Tuesday, February 28, 2023

An important update on R1b-M269 in ancient Armenia in Etiuni period.

 An important update on R1b-M269 in ancient Armenia in Etiuni period.

Large numbers of samples are now uploaded to Chinese theytree service and we have three cases of R1b-PF7562 in Bronze Age Armenia. From this three cases at last one was predicted as such by Lazaridis in the Southern Arc paper's supplements. The I14057 from Bardzryal site in Lori. The other two cases are from Karashamb in Kotayk and Keti in Shirak province. The one case is somewhat doubtful but whatever.
This branch is important because more than five cases of PF7562 are found in ancient Mycenean Greece. Z2103 seems to be less frequent in ancient Greece. In Armenia it was the inverse.
Whatever the case we can now say that both Z2103 and PF7562 are Yamna/Catacomb lineages. Both have the same TMRCA. An alternative origin of PF7563 becomes less realistic now.
Currently the only subbranch we miss is the Z2110 but given it's small number in modern Armenia ( although we have two person from this branch in this group ) we must be more patient.
If there was a some slim chance for Balkanian theory to resurge with PF7562 it's now game over for it. We can say that PF7562 in Armenia is from Etiuni.
PS. I think I will have some news about Mushki Urumu folks. I need to wait some patterns to be confirmed.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

About Yervanduni ( old Eruanduni , Greek Orontid ) origins.

 About Yervanduni ( old Eruanduni , Greek Orontid ) origins.

It is frequent that a piece of information detached from his real context can create more confusion than understanding. One such information is the inscription from Pergamon city about the supposedly Bactrian origin of Orontes satrap who ruled Armenia in 4th century BC. The one who is also mentioned by Xenophon in Anabasis.
Elcibekyan presents and discuss this inscription. Here some important things.
+ The inscription is not left by Orontes himself but local Pergamon people after his death.
+ The inscription describes an event when Orontes deported Pergamon city people to another location close to sea coast/gulf.
+ This deportation occured when Orontes rebelled against the Persian king. It was during the famous Great Satraps rebellion around 362BC. The exact reason of this rebellion is not known but it seems Orontes was unhappy when the Persian king wanted to remove him from Armenia to Western Anatolia as a satrap. So he organized a rebellion in Western Anatolia after which the Persian king has no choice than to return him back to Armenia.
This same Orontes son of Artasura is also mentioned in Nemrut inscriptions. He is the number 6 in the second picture. From Nemrut inscription we learn once more that his father was the Artasura. But we also learn that he had a grandfather also named Aruandes/Orontes.
This number 4 Aruandes/Orontes might have ruled Armenia before 450BC and neither Graeco-Roman sources neither Armenian sources have no information about him. Nevertheless it is quite obvious that Xenophon's era Orontes (number 6) was not a newly arrived person in Armenia. At last his grandfather also ruled Armenia. And it is quite unlikely that he came to Armenia from Bactria then moved to Western Anatolia to organize a rebellion there for getting back to Armenia. That doesn't make much sense.
So why do this confusing term Bactria is there in the inscription?
Well Elcibekyan gives a plausible explanation. In ancient times Bactria was also known as Zariaspa. A similar name existed in ancient southern Armenia. Mountain and a range Zarasp close to those places from were Orontid dinasty possibly originated ( mount Siah Kuh near modern Turkish-Iranian border). It's quite possible that Pergamon people simply confused the Zarasp in Armenia with Zariaspa in Bactria. And erroneously assumed that Orontes came from Bactria.
I think that makes a lot off sense and the fact that an unknown Yervand ruled Armenia in the first half of 5th century further raises the chances that Yervand Sakavakiats mentioned by Khorenatsi was a real person that ruled Armenia around 580-560BC.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

One possible way to know the language(s) spoken in Kur-Araxian culture is to examine the onomastics in those places were there was continuity

 One possible way to know the language(s) spoken in Kur-Araxian culture is to examine the onomastics in those places were there was continuity.

One such place is the Malatya-Elazig (Kharberd/Harpoot) region that I marked with green circle. In this region the KA settlements evolved into more advanced towns were a type of painted pottery was made until 2000BC. In Middle Bronze Age (2000-1600bc) this tradition continued but new influences from South appear with Khabur ware while close to 1600BC influences from West, from plain Anatolia become stronger.
After 1600BC the region was incorporated into Hittite empire and became known as Ishuwa.
The main ethnicity of Ishuwa is unknown. They are no native texts. Three kings are known from last periods, all have Hurrian names and based on that some proposed that it was predominantly a Hurrian place.
Nevertheless king names are not always a good indication of real ethnic situation. Mitanni had Aryan kings but was a Hurrian kingdom. Hittite empire had kings with Hurrian names yet it was still Hittite. Babylon was ruled by Amorites, Kassites and Chaldeans yet it's main language was East Semitic Akkadian derived. Such examples are numerous.
For this reason Aram Kosyan (based on Laroche's etymology) examined the names of local Ishuwan chieftains, elders and rebels. Surprisingly the most frequent group consists of Hittite-Luwian names. There is only one Hurrian name Kumarpi, few Kashkean and Indo-Iranian names. There is also one name Mita that looks like Phrygian name but a presence of any real Phrygian in that region is unlikely. A similar to Mita name is attested in Armenic Etiuni: the Muida. Given that this name appears in Iron Age as Mita of Mushki so the most parsimonious explanation is that it's related to Mushki, and maybe Etiuni. Although a Luwian etymology also exists but in my opinion it's problematic.
Anyway returning to main subject, it's somewhat unexpected to have such result. There can be two explanation.
1. Either those Hittite names were there since Kur-Araxian period.
2. Either they appear with Hittite conquest.
We don't have ancient DNA from Middle and Late Bronze Ages (2000-1200BC) in Ishuwa region but we have a sample dated at 2400BC from EBA. It's ART001. It's more southern shifted than other three samples from EBA period. This extra Levantine shift can indicate that Hurrian speakers infiltrated there later from South which opens a gate that Kur-Arax in that region was really speaking Anatolian IE languages.
This unexpected result is further reinforced if we take into account that the kingdom Armi dates (before 2250BC) overlap with Kur-Araxian culture in the Cilicia where it was located according a recent paper. Kroonen suggested a strong Hittite presence in Armi based on Eblaite inscriptions.
Another potentially IE term Aratta also coincide with Kur-Araxian period. It was probably located somewhere in North West Iran, where in Iron Age a river Aratta is attested.
Offcourse we must wait ancient DNA to further confirm or dismiss this theory. Also we must keep in mind that Kur-Araxian horizon was quite large and harboured other languages. There is little doubt that Nakh-Daghestani in North East Caucasus descend from KA. Also Hurrian languages were probably spoken in south of Van, Hakkari region KA settlements. In any case it seems that the main expansion of Hurrian occured in MBA with Khabur ware.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

According to some sources Darius appointed his closest friend Hydarnes as satrap of Armenia after the unsuccessful rebellion of Armenia and Media against Persians (around 522BC).

 According to some sources Darius appointed his closest friend Hydarnes as satrap of Armenia after the unsuccessful rebellion of Armenia and Media against Persians (around 522BC). The Persian pronunciation of this name is Vidrna.

Some scholars proposed that Erwanduni (Orontid) dynasty was descending from Hydarnes grandson. Others proposed that Hydarnes and already present Erwanduni became relatives via intermarriages. Apparently at last three different Hydarnes ruled Armenia before the Orontes mentioned in Xenophon.
Anyway all this are just hypothesis. But an interesting thing is that this name can have an old presence in Armenia.
Aram Kosyan discuss the ethnic structure of Ishuwa and mentions a name Uitarna- for which he gives a possible Indo-Iranian origin. The name is attested in Late Bronze Age.
In Urartian texts a land and a population group Uiteruhi is mentioned somewhere in upper Arax. So another possibility is that the Ishuwan Uitarna- simply descend from this nearby tribe and not from Indo-Iranians.
And another possibility is that Uiteruhi tribe itself is of Indo-Iranian stock and subsequently the Uitarna- name also.
This raises the possibility that the three successive rulers named Hydarnes in Satrapic Armenia are from local stock and not appointed by Darius.
Offcourse without any new ancient record this question will remain unsolved. To further complicate the matter the Uiteruhi is suspiciously close to Armenian term *wetar ( modern Getar , term attested in Ptolemy) . So it's possible that some of this similar looking terms have different etiology.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

The most comprehensive description of South Caucasian archaeology by Antonio Sagona. From Paleolithic to Iron Age

 The most comprehensive description of South Caucasian archaeology by Antonio Sagona. From Paleolithic to Iron Age.

This book is a must read for those who want to better understand the deep history of that region. Also with the advent of paleogenetics it becomes an indispensable source of information for interpreting the DNA results.
Some Sagona's ideas are not confirmed by aDNA. Like the Samtavro culture in Georgia is not exactly the same as Lchashen. Also he was sceptic about Steppe migration in Middle Bronze age ( see the attached excerpt ) but overall the archaeology quite well how Caucasian populations formed and evolved.
See the link in the comments.
PS regularly I will add other interesting links about the archaeology in this thread.

Friday, February 10, 2023

The origin of Thracians is interesting from Armenian perspective for two reasons.

 The origin of Thracians is interesting from Armenian perspective for two reasons. First to check the Kortland's proposal about close relation between Armenian language and Thracian. The second reason is to verify the validity of ancient Greek claims about the presence of Thracian tribes near or in Armenia.

We have now enough samples from ancient Bulgaria to have some conclusions. See the first chart from Neolithic to Middle Ages of Bulgaria.
To be short the answer to the first question is No. Genetics do not support the idea of special relatedness of Thracian and Armenian.
The reason for this is that Proto Thracian community was a complex mixture of Yamna/Catacomb (R1b-M269, I2-P78), then Srubna ( Indo - Iranian R1a-Z93 ) and finally of local European Neolithic Farmers from whom they got their most frequent Y dna. The E-V13 which was making some 80-90% of Thracian Y dna in Iron Age Bulgaria.
Ancient Iron Age Thracian DNA is relatively homogenous. Compared to Bronze Age there is decrease of Steppe and increase in Euro Farmers ancestry. This type of ancestry persists in Bulgaria in Antic era until the arrival of Slavic people who change once more the genetics of Bulgaria. You can see that in samples from Middle Ages.
In Bronze Age Bulgaria (3200-1100bc) there is two important streams of migrations. One from Steppe the other from Anatolia. By Anatolia I mean the type of ancestry that had genes from Armenian Highlands. In the chart it is represented by "Central farmers". It's not high but it's there as in Crete and other Greek islands BA.
Nevertheless Thracians do not directly descend from those Bronze Age populations but rather from a poorly sampled region in Romania where the Carpathian mountains acted as a sort of barrier that preserved European Neolithic ancestry much better. In my opinion Proto Daco-Thracian population formed there and around 1200BC it expanded to South toward Bulgaria and to East toward Ukraine and probably further East. A E-V13 and I2-P78 was found as East as in Kazakhstan. Although this can be explained by Cimmerian and Scythian back and forth migrations after 900BC in modern Ukraine. It seems Scythians assimilated some Thracians.
A possible linguistic evidence of Thracian presence in East is the term Vardanes ( the Roman era name of river Kuban ) Compare this name with river Vardari in Macedonia, also of Thracian origin. Another example is the river Terek which is linked to Traikos, although it has a NEC etymology also. A possible genetic evidence is an ancient sample from Iron Age North.Caucasus (Koban culture) with obvious European origin. They are also theories that cities like Partaw (modern Barda ) and C'urtaw in historic Armenia do have the pecular Thracian root dava (city). Also the native Armenian word jur (water) has the exact parallel in Thracian.
In sum it's not huge. But a possibility that a small group of Thracians reached North Caucasus and moved to South is real. Even more the presence of small number of E-V13 in Artsakh and Udi village Vardashen makes such an Iron Age migration very likely (1200-900BC). The only thing we don't know is that who introduced the E-V13 to South Caucasus. Was it a real Thracian migration or via Scythians / Cimmerians.
Keep in mind that the few cases of E-V13 in most western Armenians are not via Caucasus but rather from Balkans.
In any case the E-V13 is low in Armenians. Less than 1%. So it's presence is not directly related to Armenian ethnogenesis. We have quite large sample size from ancient Republic of Armenia and no single E-V13 was found there. So there is no particular reasons to believe that any Thracian tribe had deep impact on Iron Age events of Armenia.
PS The reader may wonder why I place the origins of a Levantine haplotype E in Romania. The reason for this is ancient DNA. E-V13 was a rare Y dna in Neolithic Europe ultimately from Levant. It reached Romania and Western Ukraine we're it became part of Yamna related groups. It was still missing in Bronze Age Balkans. No single V13 from Bronze Age. But some time after 1200BC it had a dramatic expansion associated initially with Thracians. While later the E-V13 integrated in numerous surrounding ethnic groups. Albanians, Greeks (via Dorian's?) Slavs, Scythians, Romans and even Germans. E-V13 was found in Visigoth samples from antic Spain

Sunday, February 5, 2023

The Armenian word giwl / gel (գիւղ) meaning village has different proposed etymologies.

 The Armenian word giwl / gel (գիւղ) meaning village has different proposed etymologies. Jahukyan compare it with Latin villa, Acharyan consider it as having uncertain origin. Hrach Martirosyan propose an interesting etymology, which is further reinforced by an Urartian term.

He derives it from *weli and compares it with Greek parallels meaning assembly of people, crowd, derived from the same root.
Incidently there is also an Urartian term ueli meaning crowd, army.
As for later semantic shift from crowd to village he demonstrates other examples where such a shifts occured.
It's interesting that proto-Turkic word *agil from which is derived the famous word aul has both meanings as village and military camp. More remarkable is that it's close to Armenian giwl and Finnic kyla (village). Pedersen thinks that the proto-Turkic word is a loanword from Armenian giwl. Although those similarities can be chance coincidence, because of huge distance separating them. Another possibility is that it's a loanword from an unknown IE or Uralic? language.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

The Van-Urmia ware (or Urmia ware) culture.

 The Van-Urmia ware (or Urmia ware) culture. Other names used in post Sovietic countries are Karmir Vank or Kyzil Vank culture. This name is derived from a site in Nakhichevan.

This pottery appeared in Middle Bronze Age after the Kura-Araxes culture. Probably after the 2200/2000BC and ends around 1400/1200BC. It was initially related to the developments in South Caucasus MBA cultures like Trialeti Vanadzor but later evolved on it's own.
The main information about this culture comes from North West Iran. Haftavan tepe and Geoy tepe. Unfortunately despite the large number of ancient DNA from that region we don't have any sample that can be securely linked to Urmia ware tradition.
The reason for this is that in Middle and Late Bronze Age period there were other potteries circulating in Urmia basin. One of them from Dinkha tepe is related to Khabur ware. A type of pottery prominent in North Mesopotamia. Ancient DNA confirmed it's link with Mesopotamia. (See links in comments).
This means that the map attached shouldn't be taken at face value. The situation both in TVC and Van-Urmia lands was more complicated than it is painted.
Nevertheless despite the absence of any ancient DNA we can make some deductions with indirect methods.
As I previously noted the TVC>Lchashen group practically didn't have any R1b-Y4364. Only one case was found in Karashamb while the absolute majority was R1b-L584.
But modern Armenians do have both Y4364 and L584 which means that this branch was "hiding" in a different culture and place.
The best candidate for harbouring Y4364 is the Van-Urmia culture. There are some lines of evidences for this. First R1b-Y4364 was found in Iron Age period in North West Iran. Modern distribution also favours more southern distribution of Y4364. It's age also fits to that period. Van-Urmia folk also migrated to west.
But this R1b branch is not the only haplotype that can be linked to Van Urmia ware. The other one is the J2a-YP879. It's age and specific distribution in Armenians do favour the idea that it formed in Middle Bronze Age Van basin and expanded from there. Indeed it was found in Iron Age Urartian period.
With time we will learn more about other haplotypes also. Now the most interesting thing is that despite having common origins TVC and Van-Urmia were not interested to have contacts with each other. No single case of I2c2 was found in NW Iran despite the fact that it was prominent in TVC lands. This is a strong indication that TVC/Lchashen group and Van-Urmia had different identities.
Here is a list of various possibilities.
1. Van-Urmia was proto-Urartian. Not in a sense of kingdom but as ancestral to Urartian language speakers.
2. Van-Urmia was an IE culture which was speaking a sister language related to Lchashen/Etiuni. In this scenario proto Urartian would be an offshoot of Khabur ware that moved to North.
3. Other possibilities are more complicated scenarios. Like mix of Hurro-Urartian and IE with possible influences from other neighbouring languages. The presence of terms starting with R, like city Riyar or land Ruisa with his king Rasu indicates a presence of non-HU, non-Hittite and non-Armenic groups in the Van basin.
Over time with more samples we will learn more about Van-Urmia culture and it's descendants in Iron Age. It's quite possible that Mannaeans are also descending ultimately from this culture.
* The map is from Raffaelel Biscione's "The Roots of the Urartian Kingdom"

See also...