April 30, 2008

Proposed link between Y chromosome haplogroup and Central European Celts

David Faux has written a 84-page paper on a proposed link between Celts and marker S28 / U152 within the R1b haplogroup.

A Genetic Signal of Central European Celtic Ancestry:Preliminary Research Concerning Y-Chromosome Marker S28 / U152

David K. Faux

"The goal of the present study is to use historical references (via the Greco – Roman Classical authors), plus linguistic and archaeological data, to link the Hallstatt and La Tene Celtic people of Central Europe to a Y-chromosome marker, S28 / U152. The hypothesis under consideration is that all who are S28 positive (thus placed in the phylogenetic haplogroup R1b1c10 / R1b1b2h) are living descendants of these ancient Celtic people who emerged from an Alpine European homeland; with the possible exception of distantly related folk who reside along the Mediterranean coast south to Sardinia."

Link (pdf)


Urselius said...

I thought that someone had extracted DNA from La Tene age burials. Without this connection this whole paper is meaningless.

The connection between "what the Greeks and Romans described," the physical remains of material culture (pottery and metalwork styles etc), language and the genetics of living people is tenuous indeed.

Much of the paper sounds like it was written before 1950. I especially liked the bit about "tall, blue-eyed blonds" when is the author going to squeeze himself into this century?

Maju said...

I am still reading it (it's quite long) but I just love the Upper Paleolithic part, largely because he uses so many, rather good, Wikipedia maps (among them three of my authorship), but it looks reasonably good - IMO.

What I don't like that much is the part on Celts. He happily assumes that Cimbri were Celts, when the mainstream opinion is that they were Germanic (among other reasons because neither presumed Celtic culture: Urnfields, Hallstatt or La Tène, ever eached the Nordic circle. He talks of Anatolia as widely populated by Celts, when it's widely known that the Galatae arrived only in the Hellenistic period and controlled just a small area around modern Ankara. He falls in the fallacy of presuming connections between Iberian and La Tène Celts, when the former never reached the La Tène stage in any way (including Druidism). He relates the Bell Beaker phenomenon (widely demonstrated to be somthing else than a migration, at least west of the Rhin, whatever its exact, religious or mercantile, nature) with Celts with incredible arrogance. Etc.

In brief he presumes a lot of rather unscientifical (populist but wrong) stuff about Celts, including the blond stereotype that is known as largely inaccurate (they often bleached their hairs and the description was made by Italians).

He also presumes that Neolithic migrations were irrelevant, even in the context of nearby European areas.

My provisional conclussion is that, while the paper may have some good points, it looks a lot like the fashion of "Viking" markers not so long ago. I can agree that Celts were maybe an important vector in the dispersal of this clade but claiming that every single person with R1b1c10 descends necssarily from a Celt (when himself posits it migrating from Languedoc or Catalunya to Switzerland long before Celts even existed, much less west of the Volga) is making a populist claim, sadly typical of people involved in comercial DNA testing.

He wears that claim with many layers of clothes, some good but others, the most important maybe, quite poor instead. Just to make an artificial reasoning about the connection of haplogroup many milennia old with a historical ethnicity of much more recent genesis.

Genetic populism stinks.

(Now for the second part. even if wrong or very distorted in so many crucial elements, it's worth reading any research on R1b1c subclades - so scarce).

Joe said...

Well said Maju.
I agree with you that scientists sometimes try to make their work more populist in order to achieve better fame and allow them to get money, seats in Universities and glory.
It is irrational to try to identify enormous cultures that spread to entire countries and continents with a single halpogroup or even worse with a single marker!

Maju said...

Well, after I have more or less gone through the second part, the overall evaluation has improved somewhat. Actually I was quite annoyed by his interpretation of Celtic identity and pre/proto-history but the rest is ok. And even if we disagree in some interpretations of Celtic history, he may have clues I don't in some cases.

I still think he's making a maximalist reading of anything Celtic and, for instance, does not understand the genesis of Iberian Celts, who became isolated from the continental (and British) ones c. 550 BCE, before La Tène.

I also think that there is no reason for the clade not have travelled around before any Indo-European was spoken at the Rhin-Danub area. But Celts (and related peoples, like Italics, Illyrians) were a vector too surely.

My criticism was specially towards researchers who are involved in commercial testing, that makes promises of finding personal ancestries that may be too obscure (for most people) and therefore are tempted to oversimplify and identify popular historical peoples, like Celts or Vikings (or characters like Chingis Khan) to make it more seductive. In that sense this paper falls somewhat into the publicity stunt.

Anyhow, even with non-commercial research, I sometimes feel that the data and the conclussions are not always in full synchrony, that prejudices and agendas bias conclussions now and then or, more often, that the lack of prehistorical knowledge of geneticists makes their conclusions somewhat incosistent. It tends to improve anyhow.

burt said...

This guy is a `classic` crackpot, plain and simple.

You need to read the crap he wrote where he , without any evidence, spent like 40 pages `proving` he was a descendent paternally of the Cimbri tribe...


this guy is so beyond a remant of credibility its actually sad, not funny. DO NOT encourage this guy,...
he is completely wacked out, but also determined to sell this crap he imagines, and then sets about trying to find any anecdotal historical mention that remotely can be tied to suit his wishes.

He is not s re-searcher he is a wish-searcher.


May I add a little something here please: Y

Although I am not an Anthropologist I do have an M.A. in History (Modern) so please excuse my lack of knowledge within your field of expertise.

My father, a Scottish Presbyterian age 94 has been tested for genealogical purposes with familytree DNA and found to be within the R1B1B2h sub haplogroup via exact match someone who was deep clade tested.

His family tree has a paper trail to mid 1700's and beyond via clan lineages to 1200-1300 etc. (speaking broadly here)

After perusal of the Scottish historical document :The Declaration of Arbroath dated 1320 CE, and critique of the assertion therein that the Scottish nation descend from the Scythians (who they assert were exhiles from Israel), how can we juxtapose this argument against David Feux's hypotheses (and I assume it is merely an argument not set in stone just yet) re the La Tene Celtic connection to that Haplogroup.

If the Declaration of Arbroath has some substance in part, one might expect to see some Ashkinazi contributors within this Haplogroup (R1B1B2h).

Given that it seems unlikely that one could argue that Celts are also recent descendants of Israeli patriarchs, just what would you make of a finding that large numbers of Scots and Irish, including my father, are within the same haplogroup as large numbers of Ashkinazi who continue to argue a direct lineage to Judah?

Could the old argument that many Brits, Scots Irish ARE perhaps descended from Scythians who originated in the Northern Territories of Israel have any substance?

Etymologically speaking there does seem to be some evidence for this according to Keating and others who argued the root for Scot is the same as for Scythian as SCT, whereby Greeks had no C , and changed the reading to TH accordingly, making the root SKTH including a phoenitic vowel whereby 'we get' SKUTHAI & SKODAI =SCOT +SKOTHS =SCOTS.

This the gives us a potential link to Scythians , and I stress 'potential' yet any connection to their exact origins rests with the research of ancient historians who have come up with a myriad of possibilities.

Certainly links via Y~DNA haplogroup results between largish numbers of Irish and Scottish (supposed Celts) to Askinazi folk from Israel is interesting.

I don't know much about David Feux , nor if he has commented on this finding: I would argue that historians and anthropologists alike will be able to come to a more precise conclusion re human migratory patterns if they can work in an interdisciplinary manner with reputable specialists in the field of genetics (eventually).

I would be very interested to hear your comments on this possibility.