yy

Various episodes of population movement have affected southeast Europe, and the role of the Balkans as a longstanding gateway to Europe from the Near East is illustrated by the phylogenetic unification of Hgs I and J by the basal M429 mutation.

This evidence of commonancestry suggests that ancestral IJ-M429* Y chromosomes probably entered Europe through the Balkan route sometime before the Last Glacial Maximum. They subsequently evolved into Hg J in the Middle East and Hg I in Europe in a typical disjunctive phylogeographic pattern.

Dabban [southern Aurignacian] migration- 35/40kya, ydna R1, mtdna U & M1.
Capsian migration- 11/10kya, ydna J1, possibly T etc., mtdna H
Neolithic migration- 8kya, ydna R1b, J1, J2

At this time, the “Eastern” wing of macrohaplogroup N (including A, X and B attested in America) was still in the East. South Siberian UP dated around 43,000 YBP/48,000 CAL (statistically identical to 46,000 YBP at Boker-Tachtit [Ahmarian]) is concentrated mostly at two areas in southern Siberia, at the Altai Mountains (Kara-Bom, Kara-Tenesh, Ust’-Karakol, etc.) and the Transbaikal (Tolbaga, Kamenka, etc.). At the same time, some occurrences at the Yenisey, Angara, and Upper Lena River basins witness the occupation of the whole southern Siberia. At Kara-Bom we find all the features of European UP (volumetric flaking, chisel-like burins, blades, scrapers, adornments, etc.) plus continuity traits with Middle Paleolithic.

Two morphological variants – high-stature and low-stature (or gracile) – are clearly distinguished in the European Upper Paleolithic. According to these features, the men from Grotte des Enfants 4, Barma Grande 5, Predmosti 3, Pavlov and Sunghir 1 can belong to the group of giant-high variants. European Cro-Magnon 2, Predmosti 9, Predmosti 14, Paviland, Levantian Ohalo 2, African Wadi Kubbaniya belong to the middle-high male group. Relatively low stature was demonsrated by males Predmosti 5, Neuessing, Arene Candide 12. Arene Candide 2, 3, 5 and Riparo Continenza belongs the most low-stature group.

Three databases (2961 georeferenced archeological sites, simulated climatic variables simulating a typical “warm” phase of the isotopic stage 3 (IOS3 project), and ethnographic of hunter-gatherers (HG)) were used to estimate the size, growth rate and kinetics of the metapopulation of HG during four periods of the Upper Paleolithic in Europe. The size of the metapopulation was obtained by multiplying a demographic density (per 100 km2) by the size of the population territory of HG. Demographic density for each period was calculated by successively backprojecting a reference density obtained for the Late Glacial with inter-period growth rate of the archeological sites. From the Aurignacian to the Glacial Maximum, the metapopulation remained in a positive quasi-stationary state, with about 4400-5900 inhabitants (95% confidence interval (CI95%): 1700-37,700 inhabitants). During the Glacial Maximum, the metapopulation responded to the cold: (i) by moving the northern limits of its maximum expansion zone towards the low latitudes by 150-500 km from west to east, (ii) by concentrating in few refuge zones (mainly Périgord, Cantabria and the Iberian coasts), (iii) by becoming perhaps distributed in smaller groups than during the pre and post Glacial Maximum. The metapopulation reached 28,800 inhabitants (CI95%: 11.300-72,600) during the mid-Late Glacial recolonisation.

Anomalous Mitochondrial DNA Lineages in the Cherokee

Donald N. Yates

ABSTRACT. A sample of 52 individuals who purchased mitochondrial DNA testing to determine their female lineage was assembled after the fact from the customer files of DNA Consultants. All claim matrilineal descent from a Native American woman, usually named as Cherokee. The main criterion for inclusion in the study is that test subjects must have obtained results not placing them in the standard Native American haplogroups A, B, C or D. Hence the use of the word “anomalous” in the title of a paper prepared by chief investigator Donald N. Yates, “Anomalous Mitochondrial DNA Lineages in the Cherokee.”

Most subjects reveal haplotypes that are unmatched anywhere else except among other participants, and there proves to be a high degree of interrelatedness and common ancestral lines. Haplogroup T emerges as the largest lineage, followed by U, X, J and H. Similar proportions of these haplogroups are noted in the populations of Egypt, Israel and other parts of the East Mediterranean (see below).

The Cherokee and Admixture. According to a 2007 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Cherokee are the largest tribal group today, with a population of 331,000 or 15% of all American Indians. Despite their numbers, though, the Cherokee have had few DNA studies conducted on them. I know of only three reports on Cherokee mitochondrial DNA. A total of 60 subjects are involved, all from Oklahoma. Possibly the reason the Cherokee are not recruited for more studies, I would suggest, stems from their being perceived as admixed in comparison with other Indians. Accordingly, they are deemed less worthy of study.

In the past, whenever a geneticist or anthropologist conducting a study of Native Americans has encountered an anomalous haplogroup, that is, a lineage that does not belong to one of the five generally accepted American Indian mitochondrial DNA haplogroups A, B, C, D and X, it has been rejected as an example of admixture and not included in the survey results. This is true of the two examples of H and one of J reported by Cherokee descendants by Schurr (2000:253). Schurr takes these exceptions to prove the rule and regards them as instances of European admixture. The governing logic of population geneticists seems to go as follows:

Lineage A, B, C, D and X are American Indian.

Therefore, all American Indians are lineage A, B, C, D and X.

The fallacy in such reasoning is apparent. It could be restated as: “All men are two-legged creatures; therefore since the skeleton we dug up has two legs, it is human.” It might be a kangaroo.

“The geneticists always seem to cry ‘post-Columbian admixture,’” says Stephen C. Jett, a geographer at the University of California at Davis, “but fail to take into account that there are no plausible post-Columbian sources for the particular genetic mix encountered.”

“Anomalous Mitochondrial DNA Lineages in the Cherokee” concentrates on the “kangaroos”- documented or self-identifying Cherokee descendants whose haplotypes do not fit the current orthodoxy in American Indian population genetics. Here are some highlights, organized by haplogroup.

Haplogroup H. Although this quintessentially European haplogroup would seem to be the most likely suspect if admixture were responsible for the anomalous haplogroups, there are but four cases of it.

Haplogroup X. Haplogroup X is a latecomer to the “pantheon” of Native American haplogroups. Its relative absence in Mongolia and Siberia and a recently proven center of diffusion in Lebanon and Israel (Brown et al. 1998, Malhi and Smith 2002; Smith et al. 1999; Reidla 2003; Shlush et al. 2009) pose problems for the standard account of the peopling of the Americas. DNA Consultants Cherokee-descended customers include seven instances of haplogroup X. David E. Lewis (whose Cherokee name is Wayauwetsi) traces his unmatched X haplotype back to Seyinus, a Cherokee woman of the Wolf Clan born on or near the Qualla Boundary in North Carolina in 1862. Two cases represent descendants (unknown to each other, incidentally) of the Cherokee woman called Polly who was the namesake for the Qualla reservation (the sound p lacking in the Cherokee language and being rendered with qu).

Haplogroup J. Two other cases, both J’s, are related to Polly, tracing their lines back to Betsy Walker, a Cherokee woman born about 1720 in Soco (One-Town). A descendant was the wife or paramour of Col. Will Thomas, the first chief and founder of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians located today on the Qualla Boundary. Views about J are still evolving, but it seems to have originated in present-day Lebanon approximately 10,000 years before present. It is a major Jewish female lineage (Thomas 2002).

Haplogroup U has never been reported in American Indians to my knowledge. In our sample it covers 13 cases or 25% of the total, second in frequency only to haplogroup T. One of the U’s is Mary M. Garrabrant-Brower. She belongs to U5a1a* (all U5a1a not matched or assigned) but has no close matches anywhere. Her great-grandmother was Clarissa Green of the Cherokee Wolf Clan, born 1846. Mary’s mother Mary M. Lounsbury maintained the Cherokee language and rituals. One of the cases of U2e* is my own. This line evidently arose from a Jewish Indian trader and a Cherokee woman. My fifth-great-grandmother was born about 1790 on the northern Georgia and southwestern North Carolina frontier and had a relationship with a trader named Enoch Jordan. The trader’s male line descendants from his white family in North Carolina possess Y chromosomal J, a common Jewish type. Some Jordans, in fact, bear the Cohen Modal Haplotype that has been suggested to be the genetic signature of Old Testament priests (Thomas et al. 1998). Enoch Jordan was born about 1768 in Scotland of forbears from Russia or the Ukraine. My mother, Bessie Cooper, was a double descendant of Cherokee chief Black Fox and was born on Sand Mountain in northeastern Alabama near Black Fox’s former seat at Creek Path (and who was Paint Clan). All U2e* cases appear to have in common the fact that there are underlying Melungeon, Cherokee and Jewish connections.

Haplogroup T. “Tara,” as she was named by Brian Sykes, is believed to have originated in Mesopotamia approximately 10,000 to 12,000 years ago and to have moved northwards through the Caucasus and westwards from Anatolia into Europe. The closer one goes to its origin in the Fertile Crescent the more likely T is to be found in higher frequencies. The haplogroup includes slightly fewer than 10% of modern Europeans, but accounts for 28% of people in the DNA Consultants study. The great-great-grandmother of Linda Burckhalter was Sully Firebush, the daughter of a Cherokee chief who married Solomon Sutton, the stowaway son of a London merchant, in what would seem to be another variation of the “Jewish trader marries chief’s daughter” pattern. Three T1*’s are perfectly matching individuals completely unknown to one another before testing who are clearly descended from the same woman. Two of them claim Melungeon ancestry.

The many interrelationships noted above reinforce the conclusion that this is a faithful cross-section of a population. No such mix could have resulted from post-1492 European gene flow into the Cherokee Nation. So where do our non-European, non-Indian-appearing elements come from? The level of haplogroup T in the Cherokee (26.9%) approximates the percentage for Egypt (25%), one of the only lands where T attains a major position among the various mitochondrial lineages. In Egypt, T is three times what it is in Europe. Haplogroup U in our sample is about the same as the Middle East in general. Its frequency is similar to that of Turkey and Greece. J has a frequency not unlike Europe (a little less than 10%). The only other place on earth where X is found at an elevated level apart from other American Indian groups like the Ojibwe is among the Druze in the Hills of Galilee in northern Israel and Lebanon. The work of Shlush et al. (2009) demonstrates that this region was in fact the center of the worldwide diffusion of haplogroup X.

Phoenicians. On the Y chromosome side of Shlush et al.’s study, male haplogroup K was found to have a relatively high frequency of 11% in the Galilee region (2008:2). K (renamed T in the revised YCC nomenclature) has long been suspected to be the genetic signature of the Phoenicians. A TV show by National Geographic appeared about a year ago titled Who Were the Phoenicians?, in which Spencer Wells of the National Genographic Project, unveiled this theory. Without a doubt it was the Phoenicians, whose name among themselves was Cana’ni or KHNAI ‘Canaanites’, not Phoenikoi ‘red paint people’ (Aubet 2001:9-12; cf. Oxford Classical Dictionary s.v. “Phoenicians” ), who are referenced by James Adair when he observes that “several old American towns are called Kan?ai,” and suggests that the Conoy Indians of Pennsylvania and Maryland were Canaanites and their tribal name a corruption of the word Canaan. The Conoy Indians are the same Indians William Penn around 1700 described as resembling Italians, Jews and Greeks. By about 1735 they had dwindled to a “remnant of a nation, or subdivided tribe, of Indians,” according to Adair (1930:56, 67, 68). One of the oldest Cherokee clans is called Red Paint Clan (Ani-wodi).

So do the two subclades of X and other haplogroups represent Old World and New World branches diverging from each other as long ago as 30,000 years, or do the Native American “anomalous” haplotypes come more recently (but not as late as Columbus) from the same source in the East Mediterranean? The answer probably depends on how open one is to new evidence and revisionary thinking. According to Jett, “The splits may have taken place well before transfer, with one only or both being transferred to a new place and then one dying out in the home area (and the other in the new area, if both were transferred).” The distinction, at any rate, is irrelevant to the Cherokee who exhibit these not-so-rare haplogroups, although to those denied authenticity on the basis of anthropologists’ hardened ideas about the genetic composition of American Indians it is welcome vindication either way.

Researchers have disagreed for decades about an issue that is only skin-deep: How quickly did the first modern humans who swept into Europe acquire pale skin? Now a new report on the evolution of a gene for skin color suggests that Europeans lightened up quite recently, perhaps only 6000 to 12,000 years ago. This contradicts a long-standing hypothesis that modern humans in Europe grew paler about 40,000 years ago, as soon as they migrated into northern latitudes. Under darker skies, pale skin absorbs more sunlight than dark skin, allowing ultraviolet rays to produce more vitamin D for bone growth and calcium absorption. “The [evolution of] light skin occurred long after the arrival of modern humans in Europe,” molecular anthropologist Heather Norton of the University of Arizona, Tucson, said in her talk.
This seems to be in agreement with accelerating recent selection in the human genome. The Science story is referring to the AAPA 2007 meeting. More from the Science story regarding the SLC24A5 gene:
The genetic origin of the spectrum of human skin colors has been one of the big puzzles of biology. Researchers made a major breakthrough in 2005 by discovering a gene, SLC24A5, that apparently causes pale skin in many Europeans, but not in Asians. A team led by geneticist Keith Cheng of Pennsylvania State University (PSU) College of Medicine in Hershey found two variants of the gene that differed by just one amino acid. Nearly all Africans and East Asians had one allele, whereas 98% of the 120 Europeans they studied had the other (Science, 28 October 2005, p. 601).
This is a wonderful confirmation of Cavalli-Sforza’s prediction about recent selection for skin color:
Either way, the implication is that our European ancestors were brown-skinned for tens of thousands of years–a suggestion made 30 years ago by Stanford University geneticist L. Luca Cavalli-Sforza. He argued that the early immigrants to Europe, who were hunter-gatherers, herders, and fishers, survived on ready-made sources of vitamin D in their diet. But when farming spread in the past 6000 years, he argued, Europeans had fewer sources of vitamin D in their food and needed to absorb more sunlight to produce the vitamin in their skin. Cultural factors such as heavier clothing might also have favored increased absorption of sunlight on the few exposed areas of skin, such as hands and faces, says paleoanthropologist Nina Jablonski of PSU in State College.
Perhaps it was the larger population sizes made possible by farming that made it possible for the adaptive mutation to arise in one individual, or the mutation pre-existed in early agriculturalists.

Zalloua and Wells (2004), under the auspices of a grant from National Geographic Magazine examined the origins of the Phoenicians. The debate between Wells and Zalloua was whether haplogroup J2 (M172) should be identified as that of the Phoenicians or that of its “parent” haplogroup M89 on the YDNA phylogenetic tree.[1] Initial consensus suggested that J2 be identified with the Canaanite-Phoenician (Northwest Semitic) population, with avenues open for future research.[2] As Wells commented, “The Phoenicians were the Canaanites-and the ancestors of today’s Lebanese.”[3] It was reported in the PBS description of the National Geographic TV Special on this study entitled “Quest for the Phoenicians” that ancient DNA was included in this study as extracted from the tooth of a 2500 year-old Phoenician mummy.[4]

Wells identified the haplogroup of the Canaanites as haplogroup J2.[5] The National Geographic Genographic Project linked haplogroup J2 to the site of Jericho, Tel el-Sultan, ca. 8500 BCE and indicated that in modern populations, haplogroup J2 is found in North Africa, Southern Europe, and the Middle East, with especially high distribution among present-day Spanish (10%), Italians (20%), and Jewish populations (30%).[6]

In 2004, a team of geneticists from Stanford University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tartu University (Estonia), Barzilai Medical Center (Ashkelon, Israel), and the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center (Zerifin, Israel), studied the modern Samaritan community living in Israel and the Palestinian Terrotories in comparison with modern Israeli populations to explore the ancient genetic history of these people groups. The Samaritans or Shomronim (singular: Shomroni) trace their origins to the Assyrian province of Shomron (Samaria) in ancient Israel in the period after the Assyrian conquest circa 722 BCE. Shomron was the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel when it was conquered by the Assyrians and gave the name to the ancient province of Samaria and the Samaritan people group. Tradition holds that the Samaritans were a mixed people group of Israelites who were not exiled or were sent back or returned from exile and non-Israelites relocated to the region by the Assyrians. The modern-day Samaritans are believed to be the direct descendants of the ancient Samaritans.

Their findings reported on four family lineages among the Samaritans: the Tsdaka family (tradition: tribe of Menasseh), the Joshua-Marhiv and Danfi families (tradition: tribe of Ephraim), and the Cohen family (tradition: tribe of Levi). All Samaritan families were found in haplogroups J1 and J2, except the Cohen family which was found in haplogroup E3b1a-M78.

In their paper, Cinnioglu et al. mention the localized presence of J2f-M67 (now called J2a1b):

“The J2f-M67 clade is localized to Northwest Turkey. It is well known that during this period, Northwest Anatolia developed a complex society that engaged in widespread Aegean trade referred to as “Maritime Troia culture,” involving both the western Anatolian mainland and several of the large islands in the eastern Aegean, Chios, Lemnos and Lesbos (Korfmann 1996).” (Cinnioglu et al. 2004: 133)

This finding was discussed in “Y Chromosomal Haplogroup J as a Signature of the Post-Neolithic Colonization of Europe” (2004) by Di Giacomo et al. (see our page on The Balkans). What is less clear is whether we should now support:

Hypothesis #1 J2a1b originated in Anatolia and spread westward; or
Hypothesis #2: J2f-M67 (now called J2a1b) originated in the Balkans and radiated outwards (including eastward, back to Anatolia).
It appears from their discussion that Di Giacomo et al. (2004) favour Hypothesis #2, that is, a particular Aegean dispersal of J2a1b-M67(xM92) and J2a1b1-M92, “coincident with the expansion of the Greek world to the European coast of the Black Sea”, which leads us to interpret an eastward movement from Greece to Anatolia (which is not to eliminate the possibility that Greek migrations of J2a1b additionally moved in other directions, such as eastward). Let us keep in the back of our minds, but put to one side, the other J2 lineage (identified with the M12 marker) that Cruciani et al. (2007) argue expanded from southeastern Europe, also specifically from the Balkan peninsula, during the Bronze Age.

Let us consider the possibility of an Anatolian origin for J2a1b (Hypothesis #1) and place it in the archaeological context. Recall that Cinnioglu et al. referred to the “Maritime Troia culture”. The Maritime Troia culture has been associated with archaeological excavations of Troia I, II and III which date to the early Bronze Age (circa 2600-2300 B.C.). The next settlement period on the site of Troy, associated with levels Troia IV and V (circa 2300-1700 B.C.) have been designated the “Anatolian Troia Culture”, to reflect the latter’s stronger connection to the interior of Asia Minor during the middle Bronze Age.

Immediately afterwards is a period lasting five hundred years distinguished by unique architecture and culture, associated archaeologically with Troia VI and VIIa (1700-1200 B.C.). “Troy” and “Troia” are names of recent origin. The Hittite kingdom of central Anatolia, known as Hattusa, referred to the city we now call Troy as Wilusa. See for example the clay tablet that constitutes a treaty between the great Hittite King Muwattalli II (ca 1290-1272 B.C.) and the ruler of Wilusa, Alaksandu (Latacz 2001). The city of Wilusa was destroyed in a great conflagration around 1200 B.C. It has been pointed out that Homer may have made this the culminating event of the Illiad, which gets its name from the title city, Ilios (the Greek (W)ilios). The archaeological record, however, cannot establish whether it was the people of Ahhiyawa (the Acheaens) who participated in the fire that destroyed Wilusa.

YDNA groups from G to R2 are derived from one central Haplogroup F. This F group is central to both Shem’s and Japheth’s known lineages. We will start with Lineage F, which is P14, M89, M213. This line is the basic line for G, H, I, J, and K.

We know that the lineages in known Semitic nations are G, I and J. There are also some lineages of E3b African or Hamitic lineages together with some R1a and R1b. These lineages with G also spread to Turkey, Georgia/Armenia and Italy.

Conventional wisdom identifies the Middle-East Arabs as Haplogroup J and the Jewish Aaronic priesthood, which has an identified clear lineage to Shem, is at J2. This Haplogroup division identifies also the Buba clan of the Lemba tribe of Zimbabwe as Aaronic priests, and they have been separated from the rest of Judah/Levi for up to 2,500 years. Thus the J2 division is at least as old as that separation.

There are also a significant number of divisions in Judaism that show that Judaism is a religion and not a single Haplogroup lineage.

For example, whilst the Aaronic priesthood is identified as J2, the Levitical structure of Ashkenazi Jews are 52% R1a1, which is an identified Japhethite lineage occurring in Russia and the Central and Eastern Steppes and among the Aryans in India. It is Slavic. Also, 25% of all East European Jews are E3b, which indicates an Hamitic origin.

One hypothesis concerning the E3b origin is that Egyptians interbred with the Israelites. Another is that the Mixed Multitude involved E3bs, as there were some two million Israelites and approximately six hundred thousand of the Mixed Multitude. That would constitute 25%. However, when we read the genetic accounts of the Milesians they claim to have been part of the mixed multitude also in the Exodus. They are R1b. Thus, the explanation must involve later conversions to Judaism from Hamitic lineages. We find these in the occupation of Canaan under Joshua.

Canaan was a son of Ham and a number of sub-tribes were spared and joined Israel in some cases by subterfuge. The Ethiopian conversions were also of significance and so we have ample explanation for the E3b lineages at 25% of the Ashkenazim. The Amorites and the Southern Hittites also entered and bred with Israel. There are also significant levels of E3b in Syria, Turkey and among the Greeks at up to 30%. The Greeks are up to 30% Haplogroup J or known Semites also with up to 20% Hg I as well, which is also a prevalent Haplogroup among both known Semites and Europeans. We will deal with these aspects later.

Known Hamitic lines 12

DE (xE3) x 1 (Fra)

E3b x 11 (4 AH, 1 x Bel, 1 x Lith, 2 x Rom, 2 x Rus, 1 x Ger).

Assumed Japhethite lines 40

K (x L, N, O, P) x 1 (1 x Ger).

N (xN3) x 1 (1 x Lith).

Q x 1 (1 x Rus).

R1 x 1 (1 x Ger). This is a very rare line found in two Armenians previously.

R1a1 x 31 (4 x AH, 3 x Bel. 3 x Lith, 6 x Pol, 1 x Rom, 1 x Rus, 4 x Fra, 7 x Ger, 22 x Neth).

R1b x 5 (2 x AH, 1 x Rus, 1 x Fra, 1 x Neth).

The Semitic lineages are as follows and help demonstrate the point of the divergence of the Semitic lineages argued above.

F (x G, H, I, J, K) x 1 (1 x Rom)

I x 1 (1 x Neth).

J (x J2) x 2 (1 x Lith, 1 x Rus).

J2 x 4 (2 x Lith, 1 x Pol, 1 x Neth).

G (M201), H (M69), I (M170, M258, and P19) and J (12f2.1) appear to be known Semitic lineages, with K (M9) the root base for all the sons of Japheth

The Hittite Alliance

From early in King David’s career he established alliances with the northern kingdoms of Tyre and Sidon and also with the Hittites, who were both sons of Riphath and sons of Magog. They were weakened by the loss of the Wilusian kingdom whose capital was at Troy. Thus the sons of Ashkenaz were exposed to Israel at this time and Israelites joined them and later converted them.

Both the sons of Ashkenaz and the sons of Riphath, and the sons of Togarmah, are all sons of Gomer. Yet Magog also has R1b. Hence the divisions of R1a and R1b occurred after the tribes had split. Some became R1a and some R1b. The sons of Ashkenaz became R1a, or else the R1a groups called themselves Ashkenazi even though they were Slavic, which is very possible from their Khazar exposure.

Saul consolidated the area of Israel but David expanded it to the Euphrates.

He was in Cappadocia and north of there into Scythia amongst Meshech and Tubal at the beginning of the eleventh century BCE. We know this from the Psalms (Ps. 120:5).

Now there were two Meshechs in the Bible. One was a son of Japheth; the other was son of Aram, son of Shem, living in Syria. It is possible that David was in Syria among the sons of Mesech, son of Aram, which had identified with the sons of Kedar.

The composite Meshech and Tubal identifies the sons of Japheth and not the son of Aram.

The area of Cappadocia in Turkey, which was taken over by Mesech millennia ago, was originally called Kus after Cush the son of Ham and father of Nimrod. The king of the Hittite empire had his capital there and the Babylonians referred to him as King of Kus.

The Hittite empire was divided into the northern and southern divisions. They were comprised of the sons of Ham and the sons of Japheth, both of Gomer and Magog and Madai or the Medes, and the trading alliances with them based on and with Sidon, from Tarshsish and also the sons of Heth. Homer, in the Iliad, says that the Trojan host spoke many languages.

The inhabitants of Tyre and Lebanon were to become K2 YDNA descendants of the sea alliances of the sons of Japheth (sons of Javan Tarshish and Elisha, and Kittim and Dodanim or Rhodanim). These were not of the sons of Heth, and we see them in the descendants of Lebanon and of Malta today.

The sons of Gomer were: Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah. These are the Gimirra mentioned by the Assyrians who were the Kimmerians of Herodotus. They are the progenitors of the Celts. The Ashkenazim formed the Khazar Horde. The Riphathians formed the Western or Trojan Celts of Wilusia.

The sons of Javan were identified as the Ionians of the cuneiform and the Tel el-Armana tablets. The Greeks were first known by this name, but the modern DNA divisions of the Greeks indicate we are looking at a different people to the original Ionian Greeks.

Tiras was the original inhabitant of Thrace (from Tirasia), but the tribe descended from him does not appear to have remained there as the Haplogroups appear to be Semitic.

Sons of Ham : Haplogroups A to E

Haplogroup F is central to both Shem and Japheth lineages

All other Y DNA haplogroups from G to R2 are derived from once central Haplogroup F.

Sons of Shem: Haplgroups H I J – Shemite/semite lines? yet to be confirmed as some could be Japeth lines ie. H and I (more tests to be done on the semite lines)

Sons of Japeth: Haplogroups K, K is the root division for all of the subsequent Haplogroup divisions from L to R2

L, M, N, O, P, Q and R appear to be Japhethite tribes

Did haplogroup J2a1 originate in Greece?

In A multistep process for the dispersal of a Y chromosomal lineage in the Mediterranean area, Patrizia Malaspina and colleagues identified “Network 1.2″, a group of chromosomes identified by a deletion in the DYS413 locus:
Chromosomes grouped into network 1.2 are identified by short CA repeats (<=18) in both PCR fragments at DYS413. All chromosomes within this group can be linked to each other in a network by assuming insertion or deletion of a single CA unit in one of the fragments. By the same criterion, they could not be linked to any other chromosome in a sample of 1801 chromosomes (Malaspina et al. 2000) from Western Eurasia and North Africa.
These chromosomes all belonged to the J2-M172 clade of the Y-chromosome phylogeny, and in the latest phylogenetic revisions, they are now termed as J2a1.

Intriguingly, Malaspina et al. carried out a microsatellite diversity analysis within Network 1.2, which I have not seen repeated on a regional basis since. The results of this analysis:
The largest variances, after averaging across the four loci, are found in Continental Greece, Crete and Romania (>0.40),followed by Continental Turkey (0.36) and Italy (0.32). A super-pool consisting of all typed network 1.2 chromosomes from West Asia, except Turkey, produced the low value of 0.31. Considering that the area from which a population spread is generally characterized by a comparatively higher genetic variance than the areas colonized later (Wooding & Ward, 1997; Barbujani, 2000), these data identify the Balkans, Aegean and Anatolia as the possible homeland harbouring the largest variation within network 1.2, with decreasing values both east/south-east and west of it.
Actually, the microsatellite variance is higher in Greece 0.487, Crete 0.457, the entire Balkans (incl. Greece) 0.478, and Romania 0.4075, all of which are higher than in Anatolia.

This certainly does not seem to be the signature of colonization of the Balkans by pioneer groups of farmers from the east. Moreover, there have been numerous historical attested movements of Balkan peoples into Anatolia, incl. the Phrygians, Thracians, and Greeks. Indeed, by the time that the first Turkic speakers arrived in Anatolia, the peninsula was dominated by Greek and Armenian speakers, both of which had ultimate Balkan origins (the Armenians being Phrygian colonists with ultimate Thraco-Macedonian origins). Obviously these movements affected the genetic composition of the Anatolian population, increasing the diversity of J2a1 lineages there. Hence, the original differential between the Balkans and Anatolia may have been even higher.

However, it could be argued that mobility within the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires may have introduced J2a1 from Anatolia to the Balkans. However, this does not explain the high diversity of J2a1 in Romania and Italy which were little if at all affected by Anatolian populations.

Moreover the idea that J2a1 originated in Greece also explains the coastal distribution of J2 in the Mediterranean, observed by Di Giacomo et al.. It is well-known that Greek colonization was especially maritime.

It also explains why in the Balkans, the western Dinaric regions show little J2: Greeks had few colonies in the Adriatic, whereas colonization of present-day Bulgaria and its Black Sea coast was extensive.

Moreover, Balkan J2 belongs primarily and near-exclusively to clade J2b (old J2e), contrasting greatly with Greeks where both J2b and J2a (mainly J2a1) are present. This, again signifies the differentiation of Greek J2 from Balkan J2, with the former belonging more to the J2a clade.

Furthermore, unlike Slavs of the Balkans that have only a little J2b and almost no J2a, Ukrainians have more J2a than J2b, and more J2 altogether. Unlike the West Balkans, the Ukraine was home to both ancient and more recent Greek colonies and settlements.

The higher frequency of J2 in southern Italy and Sicily compared to northern Italy, is also explained by this theory, as these regions were colonized by Greeks, whereas northern Italy was not.

J2a is also present in Egypt which was conquered by Macedonian Greeks, as well as Iran, but drops to a small frequency in India, and is there limited to the upper castes. This may reflect its presence in the ancient Indo-Aryans and its survival in the Brahmin caste, or alternatively may be the result of intermarriage between the Bactrian Greek aristocracy and high-class Hindus. In any case, if one accepts that the Indo-Aryans of India originated from an ultimate steppe group which was an outgrowth of the Tripolye-Cucuteni culture of the Balkans, the presence of J2a1 among Brahmins ceases to be a mystery.

In all likelihood, J2a1 originated before the ethnogenesis of the Greeks, and may be associated with multiple population movements from the Greek-Balkan region. However, I believe that it makes better sense to view it as a Balkan-Greek clade than a West-Asian one.

Haplogroup J2 consists exclusively of two separate subclades: J2a-M410 and J2b-M12.

Crete, occupying the southmost of the Greek world has an M12/M172 ratio of 2.2% [1]. This ratio is 20% [1] or 42.2% [2], a weighted average of 26%. In Northern Greece (Macedonia) it is 43.2% [2].

In Albania, the same ratio is 100% in the small sample of [1] and 54.6% as reported by [2], a weighted average of 55%.

In Bulgaria, the ratio is 28.6% [1] and in Romania, the ratio is 0% in the good sample of [1]. In the Ukraine it is 32.9% [2]

According to [3], the ratio is high in Serbs (66.3%). The few Croatians and Herzegovinians belonging in haplogroup J2 belong to the M12 clade, giving a ratio of 100% [2,3]. Similarly in Poland (100%) [2], and Czech Republic/Slovakia (50%) [1].

The distinction between the Western and Eastern Balkans that I have spoken of before is clear in this regard. M12 clade comprises the majority of J2 in the West and the minority in the East. Moreover, Slavic speakers of continental Europe belong more to the M12 clade, whereas those bordering Black Sea are more inclined to have a low frequency of M12, including the non-Slavic Romanians who lack M12 altogether. In historical times, the Balkans were inhabited by several Indo-European peoples which could be classified in the macro-groups of Illyrians (west) and Thracians (east). Greek trade and settlement occurred in both the Adriatic and the Black Sea, but the Greek presence was probably heavier and more long-lasting (until recent times) in the latter region.

Italy resembles the Greek-Black Sea area. Southern Italy has a ratio of 12.4%, while Northern Italy has a ratio of 25% [1]. North-Central Italy (35.7%), and two Calabrian samples (1%), and Sicily (0%). The latter two locations were Greek speaking for the major part of their recorded history.

Turkey resembles the Greek-Black Sea-South Italian area with an overall ratio of 7.1% [4]. Turkey was primarily Greek, Armenian and Kurdish speaking before the arrival of the Altaic-speaking Turks. Before that, it was also home to a variety of languages, including several extinct languages of the Indo-European family such as Hittite, Luvian, Palaic, Lydian, Lycian, Phrygian, and Celtic.

An interesting observation regarding haplogroups J2 and G in Indo-European and Semitic-speaking Iranians:
Haplogroup J2*(M172) was found in relatively high frequencies in the Iranian Arab and Bakhtiari groups, as well as in other groups from Iran. Haplogroup G* (M201) was found with similar frequency in Iranian Arabs as in the Iranian groups from Tehran and Isfahan, but in higher frequency in the Bakhtiari, as with the Mazandarani and Gilaki groups from Iran (Nasidze et al., 2004, 2006). To further investigate the relationships of these groups based on these two Y-SNP haplogroups, we typed nine Y-STR loci in individuals with these two Y-SNP haplogroups. For both Y-SNP haplogroups, the Bakhtiari are more similar to other Iranian groups than to the Iranian Arabs. Moreover, there is very little sharing of Y-STR haplotypes between Iranian Arabs and other groups from Iran, in contrast to the situation with mtDNA HV1 sequences.

This is an interesting observation which is inline with my previous suggestion about the presence of haplogroup J2 in early Indo-Aryan speakers, and which suggests that this haplogroup is not of recent Semitic origin in Iranian speakers.

A quite peculiar conclusion from the paper:
This case adds to our previous studies that have attempted to disentangle the relative influence of geography and language on the genetic relationships of groups whose geographic neighbors are different from their linguistic neighbors. Some general patterns are beginning to emerge from these studies of linguistic enclaves. One pattern is that observed in the present study, namely extensive mixing of groups speaking different languages.

One has to wonder how “extreme mixing” is compatible with “very little sharing of Y-STR haplotypes between Iranian Arabs and other groups from Iran” for Y-haplogroups J2 and G.

Close Genetic Relationship Between Semitic-speaking and Indo-European-speaking Groups in Iran

I. Nasidze et al.
As part of a continuing investigation of the extent to which the genetic and linguistic relationships of populations are correlated, we analyzed mtDNA HV1 sequences, eleven Y chromosome bi-allelic markers, and 9 Y-STR loci in two neighboring groups from the southwest of Iran who speak languages belonging to different families: Indo-European-speaking Bakhtiari, and Semitic-speaking Arabs. Both mtDNA and the Y chromosome, showed a close relatedness of these groups with each other and with neighboring geographic groups, irrespective of the language spoken. Moreover, Semitic-speaking North African groups are more distant genetically from Semitic-speaking groups from the Near East and Iran. Thus, geographical proximity better explains genetic relatedness between populations than does linguistic relatedness in this part of the world.

I have decided to investigate the correlations between haplogroup frequencies in southeastern Europe and some neighboring populations. Currently, I have collected frequency data for the main haplogroups found in the region (E3b, J2, I, R1a, R1b) for 16 populations. Most 3-letter codes should be recognizable, but KAL=Kosovo Albanians, SMA=Slav Macedonians, CAL=Calabrians. I should also note that the frequency of haplogroup I in Bulgarians is interpolated from frequencies in Romanians, Greeks, Slav Macedonians and Serbians, as it was missing in the original article. Conclusions about Bulgarians are especially weak, due to this reason, and also the small original sample (N=24).

A few features strike the eye:

• The negative correlation between haplogroup R1 and haplogroups E3b, J2, and R1b
• The negative correlation between haplogroup I and haplogroups J2 and R1b
• The positive correlation between haplogroup J2 and haplogroup R1b
• The absence of a substantial correlation between “Neolithic” haplogroups J2 and E3b
As the next analysis will make clear, variation is explained by the presence of two main groupings: a “continental” group comprising of Slavic speakers and a “coastal” group comprising of all others.

The absence of a correlation between J2 and E3b is significant, because it hints that these haplogroups did not diffuse as a result of a single process. The eastern-most populations of our sample, but also the two Italian populations show a higher J2/E3b ratio compared to the “continental” populations.

The second analysis is a dendrogram using Euclidean distance of the normalized haplogroup frequencies. As is apparent, this way of representing the frequency data results in a separation of the two main clusters.

Finally, a principal components analysis is shown in the following plot. The first two components summarize about 77% of the variance.

We observe the two main “contrasts” in the data between “coastal” J2/R1b and “continental” I1b and between “Neolithic” E3b and “Slavic” R1a (*)

Several conclusions can be drawn.
• The spread of the Neolithic economy into continental Europe involved E3b bearers in a riverine expansion whose northern expression is associated with the Linearbandkeramik. This does not mean that E3b was the only haplogroup associated with these early European farmers, only that it definitely seems to correlate better with this movement compared to the other Neolithic haplogroup (J2).
• The early diffusion of E3b occurred over a haplogroup I Paleolithic background. It is likely that as groups moved northward the frequency of haplogroup E3b abated, and this is in fact shown in the frequency distribution. This movement is probably associated with the narrow-faced Danubian Mediterranean racial types.
• This native European population later received an influx of R1a speakers; the frequency of R1a is correlated with latitude. This led to a decrease of the native component in favor of the foreign R1a component (*)
• The frequency of haplogroup J2 was established by three movements: (i) the initial arrival of J2 from Asia Minor; this did not significantly penetrate into the Western Balkans; (ii) the initial dispersal of J2 into Italy and further west, and around the Black Sea in pre-Greek times, which may be associated with the arrival of gracile Mediterranean racial types into the Ukraine; (iii) the latter dispersal of additional J2 as a result of Greek colonization.
It is imperative that the fine-level phylogeography of haplogroup J2 be resolved. The high frequency of this haplogroup around the Black Sea compared to the western Balkans is highly suggestive of Greek colonization, as it is well known that Greek colonization of the Black Sea was much more intensive than Greek activity in the Adriatic. However, archaeological evidence also shows the northward diffusion of agriculturalists in Thrace to Romania, culminating in the Tripoljie culture and its steppe offshoots. We must be able to distinguish between this earlier movement and the later maritime arrival of the Greeks.

The critical question would be: what fraction of J2 lineages in the Ukraine can be explained as the result of ancient and recent Greek settlement in the Crimea, and what fraction predates the Greeks?

(*) We should note that these are rough correspondences. If the theory of riverine diffusion of haplogroup E3b into Central and Northern Europe is correct, then it is likely that E3b existed in a small frequency in Proto-Slavs; conversely, R1a diffused after the LGM before its most recent diffusion associated perhaps with Slavic languages.

Update: A reader alerts me to a different study which listed the Hungarian R1a frequency as substantially lower than the one used here (Semino et al. 2000). Unfortunately, that study did not list frequencies of all haplogroups needed for comparison, so it could not be used directly. If the frequency of R1a=20.4% is used, then a slightly different clustering is obtained.

Y chromosome variation in Europe
The well-known Italian geneticist Andrea Noveletto has written an interesting article on the current knowledge about the European Y chromosome distribution. I heartily recommend that you get a copy of this paper which contains lots of useful summarization of previous work with some new interpretations. An excerpt related to Greece:

Greece and Greek Islands

Greece, Crete and the Aegean Islands is a key area to understand the migrations of early farmers to the rest of Europe. A detailed view of the role of Neolithic processes in shaping the Turkish gene pool has been proposed (Cinnioglu et al. 2004). Together with Turkey, Greece and the Aegean appear clearly as a source for haplogroup J2, but the timing for further movements to the west has not yet been fully established. The well documented expansion of the Ancient Greek world, consisting of repeated colonizations, is an immediate candidate process to have spread in the first millennium BC haplogroups that can be dated to an earlier phase of the Neolithic. This punctuation in the dispersal of ‘Neolithic’ genes has been hypothesized (Malaspina et al. 2001; Di Giacomo et al. 2003) based on haplogroup J, but further phyletic resolution of other haplogroups is needed. The present-day landscape of Greece is also characterized by a small-scale heterogeneity distinct from the continent-wide clines (Figure 2). This potentially provides the possibility of finding haplogroups or STR haplotypes linking the territories of colonies to those of the respective mother cities, as these relationships are historically known.

Greece and Crete also bring the signature of gene flow from north-eastern Europe, mainly represented by frequencies of R1a like nowhere else in southern Europe. This haplogroup is particularly abundant in Thessaly and underwent a further increase in eastern Crete (Di Giacomo et al. 2003).
and on the Carpathians and Balkans:
It is important to observe that, in spite of a bulk geographic continuity with Greece by land, and through the Ionian Sea, populations of this area display relatively low frequencies of lineages within haplogroup J2 (with the exception of J2e), i.e. little input of what are considered typical markers of the Neolithic diffusion or of post-Neolithic movements ensuing it. Conversely, these haplogroups seem to have undergone a more pronounced entry along the eastern edge of the Balkan peninsula and along the Black Sea coasts.

Ann Hum Biol. 2007 Mar-Apr;34(2):139-72.

Y chromosome variation in Europe: Continental and local processes in the formation of the extant gene pool

Andrea Novelletto

The polymorphism of the male-specific portion of the Y chromosome has been increasingly used to describe the composition of the European gene pool and to reconstruct its formation. Here the theoretical grounds and the limitations of this approach are presented, together with the different views on debated issues. The emerging picture for the composition of the male gene pool of the continent is illustrated, but local peculiarities that represent departures from the main trends are also highlighted, in order to illustrate the main unifying feature, i.e. the overlay of recent patterns onto more ancient ones. A synopsis of the main findings and conclusions obtained in regional studies has also been compiled.

More evidence for the origin of the Etruscans

In the same light, I was looking at the other recent paper on Y chromosome variation in Italy, and I was struck by the elevated frequency (7%) of J*(xJ2) in Central Tuscany. J*(xJ2) occurs at higher frequencies in the Near East than in Europe. For example, in Cinnioglu’s study of Anatolian Y chromosomes it occurred at a frequency of around 9%, while the frequency in Greece (pdf) is 2%.
The fact that J*(xJ2) reaches its Italian maximum in Central Tuscany, approaching the Anatolian figure, and being higher than that of Greece is consistent with the emerging consensus. Let’s hope that Y chromosome analysis of Etruscan remains will be feasible to directly test for the presence of J*(xJ2) in them.

PS: Interestingly, Sicily and Cyprus also show an elevated frequency of J*(xJ2) (pdf). The Phoenician presence or other historical events could explain this, but as far as I know (?) there is no documented substantial presence of Phoenicians in Tuscany, making First Farmers

Agriculture emerged independently in at least half-a-dozen regions around the world. The focus of our current study is the area known as the Fertile Crescent in Asia Minor, a region extending from present day Israel, Palestine and Jordan, up through Lebanon, Syria and Turkey (Anatolia) and eastward into Iraq and Iran. Research suggests that people here had already made the transition to a sedentary lifestyle (see the Web page on Sedantism ), but how and when did agriculture — the domestication of plants and animals — begin?

The Transition to Agriculture

The thousand years that followed the period known as the Natufian, has been called by archaeologists the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA, ca. 9500 to 8500 BC). It is followed by the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNA, ca. 8500 to 7000 BC) and, subsequently, the recently named Pre-Pottery Neolithic C, which was distinguished by a period of environmental decline in the central Levant. As these names suggest, humans had not yet invented the ceramic technology during this time frame.

Agriculture appears to have emerged in a number of different locations in the Levant, for example, there is the early appearance of domesticated rye at Abu Hureyra. Beyond such specific unique cases, there is broad consensus that domesticated cereals and legumes first appeared in the later part of the PPNA or early PPNB, sometime after 9000 BC (Garrard 1999; Colledge 2001). The transition from complex hunter-gatherer societies to societies based on agriculture was accompanied by a series of features, which Peter Bellwood has summarized as follows:

“Very major increases in maximum settlement sizes, with some PPNA settlements reaching 3 hectares and some late PPNB ones reaching an almost-urban 16 hectares (Figure 3.4), sizes which leave no doubt that the settlements were permanently occupied by essentially food-producing populations by the end of the PPNA (Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen 1991; Kuijt 1994, 2000a).

“Architectural innovations, expressed in the common use of sun-dried mud bricks, use of lime plaster on walls and floors, and a gradual shift from the prevailing Natufian and PPNA circular house forms into the PPNB subdivided rectilinear forms which have dominated Old World domestic architecture ever since (Flannery 1972).

“The appearance of “monuments” and communal structures in many of the larger sites, for instance the PPNA round tower and walls at Jericho, and many other examples of shrine-like buildings excavated recently in sites from southern Jordan to southeastern Anatolia. Associated with some of these are monumental stone carvings, the most celebrated being the T-shaped pillars carved with relief animals and humans from the sites of Gtheldi Tepe and Nevali Cori in southeastern Anatolia.

“Widespread modeled clay figurines of human females (the famed and much-discussed “Mother Goddesses”), often emphasizing aspects of sexuality and fertility, together with the architectural display of cattle skulls, as in Jerf el Ahmar and Mureybet in Syria, ca. 9000-8500 sc, and later in the shrines of Catalhöyiik in Anatolia. Jacques Cauvin has recently identified this “revolution of symbols” as one of the major underlying driving forces behind the evolution of the South-west Asian Neolithic.

“The removal of the skulls from human burials and apparent veneration of them as ancestors by placing them inside houses, even in the PPNB modeling their faces in clay with painted features and shell eyes (Kuijt 1996; Garfinkel 1994). Associated with this interesting phenomenon there appear, in the PPNB especially, large communal burial facilities, with bones placed either in pits or in constructed charnel houses. Flexed headless burials were commonly placed under house floors.

“An early decline in the frequency of microliths, and their replacement by fully polished axes and some widespread and very uniform categories of sickles and “projectile points” or awls made on large blades…

“A trend, according to examination of use-wear and gloss on sickle-blade edges, toward increased harvesting of ripe grain during the course of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic (Unger-Hamilton 1989, 1991; Quintero et al. 1997). Successful harvesting of large quantities of ripe grain, using flint sickles, could only occur if the grain had already developed a non-shattering habit through domestication.

“Most importantly, the economic record of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period as a whole indicates increasing reliance on domesticated crops, matched by an appearance of the first domesticated animals, especially sheep and goats.” (Bellwood 2005: 54-55)

Bellwood continues:

“By soon after 7000 BC we witness a common and widespread use of pottery, an item of great significance in allowing the preparation of soft cereal-based foods such as gruels and porridges – foods which seem rather minor to us today but which, for a population consuming mainly gritty bread beforehand, could have opened a door toward early weaning, more rapid population growth, and much less toothache (Molleson 1994; de Moulins 1997). Pottery-making also required an appreciation of pyrotechnics, and this undoubtedly led eventually to the discovery of metallurgy. PPN sites do not have smelted metal, but they often contain small items of hammered copper such as beads and awls, a sure sign that technological innovation was well on its way. (Bellwood 2005: 55)
Haplogroup J and the transition to agriculture

Cinnioglu et al. write:

“Although the entire J-M304 clade demonstrates a large microsatellite variance that under a continuous growth model dates to around 20kyr, consistent with the LGM, the BATWING exponential growth model reveals a more recent post-LGM expansion (13.9kyr). This secondary expansion originates from a low effective population size (n=184) and may indicate that the J clade in Turkey began to participate in demographic expansions during the onset of sedentism in Anatolia and the Levant; e.g., the Natufians (Bar-Yosef 1998). Previously, J clade representatives would have been accumulating STR diversity via genetic drift within various small groups of mobile hunter-gathers during the LGM. We detected a significant reduction of variance of J2-M172 northwards in Turkey. This latitudinal trend could be a consequence of an Upper Paleolithic presence of J2-M172 in southern Anatolia and its subsequent spread north and west during the Holocene likely catalyzed by the transition to agriculture (Ammerman and Cavalli-Sforza 1984; Underhill 2002). The northward gradient in J2-M172 variance is consistent with the archeological evidence that agro-pastoral economies of North-west Anatolia were derived from the Çatal Höyük area in region7 (Thissen 1999). The presence of J2-M172 related lineages successfully predicted the distribution of both Neolithic figurines and painted pottery attributed to agriculturalists (King and Underhill 2002). The Upper Paleolithic sites in Turkey (Öküzini cave, region6) have been dated to 17,800BC and suggest a continuous occupation into the subsequent Neolithic period (Kuhn 2002) while Neolithic sites are considerably fewer in Central and Northern Turkey (Roberts 2002).” (Cinnioglu et al. 2004: 133)

Cinnioglu et al. further note:

“The J1-M267 and J2-M172 distributions in the Near East and Europe can be inferred from previously reported DYS388 data associated with Eu10 and Eu9, respectively (Semino et al. 2000a; Nebel et al. 2001b; Malaspina et al. 2001; Al-Zahery et al. 2003). While both J1 and J2 are found in the Near East, haplogroup J1-M267 typifies East Africans and Arabian populations, with a decreasing frequency northwards. Alternatively the majority of J lineages in Europe are J2-M172 that radiated from the Levant, coherent with the distributions of mitochondrial J, K, T1 and pre-HV clades (Richards et al. 2002).” (Cinnioglu et al. 2004: 133)

Cinnioglu et al. state:

“Although we currently lack additional binary polymorphisms capable of defining further informative subdivi-
sion within haplogroup J1-M267, the unusual short DYS388 13 repeat allele lineage provides a proxy. These
peculiar chromosomes distribute along the northern tier of Turkey. While this lineage has not been observed in Greece, it has been detected in Georgia (Semino, unpublished results), suggesting Black Sea coastal gene flow. A few lineages with potentially similar affinity have been observed scattered throughout the Middle East (Nebel et al. 2001b), although it is not possible to distinguish their affinity to haplogroup J-M304* or J1 since M267 data are unavailable. When the DYS388 “short” allele representatives are excluded on the assumption that they have a common origin, the residual assemblage of J1-M267 DYS388 “long” allele lineages contain numerous haplotypes including both the purported “Cohen” and “Arab” modal haplotypes (Thomas et al. 2000; Nebel et al. 2002). The similarity of variances associated with the two counterbalancing J1 and J2 sub-clades suggests an enduring common demography. At this level of molecular resolution, the data do not distinguish between agricultural and pastoral domestic livelihoods despite the observation that lifestyle differences exist (Khazanov 1984). Notably, nomads are often more endogamous and participate in transhumant seasonal migrations (Cavalli-Sforza et al. 1994).” (Cinnioglu et al. 2004: 133)

Cinnioglu et al. point briefly to J2e-M12 (now called J2b) and suggest an allele value that may be unique to Turkey:

“Another J2 component is intriguing. Although J2e-M12 lineages occur at low frequencies, they are widely distributed in the Middle East (Scozzari et al. 2001) and India (Kivisild et al. 2003), as well as in Saami from Kola, Russia (Raitio et al. 2001). By comparing data sets (Malaspina et al. 2001; Scozzari et al. 2001) we deduced that J2e-M12 lineages are distinctive from all other J2-M172 lineages on the basis of complex DYS413 and YCAII dinucleotide STRs. In corroboration we confirmed by sequencing the simple repeat locus DYSA7.2 that J2e-M12 is exclusively associated with shorter seven- or eight-tetranucleotide repeat alleles in Turkey.” (Cinnioglu et al. 2004: 133)

Cinnioglu et al. conclude:

“The considerable diversification observed in the J clade as exemplified by high variance of J2-M172 and a J-M304* lineage in southeastern Anatolia, is consistent with the early onset of post glacial sedentism found
in the archeological record of Anatolia and the Levant (Bar-Yosef 1998).” (Cinnioglu et al. 2004: 133-134)

Catalhoyuk

The historical presence of J2 in Anatolia warrants a discussion of whether there is any relation to Catalhoyuk, one of the early Neolithic sites associated with the emergence of agriculture.

Troy = Wilusa

In their paper, Cinnioglu et al. mention the localized presence of J2f-M67 (now called J2a1b):

“The J2f-M67 clade is localized to Northwest Turkey. It is well known that during this period, Northwest Anatolia developed a complex society that engaged in widespread Aegean trade referred to as “Maritime Troia culture,” involving both the western Anatolian mainland and several of the large islands in the eastern Aegean, Chios, Lemnos and Lesbos (Korfmann 1996).” (Cinnioglu et al. 2004: 133)

This finding was discussed in “Y Chromosomal Haplogroup J as a Signature of the Post-Neolithic Colonization of Europe” (2004) by Di Giacomo et al. (see our page on The Balkans). What is less clear is whether we should now support:

Hypothesis #1 J2a1b originated in Anatolia and spread westward; or
Hypothesis #2: J2f-M67 (now called J2a1b) originated in the Balkans and radiated outwards (including eastward, back to Anatolia).
It appears from their discussion that Di Giacomo et al. (2004) favour Hypothesis #2, that is, a particular Aegean dispersal of J2a1b-M67(xM92) and J2a1b1-M92, “coincident with the expansion of the Greek world to the European coast of the Black Sea”, which leads us to interpret an eastward movement from Greece to Anatolia (which is not to eliminate the possibility that Greek migrations of J2a1b additionally moved in other directions, such as eastward). Let us keep in the back of our minds, but put to one side, the other J2 lineage (identified with the M12 marker) that Cruciani et al. (2007) argue expanded from southeastern Europe, also specifically from the Balkan peninsula, during the Bronze Age.

Let us consider the possibility of an Anatolian origin for J2a1b (Hypothesis #1) and place it in the archaeological context. Recall that Cinnioglu et al. referred to the “Maritime Troia culture”. The Maritime Troia culture has been associated with archaeological excavations of Troia I, II and III which date to the early Bronze Age (circa 2600-2300 B.C.). The next settlement period on the site of Troy, associated with levels Troia IV and V (circa 2300-1700 B.C.) have been designated the “Anatolian Troia Culture”, to reflect the latter’s stronger connection to the interior of Asia Minor during the middle Bronze Age..

Immediately afterwards is a period lasting five hundred years distinguished by unique architecture and culture, associated archaeologically with Troia VI and VIIa (1700-1200 B.C.). “Troy” and “Troia” are names of recent origin. The Hittite kingdom of central Anatolia, known as Hattusa, referred to the city we now call Troy as Wilusa. See for example the clay tablet that constitutes a treaty between the great Hittite King Muwattalli II (ca 1290-1272 B.C.) and the ruler of Wilusa, Alaksandu (Latacz 2001). The city of Wilusa was destroyed in a great conflagration around 1200 B.C. It has been pointed out that Homer may have made this the culminating event of the Illiad, which gets its name from the title city, Ilios (the Greek (W)ilios). The archaeological record, however, cannot establish whether it was the people of Ahhiyawa (the Acheaens) who participated in the fire that destroyed Wilusa.

With respect to the J2 sub-haplogroup, there is a growing number of studies that put forward genetic population evidence that indicates that we should consider two different phases: (1) an initial wave of migration of J2-bearing males from the Levant (the area of present-day Israel and Lebanon) and/or Anatolia during the Neolithic, followed by (2) a later second movement of J2-bearing people from the area of the Balkans, possibly at the beginning of the Balkan Bronze Age. Some authors argue that the J2 contribution to European populations derive primarily from this second expansion, although there is conflicting evidence on this issue.

The different studies employ slightly different methodologies (particularly with respect to dating) and have different (though sometimes overlapping) samples. Readers are encouraged to consult the original papers for the complete details, however, we believe it would be helpful to provide the main conclusions one one page.

In “Y Chromosomal Haplogroup J as a Signature of the Post-Neolithic Colonization of Europe” (2004), Di Giacomo et al. analyze eight lineages internal to the Y chromosomal haplogroup J drawn from 22 population samples and conclude as follows:

“Our estimates are in agreement with the appearance of J1 and J2 in the Levant at the time of the Neolithic agriculture revolution. Implicitly, this figure makes them of little help in identifying population splitting that may have accompanied the westward dispersal of the entire haplogroup.

“Our data and those by Semino et al. (2004) show that J2f1 [note: since 2006, J2f1 has been renamed J2a1b1 and J2a1b1a] is predominantly found in the northern Mediterranean, from Turkey westward. In particular, our estimates for this latter sub-haplogroup are barely compatible with its presence among the early Levantine agriculturalists. The coalescence of J2f1 well after the beginning of the Neolithic revolution thus identifies a major population structuring already present at the time of the spreading of haplogroup J in southern Europe and central Mediterranean, thus differentiating the Aegean area from the Middle East. We favor the emergence of J2f1 in the Aegean area, possibly during the population expansion phase also detected by Malaspina et al. (2001) and coincident with the expansion of the Greek world to the European coast of the Black Sea. This scenario would agree with the clustering of J2f1 chromosomes in north-west Turkey (Cinnioglu et al. 2004).” (Di Giacomo et al. 2004: 367)

In light of this last sentence, it may be worth noting that Di Giacomo et al. had stated earlier in their study: “While we did not detect J2f1 in Turkey, Cinnioglu et al. (2004) report a frequency of 7.8%, with most of the observations (11/14) in central Anatolia, Istanbul, and European Turkey, three areas not represented in our sampling.” (Di Giacomo 2004: 366). A summary of Cinnioglu et al. (2004) is found on our page Anatolia and J2. It is possible that the differences in population samples between Giacomo at al. (2004) and Cinnioglu et al. (2004) also account for the former stressing the importance of the Levant and the latter stressing the role of Anatolia. Moreover, there are also methodological differences between the two papers, arising from the former’s inclusion of additional markers. For example, Di Giacomo et. al. note:

“As far as sub-haplogroups are concerned, the ages of J1 and J2 in previous publications are almost indistinguishable from the entire J (Nebel et al. 2001; Cinnioglu et al. 2004), whereas our results suggest ages corresponding to 63%-33% [of the entire J haplogroup]. We have also resolved the dating for J2f*(xJ2f1) and J2f1. The differences in their antiquity is not apparent in the data of Cinnioglu et al. (2004), as they pooled all J2f-M67 chromosomes, although these are well differentiated, at least for DYS 390…” (Di Giacomo et al. 2004: 367)

Thus, Di Giacomo et al. (2004) maintain that it is necessary to distinguish among the different lineages of J2f [now called J2a1b] because downstream from M67 (which defines what is now called J2a1b) are a series of other markers which provide opportunities for more fine-tuned dating and hence more accurate analysis of potential population movements.

Di Giacomo et al. (2004) conclude by stating:

“In siummary, our data are in agreement with a major discontinuity for the peopling of southern Europe. Here, haplogroup J constitutes not only the signature of a single wave-of-advance from the Levant but, to a greater extent, also of the expansion of the Greek world, with an accompanying novel quota of genetic variation produced during its demographic growth. In the analysis by Cavalli-Sforza et al. (1994), the two peopling constributions can be distinguished, as they are caught in the first and the fourth principal component, respectively, but the relevance of the latter may have been underestimated. The two processes, widely spaced in time, are associated with dramatically different travel technologies. This implies that, in the central and western Mediterranean, the entry of J chromosomes may have occurred mainly by sea, i.e., in the southeast of both Spain and Italy.” (Di Giacomo et al. 2004: 367)

Di Giacomo et al.’s findings regarding J2a1b-M67(xM92) and J2a1b1-M92 are noted favourably by Sengupta et al. (2006: 216) and the argument for a second population expansion from the Balkans involving certain J2 lineages is further explored in Cruciani et al. (2007) (discussed further below). Nonetheless, at this stage, it would be premature to discount the presence of significant aspects of the J2 sub-haplogroup in Italy deriving from the Neolithic rather than exclusively from a later influx of peoples from the Balkans during the early Bronze Age. For example, you may wish to direct your attention to the recent paper by Capelli et al. “Y Chromosome Genetic Variation in the Italian peninsula is Clinal and Supports an Admixture Model for the Mesolithic-Neolithic Encounter” (2007). Capelli et al.’s study does not focus on the early Balkan Bronze Age expansion as such, and hence should not be taken to mean that the “second wave” identified by Di Giacomo et al. (2004) did not contribute to the peopling of Europe by certain J2 lineages. What Capelli et al. argue, based on much larger population samples from Italy, is that there is evidence of a Mesolithic-Neolithic encounter in certain parts of the Italian peninsula (primarily the south) that are demonstrably closer to the Anatolian gene pool than the Greek gene pool. Consequently, the study underscores that we cannot simply dismiss the influence of the “first wave” of Neolithic farmers spreading westward along the Mediterranean, rather we need to be more precise in our analysis. The Y chromosomal haplogroups in the central and northern regions of the Italian peninsula likely reflect different population histories than those in the southern region. (Incidentally, the metaphor of a “wave” should not be taken too literally, to the extent that archaeological analysis of Neolithic agriculture in the Mediterranean may suggest that we should perhaps conceive of a demic diffusion in a series of “hops” along the coastal areas.) The results of the Capelli et al. study are presented on my page Italy and the Neolithic.

E-M78 and J-M12 in the Balkans

A careful review of Cruciani et al.’s paper “Tracing Past Human Male Movements in Northern/Eastern Africa and Western Eurasia: New Clues from Y-Chromosomal Haplogroups E-M78 and J-M12″ (2007) may require us to re-assess certain aspects of the migration of J2-bearing peoples. In particular, where Di Giacomo et al. (2004) focused on an Aegean dispersal of J2a1b-M67(xM92) and J2a1b1-M92, Cruciani et al. (2007) argue that in addition the J2b lineage (identified with the M12 marker) expanded from southeastern Europe during the Bronze Age.

First, it should be acknowledged that much of Cruciani et al.’s paper centres on refining the E-M78 lineages based on both previously identified and new markers and tracing the movement of the different E-M78 lineages. Extensive analyses are presented concerning an origin for E-M78 in northeastern African and movement from there to other parts of Africa and northward out of Africa:
“The geographic and quantitative analysis of haplogroup and microsatellite diversity is strongly suggestive of a north-eastern African origin of E-M78, with a corridor for bidirectional migrations between north-eastern and eastern Africa (at least two episodes between 23.9-17.3 ky and 18.0-5.9 ky ago), trans-Mediterranean migrations directly from northern Africa to Europe (mainly in the last 13.0 ky) and flow from north-eastern Africa to western Asia between 20.0 and 6.8 ky ago.”

These aspects of E-M78 shall not be summarized here; instead, the focus will be on one particular lieneage E-V13 and its relation to J-M12.

Cruciani et al. (2007) state:

“As to a western Asia-Europe connection, our data suggest that western Asians carrying E-V13 may have reached the Balkans anytime after 17.0 Ky ago, but expanded into Europe not earlier than 5.3 ky ago. Accordingly, the allele frequency peak is located in Europe whereas the distribution of microsatellite allele variance shows a maximum in Western Asia… Based on previously published data (Scozzari et al. 2001; Di Giacomo et al. 2004; Semino et al. 2004; Marjanovic et al. 2003), we observed that another haplogroup, J-M12, shows a frequency distribution within Europe similar to that observed for E-V13.” (Cruciani et al. 2007: 1307)

Clearly the first task here is to assess this set of previously published data and distinguish J2b from the other J2 lineages.

Cruciani et al. (2007) continue by showing that males carrying E-V13 and J-M12 appear to have migrated together:

“In order to evaluate whether the present distribution of these 2 haplogroups can be the consequence of the same expansion/dispersal microevolutionary event, we first compared the two frequency distributions in Europe (J-M12 fequencies obtained from both published and new data; supplementary table 2, Supplementary Material online). We observed a high and statistically significant correspondence between the frequencies of the 2 haplogroups (r = 0.84, 95% CI 0.70-0.92). A similar result (r = 0.85, 95% CI 0.70-0.93) was obtained when the series was enlarged with the J-M12 data from Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia (Marjanovic et al. 2003) matched with frequencies of E-M78 cluster a (Pericic et al. 2005) as a proxy for haplogroup E-V13 (Cruciani et al. 2006). We then constructed a microsatellite network of 43 European J-M12 chromosomes (supplementary table 3. Supplementary Material online) and found a clear star-like structure (fig.4C), a further feature shared with E-V13. this similarity was mirrored by a unimodal distribution of haplotype pairwise differences for both haplogroups (not shown). By taking into consideration 2 different demographic expansion models (see Subjects and Methods), we obtained TMRCA [Time to the Most Recent Common Ancestor] estimates very close to those of E-V13 , that is 4.1 ky (95% CI 2.8-5.4 ky) and 4.7 ky (95% CI 3.3-6.4 ky), respectively. Thus the congruence between frequency distributions, shape of the networks, pair-wise haplotypic differences and coalescent estimates points to a single evolutionary event at the basis of the distribution of haplogroups E-V13 and J-M12 within Europe, a finding never appreciated before. These 2 haplogroups account for more than one-fourth of the chromosomes currently found in the southern Balkans, underlining the strong demographic impact of the expansion in the area.” (Cruciani et al. 2007: 1307-1308, emphasis added)

Cruciani et al. (2007) then assess the most likely environmental factors:

“Either environmental or cultural transitions are usually considered to be at the basis of dramatic changes of the size of human populations (Jobling et al. 2004). At least 4 major demographic events have been envisioned for this geographic area, that is, the post-Last Glacial Maximum expansion (about 20 kya) (Taberlet et al. 1998; Hewitt 2000), the Younger Dryas-Holocene expansion (about 12 kya), the population growth associated with the introduction of agricultural practices (about 8 ky ago) (Ammerman and Cavalli-Sforza 1984), and the development of Bronze technology (about 5 kya) (Childe 1957; Piggott 1965; Renfrew 1979; Kristiansen 1998). Though large, the CI for the coalescence of both haplogroups E-V13 and J-M12 in Europe exclude the expansions following the Last Glacial Maximum or the Younger Dryas. Our estimated coalescence age of about 4.5 ky for haplogroups E-V13 and J-M12 in Europe (and their CIs) would also exclude a demographic expansion associated with the introduction of agriculture from Anatolia and would place this event at the beginning of the Balkan Bronze Age, a period that saw strong demographic changes as clearly testified from archeological records (Childe, 1957; Piggott, 1965; Kristiansen, 1998). The arrangement of E-V13 (fig. 2D) and J-M12 (not shown) frequency surfaces appears to fit the expectations for a range expansion in an already populated territory (Klopfstein et al. 2006). Moreover, similarly to the results reported by Pericic’ et al. (2005) for E-M78 network a, the dispersion of E-V13 and J-M12 haplogroups seems to have mainly followed the river waterways connecting the southern Balkans to north-central Europe, a route that had already hastened by a factor 4-6 the spread of the Neolithic to the rest of the continent (Tringham, 2000; Davison et al. 2006). This axis also served as a major route for the following millennia, enabling cultural and material (and possibly genetic) exchanges to and from central Europe (Childe 1957; Piggott 1965; Kristiansen 1998).” (Cruciani et al. 2007: 1308)

Cruciani et al. (2007) conclude:

“Thus, the present work discloses a further level of complexity in the interpretation of the genetic landscape of southeastern Europe, this being to a large extent the consequence of a recent population increase in situ rather than the result of a mere flow of western Asian migrants in the early Neolithic. Indeed, Y-chromosome data from regions in the north (Kasperaviciute et al. 2004), northwest (Luca et al. 2007), and west (Di Giacomo et al. 2004) to the Balkans show show signatures of demographic events that match archaeologically documented changes in the population size in the 1st millennia B.C.” (Cruciani et al. 2007: 1308)

the alternative Anatolian origin more likely.

In their paper, Cinnioglu et al. mention the localized presence of J2f-M67 (now called J2a1b):

“The J2f-M67 clade is localized to Northwest Turkey. It is well known that during this period, Northwest Anatolia developed a complex society that engaged in widespread Aegean trade referred to as “Maritime Troia culture,” involving both the western Anatolian mainland and several of the large islands in the eastern Aegean, Chios, Lemnos and Lesbos (Korfmann 1996).” (Cinnioglu et al. 2004: 133)

This finding was discussed in “Y Chromosomal Haplogroup J as a Signature of the Post-Neolithic Colonization of Europe” (2004) by Di Giacomo et al. (see our page on The Balkans). What is less clear is whether we should now support:

Hypothesis #1 J2a1b originated in Anatolia and spread westward; or
Hypothesis #2: J2f-M67 (now called J2a1b) originated in the Balkans and radiated outwards (including eastward, back to Anatolia).
It appears from their discussion that Di Giacomo et al. (2004) favour Hypothesis #2, that is, a particular Aegean dispersal of J2a1b-M67(xM92) and J2a1b1-M92, “coincident with the expansion of the Greek world to the European coast of the Black Sea”, which leads us to interpret an eastward movement from Greece to Anatolia (which is not to eliminate the possibility that Greek migrations of J2a1b additionally moved in other directions, such as eastward). Let us keep in the back of our minds, but put to one side, the other J2 lineage (identified with the M12 marker) that Cruciani et al. (2007) argue expanded from southeastern Europe, also specifically from the Balkan peninsula, during the Bronze Age.

Let us consider the possibility of an Anatolian origin for J2a1b (Hypothesis #1) and place it in the archaeological context. Recall that Cinnioglu et al. referred to the “Maritime Troia culture”. The Maritime Troia culture has been associated with archaeological excavations of Troia I, II and III which date to the early Bronze Age (circa 2600-2300 B.C.). The next settlement period on the site of Troy, associated with levels Troia IV and V (circa 2300-1700 B.C.) have been designated the “Anatolian Troia Culture”, to reflect the latter’s stronger connection to the interior of Asia Minor during the middle Bronze Age.

Immediately afterwards is a period lasting five hundred years distinguished by unique architecture and culture, associated archaeologically with Troia VI and VIIa (1700-1200 B.C.). “Troy” and “Troia” are names of recent origin. The Hittite kingdom of central Anatolia, known as Hattusa, referred to the city we now call Troy as Wilusa. See for example the clay tablet that constitutes a treaty between the great Hittite King Muwattalli II (ca 1290-1272 B.C.) and the ruler of Wilusa, Alaksandu (Latacz 2001). The city of Wilusa was destroyed in a great conflagration around 1200 B.C. It has been pointed out that Homer may have made this the culminating event of the Illiad, which gets its name from the title city, Ilios (the Greek (W)ilios). The archaeological record, however, cannot establish whether it was the people of Ahhiyawa (the Acheaens) who participated in the fire that destroyed WilusaThe extinct aurochs (Bos primigenius primigenius) was a large type of cattle that ranged over almost the whole Eurasian continent. The aurochs is the wild progenitor of modern cattle, but it is unclear whether European aurochs contributed to this process.

To provide new insights into the demographic history of aurochs and domestic cattle, we have generated high-confidence mitochondrial DNA sequences from 59 archaeological skeletal finds, which were attributed to wild European cattle populations based on their chronological date and/or morphology. All pre-Neolithic aurochs belonged to the previously designated P haplogroup, indicating that this represents the Late Glacial Central European signature. We also report one new and highly divergent haplotype in a Neolithic aurochs sample from Germany, which points to greater variability during the Pleistocene.

Furthermore, the Neolithic and Bronze Age samples that were classified with confidence as European aurochs using morphological criteria all carry P haplotype mitochondrial DNA, suggesting continuity of Late Glacial and Early Holocene aurochs populations in Europe. Bayesian analysis indicates that recent population growth gives a significantly better fit to our data than a constant-sized population, an observation consistent with a postglacial expansion scenario, possibly from a single European refugial population.

Previous work has shown that most ancient and modern European domestic cattle carry haplotypes previously designated T. This, in combination with our new finding of a T haplotype in a very Early Neolithic site in Syria, lends persuasive support to a scenario whereby gracile Near Eastern domestic populations, carrying predominantly T haplotypes, replaced P haplotype-carrying robust autochthonous aurochs populations in Europe, from the Early Neolithic onward. During the period of coexistence, it appears that domestic cattle were kept separate from wild aurochs and introgression was extremely rare.The nature of the transition from foraging to farming in southeastern Europe is the subject of considerable debate among archaeologists. It is not possible to draw a neat distinction between the argument for adoption and even innovation of agricultural practices by local foragers and the establishment of farming communities by immigrants. New data suggest that the widely accepted model of Neolithic colonization by makers of painted pottery from early farming communities in Greece and Anatolia may not hold true. Pottery and domesticates found in contexts associated with indigenous hunter-gatherers indicate that Mesolithic foragers may have played an important role in the adoption of the Neolithic economy.

THE EVIDENCE FROM DNA

Evidence from the tracing of lineages in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from extant European populations supports the evidence from pottery distributions of a strong indigenous component in the transition from foraging to farming in the Balkans. It is believed that most modern European mtDNA was formed neither through Early Upper Palaeolithic colonization by modern humans nor as a result of Neolithic immigration from the Near East. Instead, mtDNA is thought to have been distributed via Late Pleistocene movements within Europe itself. It has been suggested that less than 10 percent of extant lineages date back to the initial colonization of Europe by anatomically modern humans and that perhaps 10-20 percent of lineages arrived during the Neolithic. Most other lineages seem to have arrived during the Middle Upper Palaeolithic and expanded during the Late Upper Palaeolithic. The Neolithic contributions to extant mtDNA vary regionally, with incoming lineages in the minority, compared with the situation of the indigenous Mesolithic. This is true even in those regions where pioneering colonization of uninhabited areas has been postulated. Regional analysis shows that the Neolithic contribution to mtDNA of incoming lineages was about 20 percent in southeast, central, northwest, and northeast Europe. In Mediterranean coastal areas, it was even lower than 10 percent, similar to the percentage in Scandinavia.

Although this research is still in its infancy and the subject of some controversy, the available mtDNA evidence indicates that immigrating farmers played a relatively subsidiary role in the introduction of farming to the Balkans. It appears instead that populations that had been resident in the area for thousands of years were not replaced or driven out by immigrating farmers from Anatolia. The archaeological boundary that reflects the isolation of the Adriatic coast is evidence of the dominant social and ideological continuity, which correlates well with the low percentage (about 10 percent) of incoming Near Eastern genetic lineages. Elsewhere in the Balkans, the higher contribution of Near Eastern genetic stock (about 20 percent) may correlate with circulation of people and goods over long distances, which accelerated the social and ideological restructuring of hunter-gatherer communities.

The Balkans make up a complex geographic region in the shape of triangular peninsula with a wide northern border, narrowing to a tip as it extends to the south, embedded in southeastern Europe. The Turkish word balkan, which means “woody mountain,” was introduced in the fifteenth century to name a mountain in northern Bulgaria. It was adapted quickly to the more general area of the mountain ranges between the Adriatic and the Black Seas. The term “Balkan Peninsula” was first used in the nineteenth century to designate this area. We use the term “Balkan” today in cultural and political nomenclature, but it also is appropriate in denoting a concrete geographical and historical region.

In the northeast and north, the Balkans are exposed to the steppe regions of the Ukraine and to the Carpathian Basin. The Black, the Aegean, the Mediterranean, and the Adriatic Seas surround them in the east, south, and the southwest. The straits of the Bosporus and the Dardanelles in the southeast are a natural gateway between the Balkans and Anatolia and beyond to Asia. In the northwest, the valley of the Danube and the flat Pannonian plain connect it to central Europe. Proceeding north from Greece into the central and northern Balkans, one moves from a dominantly Mediterranean and sub-Mediterranean environment into an increasingly Continental one. Mountains divide the region into small units, in which distinct ethnic groups have been able to sustain themselves. They also subdivide every district into vertical ecological zones, ranging from more valuable lowland farming areas to less valuable wooded or rocky uplands. This variety of ecological niches supported different cultures in close proximity to one another.

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