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Saturday, February 9, 2019

Blast from the past: Matters of basic geography

I'm re-posting this article from 2017 for the benefit of some Science News journalists, who are apparently having major problems dealing with basic geography. That's because they think that the Yamnaya culture was located in Asia rather than Eastern Europe. Take my advice and don't read Science News whatever you do. It might rot your brain.


The steppe north of the Black Sea in Ukraine has basically always been considered a part of Europe, and just over 100 years ago some guy with a map decided that the steppe between the eastern coast of the Black Sea in Russia and the Ural River in western Kazakhstan should also be Europe.

So nowadays, right or wrong, it's generally accepted that the entire steppe region west of the Ural River, known as the Pontic-Caspian steppe, is in Eastern Europe. Here's a map courtesy of Wikipedia showing how the official boundary between Eastern Europe and Asia has shifted since the 18th century.

But this decision wasn't entirely arbitrary, because the current boundary between Eastern Europe and Asia by and large follows several major geographic barriers, including the Caucasus Mountains, the Caspian Sea and the Ural Mountains. It'd be hard to argue that these barriers haven't had a profound impact across the ages on the character of Europe and its people, and this has probably been known for well over a couple hundred years.

For instance, if we're to trust the most common interpretations of the works of ancient geographers like Hecataeus and Herodotus, then their worlds in some important ways resembled the typical Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of West Eurasian genetic variation. And it seems that they had a pretty good idea where both the strong continental boundaries and fuzzy areas were located.

Below, on the geographic map inspired by Herodotus, Europa or Europe is delineated from much of Asia by the Black Sea, the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian Sea, while on the genetic map, most European and Asian populations form two, more or less parallel, clusters fairly cleanly separated by empty space (this was first noted in Lazaridis et al. 2013). Indeed, this empty space is the work of the Black Sea, the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian Sea acting as rather effective barriers to gene flow between Eastern Europe and Asia (see Yunusbayev et al. 2012).

However, on the genetic map, the Iranic Scythians of the Asian steppes straddle my somewhat arbitrary red line separating Europa and Asia, and this is echoed on the Herodotus map by Iranic and related peoples like the Massagetae and Issedones, who inhabit the seemingly undefined part of the world between Europa and Asia east of the Caspian Sea (Mare Caspium).

Nothing really ground breaking, but pretty cool stuff.

On a related note, I've seen the term "mainland Europe" used recently in at least one of the big ancient DNA papers to describe the part of Europe west of the Pontic-Caspian steppe. It seems that the authors wanted to underline the fairly stark genetic difference that existed between most of Europe and the steppe just prior to the expansion of Yamnaya and related steppe herder groups that initiated the formation of the present-day European gene pool.

I can see why they did this, but to my mind they got things backwards. That's because the term mainland implies the opposite of island and/or peninsula, and of course the part of Europe west of the Pontic-Caspian steppe is a relatively narrow strip of land surrounded by water, so it's a peninsula. Let's visualize these two models on a map of Europe courtesy of Wikipedia:

I understand that my model might result in heart palpitations for some readers, especially those from Western Europe, who generally see their part of Europe as core Europe, but I feel that it makes good sense from a purely geographic POV.

See also...

Max Planck scientists: on a mission against geography

Genetic borders are usually linguistic borders too


Andrzejewski said...

Post-WWII Politically Correct mentality within mostly-US academia circles, which attempts to rebut Gimbutas theories in order to prove that Europeans, especially Indo-Europeans came from anywhere else than Eastern Europe; mixed with anti-Slavic feelings pervading some Western Europeans since Slavs were traded as slaves + Germanic mentality of "Drang nach Osten" commenced in 12th century, later on manifesting itself with "Anti-Communist" outlook; and other groups like Iranians or Indians who would try to square the circle by reversing history and claiming that PIE came from India, not Europe.

Certain groups have contradicting agendas but it's a strong bias against Eastern Europeans that relegates the Steppes into "Asia".

a said...

Sometimes one wonders about labels/names given. For example-

Instead of being specific as in the case of Taforalt, Natufian, Dzudzuana and identifying Dzudzuana 26K as being Georgian[Caucasus] the oldest of the three samples below "Near Eastern" is used for "ease of reference".
When the genomes are released and or future related groups are shown connected, could it not mix things[painting with a broad brush] up if Yamnaya and other European populations are also connected with this "Near Eastern" cluster?

Paleolithic populations from the Caucasus/Levant/North Africa

"Paleolithic populations from the Caucasus/Levant/North Africa
We graft populations with Basal Eurasian admixture onto the admixture graph of Fig. S3.4. We refer
to these populations as “Near Eastern” for ease of reference, although they come from the
Caucasus/Levant/North Africa."

Andrzejewski said...

There is another pertinent matter I feel strongly about which needs to be urgently addressed, for the sake of the ignoramus and the lay readers:

There has been a lot of scientific buzz regarding how a large scale migration from Uruk (a Sumerian city) to the iron ore deposits of the Caucasus mountain range resulted in a population displacement/replacement of the original inhabitants and their languages. The trajectory was from Halaf -> Leyla Tepe -> Kura Araxes -> Maykop to the tune and scale that contemporary Caucasus nations are scions of Sumerian/Ubaidian immigrants...

Now, here's the catch: it was finally proved that Maykop not only did not share genes (for the most part) with Yamnaya Culture or any other contemporary Steppe populations for that matter, but even their languages were non-related.

However, I still read the bulk of peer reviewed articles (mostly by Russian and Georgian authors) who repeat this fudge about Caucasus people coming en masse from Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent.

Based on the fact, that Sumerian is still considered a language isolate, unrelated to any other macro language family, ancient or modern, and the fact that neither Kartvelian nor NE Caucasian nor NW Caucasian or Hurrian has any connection to Sumerian, why is this lie being perpetrated instead of being debunked and put to rest for good?

(I do agree that an Anatolia_N population overran the Caucasus 4000BCE, but no Levant_N nor Mesopotamian/Sumerian one did!)

Ric Hern said...

I think it is actually not difficult to understand. Many have been brainwashed into thinking that Nothing Good can come from the North at least since the Roman Empire....and even after archaeology basically eventually proved that this view is wrong, the idea still stuck in some peoples minds...

Samuel Andrews said...

@Ric Hern,
"Nothing Good can come from the North at least since (before) the Roman Empire"

That's the impression I get as well. Matt articulated it better once. Of course 90% of field just cares about facts of history. But, Matt said the narrative became that Europe's rise in last 600 years was an accident of history and that the centers of progress were always in Asia. But, really Europe was never very far behind southwest Asia.

Ric Hern said...

@ Samuel


Garvan said...

I made a mistake in an earlier post which I deleted. I thought the boundary between Europe and Asia followed the Kazakhstan border, or the Volga river, but it appears it does not. The border is the Ural river in Kazakhstan.

A second question I have is where is the Eastern end of the Pontic Caspian Steppe. Does it extend into Asia? This is one map:

Davidski said...


The Pontic-Caspian steppe doesn't extend into Asia, as in it doesn't extend past the Ural river, or at least it shouldn't anyway.

In Asia the western steppe becomes the Kazakh steppe.

Thus, all of the Yamnaya horizon was located within what is now Europe. Of course, this is something of an arbitrary view, especially since the Ural river isn't much of a continental barrier, unlike the much more formidable Caucasus in the south.

But of course, arbitrary or not, this doesn't give the right to some stupid, clueless reporter to claim that Yamnaya were "Asian herders" who mixed with "European farmers".

If we're to be factual about this, then what happened was that Eastern European herders mixed with Eastern European farmers.

weure said...

It's just simple stupidity David! Mainland, peninsular what the heck...PC Steppe it's just Eastern Europe that's common knowledge, everybody knows that even in outmost Western Europe on the edge of the North Sea ;)

Davidski said...

It seems that we're facing another propaganda war, emanating from Germany, of all places. Haha.

Ygor C.S. said...

As for the Uruk expansion, it is important to remind that Sumerians themselves claimed they were conquerors of an already established civilization in Sumer, and the first written texts cannot be conclusively read in Sumerian lamgulan. Therefore it is theoretically possible that Sumerian was a later language of people of the Uruk period culture, bit earlier in the Uruk expansion they spoke other language family which was gradually replaced by Sumerian and even later by Akkadian, wuth linguistic shifts even in the absence of very notable archaeological ruptures. This is not to say some of the extant Caucasian families is the direct descendant of an early Uruk language, it may have died out later or been absorbed by locals or whatever, but the fact no Sumerian-related family exists in the Caucasus does not negate an Uruk influence so much.

EastPole said...


“It seems that we're facing another propaganda war, emanating from Germany, of all places. Haha.”

Yes, the use of false terminology can do a lot of harm. It can eliminate some people from history or give them bad name.
It is like with the use of the term "Polish death camp":

There were only “German death camps”. Poles as Slavs were ‘Untermensh’ and were murdered in those German death camps:

WeightofAudio said...

Great and timely post and "reminder" to academia, Davidski. It is a respectable thing to raise a "middle finger" to the cowardly status quo here, and in the usual graceful and dignified manner which is typical of yourself. I'm of a little upwards past 25% Eastern European heritage and are truly tossed aside too easily.

I was going to launch the first post of my own genetics blog tonight, but thought I'd meditate on it a bit longer. Trying to tie the events of Homer's epochs to bronze age Steppe badasses in the North is not a task to be taken lightly...heh heh...

I'm not an "H" myself, but I've lately been intrigued in the cause of the rise of H as the dominant European mtdna haplo. Some have been saying it is a Chacolithic Caucausus lineage. From bits and peices of comments of yours, I take it you are not in agreement with that sentiment. Is most of the mainline H In Europe in your mind simply farmer H that exploded due to natural selection?

WeightofAudio said...

Crap, I meant to say Eastern Europeans are "tossed aside too easily" as a group...

Davidski said...


Some have been saying it is a Chacolithic Caucausus lineage. From bits and peices of comments of yours, I take it you are not in agreement with that sentiment. Is most of the mainline H In Europe in your mind simply farmer H that exploded due to natural selection?

At the moment I don't think there's any Caucasus per se ancestry in most Europeans. What I'm seeing is Caucasus-like ancestry from foragers who lived in the southern steppes.

I suspect that this is what explains the CHG-related signal in Eneolithic/Bronze Age steppe populations, as well as the similar but far from identical mtDNA haplogroups in ancient populations from the Caucasus and steppe.

Some of the European mtDNA H is from these foragers who lived in the steppes near the Caucasus.

However, I think the most European mtDNA H lineages derive from Atlantic farmers, who probably expanded east across Europe during the Middle Neolithic, also raising the levels of Western European Hunter-Gatherer (WHG) ancestry throughout much of Europe.

Gaska said...

Geographically the Pontic steppes, Ukraine and the western part of Russia are in Europe, which really is a small Asian peninsula. The discussion is therefore not geographic but political, the Western Civilization has its origin in the Greek Philosophy, the Roman Law and the Christian Religion, and therefore neither in the North, nor in the East of Europe. .Do not be surprised that many Westerners consider the steppes as west Asia, but not for geographical reasons but cultural and political.

The Europeans until recently considered that in the steppes the demons lived, because from there came the Huns who destroyed much of Europe. For centuries the priests in the churches asked for protection against the furor of the Huns. In the collective memory Eastern Europe has remained as the origin of barbarian tribes that sought to devastate our civilization.

Now in the 21st century the new Huns are the hypothetical riders of the Yamnaya culture, the geneticists, journalists etc, continue talking about conquests, destruction of cities, slavery of women, absolute replacement of the male population .... What do you want a Westerner to think? ? Obviously, nothing good comes from North and East Europe.

U5, U5b, H, H1, Hv in Iberia and France are haplogroups documented in the Magdalenian.

U5b, U5a, H, H1, H3, H6, Hv, V, are documented in the Mesolithic. Therefore in its beginnings nothing to do with the Neolithic farmers.

Gabriel said...

I thought it wasn’t just trying to make everything come from Asia but also a lot of people being so ignorant or mentally lazy that the “mainland Europe 1” model is the default in their heads, and Russia is far-away land, to the point it is considered part of Asia, or at least somehow not in Europe.

old europe said...

Diego said:
"Geographically the Pontic steppes, Ukraine and the western part of Russia are in Europe, which really is a small Asian peninsula. The discussion is therefore not geographic but political, the Western Civilization has its origin in the Greek Philosophy, the Roman Law and the Christian Religion, and therefore neither in the North, nor in the East of Europe. .Do not be surprised that many Westerners consider the steppes as west Asia, but not for geographical reasons but cultural and political".

Agree with the geographical part indeed. Not with the second. As far as I can see slavophobic sentiments are mainly concentreted in northern european liberal elites, and not only the elites by the way ( expecially russophobia). This sentiment that considers eastern europe ( slavs) as not being part of the western civilazation is bullshit, in this Andreiewsky has a good point. Let us not forget that in the middle age western europe was protected by many foreign invasions from the "human shield" provided by the slavic people and let's not forget what the polish army did with Sobiesky in Vienna in 1688.

Gaska said...

Russia is a far away land, and the fact that most of its territory is Asiatic is more than obvious. There can not be any kind of discussion about it. However, Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic States are states that geographically speaking are totally European. A week ago the Ukrainian Parliament agreed to request the entry of the European Union and NATO. What do you think Mss Merkel and the rest of countries of the EU is going to say?

Gaska said...

@Old Europe

I can not speak for other countries, but in Spain there is no slavophobic feeling. On the contrary, the Poles are especially loved because they are Catholic and fought the Russians bravely. In fact no one objected to their entry into the European Union. There were also no problems with the Croats, the Lithuanians or the Latvians, and I hope that there are no problems with the Ukrainians. All of them are already part of Western civilization, but in Antiquity, this was not the case.

The Romans exterminated the Spanish Celtiberians and yet three centuries later there were Roman Emperors born in Spain.

Gaska said...

@Old Europe

What the Russians had to do was join the European Union, so all Europeans would be united.

Drago said...

Western Europe has always helped the East. The French sold the Turks artilley which brought down the walls of Constantinople; the English propped up a decaying Ottoman Empire for centuries (''to keep the status quo'') without concern for the death & suffering of the ''Christian brothers'' in the Balkans. Of course, they created and supported all the Islamic terrorists (''freedom fighters'') of recent times; and today Russia still serves as the ''boogeyman'' for US political discourse, being an apparent agreessor, when in fact, there is only one true aggressive axis in this world. In Blogs, the semi-educated claim that what was a cultural backwater as the centre of western civilization.
It seems that western Europeans are reaping what their leaders have been sowing.

@ Diego

''What the Russians had to do was join the European Union, so all Europeans would be united.'

Putin wanted that, and tried. The USA blocked it

Gaska said...


When you say that western Europe helped the east, you can only refer to England, NEVER to Spain, we, together with the Holy League defeated the Turks in Lepanto and fought for centuries against the Moors. But it is true that to counteract the Spanish power the Englishmen (and on occasion the French) helped the Turks against the Spaniards. Currently everything is different, we Europeans have to act together and fight so that the Russians stop representing a threat (in reality they are not).

Samuel Andrews said...

"In Blogs, the semi-educated claim that what was a cultural backwater as the centre of western civilization. "

C'mon now. I get annoyed by this blog's hyper focus on Indo Europeans. But, there's no denying that it is fundamental to understanding the history of Europe. Not the center of western civilization. Their cultural legacy is impossible to measure.

The PC Steppe was not a backwater. They couldn't have done what they did if they were a backwater.

Samuel Andrews said...

Maybe, Europe's understanding of its early history still is based on a medieval perspective. All Medieval people had was the Bible, Romans, and Greeks. They assumed that's all there was in the ancient world because those were the only records of the past.

But, archaeology & genetics can reveal other 'ancestors.'

Gaska said...

@Old Europe-

I do not know what the feelings of the northern europeans are with respect to the Slavs, but we Spaniards have it clear, it is better to be all together to face the challenges of the future. We need the Serbs, the Poles and other Slavs to be stronger. We have troops in Lithuania because they are scared, but I do not know if this is necessary.

Many English and Americans think like us, you can never generalize.

old europe said...

Samule Andrews

If we talk about other " ancestors" why drawing the line on the Middle Volga?

At the end we all come from Africa, so where is the point?

Classical ( and christian) roots of european civilazation is somenthing we cannot get rid of.

Gaska said...

@ Samuel Andrews- "Maybe, Europe's understanding of its early history still is based on a medieval perspective. All Medieval people had was the Bible, Romans, and Greeks. They assumed that's all there was in the ancient world because those were the only records of the past. But, archaeology & genetics can reveal other 'ancestors.'

I fail to understand that kind of obsession that has spread in certain parts of Anglo-Saxon public opinion about linking the origin of Europeans with the Pontic Steppes. It seems that everything has to have origin there, the horses, the wheel, the metallurgy, the race, the customs, the burials ,,,,,,,, And that really does not make any sense, simply the discovery of an important percentage of ancestry of European Neolithic farmers has meant that overnight, the famous Yamnaya culture has come to be considered in many scientific media as a typical example of hybrid culture. The burials related to the culture of Cucuteni in Ukraine are a good example of this. Nobody denies movements of people between the steppes and Europe (The CWC is a good example), but to pretend that everything comes from the steppes means to understand absolutely nothing of European Prehistory.

Italy is a very important piece of this chessboard and I do not understand why we barely know anything (genetically speaking) about their Chalcolithic cultures. Genetics has shown that Spaniards are more genetically similar to the English than to the Italians, however, culturally we are very similar. A Spaniard will always feel in Italy like at home, however on the British Isles we will always feel strange. As we say in Spain,

España mi natura, Italia mi ventura y Flandes mi sepultura

Samuel Andrews said...

@old europe,
"At the end we all come from Africa, so where is the point? "

Africa is too long ago to matter. Kurgan invasions were recent. They spoke the mother tongue of almost all European languages. That is enough evidence to say they are not only distant biological ancestors like the ones who lived in Africa but relevant to culture.

"Classical ( and christian) roots of european civilazation is somenthing we cannot get rid of."

In my opinon the most important roots but not the only roots. For too long they have been said to be the only roots.

EastPole said...

@Diego Arroyo de Lagasca Encinas

“The discussion is therefore not geographic but political, the Western Civilization has its origin in the Greek Philosophy, the Roman Law and the Christian Religion, and therefore neither in the North, nor in the East of Europe. .Do not be surprised that many Westerners consider the steppes as west Asia, but not for geographical reasons but cultural and political.”

Diego, on the blog that David doesn’t want us to link to, because he doesn’t like linking to crap, the author Carlos is putting youtube clips from the movie ‘Gladiator’. From the text and the clips it follows that Carlos the Gladiator is considering himself as the one who defends Western Civilization from those Eastern! Asiatic!! Uralic!!! Corded Ware!!!! Balto-Slavic!!!!! or Indo-Slavic!!!!!! hordes from having any influence on the origin of Western Civilization.

But I think many Westerners are wrong. There was some influence in language, in religion, culture etc. coming from Balto-Slavic Eastern Europe.

You should read about Orphico-Pythagorean and Hyperborean roots of Greek philosophy which is also supported by many similarities in Vedic and Greek philosophy.

If you want to learn more about Christian Religion you should read the book “Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity” by Miguel Herrero de Jáuregui.

Christian philosophy was influenced by Greek philosophy and Christian mysticism was influenced by Greek mystery cults.

Greek philosophy and Greek mystery cults were influenced by Hyperborean, Northern, Eastern European religion and so was Vedic religion. Similarities between Greek, Indian and Christian philosophies and religions are not accidental they all have Northern, Hyperborean, Eastern European roots.
Your claim that nothing came from the North and East of Europe is not true. There was something there which influenced India, Greece and Western Europe. Something very beautiful but I will not tell you more because I think ancient Greeks were right that most beautiful and valuable truths should be kept secret and not revealed to people who are not ready to hear them.

Gaska said...

@ Sam

And in your opinion what are the other roots of Western civilization?

Samuel Andrews said...

"but to pretend that everything comes from the steppes means to understand absolutely nothing of European Prehistory.

100% agreed. If it is all people talk about it might seem like that's what they think. Other than EastPole I don't think anyone think sthat.

Gaska said...

@East Pole

The basic pillars of Western civilization are the three that I mentioned, and its expansion throughout Europe was due to the power of the Roman Empire. Obviously there is influence of Eastern Europe in our civilization because in addition all those countries are currently part of it. In the same way that there were Emperors born in Spain as Trajan or Hadrian, there were Emperors born in the Balkans. However, unfortunately, Eastern Europe came under the influence of the Soviet communist regime and for many years Westerners viewed Eastern Europeans as potential enemies. Now everything has changed, thank God, we are all together and together we will fight for the future of Europe.

The first thing we need is for politicians to stop doing silly things with the immigration problem.

Drago said...

@ Sam
No I was not saying anything about the steppe, but instead wrily replying to Diego viz. how he looks down on EE, esp Orthodox people. I was just wrily reminding him that the major concentration of ''Europe'' & ''Rome'' in Antiquity was in Southeast Europe, the Soldier-Emperors, etc.

EastPole said...

@Samuel Andrews

” Other than EastPole I don't think anyone think sthat.”

Sam, could you tell me what do I think?

I definitely don’t think that everything comes from the steppes.

To tell you the truth, I don’t know what came from the steppe and I am not very much interested in speculations about PIE homeland, religion etc. I know nothing about it.

I am interested in some similarities and links between Slavic, Indo-Iranian and Hellenic religions which surely were much later than PIE on the steppe.

Gaska said...

What the Romans started, the Spaniards and the Portuguese, were in charge of finishing it. This year we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the trip that began Magallanes and finished Juan Sebastián Elcano. The world became small and Europe became a great cultural, political, social and economic center worldwide. Of course, Spaniards do not inherit our navigational capacity from the steppe shepherds who had not seen a ship in their life.

Samuel Andrews said...

"And in your opinion what are the other roots of Western civilization?"

Alls I'm saying is Kurgan culture needs to be considered as a root. If I was forced to guess I would say that the Roman empire is the most important root. But it maybe is most important new things are created every generation which fade the influence of ancient roots.

Andrzejewski said...

@Samuel Andrews "C'mon now. I get annoyed by this blog's hyper focus on Indo Europeans"

Why? They are the most important group both genetically and culturally in the creation of European civilization

Gaska said...


You may be right, it could be an ancient linguistic root, if you can finally prove the origin of the Indo-European language in the steppes. The problem is that it seems that defending that option is not politically correct, and many people push for an Asian origin.

Regarding to a racial root, everything is much more complicated, quickly there will be people who say we are not Europeans but Africans of origin. Although obviously I believe that no one can deny the evidence that R1b is European, regardless of whether it originates in the steppes, the Baltic countries, Italy or the Balkans. In addition the Romans and the Greeks were not exactly an example of genetic uniformity, and the rest of haplogroups also influenced genetically in the western civilization (J2, i2a, I2b etc ...)

old europe said...


Yes it was just a "provocation" to criticize the methodology rather than the substance. Digging too much into the past could open a dangerous pandora'box and backfire.

Ric Hern said...

With at least more than 2000 generations in the Very North of the North, Africa is a far way away....Not to mention other Archaic Human admixture in Africa than in Eurasia, stretches the differences even further...the Africa of yesteryear is not the Africa of today....

Gabriel said...

So, we have someone who is anti-Kurganist but mind-boggingly (like Russian academics) so pro-Russia they want to possibly partition Ukraine into a Russian and Polish part each. Also the derailment of this thread into politics, and ultimately anti-Westernism, is something I’d rather want out of genetics blogs like this...

...but it can reveal a great deal about people’s biases:

“In Blogs, the semi-educated claim that what was a cultural backwater as the centre of western civilization.”

Isn’t the steppe in Eastern Europe, and mostly in Russia? Isn’t it ironic? Somehow despite all that political crap Russia is still scary as a source of modern Europeans?

I’ll stop my rambling now, but not without repeating I suspect this guy is a former, well-known, now banned commentator on this blog. Just sayin’.

Ric Hern said...

As far as I'm concerned R1a and R1b are Brothers...

Gabriel said...

Seems like typical brother rivalry.

No blaming either side, I don’t want to get involved into all that here, but I want to just point out that it is ironic how all these members try to prevent an Eastern European origin of the Indo-Europeans but lament Eastern Europe’s woes. Maybe it is because Western scientists support it? Like, for example, Gimbutas? Oh wait, she was Lithuanian...

Ric Hern said...

Playing Good Cop, Bad Cop is the fundamental strategy of Indo-European expansion and survival.....

Gabriel said...

Even the Romans themselves have partially Kurgan roots. It is as clear as day. Just look at much of their religion, traditions, etc.

old europe said...


no ukrainophobic really, just I do not want that Ukraine becomes a weaponized state against Russia. Best place for Ukraine is an alliance with Russia, maybe with a particular status inside the russian federation. Russophobia in Ukraine will lead to disaster for Ukraine, disaster for Europe and at the end for the entire world.

Matt said...

Strange comment thread. Hmm.... Culture and religion as a whole is pretty clearly multi-directional and constantly changing, mixing and becoming influenced and something new. I don't think we can't really speak of a single cultural or religious urheimat with much sense, or for instance, less kind of shared Indo-European or Semitic speaking essence that binds together the different peoples who speak these languages. There's no sense in which the Romans were culturally closer to pIE speaking people than their Etruscan neighbours, or Mycenaeans to pIE speaking people than Minoans (when we encounter classical Romans and Greeks, they certainly didn't seem to think they were very much alike to northern groups).

Core language seems something different though, as core vocabulary and grammatical mechanisms doesn't really get broken up or influenced the same way (despite sprachbund having very powerful effects). The linguistic core can be said to come from somewhere, and for IE, the strongest candidate, for the last common ancestor*, still looks like the Pontic+Caspian steppe region, so far (with the wrinkle still in how this fits with Anatolian evidence).

PF said...

I was recently at a party talking to a Polish expat girl and said something like "I was also born in eastern Europe." She had a conniption, got visibly agitated, and replied "Poland is in *central* Europe!" Lol! I barely held back my laughter... that someone could be so offended by such an innocuous statement.

Of course these lines are somewhat arbitrary but not entirely. Germanic vs. Slavic is a fairly clear division, and the fuzzy border cuts along east Germany / Poland down through the Czech Republic. One side is western Europe the other is eastern Europe. "Central" Europe perhaps is a concept, but a bit absurd 100 years after the Austro-Hungarian empire dissolved.

Then again you can also make a dividing line between Western and Eastern Christianity and the border would be shifted eastwards, indeed making Poland western and also highlighting the problem with western Ukraine. This is a genetics blog though and we should stick to that...

Gabriel said...


Not sure if your comment is partly directed towards me, but I want to say the Etruscans will probably show steppe cultural influences too... in fact, they likely already do. What I meant was indeed that the Romans show the cultural legacy of their linguistic and religious ancestors, among which are the early Indo-Europeans. But it is true geographic influences also tend to be as strong as if not stronger than ethnic origins, too, and although new group moving in generally influences the area, these groups do get influenced back if not assimilated, depending on the level of interaction (and kind of) between the groups. We observed this with the Romans too, and with the later European kulturbund that resulted from Roman invasions, even in the absence of significant admixture or migration, so you do have a point.


West Slavs definitely have genetic affinities to Western Europe, but I agree because their cultural affinities seem to have little to do with these genetic affinities. Though it would be interesting to know much of a impact Ostsiedlung-era migrations from Germany had vs. ancient Germanic and Celtic groups in the area, or even Unetice.

Cpk said...

Greeks, Romans and Etruscans are much more influenced by Middle Easterners.

Gabriel said...


I never denied that, but okay.

I just wanted to point out the Romans had Indo-European heritage too, in part one of their own, in part merged with the one their neighbors like the Greeks got. This blog is very much IE-focused so that’s why I did it.

I’ll just end by saying that Europe’s cultural and genetic roots are mostly from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean/Middle East, even in the West and even somewhat recently.

Davidski said...


Alright, that's it. I'm closing this thread.

pnuadha said...


Its not anti slavic mentality (slavic was well after PIE), and neither is it anti Gumbitas (gumbitas was pro replacement). The slant in these articles is simply anti European, with the purpose of deconstructing the idea of a European homeland and even a European people. These types of articles take every opportunity to compare Europeans to non European migrants, highlight apparent non European traits in ancient Europeans, and make up a bunch of "diversity" out of thin air. The obvious propaganda is that Europe does not belong to Europeans.

The immigration slant ignores the fact that migrations in Europe were almost always in situ. It also ignores that fact that these migrants carried their own cultures, which made them settlers not immigrants. These people built their own cultures in the places they settled. The worst part of calling Europeans immigrants is that purpose isn't to give them a greater conception of their own story but just to have them identify as immigrant. The intention isnt to get British to identify with BB or Polish to identify with CW as the final lesson is just 'immigrant'.

An example of an apparent non European trait designed to convince Europeans of their foreigner status is the dark skin of La Brana. Rather than using La Brana as an example of European uniqueness and a degree of European continuity, the media pretended that either La Brana was non European or White people are non European.

The exaggerated diversity of Roman England pretends that North Africans and Middle Easterners were common in Roman England when the studies actually show that Roman Brits were extremely homogeneous and mostly represented local populations. The desire of the media is obvious when you see a lot of POC in shows on Roman Britain, Vikings, and now Robin Hood.

Its strange and divisive for you to say that West Europeans have something against an origin in East Europe and would rather be from Central Asia. I have never heard of a West European wanting an origin in Central Asia.

pnuadha said...

But I think many Westerners are wrong.

R1a, r1b, BB, CW, ultimately from Russia/Ukraine. Doesn't really matter much how you parse it.

It sure surprised a lot of people that we Europeans have origins in far eastern europe but that is one of the things that connects us all. I know there is a lot of hate for Russians but ultimately they are our brothers as well and as an American id rather be friendly with Putin than Merkel, who's disgusting strategy is to replace Europeans. Nothing is be worse than this.

Andrzejewski said...

@Colin Welling The media would rather also hype the roles of the Anatolian EEF and the Villabruna WHG in the creation of the European ethnogenesis (implying that both Farmers and WHG originated somewhere in West Asia or the Near East), as well as attempting to boost the contribution of the CHG in Yamnaya and related Steppe populations in addition to claiming that CHG actually came recently from the Caucasus instead of being an in situ autochthonous population of Western Ukraine.

Andrzejewski said...

The major contribution of European aDNA is Steppe related IE populations, rather than EEF or WHG. Same goes to cultures and languages. Yamnaya is by far the largest contributor to European DNA, customs, languages, appearance and anything recognizable as European.

If you ask me, "Oetzi" has some "Semitic"-like (Iran_Chl?) features.

WeightofAudio said...

I agree with the couple of comments above me 100%, although I think it gets a little hyperbolic when one says that all of Europe is "really Eastern European"- A whole lot of European ancestry indeed came from the southern Russian/Ukranian steppe, but those guys were not 100% akin to modern-day Eastern Europeans. I recognize you all know this well enough, I just feel like that nuance needed to be emphasized by someone. Also, not coming from an anti-Eastern European place here- I'm of Eastern European heritage and have a lot of pride in it. Don't accuse me of being self-hating. : )

@Andrzejewski, I've been rather intrigued by your previous commenting regarding a Slavo-Hellenic-Vedic Aryan "heritage". I'd like to hear the more complete version of your thoughts and what you think in detail- surely one could simply say it's simply common PIE heritage? Feel free to contact the email address in my profile (if you feel so inclined).

Good to see intelligent comments- good lawd, was there some zany crap that had to be modded out...Davidski truly does not lie when he says he gets the crazies in here...

Andrzejewski said...

@WeightofAudio First of all thank you. But I did not include Hellenic in the Slavic or Vedic "heritage". They both stem from an expansion of Corded Ware which was how Kurgan populations assimilated WHG-rich Farmer populations. I personally don't use the word "Aryan" lest be accused of being a White Nationalist, and this word is usually reserved to the Andronovo-based invaders of India. My point was that basically that all European languages are offsprings of Corded Ware Culture, including the Bell Beaker, which started out as a Rhine-area offshoot of a Corded Ware outlier. Now, it also turns out that Indo-Iranian also came about as a branch of Corded Ware rather than Yamnaya or Afanasievo. So my theory is that the reconstructed "Proto-Indo-European" may NOT be the language spoken by our Yamnaya Steppe Kurgan ancestors but the common lingua franca of the CWC, and therefore the Yamnaya might've spoken a much older version of PIE which gave rise to PIE=Corded Ware language.

So here's my hypothesis:

Early Khvalynsk - either pre-early PIE or early PIE. Then Anatolian branches off.
Then Repin, Sredny Stog II, that when Tocharian branches off. Middle PIE.
Then Yamnaya gives rise to Late PIE.
Then Corded Ware is the reconstructed PIE, and Yamnaya is an ancestral language.

Davidski said...


Just a reminder that this thread is closed.

So no more posts here.