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Sunday, May 3, 2015

R1a1a from an Early Bronze Age warrior grave in Poland

Ancient DNA tests on a skeleton from an Early Bronze Age "warrior" grave near Hrubieszow, southeastern Poland, have revealed that the remains belong to Y-haplogroup R1a1a [source].

Mitochondrial sequences were also obtained from seven other samples from the same burial site, and assigned to mt-haplogroups H1a, H1b (two), H2a (two), H6 and U5b1.

R1a1a is by far the most frequent Y-haplogroup in Poland today, and its presence in the remains from a high-status burial might be a clue as to how it became so common in East-Central Europe.

Interestingly, the site is classified as part of the Strzyżow Culture, which is considered by Polish archaeologists to be the result of contacts between local communities in southeastern Poland and Kurgan newcomers from the North Pontic steppe.

All of the other ancient R1a1a samples reported to date from Central Europe are also younger than the Middle Neolithic and from presumably steppe-derived Indo-European archeological cultures:

- Late Neolithic, Eulau, Germany, Corded Ware Culture, three related samples

- Late Neolithic, Esperstedt, Gemany, Corded Ware Culture, one sample

- Late Bronze Age, Halberstadt, Germany, Urnfield Culture (?), one sample

- Late Bronze Age, Lichtenstein Cave, Germany, Urnfield Culture, two samples

More info about the Bronze Age Pole, including photos of a facial reconstruction, can be found here and here (in Polish).

See also...

R1a-Z280 from Early Bronze Age Northern Poland

Testing for genetic continuity in Poland from the Bronze Age to the present


Krefter said...

Artmar, has told me that they're planning on testing the coding region of all the samples from the site to determine deep mtDNA subclade, find what R1a1 subclade the warrior belonged to, and test pigmentation alleles. Nothing about autosomal DNA.

In-case you haven't seen, here's his reconstruction. They have no idea what pigmentation he had. Previous claims were based on the high amount of H in the burials.

spagetiMeatball said...

If you had to put a date on it, when do you think R1a1 first entered east central europe?

Davidski said...

Early Corded Ware Culture period around 4,700 YBP.

Krefter said...

I added the mtDNA to my list of ancient Euro mtDNA.

Unknown said...

What would you guess was the y DNA profile of pre-Bronze Age Vistula Odra region (if one accepts there was no R1a) ?

Davidski said...

Mostly Neolithic farmer-derived G and local hunter-gatherer derived I2.

Simon_W said...

Judging from the distribution of the oldest Slavic hydronyms according to the Encyclopedia of Indo-European culture, this warrior may be considered a proto-Slav, though at this early date there was probably little difference between Baltic and Slavic.

Simon_W said...

Late Bronze Age groups of Germany and surroundings:

Halberstadt falls into the area where the Lusatian culture fades out.

The Lichtenstein cave is inbetween the Northwest German and the Unstrut group.

In this map only the green and the red areas are designated as Urnfield culture (the eastern and the western group, respectively). Though in other maps all the rest save the Nordic Bronze culture would also be subsumed under Urnfield cultures.

Davidski said...

Artek sent me the PDF report with the Y-STRs and mtDNA haplogroups. I guess that's where Krefter got the mtDNA sequence data.

The mtDNA looks fairly typically LN/EBA, but with a lot more H than usual.

Gaspar said...

@ Simon

While, as you say it might be proto-slavic, ancient historians, Tacitus, Ptolemy and others noted the area in question belonging to the Finni tribes, a uralic group of tribes.
To me this fits better with its R1a1 findings.

pnuadha said...


Mostly Neolithic farmer-derived G and local hunter-gatherer derived I2.

Then you have changed your opinion on how long r1a has been in poland. So how do you explain the early forms of R1a1a largely being in northwest europe if r1a1a is bronze age, steppe, derived for those regions?

Also, why do you think the karelian related r1a extended, pre bronze age, to the south but not to the west. Even the climate of Belarus is more similar to Karelia than the climate of the steppe.

Krefter said...

This Bronze age Polish mtDNA just looks European. The H1s and U5b make it look European. There are too few samples to say much else. The previous report of confirmed H2s was incorrect.

Aren't Balto-Slavs originally from around Ukraine and eastern Poland?,d.cGU

Slavs came out of that area less than 2,000 years ago, right? So, this Bronze age Pole must be somehow ancestral to modern Balto-Slavs.

Krefter said...

I agree with Davidski's statement about pre-Bronze age Poles being I2 and G. It may be hard to imagine all of Europe except the far east(and far hunter gatherer north, and maybe southeast) was genetically uniform just 5,000 years ago, but keep in mind: We have prove from Hungary-Spain-Sweden in the Neolithic everyone was the same.

Everyone in Europe today looks to be mostly a mixture of Neolithic farmers and Yamna, with minor hunter gatherer and Middle Eastern thrown in. Then even smaller is East Asian and African ancestry.

Krefter said...

ISOGG was updated less than a month ago. The Y DNA analysis of Haak and Gamba are outdated now.

Simon_W said...

@ Gaspar

Well, yes, according to Ptolemy there were two groups of Phinnoi, one in northern Scandinavia, the other one south of the Goths and east of the Vistula. A very strange story if you ask me.
But afaik the names Phinnoi and Fenni are not endonyms of Finnic people. The Finns for instance call themselves Suomalaiset. And the Lapps are now rather known under their endonym Sami. So this designation of a tribe in eastern Poland as Phinnoi may have been based on Germanic informants who didn't know exactly what language these spoke. The name may be related to Old High German fendo, meaning pedestrian.
This explanation is much more credible than your suggestion that there really were Finnic people in eastern Poland in Roman times. The distributions of old hydronyms show that the Slavs were most of all from southeastern Poland and western Ukraine. And that a large, very wide belt to the north of them was originally inhabited by Baltic speakers. And only to the north and east of the Balts there had been Finno-Ugrian speakers:

At least such must have been the ethnic distribution after the LNBA Indo-Europeanization of the area. It's quite possible that the hunter-gatherers of the Comb-Pitted Ware were related to Uralic speakers, and the Comb-Pitted Ware extended quite far to the south. Although not even this extended really to southeastern Poland, which instead was occupied by the TRB Southeast group.

But I'd really better modify my initial comment to the point that, given the EBA date, the warrior was probably rather an ancestor of the Proto-Slavs than a Proto-Slav proper.

Regarding the R1a1a, this certainly fits better with Slavs (clearly dominated by it in their source areas) than with Finno-Ugrians (in many areas predominantly N1).

Krefter said...

Tacitus makes the Fenni look like people not living far above animals. They don't sound like Iron age people. I would tend towards saying they were Finno-Urgic. Then again he could be exaggerating.

Unknown said...

There are more results of aDNA tests from Eastern Europe positive for R1a. Run in google "The first results of genetic typing of local population and ancient human bones in Upper Dvina region Chekunova E.M. 1, Yartseva N.V. 1, Chekunov M.K. 2, Mazurkevich A.N." (pages 290-291).

Fanty said...

Tacitus also "knew" that the Fenni are "neither Germans nor Samartians", but something different.

Of course we dont know how he knew that.

Simon_W said...

@ Krefter

Yes, Tacitus' Fenni seem like hunter-gatherers to me. I'd say they cannot have been anything other than Finno-Ugrians of the far north. Unlike Ptolemy he didn't locate them in eastern Poland, but vaguely, to the north of the Venethi, which may have been a catch-up term for Slavs and eastern Balts.

@ Fanty

Not exactly. He wrote: "Peucinorum Venethorumque et Fennorum nationes Germanis an Sarmatis adscribam dubito." In English: "Whether I should ascribe the nations of the Peucini, Venethi and Fenni to the Germanics or the Sarmatians I doubt / or: I dither."

batman said...

First thing first:

How old is the slavic(slavonic language(s)?

Davidski said...

The first thing is this: the Bronze Age warrior belongs to the same R1a clade as most modern Slavs and Balts, and many Indo-Iranians and Scandinavians.

So he was Indo-European, and most likely some kind of early Balto-Slav.

The vast majority of Uralics are clearly distinct from Balts and Slavs, and the R1a that they do carry is derived from Indo-European R1a.

Anne Hart writes novels, plays, scripts, poems, stories, articles, non-fiction books, and columns. said...

Would anyone know the geographic origin of H1b1a? FTDNA gave me a reading of H1b1c, but National Geographic (Genochip 2.0) gave me a reading of H1b1a. Any idea if this is a Slavic mtDNA or a SE Mediterranean mtDNA in origin, since it's found from Central Asia to Spain and frequent in Lithuania and Ukraine, etc. Any info is welcome on the origin, if anyone knows. Could it be Balkan? Sardinian? Bulgarian? Georgian? Anatolian? Greek? Balkarian? Just curious. Thanks.

Davidski said...

H1b is a common marker among steppe remains. See also here, for example...

So considering the high level of Bronze Age Eastern European steppe admixture among modern Europeans, your Bronze Age H1b ancestor probably came from that area, and from the Caucasus region before that (with Neolithic farmers who entered the steppe).

However, to work out where your more recent H1b ancestors lived, you'd need to do a more complete mtDNA test.

Onur Dincer said...

Given Anne's FTDNA mtDNA haplogroup test result, I guess she did a mtDNA full sequence test. So her mtDNA haplogroup test is probably enough. What she needs is to contact with the FTDNA project admins of her mtDNA haplogroup and ask them about her haplogroup origins. Also she has to make her mtDNA full genome sequence results visible to her FTDNA mtDNA haplogroup project admins, if she has not already, for them to better analyze her mtDNA results.

As said...

For Mr. Davidski and Mr.SpagetiMeatball

Read: Janisławice-Kujawy theory
archaeological artifacts: "inserts type DĘBY"/DĘBY - settlement on Kujawy/Poland; circle of Janisławice culture: 5000 BC/7000 bp