Friday, December 30, 2022

A new paper from Aram Kosyan (other spelling Kossian) about the grooved ware in Ishuwa.

A new paper from Aram Kosyan (other spelling Kossian) about the grooved ware in Ishuwa.
Grooved ware is a type of pottery that appears in many sites during the Early Iron Age, thus after 1200BC. Various theories have been proposed about it's origin. Migration from South Caucasus and northern parts of historic Armenia by Sevin and Burney. And local Elazig origin by Muller. Sevin linked it with Mushki tribes.
Kosyan favours the migration theory which can explain also the subsequent apparition of different subtypes of this pottery. He compares this migration to EBA period migration of Kur-Araxian tribes. Who also settled in Malatya-Elazig region.
We don't have aDNA from Iron Age Elazig. But indirect evidence we have is rather supportive of migratory theory.
PS Notice there is an typographic error in the paper. In paragraphs discussing Kura-Araxian culture there should be EBA not EIA.

PPS Garducci use the term Nairi ware for this pottery 

(99+) Išuwa towards the end of the XIII century BC (on the problem of the grooved ware) | Aram Kosyan -

Thursday, December 22, 2022

A table made by Jahukyan ( from Martirosyan's paper ).

 A table made by Jahukyan ( from Martirosyan's paper ).

It is hard to understand why Indic can be closer than the Iranic, but one possible explanation is the interaction of early Proto-Armenian with Mitanni Aryans in Bronze Age. Armenian has large number of loanwords from Iranian but those are mostly cultural loanwords which are not part of native vocabulary.
One example of native word that has a parallel in Sanskrit but not in Iranic languages is the word arew (արեւ ) meaning sun, initially red sun. The cognate in Sanskrit is ravi.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2022

The new data from ancient Greece confirmed what was already known from previous papers.

 The new data from ancient Greece confirmed what was already known from previous papers. Circa ~2400BC migrants from north introduced high level of Steppe ancestry in Greece. Those migrants had virtually no eastern shift, which means they were not from Anatolia.

In my previous posts I demonstrated that in Final Neolithic ( the Greek name for Chalcolithic period ) and Early Bronze Age there were migrations from Anatolia and probably even more eastern regions. Those migrations affected Greece and Bulgaria. But not modern Macedonia.
Those migrants can be associated with Luwians ( such a linguistic evidence exists ) with Minoans, Pelasgians or Eteocretans. Although it is quite possible that some of those non IE groups were descending from Neolithic farmers rather than later EBA migrants.
As for Proto-Greek dating, it is far more rational to link them with Middle Bronze Age (2400BC) migrations from north. As north as Serbia and further north east.
It's probably not a coincidence that a similar event occured in Armenia-South Caucasus during the same period. This fits well with linguistic theories linking the Armenian and Greek to each other. The period between 2700-2200bc is known as Catacomb culture in Pontic-Caspian Steppe. In the current stage of our knowledge it's safe to claim that this culture was the ancestor of Graeco-Armenian branch in IE family. Other possible representatives of this branch are the Phrygian, the ancient Macedonian, the Paionians and in most likelihood the Thraco-Dacians. Although Thraco-Dacians had a more complex genesis than just deriving from Catacomb culture.
The Y dna from ancient Greece and North Macedonia shows that the Graeco-Macedonian and Paionian were related to each other and distinct from Illyrians in the west and Thracians in the east Balkans. Another member of this group were probably the Phrygians. This genetic data is in line with linguistic data.
As for the possible presence of other Balkanic groups in Armenia there is no evidence of any second migration from Multi Cordoned ware. (2200-1800BC). Multi Cordoned ware was a dead end culture because Thracians do not descend from it.
The succeeding Srubna culture (1800-1200bc) was Indo-Iranian and once more no evidence that they crossed Caucasus. Instead there is evidence that Mitanni Aryan migration was via North Iran.
It is possible that some small group of Thracians ventured to South Caucasus and North Iran in Early Iron Age (1100-900bc). We have a sample of possible Thracian from North Caucasus. In Koban culture. But those Thracians might have left a quite limited impact in South Caucasus. I am even thinking that Utians/Vitians mentioned in Greek sources could be of Thracian stock. But extra data is needed for that theory to become more solid.
Other Iron Age migrations from Balkans to Near East are the Philistines in Levant and Cilicia. Confirmed by aDNA. Also Phrygians and various Thracian tribes like the Bithynians, Treres and others. But most of this tribes left limited genetic impact. Some of them were assimilated by locals. Only Phrygians managed to create a lasting kingdom. Currently there is no single evidence that those Iron Age migrants reached Armenia. Hence the reason why the Balkanian theory became obsolete.
The Y dna associated with ancient Greek and Paionians are those.
R1b-Z2103 mostly downstream from Z2110>CTS7556 level
J2-Z6064 and G2a2b from local Neolithic farmers.
The remarkable fact is the absence of E-V13 in Bronze Age South Balkans. They expanded later with Thracians and Dorian's in Iron Age. While the J2b2a-L283 is associated with Illyrians.

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Sunday, December 11, 2022

New ancient DNA from Georgia and Azerbaijan helps to refine our understanding of ancient populations distribution and boundaries.

New ancient DNA from Georgia and Azerbaijan (Koptekin 2 022) helps to refine our understanding of ancient populations distribution and boundaries.

The map below shows the distribution of LBA and IA period cultures around Caucasus. We have enough ancient DNA from Lchashen-Metsamor culture in Republic of Armenia to compare them with other sites.

In Georgian literature this culture is known as Lchashen-Tsitelgori and as You can see on the map it is stretched quite north reaching Greater Caucasus range. But it was obvious from the start that not all sites labeled as Lchashen-Tsitelgori will yield the same genetic profile as in Republic of Armenia.
Some Georgian archaeologists defined another name for this period calling it Samtavro culture. It seems this was a correct path because it's now evident that Lchashen-Tsitelgori generic name hides two distinct populations. An LBA sample from Doghlauri site (known as Lchashen-Tsitelgori site) in Central Eastern Georgia near Kur river do not have steppe ancestry and is more western shifted compared to the Kur-Araxian period sample from the same site. The Kura-Araxes sample from Doghlauri is J2-M92.

While most samples from Republic of Armenia  Lchashen-Metsamor related sites do have steppe ancestry. Without much doubt they were speaking an IE language affiliated to Armenian while the other population in Georgia which has no steppe ancestry is in most likelihood related to  Samtavro horizon.
What language was speaking those Samtavro people is hard to say. Either a Kartvelian in this case it would be proto-Georgian or proto-Iberian. Either a language that descend directly from Kur-Araxian culture. But this latter is unlikely.

We have also samples from Kakhetia in Eastern Georgia close to Alazani - Kur river junction from sites Didnauri and Nazarlebi. They are very similar to those samples we have from Lchashen-Metsamor culture and they have R1b and possibly I2. Based on that we can deduce that the Khojaly Gadabay culture which was present in historic Utik' and Artsakh provinces might be related to Lchashen culture also. Moreover, the structure of I2 permits to say that Lchashen culture expanded from modern Republic of Armenia to east playing a role in the formation of Khojaly Gadabay culture. This is consistent what Laneri 2020 was thinking about that culture. What language was speaking this Khojaly-Gadabay culture is hard to say.

Finally, we come to Caucasian Albania puzzle. A sample from Iron Age Shamakhi in Azerbaijan is ideal to have a clue about Albanians (Aluank'). This sample do have steppe ancestry like most representatives of Dagestani family. But it is shifted to Caucasian foragers (east). More important its Y DNA is J1-Z1842 which is the predominant haplogroup in Dagestani speakers. This is extra evidence that Nakh-Daghestani people descend from Kur-Araxian culture. Keeping in mind that we speak here only about the northeastern parts of Kur-Araxian Culture and not the whole horizon.

Where exactly formed the Lezgic group prominent in Albania is hard to say. If we follow Nichols classification, then Lezgic group might have initially formed in the north in Dagestan and later moved back to southern slopes of Greater Caucasus. If we follow Schulze's linguistic classification which consider Lezgic an early split, then it could have formed in situ directly from Kur-Araxian culture in southern slopes which were not affected by steppic Kurganic cultures. More data will clarify this, but I am inclined to believe that they came from mountainous Dagestan in north otherwise Lezgic group people including the Udi wouldn't have such a high level of Steppe ancestry.

And finally, I want to say few words about the possibility that Lchashen (Etiuni) had a Lezgic speakers. Well from dozens and dozens Y DNA we have from Lchashen only 1 is J1-Z1842! This outcome does not leave any place for any speculation about the identity of Etiuni. They were IE without doubt. Lezgic speakers should be searched in cultures like Kaiakent-Chorochoi and Yaloilutepe in northern parts of Azerbaijan.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

A publication about Harutyun Mnacakanyan (1906-1977).

 A publication about Harutyun Mnacakanyan (1906-1977). He was the head of archaeologic expedition in 1956 that found 18 wagons, chariots and pieces related to them in Lchashen. You can see one of them in the picture below. Harutyun is in the corner of grave.

We have now numerous ancient DNA from Lchashen (Etiuni) and know who created those wagons, chariots.
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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Origins and possible affiliation of Mardes.

 Origins and possible affiliation of Mardes.

One of first mentions of Mardes in Armenia is from Xenophon's Anabasis. They are mentioned in the Orontid's army alongside Armenians and Chaldes. Chaldes are those related to Khaltik' and should not be confused with Mesopotamian Chaldea.
In earlier periods in Urartian and Assyrian sources there is no mention of any Mardes and derived terms. So their arrival might have occured between 600-400bc. Nevertheless there are few indirect evidences pointing to the possibility that it could have occured rather early. First it's the term Mardali (Մարդաղի) in Taron. Mardali is usually linked with Mardes but the presence of -li suffix suggest an interaction with Urartian language speakers where -li is a plural suffix in Urartian. Then there is another term [marda] in Urartian language. This term is mentioned once and it's meaning is obscure. Nevertheless it's known that it relates to some kind profession. Common nouns derived from ethnic names is not rare so it's quite possible that it is derived from Mard tribe. Although it can be a chance coincidence or just a loanword from an IE language.
Anyway Mardes were present in Armenia quite early and it is even possible that some of them were relocated by Urartian rulers from eastern regions. This would fit with their status in Orontid army as mercenaries. But a post-Urartian arrival is also possible. They are mentioned in Tigran's army also. Based on that some suggested two waves of migrations. Terms like Mardastan, and noble family Mardpetuni also derive from this tribal name. Mardin is another possibility although it has other etymologies also.
Their initial homeland was in most likelihood in South Caspian region. Iranian archaeologists suggest a possibility that Iron Age culture Marlik (known also as Talish culture) is related to Mardes. So we can expect to have their DNA. They were neighbors of Medes but not necessarily related to them. They were an Iranian tribe based on their name but the root from which it is derived is unrelated to the name Medes. Moreover Mardes are described as enemies of Zoroastrian religion and given Medes close relationship with Zoroastrian religion further reduce the chance that Mardes and Medes were identic.
So the conflation of Medes and Mardes is very dubious. For instance it's not supported by Vardanyan. See the second picture.
This conflation is used as an argument for a theory that Mardes were Kurds or even proto Kurds. But Armenian sources use only the term Medes for Kurds. Kurds are referred in medieval Armenian sources as "azg marac''" which means Medes nation. Why Armenian historians used Medes ( Մար ) for medieval Kurds is a different subject.
For the etymology of Mardes two theories exists. One is derived from the Persian word martiya meaning man. Notice the Armenian word mard meaning man is also derived from the same PIE root. This etymology would support the idea that Mardes were a Persian tribe claimed by Herodotus. Another etymology is the mareda meaning killer.
One can compare in the link below and see that Persian term is the closest. While the Kurdish form is more distant. The word by the way is present and Turkic and Finno-Ugric languages also.
And finally few names we know from Mardpetuni clan are typically Armenian. Like Arsen and title Hayr. So this mean that during Arshakid period they were fully assimilated and Armenian speakers.

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