21 June 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

Research Helps İlluminate the History of the Scythians with 111 Ancient Genomes

Due to their interactions and conflicts with the major contemporaries of Eurasia, the Scythians enjoyed legendary status in history and popular culture.

The Scythians were the Iron Age cultures that ruled the Eurasian steppes, playing an important role in Eurasian history. Despite evidence from external sources, little is known about the history of the Scythians. Without written language or direct sources, the language or languages ​​they used, where they came from, and the extent to which the different cultures spreading over such a vast area were actually related to each other remain unclear.

A new study published in Science Advances by an international team of geneticists, anthropologists and archaeologists led by scientists from the Department of Archaeogenetics of the Institute of Human History Max Planck in Jena, Germany helps illuminate the history of the Scythians with 111 ancient genomes from key Scythian and non-Scythian archaeological cultures of the Central Asian steppe.

The results of this study reveal that significant genetic changes were associated with the disappearance of long-term sedentary Bronze Age groups and the rise of Scythian nomadic cultures during the Iron Age. The findings show that, in keeping with the relatively homogeneous origin of the Late Bronze Age shepherds, at the turn of the first millennium BC, flows from the east, west, and south to the steppe created new mixed gene pools.

The diverse peoples of the Central Asian Steppe

The research went even further, identifying at least two main sources for nomadic Iron Age groups. The source in the east may come from the population of the Altai Mountains. During the Iron Age, the Altai Mountains spread west and south and mixed together as they moved.

Golden man
The burial of a social elite known as ‘Golden Man’ from the Eleke Sazy necropolis. Photo: Zainolla Samashev

These genetic results coincide with the time and locations found in the archaeological record and suggest an expansion of the populations of the Altai area, where the first Scythian burials are found, connecting different renowned cultures such as Saka, Tasmola, and Pazyryk that are found in the south. , Central and eastern Kazakhstan respectively.

Surprisingly, the groups located in the western Urals come from a second separate but simultaneous source. Contrary to the Eastern case, this Western gene pool, characteristic of the early Sauroman-Sarmatian cultures, remained largely consistent thanks to the spread of Sarmatian cultures westward from the Urals to the Pontic-Caspian steppe.

The decline of the Scythian cultures associated with new genetic turnovers

The study also covers the transition period after the Iron Age, revealing new genetic renewal and mixed events. These events intensified at the beginning of the first millennium AD, while at the same time, the Scythian cultures on the central grassland declined and then disappeared.

In this case, the new influx of Eurasia from the Far East is plausibly associated with the expansion of the nomadic empires of the eastern steppe in the early centuries CE, such as the Xiongnu and Xianbei confederations, as well as minor influxes from Iranian sources probably linked to the expansion of civilization related to the Persians from the south.

Although ancient DNA alone cannot solve many unanswered questions about the history of the Scythians people, this study shows how much change and integration of the population of Eurasia have occurred over time.

Source: https://www.shh.mpg.de/1972917/krause-scythians

Related Articles

2.3-meter sword found in 4th-century tomb in Japan

27 January 2023

27 January 2023

The largest bronze mirror and the largest “dako” iron sword in Japan were discovered at the Tomio Maruyama burial mound...

Bronze Age Treasure Found in Swedish Forests

30 April 2021

30 April 2021

A man who studied the forest to make a map for the orienteering club in western Sweden made an incredible...

Bronze Age family systems deciphered: Paleogeneticists analyze 3,800-year-old extended family

31 August 2023

31 August 2023

A Bronze Age family living 3,800 years ago in the Southern Urals may have taken a flexible approach to marriage,...

At a dig site in western Turkey, a centuries-old Byzantine fortress will be revealed

24 December 2021

24 December 2021

Excavation of vast Byzantine-era fortifications considered to be about 900 years old has begun at a dig site in western...

2,000-year-old Celtic hoard of gold ‘rainbow cups’ discovered in northeastern Germany

13 January 2022

13 January 2022

Archaeologists have found an ancient Celtic coins treasure consisting of 41 gold coins in a field in Brandenburg, a state...

27,000-year-old Pendants made from giant sloths suggest earlier arrival of people in the Americas

16 July 2023

16 July 2023

Archaeologists discovered three pendants made from the bony material of an extinct giant sloth in a rock shelter in central...

Ukraine says Russian forces stole Scythian treasures from Melitopol Museum

11 May 2022

11 May 2022

Invading Russian troops have stolen items of ancient Scythian gold and other historical and cultural valuables that were stored in...

A burial complex dating to the Second Intermediate Period has been discovered at the Dra Abu el-Naga necropolis at Luxor

12 April 2023

12 April 2023

At the Dra Abu el-Naga necropolis in Luxor, a family burial complex from the Second Intermediate Period has been found....

2,000-year-old graves found in ancient necropolis beneath Paris Train Station

24 April 2023

24 April 2023

Archaeologists have discovered 50 tombs in an ancient necropolis just meters from a busy train station in central Paris, and...

Archeologists Unearth Spectator snacks from the Roman Period in Colosseum

28 November 2022

28 November 2022

An excavation of the Colosseum’s sewer systems has uncovered a selection of spectator snacks from the Roman Period. It appears...

Precious Roman Gem Engraved with Mythological Figure Discovered in Italian Lagoon

8 August 2023

8 August 2023

During excavations at Lio Piccolo (Cavallino-Treporti), conducted by Ca’ Foscari University, a precious agate stone carved with a mythological figure...

Rare Astrolabe Discovered in Verona Sheds Light On Islamic, Jewish, and Christian Scientific Exchange

6 March 2024

6 March 2024

An eleventh-century rare astrolabe bearing Arabic and Hebrew inscriptions was recently discovered in a museum in Verona, Italy. It dates...

Evidence of Medieval Scotland in Inverness revealed by building work

19 June 2021

19 June 2021

Archaeologists in Scotland have discovered medieval remains during excavations for construction work, and they are exposing mysteries about the industrial...

Archeologists Discover Two Sphinxes measure 26 feet in length in Egyptian Ruins

21 January 2022

21 January 2022

Archeologists have discovered the remains of two huge sphinx statues, each measuring 26 feet in length, at the funerary temple...

40.000-Year-Old Mammoth Bones Discovered in a Wine Cellar in Austria

25 May 2024

25 May 2024

A winemaker has discovered mammoth bones up to 30,000 to 40,000 years old in a wine cellar in Lower Austria. ...