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Thread: Ancient DNA from Romania

  1. #141
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    A multidisciplinary team led by archaeologist Volker Heyd and geoscientist Heikki Seppä is conducting field research and collection of ancient samples in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Serbia. The project is funded by a grant from the University of Helsinki.

    The good news: Samples of ancient DNA from Romania will be collected; the less good news for this thread: there is only interest in sampling remains from Yamnaya burial mounds. The research team will be using “the methods of funerary archaeology, landscape archaeology and remote sensing” to identify burial mounds that have been destroyed.

    In “Yamnaya Groups and Tumuli west of the Black Sea.” 2012, Heyd noted that 100 of these mounds had been excavated in Romania. Most of the findings from southeastern Europe are still unpublished. He anticipated drawing up a comprehensive study in order to gain a better understanding of the movement of the Yamnaya through Europe. Hence the research project.
    This article also provides a brief description of the regions in Romania in which tumuli to be investigated are found. It also points out the need to distinguish Yamnaya burials from the burials of earlier incoming groups from the north Pontic steppe, although these are in smaller numbers.
    Heyd gives an outline of his view on the interaction of peoples on p. 545, in which he points out that the Yamnaya occupied (without evidence of settlement) regions favored by previous infiltrations from the north Pontic steppe and kept away from regions not suitable to reliance on pastoralism.

    Heyd estimates the Yamnaya population to have been in the tens of thousands, not millions., and describes it as a slow infiltration process up until 2950 calBCE, when it turned into a current of immigration (“Yamnaya Groups and Tumuli west of the Black Sea.” 2012, p. 548)

    Some of the geomapping methods the interdisciplinary team will use could probably also be profitably used to explore regions in which populations moving away from the Yamnaya are likely to have found refuge. They are easy to spot in the map below, from Volker Heyd. They are the blank regions surrounded by the areas in red in the map:

    These are regions that would be difficult to negotiate for groups traveling in carts. Their topography probably also makes them difficult even for some modern research methods.

    Perhaps, one day, there will be a research project investigating a wider variety of terrains. This is desirable because sampling from a wider variety of areas and periods is likely to give us a higher-resolution picture of the movements of populations across time in southeastern Europe.

    But at least, once data from Heyd’s project is available, we should be able to see how his team’s samples stack up in comparison with the estimate of Early European Farmer mixture in Yamnaya Ukraine and Yamnaya Samara in Wang et al. 2018. Supplementary Table 18.

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  3. #142
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    Interesting new information concerning not human bones, but animal bones. Helpful for interpreting the way of life of the Early European Farmers, or some of them, at least. Locations studied include Foeni-Salaș and Sânandrei. Vršac is just south of border in Serbia.

    Gaastra et al. 2018. “Gaining traction on cattle exploitation: Zooarcheaological evidence from the Neolithic Western Balkans.” Antiquity 92 (366).
    Open access at:

    The article suggests that domestic cattle were used for traction from the earliest period of the Neolithic in southeastern Europe (Starčevo-Criș), and argues that traction should be understood in a wide sense, as use of cattle to pull loads, not necessarily for ploughing. The authors call this “light” traction.
    Domesticated cattle use for light traction was inferred from subpathological remodeling of bone to domestic cattle. The kind of remodeling noted, to the hind limbs of domestic cattle, had in earlier studies been found to pertain to the motion and strain of traction. Both male and female cattle were used for traction in the early Neolithic.

    The study puts the use of cattle for traction earlier than previously believed. Criș culture is around 5800-5300 BCE. I don’t believe David Anthony, in The Horse, The Wheel, and Language (2007), attributed knowledge of animal traction to Criș culture.

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  5. #143
    Registered Users
    Y-DNA (P)
    I-PH908*, DYS561=15
    mtDNA (M)

    European Union Romania Moldova
    Quote Originally Posted by Fungene View Post
    More Global 25; this time with Maps.

    Green denotes tighter model fit; the more intense the green, the better the fit.

    Continuing with some of the Chalcolithic models with good fit for modern Romanians in post #111.

    The model with the Chalcolithic sample from Urziceni (I4089):

    I'd also like to contribute with a late Iron Age/Early Medieval model, on the basis of the available data and some speculation.
    I have also found in my models with "base" components that Romanians are roughly 56-60% farmers, 40%+ steppic.

    However, since Romania was extensively travelled and settled after that period, I wanted to look into a later model.

    Balkans_IA were taken as proxies for the local population
    Baltic_IA for the migrating Slavs
    Nganasan for the Siberian bits

    P.S.: This Iron Age model also works for the Moldovan:Average, who gets 2.6 vs 3.1 with the Chalcolithic model + Nganasan proxy. However, both still fail for me, at around 3.8, so my ancestry must be a bit more complicated than this.

    So, at the end of the day it's essentially a 60/40 split anyway.

    However, those Y-DNA markers like I2-CTS10228 and R1a-M458/Z92/CTS1211 are looking quite specifically Slavic thus far, hence I believe that there was a strong settlement of Slavs among the Romanians, as shared by the modern Romanian school on the formation of the Romanians and Romanian language.

    Extracts (in Romanian; will be deleted soon)


    Last edited by Dorkymon; 01-02-2019 at 11:39 PM.
    Known ancestry: 1/2 Romanian Northeast + 1/4 Romanian Southeast + 1/4 Romanian Bukovina Ukraine
    23andme: 53.6% Greek & Balkan (4% Broadly South Euro), 35.7% East Euro, 0.3% Ashkenazi Jewish, 6.5% Broadly Euro
    Global 25: 45% Anatolia_N, 40% Yamnaya_UA, 12% Baltic_HG, 3% Han
    Global 25 IA-EMA (Hidden Content ): Fit 1.15 | 36% Thracian/Getae (18% MJ12 + 15% ACD STR300 + 3% Scythian MDA), 33% Balto-Slav (22% EST MA + 11% Avar Szolad), 28% Chernyakhov Culture,
    3% Han
    Hidden Content

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