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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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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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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Intense but irregular NWIE and Indo-Iranian contacts show Uralic disintegrated in the West


Open access PhD thesis Indo-Iranian borrowings in Uralic: Critical overview of sound substitutions and distribution criterion, by Sampsa Holopainen, University of Helsinki (2019), under the supervision of Forsberg, Saarikivi, and Kallio.

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

The gap between Russian and Western scholarship

Many scholars in the Soviet Union and later the Russian Federation also have researched this topic over the last five decades. Notably the eminent Eugene Helimski dealt with this topic in several articles: his 1992 article (republished in Helimski 2000) on the emergence of Uralic consonantal stems used Indo-Iranian and other Indo-European loans as key evidence, and

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Corded Ware ancestry in North Eurasia and the Uralic expansion


Now that it has become evident that Late Repin (i.e. Yamnaya/Afanasevo) ancestry was associated with the migration of R1b-L23-rich Late Proto-Indo-Europeans from the steppe in the second half of the the 4th millennium BC, there’s still the question of how R1a-rich Uralic speakers of Corded Ware ancestry expanded , and how they spread their languages throughout North Eurasia.

Modern North Eurasians

I have been collecting information from the supplementary data of the latest papers on modern and ancient North Eurasian peoples, including Jeong et al. (2019), Saag et al. (2019), Sikora et al. (2018), or … Read the rest “Corded Ware ancestry in North Eurasia and the Uralic expansion”

A Song of Sheep and Horses, revised edition, now available as printed books


As I said 6 months ago, 2019 is a tough year to write a blog, because this was going to be a complex regional election year and therefore a time of political promises, hence tenure offers too. Now the preliminary offers have been made, elections have passed, but the timing has slightly shifted toward 2020. So I may have the time, but not really any benefit of dedicating too much effort to the blog, and a lot of potential benefit of dedicating any time to evaluable scientific work.

On the other hand, I saw some potential benefit for … Read the rest “A Song of Sheep and Horses, revised edition, now available as printed books”

Genetic continuity among Uralic-speaking cultures in north-eastern Europe


The recent study of Estonian Late Bronze Age/Iron Age samples has shown, as expected, large genetic continuity of Corded Ware populations in the East Baltic area, where West Uralic is known to have been spoken since at least the Early Bronze Age.

The most interesting news was that, unexpectedly for many, the impact of “Siberian ancestry” (whatever that actually means) was small, slow, and gradual, with slight increases found up to the Middle Ages, compatible with multiple contact events in north-eastern Europe. Haplogroup N became prevalent among Finnic populations only through late bottlenecks, as research of modern … Read the rest “Genetic continuity among Uralic-speaking cultures in north-eastern Europe”

Iron Age bottleneck of the Proto-Fennic population in Estonia


Demographic data and figures derived from Estonian Iron Age graves, by Raili Allmäe, Papers on Anthropology (2018) 27(2).

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):


Inhumation and cremation burials were both common in Iron Age Estonia; however, the pattern which burials were prevalent has regional as well temporal peculiarities. In Estonia, cremation burials appear in the Late Bronze Age (1100–500 BC), for example, in stone-cist graves and ship graves, although inhumation is still characteristic of the period [28, 18]. Cremation burials have occasionally been found beneath the Late Bronze Age cists and the Early Iron Age (500 BC–450 AD) tarand graves

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Corded Ware—Uralic (II): Finno-Permic and the expansion of N-L392/Siberian ancestry


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

I read from time to time that “we have not sampled Uralic speakers yet”, and “we are waiting to see when Uralic-speaking peoples are sampled”. Are we, though?

Proto-language homelands are based on linguistic data, such as guesstimates for dialectal evolution, loanwords and phonetic changes for language contacts, toponymy … Read the rest “Corded Ware—Uralic (II): Finno-Permic and the expansion of N-L392/Siberian ancestry”