September 20, 2009

History of the people of the Hungarian plain in the 1st millennium

Hum Biol. 2008 Dec;80(6):655-67

History of the peoples of the Great Hungarian Plain in the first millennium: a craniometric point of view

Holló G, Szathmáry L, Marcsik A, Barta Z.

We carried out an examination relying on six dimensions of 1,573 crania coming from the Great Hungarian Plain. The crania represent seven archeological periods: Sarmatian age (1-4th century), the period of transition (about 400-420), Hun and Gepidic epochs (about 420-455 and 455-567, respectively), early Avar age (about 568-670), late Avar period (about 670-895), the epoch of the Hungarian conquest and settlement (about 895-1000), and the Arpadian age (about 1000-1301). We were curious about the anatomical background behind cultural changes of the various populations that inhabited this area. After having noticed some discontinuities between the populations, as revealed by univariate analysis of single dimensions, we performed a principal-components analysis to see whether or not the diverse components showed eventual breaks in the sequence of the populations. Knowing that all the dominant populations had Asian roots, except for the Gepids of Germanic origin, we expected a considerable difference between the Gepidic population and all the other inhabitants. We also assumed that a conquest itself with a large-scale assimilation was unlikely to leave breaklike traits in anatomical patterns, except for aggressive conquests. We found that the second principal component (which correlated with cranial breadth and partly with height) showed a remarkable hiatus in both sexes between Gepids and early Avars. Having done a statistical proof (simultaneous tests for general linear hypotheses) of the observed phenomenon, we found that the gap referring to subsequent populations was significant only in males. A possible reason for this result is that the Avar conquest was much more radical than has been thought. In addition, considering that men were more likely to die in wars, women survived and were assimilated into the conquerors' populations with higher probability, so it is not surprising that the results of multicomparison tests are significant only in men.

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1 comment:

Ponto said...

Women were often traded between peoples. It is the most likely way farmer dna got into mesolithic European populations if you accept the Paleolithic/Neolithic paradigm. The men imported and traded their women.

Hungary in the first millennium had a large foreign or immigrant population. The Avars, not the Avari of Daghestan but the invaders of Europe, are an Asian people. It is likely that they migrated to the Hungarian plain in all male groups with few Avar women after all men are most likely to form invading military armies. Camp followers tend to get killed along with the men when battles are lost.

What is more important to me is this. How does the modern population of Hungary reflect this Avar past in its dna? From SNP studies it appears that the Avars contributed little to modern Hungarians.