Monday, November 20, 2023

Mycenaean Greek Y DNA from continental part of Greece and a Minoan Y DNA from Crete

 Mycenaean Greek Y DNA from continental part of Greece and a Minoan Y DNA from Crete. Sources are Lazaridis 2022 and Skourtanioti 2023.

J2b in Mycenaean is from Steppe in most likelihood. It is the J2b2a1-L283 popular in ancient Illyrians.
J2a in Mycenaean is mostly J2-Z6064 a Neolithic era lineage. While the J2a in Minoans has a different composition. Large majority of Minoan Y DNA are new migrants from regions close to Taurus mountains and probably more eastern

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Ethnicity and Y DNA.

 Ethnicity and Y DNA. The Hamshen (Hemshin) Armenians as a case example

The Y DNA and language connection is a frequent subject of discussions. Their relation is sometime perceived as a marathon race where a haplogroup is attached to a language for a very long time from the start to modern period. Occasionally off course this is the case. But most of the time a relation of an Y DNA to a language is more like estafette or relay race. Where one new haplotype picks up the relay of spreading the language. Sometime a new haplotype associated with a certain language or ethnicity can have a more strong founder effect than the initial "runners". One such a remarkable example in IE family is the case of E-V13. Which initially was a regular Euro-Anatolian Neolithic farmer lineage but at some point had a tremendous expansion with Thracians and other ethnic groups. One similar example is the Germanic I1 and the Slavic young branch I2a1. They are much more smaller examples in other haplogroups and linguistic families also. One of most unusual examples are probably the R1b-V88 in Chadic speakers, the J2a2-PH1795 branch related to Turkic family and the J2b2 in Austro Asiatic speaking group in India.
In Armenia we also have haplotypes that are almost certainly related to Armenian migrations and expansions.
For example the Hamshen Armenian Y DNA haplogroups. The G1 and the subbranch of J2-M67>Z500.
Both those haplotypes are Middle Age founder effects. And there is little doubt that the founding fathers of those lineages were Armenians. Which means that large majority of Hamshen Armenian males have an Armenian origin and are not local assimilated people like occasionally You can read in the Internet.
According the Balanovsky study this two haplotypes make more than 60 percent of Hamshen gene pool. Other minor haplotypes also are probably present there but more data is needed.
Based on the current data G1 is almost certainly from the south. But the case of J2 is more uncertain. In any case based on the autosomes medieval Amatuni migration was almost certainly not the first migration from historic Armenia to Pontic region. It's well visible that Pontic region has a significant ancestry of Central farmers type different from Anatolian Neolithic and the CHG. All along the Black sea those components create a perfect cline. Where CHG reachs the highest level in Svans. The Central farmer in Hamshens and the Anatolian Neo in ancient Samsun region.This obviously means migrations from south to Pontic region which are not exclusively related to medieval Amatuni migrations. Other possible ethnic groups that could have moved from historic Armenia to that region are the Armenochalybes mentioned by Pliny and Chaldaes (Khalitu in Urartian, Խաղտիք) which were living initially in more southern regions. Probably in more ancient times Neolithic and Chalcolithic groups also.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Kur-Araxian samples from modern Armenia

 Kur-Araxian samples from modern Armenia modeled by Nareg Asatrian with qpadm. All models have p value higher than 0.05. It's evident that there was a substructure in the autosomes which could indicate different languages. One interesting subject for the future would be to try to find a correlation between burial rites and genes.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Urartu and the Armenian nation

 Urartu and the Armenian nation

Urartu was a centralized and powerful kingdom that was capable to rival the main power of that period, the Assyrian kingdom. Quite extreme and various opinions are expressed about the Urartu's relation to Armenia and Armenians.
I will not discuss now the usual arguments, but rather will look on this subject from the perspective of nation formation. For this purpose let's see some examples how well known nations formed.
French nation speaks a Roman language that they inherited from Roman empire. But we can't say that in Roman empire there were French people. When Western Roman empire collapsed a new strong Frankish kingdom formed in Europe. Franks were a German speaking tribe. Later their kingdom was divided into three parties and one of them became the kingdom of France, where French nation formed.
In medieval period Germany was divided into dozens of kingdoms. In 19th century the Prussian kingdom ruled by a Germanic dinasty who had a strong army started to unite Germany into one state. The name Prussia was derived from Old Prussians who were not a Germanic people but a Baltic people like Litvans and Latvians Today Old Prussian language is extinct. Germanic tribes were living in modern Germany since the Iron Age but only recently a German nation formed. Other German nations formed also based on their respective states. Austrians, Dutch people who's name has common origin with Deutch (German), Danes and others.
All Slavic people were speaking the same mutually intelligible language 1400 years ago. Yet they didn't transform into one nation. Today there are many Slavic nations that formed from different states. Russians for example derive their name from a Scandinavian/Germanic tribe Rus' who created the Kievian Rus' state. After the fragmentation of that state a new Moscow Principality formed ruled by a branch of Rurikids. Recent paleogenetic studies confirmed that Rurikids the ruling dinasty of Kievian Rus' had the N haplogroup typical to Sweden with deep roots from Uralic speakers.
Another example is the Chinese who call themselves and their language Han, from a dinasty that united both Sinitic and non Sinitic people into one state known as China today.
I can enumerate numerous examples how nations formed and in all cases we will notice a crucial role of a centralized state. This by the way is not something new. It's more or less what social constructionism is saying about the emergence of various social constructs, the nation being one of them.
Returning back to Armenian nation fornation it's obvious that we must differentiate the origin of the language and the origin of a nation. It's practically proven now that Armenian language was spoken in historic Armenia since the Middle Bronze Age (~4500 years ago). And Etiuni is the one of best candidate for linguistic ancestor of old Grabar, even though other candidates can't be ruled out at this stage. Recently a notorious scholar David Anthony also adhered to that idea. But the presence of language speakers do not automatically mean emergence of a nation(s). I use the plurial because there are many examples that one linguistic group creates multiple nations.
From this perspective it's self evident that it was the Urartu that leads the foundation of Armenian nation by creating a centralized kingdom with homogenous rules which united many different tribes and polities. Here a citation from our work (Petrosyan & Palyan 2023)
"" The unified language connecting the different regions of the Kingdom of Van became the Armenian, the speakers of which should have been present in the highlands since the Middle Bronze Age.""
There is simply no other other candidate for this role in the history of Armenia. Even if we assume that Yervanduni seized the power before the conquest of Armenia by Cyrus in 547BC, even in that case there is still very short time to create a some kind meaningfull state, that would become the basis of the Armina satrapy in Achaemenid Empire. Another hypothetic possibility is that the legendary Paruyr Skayordi created a relatively strong kingdom centered on Etiuni at the end of 7th century BC, but its somewhat unlikely that it would have the same name as Urartu. Unless off course it enlarged so much to be perceived as a political successor of Urartu.
In any case the main reason why Persians recognized most of Armenia as a one satrapy was the memory of Urartu kingdom in that lands. Persians were obviously aware of Urartu because it attacked them many time. So it's natural that they would create a satrapy known as Urashtu/Urartu in Babilonian. This satrapy permitted to most Armenians to continue to live in the same political entity which further cristalised the Armenian self identification. If not the Urartu it's quite possible that there would be other satrapies with different borders and names.
As for the term Armina in Persian. There are two possibilities. Either Persians were using that term since 8-7th century BC, which would mean that Armina refers to the genuine Urartu kingdom. This possibility is very realistic because there are other examples when Persians used alternative names for a well known polities. Such as Sparda instead of Lydia. Katpatuka instead of Tabal. Huja/Hujiya instead of Elam. Modern Cappadocia and Khuzistan are derived from Katpatuka and Huja respectively. Another possibility is that Armina refers to another kingdom that formed immediately after the Urartu in the same territory. This latter scenario is very unlikely given the short timespan and the fact that Babilonians would be aware about the new kingdom, and will not use the same name.
In conclusion the modern exonym of Armenians is derived from the Urartu state that united the highlands in to one state, which itself triggered a processus of Armenian nation formation. A processus which continued later also and in Hellenistic era we have the mention of Strabo who says that the whole country was speaking the same Armenian language. As for the origins of ruling class of Urartu and the language used in the cuneiform inscription, they are off course interesting and important subjects. But different opinions on those subjects can't affect the veracity of this conclusion.
PS Relevant links are in comments. I will add also the paper of A. Petrosyan about the possible origins of the term Armenia

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Tarim basin mummies represents a group of ancient mysterious populations that lived in north west of China

 Tarim basin mummies represents a group of ancient mysterious populations that lived in north west of China. They were pastoralists ( ~2000-100BC), and had a peculiar culture. Mummification was natural rather than hand made. The most surprising are their phenotypes, which was predominantly Caucasoid ( or Europoid ). Some mummies from later periods had Mongoloid admixture but they were found from more eastern regions. See the map for the location.

Mummies from the site Xiaohe were tested and it turn out that they had predominantly ANE autosomes. ANE stands for "Ancient North Eurasians". An abbreviation for a large extinct Caucasoid race population that lived in Paleolithic Central Asia and Siberia, from the Ural river to Amur river, except the Far East coastal regions of Pacific, before the expansion of Mongoloid East Asians. ANE people had predominantly the Q1 haplogroup but occasionally R1 was found among them also.
Those tested Xiaohe mummies had R1b from a basal branch so it is important to localise their initial homeland. The model below shows that the most preferred source of ancestry for Xiahoe mummies is from Tyumen HG which is from Kazakh- Russian border. While the second most important source is from Tajikistan hunters-gatherers marked as TTK. They don't have any East Asian ancestry, besides what is already is present in Tyumen HG which is linked to so called Western Siberian hunter gatherers, WSHG. This data means that the most likely homeland of Tarim mummies was in Central Asia.
Apparently in Central Asia they learned the pastoralism from more southern farmers and moved to Tarim basin. Common origins with an R1b found in Uzbekistan farmers (BMAC) also supports the idea that they were from Central Asia rather than Eastern Siberia.
Their ethnicity is unknown but they were not Indo-European for sure. IE Tocharians settled there with Yamnaya derived cultures creating the local Chemurchek culture which was just in the north of Xiahoe. The Tocharian autosomes are quite different but ironically Tocharians also had the R1b haplogroup from another branch.
In conclusion the theory positing the R1 homeland in East Siberia do not find support by this data.
The more realistic assumption is the Eastern European homeland of R1 were the highest diversity of ancient R1 branches is found. Another argument for Europe is that EHG has a strong association with R1. Note that Tyumen HG himself do have some amount of EHG, so the presence of R1b there do not contradict to this claim. The presence of old R1b in Paleolithic Italy in WHG context also supports the Eastern Europe as the place were R1 bifurcated and differentiated into many branches. As for the common ancestor of R1 and R2 the current best candidate is the Central Asia, Eastern Caspian sea basin.
More data will clarify this question in the future I have the feeling that we will hear some surprising news about the ANE and R1 origins stories in the coming years.

Monday, November 6, 2023

A Chinese study on bread wheat DNA shows that the initial homeland of domesticated wheat was in South West of Caspian.

 A Chinese study on bread wheat DNA shows that the initial homeland of domesticated wheat was in South West of Caspian. This is the Chinese way to pinpoint the region of historic Armenia. Large number of wheat specimens were taken from Turkey also from South Caucasus, Iran and Iraq.

Hundred years ago the Russian scientist Vavilov proposed the same theory. Over time others also noted that scenario and now genetics proves it correct.
The oldest sites were farming started are near the Diyarbekir/Portasar/Gobekle tepe region, so it's not surprising that the wheat used there was from the neighbourhood.
Prior that another DNA paper has found a similar result for the barley.
Notice rice and millet were domesticated in China but not the wheat which was introduced there by Steppe pastoralists.
Deep knowledge of crop biodiversity is essential to improving global food security. Despite bread wheat serving as a keystone crop worldwide, the population history of bread wheat and its relatives, both cultivated and wild, remains elusive. By analysing whole-genome sequences of 795 wheat accessions, we found that bread wheat originated from the southwest coast of the Caspian Sea and underwent a slow speciation process, lasting ~3,300 yr owing to persistent gene flow from its relatives. Soon after, bread wheat spread across Eurasia and reached Europe, South Asia and East Asia ~7,000 to ~5,000 yr ago, shaping a diversified but occasionally convergent adaptive landscape in novel environments. By contrast, the cultivated relatives of bread wheat experienced a population decline by ~82% over the past ~2,000 yr due to the food choice shift of humans. Further biogeographical modelling predicted a continued population shrinking of many bread wheat relatives in the coming decades because of their vulnerability to the changing climate. These findings will guide future efforts in protecting and utilizing wheat biodiversity to enhance global wheat production.