Italo-Venetic peoples related patrilineally to Terramare elites

Another interesting finding from Human auditory ossicles as an alternative optimal source of ancient DNA, by Sirak et al. (2020):

A sample classified as Italy Middle Bronze Age from Olmo di Nogara (ca. 1400-1200 BC), who is R1b-L51 (xP311, xL52, xL151), CTS6889+ (T->C, 1 read). See YFull’s corresponding R-S1161.

This sample probably belongs to individual 309 (35-45 yo), and the female sampled to 323 (30-40 yo), both referenced as from the following study:

Canci A, Contursi D, Fornaciari G. 2005. La necropoli dell’età del bronzo di Olmo di Nogara (Verona): primi risultati dello studio paleopatologico. La necropoli dell’età del Bronzo all’Olmo di Nogara, in Memorie del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Verona 8, 495-501.

His subclade connects this male patrilineally with the sampled Volscian from Boville Ernica, of basal subclade R1b-Z2118*, and both (through their TMRCA ca. 2800 BC) to the Bell Beaker expansion or later associated movements around the Alps representing expanding Proto-Italo-Venetic peoples.

EDIT (3 March 2020): It is also found in the Villamar Necropolis during the Punic period in Sardinia (ca. 824-796 BC).

Another related sample comes from Imperial Rome, Via Paisiello (Necropoli Salaria), of hg. R1b-Z2116, and a medieval Roman from Villa Magna, of the same subclade R1b-S1161.

Fig. 1: Map of Veneto region with sampled sites (elaboration by L. Zamboni). Image from Saracino et al. (2014).


About this Middle to Late Bronze Age site, from Nicolis (2013) (emphasis mine):

There is a clear distinction between the funerary rites at pile-dwelling/Terramara sites in the MBA and LBA in Emilia and eastern Lombardy, where cremation was used exclusively, and those in Veneto, where there was a progressive adoption of inhumation and the coexistence of the two rites within the same cemetery (Cardarelli and Tirabassi 1997; De Marinis and Salzani 1997; Salzani 2005).

For the Terramara culture the evidence for burial rites falls in a late phase of the MBA and LBA, whereas there is none for the preceding period. The remains of the dead were placed in urns, generally covered with a bowl and placed in small shallow pits, without burnt earth. Sometimes the remains of more than one individual were placed in the urn, usually one adult and one young child. The presence of grave goods is relatively rare and limited to a few ornaments or clothing attachments (pins, fibulae, etcetera).

One area that has provided important evidence for burial rites in the MBA and LBA is the Verona plain between the Adige and the Mincio. Seven large cemeteries have been excavated more or less fully: Povegliano, Bovolone, Olmo di Nogara, La Vallona di Ostiglia, Castello del Tartaro, Franzine Nuove, and Scalvinetto. Some of them must have belonged to settlements known from surface finds or excavation: Scalvinetto is linked to the settlement of Fondo Paviani, Franzine Nuove to Fabbrica dei Soci, and Povegliano to the settlement at Muraiola. A total of two thousand tombs is known. The cemeteries witnessed the use of both types of ritual, with the proportion of inhumations and cremations being quite variable. As in Terramara burial sites, the remains of cremated bodies, without grave goods, were placed in urns, usually covered with a bowl and placed in pits without burnt earth. In the case of inhumations, the bodies were placed in flat graves, usually in a supine position.

Details of the swords found in Tomb 31, Tomb 24, and Tomb 410 of the Middle Bronze Age cemetery of Olmo di Nogara (Verona). Source: Salzani 2005.

The Olmo di Nogara cemetery is the oldest and the one that has supplied the fullest information. It must have covered an area of around 14,000 sq m. With its 456 inhumation tombs and 61 cremation tombs it not only represents a significant demographic sample for analysis, representing an important segment of the population in the MBA and LBA on the Verona plain, but through the burial rite it also allows analysis of the social structure. In no fewer than 43 burial tombs a sword was found as one of the funerary objects, often associated with a dagger (11 out of 16 cases). This demonstrates that the ‘sword carrier’ was a figure of considerable social significance for the groups making use of the Nogara cemetery. It also suggests that the presence of a sword in some burials was designed to illustrate, through a mechanism linked to the collective representation of death, the fact that the deceased belonged to an elite social group associated with warriors, within which the transmission of rank and power must have been hereditary. The female counterparts in this elite group would seem to be represented in the cemetery by tombs with grave goods including ornaments and exotic materials such as amber. The fact that most of the swords found in Nogara are pointed piercing swords suitable for close combat should be stressed, but some are slashing swords, probably also used for combat from chariots or horseback. Anthropological analysis has highlighted cut marks produced by blows made with pointed metal weapons on some males, clear evidence of social dynamics that provided for violence and armed conflict. Indicators of physical stress found on bones from some of the ‘sword carriers’ are compatible with bareback horse riding and therefore suggest the likely use of horses as mounts in this area (Salzani 2005).

In the rest of northern Italy few aspects appear to offer marked contrasts to the funerary rites in the MBA and LBA in Terramare and the Po Valley. (…)

Continue reading more on recently published early Etruscan and Italic peoples by Antonio et al. (2019) in:

R1b-L23-rich Bell Beaker-derived Italic peoples from the West vs. Etruscans from the East.

For other SNP inferences for samples in Sirak et al. (2020), including another N1c close to Lake Baikal, see the All Ancient DNA Dataset.

Can’t ask for more variety from one paper!

See also

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