Another “Pre-Yamnaya” sample from the Northern Caucasus?


I have updated the Ancient DNA Dataset, including a lot of new information from – among other sources – the latest version of Reich Lab curated Dataset, now renamed Allen Ancient DNA Resource (AADR). This includes new columns:

  1. Object-ID: I am now using whenever possible the Master-ID; Version-ID for a quick identification of the ‘best’ sample to include in SmartPCA or ADMIXTURE runs; and Index as a key with a unique reference number for each sample. That should make for enough stable references for any external tool to use the data.
  2. mtDNA: Added mtDNA coverage
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Proto-Indo-Europeans: A family business


I have been updating the Ancient DNA Dataset with date estimates published in the recent preprint by Sedig, Olalde, Patterson & Reich bioRxiv (2020), and it had a reference to some interesting new samples from Khvalynsk, showing tight family connections.

Information below is taken from the preprint and from the latest version of the Reich Lab’s Allen Ancient DNA Resource (AADR). Information about the three published Khvalynsk samples is taken from Mathieson et al. Nature (2015) supplementary materials, and each ID features a different font color in the text below for clarity’s sake.

Khvalynsk Family A

I0434, … Read the rest “Proto-Indo-Europeans: A family business”

Interlinear Homer, Iliad 1:1-21 in Mycenaean & Indo-European


This is a Proto-Indo-European translation of the first lines of the first book I did some time ago. Fernando López-Menchero was kind enough to help with comments and corrections.

For relevant comments and alternative translations for each line, as well as other modern translations, see the Google Sheet.

NOTE. If you are interested in collaborating by editing the document, please contact me.

The structure of the interlinear texts below is as follows:

1. The Ancient Greek version is copied verbatim from Perseus Digital Library, including links to each word to facilitate immediate reference when necessary.
2. The … Read the rest “Interlinear Homer, Iliad 1:1-21 in Mycenaean & Indo-European”

A Late Proto-Indo-European self-learning language course


Fernando López-Menchero has just published the first part of his A Practical Guidebook for Modern Indo-European Explorers (2018).

It is a great resource to learn Late Proto-Indo-European as a modern language, from the most basic level up to an intermediate level (estimated B1–B2, depending on one’s previous background in Indo-European and classical languages).

Instead of working on unending details and discussions of the language reconstruction, it takes Late Proto-Indo-European as a learned, modern language that can be used for communication, so that people not used to study with university manuals on comparative grammar can learn almost everything necessary about PIE … Read the rest “A Late Proto-Indo-European self-learning language course”

On the origin of haplogroup R1b-L51 in late Repin / early Yamna settlers


A recent comment on the hypothetical Central European origin of PIE helped me remember that, when news appeared that R1b-L51 had been found in Khvalynsk ca. 4250-4000 BC, I began to think about alternative scenarios for the expansion of this haplogroup, with one of them including Central Europe.

Because, if YFull‘s (and Iain McDonald‘s) estimation of the split of R1b-L23 in L51 and Z2103 (ca. 4100 BC, TMRCA ca. 3700 BC) was wrong, by as much as the R1a-Z645 estimates proved wrong, and both subclades were older than expected, then maybe R1b-L51 was not part of … Read the rest “On the origin of haplogroup R1b-L51 in late Repin / early Yamna settlers”

About Scepters, Horses, and War: on Khvalynsk migrants in the Caucasus and the Danube


dergachev-scepters-khavlynsk-horsesAbout two months ago I stumbled upon a gem in archaeological studies related to Proto-Indo-Europeans, the book О скипетрах, о лошадях, о войне: этюды в защиту миграционной концепции М.Гимбутас (On sceptres, on horses, on war: Studies in defence of M. Gimbutas’ migration concepts), 2007, by V. A. Dergachev, from the Institute of Cultural Heritage of the Moldavian Republic.

Dergachev’s work dedicates 488 pages to a very specific Final Neolithic-Eneolithic period in the Pontic-Caspian steppe, and the most relevant parts of the book concern the nature and expansion of horses and horse domestication, horse-head scepters, and other horse-related symbologyRead the rest “About Scepters, Horses, and War: on Khvalynsk migrants in the Caucasus and the Danube”

Pre-Germanic born out of a Proto-Finnic substrate in Scandinavia


A commenter, Old Europe, drew my attention to the Uralic (Finnic-Saamic) substrate in Germanic proposed by Schrijver in Chapter V. Origins of Language Contact and the Origins of the Germanic Languages, Routledge (2014).

I wanted to share here some interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

NOTE. I have avoided many detailed linguistic discussions. You should read the whole chapter to check them out.

The origins of the Germanic subfamily of Indo-European cannot be understood without acknowledging its interactions with a language group that has been its long-time neighbour: the Finnic subgroup of the Uralic language family. Indo-European and Uralic are

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The new Scicomm’s warhorse is “CHG ancestry = PIE” and the Iranian homeland


Funny reports are popping up due to a recent article in New Scientist (behind paywall), World’s most-spoken languages may have arisen in ancient Iran, which echoes the controversial interpretations of Wang et al. (2018).

I have been waiting to read the printed edition, but that of May 26th doesn’t have the article in it, so it may be a web-only text.

Nevertheless, here are some excerpts about the PIE homeland from a news aggregator that caught my attention (emphasis mine):

The two proposed locations are divided by the Caucasus mountains, which are found between the Black

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Copenhagen group: Germanic and Balto-Slavic from Bell Beaker; Indo-Anatolian homeland in the Caucasus


Article of general knowledge in Der Spiegel, Invasion from the Steppe, with comments from Willerslev and Kristiansen, appeared roughly at the same time as the Damgaard et al. Nature (2018) and Science (2018) papers were published.

NOTE. You can read the article (in German) from Kristiansen’s account.

Excerpts translated from German (emphasis mine):

On the Y-DNA data

Particularly striking is the genetic signature from the steppe on the Y chromosome. From this the researchers conclude that the majority of migrants were males. Kristian Kristiansen, chief archaeologist in the Willerslev team, also has an idea of

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