Sunday, February 28, 2021

Northeast Caucasian (Nakh- Daghestani) people origin and dispersal.

If we exclude that young cluster of J2 among Nakh people, the common denominator of all NEC people is the J1-Z1842 branch. More specifically the two subbranches of CTS1460. The coalescence age of this branches coincides to the proposed age of proto-NEC break up. (~5000 years ago) so we can assume that those are the genuine NEC lineages.  The origin and the expansion of Z1842 is usually linked with Kur-Araxian culture (until now ancient DNA supported that idea, but Late Chalcolithic expansion can't be ruled out also).  Before the Kura-Araxes culture the Northeast of Caucasus was sparsely populated place and only with the advent of that culture sufficient population appeared in that region to disperse. 

The biggest linguistic diversity of NEC languages is found in the North while in the south we have only the Lezgin-Udi group, which might have migrated from the North at LBA/IA. They settled in the Northern parts of Kur river and later were known as Aluank' / Albania kingdom. 

In most likelihood some IE elements were present in that region from Middle Bronze Age period, while some came in Iron Age. As You can see from map some terms like Getaru, Gelaw can have IE origin. 

Do all this mean that all Kur-Araxian culture was a NEC culture? Well not really because there is no much evidence of their presence in other parts of Kur-Araxian horizon. Then how to explain their connection with Kur-Araxian lineage and culture? 

This is somewhat complicated but, in most likelihood, it has to do with the fact that Kura-Araxes was not a homogeneous culture as one might imagine looking on some maps on the Internet. Here I present a more precise map of Kur-Araxian culture where You can see that so called ETC (=Kura-Araxes) pottery on the Northeast of Caucasus is not classified as typical Kur-Araxian. That map is also remarkable because it demonstrates what we already learned from genetics that KA culture expansion had an uneven impact. In Levant and Malatya region it was very mixed while in South Caucasus it was homogeneous and dense.

In sum we can deduce that proto-NEC population do not directly descend from Kura-Araxes, it already existed in Late Chalcolithic and during the Kur-Araxian expansion the Proto-NEC community became part of that culture and then dispersed on its own with subsequent cultures like Guinchinskaya (MBA) and Kayakent-Kharachoy (LBA/IA) which is also found in north Azerbaijan.

The next question that arises is then who were those mysterious Kura-Araxes people and their J1-Z1842 lineage. Keep in mind that Z1842 is just one of their lineages they were probably other also. 

Well, many scholars believe that Kura-Araxes folk were Hurro-Urartians  some others proposed Anatolians but maybe You would have a more interesting theory. 

Armen Petrosyan has an interesting paper about mountain Masis / Ararat

 Armen Petrosyan has an interesting paper about mountain Masis / Ararat.

The word Masis has Mesopotamian origin (Sumero-Akkadian). It means twin. A natural name for a twin mountain.The root is the Masu (Akkadian form) while the form Masis is a plural from Masik'. But this name was not attested in Urartian period. And it seems it was renamed from an old Armenian word Erku meaning two/twin.

Indeed in Urartian texts the modern Igdir region is called Erkua-hi or Erikuahi. This can be interpreted as yet another evidence of Armenian presence in Etiuni.

Additionaly in medieval time there was a province called Maseac'otn (Igdir -Maku) which would mean foothills of Masi.

An interesting question arise. Why Armenians stopped to use the Armenian term Erku and started to use the Mesopotamian Masu? Maybe due to religious reasons

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Let's try to understand the term Azzi

 Let's try to understand the term Azzi. This term was written not only in conjunction with Hayasa but also separately.

It has been suggested that double zz in Hittite was pronounced as ts or tz. So some believe that it was pronounced as Atsi. The first thing that comes in mind is the word atsu (ածու) used by Khorenatsi to denote the term people. This word is also a farming term. It is a native Armenian word.

Looks good except that there is no much evidence of later use of this term.

Another possibility is that the root was the Az-zi while the final zi was a suffix that appear in numerous toponymes.

With the root Az we have some links. Like the Az-ord in Tayk', relatively close geographicaly to Azzi. 

 In Ptolemy there is an Azata close to both of this terms.

In Urartian texts we have the land Aza in modern Armenia. Close to modern Armavir. And the same Aza is attested in Greek period as Azara. Azara is probably the plural of Aza.

We have also some personal names. Aza king of Mannai. Azo legendary king of Iberia. Also tentatively Asia king of Diau. 

That's all. I don't know any other example

Little bit more speculative is the biblical term Uz. Which usually is placed in Syria.

If Uz and that Az are related then this would increase the chance that we are dealing with some kind Mitanni Aryan term. Here we can remember that the Armenian term az/azn (tribe, genus, nation) is usually believed to be a loanword from Indo-Iranian.

If it is a chance similarity then we can forget it.

In my previous post I didn't discussed the Early and Middle Chalcolithic period in Armenia

 In my previous post I didn't discussed the Early and Middle Chalcolithic period in Armenia. (5200-4500/4300bc) This period was labeled as Sioni in Sovietic period. It must be noted that the Armenian highland and neighbouring Anatolia/Taurus regions are the places were the usage of copper starts the earliest in Near East. Another region where people independently learned to use copper is the Carpathian mountains. 

This usage of copper and the emergence of metalurgy related complex societies gave a tremendous advantage to populations living in Armenian highland. Which permitted them to expand in all directions.

Genetics confirmed this migrations.

We don't have aDNA from South Caucasus in EMChl period. But we have samples from North West Iran. Hajji Firuz Chl from Urmia bassein. (5000bc)

Distance to: IRN_Hajji_Firuz_C

0.03042969 Assyrian

0.03456162 Armenian

0.03785244 Georgian_Jew

0.03792369 Iranian_Jew

0.04120068 Armenian_Hemsheni

0.04294115 Iraqi_Jew

0.04501132 Mountain_Jew_Chechnya

0.04634031 Turkish_Trabzon

0.04701811 Kurdish

0.04774601 Greek_Trabzon

We see a similar pop to that Neolithic samples from South Caucasus. Close to modern Armenians.

In Chalcolithic this Hajji Firuz Chl expanded all over Iranian plateau replacing the old Iran Neolithic populations. Populations related to Hajji Firuz Chl played also a role in the formation of BMAC in Central Asia.

There was a theory that they reached also Indus valley playing a role in the formation of Harappan civilization but ancient DNA failed to confirm this theory. But this could be due to small sample size.

Another important migratory events occurred in Anatolia where the old Neolithic farmers were replaced by new populations from East. Most Y dna in modern Turkey and in Near East in general descend from those Chalcolithic period and not the old Neolithic. Some examples are the G2-M406, J2-M67, J2-M319 (popular among Minoans) etc. Hattic speakers almost certainly derive from this migrations.

Here are the closest populations to early Neolithic farmers from Barcin (NW Anatolia) 6000bc

Distance to: TUR_Barcin_N

0.07938035 Sardinian

0.11819878 Italian_Jew

0.11876963 French_Corsica

0.11879338 Italian_Campania

0.11897207 Italian_Calabria

0.11983777 Italian_Apulia

0.12001300 Italian_Lazio

0.12009071 Sicilian_East

0.12075352 Italian_Basilicata

0.12127949 Romaniote_Jew

As expected it is best preserved in Sardinia and Italy.

The same Barcin at 4000bc , Chalcolithic period

Distance to: TUR_Barcin_C

0.03614254 Greek_Central_Anatolia

0.03951072 Greek_Kos

0.04426700 Cypriot

0.04690220 Greek_Crete

0.05001813 Romaniote_Jew

0.05117813 Italian_Calabria

0.05302605 Turkish_Trabzon

0.05325827 Italian_Campania

0.05406675 Syrian_Jew

0.05470019 Sephardic_Jew

Clear shift toward East. Sardinia is no more the first population.

Similar events occured in Levant where we have migrations from North East in Chalcolithic period. Mostly y dna T1a1.

And finally we have migrations to North Caucasus were migrants from South created Maykop at 4000 bc.

Some of non IE languages of Near East ( also in Aegean) probably descend from this Chalcolithic events. Whether PIE was part of this migrations is still debated. But one thing is quite probable that the self designation of Armenia as Hayastan simply means Land of Metal. From PIE *heyos meaning metal, copper. Attested in old texts as Hayasa.

We have new interesting ancient Y dna from Neolithic Georgia.

 We have new interesting ancient Y dna from Neolithic Georgia. It is H2. A haplogroup widespread in Anatolian, European and Levantine farmers but not found in Iranian farmers. So it seems farming was introduced to South Caucasus somewhere from Diyarbekir / Tigris river source region known as Sasun.

We don't have the autosomes of Georgian Neolithic sample but we have one from Western Azerbaijan being part of same Shulaveri culture. (7500-5300bc)

So here are the closest pop to Menteshe tepe Azerbaijan.

Distance to: AZE_Caucasus_lowlands_LN:MTT001

0.03367549 Armenian

0.03465252 Turkish_Trabzon

0.03667525 Greek_Trabzon

0.04118676 Assyrian

0.04148422 Iraqi_Jew

0.04278293 Greek_Central_Anatolia

0.04323291 Georgian_Jew

0.04351851 Armenian_Hemsheni

0.04424074 Lebanese_Druze

0.04427804 Druze

Fully consistent with the y dna H2 we see less Caucasian more Anatolian shifted pops.

In Late Chalcolithic (4500bc-3600bc) all historic Armenia and S Caucasus witnessed an influence from South. It is called Chaff faced ware period.

Consistent with this we see slight shift toward south.

Distance to: AZE_Caucasus_lowlands_LC:ALX002

0.05500339 Assyrian

0.05570550 Georgian_Jew

0.05889133 Iranian_Jew

0.05911191 Iraqi_Jew

0.06183812 Armenian

0.06286661 Mountain_Jew_Chechnya

0.06723105 Druze

0.06790254 Lebanese_Druze

0.06907705 Kurdish

0.06970695 Turkish_Trabzon

Then in EBA we have that Kur-Araxians, with a shift toward Caucasus/Pontic region (3600bc-2400bc)

Distance to: Kura-Araxes_ARM_Talin:I1658

0.03708690 Armenian_Hemsheni

0.03957892 Georgian_Laz

0.04448976 Georgian_Imer

0.04757580 Talysh_Azerbaijan

0.04819027 Greek_Trabzon

0.04827767 Turkish_East

0.04842998 Turkish_Trabzon

0.04875369 Kurdish

0.04925671 Armenian

0.05128546 Abkhasian

And another from Shirak region

Distance to: Kura-Araxes_ARM_Kaps:ARM002-003

0.03658319 Georgian_Imer

0.04078812 Armenian_Hemsheni

0.04131813 Georgian_Laz

0.04535991 Abkhasian

0.05357536 Greek_Trabzon

0.05546674 Turkish_Trabzon

0.05583919 Talysh_Azerbaijan

0.05782868 Armenian

0.05813020 Turkish_East

0.05937031 Kurdish

So what happened in Early Bronze Age? This extra Caucasian shift is not from East Georgia lowlands for the simple reason is that it was inhabited by Anatolian shifted farmers. It is neither from Colchis region because there wasn't KA in Colchis region or Araratian plain. This shift is from mountainous regions of Kars, Shirak and Erzrum regions. It is there that some archaic mountainous population that was different from farmers started this new culture. Recent excavations in East Turkey are fully confirming this theory.

But one important thing to keep in mind is the fact that Kur-Araxians did have an uneven impact. Western regions in Malatya had little extra Caucasian shift.

Distance to: TUR_Arslantepe_EBA (Kur-Arax)

0.04114245 Druze

0.04171841 Cypriot

0.04183370 Lebanese_Christian

0.04265663 Iraqi_Jew

0.04283229 Greek_Central_Anatolia

0.04312941 Lebanese_Druze

0.04442960 Armenian

0.04473587 Turkish_Trabzon

0.04742020 Palestinian_Beit_Sahour

0.04763642 Greek_Trabzon

Notice this is an average but we can find some samples that have clearly Eastern origin. For example the ART018 with y dna J1 Z1842. A typical Kur Araxians y dna, found also in Velikent Daghestan.

Distance to: TUR_Arslantepe_LC:ART018

0.02213812 Armenian_Hemsheni

0.02349820 Turkish_Trabzon

0.02380184 Greek_Trabzon

0.02578101 Armenian

0.03230525 Georgian_Laz

0.03783821 Assyrian

0.03944226 Georgian_Jew

0.04654501 Greek_Central_Anatolia

0.04896198 Georgian_Imer

0.04997327 Turkish_East

Now the most interesting story is that modern Armenians are closer to ancient Neolithic pops rather than to Kur Araxians. How this occured? We have discussed it here many times but I will dedicate another thread to it.

I want to ask a question.

 I want to ask a question.

Have You used MyTrueAncestry website to understand Your ancestry?

And what is Your opinion about it if You used it. Are you satisfied with the results or You think it is not reliable.

A possible Armenian word in Hittite.

 A possible Armenian word in Hittite. The Hittite luzzi from Armenian luc. Which means yoke, forced service.

Hittite usually used double zz to denote fricatives like c or c' ( ծ , ց )

Let's see can we find evidence of presence of Armenic tribes in most Eastern regions, like Utik' and Artsakh.

 Let's see can we find evidence of presence of Armenic tribes in most Eastern regions, like Utik' and Artsakh. Those regions are not attested in cuneiform texts. We learn about those places only starting with Greeks. After MLBA period modern Azerbaijan witnessed two migrations. One is the Daghestani tribes from Lezgin branch. They started to migrate at LBA/IA. They moved gradually from North to South. The second migration was the Scythian. They left the name Sakashen. So Iron age situation was different from the preceding MLBA period. Nevertheless some archaic Armenic presence should be expected. Martirosyan propose an interesting example.

The word *weyḱ- in PIE was meaning settlement. In Armenian this word would become Gis. But this term is absent in Armenian most probably replaced by substratic (hurro-sumerian) agarak.

The word gis is ideal for toponymes. Indeed a town and a region Gis is attested in Utik'. Another Gish is attested in Artsakh. 

In Urartian period this word was pronounced as wis. 

Indeed we see Uiše and Uišini in regions between Van and Urmia. Another example is the land Uišuši close probably to modern Tavush. The final -uši can be compared to Greek suffix -os.

So it seems that the term wis/gis was present in ancient Armenia. Later when Armenians borrowed words like agarak and k'alak' (city) this term was lost. Interestingly there is no much toponymes with gis in Western Armenia. Except one Gisak in Erzrum region I couldn't find much in Nairi dictionary.

Another interesting example is the Kolb. But I will discuss it later.

Middle Bronze Age developments after Kura-Araxian culture

 Two maps from an Iranian paper (University of Tehran). It describes the post Kur-Araxian situation in North Near East. 

+ The blue is the Steppe influx after 2400 bc. It is somewhat exaggerated. Look the second map. I will discuss it in detail below.

+ The red is the Khabur ware usually associated with Hurrians and old Assyrians. After 2200bc. This region was called Shubir/Subartu in Mesopotamian texts. So it is not surprising that Hurrians and their language were called Subarean in those texts. 

+ The orange is the Syro-Cilician pottery. We have a lot off ancient dna from Alalakh which fits this period. No Steppe/R1b. Most of them were J1/J2. This region was a mixed place of Semites, Hurrians and Anatolians.

+ The green is the Malatya-Elyazig pottery. It develops from the preceding Kur-Arax. It ends at 2000bc. At LBA this region is known as Ishuwa.

+ The purple is the Hittite / Hattic region.

The next map picture in more detail the Blue circle. We have 4 ancient R1b from this region. Three of them Z2103.

Urmia ware, Van-Urmia ware in subsequent regions. 2200-1200 bc. In Van region Kur-Arax coexist with Van-Urmia. Semi-nomadic lifestyle. In Armenia it is known as Karmir Vank'. The apparition of this culture coincide with the Gutian's activity in this region. In Iron Age we have Urartu and Mannaeans in that region, though it is possible that Mannaeans are post Urmia ware development.

In the territory of modern Armenia we have three related cultures overlapping with each other. The Trialeti Vanadzor (Kirovakan) 2200-1600bc, Sevan-Artsakh (Uzerlic) 2000-1500bc and Karmir berd in Araratian plain who's region is exaggerated in this map. It is known only from one site . 

All this cultures have common origin but also have some differences. For example the Trialeti Vanadzor people were erecting Dragon stones while it is not found elsewhere. The neighbouring Urmia ware people also were erecting stones but of different style. 13 antropomorphic stelaes were found in Hakkari region. Most archaelogues link those stelaes with their Steppic parallels.

Btw similar stelaes were found also in Chemurchek culture in NE China usually linked with proto-Tocharians.

Little bit different stelaes were found in Iron Age Artsakh. Made by Urtekhi people.

This represent the situation at MBA. In LBA period (1500-1200bc) the situation changes. Some of this group move to west, reaching Hittite lands. 

We see the emergence of unified Lchashen culture (Etiu) instead of Trialeti-Vanadzor. A new Nuzi ware spreads which is linked with Mitanni.

When Mushki and Urumu appeared in Early Iron Age, they had an ally

 When Mushki and Urumu appeared in Early Iron Age, they had an ally. A Kashkian tribe Apishlu. Ever wondered where his name is probably preserved? Well in Colchis region. Apshel-k' in Armenian or Apshil-eti in Georgian. And they seems to be a branch of Abkhazian, which is normal because Kashkians are sometimes linked with NWC people.

Yet another piece of evidence that Mushki and Urumu came from North Eastern regions of modern Turkey. From the backyard of Hayassa-Azzi.

PS Well it is possible that Urumu's initial homeland was not to North but it is not crucial.

Here is a good read from Hrach Martirosyan

 Here is a good read from Hrach Martirosyan.

There is a table of correspondences btw Greek and Armenian alphabets. As one can note the Armenian k' correspond to Greek Chi X while the p' to the letter phi.

The only caveat that Greek didn't have any letter to note the x խ so they were forced to use the chi. 

At the end You get Chaldea in Mesopotamia which is equal to Armenian K'aldea and You get Chaldes in Pontus whose real name was Xalti/Khalitu. Completely different tribes and names rendered in the same way in Greek.

Which creates confusion.

In Greek sources we have terms like Moschoi, Taochoi, Karduchoi.

In Greek sources we have terms like Moschoi, Taochoi, Karduchoi.
Here the final -oi is the Greek plural suffix. So what is the -ch- and how it was pronounced? It is amazing that Diakonov discuss it in detail nevertheless the confusion continues to persist about it. 
This -ch- is rendered by the Greek letter 
Chi χ. ( example Μόσχοι )
In ancient times it was pronounced like kʰ later it became as x.
This kʰ was close to Armenian k' ք։
So Greeks used that letter when they heared the Armenian k'. Later the pronounciation of that letter changed in Greece and it entered in Russian and Western academy as either -ch- or x in Russian.

This is btw the main reason why Russians who borrowed the word Christ later pronounce it as Xristos while Armenians K'ristos. And numerous other words. Also the reason why Meshekh appeared in translated Biblical texts. 

So in Greek texts we have Karduk' ( equivalent to Armenian Korduk' ) Taok' = Taik' and Mosk' . This latter is preserved in Armenian texts as the name of the mountain range Mosk'ekan which is the modern (Meskhetian mountains in Georgia). Once more there wasn't any x in those texts. Ironically Armenian academic circles ignored this fact and borrowed the Russian terminology and populated ancient Armenia by unreal tribes as kardux, taox, mosx which started to sound like Hurro-Urartian suffix -khi increasing further confusion and ignorance.
Notice both Biblical Meshekh and Georgian aMeskh emerged from this phonetic shift and are secondary. The primary form was Mushk or Mosk'.


This is the excerpt from Diakonov text.

Существенно определить первоначальное звучание спорного термина. Звука х в нем не было: нет его ни в ассирийской передаче (мушки, Мушку), ни в урартской (Мушки-)82), ни в «хеттской-иероглифической» (лувийской: мускаи(н); «ш» в «хеттском-иероглифическом» не было), ни в древнееврейской, где все дошедшие до нас формы восходят к праформе *мошк-, ни в древнегреческой (греч. Moskhoi содержит придыхательное kh, соответствующее армянскому ք, а не х, то есть армянскому խ, как можно было бы подумать, судя по традиционному произношению; ср. др-армянск. Մոսքեկան, название «Мосхских» — т.е. месхских? — гор. Следовательно, исходной формой нужно считать *мошк’-, *мушк’-, *моск’-, или *муск’- (մոշք-, մուծք-, մոսք-, մուսք-)83) и является ли грузинское месх- [221] (մեսխ-, только с двумя совпадающими звуками) тем же самым термином, еще нуждается в доказательствах84). Нет ничего невозможного в том, что в период, когда нашествие фрако-фригийцев разливалось по Малой Азии, отдельные их племена могли попасть и в Понт и даже в Закавказье и впоследствии стать грузиноязычными

Here I will post papers showing that the canonical example of Hungarians where linguistic shift supposedly occurs by small elite (mostly males) imposing a new language is a myth

 Here I will post papers showing that the canonical example of Hungarians where linguistic shift supposedly occurs by small elite (mostly males) imposing a new language is a myth.

The ancient mtdna of early Hungarians had much more Eastern mtdna than modern ones.

102 ancient mtdna were tested and here is the result. Notice women theoritcally should not be part of warrior horde. Yet they were present there.

And here the y dna results for the same ancient Hungarian Conquerors

Notice that N which is rare in modern Hungarians was the most frequent one among the early Conquerors. You can add also R1a Z93 and C2 as other possible markers of eastern impact.

As one can easily note that Slavic people didn't shifted to Hungarian language just because it was just a new cool language.

There was a serious genetic impact, which was washed away later for socio-political reasons.

Today many scholars express doubts about the existence of Medes empire described by Herodotus.

 Today many scholars express doubts about the existence of Medes empire described by Herodotus. Old Near Eastern sources are strongly contradicting to this idea. For example the Assyria which was destroyed by Medes remained under the control of Babylon and not their allies Medes 

This paper discuss Babylonian texts and make a case of Persian invasion of Urartu at 547BC led by Cyrus the Great himself. Their argumentation based on the Babylonian data is very convincing.

Later at 522bc when Darius comes to power widespread revolts starts in the new Persian Empire. Armenia/Urartu was part of this rebellion. The final decisive battle of Persians against Armenia/Urartu occured at Izalla. In the same place that was mention in Cyrus campaign at 547bc.

Assuming that this theory is correct we have this chronology of events.

640 bc. Destructions in Urartu had mostly internal causes. Grekyan makes a strong case for climatic reasons. Cinnioglu also. Hungry riots helped by Scythians. A possible Scytho-Etiu alliance. Urartu is weakened but not destroyed. It is quite possible that Erwanduni dinasty emerges from this events. 

~610bc After long period of civil conflicts the destruction of Assyria by Medes Babylon alliance. It is possible that at this period Medes tried also to conquer Armenia but besides Herodotus claims no other sources confirms widespread Medes expansion. 

547 bc Cyrus conquers Urartu. Assuming that Khorenatsi claims are correct and Tigran was the friend of Cyrus then it is possible that in this period he got the possibility to become a new ruler of Armenia/Urartu. Media is conquered by Persians.

522 bc Rebellion in Armenia/Urartu and all over the empire attested in Behistun. Darius creates a satrapy system and an Armenian satrapy is created.

Armenia in Graeco-Roman sources.

 Armenia in Graeco-Roman sources. I will regularly add here various toponyms and names and their relation to Urartian and Armenian names.

This one is interesting because it is another piece of evidence of Armenian speakers in that region. Strabo calls lake Urmia Mantiene and...


There are also large lakes in Armenia; one the Mantiane,8 which word translated signifies Cyane, or Blue, the largest salt-water lake, it is said, after the Palus Mæotis, extending as far as (Media-) Atropatia.


It is quite obvious that Mantiene can't mean blue. So it definitely relates to Armenian name Kaputan. Which indeed means blue. Now one can argue that it could be also an Iranian term. That is possible but it was mostly Armenians who used the term Kaputan so Armenian intermediation is more likely.

The same remarks are made by the editors.

Then comes lake Van.


The next is Arsene,9 which is also called Thopitis. Its waters contain nitre, and are used for cleaning and fulling clothes. It is unfit by these qualities for drinking. 


Thopitis (also Tospitis) is from Tosp but Arsene is puzzling.

Well not much if we remember the number of toponyms like Arṣuniuini [(A CITY)] near Van in Urartian texts. 

It is quite possible that this name is related to later Artsruni on one side and to various toponyms that appear with the root Arts- in the nearby like Artsania the name of river Murad in old texts.

Biorxiv is a place were preprints are published before they pass a peer review

Biorxiv is a place were preprints are published before they pass a peer review. In this website You can find all kind of papers some of them are quite unrealistic like claims that Europeans were present in Mayan civilization before the Columbus. Or like those who question the out of Africa.

Nevertheless this is very useful place to get a feedback, to correct errors to have a more robust paper. That is why they allow the general public to leave comments under the paper. Usually the authors react to comments but sometimes they do not.

Yesterday we discussed the paper that was released in June 2020 about the Armenian origins so here I want to copy my comment that is still valid. They are also comments made by the user Arthur from our group and Davidski. 

Notice the paper is still not published and didn't pass a peer review.


Dear Anahit Hovhannisyan et al.

Thanks for the interesting paper. I agree that there is no genetic evidence for Balkanian origin of Armenians. I also think that modern Armenians retained a substantial amount of genes from Neolithic period. But the question of mass migration after Bronze Age is disputable.

When five years ago first ancient DNA from modern Armenia was published I started to analyze them (using both online tools and academic data) and I came to the conclusion that they are different from modern Armenians. Thus some events occured in Armenia after LBA and EIA period. Which would be after 850 BC. To have an idea with what type of genetic events we are dealing with we must have more precise definition of terms.

For instance those samples from modern Armenia almost certainly do NOT represent the genetic situation in all Armenian Highland at LBA-EIA period. They represent the Lchashen Metsamor culture which was mostly restricted to modern Armenia, parts of Kars and Igdir regions in Turkey. On the other hand we know that there was a distinct Urartean culture in Van region which rapidly expanded in Middle Iron Age period. We don't have samples from ancient Van but some indirect data suggests that they will be different from ancient samples from modern Armenia. Another factor that almost certainly increased heterogeneity in Arm. Highland in MLBA period is the well known expansion of Hittite culture from Anatolia to western parts of historic Armenia. We also see a Steppe shift in MLBA samples from modern Armenia. Visible in Your D stats Z scores.

Based on this data we can say that during MLBA period Arm. Highland became quite heterogenous. Structured by regions. And this heterogeneity started probably at EBA period. We can't use samples from Eastern Armenia to describe the situation in all Armenian Highlands. We need samples from Eastern Turkey to better understand those regional structures.

Recent paper from Skourtanioti et al. fully confirms this idea of regional structurisation. We have Kur Araxian period samples from Arslantepe EBA ( Malatya region ) and they are very different from Kur Araxian samples (EBA) from modern Armenia. Surprisingly they are much more western and slightly more southern shifted than modern Armenians. While EBA samples from modern Armenia are more eastern (CHG) shifted. Which suggests a clinal distribution of ancient BA populations in Armenian Highlands.

My conclusion is that there wasn't any massive migration into Armenian Highlands at Iron Age. After LBA Arm. Highland remained relatively isolated like Haber concluded. The extra western (Sardinian like) shift that modern Armenians have is not the result of massive migration but due to intra-Highland homogeneisation of divergant populations that were already living in historic Armenia at LBA-EIA period. Thus genetic isolation is not always equal to genetic continuity.

The names of this regional populations are well known. Biaina, Etiuni (Lchashen-Metsamor), Diaukhi, Arme Shubria. Their political unification started with Urartu and was continued in Yervandid (Orontid) Armenia period. For much better understanding of this events we need ancient samples not only from Eastern Turkey but also samples from Urartean, Yervandid and Artashesids periods in modern RA to understand how genetic profile changed during this periods.

Political map of Near East ~800-700bc

 Political map of Near East ~800-700bc.

I added some names inside Urartu and Mazhaca.

Luwian kingdoms. Some names are familiar to us. Hilakku will become Cilicia later. Kummuh -> Commagene. Luwians were present in North of Halys river also. Further north there were Kashkian tribes.

According Armenian tradition Mazhaca was build by Mishak. Who is usually linked with Mushki. 

In 695bc Cimmerians will defeat Phrygians.

Later Lydia will become the most important power in Anatolia and in 615bc they finally vanquished Cimmerians.

Around 640bc unrest and destructions in Urartu. Emergence of new Erwanduni dinasty in Armenia.

At 630 bc a series of civil conflicts starts in Assyria. At 612bc Medes-Babylon alliance capture the capital of Assyria Nineveh. Assyrian empire falls.

Just a century later all this polities will become satraps of Achemenid empire.