Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

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  • The Fertile Crescent

    The Fertile Crescent is a term for an old fertile area north, east and west of the Arabian Desert in Southwest Asia. The Mesopotamian valley and the Nile valley fall under this term even though the mountain zone around Mesopotamia is the natural zone for the transition in a historical sense.

    As a result of a number of unique geographical factors the Fertile Crescent have an impressive history of early human agricultural activity and culture. Besides the numerous archaeological sites with remains of skeletons and cultural relics the area is known primarily for its excavation sites linked to agricultural origins and development of the Neolithic era.

    It was here, in the forested mountain slopes of the periphery of this area, that agriculture originated in an ecologically restricted environment. The western zone and areas around the upper Euphrates gave growth to the first known Neolithic farming communities with small, round houses , also referred to as Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) cultures, which dates to just after 10,000 BC and include areas such as Jericho, the world’s oldest city.

    During the subsequent PPNB from 9000 BC these communities developed into larger villages with farming and animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, with settlement in the two-story, rectangular house. Man now entered in symbiosis with grain and livestock species, with no opportunity to return to hunter – gatherer societies.

    The area west and north of the plains of the Euphrates and Tigris also saw the emergence of early complex societies in the much later Bronze Age (about 4000 BC). There is evidence of written culture and early state formation in this northern steppe area, although the written formation of the states relatively quickly shifted its center of gravity into the Mesopotamian valley and developed there. The area is therefore in very many writers been named “The Cradle of Civilization.”

    The area has experienced a series of upheavals and new formation of states. When Turkey was formed in the aftermath of the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians perpetrated by the Young Turks during the First World War it is estimated that two-thirds to three-quarters of all Armenians and Assyrians in the region died, and the Pontic Greeks was pushed to Greece.

    Israel was created out of the Ottoman Empire and the conquering of the Palestinian terretories. The existence of large Arab nation states from the Maghreb to the Levant has since represented a potential threat to Israel which should be neutralised when opportunities arise.

    This line of thinking was at the heart of David Ben Gurion’s policies in the 1950s which sought to exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims in the Lebanon for the fruits of acquiring regional influence by the dismembering the country and the possible acquisition of additional territory.

    The Christians are now being systematically targeted for genocide in Syria according to Vatican and other sources with contacts on the ground among the besieged Christian community.

    According to reports by the Vatican’s Fides News Agency collected by the Centre for the Study of Interventionism, the US-backed Free Syrian Army rebels and ever more radical spin-off factions are sacking Christian churches, shooting Christians dead in the street, broadcasting ultimatums that all Christians must be cleansed from the rebel-held villages, and even shooting priests.

    It is now time that the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians is being recognized, that the Israeli occupation, settlements and violence against the Palestinians stop, and that the various minorities in the area start to live their lifes in peace – without violence and threats from majority populations, or from the West, and then specificially from the US.

    War in the Fertile Crescent
    https://aratta.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/war-in-the-fertile-crescent

    Everyone is free to use the text on this blog as they want. There is no copyright etc. This because knowledge is more important than rules and regulations.

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Haplogroups – From the Craddle

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on March 19, 2013

Haplogroups:

Genes and Languages in the Caucasus

Quite a few ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern civilisations flourished in territories where J2 lineages were preponderant. This is the case of the Hattians, the Alaroidians, the Sumerians, the Babylonians, the Etruscans, the Minoans, the Greeks, the Phoenicians (and their Carthaginian offshoot), the Canaaites, the Israelites, and to a lower extent also the Romans, the Assyrians and the Persians. All the great seafaring civilisations from the middle Bronze Age to the Iron Age were dominated by J2 men.

Haplogroup J2 is thought to have appeared somewhere in the Middle East towards the end of the last glaciation, between 15,000 and 22,000 years ago. Its present geographic distribution argue in favour of a Neolithic expansion from the Fertile Crescent.

This expansion probably correlated with the diffusion of domesticated of cattle and goats (starting c. 8000-9000 BCE) from the Zagros mountains and northern Mesopotamia, rather than with the development of agriculture in the Levant (which seems to have been linked to haplogroup G and perhaps also E1b1b).

A second expansion of J2 could have occured with the advent of metallurgy (also from Anatolia and Mesopotamia) and the rise of some of the oldest civilisations.

Haplogroup J1 is a Middle Eastern haplogroup, which probably originated in eastern Anatolia, near Lake Van in central Kurdistan. Eastern Anatolia being the region where goats, sheep and cattle were first domesticated in the Middle East, haplogroup J1 is almost certainly linked to the expansion of pastoralist lifestyle throughout the Middle East and Europe.

Haplogroup G is believed to have originated around the Middle East during the late Paleolithic, possibly as early as 30,000 years ago. At that time humans would all have been hunter-gatherers, and in most cases living in small nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes. Members of this haplogroup appear to have been closely linked to the development of early agriculture in the Levant part of the Fertile Crescent, starting 11,500 years before present.

There has so far been ancient Y-DNA analysis from only four Neolithic cultures (LBK in Germany, Remedello in Italy and Cardium Pottery in Southwest France and Spain), and all sites yielded G2a individuals, which is the strongest evidence at present that farming originated with and was spread by members of haplogroup G.

So far, the only G2a people negative for subclades downstream of P15 or L149.1 were all from the South Caucasus region. The highest genetic diversity within haplogroup G is found between the Levant and the Caucasus, another good indicator of its region of origin.

It is thought that early Neolithic farmers spread from the Levant westwards to Anatolia and Europe, eastwards to Mesopotamia and South Asia, and southwards to the Arabian peninsula and North and East Africa. The domestication of goats and cows first took place in the mountainous region of eastern Anatolia, including the Caucasus and Zagros. This is probably where the roots of haplogroup G2a (and perhaps of all haplogroup G) are to be found.

J1, J2, T and G are to be associated with the Near East’s pre-Semitic civilizations. The Aloridians was replaced by the Semites in Levant and Syria and the Sumerians in Mesopotamia. The Semitic languages is related to the tribal tongues of the desert nomads from Syria to Palestine.

Semitic people and languages are typically associated with haplogroups E1b1b, T, J1 and J2. Akkadian being from northern Mesopotamia, where J2 is prevalent, early Akkadian speakers were likely to belong overwhelmingly to this haplogroup. However, it is likely that the deeper origins of all Afroasiatic languages start exclusively with haplogroup E.

Haplogroup E1b1b (formerly E3b) represents the last direct major migration from Africa into Europe. It is believed to have first appeared in the Horn of Africa (some also suggest southern Africa) approximately 26,000 years ago and dispersed to the Middle East during the Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods.

E1b1b1a1 (or E-M78, formerly E3b1a) is the most common variety of haplogroup E among Europeans and Near Easterners. E-M78 is thought to have migrated out of Egypt in the Mesolithic or Neolithic to colonise the Middle East, where it mixed with the indigenous inhabitants belonging to haplogroups J and G.

The Phoenicians, from the Levant, also contributed to the spread of E1b1b1a (as well as J2, Q and T) to places such as Cyprus, Malata, Sardinia, Ibiza and southern Iberia. The lower incidence of E1b1b1a in Syria and Anatolia is almost certainly due to the competition from the other major Neolithic haplogroups : G2 and J2.

In the case of the Elamites their civilization was centered in the west and the southwest of modern-day Iran, and their language related to Dravidian and languages of the Indus civilization. This South Asian origin could correspond to the relatively high frequency of haplogroup L (and minor presence of H) in southern Iran.

Furthermore, the Akkadians are known to have deported many of them in various parts of their empire, as far as the Levant. This would explain the presence of hg L at low frequencies in the Middle East, and notably the Levant.

The Medes and Persians are supposed to be the Indo-European invaders who brought R1a (and maybe other haplogroups) into the Middle East.

Origins, age, spread and ethnic association of European haplogroups and subclades

Haplogroup J2 (Y-DNA)

Haplogroup J2 is thought to have appeared somewhere in the Middle East towards the end of the last glaciation, between 15,000 and 22,000 years ago. Its present geographic distribution argue in favour of a Neolithic expansion from the Fertile Crescent. This expansion probably correlated with the diffusion of domesticated of cattle and goats (starting c. 8000-9000 BCE) from the Zagros mountains and northern Mesopotamia, rather than with the development of agriculture in the Levant (which seems to have been linked to haplogroup G and perhaps also E1b1b). A second expansion of J2 could have occured with the advent of metallurgy (also from Anatolia and Mesopotamia) and the rise of some of the oldest civilisations.

Quite a few ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern civilisations flourished in territories where J2 lineages were preponderant. This is the case of the Hattians, the Hurrians, the Etruscans, the Minoans, the Greeks, the Phoenicians (and their Carthaginian offshoot), the Israelites, and to a lower extent also the Romans, the Assyrians and the Persians. All the great seafaring civilisations from the middle Bronze Age to the Iron Age were dominated by J2 men.

There is a distinct association of ancient J2 civilisations with bull worship. The oldest evidence of a cult of the bull can be traced back to Neolithic central Anatolia, notably at the sites of Çatalhöyük and Alaca Höyük. Bull depictions are omnipresent in Minoan frescos and ceramics in Crete. Bull-masked terracotta figurines and bull-horned stone altars have been found in Cyprus (dating back as far as the Neolithic, the first presumed expansion of J2 from West Asia). The Hattians, Sumerians, Babylonians, Canaaites, and Carthaginians all had bull deities (in contrast with Indo-European or East Asian religions). The sacred bull of Hinduism, Nandi, present in all temples dedicated to Shiva or Parvati, does not have an Indo-European origin, but can be traced back to Indus Valley civilisation. Minoan Crete, Hittite Anatolia, the Levant, Bactria and the Indus Valley also shared a tradition of bull leaping, the ritual of dodging the charge of a bull. It survives today in the traditional bullfighting of Andalusia in Spain and Provence in France, two regions with a high percentage of J2 lineages.

 Geographic distribution

Distribution of haplogroup J2 in Europe, the Middle East & North Africa

Distribution map of haplogroup J2

The world’s highest frequency of J2 is found among the Ingush (88% of the male lineages) and Chechen (56%) people in the Northeast Caucasus. Both belong to the Nakh ethnic group, who have inhabited that territory since at least 3000 BCE. Their language is distantly related to Dagestanian languages, but not to any other linguistic group. However, Dagestani peoples (Dargins, Lezgins, Avars) belong predominantly to haplogroup J1 (84% among the Dargins) and almost completely lack J2 lineages. Other high incidence of haplogroup J2 are found in many other Caucasian populations, including the Azeri (30%), the Georgians (27%), the Kumyks (25%), and the Armenians (22%). Nevertheless, it is very unlikely that haplogroups J2 originated in the Caucasus because of the low genetic diversity in the region. Most Caucasian people belong to the same J2a4b (M67) subclade. The high local frequencies observed would rather be the result of founder effects, for instance the spread of chieftains and kings’ lineages through a long tradition of polygamy, a practice that the Russians have tried to suppress since their conquest of the Caucasus in the 19th century.

Outside the Caucasus, the highest frequencies of J2 are observed in Cyprus (37%), Crete (34%), northern Iraq (28%), Sicily (26.5%), Lebanon (26%), Turkey (24%, with peaks of 30% in the Marmara region and in central Anatolia), South Italy (23.5%), Bulgaria (20%), Albania (19.5%), and continental Greece (19% excluding northern Greece), as well as among Jewish people (19 to 25%).

One fourth of the Vlach people (isolated communities of Romance language speakers in the Balkans) belong to J2, which, combined to the fact that they speak a language descended from Latin, suggests that they could have a greater part of Roman (Italian) ancestry than other ethnic groups in the Balkans.

History & Subclades

Phylogenetic tree of haplogroup J2 (Y-DNA) - Eupedia

Two main subclades divide haplogroup J2: J2a (M410, L152, L212/PF4988, L559/PF4986) and J2b (M12, M102, M221, M314).

Middle-Eastern and European J2a

J2a’s strong presence in Italy is owed to the migration of the Etruscans from the Near East to central and northern Italy, and to the Greek colonisation of southern Italy.

The Phoenicians, Jews, Greeks and Romans all contributed to the presence of J2a in Iberia. The particularly strong frequency of J2a and other Near Eastern haplogroups (J1, E1b1b, T) in the south of the Iberian peninsula, suggest that the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians played a more decisive role than other peoples. This makes sense considering that they were the first to arrive, founded the greatest number of cities (including Gadir/Cadiz, Iberia’s oldest city), and their settlements match almost exactly the higher frequency zone of southern Analusia.

The Romans surely helped spread haplogroup J2 within their borders, judging from the distribution of J2 within Europe (frequency over 5%), which bears an uncanny resemblance to the borders of the Roman Empire.

The world’s maximum concentrations of J2a is in Crete (32% of the population). The subclade J2a4d (M319) appears to be native to Crete.

Indian J2a

Within India, J2a is more common among the upper castes and decreases in frequency with the caste level. This can be explained by the assimilation of local J2a (and R2) people from Central Asia by the R1a Indo-European warriors who descended from modern Russia (Sintashta culture) and established themselves for a few centuries in southern Central Asia, immediately north of the Hindu Kush (including the Oxus civilization) before moving on to conquer the Indian subcontinent. J2a would have reached southern Central Asia with the expansion of Middle Eastern people during the Neolithic and mixed with the local hunter-gatherers belonging chiefly to R2 (and possibly some pre-Indo-European R1a).

J2b

Haplogroup J1 (Y-DNA)

J2b has a quite different distribution from J2a. J2b seems to have a stronger association with the Chalcolithic cultures of Southeast Europe, and is particularly common in the Balkans, Central Europe and Italy, which is roughly the extent of the European Copper Age culture. Its maximum frequency is achieved around Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and Northwest Greece. J2b is also found in the Pontic Steppe, the North Caucasus, Central Asia and in South Asia, particularly in India. Its very low frequency in the Middle East though suggests that, unlike for J2a, it was not spread a progresive and continuous diffusion of the Neolithic lifestyle. For this reason, and because it is generally found among the upper castes of India, it is thought that some J2b lineages might have been part of the Indo-Aryan invasions of South Asia (3,500 years ago) alongside R1a1a. It is conceivable that a minority of J2b, G2a3b1 and R1b1b from the Caucasus region migrated to the Volga-Ural region in the early Bronze Age, spreading with them the Proto-Indo-European language and bronze technology to the Caspian steppe before the expansion of this new culture to Central and South Asia.

Haplogroup J1 is a Middle Eastern haplogroup, which probably originated in eastern Anatolia, near Lake Van in central Kurdistan. Eastern Anatolia being the region where goats, sheep and cattle were first domesticated in the Middle East, haplogroup J1 is almost certainly linked to the expansion of pastoralist lifestyle throughout the Middle East and Europe.

Geographic distribution

Distribution of haplogroup J1 in Europe, the Middle East & North Africa

Distribution map of haplogroup J1

Frequencies og haplogroup J1 in Europe and West Asia tend to vary considerably from one regional community to the next. The highest local percentages in Europe are found in Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal and hardly ever exceed 5% of the population. However Italy, France and Spain also have areas where J1 appears completely absent. Even in northern Europe, where the nation-wide frequencies are below 0.5%, very localised pockets of J1 have been observed in Scotland, England, Belgium, Germany and Poland. Larger sample sizes are needed to get a clearer picture of the distribution of J1 in Europe.

Surpisingly, even in the Caucasus and in Anatolia, the region where this haplogroup is thought to have originated, there are wide discrepancies between regions. For example, the Kubachi and Dargins from Dagestan in the Northeast Caucasus have over 80% of J1 lineages, while in their Ingush neighbours, 200 km to the north, it barely reaches 3%. East Anatolia around Lake Van sees over 30% of J1, whereas Southwest Anatolia has only 2%. Even within Kurdistan frequencies vary greatly. The small sample sizes for each region is surely to blame.

In Arabic countries, J1 climaxes among the Marsh Arabs of South Iraq (81%), the Sudanese Arabs (73%), the Yemeni (72%), the Bedouins (63%), the Qatari (58%), the Saudi (40%), the Omani (38%) and the Palestinian Arabs (38%). High percentages are also observed in the United Arab Emirates (35%), coastal Algeria (35%), Jordan (31%), Syria (30%), Tunisia (30%), Egypt (21%) and Lebanon (20%). Most of the Arabic J1 belongs to the J1c3 variety.

Subclades

Phylogenetic tree of haplogroup J1 (Y-DNA) - Eupedia The above tree was created mostly with the data from the Haplogroup J Project at Family Tree DNA, with some additional deep subclades from Victar Josef Mas’ phylogenetic tree.

J1 can be divided in two main groups: the very large J1-P58 subclade, and the other branches of J1.

J1-P58 (J1b2 on the ISOGG tree, formerly known as J1c3) is by far the most widespread subclade of J1. It is a typically Semitic haplogroup, making up most of the population of the Arabian peninsula, where it accounts for approximately 40% t 75% of male lineages. The dominant lineage in the Arabian peninsula is J1-L147.1, which corresponds to the demographic explosion that followed the Muslim conquest in the 7th century CE.

L147.1 is also the Cohen Modal Haplotype. Roughly half of all Cohanim belong to the L147.1 subclade. In the Hebrew Bible the common ancestor of all Cohens is identified as Aaron, the brother of Moses.

J1-P58 is thought to have expanded from eastern Anatolia to the Levant, Taurus and Zagros mountains and the Arabian peninsula at the end of the last Ice Age (12,000 years ago) with the seasonal migrations of pastoralists. Arabic speakers recolonised the Arabian peninsula in the Bronze Age from the north-west of the peninsula, close to modern Jordan. The rise of Islam in the 7th century CE played a major part in the re-expansion of J1 from Arabia throughout the Middle East, as well as to North Africa, and to a lower extent to Sicily and southern Spain.

Like haplogroup G, J1 might have been of the principal lineages to bring domesticated animals to Europe. Both G and J1 reach their maximal frequencies in the Caucasus, some ethnic groups being almost exclusively J1 (Kubachis, Kaitaks, Dargins, Avars), while others have extremely high levels of G (Shapsugs, North Ossetians). Most of the ethnic groups in the North Caucasus have between 20 and 40% of each haplogroup, which are by far their two dominant haplogroups. In the South Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan), haplogroup J2 comes into the admixture and is in fact slightly higher than either J1 or G. Most of the Caucasian J1 is at present J1*, meaning that at present no common SNP has been identified that could form a new subclade. Armenia stands out of the lot by having a substantial J1c3d minority (at least one third of all J1, i.e. roughly 4% of the population).

Haplogroup G2a (Y-DNA)

Origins

Haplogroup G is believed to have originated around the Middle East during the late Paleolithic, possibly as early as 30,000 years ago. At that time humans would all have been hunter-gatherers, and in most cases living in small nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes. Members of this haplogroup appear to have been closely linked to the development of early agriculture in the Levant part of the Fertile Crescent, starting 11,500 years before present. There has so far been ancient Y-DNA analysis from only four Neolithic cultures (LBK in Germany, Remedello in Italy and Cardium Pottery in Southwest France and Spain), and all sites yielded G2a individuals, which is the strongest evidence at present that farming originated with and was spread by members of haplogroup G.

So far, the only G2a people negative for subclades downstream of P15 or L149.1 were all from the South Caucasus region. The highest genetic diversity within haplogroup G is found between the Levant and the Caucasus, another good indicator of its region of origin. It is thought that early Neolithic farmers spread from the Levant westwards to Anatolia and Europe, eastwards to Mesopotamia and South Asia, and southwards to the Arabian peninsula and North and East Africa. The domestication of goats and cows first took place in the mountainous region of eastern Anatolia, including the Caucasus and Zagros. This is probably where the roots of haplogroup G2a (and perhaps of all haplogroup G) are to be found.

Geographic distribution

Nowadays haplogroup G is found all the way from Western Europe and Northwest Africa to Central Asia, India and East Africa, although everywhere at low frequencies (generally between 1 and 10% of the population). The only exceptions are the Caucasus region and Sardinia, where frequencies typically range from 15% to 30%.

Most Europeans belong to the G2a subclade, and most northern and western Europeans more specifically to G2a-L141.1 (or to a lower extend G2a-M406). About all G2b (L72+, formerly G2c) Europeans are Ashkenazi Jews. G2b has also been found around Afghanistan, probably as an offshoot of Neolithic farmers from the Levant.

Haplogroup G1 is found predominantly in Iran, but is also found in the Levant, among Ashkenazi Jews, and Central Asia (notably in Kazakhstan).

G2a makes up 5 to 10% of the population of Mediterranean Europe, but is fairly rare in Northern Europe. The only places where haplogroup G2 exceeds 10% of the population in Europe are Cantabria, Switzerland, the Tyrol, south-central Italy (Molise, Central and Southern Apennine), Sardinia, northern Greece (Thessaly) and Crete – all mountainous and relatively isolated regions.

Distribution of haplogroup G in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East

Distribution of haplogroup G in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East

Expansion of agriculture from the Middle East to Europe (9500-3800 BCE)

Expansion of agriculture from the Middle East to Europe (9500-3800 BCE)

Subclades

Phylogenetic tree of haplogroup G2a (Y-DNA) - Eupedia

History of G2a

There are several theories regarding the origin of G2a in Europe. There are doubtlessly cumulative rather than exclusive.

Neolithic mountain herders

Chronologically, the first hypothesis is the advance of Neolithic farmers and herders from Anatolia to Europe between 9,000 and 6,000 years ago. In this scenario the Caucasian migrants would have brought with them sheep and goats, which were domesticated south of the Caucasus arbout 12,000 years ago. This would explain why haplogroup G is more common in mountainous areas, be it in Europe or in Asia.

The geographic continuity of G2a from Anatolia to Thessaly to the Italian peninsula, Sardinia, south-central France and Iberia already suggested that G2a could be connected to the Printed-Cardium Pottery culture (5000-1500 BCE). Ancient DNA tests conducted on skeletons from a LBK site in Germany as well as a Printed-Cardium Pottery site in southern France (Languedoc-Roussilon) as well as in Spain all confirmed that Neolithic farmers in Europe belonged primarily (even exclusively if assimilated local population are omitted) to haplogroup G2a.

Nowadays G2a is found mostly in mountainous regions of Europe, for example, Cantabria (over 10%) in northern Spain, Switzerland (10%), Austria (8%), Auvergne (8%) in central France, the mountainous parts of Bohemia (5 to 10%), and Wales (4%). It may be because Caucasian farmers sought hilly terrain similar to their original homeland, perhaps well suited to the raising of goats. But it is more likely that G2a farmers escaped from Bronze-Age invaders, such as the Indo-Europeans and found shelter into the mountains.

G2a-P303, the Indo-European branch of G2a

The presumed homeland of R1b1 and Pre-Proto-Indo-European speakers is assumed to be in northern Anatolia and/or the North Caucasus. The Caucasus itself is a hotspot of haplogroup G. Therefore, it is entirely conceivable that a minority of Caucasian men belonging to haplogroup G (and perhaps also J2b) integrated the R1b community that crossed the Caucasus and established themselves on the northern and eastern shores of the Black Sea sometime between 7,000 and 5,000 BCE. Those Proto-Indo-European would have belonged evolved to R1b1b2a1 and G2a-P303 (G2a1c2a, formerly known as G2a3b1a) before their epic conquest of Europe starting timidly in the Balkans around 4000 BCE and completed when all the Atlantic fringe from Iberia to the British Isles was settled, around 2000 BCE. Contrarily to other branches of G2a, which are more prevalent in mountainous areas, G2a-P303 is found uniformy throughout Europe, even in Scandinavia and Russia. More importantly, G2a-P303 is also found in India, especially among the upper castes. The combined presence of G2a-P303 across Europe and India is a very strong argument in favour of an Indo-European origin. The coalescence age of G2a-P303 also matches the time of the Indo-European expansion during the Bronze Age.

Roman redistribution

It is most likely that G2a arrived in Europe during the Neolithic or the Bronze Age and that the Romans helped spread it around, the whole of Italy being relatively rich in G2a. Migrations within the Roman Empire probably contributed to a moderate increase of G2a northward to Gaul and Britain, Indeed, the frequency of haplogroup G decreases with the distance from the boundaries of the Roman Empire. Haplogroup G is extremely rare Nordic and Baltic countries nowadays, despite the fact that agriculture reached those regions around the same time as Britain or Ireland. This may just be a coincidence, because the forested lowlands of northern Germany, Poland and northern Europe happen to be poor in metals and would not have attracted Bronze-Age workers from the Caucasus. North-East Europe also has a fairly modest frequency of R1b, which further reinforces the correlation between the two haplogroups.

Alanic G2a1a

G2a1a lineages have been found sporadically in Central and Western Europe. The only ethnic group that has a majority of haplogroup G2a1a nowadays are the Ossetians in the North Caucasus, in the modern Russian Republic of North Ossetia-Alania. They are thought to descend directly from the Alans, a Central Asian tribe related to the ancient Samartians. Could it be that these European G2a1a individuals are direct descendants from the ancient Alani (or Alans), a tribe that invaded the Roman Empire in the late 4th and early 5th centuries?

The Alans are recorded to have settled in the northeast Azov Sea area at the the beginning of the 1st century. They created a kingdom that quickly expanded to control all North Caucasus region, from the shores of the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea. Around 370, the Alans were overwhelmed by the Huns. They were divided into several groups, some of whom fled westward. Some of these western Alans joined the Vandals and the Suevi in their invasion of Roman Gaul. They crossed of the Rhine on 31st December 406. One group of Alans settled in the Seine basin, from Champagne to Upper Normandy, with smaller settlements as far as Brittany and the Loire valley. In 451, the Alans defeated Attila and Hun at the Battle of Châlons, near Reims.

Another contingent of Alans migrated to Iberia (Castile and Andalusia) alongside the Vandals. In 429, a group of Vandals and Alans crossed over to North Africa, where they established a kingdom. They took Carthage (present-day Tunis) in 439, then conquered Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and the Balearic Islands in the next few years, and sacked Rome in 455. The Alano-Vandalic Kingdom would last until 534, when it was defeated by and annexed to the Byzantine Empire.

Although the original Alanic elite from Central Asia surely belonged primarily to haplogroup R1a, the people who had become known as the Alans after three centuries of rule in the North Caucasus were mostly local G2a1a people.

Commercial Y-DNA tests (notably at FTDNA) have so far found G2a1a members in Hungary, Italy (Sicily, Calabria), England and Spain (Castile, Andalusia). All these people have close STR matches with North Ossetians, and almost nobody else, confirming the Alanic link. Although the Alans never went to England, they settled in what would become Normandy, and it is therefore only natural that some of these lineages ended up in England. France having laws restricting the purchase of commercial DNA tests there is very little data at the moment.

Scythian G1

Haplogroup G1 is the South and Central Asian branch of haplogroup G. While G2a men migrated west to Anatolia and Europe in the Neolithic, their G1 cousins migrated east to Persia and India. Only very rare cases of G1 have been found in Europe, including in Britain, Germany, as well as most of Southern, Central and Eastern Europe. How did these G1 lineages get there ?

Central Asia became a merging zone for southern G1 and J2 lineages with northern R1a lineages during the Bronze and Iron Ages. New hybrid peoples were formed, like the Scythians, who once controlled an empire ranging from northern Pakistan to Xinjiang and to Ukraine. The Romans were known to recruit Scythian or Sarmatian horsemen in their legions. According to C. Scott Littleton in his book From Scythia to Camelot, several Knights of the Round Table were of Scythian origin, and the the legend of Holy Grail itself originated in ancient Scythia. This hypothesis was also taken up in the 2004 movie King Arthur, which opens with the arrival of Scytho-Roman cavalry in Britain. However, Scythians were steppe people more likely to belong to haplogroup R1a. If any of them did belong to G, they presumably were G1, not G2a. This would explain the scattered cases of G1 in north-western Europe though. G2a1b1 (M286), which also been found in Britain and Anatolia (and nowhere in between so far), is another potential candidate.

Haplogroup E1b1b (Y-DNA)

Origins

Haplogroup E1b1b (formerly E3b) represents the last direct major migration from Africa into Europe. It is believed to have first appeared in the Horn of Africa (some also suggest southern Africa) approximately 26,000 years ago and dispersed to the Middle East during the Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods.

Geographic distribution

Distribution of haplogroup E1b1b in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa

Distribution map of haplogroup E1b1b

On the European continent it has the highest concentration in north-west Greece, Albania and Kosovo, then fading around the Balkans, the rest of Greece and Western Turkey. Outside Europe, it is also found in most of the Middle East, northern and eastern Africa, especially in Morocco, Libya, Egypt Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia and South Africa.

Subclades

Phylogenetic tree of haplogroup E1b1b (Y-DNA) - Eupedia

E1b1b1a1 (or E-M78, formerly E3b1a) is the most common variety of haplogroup E among Europeans and Near Easterners. E-M78 is thought to have migrated out of Egypt in the Mesolithic or Neolithic to colonise the Middle East, where it mixed with the indigenous inhabitants belonging to haplogroups J and G.

The Phoenicians, from the Levant, also contributed to the spread of E1b1b1a (as well as J2, Q and T) to places such as Cyprus, Malata, Sardinia, Ibiza and southern Iberia. The lower incidence of E1b1b1a in Syria and Anatolia is almost certainly due to the competition from the other major Neolithic haplogroups : G2 and J2.

E-M78 is divided into 4 main branches : E1b1b1a1 (E-V12), E1b1b1a2 (E-V13), E1b1b1a3 (E-V22) and E1b1b1a4 (E-V65), each further subdivided in “a” and “b” subclades.

E-V13 is one of the major markers of the Neolithic diffusion of farming from the Levant. Like all the other subclades of E1b1b1a, E-V13 originated in North-East Africa around the end of the last Ice Age. Its frequency is now far higher in Greece, South Italy and the Balkans than anywhere else due to a founder effect, i.e. the migration of a small group of settlers carrying mostly this lineage (but also a small amount of other North-East African lineages, notably E-M123 and T). Archeological evidence shows that the region of Thessaly, in northern Greece, was the starting point (circa 6,000 BCE) for the diffusion of agriculture through the Balkans and the Danube basin, as far as northern France to the west and Russia to the east. The modern distribution of E-V13 hints at a strong correlation with the Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures of Old Europe, such as the Vinca, Boian, Maritsa and Karanovo, cultures. However, the genetic testing of three male samples from the LBK culture only revealed the presence of haplogroups F and G2a. The sample is obviously too small to rule out that E1b1b also entered Europe during the Neolithic period though.

E-V13 is also associated with the ancient Greek expansion and colonisation. Outside of the Balkans and Central Europe, it is particularly common in Southern Italy, Cyprus and Southern France, all part of the Classical ancient Greek world.

E-V22 is the predominant subclade in the Levant and is therefore associated with the Phoenicians and Jews, in addition to the spread of agriculture. The Phoenicians could have spread E-V22 to Sicily, Sardinia, southern Spain and the Maghreb, and the Jews to Greece and mainland Italy and Spain. However, the Mediterranean route for the diffusion of agriculture (see map below) went through the exact same regions. It is therefore impossible to know at present which of the two periods (Neolithic or Classical Antiquity) played the stronger role in the spread of V22 around the Mediterranean.

E-V12 is the most common subclade of M78 in Egypt. Its low presence around Greece and Anatolia indicates that it probably already existed when E moved there in the early Neolithic.

E-V65 is found in North Africa, with a maximum frequency in Lybia, then Morocco. It is also likely to have originated in Egypt. In Europe it is found at low frequencies in Greece and Sicily, but interestingly makes up one fourth of Sardinian E. It could be due to immigration from the Phoenician colonies in the Maghreb to Sardinia (the Sardinian haplogroup I2a1 is also present at low frequencies along the coast of Algeria and Tunisia, confirming exchanges of population between the two regions, maybe when both were Phoenician colonies).

E1b1b1a2 (E-M81, formerly E3b1b) is characteristic of the Berbers of North-West Africa. In some parts of Morocco E1b1b1b can peak at 80% of the population. This sub-hapolgroup is also found in Iberia, Italy and southern France, with the highest concentrations in southern Portugal (12%) and decreasing as we move north.

E1b1b1a3 (E-M123) and its main branch E1b1b1c1 (E-M34) is also associated with the diffusion of agriculture and ancient Middle-Eastern civilizations. This haplogroup peaks in Ethiopia (approximately 8 to 10%) and in the southern Levant (10-12% in Palestine and Lebanon), from where it expands in all directions over the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and South-East Europe. Within Europe, E-M123 is most common in Italy, especially in Sicily and Sardinia, and in southern France. There are also peaks in south-central Anatolia, west Anatolia, Tunisia and north-east Algeria. The distribution of E-M123 matches almost exactly the expansion of farming (see map below) during the Neolithic period. E-M123 seems to go hand in hand with haplogroup G2a, with the difference that G2a reaches its maximum frequency around the Caucasus and Anatolia, where cattle, pigs and goats where first domesticated. Inside Europe, E-M123 follows more or less the distribution of E-V13, with the highest frequency (1 to 5%) observed in Greece, South Italy, the Balkans and the Danube basin, then fading towards Germany, Poland, Ukraine and Russia, where its frequency is under 1%.

Haplogroup R1b (Y-DNA)

Geographic distribution

Distribution of haplogroup R1b in Europe

Distribution of haplogroup R1b in Europe

R1b is the most common haplogroup in Western Europe, reaching over 80% of the population in Ireland, the Scottish Highlands, western Wales, the Atlantic fringe of France and the Basque country. It is also common in Anatolia and around the Caucasus, in parts of Russia and in Central and South Asia. Besides the Atlantic and North Sea coast of Europe, hotspots include the Po valley in north-central Italy (over 70%), the Ossetians of the North Caucasus (over 40%) and nearby Armenia (35%), the Bashkirs of the Urals region of Russia (50%), Turkmenistan (over 35%), the Hazara people of Afghanistan (35%), the Uyghurs of North-West China (20%) and the Newars of Nepal (11%). R1b-V88, a subclade specific to sub-Saharan Africa, is found in 60 to 95% of men in northern Cameroon.

Subclades

Here is a schematic tree of the principal R1b subclades. Please refer to the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) for the full tree with all the SNP’s and the latest nomenclature. Phylogenetic tree of haplogroup R1b (Y-DNA) - Eupedia Phylogenetic tree of European subclades of haplogroup R1b (Y-DNA) - Eupedia Phylogenetic tree of European subclades of haplogroup R1b (Y-DNA) - Eupedia

Origins & History

Anatolian or Caucasian origins?

The origins of R1b are not entirely clear to this day. Some of the oldest forms of R1b are found in the Near East and around the Caucasus. Haplogroup R1* and R2* might have originated in southern Central Asia (between the Caspian and the Hindu Kush). A branch of R1 would have developed into R1b* then R1b1* in the northern part of the Middle East around the time of the Last Glacial Maximum (circa 20,000 years ago). It presumptively moved to northern Anatolia and across the Caucasus during the early Neolithic, where it became R1b1b. The Near Eastern leftovers evolved into R1b1a (M18), now found at low frequencies among the Lebanese and the Druze.The Phoenicians (who came from modern day Lebanon) spread this R1b1a and R1b1* to their colonies, notably Sardinia and the Maghreb.

The subclades R1b1b1 and R1b1b2 (the most common form in Europe) are closely associated with the spread of Indo-European languages, as attested by its presence in all regions of the world where Indo-European languages were spoken in ancient times, from the Atlantic coast of Europe to the Indian subcontinent, including almost all Europe (except Finland and Bosnia-Herzegovina), Anatolia, Armenia, Europan Russia, southern Siberia, many pockets around Central Asia (notably Xinjiang, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan), without forgetting Iran, Pakistan, India and Nepal. The history of R1b and R1a are intricately connected to each others. Whereas R1b1 is found is such places as the Levant or Cameroon, R1b1b mostly likely originated in north-eastern Anatolia.

Haplogroup R1a (Y-DNA)

Origins

Haplogroup R1a probably branched off from R1* around the time of the Last Glacial Maximum (19,000 to 26,000 years before present). Little is know for certain about its place of origin. Some think it might have originated in the Balkans or around Pakistan and Northwest India, due to the greater genetic diversity found in these regions. The diversity can be explained by other factors though. The Balkans have been subject to 5000 years of migrations from the Eurasian Steppes, each bringing new varieties of R1a. South Asia has had a much bigger population than any other parts of the world (occasionally equalled by China) for at least 10,000 years, and larger population bring about more genetic diversity. The most likely place of origin of R1a is Central Asia or southern Russia/Siberia.

R1a is thought to have been the dominant haplogroup among the northern and eastern Proto-Indo-European language speakers, that evolved into the Indo-Iranian, Thracian, Baltic and Slavic branches. The Proto-Indo-Europeans originated in the Yamna culture (3300-2500 BCE). Their expansion is linked to an early adoption of bronze weapons, the domestication of the horse in the Eurasian steppes and the invention of the chariot. The southern Steppe culture is believed to have carried predominantly R1b1b lineages, while the northern Forest-Steppe culture would have been essentially R1a-dominant. The first expansion of the Forest-Steppe people occured with the Corded Ware Culture (see Germanic branch below). The migration of the R1b people to Central and Western Europe left a vacuum for R1a people in the southern steppe around the time of the Catacomb culture (2800-2200 BCE). The Forest-Steppe origin of this culture is obvious from the introduction of corded pottery and the abundant use of polished battle axes, the two most prominent features of the Corded Ware culture. This is also probably when the satemisation process of the Indo-European languages began since the Balto-Slavic and Indo-Iranian language groups belong to the same Satem isogloss and both appear to have evolved from the the Catacomb culture.

Ancient DNA testing has confirmed the presence of haplogroup R1a1a in samples from the Corded Ware culture in Germany (2600 BCE), from Tocharian mummies (2000 BCE) in Northwest China, from Kurgan burials (circa 1600 BCE) from the Andronovo culture in southern Russia and southern Siberia, as well as from a variety of Iron-age sites from Russia, Siberia, Mongolia and Central Asia.

Geographic distribution

Distribution of haplogroup R1a in Europe

Distribution of haplogroup R1a in Europe

Nowadays, high frequencies of R1a are found in European Russia (45 to 65% of the population), Poland (55%), Belarus (49%), Ukraine (43%), Slovakia (42%), Latvia (40%), Lithuania (38%), the Czech Republic (34%), Hungary (32%), Croatia (29%), Norway (27%), Austria (26%), north-east Germany (23%), and Sweden (19%).

Subclades & Haplotypes

Phylogenetic tree of haplogroup R1a (Y-DNA) - Eupedia

Haplogroup I1

Origins

Haplogroup I is the oldest haplogroup in Europe and in all probability the only one that originated there (apart from deep subclades of other haplogroups). It is thought to have arrived from the Middle East as haplogroup IJ sometime between 45,000 and 30,000 years ago, and developed into haplogroup I approximately 25,000 years ago. In other words, Cro-Magnons most probably belonged to IJ and I (alongside older haplogroups like F and possibly even C).

The I1 branch is estimated to have split away 20,000 years ago and evolved in isolation in Scandinavia during the late Paleolithic and Mesolithic. I1 is defined by at least 15 unique mutations, which indicates that this lineage experienced a serious population bottleneck. Men belonging to this haplogroup all descend from a single ancestor who lived between 10,000 and 7,000 years ago.

During the Mesolithic period, pre-I1 and I1 people were part of the sucessive Ertebølle culture (5300-3950 BCE), Funnelbeaker culture (4000-2700 BCE) and Pitted Ware culture (3200-2300 BCE). The latter two are sometimes considered as Neolithic cultures due the introduction of farming. However, Neolithic farmers from Germany penetrated late into Scandinavia and in small numbers, and the lifestyle remained primarily one of hunter-gatherers. This is probably the reason why Scandinavia retained one of the most substantial Paleolithic ancestry in Europe.

The big cultural and genetic upheaval came with the Indo-Europeans from Eastern Europe who brought Scandinavia into the Bronze Age with a very short Neolithic transition. The first Indo-Europeans to reach Scandinavia were the Corded Ware (3200-1800 BCE) people from modern Russia, Belarus and Poland, who are thought to have belonged predominantly to haplogroup R1a1a. These people carried similar maternal lineages as Scandinavian I1 inhabitants – in great majority U4 and U5 lineages. According to the Germanic substrate hypothesis, first proposed by Sigmund Feist in 1932, Proto-Germanic was a hybrid language mixing Indo-European and pre-Indo-European (native Scandinavian) elements. This hybridisation would have taken place during the Bronze Age and given birth to the first truly Germanic civilization, the Nordic Bronze Age (1700-500 BCE).

Subclades and Haplotypes

Phylogenetic tree of haplogroup I1 (Y-DNA) - Eupedia

Distribution of haplogroup I1 in Europe

Haplogroup I2

Origins

Haplogroup I2 is thought to represent the direct patrilineal descendants of Paleolithic Western, Central and Southeastern Europeans, roughly from Northern Spain to the Carpathians, and from the British Isles to the Balkans. Haplogroup I2 is not the only survivor of Paleolithic Europe: haplogroup I1 occupied Northern Europe (Scandinavia and the shores of the Baltic Sea), haplogroup N1c1 that ranged from eastern Finland and the Baltic countries to Siberia, R1a that was found in the rest of Northeast Europe, and E1b1b which probably made up most of the population of Mediterranean Europe.

Haplogroup I2 might have originated in central Europe, southeastern Europe or even West Asia some 17,000 years ago and developed into six main subgroups : I2a1a (M26), I2a1b (M423), I2a2a (M223), I2a2b, I2b (L416) and I2c (L596).

Phylogenetic tree of haplogroup I2 (Y-DNA) - Eupedia

Distribution of haplogroup I2a1 (formerly I2a) in Europe

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