June 02, 2010

Genetic distinctiveness of Basques (?)

This paper purports to affirm the genetic distinctiveness of Basques. However, they compare Basques with non-Iberians, so their claim only affirms their distinctiveness from non-Iberians, rather than their distinctiveness within Iberia itself.

So, I don't see any reason to doubt the findings of Laayouni et al. (2010) so far. If the authors of the current paper had carried out an analysis in which they included non-Basque Iberians, as well as geographically appropriate French (it is not clear how many HGDP French are from Basque-inhabited regions), then they would have a leg to stand on with respect to the alleged distinctiveness of Basques.

Moreover, their claim that their paper reaffirms Li et al. (2008) and refutes Laayouni et al. (2010) is similarly suspect, as Li et al. (2008) did not study Basques in the context of their Iberian neighbors.

What this paper shows is that French and Spanish Basques form a unit vis a vis other Europeans, but this does not justify the attack about the alleged shortfalls of Laayouni et al. In short it is difficult to see how to see how this paper's inflated claims have passed peer review.

Related:


Human Genetics doi:10.1007/s00439-010-0833-4

High-density SNP genotyping detects homogeneity of Spanish and French Basques, and confirms their genomic distinctiveness from other European populations

Naiara Rodríguez-Ezpeleta et al.

A recent study reported that Basques do not constitute a genetically distinct population, and that Basques from Spanish and French provinces do not show significant genetic similarity. These conclusions disagree with numerous previous studies, and are not consistent with the historical and linguistic evidence that supports the distinctiveness of Basques. In order to further investigate this controversy, we have genotyped 83 Spanish Basque individuals and used these data to infer population structure based on more than 60,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms of several European populations. Here, we present the first high-throughput analysis including Basques from Spanish and French provinces, and show that all Basques constitute a homogeneous group that can be clearly differentiated from other European populations.

Link

39 comments:

Maju said...

I already said when you mentioned the crude Fst estimate of Laayouni that it was in contradiction with other studies (Bauchet 2007), including also other Fst-based studies (Tian 2009), so it seems to be somewhat erroneous.

Anyhow, while Basques seem clearly distinct from South Iberians they also appear to cluster with Cantabrians and Catalans, as well as Gascons (Cavalli-Sforza 1996 and 1997) and other South French.

There's a very likely Franco-Cantabrian genetic cluster, maybe with penetration into some other areas of Iberia (but unclear), of which Basques are only one (though probably the most emblematic and "pure") of several populations. However no single research paper appears to have addressed this matter properly with due regional sampling of both Iberia and France, as well as Basques. In some cases, in fact, there seems to be intentional avoidance of the issue because it could challenge in some way those artificial polities that are Spain and France (not that genetics should matter in the Latin and Basque concept of ethnicity or nation but still there is avoidance).

eurologist said...

I agree that other Iberian populations should have been included to make this study meaningful, but the distance between (French or Iberian) Basques and other Europeans is huge, in both PC1 and PC2. Given how close French, Tuscans, and North Italians are, one would at least expect mainstream Iberians to follow closely.

However, the proof is in the pudding.

onur said...

If this paper demonstrates/confirms the genetic distinctiveness of any population, it seems it is only Sardinians, though I think south Italians and Sicilians should also have been included in the study to say anything conclusive on this matter.

Dienekes said...

I already said when you mentioned the crude Fst estimate of Laayouni that it was in contradiction with other studies (Bauchet 2007), including also other Fst-based studies (Tian 2009), so it seems to be somewhat erroneous.

Your so-called objections about Laayouni et al. (2010) have already been addressed.

The more I learn about Basques, the more I am convinced that they are simply Iberians who picked up their non-IE language while other Iberians picked up Latin. I wouldn't be surprised if the 2k of linguistic separation from Romance speakers may have caused some genetic divergence, but it's clearly not much, and clearly not indicative of any really long process of isolation.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

"The more I learn about Basques, the more I am convinced that they are simply Iberians who picked up their non-IE language while other Iberians picked up Latin."

We can be very confident from history that adoption of the Basque language preceded adoption of Latin in Iberia, and for the matter, that it preceded pre-Latin IE languages in the Celtic family before that.

The real question is not whether Basque is the oldest language in Europe, but how much older it is than other IE languages.

I'm inclined to be skeptical of claims that it is Paleolithic, in part because the most ancient Basque DNA doesn't show particularly large proportions of U4/U5 haplotypes found in ancient DNA from paleolithic Europeans (some but not heaps), and partially because there is little evidence that any large Paleolithic populations have retained their languages (outside Australia, New Guinea and the Americas where there were no outside Neolithic influences until the historical era).

Andalusian Neolithic origins would put the appearance of Basque family languages in Iberian populations at 5500 BCE-6000 BCE.

An intermediate plausible date would be with Cardium-Printed pottery and/or megalithic cultures (which may have been one and the same) which would be about 4800 BCE for Iberia and would reach Basque Spain ca. 3500 BCE.

Pre-IE mining industry culture origins would be the latest plausible date for Basque appearance around 1800 BCE.

The subsequent Bell Beaker culture appears to have involved migration by minority merchant populations and so probably didn't cause major linguistic change and any subsequent migration was probably IE language speaking.

Cultural links between Basque mythology and the Semitic Phonecian religion of pre-Roman Carthage points to major cultural infusions from after Phoenician colonization of North Africa ca. 1000 BCE. One plausible time frame would be from refugees fleeing Carthage following its defeat in the Punic Wars ca. 146 BCE. But since the people of Carthage at the time were Semitic language speaking Phonecians, the Basque language clearly predated and survived this cultural influx.

It is plausible to think that Iberians were a culturally unified people who once spoke Basque family languages. Then, the large majority would transition from Basque family languages to IE languages (first Celtic family and then Romance), sometime after 1000 BCE. The probably IE language associated Urnfield culture only got as far as the NE coastal area of Iberia and was on the tail end of that expansion which occurred from 1200 BCE to 750 BCE. The LaTene culture associated specificly with the Celtic language family in Western Europe, which was the first IE language associated language to reach most of Iberia, reached Iberia sometime between 450 BCE and 50 BCE.

It is also plausible to see the Etruscan and Basque languages as surviving long after other pre-IE languages vanished because they were early adopters of late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age technological innovations (in connection with the Atlantic Bronze Age in Iberia and parallel developments in Tuscany where proto-Villanovan culture begins to appear around 1100 BCE) and survived because they didn't need the technological package that came with the linguistic package when IE speaking colonists arrived.

Of course, this isn't inconsistent with the notion that most of the genetic divergence of the Basque from other Iberians is in the last 2000-3000 years, due to infusions related to Phoenician trade, Greco-Roman colonies, Roman conquests, migration from North Africa during Vandal and Moorish periods, etc., as opposed to the notion of the Basque being a truly relict Paleo-European population. The two scenarios are indistinguishable from a population genetics perspective.

Maju said...

Your analysis is interesting, Andrew. And deserves an extensive reply:

- Part I -

I always draw a neat distinction between Basque language and Basque genetic. I tend to think that the genetics are Paleolithic but that the language can be Neolithic or Paleolithic. In any case older than IE arrival, as you say.

And of course older than Latin, which was not "picked" but politically imposed by means of elite domination since the 2nd Punic War in Iberia to peoples who spoke languages other than Latin (Iberian, Tartessian, Celtic and Basque too).

"I'm inclined to be skeptical of claims that it is Paleolithic, in part because the most ancient Basque DNA doesn't show particularly large proportions of U4/U5 haplotypes found in ancient DNA from paleolithic Europeans"...

In this we clearly disagree. There is a lot of evidence that the main haplogroup in SW Europe was always H. Epipaleolithic Portuguese had only very limited amount of U5 and U* (probably U6, as U4 is very rare over here) but as much H (or almost) as modern Portuguese or Basques.

Similarly North Moroccans from Late Paleolithic Taforalt show loads of mtDNA H and V, in agreement with modern apportions and in agreement with demonstrated the Iberian origin of North African mtDNA H and with the likely South Iberian origin of Oranian culture some 20 Ka ago.

Neolithic Iberian and Basque aDNA is at least to a large extent also in these parameters of high mtDNA H, though we begin to see other lineages too such as K or J.

That is what ancient DNA says about SW Europe, specially Iberia. A single site in Swabia yielding five mtDNA U can hardly question that, much less Chalcolithic U from the Baltic. They are a different region with a very different Prehistory.

It is important to consider Europe not as a mere extension of Central and North Europe but as a plurality of regions in dynamic interaction but also distinct.

"Andalusian Neolithic origins would put the appearance of Basque family languages in Iberian populations at 5500 BCE-6000 BCE".

If you're talking of La Almagra Pottery Neolithic, Zilhao wrote recently a strong rebuke of those theories (that I myself helped to spread through the Internet), claiming that at least the Portuguese sites have much later dates than initially reported and hence must be considered as an Epicardial culture, derived from Cardium Pottery Neolithic (CP hereafter). We'd be taking hence of c. 5000-4700 BCE.

But remember that, unlike in the Central European case (Lineal Pottery or Danubian Neolithic), CP is a clear case of cultural diffusion, with only very specific cases of demic difussion. It is possible that CP peoples had a common language that spread with the culture but it's also possible that they did not. There is no evidence in either direction, as we know almost nothing of what was spoken in most of Italy or the Adriatic Balcans before IE intrusion.

I insist anyhow that we should cautionarily disentangle genetics and language as they might have got very different dynamics.

"An intermediate plausible date would be with Cardium-Printed pottery and/or megalithic cultures (which may have been one and the same) which would be about 4800 BCE for Iberia and would reach Basque Spain ca. 3500 BCE".

(continues)

Maju said...

-Part II-

"An intermediate plausible date would be with Cardium-Printed pottery and/or megalithic cultures (which may have been one and the same) which would be about 4800 BCE for Iberia and would reach Basque Spain ca. 3500 BCE".

"May be one and the same" is a risky claim. Zilhao has argued for demic replacement in SW Iberian early Neolithic but the same data that he uses to claim that (fundamentally aDNA) I read in the opposite direction: there was no demic replacement in SW Iberia but rather continuity. So CP arrival triggered Megalithism but they are not the same thing because most CP cultures never adopted Megalithism and those which did are normally the less affected by colonization episodes. Instead Megalithism spread among peoples in Atlantic Europe and North Africa at the very edges of the main Neolithic diffusion areas (non-CP and non-Danubian with very few exceptions) and which probably had at least partly pre-Neolithic roots.

Again Megalithic diffusion may be related to language but there's no clear reason to relate it with genetics, at least not the bulk of it.

"Pre-IE mining industry culture origins would be the latest plausible date for Basque appearance around 1800 BCE".

I doubt it but, would it be the case, it'd be related to language and not the bulk of genetics, because these arrivals were the first brachicephalous types to be found ever in the region and they are rather rare today. So genetically Basques must be older than that.

In general there is agreement that the "Basque" or "Pyrenean" anthropometric type is present since Epipaleolithic. Gracil Mediterranean types from Neolithic and Alpinids from the Bronze Age (and IMO would be of IE-speaker origin). The case is probably the same for Iberia (but replace "Pyrenean" type by "Robust Mediterranean" in the literature).

"The subsequent Bell Beaker culture appears to have involved migration by minority merchant populations and so probably didn't cause major linguistic change and any subsequent migration was probably IE language speaking".

Almost totally in agreement. However the literature I have read rather suggest that BB burial idividuals were much more often than not of local rather than exotic origin, always on athropometric grounds. It was a cultural rather than migratory phenomenon (though the situation may vary by regions, I guess).

Maju said...

- Part IV -

"It is plausible to think that Iberians were a culturally unified people who once spoke Basque family languages".

Yes. But not Basque-Aquitanian as such. And it's also possible that it might have been a matter of sprachbund.

"It is also plausible to see the Etruscan and Basque languages as surviving"...

I'm of the opinion that Etruscan is not pre-IE but para-IE, arriving to Italy about the same time that IE did (Bronze Age). It's probably a "Pelasgian" language, though this label is quite vague admittedly. Instead I do think that Ligurian was a pre-IE (and pre-Etruscan) survival, maybe related to Basque and Iberian - but the evidence on Ligurian is very scarce and Celticists (the most fanatic school of linguists) want it to be Celtic, as they do with anything there is little information about such as Cantabrian, Pictish, etc., no matter that some of that scarce info may be contrary to their hypothesis.

"... the notion that most of the genetic divergence of the Basque from other Iberians is in the last 2000-3000 years, due to infusions related to Phoenician trade, Greco-Roman colonies, Roman conquests, migration from North Africa during Vandal and Moorish periods, etc., as opposed to the notion of the Basque being a truly relict Paleo-European population".

That doesn't make much sense to me because there's no particular reason for that. Basques (FC region) and Iberians were two clearly distinct (albeit related) populations in the Paleolithic and Epipaleolithic but later the number of populations and also their interactions increase. By all cultural measures, Basques are more directly connected with West Iberians since Neolithic (the long lived Megalithism specially) but Basques instead tend to cluster better with other "Pyrenean" (Catalans, Cantabrians, Gascons, probably some other South French) peoples and, after them, with East Iberian peoples. Genetically Basques surely have some more commonality with Valencians than with Portuguese but after Neolithic and until the Hallstatt period (most of post-Paleolithic prehistory) they had more intense cultural relations with Portugal than with Catalonia. So why Basques don't have all that (y)E1b1b1 and all that (mt)U6, so typical of West Iberia? IMO because the genetic landscape is in most cases of older foundation.

Another thing is the language. That I can't say (though I agree that is at least from the Chalcolithic Age: Megalithic) and maybe older (Paleolithic or at least CP Neolithic). But language can change without meaningful genetic change.

Maju said...

- Part III -

"Cultural links between Basque mythology and the Semitic Phonecian religion of pre-Roman Carthage points to major cultural infusions from after Phoenician colonization of North Africa ca. 1000 BCE".

Some aspects are clearly related to Mediterranean mythology (not necesarily phoenician, also Greek or Berber or even Danubian maybe) but I think that the core of the religious beliefs is distinct because it is clearly a case of dualistic (male-female) monotheism. It might have got roots in pre-IE and pre-Semitic Neolithic religions from the Eastern Mediterranean or it might have got native West European roots (or a mix of both).

Besides the clearly dominant male-female dual Monotheism of clear cthonic and collectivist nature, with fertility cult elements, it sometimes seems to have accepted the concept of other gods, mostly a personification of the sky called Urtzi (related to ur: water) and surely the same as the Greek Uranos, but later also used to represent Zeus/Jupiter and even Yaveh ("et Deus vocant Urcia"), that is: all gods related to firmament, as the true Divinity lived in the ground (caves in emblematic mountains), using the sky as mere garden or corridor. Urtzi anyhow might have an ultimately Megalithic origin, because Megalithism has a strong connection with astronomy. However Urzti has no mythology, just presence in the vocabulary (meteorological phenomenons such as lightning and rainbow and weekday names). Another imported deity is Celtic Teutates, known as Eate or Odei (storm cloud) and later assimilated to St. Michael.

In any case, while Phoenicians and Greeks (at least as influential), and Etruscans too, were polytheistic, Basques seem to have been fundamentally monotheistic with some flexibility. It is a very different monotheism than that of Zoroastrians or Hebrews and its closest historical/living relative is probably to be found only in India (dual monotheistic Shaivism/Shaktism: Tantrism) and East Asia (Ying-Yang: Taoism). So it's possible it has West Asian Neolithic origins or it's possible that it spread eastward with Megalithism.

princenuadha said...

So who would be closer to the North Italians, the French or Spanish?

Any references?

belenos said...

Re Basque linguistic history.

Andrew and Maju.

There is not as much linguistic evidence for Basque continuity in the territory of today's Basque country as there is for introduction in the late or even post-Roman period.

The Spanish Basque country is literally full of non-latinate indo-european toponyms and there is clear evidence of tribes bearing Celtic names in areas which were historically (or still are) Basque speaking.

Not even the tribe of the "Vascones" can be proven to have spoken a language related to Basque.

If Vascoid languages were spoken south of the Pyrenees, they were certanly not spoken throughut today's Basque country (which really isn't a very big area).

onur said...

Given how close French, Tuscans, and North Italians are, one would at least expect mainstream Iberians to follow closely.

In Novembre et al.'s famous study "Genes mirror geography within Europe" Spaniards and Portuguese appear somewhat distinct from Italians and French:

http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2008/09/geography-and-genetic-structure-in.html

So Basques may only be a part of that somewhat distinct pan-Iberian cluster (SW French (including French Basques) may be closer to the pan-Iberian cluster rather than to the rest of French btw).

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Maju: Interesting and thoughtful comments.

Re Parts I and II:

"Similarly North Moroccans from Late Paleolithic Taforalt show loads of mtDNA H and V, in agreement with modern apportions and in agreement with demonstrated the Iberian origin of North African mtDNA H and with the likely South Iberian origin of Oranian culture some 20 Ka ago."

Since mtDNA V is absent in the oldest Basque ancient DNA and actually is more common now than in the ancient samples where it is present, the case that mtDNA V is Norther African rather than Iberian in origin seems quite solid.

The Taforalt case is certianly suggestive of H having at least Upper Paleolithic origins in the West Mediterranean, although it isn't at all obvious to me how one would distinguish a North to South from a South to North transfer unless there is more data on subtype diversity and phylogeny to pack it up.

"CP is a clear case of cultural diffusion, with only very specific cases of demic difussion."

Clear as mud. I'll grant that you can have cultural diffusion with only a minority of people influx, although in a pre-literate age with techniques that take multiple years to learn like farming and the fine points of pottery, I don't see how there can't be some demic component.

Likewise, if there is language change it must have a demic component of permanent colonists and the people who arrive carrying it must have enough clout to make it attractive (through force or profit) for everyone else to adopt their language. So, a major language shift almost necessarily must accompanying a major cultural revolution and some population genetic change (disproportionate to the initial percentage of colonists due to their great influence). Put another way, if Basque didn't arrive in connection with one of the major cultural transitions between 6000 BCE and 1800 BCE, it pretty much had to be the language of the autochthonous people.

"'Pre-IE mining industry culture origins would be the latest plausible date for Basque appearance around 1800 BCE'.

I doubt it but, would it be the case, it'd be related to language and not the bulk of genetics, because these arrivals were the first brachicephalous types to be found ever in the region and they are rather rare today. So genetically Basques must be older than that."

This wouldn't be my first guess either, and I would agree that if this is the date that the Basque language arrives that it would not involve wholesale replacement of populations, merely imposition of an elite population's language. But, the case for this as a date is that it was one of the most dramatic breaks with the past cultural patterns. This scenario would help explain why Basque culture was strongest and hence most able to resist Celtic and Roman overtures while other Iberian populations did not; since the Basque in the Iberian Mountains would be the most converted to a metallurgy civilization and would generally be more technologically advanced than their farming peers. This would also be the scenario most favorable to some relationship between Basque and Caucasian-Hurrian languages since the mining experts around that time could very plausibly had Caucusian origins. This scenario does, however, make weakest case for Basque as a pan-Iberian pre-IE language family.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

@Maju parts III:

The religion of Carthage has a strong dualistic male-female element to it and also involved human and animal sacrifice as a central rite:

"Baal or Melqart, symbolized the annual cycle of vegetation and was associated with the female deity Astarte in her role as the maternal goddess. She was called Asherar-yam, our lady of the sea, and in Byblos she was Baalat, our lady. Astarte was linked with mother goddesses of neighboring cultures, in her role as combined heavenly mother and earth mother. Religious statues of Astarte in many different forms were left as votive offerings in shrines and sanctuaries as prayers for good harvest, for healthy children, and for protection and tranquillity in the home." The names evolved an in the later period: "The supreme divine couple was that of Tanit and Ba'al Hammon."

This Carthagian religion was derived from the Phoenecians who founded it specifically, and incorporated strong dualist elements from the Egyptians, the strong sacrificial elements of the Semites, into the Greek IE polytheist beliefs (who were probably the ethnic core of the Phonecians). The religion of Carthage was probably was kindred to the Biblical cult of Baal/Moloch.

The analog with the religion of Carthage would be of Sugaar to Baal and of Mari to Asarte/Tanit, and the Sorginak (modern translation "witches") would have corresponded to the well organized caste of priests in the religion of Carthage. There was reputedly human and animal sacrifice. The name "Mari" may have been an accomodation of the most prominent female figure in encroaching Christianity, "Mary" who has a somewhat analogous role as a fertility figure who provides Jesus with his Earthly linkage.

The connection of the religion of Carthage to Basque religion is particularly striking when one compares grave stones of the Tanit cult in Carthage to non-Christian Basque grave stones from as late as 1736.

I'm not arguing for religious replacement (and the retention of Basque langauge also argues against that), just a very strong syncretic influence. But, I think that the Carthage particular link to pre-Christian Basque religion is there.

The strength of the link is suggestive of a Carthagian diaspora in 146 BCE, give or take, at a time when Basque country would be a natural refugia from Roman domination elsewhere.

Carthagian dualism is a much easier case than dualism from India (dual monotheistic Shaivism/Shaktism: Tantrism) and East Asia (Ying-Yang: Taoism), and more similar in form and ritual. Hebrew monotheistic tendencies come into its tradition a brief episode of monotheism in Egypt (Aten) under Pharaoh Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV, 1364-1347 B.C.), and Egypt has always had a strong dualistic religious tendency (rooted in the dual kingdom of the upper and lower Nile) including brother-sister marriages; it was Egyptian influence that probably led to Phonecian dualistic deviations from their probable Greek ethnic origins.

In this view, Urtzi would be the older layer of the syncretic blend consistent with Urtzi's embedding in basic vocabulary that would date to the formative period of the Basque language. Removing the Carthagian superstrate from Basque pre-Christian religion probably provides the most accessible path to understanding the religion of the pre-IE peoples associated with the Atlantic model haplotype.

Maju said...

"So who would be closer to the North Italians, the French or Spanish?"

Depending what French, what Spanish and what North Italians. But for a simplified answer probably the French.

"There is not as much linguistic evidence for Basque continuity in the territory of today's Basque country as there is for introduction in the late or even post-Roman period".

Uh?

You have the Aquitane slabs, you have the Upper Ebro slabs, you have toponimy and you have the Veleia shard inscriptions (which I consider 100% valid).

Why would Basques switch language towards a gramatically difficult non-IE, non-Romance language under the Roman Empire or under the Romance realms that succeeded it?

Also, when people adopts a new language, they leave a signature in the form of grammatical simplification and creolization, typical of adults learning it as second language. Nothing of that is apparent in Basque language nor in any of its dialects: Basque grammar is highly complex (unlike Romances or English, which are creole languages) and that is a signature of persistent transmission in childhood, not among adults.

"Spaniards and Portuguese appear somewhat distinct from Italians and French".

True. But they also appear distinct from Basques (Bauchet 2007, Tian 2009, links above). This structure is best explained by being of Paleolithic origin.

Maju said...

(continued to Andrew)

"But, the case for this as a date is that it was one of the most dramatic breaks with the past cultural patterns".

I don't think it is the case. The decay of Dolmenic Megalithism is a clear case of slow and gradual decay, not replaced by anything with cultural specificity. There are those stone rings (called cromlechs in continental literature) with cremation burials at the Pyrenees but they are a mountain area only (pastoralist) phenomenon and one that can't be tracked to any specific origin anyhow (I see similitudes with the Chalcolithic Bolèraz group of the Middle Danube but there's a huge time span in between and no known connection).

In general the impression from archaeology is one of continuity from Paleolithic times but I can't 100% exclude that the arrival of Dolmenic Megalithism (and only that) might have brought immigrants from Portugal or nearby areas. However, as I said before there's no particular genetic closeness with Portuguese, so this is very unlikely in the end.

"... merely imposition of an elite population's language"...

But where is the signature of that hypothetical elite's cultural imposition? Languages don't exist in a void but are part of cultural packages.

I can only think of two moments when such cultural change happened and they are almost the same one: early Neolithic and early Dolmenic Megalithism. That's why I don't fully exclude that Basque language might have a Neolithic origin. Otherwise there's nothing like that until Roman era (clearly recorded in form of many loanwords).

"This would also be the scenario most favorable to some relationship between Basque and Caucasian-Hurrian languages since the mining experts around that time could very plausibly had Caucusian origins".

Actually the tentative relation between East Caucasian (+ Hurro-Urartean, + maybe Sumerian too) and Basque necesarily implies a much larger time span. Otherwise it would be clearly identifiable and not a matter of controversy, because it'd be younger than the Indoeuropean split.

I suspect a Gravettian age connection instead, with East Caucasian-plus being the remnant of Aurignaco-Gravettian (or simply Gravettian) languages of Eastern Europe. There is quite neat evidence for a demic flow from Epigravettian East Europe into the Caucasus and Zagros areas at the Epipaleolithic period (Zarzian culture in the Zagros area), later evolving into some of the oldest Neolithic cultures.

Of course, a Neolithic connection could be old enough (??) but, in any case, you should not treat the Caucasus area nor its languages as a single unit: there are three different Caucasian language families: NW or West (Cherkess, Adigey, Abkhazian, probably Hattic, etc.), NE or East (Chechen, Lezgian, probably Hurro-Urartean, etc.) and South or Kartvelian (Georgian). The only somewhat likely connection of Basque is, as far as I can tell, with the NE Caucasian family which we have no reason to suspect related to the developments of Georgia.

Also I think that there is some mystification of "Caucasian miners". The brachicephalous types found in our mines are much more likely to be "Celtic" or otherwise original from Central Europe or areas of France. There's no particular connection in Neolithic or post-Neolithic times with the Caucasus. If you have to find connections (in Iberia, not specifically in the Basque area) with that area, I'd rather point to Cypurs and the Aegean, much more dynamic and much more clearly documented.

However there was an inverted cultural flow (via the Aegean/Marmara seas for what I have read) to the Caucasus in form of Dolmenic Megalithism but this is much more likely to have been a merely religious development than a truly demic-cultural one.

Maju said...

@Andrew:

"Since mtDNA V is absent in the oldest Basque ancient DNA"...

MtDNA V is rare (3%) among modern Basques except some Gipuzkoan samples, which distorted the perception somewhat. It seems much more common towards Catalonia. I would not build much on mtDNA V alone because, even if it seems to have been present along H since the Gravettian period or earlier, the available data is somewhat inconclusive.

"The Taforalt case is certianly suggestive of H having at least Upper Paleolithic origins in the West Mediterranean"...

At least. It's impossible to explain, on light of archaeological data an UP origin for North African H. It must be of Gravettian origin... at least.

"Clear as mud".

I can only suggest you to read something decent on Cardium Pottery Neolithic archaeology, spanning from Italy to Iberia. There are locations that clearly show colonization but most simply do not: they show toolkit continuity from Epipaleolithic. It's a clear case of mostly cultural diffusion, though demic colonization also took place here and there.

"Likewise, if there is language change it must have a demic component"...

I don't know if this is correct but I know that language change has not been demonstrated, only speculated upon.

I'm rather inclined in fact to think of linguistic continuity in pre-IE SW Europe and maybe also in other areas of Europe.

In any case there was a demic component in CP (I'm not questioning that) but it was small and located almost invariably at some specific coastal areas, which, west of the Alps are:
- a couple of sites at the Nice area
- a couple of sites in Catalonia
- the whole south of the Valencian Country
- the Balearic islands, obviously
- possibly a few other locations in Andalusia and Portugal

Also the flow took place in more than a thousand years, what means that each demic advance must have included natives/mixed people from the previous assimilated areas.

"Put another way, if Basque didn't arrive in connection with one of the major cultural transitions between 6000 BCE and 1800 BCE, it pretty much had to be the language of the autochthonous people".

I rather agree with that. As said in my previous post, the high grammatical complexity of Basque does not suggest any sort of rapid expansion of the language but rather parents-to-children transmission.

However, some words are almost for sure arrivals from the Mediterranean, either with CP flows or later ones: 'iri', 'uri' (town, city) and 'ahari' (ram, compare with Greek aries and remember that the letter 'h' is generally mute in Basque and essentially a concession to Occitan influences in some dialects) must be loanwords from the East.

In any case I must say that most linguists who deal with these issues don't have even a basic understanding of Basque, what makes them completely biased and their conclusions can safely be ignored.

"... merely imposition of an elite population's language".

But there is no invasion in the Bronze Age. Only the Celts but that's actually already in the Iron Age and they are clearly kept at bay at the Ebro line, full of fortifications and battle sites.

Miners are not elites. And even in the most clear cases of aboundance exotic types in mine sites, they only amount to c. 30% of all.

(continues)

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

"I'm of the opinion that Etruscan is not pre-IE but para-IE, arriving to Italy about the same time that IE did (Bronze Age). It's probably a "Pelasgian" language, though this label is quite vague admittedly. Instead I do think that Ligurian was a pre-IE (and pre-Etruscan) survival, maybe related to Basque and Iberian - but the evidence on Ligurian is very scarce."

The linguistic case for Ligurian as pre-IE seems quite weak and there were Ligurian origin myths in ancient times linking them to Celtic tribes.

Etruscan as non-IE benefits from its disappearance coinciding with population replacement per ancient DNA.

Contemporaries attest to its great difference from his own language or any known language (yet surely an IE language there would have to be fairly close to Italo-Celtic or Greek or Anatolian IE languages), in the 1st century BC. We have substantial written evidence compared to most ancient dead languages to make the determination of unrelatedness to IE with, and a well attested commonality with the Lemnian language and probably to Minoan. It has a different sound set, a different set of cases, etc.

Another cultural suggestion that Estrucian was not IE is that Estruscian dead body disposal methods (such as prayer inscribed wrappings of dead bodies a bit like Egyptian mummies) involved elaborate rituals with no connection to cremation which was the dominant dead body disposal mode of IE speaking peoples in the Balkans (from before 2000 BCE), among the Hittites, among the Mycenean Greeks, among the Vedic Indo-Aryans from 1900 BCE, and among the Indo-Iranians; something that persisted into the Christian era. The only IE culture not to cremate is the Tocharians whose body disposal practices were still unlike that of the early Etruscans. The Tarim mummies are natural mummies buried in a Kurgan-like manner.

"So why Basques don't have all that (y)E1b1b1 and all that (mt)U6, so typical of West Iberia? IMO because the genetic landscape is in most cases of older foundation."

True, but primarily due to events in the historic era from 711 CE to 1492 CE.

The (y)E1b1b1 and (mt)U6 are both common Berber haplotypes that are most likely a product of seven centuries of Moorish rule, which influenced Basque country far less than its Southern Iberian neighbors. Berbers made up most of the Moorish army. The Basque, were never part of Moorish Cordova. Most Basque ended up in the Kingdom of Pampalona (after fighting off French and Visigothic contenders for domination) and was never under Moorish rule. The small Basque state of Banu Qasi at its Southern extreme was a Muslim state from about 714 CE to 929 CE, allied with Moorish Spain but not a part of it, that was led by the dynasty of an ethnically Visigothic Muslim convert nobleman and his descendants with as much or more admixture from Basque territory families as from Moorish Spain. Banu Qasi was in turn buffered from the main Moorish state of Cordova by independent Muslim states that were less throughly assimilated into the Islamic world. In 929 CE, Banu Qasi became one of the first success stories of the Reconquista ending its ties with Muslim Spain.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

One last little point. Maris (or Mariś) was the Etruscan god of agriculture and fertility. This name may have been borrowed by both Christian gospel writers providing a name to a mother of God that may have been unknown to them in order to assimilate Jesus into the local pantheon via his mother (and explaining the persistance of the Mary cult in Catholicism), and have been a nature fit already in place to the somewhat parallel Asarte/Tanit from Carthage whose cult shows strong similarities to pre-Christian Basque religious practice.

Mari was part of the pre-IE part of the Etruscan pantheon.

Maju said...

(continued for Andrew)

"The name "Mari" may have been an accomodation of the most prominent female figure in encroaching Christianity, "Mary" who has a somewhat analogous role as a fertility figure who provides Jesus with his Earthly linkage".

It's very likely. It also connects with Stella Maris (Isis, a very extended religion in Roman times) and may have the Basque etymology of Amari (mother as profession, skill, mother-er) or Emari (gift) but it's very possible that the name got changed under Christian pressure by means of incomplete synchretism, much as the Native American gods became Christian saints in modern America.

What is clear is that both the Pagan Mari and the Christian Mary reflect very old and deeply rooted beliefs in a Mother Goddess, whichever her name.

"I'm not arguing for religious replacement (...), just a very strong syncretic influence. But, I think that the Carthage particular link to pre-Christian Basque religion is there".

I think you exaggerate it and interpretate as Phoenician elements that are surely pre-Phoenician.

"Carthagian dualism is a much easier case than dualism from India"...

I'm not claiming any arrival from India, just a connection that is lost in the depths of time and that may be Neolithic, Megalithic or even Paleolithic (remember the "Venuses" for example). Phoenician (rather than specifically "Carthaginian") connections are valid only because they kept some of that old substrate that once probably spanned from the Atlantic to the Bay of Bengal and even beyond: an "Euro-Indian" (as opposed to Indo-European, via West Asia as opposed to via the steppes) shared cultural and religious substrate that it's clearly there but that is not too well explained yet.

Your Phoenician obsession is just an epiphenomenon in much wider context.

"Hebrew monotheistic tendencies come into its tradition a brief episode of monotheism in Egypt"...

It's possible but many people rather thinks that they are a Zoroastrian influence. In any case, it is a clearly different type from Basque-Indian dual monotheism of perpetual creation: it is the conception of the Divine not anymore as the centerpiece of nature and life but as an alien being whose main trait is mental and which is not cthonic (embedded in Earth) but celestial (alien, unearthly).

There's a very nice book by Spanish author Casilda Rodrigañez dwelling in all these matters. Sadly I believe it's only in Spanish but it's a free e-book nowadays (search it up - too tired). This book suggests that a lot of Indoeuropean and Hebraic mythology is related to the defeat and enclosure of The Lady by means of defeating her mate (The Dragon) and taking control of the underworld (Hades) and hence female sexuality. Too complicated to explain here but a centerpiece in understanding the formation and spread of Patriarchy and its symbolism (religion, mythology).

"... that would date to the formative period of the Basque language".

What is this? Languages are always formed on themselves (and foreign influences)... the formative period should be the same as the formative period of language as such.

Maju said...

More for Andrew:

"The religion of Carthage has a strong dualistic male-female element to it and also involved human and animal sacrifice as a central rite".

Well, the Phoenician religion clearly keeps better than later developments the original Neolithic traits but it's already a polytheistic patriarchal one. Instead Basque religion is clearly centered in the female Goddess, with the male aspect adopting a more secondary role.

It actually reminds a lot of Gaia and Eros, per Hesiod's Theogony.

Basques did never made human sacrifices and animal sacrifices were very extended in most religions.

Some aspects of popular beliefs (not really central to what we could call the theology) remind a lot of Irish and other NW islands' Mythology: like the existence of imps that are benevolent and like to help, accepting gifts such as food as payment. Others instead seem more related to Mediterranean ones, as is the case of lamiak (nymphs like in Greek mythology) with bird feet (reminiscent of Phoenician Astarte representations). The name Lamia in Greek mythology also refers to mythological "demoness" of Lybia, which may indicate Berber origin via Megalithism or something like that.

Anyhow the mixing of names from Mediterranean myths happens in other cases such as the cyclops, which is called Tartalo in Basque, from Greek Tartaros.

"The analog with the religion of Carthage would be of Sugaar to Baal and of Mari to Asarte/Tanit"

The analogy is only somewhat valid and can be made with many other divine couples.

"... and the Sorginak (modern translation "witches") would have corresponded to the well organized caste of priests in the religion of Carthage".

No way. Sorginak were essentially (though not exclusively) a female bunch, and in mythology they are always female, the aids of Mari.

While this female-centered aspect of Basque religion makes it close to Eastern Mediterranean "Neolithic" religions probably, it does not have any particular Phoenician vibe to it. I'd rather say Cretan if anything but then again the problem is that we know way too little of those times.

It's pre-IE and IMO also pre-Semitic, because Semitic religions all show a more or less emphatic tendency to male-centrism too. Phoenician religion may be the one which kept best some aspects of the pre-Semitic period but up to a point only.

(continues)

Average Joe said...

The more I learn about Basques, the more I am convinced that they are simply Iberians who picked up their non-IE language while other Iberians picked up Latin

But the other Iberians picked up Latin because they were conquered by the Romans. Who were the source population for the non-IE language spoken by the Basques?

belenos said...

Re Basque origins.

The ideal genetic study would hae to compare modern Iberians with Basques (which I believe has been done, and shows no sharp differences, rather a north-south gradual progression) and with Gascon, northern French and Languedocien populations.

These results should then be compared with any DNA from Classical era individuals found South of the Garonne, the only area we have direct evidence for vascoid speakers in that perod, and the Basque country.

I'm not an expert in DNA retrieval, but I suspect there might be problems getting enough ancient samples to do this. Though I hope I'm wrong about that.

Maju said...

@Andrew:

I did not mean that Etruscan was related to IE, what I meant by the term "para-IE" (para- as in "parallel to") in the specific context of Italy is that both linguistic families seem to have arrived about the same time in the second half of the second millennium (but each from a different origin). That period also saw changes in other areas (Crete, Iberia) and the so much fabled Sea Peoples, followed by the destruction of Troy, Ugarit, the collapse of the Hittites, etc. So it's clear that it was a time of widespread change across the wider Mediterranean area, even if we can't grasp all the details and only small bits have been preserved in literary sources or legends (Egyptian and Greek sources primarily).

We can well talk of a Crisis of the Late Second Millennium, which resulted in widespread changes.

"... there were Ligurian origin myths in ancient times linking them to Celtic tribes".

I have never read that. Can you source this claim (which I believe is totally wrong)?

The only bit of info that is used to "support" the alleged celticity of ancient Ligurians is an episode in which the historian claims that to a Celtic war cry of "Ambrones!" the Ligurians (their enemies) replied with the same word but it seems clear to me that he misunderstood either word or context.

Archaeologically, AFAIK, there's not really much linking Ligurians to Urnfields, Hallstatt or La Tène, the usual suspects of IE/Celtic penetration in Western Europe and Italy.

It is also noticeable how Greeks were seemingly unable to create a single outpost in Celtic territory but instead they did in Ligurian and Iberian ones. I think this is related to the geopolitics of that time and area, with native Ibero-Ligurians looking for Greek support to defend themselves against Celtic penetration.

"The (y)E1b1b1 and (mt)U6 are both common Berber haplotypes that are most likely a product of seven centuries of Moorish rule"...

That's simply impossible:

About half of West Iberian E1b1b is the "Greek" (or Albanian) variant V13, which is extremely rare in North Africa. However both lineages have a very similar distribution which includes areas never or barely ever held by Cordoba.

I am of the opinion that the E1b1b1 distribution in West Iberia is product of a Neolithic founder effect (of Balcanic origin but with "bounce" in North Africa prior to arrival to Portugal), later spread to NW Iberia in the Megalithic expansion, the same way it spread to other Atlantic areas like some districts of Wales.

In any case, the lack of E1b1b1 in the areas allegedly more intensely colonized by Moors, such as most of Andalusia, Valencia or Zaragoza, strongly suggests that we are in front of a much older phenomenon of Neolithic or Chalcolithic origins.

Neolithic is also a good time frame to cause such a founder effect affecting like 5% of West Iberians.

U6 has in Iberia the second highest diversity everywhere just after Morocco. It seems very very old. I'm unsure right now of the exact distribution patterns but it may be of Neolithic or even Paleolithic origin, assuming that the flow of Iberian blood into North Africa at the Oranian genesis also had some backflow.

"The Basque, were never part of Moorish Cordova".

Actually at some moments early on they did suffer conquest, roughly like Asturias-Galicia.

It's just a simplistic fantasy to try to explain the presence and pattern of these lineages appealing to Moorish domination, the same that it'd be absurd to blame it to the Barcid Empire. The double and almost uniform Balcanic and North African connection point to Neolithic origin and the distribution pattern concentrated in West Iberia (and not South or SE) clearly suggests a founder effect followed by expansion within Megalithism.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

"It's possible but many people rather thinks that they are a Zoroastrian influence."

Doubtful. Zoroastrianism and the Avesta post-date the 12th century BCE Hebrew Kingdoms. Hebrew monotheism existed before the Avesta was written and there aren't good reasons to suspect a connection. You don't see dualism or other Zoroastrian ideas in Hebrew writings until after the Bablyonian period around the 5th century BCE.

anaveno said...

Re Basque linguistic history
basque uri=water;urine
latin aqua=water;Khoisan kwa=water

Basque R1b probably comes from Kurdistan,Pelasgians were R1a,I2P37,Etruscans are dead...
Ancient Basque are dead-Aldaieta/Alzualde 2006

anaveno said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gioiello said...

Maju and Andrew Oh-Willeke, if you make so many howlers also when you are right it will seem you are wrong!

Jewish Mariyam has of course nothing to do with Etruscan Maris: the name is probably Camitic (when I learned Acholi from an Acholi woman a-maru e-maru i-maru did mean I love you love he/she loves...).

There was no Jewish monotheism before the return from the Exile and there was no Bible as we now know before that date, then the possible influence of Persian religion on the JHWH religion is admitted from every serious
scholar: see Paolo Merlo, La religone dell'antico Israele. Before that date YHWH had also a wife: Asherah.

Maju said...

"Maju and Andrew Oh-Willeke, if you make so many howlers also when you are right it will seem you are wrong!"

If you mention my name, at least you could point to my "howlers". ;)

"basque uri=water;urine"

Ur is water, declined (intr. nom.) as 'ura' or 'ure' ('urie' in some colloquial variants at most).

However urine does look like a Vascoid derivative... somehow... I agree with that.

I can't make sense of anything else of what you say, Anaveno, specially how R1a relates with Pelasgians or "Khoisan" relates with Indoeuropean.

Gioiello said...

Maju, you know I am a friend of yours and often I agree with you, but you wrote this:

"It's very likely. It also connects with Stella Maris (Isis, a very extended religion in Roman times) and may have the Basque etymology of Amari (mother as profession, skill, mother-er) or Emari (gift) but it's very possible that the name got changed under Christian pressure by means of incomplete synchretism, much as the Native American gods became Christian saints in modern America".

"Stella maris" is Latin "Star of the sea" and actually Christians took it from Isis, like many other things, but Latin "mare, maris, mari, mare, mare, mari" Plural: "maria, marium, maribus, maria, maria, maribus" has nothing to do with Etruscan Maris and Hebrew Mariyam and Basque Amari.

Va_Highlander said...

Gioiello wrote:

"There was no Jewish monotheism before the return from the Exile and there was no Bible as we now know before that date, then the possible influence of Persian religion on the JHWH religion is admitted from every serious scholar..."

"Every serious scholar"? I think that far-fetched, though what you say is probably true: there does not appear to be any credible evidence that Judaism and its associated texts existed prior to the return from exile in Babylon.

I don't necessarily see a dominant Persian influence, though. The dualism we find in Judaism is probably of Egyptian origin.

Gioiello said...

To Enuma Elish (Highlander).

Pretty always in the History it is more likely that something is a transformation of a previous belief than a new creation. The same for Judaism.

I quoted two books I recommend to everybody: Shlomo Sand,The invention of the Jewish people
and Paolo Merlo, La religione dell'antico Israele.

Maju said...

Gioello: I did not say anything about Etruscan Maris, I believe. It was Andrew. In fact, while I've read something about Etruscans, I don't recall that god and it'd also be unlikely that a god (male) relates to a goddess or otherwise female religious icon.

The only thing I did in regard to that Etruscan god Andrew mentioned was to ignore him in my reply. I can and do commit errors but in this case the accusation has no foundation.

Cheers.

Ponto said...

It is easy to work out where standard Iberians, non Basques, would appear on the PCA diagram.

Spanish and Portuguese would appear exactly in the space between the North Italians and the Basques. In every PCA involving the same list of players that I have seen, that is where the Iberians appear, "under the North Italians nearer to the Italians than the Basques i.e the regular Iberians are closer genetically to North Italians than they are to Basques.

Don't you consider these studies are pointless? So far every group is genetically distinct and forms clusters though there are overlaps with nearby groups, the French with the Italians.

Tareixa GLez. de Castro Andrade said...

About Maju reflection: “Celticists (the most fanatic school of linguists)” I must ask him how many works has he read about Celtic grammar and languages to assert that?; If he knows something about the phonetical, morphologycal and semantical schemmes,comportament and translation of the Ligurian language?; if he has deciphred the tartessian inscriptions? What is his knowledge about the paleohispanic languages? If he has to be well-read about hispano-celtic, celtiberian, gaulish, lepontic or ogamic languages? If he can explain the differences between celtiberian and gaulish for example? If he knows what an Indo-European laringal is?

I think that you cannot, Maju, then how can you criticize our hard works? Is your hartred to the Celtic Studies as a result of fanatic Veleia-Iruña affaire?

First, is not true that Galicia was uninhabited in the paleolithic times. In Triacastela cave (Lugo, Galicia) , according to the specteography on five teeth, we conclude about Homo Sapiens Sapiens presence in Galicia is approximately 30,000 years old. The cave painting of Ribeira Sacra II (Lugo, Galicia) has the same chronology.

Two. There is three clear differential genetic composition in Iberia: Extremadura and center-portuguese, Mediterranean and Galicia (these two related).

According to Rosario Calderón et al. 2007, (and in the same way Brion et al. 2004, Tito Varela et al. 2008 or Carracedo in different works),the European GM*3 5 haplotype (which includes GM*3 23' 5* and GM*3 23 5*) reached a value of 0.679 in Galicia. The GM*3 23 5* haplotype represents 73% of the global value for both haplotypes. In contrast, Basques from Guipúzcoa and Pasiegos register the lowest frequencies of the GM*3 23 5* (0.383 and 0.341, respectively) of all Spanish samples.

This cluster (C3), characterised by intermediate GM haplotype frequencies, is the nearest to the centroid and groups Western Europeans from France (including most French Basques), Germany, Austria and the Netherlands with the Iberian populations from Portugal, Galicia and Valencia.

Three. The enormous incident in Galicia of the alteration in the gene Apo B 3500, mutation that has more than 6.000 years, returns to relate Galicia to Central Europe, Great Britain and Ireland, and explains that the Basques, where this mutation is minimum, have not special differences with another populations. In other hand, the allele frequencies in the ABO, RH, and HLA loci, (that is not an old methodology, but a proof) show in the Basques similar levels of heterozygosity to the other populations, and the decay of linkage disequilibrium with physical distance was not different between Basques and non-Basques.

Basques do not show the genetic properties expected in population isolates like as in the Galician or Portuguese-Extremadurean populations. Galicians are more related genetically, bearing in mind these markers, to French, German or Hungarian populations, for example, that to Andalusians and Basques.

About the Basque language, the first words that we can find, belong to inscriptions of IV after C. (three divine names and seven personal names). Before, the Basque language do not exist. There is no comment about the Basques in Greek-Roman sources, nor participation of these in the wars against Rome, nor tribes called Basques (only Celts like the proper Barscunes), nor place-names and river-names (e.g. first Veleia, after Iruña).

Tareixa GLez. de Castro Andrade said...

About Maju reflection: “Celticists (the most fanatic school of linguists)” I must ask him how many works has he read about Celtic grammar and languages to assert that?; If he knows something about the phonetical, morphologycal and semantical schemmes,comportament and translation of the Ligurian language?; if he has deciphred the tartessian inscriptions? What is his knowledge about the paleohispanic languages? If he has to be well-read about hispano-celtic, celtiberian, gaulish, lepontic or ogamic languages? If he can explain the differences between celtiberian and gaulish for example? If he knows what an Indo-European laringal is?

I think that you cannot, Maju, then how can you criticize our hard works? Is your hartred to the Celtic Studies as a result of fanatic Veleia-Iruña affaire?

First, is not true that Galicia was uninhabited in the paleolithic times. In Triacastela cave (Lugo, Galicia) , according to the specteography on five teeth, we conclude about Homo Sapiens Sapiens presence in Galicia is approximately 30,000 years old. The cave painting of Ribeira Sacra II (Lugo, Galicia) has the same chronology.

Two. There is three clear differential genetic composition in Iberia: Extremadura and center-portuguese, Mediterranean and Galicia (these two related).

According to Rosario Calderón et al. 2007, (and in the same way Brion et al. 2004, Tito Varela et al. 2008 or Carracedo in different works),the European GM*3 5 haplotype (which includes GM*3 23' 5* and GM*3 23 5*) reached a value of 0.679 in Galicia. The GM*3 23 5* haplotype represents 73% of the global value for both haplotypes. In contrast, Basques from Guipúzcoa and Pasiegos register the lowest frequencies of the GM*3 23 5* (0.383 and 0.341, respectively) of all Spanish samples.

This cluster (C3), characterised by intermediate GM haplotype frequencies, is the nearest to the centroid and groups Western Europeans from France (including most French Basques), Germany, Austria and the Netherlands with the Iberian populations from Portugal, Galicia and Valencia.

Three. The enormous incident in Galicia of the alteration in the gene Apo B 3500, mutation that has more than 6.000 years, returns to relate Galicia to Central Europe, Great Britain and Ireland, and explains that the Basques, where this mutation is minimum, have not special differences with another populations. In other hand, the allele frequencies in the ABO, RH, and HLA loci, (that is not an old methodology, but a proof) show in the Basques similar levels of heterozygosity to the other populations, and the decay of linkage disequilibrium with physical distance was not different between Basques and non-Basques.

Tareixa GLez. de Castro Andrade said...

About Maju reflection: “Celticists (the most fanatic school of linguists)” I must ask him how many works has he read about Celtic grammar and languages to assert that?; If he knows something about the phonetical, morphologycal and semantical schemmes,comportament and translation of the Ligurian language?; if he has deciphred the tartessian inscriptions? What is his knowledge about the paleohispanic languages? If he has to be well-read about hispano-celtic, celtiberian, gaulish, lepontic or ogamic languages? If he can explain the differences between celtiberian and gaulish for example? If he knows what an Indo-European laringal is?

I think that you cannot, Maju, then how can you criticize our hard works? Is your hartred to the Celtic Studies as a result of fanatic Veleia-Iruña affaire?

First, is not true that Galicia was uninhabited in the paleolithic times. In Triacastela cave (Lugo, Galicia) , according to the specteography on five teeth, we conclude about Homo Sapiens Sapiens presence in Galicia is approximately 30,000 years old. The cave painting of Ribeira Sacra II (Lugo, Galicia) has the same chronology.

Two. There is three clear differential genetic composition in Iberia: Extremadura and center-portuguese, Mediterranean and Galicia (these two related).

According to Rosario Calderón et al. 2007, (and in the same way Brion et al. 2004, Tito Varela et al. 2008 or Carracedo in different works),the European GM*3 5 haplotype (which includes GM*3 23' 5* and GM*3 23 5*) reached a value of 0.679 in Galicia. The GM*3 23 5* haplotype represents 73% of the global value for both haplotypes. In contrast, Basques from Guipúzcoa and Pasiegos register the lowest frequencies of the GM*3 23 5* (0.383 and 0.341, respectively) of all Spanish samples.

This cluster (C3), characterised by intermediate GM haplotype frequencies, is the nearest to the centroid and groups Western Europeans from France (including most French Basques), Germany, Austria and the Netherlands with the Iberian populations from Portugal, Galicia and Valencia.

Tareixa GLez. de Castro Andrade said...

Three. The enormous incident in Galicia of the alteration in the gene Apo B 3500, mutation that has more than 6.000 years, returns to relate Galicia to Central Europe, Great Britain and Ireland, and explains that the Basques, where this mutation is minimum, have not special differences with another populations. In other hand, the allele frequencies in the ABO, RH, and HLA loci, (that is not an old methodology, but a proof) show in the Basques similar levels of heterozygosity to the other populations, and the decay of linkage disequilibrium with physical distance was not different between Basques and non-Basques.

Basques do not show the genetic properties expected in population isolates like as in the Galician or Portuguese-Extremadurean populations. Galicians are more related genetically, bearing in mind these markers, to French, German or Hungarian populations, for example, that to Andalusians and Basques.

About the Basque language, the first words that we can find, belong to inscriptions of IV century after C. (three divine names and seven personal names). Before, the Basque language do not exist. There is no comment about the Basques in Greek-Roman sources, nor participation of these in the wars against Rome, nor tribes called Basques (only Celts like the proper Barscunes), nor place-names and river-names (e.g. first Veleia, after Iruña).

Ardagastus said...

Hello,

I'm not Maju but I sympathize with his position. His wording may be hyperbolic, yet I think he has a point.

There's a huge amount of speculation not only in Celtic studies, but by many (most?) authors writing about unknown or barely known languages. The Celtic case is notorious, but certainly is not the only one.
The real problem, however, starts when the speculation becomes fact.

Too many pre-Roman inscriptions from certain regions of Europe (no matter if they hold only few letters, or if they are carved using an equivocal writing system like Celtiberian) are interpreted to be Celtic. They may be or they may be not, in many cases there's simply not enough evidence.

Most (if not almost all) Celtic words and names are analyzed as evolving from PIE roots. This is however an ungranted assumption. To be sure, in the better known cases of Latin and Ancient Greek we have a substantial amount of words coming non-IE languages like Etruscan, Minoan and other Mediterranean non-IE, Semitic languages, etc. Considering the Basque controversy above, we might even have fragments of some proto-Basque words or names attested epigraphically, only that we can't know that with many of our known "Celtic texts" having only few letters!

Here's a sample of a different way of understanding the Celts. Some Celtic names might be not that Celtic as they were said to be, and "Celtic" presence might be explained in some other ways than massive waves of Celtic-speaking people sweeping through Europe.