With respect to the Slavic/Germanic origin of the studied samples, I would like to point to a 2005 study on the differentiation between Germans and Poles. R-M458 should probably be assigned to the Slavic side, while E1b1b on the German. The absence of R1b (in the albeit limited sample) is interesting, and should be interpreted as further evidence for the Slavic side of the argument, as R1b strongly differentiates Germans from Slavs in today's populations and less than a millennium ago is probably too short a timespan to expect dramatic changes in haplogroup frequencies.
Main title Die mittelalterlichen Skelette von Usedom
Subtitle Anthropologische Bearbeitung unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des ethnischen Hintergrundes
Title variations The mediaeval skeletons of Usedom
Subtitle for translated title Anthropological investigation in due consideration of the ethnical background
Author(s) Freder, Janine
Place of birth: Berlin
1. Referee Prof. Dr. Carsten Niemitz
Further Referee(s) Prof. Dr. Joachim Burger
Keywords Anthropology; osteometry; palaeodemography; Slavs; Danes; DNA; mitochondrial; Y chromosome
Classification (DDC) 570 Life sciences
Summary This study investigates 200 skeletons from an early Christian graveyard of the 12th to early 13th century in Usedom (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany). The city of Usedom was a notable maritime place of trade in a time of major political and social transformations. The Christianisation of the Slavic elite in 1128, the following raids of the Danes and the influx of German settlers starting in the 13th century were formative events.
The reconstruction of the living conditions of the Usedom population was achieved by means of well established anthropological and palaeodemographical methods. Age and sex distribution comply with other ordinary populations of that time frame: high proportion of children (32 %), comparatively few adolescents but many adults (59 %) as well as a slight surplus in men. Remarkably, a deficit in women in the mature age class is attended by an increased mortality of girls of the age class infans I. However, this may be due to a methodical error.
In order to clarify a possible Slavic, Danish or German background of the inhabitants of Usedom, eight skull measures, four skull indices and five measures of the long bones of the extremities were investigated typologically as well as statistically on the basis of their arithmetic means and compared to the measures of two series of Slavic or multiethnic/place of trade background (Sanzkow and Haithabu, respectively). The comparison of arithmetic means did yield statistically significant differences between the three populations. The men and women of Usedom seem to be more closely related to the Sanzkow population. However, they appear to take a position between the two other populations. Unfortunately, a comparison with Slavic and Germanic populations of the Neolithic till Early Middle Ages did not provide distinct results. The archaeologically based assumption of a mainly Slavic population cannot be rejected with anthropological means.
The analysis of mitochondrial and Y-chromosomal DNA, however, generated auspicious results despite adverse storage conditions. Results could be obtained from all four samples. Two individuals were of mtDNA haplogroup H and two of haplogroup K. Y-chromosome analysis yielded haplogroups E1b1b and R1a1a7, respectively, in two males. Future molecular research will see improved methods for the even more detailed reconstruction of human migration.