Saturday, July 30, 2022

The Beniamin site where salvage archaeology is currently ongoing.

 The Beniamin site where salvage archaeology is currently ongoing. The reason is that the road will be enlarged. The site was an important administrative center in Yervanduni period. But it was inhabited before and after that period also. Many constructions were in wood. So they disappeared. The DNA we have from this site are from old excavations, more than 20 years ago.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Every year in July Armenians are celebrating the Vardavar ( in many dialects Vardevor ) water festival.

 Every year in July Armenians are celebrating the Vardavar ( in many dialects Vardevor ) water festival. A similar festival was popular in ancient Iran known as Abrezagan or Abpashan with a root ab- meaning water. In Cappadocian Greek a word Bartubara ( βαρτουβάρα ) existed meaning a flower festival. The dictionary links it with Armenian Vardavar. The connection is mentioned by Acharyan as a loanword from Armenian.

The Cappadocian Greek language formed after the Alexander Macedonian conquest. It absorbed some substratic words from preceding language(s). One possibility that they got this word from pre-Greek Cappadocians. Another one is a direct loanword from Armenian. It must be noted that the etymology of Vardavar is debated. In one case it is linked to word vard meaning rose ( the main symbol of goddess Astlik to whom was dedicated the festival in pagan times ). While another etymology proposed by Kapantsyan is related to Hittite word watar ( water ). Hrach Martirosyan consider this latter unlikely. Whatever is the case it seems ancient Anatolians also had a similar festival and for some reasons Cappadocian Greek word for it is a cognate with Armenian.
It must be noted this is not the only parallel that I noted. Another word is the φός [pʰo.ς] meaning dust. Compare it to Armenian p'oshi meaning the same thing. Acharyan considers it as a loanword from Armenian.
Another word çακρό [çakro] meaning wheel has obvious Indo-Iranian origin. The remarkable thing it's more close to archaic Proto Indo-Iranian than to later Iranian chakhr. Though this can be the legacy of Cimmerians. In Armenian tradition Cappadocia was known Gamirk because Cimmerians settled there.
I am pretty sure there will be Luwian words also. In sum ancient Cappadocia almost certainly had multiple languages after the decline of Luwian and the apparition of Greek in 331 BC. What was the main language which is mentioned by Strabo and other Greek sources is hard to figure out.
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Sunday, July 24, 2022

In a recent preprint of Allentoft 2022 a new Caucasian hunter gatherer (CHG) sample (NEO283) was published. It was similar to two other previous ones but had the Y DNA J2b.

 In a recent preprint of Allentoft 2022 a new Caucasian hunter gatherer (CHG) sample (NEO283) was published. It was similar to two other previous ones but had the Y DNA J2b.

It's age 9700 years old is comparable to the previous oldest J2b from Zagros Neolithic in Iran. Given that the age of J2b is 15800 years we can assume that the homeland of J2b was somewhere between Caucasian range and South Zagros of Iran. Further distribution of it's subbranches support that idea.
J2b1-M205 was found in Bronze Age Levant. Given that it appears there in relatively large number with the J1-P58 we can imagine that both haplotypes came from Ubaid and expanded with Semitic tribes in Bronze Age. This obviously do not mean that all cases of J2b1 are from Levant. Grugni has found that ~6% of Tehran Armenians had J2b1. Nakhichevan Armenians also seems to have slightly higher level of this branch. It was also noticed in Khatri merchant caste in India.
J2b2b-Z2453 This branch was found in Hajji Firuz site in North West Iran in Chalcolithic period. Given their Central farmer shift we can assume that it was present in historic Armenia also. Not surprising it is found in modern Armenians also in small number. In general this is a minor Neolithic farmer lineage in West Asia that moved to various directions.
J2b2a1-L283. This is the most puzzling subbranch of J2b. It is frequent in Balkanes in Europe. But occasionally can be found in West Asia also. It was found in LBA/EIA Armenia. Based on current data this branch moved from South Caucasus to Steppe and expanded there with Yamna. Though it's still missing from Yamna samples. The age is 5500 years. It's an IE lineage so not surprising it was very popular in ancient Illyrians and modern Albanians. It is seldom found in modern Armenia.
J2b2a2-Z2432 It's the sister branch of L283 but has completely different distribution. It is present mostly in India. In ancient DNA it was found in BMAC and Iron Age Pakistan. Based on it's age (9700 years) it must be a Neolithic lineage that moved from North Iran to East.
The first picture is the J2b2a while the second one is the J2b1. In total J2b makes ~2% of modern Armenian gene pool.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Armenian Highlands

 Armenian Highlands. Formation, peculiarity and naming conventions. Also modern problems of naming it.

This subject is quite long so I will divide it in two or three parts. First part is about formation.
For various reasons the core of our planet is very hot. This creates a layer of melted magma which very slowly moves in the upper layers around the core. On the top of this magma layer known as mantle there is the Earth crust on which we live. Earth crust itself is not homogenous. It has cracks and is divided into plates. (1-st image) Armenian Highlands is situated on the Eurasian plate. (2-nd picture)
Due to slowly drifting magma those plates are not static. They are slowly moving by few centimeters per year. After a million years of such a migration plates can move a lot.
The reason why Armenian highlands do exist is the migration of Arabian plate toward North ( 15-20 millimeters per year). When two plates meets each other a contact zone emerges where the Earth crust can be destroyed. This destruction leads to huge volcanoes to erupt. The hot magma pours out from mantle transforming into lavas. Most mountains in Armenian Highlands were volcanoes. The highest one is the Ararat. Many flat lands like Shirak plain are just massive frozen lavas from ancient eruptions. They are numerous such volcanic plains. The Araratian plain. Mush plain might be have same origin. And many others. The volcanic eruptions leads to the increase of land level. But it's not the only reason. Arabian plate is much smaller than the Eurasian so it can't force it to move. As a consequence the Arabian plate moves under the Eurasian plate pushing the whole region to move upward. In this way in very ancient times the Greater Caucasian range formed. But later the process there stopped and now it's going mostly in the Armenian Highlands. Which by the way is the reasons of frequent earthquakes.
It must be noted that most large mountain blocks in Eurasia formed in this way. The mountain formation process is called orogeny .African , Indian plates are moving to North creating Alpes, Tibetan plateau subsequently. During this process a chunk of large plate can go on its own and become minor plate. Like the Anatolian who's contact zone with Arabian plate is known as Taurus range. Zagros and the whole Iranian plateau also formed in this way.
Nevertheless the main place where Arabian and Eurasian plates interacts in more intense way is this Highland. The red line in 3-rd picture .That's why it is rising each year. So the orogeny or mountain formation process is still going. Though fortunately without volcanic eruptions.
In sum from geological point of view the concept of a distinctive Highland makes sense. Especially given the fact that scholars have little doubt about the existence of separate Anatolian plate ( moving to south-west) While recently some proposed the existence of Iranian plate including Iran , Afghanistan parts of Pakistan also.
PS The fourth picture demonstrates those mountain ranges of historic Armenia that formed as a result of two plates hitting each others.
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There was a debate about haplogroup C

 There was a debate about haplogroup C. This haplogroup was the first that dispersed in Eurasia. It was found everywhere in Eurasia before the LGM. Thus before 20.000. But during the LGM humanity passed a major bottleneck and after it C disappears virtually everywhere replaced by J, I, R, G, O, Q, N, T, L. In East Europe after LGM there was zero C. While in pre LGM Moscow region it was frequent. C survived mostly in peripheral places like Australia, Papua, India in East Asian Amur region. One branch moved to America 6000 years ago as Na-Dene speakers (Apaches). But even in Amur region it was very rare before Middle Ages. The bulk of C2 we see in modern East Eurasia are due to Mongolian and Tungussic families expansions. Major founder effects. All this expansions occured in Middle Ages. Prior that the region was predominantly Q and N.

As for the C1a2 found in West Asia and Europe it is the result of lucky integration into Anatolian farmers population. Otherwise it would become extinct also.
But even in Neolithic Farmers communities it was not popular. So not surprising it is rare today, especially when one takes into account how tumultuous was the Bronze Age everywhere.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

I am reading once more Guido Guarducci's book. And I noticed some interesting remarks.

I am reading once more Guido Guarducci's book. And I noticed some interesting remarks.
1. Assyrian sources constantly distinguishes Nairi from Uruatri. The reasons for this are unknown. More ever in 9th century when two centralised kingdoms forms it's a kingdom of Kakia known as Hubushkia which gets the label Nairi while Aramu's kingdom is labeled Urartu.
2. According the author Nairi had a large Hurrian population but was not exclusively Hurrian. More he considers that other ethnic groups triggered the emergence of Nairi. He do not says what other ethnic groups.
3. Besides Nairi and Uruatri there was a third group in the south known as Subaru which was related to Alzu (Armenian Aljnik Աղձնիք ). This southern group was related to Mitanni/Hanigalbat.
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