Germanic runes in the Prague-Type Pottery culture


Recent paper (behind paywall) Runes from Lány (Czech Republic) – The oldest inscription among Slavs. A new standard for multidisciplinary analysis of runic bones by Macháček et al. J. Archaeol Sci (2021).

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

To date no archaeological find is generally accepted as evidence for a direct contact between Germanic tribes and Early Slavs in Central Europe (Brather, 2004). Here we report a novel archaeological find in support of a direct contact: a rune-inscribed fragment of a bone from the late 6th century found in a Slavic settlement. Runes are an alphabetic script, called fuþark,

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The importance of archaeology before population genomics


Recent paper First encounters in the north: cultural diversity and gene flow in Early Mesolithic Scandinavia, by Manninen et al. Antiquity (2021).

The authors criticize the model laid out in Günther et al. (2018), whereby the origin of the previously defined Mesolithic Scandinavian hunter-gatherer genetic group (SHG) was defined as an admixture between genetically defined WHG and EHG populations that migrated into Scandinavia from two separate Ice Age refugia: the south (WHG) and north (EHG). This dualistic model was further associated with two specific lithic blade technologies present in Early Mesolithic Scandinavia (Sørensen et al. 2013), as summarized … Read the rest “The importance of archaeology before population genomics”

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”

On Fatyanovo and the survival of R1a-Z93* among Mari-Permians


The recent preprint on ancient DNA from Veretye, Lyalovo/Volosovo and Fatyanovo from Saag et al. (2020) has been published in Science Advances Vol. 7, no. 4, eabd6535, and with it the BAM files.

Here are the Y-SNP calls from the files, following the FTDNA Haplotree standard, with Fatyanovo individuals in alphabetical order:

  • Veretye PES001 from Peschanitsa (ca. 10785–10626 calBC), mtDNA U4a1, Y-DNA R1aM459YP1301(pre-YP1272?), with 2 SNPs derived – YP1306 (T-C, 5 reads) and Y12474 (T-A, 6 reads) – and 46 SNPs ancestral at the YP1272 level. A sample with 5× coverage that
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The Last of the Single Gravers


The BAM files from Egfjord et al. (2021) are out, and Y-SNPs of two-year-old Nordic MN_LN/LN migrant Gjerrild 5 (ca. 2284-2035 calBC) were accurately reported, which means that the sample will need to be labelled R1b>L754>L389>(pre-?)V1636, since one derived read Y125110+ (A->G) in this and one ancestral in a Progress2 sample, PG2001, cannot be used to infer anything certain.

NOTE. It has one derived read (A-T) for FT3897 at the R1b>L754>L389>V1636>Y83069 level, but the other 8 SNPs ancestral, which is not really helpful to define a potential pre-Y83069 branch, given the doubts above. A possible relative could Read the rest “The Last of the Single Gravers”

Recent Yamnaya-related intrusion in a Denmark Late Neolithic burial


Open access Genomic Steppe ancestry in skeletons from the Neolithic Single Grave Culture in Denmark, by Egfjord et al. PLoS One (2021).

Relevant excerpts (emphasis mine, content under CC-BY):

Gjerrild stone cist

The Gjerrild stone cist in northern Djursland, eastern Jutland, is remarkable for containing the largest and best-preserved assemblage of SGC skeletons known from Denmark. From this follows a unique opportunity to obtain information on the genetic ancestry of people representing the SGC in Denmark. In the cultural history of Neolithic Denmark, northern Djursland is peculiar as this area lacks finds from the final TRB period but

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The complexities of 3rd millennium Steppe-related migrations


Open access paper Mobility and Social Change: Understanding the European Neolithic Period after the Archaeogenetic Revolution, by Martin Furholt, J. Archaeol. Res. (2021).

Content under CC-BY license. Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine, stylistic changes for clarity):

This detailed picture of Caucasian population history shows that the initial assertion in the 2015 papers, namely of a one-way migration from east to west, was a simplification supported by a variant of admixture analyses that featured Yamnaya as one unified genetic element (e.g., Haak et al. 2015, fig. 3), which led to calculations of Corded Ware individuals showing 75% Yamnaya ancestry. This

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Proto-Hungarian Homeland: East and West of the Urals?


The study of eastern Uralic branches is clearly underdeveloped relative to western ones, and in desperate need of a proper reassessment. This linguistic obscurity contrasts heavily with the decades-long tradition of categorically pinning ethnolinguistic labels (“Ugric” or “Hungarian”) to different prehistorical cultures by (post-)Soviet archaeology, and with the identification of Hungarian as Turkic continuing Turanist trends; 20th century papers showing one of both trends rarely if ever withstand basic scientific scrutiny.

The following is a combination of rewritten excerpts about Ugric in general and Hungarian in particular, as well as some other texts on the linguistic predecessor of the Old … Read the rest “Proto-Hungarian Homeland: East and West of the Urals?”

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
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