dolmens might be related to them. With the advent of genetics and fact that G2a2-U1 is frequent in NWC those theories gained a new attention.
That is why my first attempt was to test this theory. First I tried to model Dolmen culture as a direct descendants of Darkveti Meshoko ( labeled as Caucasus Eneolithic) and it worked with a good p value Then I tried to use a European sources for Dolmens. They were not wanted. I used specifically Czech TRB which had megalithic burials. But it also failed. Anatolia Chalcolithic source also failed. Then I tried something more proximate and realistic and it worked. Dolmen culture was modeled as largely (more than 90%) descending from Maykop culture. If You look attentively on the PCA You will notice that the single Dolmen sample plot close to Maykop samples. This is a somewhat unexpected result because the burial rites of Maykop and Dolmen cultures are quite different nevertheless the genetic verdict is unambiguous. It must be noted that burial rites of humans are mostly connected to their religion. And people can change over time their religious beliefs. For instance Slavic people were practicing the cremation before the adoption of Christianity. Then they changed their burial rite after they became Christian.
As for the origins of G2-U1 in Caucasus it still remains obscure given the paucity of ancient DNA with this haplotype. Direct origins from Darkveti-Meshoko is possible. But an origin from Maykop also becomes plausible with this data. While a migration from Europe becomes less likely. You may wonder what is the difference between Maykop and Darkveti Meshoko. Well the first descend from South Caucasus and North West Iran region Chalcolithic groups known as Chaff faced ware while the latter descend from farmers more connected to Anatolia and Euphrates basin.
With more ancient DNA from this larger region those questions will be solved. As for the origins of NWC languages it can have more complex origin than just descending from their main Y dna.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

The historic event

 The historic event that could cause the apparition of someone (labeled as Sarmatian in Silva 2023 ) from northern regions of Armenia and Caucasus in Britain in the first half of second century AD is probably the campaign against Armenia by the Britanicum legion lead by a certain Lucius Artorius Castus.

There are epigraphic inscriptions mentioning this campaign. Even though the legion was stationed in Britain but at some point it was relocated and participated in the wars in the eastern parts of Roman Empire.
This idea was suggested in genarchivist forum.
Incidentally the Lucius Artorios Castus was suggested as the historical basis of king Arthur legend. But this idea is strongly disputed. The legendary Arthur battles against Anglo-Saxons so might have lived much later assuming that he existed.