Proto-Uralic Homeland (VIII): Earliest External Contacts


This post is part of a draft on palaeolinguistics and the Proto-Uralic homeland. See below for the color code of protoforms.

14. Earliest PU ~ PIE contacts

14.1. Indo-Uralic?

The most reliable correspondences to propose an Indo-Uralic phylum come from basic morphological comparisons. Some of the most frequently mentioned ones include (e.g. Čop 1975, Kortlandt 2002, Bjørn 2019, or Lubotsky 2019):

  • Nominal endings:
  • PU *-Ø ~ PIA *-Ø (in neuter athematic nouns).
  • PU *-m ~ PIA *-m.
  • PU dual *-ki(-) ~ PIA nom.-acc.du. *-h₁.
  • PU abl. *-tA ~ PIA *-es/*-os/*-s.
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Palaeolinguistics: The Homeland Problem


The practice of making inferences about the cultures of language users on the evidence of reconstructed languages is called linguistic palaeontology. These inferences may concern the material culture and geographic location of speakers as well as their social relations, mythology, and beliefs – the notion of ‘archaeological culture’ is used to capture both material culture and behaviour (Mallory 2020).

Proto-Uralic Homeland

This is the introductory post for my draft on the Proto-Uralic Homeland, which I have divided into eight pieces according to semantic fields or chronology, or both. During the following week, you will have the … Read the rest “Palaeolinguistics: The Homeland Problem”

Longobards from Scandinavia, and the “Ural-Altaic” Árpád lineage


The Family Tree DNA R&D team formed by Göran Runfeldt and Michael Sager has reported detailed Y-SNPs of sampled Longobards from the open access paper Understanding 6th-century barbarian social organization and migration through paleogenomics, by Amorim et al. Nat. Commun. (2020). From the abstract:

We obtained ancient genomic DNA from 63 samples from two cemeteries (from Hungary and Northern Italy) that have been previously associated with the Longobards, a barbarian people that ruled large parts of Italy for over 200 years after invading from Pannonia in 568 CE. Our dense cemetery-based sampling revealed that each cemetery was primarily organized

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European hydrotoponymy (VIII): Meshchera, a Permian wedge between Volga Finns?


On the ethnolinguistic origin of the Meshchera, Pauli Rahkonen had an interesting proposal that might eventually be tested with Bronze Age and Iron Age DNA samples from North-East Europe: The Linguistic Background of the Ancient Meshchera Tribe and Principal Areas of Settlement, FUF (2009) 60:160-200.

NOTE. The paper is included in his PhD Dissertation, South-eastern contact area of Finnic languages in the light of onomastics (2013).

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine, minor changes for clarity)

The ethnonym Meshchera [Мещёра] is not found in such very early Russian chronicles as Povest’ vremennyh let [“Nestor’s Chronicle”] (PSRL 1965), first appearing in

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Neolithic spread of “Eurasian” Lactase Persistence among Saharan pastoralists


New paper (behind paywall) Sahelian pastoralism from the perspective of variants associated with lactase persistence, by Priehodová et al. Am J Phys Anthropol (2020) e24116.

Interesting excerpts from the discussion (emphasis mine, minor modifications for clarity):

Our investigation of LP variant frequencies revealed new and interesting results related to the origins of pastoralism and subsequent gene flow between pastoralists and farmers in the Sahel/Savannah belt of Africa.

  • We observed a clear distinction between regions west and east of Lake Chad: while variant −13910*T prevails in the western Sahel, where we found it only in pastoralists such as the Fulani,
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Xiongnu Y-DNA connects Huns & Avars to Scytho-Siberians


Recent paper (behind paywall) Genetic evidence suggests a sense of family, parity and conquest in the Xiongnu Iron Age nomads of Mongolia, by Keyser, Zvénigorosky, Gonzalez, et al. Human Genetics (2020).

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

Site and bodies

The Tamir Ulaan Khoshuu (TUK) cemetery is located near the confluence of the Tamir River and the Orkhon River in the Arkhangai Aimag (Central Mongolia), about four hundred kilometers west of the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar. It encompasses an area of 22 hectares located on a prominent granitic outcrop and comprises a total of 397 graves, delimited by stone circles. (…)

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Basic framework of language contact-induced change


The standard textbook for studying language contact, as far as I know, was Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics, by Sarah Grey Thomason & Terrence Kaufman, UCP (1991, c1988). The reader will surely recognize many of this text’s proposals of language contacts in my books.

Posts of the Language Contact series (reverse chronology):

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N-Z1936 thrived around the Urals in the Middle Ages


New preprint Early Medieval Genetic Data from Ural Region Evaluated in the Light of Archaeological Evidence of Ancient Hungarians, by Csaky et al. bioRxiv (2020).

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

Based on linguistic evidences, the Hungarian language, belonging to the Ugric branch of the Uralic language family, was developed at the eastern side of Ural Mountains between 1000-500 BC. According to the written and linguistic sources and archaeological arguments, after the 6th century AD, part of the predecessors of Hungarians moved to the Western Urals (Cis-Ural region) from their ancient homeland. Around the first third of 9th century

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Demic vs. cultural diffusion and patrilineal Megalithic societies


Recent paper A dynastic elite in monumental Neolithic society, by Cassidy et al. Nature (2020) 582:384–388.

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

Neolithic Admixture

We sampled remains from all of the major Irish Neolithic funerary traditions: court tombs, portal tombs, passage tombs, Linkardstown-type burials and natural sites. Within this dataset, the earliest Neolithic human remains from the island—interred at Poulnabrone portal tomb14—are of majority ‘Early_Farmer’ ancestry (as defined by ADMIXTURE modelling), and show no evidence of inbreeding, which implies that, from the very onset, agriculture was accompanied by large-scale maritime colonization. Our ADMIXTURE and ChromoPainter analyses do not distinguish between

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