search this blog

Friday, August 19, 2016

Maybe first direct hints of Yamnaya-related gene flow into South Central Asia

Unfortunately, this is just an abstract for a presentation poster from the upcoming 6th DNA Polymorphisms in Human Populations conference in Paris. However, it might be important because, as far as I know, it's the first ancient DNA report supporting the idea that Bronze Age herders from the Eastern European steppe had a profound impact on the ancient populations of South Central Asia.

At the end of the Bronze Age, the proto-urban Oxus Civilisation in Southern Central Asia (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan) disappeared and was replaced by Iron Age Yaz Cultures. Environmental changes such as aridification and geopolitical reasons are called for to explain this cultural transition. However, evidences of settlements from Andronovo populations during the late Bronze Age suggest that this transition was associated with migrations from northern steppe populations. Indeed, palaeogenetic studies (Allentoft et al., 2015; Haak et al., 2015) have already shown that gene flow from Yamnaya steppe populations occurred in Europe and Altai at the end of the Neolithic, suggesting that the steppe inhabitants spoke indo-european langages.

To investigate the role of migrations in the Bronze Age/Iron Age transition in Southern Central Asia, we turned to palaeogenetic studies. DNA was extracted from 17 skeletons excavated in Ulug Depe (Turkmenistan) archaeological site. The hypervariable region I of the mitochondrial (mt) genome was sequenced for 6 individuals from the Bronze Age and 4 from the Iron Age.

Criteria of authentication for ancient DNA were met: experiments were done in a clean room dedicated to ancient DNA analysis, and blank DNA extraction and PCR controls were performed. Indeed, we observed DNA damages specific for ancient DNA and an inverse correlation between the efficiency of the PCR and the length of the amplified DNA fragment. Thus, we first evidenced the preservation of ancient DNA in Southern Central Asia. After sequencing and assignment of individuals to human mitochondrial haplotypes, a high diversity of haplotypes at Ulug Depe was observed. All the haplogroups found in Ulug Depe belong to modern western Eurasian populations.

Haplogroups shared between steppe populations and Ulug Depe were evidenced, suggesting gene flow between Southern Central Asia and the Steppe. Genetic data suggest a close relationship between Yamnaya related populations and Iron Age Ulug Depe population. However, no significant genetic discontinuity between Bronze and Iron Age was shown, that may be due to a limited sample dataset and calls for nuclear DNA analysis.

Monnereau A., Lhuillier, J., Bendezu-Sarmiento, J.,Bon, C., Palaeogenetic analysis of Bronze Age/Iron Age transition in Southern Central Asia, poster, 6th DNA Polymorphisms in Human Populations, Musee de l’Homme, Paris, 7-10 December, 2016

See also...

Pots were people in Bronze Age southern Central Asia too


Davidski said...

Another interesting abstract.

Genetic History of the Dutch population

ALTENA Eveline1, Risha Smeding1, Thirsa Kraaijenbrink1, Kristiaan van der Gaag1,2, Eileen Vaske1, Paul Reusink1, Anna Friedler1, Yoan Diekmann3, Mark G. Thomas3, Peter de Knijff1.

1 Forensic Laboratory for DNA Research, Dept. of Human Genetics, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands.

2 Current address: Dept. biologische sporen, Netherlands Forensic Insitute, Den Haag, the Netherlands.

3 Dept. of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, London, UK.

Although the Netherlands is a small country, previous studies indicated complex geographic patterns of genetic variation in the modern Dutch population. Based on archaeological and historical evidence, and the dynamic Dutch landscape, it is most likely that patterns of genetic variation in the modern population were primarily shaped since medieval time. A clear understanding of when and how the modern patterns emerged, however, requires genetic data from historic Dutch populations.

We analyzed several Dutch archaeological population samples from different locations and from a time range between the early medieval period and the post-medieval period. This collection of nearly 800 skeletons was examined for autosomal, Y-chromosomal and mitochondrial variation. The resulting dataset, together with comparable data from more than 2000 modern Dutch individuals, allows us to review our historical genetic past in detail, both in time and space. Finally, we test for population continuity by statistical modelling of frequency changes in mitochondrial and Y-chromosomal haplogroups.

Nirjhar007 said...

So finally we will have some dna from SC ASia . Can't wait , they seem to be preoccupied making conclusions, this is expected.

Davidski said...

You're still in massive denial, but it might be a good idea to start looking around for another hobby, because those Central and South Asian genomes are coming very soon.

Nirjhar007 said...

Denial? how?. By 1300 BC there were some Andronovan pre-scythians already around BMAC. By Iron age the relation is quite proven .

There is nothing to deny. However, they should have taken some Chalcolithic/ Copper age samples . That would have created some mental upset to guys like you , but we will come to that ...

Davidski said...

There will be genomes from Chalcolithic Central Asia, but it's already obvious that they'll be irrelevant to Eastern Europe.

Nirjhar007 said...

Oh they will be very relevant, you will see why.

Davidski said...

You're living in la la land.

Chad said...


You may want to re-read that. It's over.

Nirjhar007 said...

Oh yes they also speak of Genetic continuity from Bronze to Iron age , it would have been Chalcolithic to Iron age. But again the same one eyed approach , the prime paradigm is the Steppe theory .

Davidski said...

But of course they didn't say that there was continuity there from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age.

What they clearly said was they couldn't prove that there was a significant discontinuity with the limited data they had.

There may not have been a significant discontinuity in maternal lineages, since most of the migrants from the steppe were probably males. The point is that the Iron Age dataset shows links to Yamnaya.

Nirjhar007 said...

The continuity will be from Y-dna , that is vital . But also vital is the affinity with Yamnaya not Andronovo FYI.

Perhaps somewhat (I am not sure) like of Ulan IV.

I think sequencing is not properly done.

Nirjhar007 said...

But at the end as I stated , we need y-dna . Even Kalash show very high amount of West Eurasian specific Mt dna but have high amounts local y-dna .

Chalcolithic is the key period to investigate, for SC Asia-C Asia and E European relations.

postneo said...

I quote

"However, no significant genetic discontinuity between Bronze and Iron Age was shown, that may be due to a limited sample dataset and calls for nuclear DNA analysis."

This place is quite far from yamnaya, so if David's theory is true we should see a massive, detectable discontinuity. Lets wait and see.

Davidski said...

The clock is ticking. Tick tock, tick tock.

New hobbies beckon for you guys. Maybe something like collecting beer bottles?

Rob said...

This is also an interesting abstract

F. CALAFELL, et al.

The genetic landscape of the Iberian Peninsula is dominated (as in the rest of Western Europe) by haplogroup R1b, which comprises two thirds of the Y chromosomes; the rest is divided roughly equally between E-M35, G, I, and J. Within R1b, R1b-S116 (also known as P312 dominates, with ~60% in Spain;it further trifurcates into three major branches having distinct geographical distributions: M529 (L21 radiating from the British Isles, U152 in France, Switzerland and N. Italy, and DF27 in the Iberian Peninsula. DF27 is poorly known, and we have sought to characterize its distribution and diversity, with the aim of reconstructing its history. We have typed DF27 and six of its derived SNPs, as well as 16 Y-STRs in 2,993 males from 32 populations located in Spain, Portugal, France and Ireland; SNP allele frequencies were also gathered from the reference populations in the 1000 Genomes Project. We confirmed that DF27 is the most frequent haplogroup in Iberia, with an average frequency ~45%, while it dropped to <15% right across the Pyrenees. Within Iberia, it ranged from 40% in most populations to ~75% in Basques. Elsewhere, it showed high frequencies in Colombia and Puerto Rico, which implies it can be used to trace Iberian male migrations into the Americas.

However, our most striking result is how young DF27 is. We estimated from STR variation that DF27 originated 4,000±150 years ago (ya); it took it just 120 generations to grow to ~12 million carriers in Iberia and ~75 million in Central and South America (assuming just 1/3 paternal Iberian ancestry). This places the origin of DF27 in the early Bronze Age, and at least 2,000 years after the arrival of the Neolithic, which was supposed to be the last major event that shaped the European genetic landscape. The DF27 expansion may be part of a global trend, in which bursts of male lineages have been observed at different periods, and in different geographical regions (Poznik et al. 2016)

It seems they're suggesting Basque DF 27 is a Bronze Age founder effect ?

Jaydeep said...

Here it is apt to say, much ado about nothing.

The abstract does not reveal anything. And it is only mtDNA. Let us wait for more substantial data to come out from Central Asia. But we need aDNA from 3500 - 1500 BC bracket, to prove or disprove any population discontinuity.

The abstract seems to suggest that there is affinity of Iron age samples to Yamnaya samples in terms of mtDNA. But it is not clear about the bronze age samples.

Moreover, shouldn't Iron age samples show affinity to Yamnaya, why not to Andronovo or Sintashta ?

Incidentally, it is during the Yamnaya period, that potentially the maximum admixture happened into the steppe from a Iranian Chl/Neo or CHG-like population. That CHG/Iran N like population may have already lived in Central Asia since the early Neolithic, since the Neolithic sites of Central Asia such as Anau & Jeitun already have strong affinites to Iran Neolithic.

Davidski said...


Try and find it in yourself to understand that...

1) The abstract says "Yamnaya related" not Yamnaya, and Andronovo is most certainly Yamnaya related

2) There's no sign of any significant admixture event on the steppe during the Yamnaya period; the admixture took place before Yamnaya and Afanasievo came into existence

3) Nothing at all suggests that Yamnaya and Afanasievo formed from an admixture event involving Central Asians, because the southern admixture in Yamnaya and Afanasievo is more WESTERN than even Caucasus Hunter-Gatherers

Which of the above points are you having problems with? Maybe we can go over them in more detail?

Karl_K said...


"I think sequencing is not properly done."

That makes sense. There was probably a lot of contamination from the bronze age people handling the samples back when they buried them.

Artmar said...

It's called a cognitive shock.

Jaydeep said...


1. If they had Andronovo/Sintashta samples for analysis, why should the authors say 'Yamnaya related' and not 'Andronovo related' ? If they did not have Andronovo samples for comparison, there is no way you can argue that by 'Yamnaya related' they are referring to Andronovo.

2. The Near Eastern/CHG/Iran N like component that admixed into the steppe populations, was already present during the steppe Eneolithic, but the component maximises during the Yamnaya period. How do you explain it ?

3. The Western EEF like admixture appears to be quite minor in Yamnaya and there is an easy explanation for it. The Iran CHL is older to the Yamnaya and it also has the 'western' Anatolian N/EEF admixture. So the EEF in Yamnaya could have come from there, as Lazaridis et al suggested. Or, it could still come from Central Asia. According to present archaeological understanding, during pre-BMAC phase, there is evidence of people moving from NE Iran further east into Central Asia. This could have brought the EEF component into Central Asia, from where it entered Yamnaya.

You may now explain why the above is not possible.

Anonymous said...

WRT Genetic History of the Dutch population: The area is reputed to be one of the origin places of the Franks. Halfway the fourth century an enormous mess broke out, in which the Franks, according to roman sources were defeated. However, one of the people defeating was called Charilo, which seems a Frankish name. Oddly enough the Romans then retreated from Belgica en left the area to Frankish settlers. The excavations of aBatavian - Roman auxiliaries - village at Zennewijnen near tiel clearly shows that the village was abandoned during that time and resettled afterwards.

Davidski said...


1. There are currently very few samples from Andronovo, and they all come from the Altai and southern Siberia. So they probably don't match too well, but other steppe groups do, and thus the use of the term Yamnaya related makes sense.

2. Increased mobility and wealth on the steppe during the late Khvalynsk period, resulting in more intense contacts with groups in the northern Caucasus and Balkans.

3. Sounds convoluted and very uncertain. Obviously the most likely place where late Khvalynsk groups got their southern women, and hence mtDNA lineages, was the Caucasus.

4. Don't you get sore hands from continually clutching at straws like this? You clutch at straws in your sleep man. Give it a break.

Nirjhar007 said...


You nailed it!.

Davidski said...

You're the other master straw clutcher.

Olympus Mons said...

So, when it suits you, things coming out of Caucasus is nice and dandy. As long as is not men.
So, EEF component coming out of Caucasus into Steppe is just fine (late Khvalynsk is 4500/4400bc) and Mtdna lineages just fine as well… but not men. Nope. Your “likely” and “maybe” are just perfectly fine and perfectly supported by adna.

So that crazy Armenian (actual a scientist that publishs papers) saying that Cranial and Nonmetric Dental traits (noooh, no genetic relations there!) perfectly linking a culture from Georgia south Caucasus and the cultures of middle Volga where this Yamnaya R1b L23 downclades stream from is just nonsense. No scientific support in there. No, Dave, you are not bias at all!

Davidski said...

Shut up and learn what Eastern European Hunter-Gatherers (EHG) are.

Olympus Mons said...

yes dave. I am sure all Ehg were r1b and r1a.

Jaydeep said...


1. Which other steppe groups match well with the Iron Age samples from Central Asia ? And do they match better than Yamnaya ?

2. By more intense contacts, you do admit a greater amount of admixture into the Yamnaya period, from the CHG/Iran CHL like population, don't you ?

3. How are you so certain that the Southern population that admixed into the steppe is from Caucasus and not further East ? Do we have ancient samples from Central Asia or South Asia ? In your opinion,how were the Bronze Age and Chalcolithic Central Asians ? Don't you think it is legitimate that they may already have had affinities to ANE and Iran Neolithic ?

And how could mtDNA influx alone contribute about 40-50 % of the Southern Component into the Yamnaya ?

4. I am certainly not clutching at straws. So my hands are just fine.

Jijnasu said...

Hopefully we will know a little more about South Asia by the end of this month, when the WACS-8 conference will be held

Davidski said...


1. Really no big deal if none of the Ulug Depe Iron Age haplotypes match the currently available Andronovo mtDNA but instead Yamnaya, Afanasievo, Srubnaya or Catacomb. Why are you making this a big deal?

2. Maternal admixture from the Caucasus and Balkans; definitely not Central Asia

3. You have a poor understanding of the data already available; Iran Chalcolithic-like populations could not have existed in southern Central Asia, because the largest proportion of West Eurasian ancestry there most closely resembles Iran Neolithic, Iran Late Neolithic and Yamnaya.

And the mtDNA doesn't match. Not even the mtDNA of Iran Chalcolithic is a good fit for the southern mtDNA lineages in Yamnaya, which look like they came from the Caucasus and Balkans.

Makes sense?

Coldmountains said...

As long as they don't analyze many deep mtdna clades and just basic mtdna haplogroups the results can be very misleading and inconclusive. For Turkmenistan at least I can see the possibility of a pre-Andronovo steppe migration from a Yamnaya-derived culture in the north. R1b is still very frequent there unlike in the rest of South Central Asia but not sure which R1b clade is prominent in modern day Turkmenistan and if it can be linked with Yamnaya.

a said...

I have two questions for the experts.

"The Khatriyas (Kings and Warriors and Administrators) wore red tilak to signify valor"
Can red tilak be made out of red Ochre?

In light of chariot warfare; depicted in ancient times like the battle of Kadesh. The earliest chariot burials located in Sintashta.

Do festivals like "Ratha Yatra in Alchevsk 2011 " pay homage to ancestar's from Sintashta. Or earlier 4 wheeled "Ratha[Sanskrit: रथ, rátha, Avestan raθa]

There are ancient R1b branches in Pakistan[6000YBP+/-].
R-Z2108Z2109/CTS1843 * Z2108formed 6000 ybp, TMRCA 6000 ybpinfo

GI=Gujarati Indian

Anonymous said...

Also, WRT the Dutch study the Frisians are thought of to be one of the very few populations that did not moved away from their grounds during the Great Migrations. Others might be a remnant of Sueves in Saxony-Anhalt. It has (actually untill recently had) an island up High German speakers amongst Low German speakers and during Karolingian times there was a "Schabengau". It is the same area that lights up in the Raitlin BB paper. If sufficiently old examples are sampled we might play around with them.

postneo said...


red ochre was used by neaderthals and also in africa.
In india the tilak is used more by priests and is used for religious ceremonies. Its not a symbol of warfare or valor. For e.g. christ means anointed (with oil). Its not a sign of valor. Yes warriors may pray for luck an which point they could also get similarly anointed. The role of the tilak is similar to anointment. The behaviour may have common roots.

The ratha yatra is a cyclical event and has calendrical symbolism. The rig vedic chariot is not directly related but also has calendrical associations.

Coldmountains said...

Yes there is some R1b among Pakistani Pashtuns and if I am not wrong also among other Pakistanis. In Afghanistan R1b peaks in the northern and western part of the country among Uzbeks, Turkmens and Hazara (15-30%) . Afghan Tajiks have also some R1b (around 10-15%) but R1b is extremely low among Afghan Pashtuns and seems to be almost absent among Kalash, Nuristani and other archaic Hindukush people. But the Y-DNA of this people is to a large extent the result of founder effects so R1b could be higher among them in the past. In Tajikistan R1b is not absent and can have frequencies higher than 10% in some places but it seems generally higher in the western part of the country.%. Today R1b correlates in Central Asia more with Turkic speakers than with Iranic speakers and some R1b arrived probably recently from Siberia with Turks but much if not most R1b is pre-turkic. R1b is highest in Turkmenistan and and dramatically decreases the closer you get to the Hindukush. I would not exclude that a Pre-Andronovo R1b group arrived earlier in South Central Asia but they were probably quickly absorbed and had a limited genetic impact else we would see more archaeological and genetic evidences of a pre-Andronovo Yamnaya related steppe migration into South Central Asia and South Asia. Also some R1b in South Central Asia could somehow brought by Indo-Iranians which absorbed R1b steppe people from Yamnaya, Poltavka and Afanasievo(?).

a said...

@ postneo
In the context of the above post, distinction between Khatriyas-Neaderthals-Africans..

Oldest example of a burial like the one depicted in the festival.
Neadertal, Africa, India; no not quite.

"Starokorsunskaya kurgan in the Kuban region of Russia contains a wagon grave (or chariot burial) of the Maikop Culture (which also had horses)"

I find this one of interest also.
"he earliest well-dated depiction of a wheeled vehicle (a wagon with two axles and four wheels) is on the Bronocice pot (c. 3500 BC). It is a clay pot excavated in a Funnelbeaker settlement in Swietokrzyskie Voivodeship in Poland.[7]"
The word Ratha[goer or kart 3 or 8]/Rad German[wheel] speaking people[Indo-European branch]
Contact with same who used red ochre also to bury chieftans in kurgans with 4 wheeled carts- Co-incidence possible, IMO, unlikely.

postneo said...

1) red ochre is not used in burials in south asia and is not associated with chariots buried or otherwise.

2) whatever scanty burials in south asia are not of kurgan type.

3) wheeled conveyance were either single axle(2 wheels) for light weight or 2 axles(4 wheels). these are mechanical constraints and not a coincidence. carts 3 wheels were not practical.

4) 4 red dye in hair signifies a married lady in traditional society or the tilak signifies the person has done some prayer. its got nothing to do with chariots valor etc.. You need to get your facts straight.

australian aboriginals also used red ochre. south americans. its the oldest pigment known to man.

the word ratha has no known connection with kurgans or red ochre burials. If the kurgan population was IE speaking they may have used words like ratha for wheels... so what?. but the association of red ochre with kurgan may be just unique to them or just to one burial even and no one else.

the ratha yatra uses chariots to carry idols which are submerged. other festivals just submerge idols and dont use chariots. perhaps you v=can dig up and see if theres a symbolic connection between submergence of gods and burial.

Anonymous said...

WRT Dutch study. Here is a publication on Dutch genetic structure.

Rob said...

@ Epoch

Holland was more or less depopulated c. 350 AD, right ? There is even discontinuity in Friesland. The appearance of "Saxon" type material culture c. 400/ 450 AD suggests new arrivals from further northeast.

Anonymous said...

The history we got at school, FWTW, stated that after the migrational periods The north and Northwest were Frisian, middle and south were considered Frankish and east was Saxon. Current day (or very recent) dialects confirm that. The formerly spoken North German "Plattdütsch" is almost similar as eastern Dutch dialects. Word has it that a Groningen farmer could understand and talk to people up until Mecklenburg.

I read about Frisian discontinuity as well, but I would be a tad careful there. The area was dynamic in every aspect - look up "terp" - and abandonment could have been relocation inland.

However, cultural changes are seen before and after the terps got abandoned. The issue is, they didn't get abandoned at the same time, with one site continuing longer.

There is a thing though: The Frisian before 300-350 called themselves Frisian and afterward they called themselves Frisian. I know of no other people that took the name of another people.

Rob said...


"There is a thing though: The Frisian before 300-350 called themselves Frisian and afterward they called themselves Frisian. I know of no other people that took the name of another people."

That's becuase the name was imposed from the outside - by the Carolingians.
"Frisian" is thus an exonym which became nativitized.

Anonymous said...

That could have been the case with others: Betuwe was the name of a pagus named after the Batavians and the present day inhabitants are now named after the Batavians. But Frisians were named so after 300 by many long before the area became part of the Frankish realm.
The name can be found in old English poems as well.

Rob said...

Yes, but IIRC the "Frisians" of 300 AD were different people to those in Carolingian times, is what I understood. Check out

* "The early-medieval use of ethnic names from classical antiquity. The case of the Frisians' Bazelmans

* "Discontinuity in Northern_Netherlands coastal area at the end of the Roman Period" Nieuwhof.

Should be floating around on the interweb

Anonymous said...


Thanks, I'll check those. I suspect the study Davidski is about later samples, though, so we won't be able to settle that issue.

Rob said...

no Prob. You mean there are purported later movements also ?

Tesmos said...

Epoch2013, what do you know about the origins of the people who participated in the ''Grote Ontginning''? (Large Reclamation)

FrankN said...

Rob, epoch: The Frisians were first mentionned by Plinius the Elder as Roman allies in Drusus' wars. Plinius describes their territory as being flooded two times a day, most likely referring to the Wadden Sea. Tacitus' Germania locates the Frisii along the North Sea coast between Rhine and Ems.
The ethnonym is most likely Germanic in origin ("free-"), even though the etymology of the second syllable is still disputed. As such, Roman authors have most likely taken over the Frisian's self designation.

Leer/ E. Frisia is archeologically documented as trading centre with Roman imports, large warehouses and substantial metal processing from at least the 2nd cent. CE onwards. Early medieval finds are rare, which may relate to flooding of the Frisian coast. Emden, e.g., a similar trading post, was given up in the 3rd cent. CE due to flooding. However, Leer is the Low German variant of the -lar toponyms ("swampy meadow, floodplain"), which are generally believed to date back to the Iron Age and signal settlement continuity (c.f. Wetzlar, Fritzlar, Goslar etc.).
Nearby Bentumersiel, Germanicus' 15/16 CE landing place on the western bank of the Ems, has settlement traces up to at least the 5th cent. CE. Clay mining has destroyed the upper layers, so it is impossible to determine wether the settlement existed beyond that period.

An indication that Frisia wasn't completely depopulated during the Migration Period are the finds of "runic Solidi", copied from Solidi of Theodosius II, and engraved with Runes. Runic Solidi have been found in Harlingen (NL), Littenseradiel-Wieuwerd (NL), Schweindorf n. Esens (D), and Uppsala (SE).

Note finally that E.Frisia, the Emsland and the Weser-Elbe triangle abound of toponyms without clear Germanic etymology, e.g. Wanna, Mulsum, Filsum, Jever, Meppen, Schwarme. Such apparently very ancient toponyms speak for population/ settlement continuity. They may, however, in line with the Nieuwhof paper referenced by Rob, at the same time point to late Germanisation only during Roman times. The language spoken by the original Frisians is still under debate. Interesting here the various toponymic parallels between Friesian Isles (-oogs) and the aigs of the Hebrides (Rum-Römö, Arran-Amrum, Uist-Juist, Barra-Föhr, Skye - Scyge [Terschelling], "Holy Islend" - Helgoland, Mull [of Kintyre] - Mulsum/ Melsum etc.)

Anonymous said...


Yes. Large parts of the Netherlands were peat bogs or tidal areas. The tidal areas were good enough for pastures though as these were practically meadows flooded only once or twice a month:

After building of dykes these were later transformed to land and migrants settled there.

The peat bogs were continuously watered out, used for peat and transformed to agricultural lands. This led to inner migration.

The Ostsiedlung with all its Dutch and Flemish settlers, to me at last, look simply like a developed version of that.


The examples presented in the article that Robs mentions do acknowledge the coastal issue. It leaves open more than one possibilities. Good reads.


The whole of Germania underwent a collosal cultural shift during that time.

Anonymous said...


Yes, I know. Very visible in pollen research. It is what I wantd to tell Rob and probably the research David linked to wants to look at the impact of that. By far not just a Dutch or Holland development, though.

a said...

@postneo said...

1) red ochre is not used in burials in south asia and is not associated with chariots buried or otherwise...............
Thank-you for your various points, put forth.

Differing viewpoints.

That is why we should have a transparent system. For you see a somewhat different version of the narrative of archeological/genetic facts/events and current culture than I do. There is nothing wrong with having opinions that are not the same. I would argue that it is quite healthy.
The problem I have is how scientific samples/information are released if at all and or a narrative is coupled with it.I would argue to put genetic and archeological samples online as soon as they are they are verified to being accurate. That way, those who would like to draw their own conclusions could have a choice; while those who would like to read a narrative put forth by a scientist or specialist or any other author in the field; could also have the option.

How important if the narrative?

For example, everybody knows that Yamnaya are R1b-Z2103. Yet when one goes to the actual current Wiki page[Aug-21]-Yamnaya, we can see the actual lack of any information about their specific ydna. Instead other narratives are are put in place. of One just has to compare their cousins the the Bell Beaker or Sintashta [genetic section]of current Wiki with the Yamnaya section.Both have been studied at depth by some pretty awesome scientists. Their results along with many other cultures have been made public. Most of us [99%]are grateful for the time and effort/energy and talent those dedicated scientists have put into research and then made those samples public.

Anonymous said...


I think Bazelmans dismissed the Fight at Finns burgh saga too easily, as well as the coin. I think he makes the mistake that while Beowulf certainly is no historical account, the fact that it mentions the Frisians may not be a historical fact but it does serve as a recognition that they existed.

Anonymous said...


I like Nieuwhofs fourth possibility - Frisians were forced from coastal area's by combination of environmental and maybe political factors and resettled and later resettled the old area - especially as it could explain Eastern and Northern Friesland as settled by people leaving the old Friesland but allows for the name of the people to be what they self recognize.

It also explains a pet thing I keep pondering about: there are Mars Thingus votive stones that are raised by Tuihanti, a tribe adjacent to the Frisians and serving in a Frisian cohort of the Roman army. It mentions Mars Tingsus - No doubt Tyr - and the Alaisiagis Bede and Fimmelena. According to Lex Frisones written down in Carolingians times ancient Frisian law two justice days were kept: Fimelþing and Bodþing. To me that means a clear connection to pre 3th century.

Full disclosure and bias alert: I am 1/4th Frisian.

Anonymous said...

That is: Lex Frisionum

Anonymous said...

EDIT: Both bodthing and fimelthing appeared in Westlauwers law, written down in 1000 something.

Rob said...

Epoch & Frank

Thanks for interesting comments

Epoch- "The whole of Germania underwent a collosal cultural shift during that time."

It's interesting that the changes in costal Netherlands occurred c. 350 AD, whilst emigration from the coastal part of the north European plain occured earlier- esp in Wielbark territory in the Vistula estuary.

However, the major transformations as far as Germania at large is concerned occurred between 400-450 AD, the "Great migrations" of old. Whilst a scholarly tide in the 90s tried to minimise these, the archaeological picture is ever clearer- large tracts of land were depopulated even up to 2 centuries. I think as we move into Iron Age aDNA, this'll refine our picture

FrankN said...

Epoch, Rob: There are a number of problems with the Bazelmans paper. First of all, it seems to be quite old - I couldn't find any reference dating to the 21st century. The postulation that there are no ancient place names in West Frisia seems outdated: The Handbook of Frisian Studies (google for it) on p. 167 proposes three possibly pre-Germanic West Frisian place names: Paesens. Kantens and Tritsum. The last one seems to have a more or less unbroken settlement record from 800 BCE, and is discussed in the Bazelmans paper as possible evidence for 4th cent. CE population replacement.
Turning Bede into a propagator of Frankish exonyms is IMO extremely far-flung. On the Frisian coins issue, cited references are from the late 19th century. The fact that North Frisians, seeking refuge from Frankish pressure in the Danish realm during the late 8th cent. CE (Saxon Wars) apparently designated themselves as Frisians remains undiscussed.
On top come sidenotes that raise serious questions on Bazelmans' competence when it comes to etymology. The survival of the "Catti" into the early Middle Ages is impossible to trace (p. 329)? There is hardly a case as easy as the Catti, regularly sound-shifted into Hassi->Hesse. Tacitus has the Catti's capital on the northern bank of the Eder. And St. Bonifaz missions the Hassi in their capital, Fritzlar, on the northern bank of the Eder. "Impossible to trace" - bullshit!
Bazelmans' "mysterious Varni" aren't that mysterious neither. Roman authors locate them on the Mecklenburg coast, just around Rostock-Warnemünde, where the Warnow river enters the Baltic Sea. How come late antiquity authors locating the Varni also on the lower Rhine(and the SE Baltic -münde toponymy being mirrored by the omnipresent English -mouth) would have been an interesting question to explore. Also, C. Mamertinus' report (268 CE) on the Heruli attacking Gaul, and the Heruli listed among the peoples that crossed the Rhine in 406, could have deserved attention, given that the Heruli are otherwise mentionned east of the Vistula (Plinius) and as raiding Greece and the Balkans together with the Goths. But Bazelmans just glosses both (p. 331), apparently without realising what strong arguments they may provide for his theory of (partial) population replacement in Frisia.

If I were you, Rob, I would take the Bazelmans paper off my list of references, and instead hope for the announced, plus a few more aDNA studies to shed better light on IA/ Roman period population dynamics in the Germania Magna.

Somewhat OT: J. Udolph, Germany's most renounced toponymy researcher, links the ethnonym "Batavi" to *bhedh "to dig, to groove" (c.f. lat. fodio, gall. bedo "trench, channel", [river-]bed). -avi might relate to Low German Au, Danish Aa "small watercourse, creek". Thus, the Batavi may have been the "channel diggers". Not too bad of a self-designation of native proto-Dutch, IMO :)

Rob said...


I havent yet read through your post in detail. Just here is another settlement paper on North Sea region.

The Historical Geography of the German North-Sea Coast: a Changing Landscape

Anonymous said...


The change I meant was that roughly around the same old tribe names disappear and newer appear: Saxons, Franks, Allemanians. These are all larger peoples and have a somewhat confederative feel about them (more than one contemporary Frankish king, the name Allamanni).

The Frisian discontinuity/continuity discussion could be implicated by this. Maybe the old Frisian were the core of a new, more confederative larger group. More or less like the Longobardi incorporated numerous other groups as Paul the Deacon describes.

Tesmos said...


I know some people claim that the people who participated in the 'Grote Ontginning'' were Low Franconian speakers who moved from Flanders and Brabant to Holland and mixed with the Frisian speaking people.(County of Holland was Frisian speaking back then) But i didn't see evidence about the origin of these colonists. Do you know more about this?

Anonymous said...


Just as much as you do, probably. I read that the settlement of Brabanders appeared to be influential in the spread of Dutch. However, the Grote Ontginning and other large reclamations appear to start after the Carolingian era, around 1000. Don't know if Holland was still speaking Frisian back than. North-Holland and West-Friesland has dialects that have a clear Frisian substrate and some South-Holland settlement have clear Frisian names.

Anonymous said...


I just read 900 as start of the Grote Ontginning so maybe you are right. Quite interesting.

FrankN said...

@Epoch, tesmos: For my only limited comprehension of Dutch, I am unaware of the specific understanding of the Grote Ontginning in relation to previous efforts.
However, land reclamation along the Wadden Sea by combination of ditching and dyking dates back to at least the Iron Age, with substantial upswing in Roman times. Coastal areas were a major salt producer and exporter. The salt was extracted from mined and burned peat. That peat extraction, plus the ditches geared at enhancing tidal peat flooding, are regarded as a major contributing factor to the disastrous floods of the Medieval. For this reason, salt peat extraction along the North Frisian coast was forbidden in 1515.

Many installations deteriorated/ fell idle during the Migration period, but signs for renewed land reclamation efforts become apparent from as early as 700 CE onwards (Lauwerszee/ Dokkumer Grootdiep). Further east, anthropogenic lowering of peat surfaces due to ditching/ draining resulted in the flooding of the (now reclaimed) Harlebucht N. of Wittmund/ Jever, probably before 800 CE. (p. 172f).

The Meyer paper linked above by Rob lists further dates for resettlement/ reclamation along the German coast:
- Wangerland-Oldorf (sic!), N of Wilhelmshaven: 630 CE (dendro-dated)
- Krummhörn-Upleward N. of Emden: 670 CE (dendro-dated)
- Butjadingen /Wursten (Weser estuary): 8th c.
- Dithmarschen (Elbe to Eider): late 7th cent.
- Eiderstedt: 8th cent., connected to Frisian immigration

Hence, reclamation seems to be a geographical widespread phenomenon that (re-)started already during the 7th century. Interestingly the Schortens gravefield, continuously used from the 5th to the 12th century, lies less than 15 km south of Olddorf, which has provided the oldest reclamation date so far. It looks like an early medieval Frisian phenomenon, initially local, from the 8th century on also as external colonisation (Eiderstedt, North Friaia).

As to how that story continued, you may read here: (in German)

The Hollercolonisation in the Elbe-Weser triangle officially started with Bishop Frederic I of Hamburg-Bremen's colonisation decree of 1113, which answered to a 1106 request from Utrecht. The request goes back to an earlier history of "informal" Hollerncolonisation east of the Weser, the first mentionning of Frisian settlers in Wursten (around Bremerhafen) dates to 1091.
Adolph of Schauenburg in 1143 opened up the colonisation of Holstein, especially previously Slavic East Holstein. Mecklenburg followed suit, and after 1157, Albrecht the Bear opened up the Brandenburg Mark to Flemish, Dutch, Frisian and Westphalian settlers. Sometimes, the origin of the settlers can be taken from toponyms, e.g. Flemhude n. Kiel, Flemmingen (Naumburg), Fläming S. of Berlin, Euper (<Ypres) and Kemberg (<Cambrai) around Wittenberg/Elbe. In Hamburg's old town, one finds "Gröningerstrasse" and the "Holländische Brook". Helmold of Bosau lists Eutin as Dutch, and nearby Süsel as Frisian colonisation area, and also reports Dutch colonisation of the Altmark, especially the Elbe marshes from Salzwedel down to Bohemia. Recent excavation near Eutin points to Drenthe as origin of 12th. century colonists.

An indication of Frisian colonisation targets, apparently especially SE Mecklenburg, is provided by the current distribution of the "Friese" last Name:
If so, no wonder Groningen people could understand Mecklenburgers.

Simon_W said...


The Groninger platt is in fact Low Saxon, not Frisian. It's the same situation as in East Friesland, where the East Frisian dialect is actually Saxon, not Frisian. Thus the Frisian population in large parts of Frisia adopted the language of their Saxon neighbours. The only truly Frisian dialects that survived into recent times are West Frisian, North Frisian and the tiny Saterfrisian island in East Friesland. So the relationship between the Mecklenburg dialect and Groninger Platt is based on their shared Saxon roots.

Simon_W said...

WRT R1b-DF27, according to it's TMRCA is 4500 BP, that's 500 years older than what Calafell et al. estimate based on STR diversity. yfull uses a different method that's probably more reliable: Full yDNA sequencing.

Simon_W said...

@ epoch2013

Interesting what you wrote about that northern Schwabengau, I had never heard of that before, but there you can see it in a map:
It's right east of Halberstadt and Quedlinburg.

Hard to tell whether that's a relic of the original Suevi or the result of resettlement policy in Frankish times, I would tend towards the latter. There is also a Swaffham in England, possibly going back to Anglo-Saxon times. However I've never seen any evidence that there was a dialect insula in Saxony-Anhalt that goes back to Suebi or Swabians. You might perhaps mean the middle German insula in the Harz mountains. But that is located somewhat west of the Medieval Schwabengau, and it's Middle German, not Upper German, and most of all, it's affinities are pretty clear, it's related with Erzgebirgisch, the dialect of the Erzgebirge, and it was brought to the Harz mountains some centuries ago by miners from the Erzgebirge.