Vikings, Vikings, Vikings! Hordes of high quality ancient DNA


Recent paper (behind paywall) Population genomics of the Viking world, by Margaryan et al. Nature (2020), containing almost exactly the same information as its bioRxiv preprint.

I have used Y-SNP inferences recently reported by FTDNA (see below) to update my Ancient DNA Dataset and the ArcGIS Online Map, and also to examine the chronological and geographical evolution of Y-DNA (alone and in combination with ancestry).

Sections of this post:

  1. Iron Age to Medieval Y-DNA
  2. Iron Age to Medieval Ancestry
  3. Iron Age to Medieval Y-DNA + Ancestry
  4. FTDNA’s big public debut

I. Iron Age to Medieval

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Origin of DOM2 closing in on the Pontic-Caspian steppes


Open access Ancient DNA shows domestic horses were introduced in the southern Caucasus and Anatolia during the Bronze Age by Guimaraes et al. Sci Adv. (2020) Vol. 6, no. 38, eabb0030.

Here is a good summary:

Our study of ancient equid remains from Anatolia and the southern Caucasus covering ~9000 years of the Holocene analyzed the dynamics over time of mitochondrial lineages and tested the hypothesis that Anatolia was a center of horse domestication. We were able to identify mitotypes characteristic of local Anatolian wild horses, which were regularly exploited in the early and middle Holocene. However, we identified a

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West Yamnaya settlers like Early Bell Beakers: R1b-P310 and R1b-Z2103


Informal report by Bulgarian archaeologist Svetoslav Stamov in 7/8 TV, from data collected by the Reich Lab for their future paper on South-Eastern Europe.

As can be seen from the TV captions below, this is the earliest R1b-P310 from Yamnaya or Yamnaya-related individuals in Early Bronze Age contexts from Bulgaria. In fact, its appearance together with a R1b-Z2103 lineage (and another undefined R1b-M269) shows once again that the earliest R1b-L23 bottlenecks were associated with Proto-Indo-Europeans.

Lacking a precise periodization, location, or proper cultural context in the spreadsheet, it is impossible to know whether they belong to Khvalynsk-related cultures … Read the rest “West Yamnaya settlers like Early Bell Beakers: R1b-P310 and R1b-Z2103”

“Local” Tollense Valley warriors linked to Germanic peoples


Recently published paper Genomic Data from an Ancient European Battlefield Indicates On-Going Strong Selection on a Genomic Region Associated with Lactase Persistence Over the Last 3,000 Years, by Burger et al., submitted to Current Biology, available at CellPress SneakPeek.

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

Tollense sample shows no structure

Multiple lines of evidence point to little or no genetic structure in the population from which the Tollense individuals were sampled. First, all individuals fall within the range of Central and northern European variation when projected onto a principle component analysis (PCA) trained on modern samples and their spread matches that

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Tug of war between Balto-Slavic and West Uralic (II)


It is firmly established since (at least) the 1980s that Balto-Slavic, Baltic and Slavic show a strong Uralic substrate, even though many details are still the subject of ongoing controversies. Here is how the Baltic linguistic area was described in Thomason’s Language Contact (2001):

Overall, the Baltic area has the same characteristics as the Balkan area: areal linguistic features are distributed differentially among the languages, and the features themselves vary in details of their structure. As for the sources of the Baltic features, some can be traced to Uralic and some to Indo-European, especially Germanic. The Indo-European languages most

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RISE1.SG, R1b from Poland CWC, a likely mislabelled Balto-Slav


When I started ruminating in 2016 over the apparent differences between populations that kept the two-velar distinction of Indo-Tocharian, and the only two unrelated dialectal groups that showed a strong satemization trend, I believed that – much like in modern times – there would be no clear-cut division in terms of ancestry or Y-DNA haplogroups between neighbouring forest-steppe and steppe populations.

The answer to the question of interacting ethnolinguistic groups had to lie, as everything else, on the investigation of fine-scale population movements that must have put Uralic-speaking peoples as the main substratum of Balto-Slavic and Indo-Iranian.

Still, … Read the rest “RISE1.SG, R1b from Poland CWC, a likely mislabelled Balto-Slav”

R1a-Z93-rich Classical CWC-like Fatyanovo replaced Volosovo


Open access Genetic ancestry changes in Stone to Bronze Age transition in the East European plain, by Saag et al. bioRxiv (2020).

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

Y-DNA chromosome haplogroup

(…) the Bronze Age Fatyanovo Culture individuals [] maternal (subclades of mtDNA hg U5, U4, U2e, H, T, W, J, K, I and N1a) and paternal (chrY hg R1a-M417) lineages were ones characteristic of CWC individuals elsewhere in Europe. Interestingly, in all individuals for which the chrY hg could be determined with more depth (n=6), it was R1a2-Z93, a lineage now spread in Central and South Asia, rather than the

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Slavs in the Making – History, Linguistics and Archaeology


Florin Curta strikes again with the early release of an unpublished book, Slavs in the Making. History, Linguistics and Archaeology in Eastern Europe (ca. 500 – ca. 700), Routledge (2021), freely available now at

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine, minor stylistic changes for clarity):


Much has been made of the supposed conservatism of the Slavic ceramic repertoire. In reality, the fossilization of pottery forms and, occasionally, patterns of decoration, are typically indications of maintaining pottery-making and its appearance “as remembered.” As such, conservatism (leading to the treatment of pots as heirlooms, a material reminiscence of life

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