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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Indo-Iranian influence on West Uralic through the Catacomb culture


In the recent Linderholm et al. (2020), I preferred to interpret the finding of R1b-P310* among late niche (catacomb) grave groups of Lesser Poland as derived from Late PIE – Late Uralic contacts, through a much earlier intrusion of late Repin/early Yamnaya chieftains among Late Trypillians.

This is one of the few aspects of the books where I tried to offer my own contribution to the field, by combining the Indo-Uralic concept (which supports a distinct evolution of laryngeals for PIE and PU) with a modified, ‘layered’ use of Koivulehto’s controversial and irregular PIE laryngeal borrowing as PU … Read the rest “Indo-Iranian influence on West Uralic through the Catacomb culture”

Yekaterinovsky Cape, a link between the Samara culture and early Khvalynsk


We already had conflicting information about the elite individual from the Yekaterinovsky Cape and the materials of his grave, which seemed quite old:

For the burial of 45 in the laboratory of the University of Pennsylvania, a 14C date was obtained: PSUAMS-2880 (Sample ID 16068)30 kDa gelatin Russia. 12, Ekaterinovka Grave 45 14C age (BP) 6325 ± 25 δ 13C (‰) –23.6 δ15 N (‰) 14.5. The results of dating suggest chronological proximity with typologically close materials from Yasinovatsky and Nikolsky burial grounds (Telegini et al. 2001: 126). The date obtained also precedes the existing dates

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The genetic and cultural barrier of the Pontic-Caspian steppe – forest-steppe ecotone


We know that the Caucasus Mountains formed a persistent prehistoric barrier to cultural and population movements. Nevertheless, an even more persistent frontier to population movements in Europe, especially since the Neolithic, is the Pontic-Caspian steppe – forest-steppe ecotone.

Like the Caucasus, this barrier could certainly be crossed, and peoples and cultures could permeate in both directions, but there have been no massive migrations through it. The main connection between both regions (steppe vs. forest-steppe/forest zone) was probably through its eastern part, through the Samara region in the Middle Volga.

The chances of population expansions crossing this natural … Read the rest “The genetic and cultural barrier of the Pontic-Caspian steppe – forest-steppe ecotone”

“Steppe ancestry” step by step: Khvalynsk, Sredni Stog, Repin, Yamna, Corded Ware


Wang et al. (2018) is obviously a game changer in many aspects. I have already written about the upcoming Yamna Hungary samples, about the new Steppe_Eneolithic and Caucasus Eneolithic keystones, and about the upcoming Greece Neolithic samples with steppe ancestry.

An interesting aspect of the paper, hidden among so many relevant details, is a clearer picture of how the so-called Yamnaya or steppe ancestry evolved from Samara hunter-gatherers to Yamna nomadic pastoralists, and how this ancestry appeared among Proto-Corded Ware populations.

Please note: arrows of “ancestry movement” in the following PCAs do not necessarily represent physical Read the rest ““Steppe ancestry” step by step: Khvalynsk, Sredni Stog, Repin, Yamna, Corded Ware”

Dzudzuana, Sidelkino, and the Caucasus contribution to the Pontic-Caspian steppe


It has been known for a long time that the Caucasus must have hosted many (at least partially) isolated populations, probably helped by geographical boundaries, setting it apart from open Eurasian areas.

David Reich writes in his book the following about India:

The genetic data told a clear story. Around a third of Indian groups experienced population bottlenecks as strong or stronger than the ones that occurred among Finns or Ashkenazi Jews. We later confirmed this finding in an even larger dataset that we collected working with Thangaraj: genetic data from more than 250 jati groups spread throughout India (…)

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Corded Ware—Uralic (I): Differences and similarities with Yamna


This is the first of four posts on the Corded Ware—Uralic identification:

I was reading The Bronze Age Landscape in the Russian Steppes: The Samara Valley Project (2016), and I was really surprised to find the following excerpt by David W. Anthony:

The Samara Valley links the central steppes with the western steppes and is a north-south ecotone between the pastoral

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Palaeolithic Caucasus samples reveal the most important component of West Eurasians


Preprint Paleolithic DNA from the Caucasus reveals core of West Eurasian ancestry, by Lazaridis et al. bioRxiv (2018).

Interesting excerpts:

We analyzed teeth from two individuals 63 recovered from Dzudzuana Cave, Southern Caucasus, from an archaeological layer previously dated to ~27-24kya (…). Both individuals had mitochondrial DNA sequences (U6 and N) that are consistent with deriving from lineages that are rare in the Caucasus or Europe today. The two individuals were genetically similar to each other, consistent with belonging to the same population and we thus analyze them jointly.

(…) our results prove that the European affinity of

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Paleoenvironment in mid- to late Holocene in the Cis-Ural steppes, and Epigravettian in Eastern Europe

Dynamics of paleoenvironments in the Cis-Ural steppes during the mid- to late Holocene, by Khokhlova, Morgunova, Khokhlov, and Golyeva, Quaternary Research (2018), 1–15.

Interesting excerpts:

About the studied site

The Turganik settlement in the Orenburg Region constitutes part of the so-called Ivanovo microregion of cultural heritage monuments, along with the Mesolithic Starotokskaya site; an Ivanovskoye multi-layered settlement (Neolithic, Eneolithic [or Chalcolithic], Late Bronze Age); Toksky I and Toksky II settlements attributed to the Late Bronze Age (the Timber-Grave archaeological culture); an Ivanovsky ground burial dated to the Eneolithic; and the Ivanovsky kurgan cemetery of the Early Iron Age

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