Friday, April 12, 2024

Samples of Anatolian/Aegean origin from the Roman empire city Vimminacium in what is now the eastern part of Serbia

Samples of Anatolian/Aegean origin from the Roman empire city Vimminacium (Olalde 2023) in what is now the eastern part of Serbia. A large military camp was present in the city.

  • E-L791 is remarkable because it's very close to Napoleon's Y DNA. Another L791 from Roman era Croatia.
    Distance to: Croatia_Zadar_Roman_oLevant.SG:R3742.SG
    0.03003301 Greek_Cappadocia
    0.03236809 Greek_Central_Anatolia
    0.03434637 Greek_Crete_Heraklion
    0.03806465 Armenian_Gesaria
    0.03847296 Greek_Crete
  • I2-Y16419 is ultimately from Trialeti-Vanadzor culture. Based on genetics he was probably from Kesaria/Kayseri.
  • The presence of J2-L70 and J1-BY94 is without surprise. These two haplotypes expanded in Iron Age Anatolia most probably.
  • And the T1a2 could be local but in most likelihood, he was also from Anatolia.
Also, a lot of local Balkanian specific haplotypes like E-V13 with some Germanic ones.
Another evidence that Roman Empire had a significant impact on the genetics of South Europe. Read in more detail in the link below.

Monday, April 1, 2024

Remarks on the Van Urmia ware culture. VUC (2200-1400/1300BC)

Previously I already had a review on VUC. Here I will add some remarks on the frequently asked questions.

+ VUC is a sister culture of Trialeti-Vanadzor culture, it does not descend from it. Both descend from the same parent culture, but despite this they have differences. VUC had painted pottery, while TVC had a different pottery. The grave was directed north-south in VUC while TVC had a east-west orientation. And most importantly TVC were practicing cremation while VUC not.
+ How exactly migrated Proto VUC people is not clear. One option is via Araratian plain but the presence in Aji Chay river basin, toward the Ardabil region suggests that they could have entered from the Mughan region toward the sources of Aji Chay then moved downstream toward the Urmia basin, and then to Van.
+ Karmir-berd culture descend from VUC. We don't have samples from this culture. The Dzori geghi outlier can be related to it. The J2-YP879 from Keti LBA can be another descendant of Karmir berd culture.

+ Unlike the TVC the VUC do not have an evident progeniture. Over time new people settled in Urmia basin from north Mesopotamia and Central Iran cropping the territory of VUC people. You can witness this change with the genetics. Hasanlu MBA (a hypothetical VUC sample) is close to Assyrian - Armenians while the Hasanlu IA is close the Kurds. In most likelihood the regions that best preserved the VUC ancestry are in the eastern Van and northern and western Urmia. South and east of lake Urmia had too much genetic shift. This means that most plausible descendants of VUC culture should be searched in those regions.
+ During Iron Age in forementioned regions we have Biai people from which the Biainili term is derived. We have Armarili (another name Aramali ) supposedly near modern Salmas. According to Sargon the ruling dinasty of Urartu was from Armarili. We have Ayadi near modern Urmia city and Uayis with disputed location. It is quite possible that this Uayis is another name for Biai, which was pronounced as Væy - Vay. According to Petrosyan later terms like Vayoc' dzor are related to this Vay people name. A term that he links with Hittites though.
+ Based on this logic the Manna country doesn't seem to be a good candidate for being a direct descendant from VUC. It has too much Dinkha tepe 2 type ancestry related to Grey ware. Nevertheless, the Hasanlu IA had too much of R1b to be completely unrelated to VUC. One possibility is that some R1b moved further south and east and became part of Grey ware. And reexpanded later with them. This would explain high level of R1b in some Iranian populations like Lurs. Another reason is that some of Hasanlu samples are different genome wide. They are closer to older VUC profile and plot close to Armenians and Assyrians. You can see an example in the fifth chart. Overall, it seems that the Manna country had a multi-ethnic composition and more ancient DNA is needed from south of Urmia to understand better it's structure

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

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 matches 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, Fahimi 2019)
Apparently, the current genetic data supports their theory. The origins of this pottery were debated. Northeastern 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 remains unclassified. But it seems that they had an Aryan adstrat 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.

See also

Friday, March 8, 2024

For women's day

 For women's day

A pregnant woman figurine from 5000 year old layer of Agarak. A symbol related to "Great Mother" cults that existed in very ancient times.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

The genetic profile of eastern Jews.

Most of You have probably noticed that some subgroups of Jews usually plot close to modern Armenians and to ancient samples from historic Armenia. The reason of this was not clear until now. But thanks to ancient DNA from Bahrain, we can now propose an explanation of this genetic puzzle
Asian Jews are usually known as Mizrahi Jews. But given that the groups of Jews that we will discuss in this post are only a subset of Oriental (Mizrahi) Jews, I will use for them the term Eastern Jews. The groups that usually appear genetically close to Armenians are from Iraq, Iran, Georgia, Kurdish, Mountainous Jews from eastern Caucasus and Uzbekistan.
In the Central farmer calculator, their genetic profile shows common features. They have relatively high level of "Central farmer" and more or less equal number of Levant and Zagros Neolithic ancestry. We don't have ancient DNA from pre-Islamic Mesopotamia but using the samples from ancient Bahrain we can deduce that this type of genetic ancestry was widespread in ancient Mesopotamia. You can see that modern Iraqi people are quite different from Iraqi Jews. Modern Iraqi Arabs have much higher Levantine ancestry and even some African ancestry which Jews and ancient Bahraini lacks. This is due to medieval Arabic migration from south.
This genetic pattern fits well with the historic events that triggered the formation of Eastern Jews. In 536 BCE Persians conquered Babylon. And the Jews from Babylon settled in Persia. From there they dispersed to various corners of Iranian empires. I am not big expert of Jewish history but based on overall understanding of the history I assume that Mountain and Uzbekistan Jewish diasporas formed in Sassanian empire period. While the Georgian Jewish community could have formed little bit earlier in Arsacid period.
It seems that all this Jewish communities derive their ancestry from the same Babylonian Jewish community which had a Mesopotamian genetic profile.
As for the reason of the Mesopotamian genetic profile plotting close to Armenians, it is due to the fact that both have a Central position on the genetic map relative to eastern Iran-Caucasus and western Levant-Anatolia. It's also possible that ancient middle and lower Mesopotamia was settled by migrants from the north which created a genetic connection between Mesopotamia and historic Armenia. With more ancient samples this puzzle will be solved.
PS the charts below show the closest populations to ancient Bahraini samples.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Here is an excerpt from the Petrosyan 2023 paper about the origins of Kura-Araxes culture. We wrote.

 Here is an excerpt from the Petrosyan 2023 paper about the origins of Kura-Araxes culture. We wrote.

""The increase in the genes of Caucasian hunter-gatherers may be explained this way: the creators of the Kura-Araxes culture did not originate exclusively from the previous Neolithic farmers but was a mixture of farmers living in the lowlands and Caucasian hunter-gatherers related population preserved in the mountains. This also explains their tendency to build settlements in high mountainous areas.""
Like in Europe where local WHG lineages resurged in Late Neolithic, it is possible to imagine that a similar process occurred in South Caucasus. The Kura-Araxes is not a result of new migration from north or south but rather a resurgence of local hunter gatherers who learned pastoralism. Those hunter gatherers could have survived in high alpine regions and forests.
What was the genetic profile of those hunters is hard to say but it is quite possible there were not identic to CHG from West Caucasus and had a profile closer to Aknashen sample. J1-Z1828 can be the lineage of this hunters who shifted to pastoralism. Another important thing to keep in mind is that not all KA samples have high Caucasian ancestry. Some of them like Karnut outlier is more farmer shifted.
More ancient DNA is needed for better understanding this question, especially from Sioni culture which can be the earliest form of this resurgence.

See also