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

Read the rest “Vikings, Vikings, Vikings! Hordes of high quality ancient DNA”

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

Read the rest “Tug of war between Balto-Slavic and West Uralic (II)”

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

Read the rest “R1a-Z93-rich Classical CWC-like Fatyanovo replaced Volosovo”

De-Neolithisation of Corded Ware groups in the Eastern Baltic


New paper (behind paywall), Fishers of the Corded Ware culture in the Eastern Baltic, by Piličiauskas et al. Acta Archaeologica (2020) 91(1):95-120.

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):


Traditionally the people of the Corded Ware culture (hereafter CWC) were considered mobile stock breeders who brought animal husbandry into the eastern Baltic, ca. 2800-2400 cal BC; a viewpoint substantiated by reconstructed settlement patterns and a lack of substantial structures at CWC sites, which despite being located in various environments have largely yielded little material culture. Indeed, the zooarchaeological evidence alongside the stable isotope data obtained from human bone collagen have generally

Read the rest “De-Neolithisation of Corded Ware groups in the Eastern Baltic”

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”

Fully Steppe-like Proto-Corded Ware Late Trypillians


The genotypes from Human auditory ossicles as an alternative optimal source of ancient DNA, by Sirak et al. Genome Res. (2020), have been finally published by the Reich Lab, so we can get a sneak peek into what’s coming in future papers about the origins of R1a-rich Proto-Corded Ware and R1b-rich Italo-Venetic peoples.

NOTE. To avoid adding potential errors, I have merged the Reich Lab’s Curated Dataset (v. 42.4, March 1 2020) with these new samples before performing the qpAdm analyses. If you find something different with your files, you should probably check out this simple setting first. Read the rest “Fully Steppe-like Proto-Corded Ware Late Trypillians”

Earliest R1a-Z93…from Late Trypillia in the Podolian-Volhynian Upland!


Recently, the preprint by Sirak et al. biorXiv (2019), Human auditory ossicles as an alternative optimal source of ancient DNA, was published in Genome Res. (2020), and the corresponding samples were finally uploaded to ENA.

I have been trying to get my hands on sample GLAV_14, a male from the Late Eneolithic site Glăvăneştii Vechi, classified as Romania Bronze Age (ca. 3500-3000 BC), mtDNA T1a1, referenced as investigated first in the study:

Haas N, Maximilian K. 1958. Anthropological study of the human bones from graves with ochre from Glăvăneștii Vechi, Corlăteni and Stoicani Cetățuie. Soviet Anthropology 4,

Read the rest “Earliest R1a-Z93…from Late Trypillia in the Podolian-Volhynian Upland!”

Ancient phylogeography: spread of haplogroups R1b, R1a and N


The previous post showed the potential use of TreeToM to visualize ancient DNA samples in maps together with their Y-DNA phylogenetic trees. I have written Newick trees for Y-chromosome haplogroups R1b-L388 (encompassing R-V1636 and R-P297, which in turn split into R-M73 and R-M269), R1a, and N.

I have reviewed some of the BAM files from my previous bulk analyses with YLeaf v.2, to add information that I had not previously included in the All Ancient DNA Dataset, and which might be relevant to the proper depiction of phylogenetic trees; in particular, positive and negative SNPs potentially distinguishing archaicRead the rest “Ancient phylogeography: spread of haplogroups R1b, R1a and N”

Early Uralic – Indo-European contacts within Europe


One of the most interesting aspects for future linguistic research, boosted by the current knowledge in population genomics, is the influence of Uralic – most likely spread initially with Corded Ware peoples across northern Europe – on early Indo-European dialects.

Whereas studies on the potential Afroasiatic (or Semitic), Vasconic, Etruscan, or non-Indo-European in general abound for ancient and southern IE branches (see e.g. more on the NWIE substrate words), almost exclusively Uralicists have dealt with the long-term mutual influences between Indo-European and Uralic dialects, and often mostly from the Uralic side.… Read the rest “Early Uralic – Indo-European contacts within Europe”