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  • Etruscan DNA?

    Has there been any research attempting to identify specific YDNA haplotypes with the Etruscans?

  • #2
    For what concerns YDNA I read something about a presumed notable diffusion of J2 among Etruscans but don't remember where...
    Here' s something about their mtDNA: could it be interesting to you?

    "Cristiano Vernesi et al.

    The origins of the Etruscans, a non-Indo-European population of preclassical Italy, are unclear. There is broad agreement that their culture developed locally, but the Etruscans' evolutionary and migrational relationships are largely unknown. In this study, we determined mitochondrial DNA sequences in multiple clones derived from bone samples of 80 Etruscans who lived between the 7th and the 3rd centuries B.C. In the first phase of the study, we eliminated all specimens for which any of nine tests for validation of ancient DNA data raised the suspicion that either degradation or contamination by modern DNA might have occurred. On the basis of data from the remaining 30 individuals, the Etruscans appeared as genetically variable as modern populations. No significant heterogeneity emerged among archaeological sites or time periods, suggesting that different Etruscan communities shared not only a culture but also a mitochondrial gene pool. Genetic distances and sequence comparisons show closer evolutionary relationships with the eastern Mediterranean shores for the Etruscans than for modern Italian populations. All mitochondrial lineages observed among the Etruscans appear typically European or West Asian, but only a few haplotypes were found to have an exact match in a modern mitochondrial database, raising new questions about the Etruscans' fate after their assimilation into the Roman state.

    ...

    To better compare the Etruscan gene pool with those of contemporary Italy, we treated these populations as hybrids among four potential parental populations, from the four corners of the area considered in this study.
    The likely contributions of each parental population, or admixture coefficients, are similar for the three modern Italian populations, but Etruscans differ in two aspects: they show closer relationships both to North Africans and to Turks than any contemporary population. In particular, the Turkish component in their gene pool appears three times as large as in the other populations. These admixture estimates are not to be taken at their face value, for numerous assumptions underlie their estimation. Here they only serve to show that, with respect to modern Italian gene pools, the Etruscan one contains an excess of haplotypes suggesting evolutionary ties with the populations of the southern and eastern Mediterranean shores.

    ...

    Social structure may have affected these results. All skeletons we typed were found in tombs containing artifacts that could be attributed with confidence to the Etruscan culture. Those tombs typically belong the social elites (Barker and Rasmussen 1998), and so the individuals we studied may represent a specific social group, the upper classes."

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for the info. According to what little I know of Etruscan tradition, they claimed to have originated in Anatolia. I found the original article you quoted from, and it seems to support the notion that their MtDNA genepool was closely related to that of Anatolia.
      http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/art...?artid=1181945

      Though I have not had to to read it carefully, one thing I found interesting was this:

      Only two Etruscan haplotypes (5AM and 6AM, carried by 13.7% of the individuals) occur in a sample of modern Tuscans who were selected to represent inhabitants of former Etruria (Francalacci et al. 1996). The average value in comparisons of pairs of modern European populations is 27.9% ± 12.0%, showing that the genetic resemblance between the Etruscans and their modern counterparts is much less than observed between random European populations with no special evolutionary ties. Allele sharing is higher not only with the Turks (four haplotypes in common) but also with other, presumably unrelated, populations, such as the Cornish or the Germans (five and seven haplotypes in common, respectively). However, allele sharing may not be the best statistic summarizing the evolutionary relationships between the Etruscans and modern populations. Indeed, many haplotypes that so far have been observed only in the Etruscans differ by just one substitution from haplotypes that are present, or even common, among modern Europeans. Therefore, pairwise sequence differences, as well as genetic distances between populations, are more informative. The shortest genetic distances between the Etruscan and modern populations are with Tuscans (FST=0.036; P=.0017) and Turks (FST=0.037; P=.0001); values of FST<0.050 were also observed for other populations of the Mediterranean shores and for the Cornish
      (fig. 3).
      I've only skimmed this. It may not provide definitive answers, but it looks as though the author did some good research into the subject. He seems to be trying to tie the Etruscans with the Finno-Ugric populations.

      http://users.cwnet.com/millenia/The%...20language.htm

      I don't know what it tells me, but running queries against http://www.yhrd.org/index.html using Population analyses / Compare populations and selecting Tuscany as the Population 1 is quite interesting. Try Syria, Turkey, Sweden, Teran Iran, Vilnus Lithuania, Veneto Italy, Groningen Netherlands, Central Boheima; Czechia, etc.

      I don't know if that puts us closer or further from identifying the Etruscan patriarch, but it sure does suggest that Tuscany has had a lot of diverse genetic contribution. It's interesting to compare populations within Italy. They are often genetically further than geographically distant populations.
      Last edited by Hetware; 24 January 2006, 09:48 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        It' curious to see how, between the two major northern italian populations in pre-Roman times (Gauls and Etruscans), the latter has always been considered the one which left the most enduring trace of itself because of the Etruscan influence on Roman culture in general (illustrious citizens of Rome had Etruscan blood).
        It seems to me that now, thanks to genethical studies, we can see how relevant was, from a purely genetical perspective, the Celtic contributions to Northern Italians' genes if compared to the Etruscan heritage.
        Last edited by F.E.C.; 24 January 2006, 12:16 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by F.E.C.
          It' curious to see how, between the two major northern italian populations in pre-Roman times (Gauls and Etruscans), the latter has always been considered the one which left the most enduring trace of itself because of the Etruscan influence on Roman culture in general (illustrious citizens of Rome had Etruscan blood).
          It seems to me that now, thanks to genealogy, we can see how relevant was, from a purely genetical perspective, the Celtic contributions to Northern Italians' genes if compared to the Etruscan heritage.
          I'm not sure how we can assess that. It seems, other than the R1a, and I we find among the Germani, particularly in Scandinavia, R1b is pretty common throughout Western Europe. It has long been assumed that the Germani had direct dealings with the Etruscans via the trade routes passing over the Alps. Some people believe the Runes can be attrubuted to the Etruscans.

          Here's one thing to consider:
          http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/histo...herd-c-045.jpg

          And also:
          http://www.livius.org/di-dn/diaspora/rome.html
          The Jewish community in the Roman Diaspora dates back to the second century BCE and was comparatively large. Several synagogues and catacombs are known. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, the community remained at some distance from the new, rabbinical Judaism of Judaeae, maintaining several archaic traits.
          ...
          It is possible to estimate the number of Roman Jews during the reign of Augustus. The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus mentions a lawsuit in which 8,000 Jews from Rome sided with one of the parties (Jewish antiquities 2.80). They must have been adult men, because women and children were not permitted to take part in a lawsuit. Since a nuclear family consisted of at least four or five members, there must have been some 40,000 Jews.

          Comment


          • #6
            Great thread.

            Unlocking the ties to the Etruscans will help solve a truly ancient mystery and possibly shed some light on IE origins.

            A couple annotations:

            1) That landmark paper on J2 and E3b in Europe casts doubt on the Anatolian origin of Etruscans. (Sorry I don't have the link) Italians in several parts of Italy (I believe the middle south east and one other area - at any rate, places FAR from ancient Etruria or Etruscan hegemony) show the same "Anatolian" connection. The authors found it so mysterious they did not bother to speculate seriously on the source, other than an ancient migration that was pre-Greek, pre-Roman, pre-Etruscan and which no traces or records have survived. So, if Italy had this marker pre-Etruscan golden age, the Etruscans could have these same markers from this truly ancient (pre-Etruscan) mystery migration - not an Etruscan migration event per se.

            2) I thought some sources (not sure on the credibility) theorized Etruscans migrated en masse to modern Austria around the reign of the emperor Claudius. I believe some consider the Romanisch and Ladin speaking populations of the Dolomites to be the descendants of ancient Etruscans. This could be a candidate source for the similarities between the Etruscan samples and Germans because that area was in modern times politically united with the Germans more to the North.

            Lastly, on a related topic:

            3) I cannot believe scientists can't definitively solve the mystery of who the Romans (Latins, pre-empire) were.

            I know, I know, everyone will post about how the Roman slave trade could have polluted the gene pool. I disagree for many reasons, but will reserve m comments.

            In the meantime, what I am getting at is, they could control for this:

            They could test populations known to derive from PRE-EMPIRE Roman Latin populations. I mean the hill country of Latium (Lazio), where the towns were so small and isolated, the people so poor that the slave population was truly minimal.

            Then you take the population of colonies far away that were confirmed by two sources to have been populated with Latin Roman Italians (pre-Empire). This is why the Spanish speak a Latin derivative...

            There are towns in Spain, France and TONS in Italy where there was no town before (or the population was killed by the Romans), and the Romans subsequently settled 40,000 Latin Roman Italians.

            If you take a broad survey of these towns, let's say 10 in Spain, 5 in France and 20 in Italy (10 in Latium, 10 elsewhere), and they ALL shown a majority of one haplogroup - well, there you have a good candidate for the pre-Empire Latin Roman haplogroup.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Mikey
              Great thread.

              Unlocking the ties to the Etruscans will help solve a truly ancient mystery and possibly shed some light on IE origins.

              A couple annotations:

              1) That landmark paper on J2 and E3b in Europe casts doubt on the Anatolian origin of Etruscans. (Sorry I don't have the link)
              What is a "landmark paper"?

              IMO, R1b would be a likely candidate for an Etruscan Emigration. From what I gather, E3b is a farily recent arrival in Anatolia. I suspect it probably arrived with the Egyptian military presence. J2 may also have arrived during the neolithic era.

              See the 2004 study by Cengiz Cinniog˘lu, et al Excavating Y-chromosome haplotype strata in Anatolia

              Originally posted by Mikey
              Italians in several parts of Italy (I believe the middle south east and one other area - at any rate, places FAR from ancient Etruria or Etruscan hegemony) show the same "Anatolian" connection.
              Not surprising if we assume that J2+E3b is not a signal from Anatolia, but rather from the historically attested Uaritic expansion.

              Originally posted by Mikey
              2) I thought some sources (not sure on the credibility) theorized Etruscans migrated en masse to modern Austria around the reign of the emperor Claudius. I believe some consider the Romanisch and Ladin speaking populations of the Dolomites to be the descendants of ancient Etruscans. This could be a candidate source for the similarities between the Etruscan samples and Germans because that area was in modern times politically united with the Germans more to the North.
              Etruscan samples? The only Etruscan samples I am aware of are mtDNA. But the Germanic connection seems anachronistic. The Germanic population was well established at the time of Claudius. It seems any fundamental connection between the Germani and the Etruscans would have to be much earlier. Germanic may well be far from purly Indo-European, so the Etruscans stand as a likely candidate for contributing to the language. There appear to be some mythological parallels.

              Originally posted by Mikey
              Lastly, on a related topic:

              3) I cannot believe scientists can't definitively solve the mystery of who the Romans (Latins, pre-empire) were.

              I know, I know, everyone will post about how the Roman slave trade could have polluted the gene pool. I disagree for many reasons, but will reserve m comments.
              I will avoid the use of the term "polluted". The demographics of Rome were similar to those of Washington DC. Yes, there is a strong contribution from the Colonial slave trade. There is also a huge contribution from recent immigration. This spawn of a Yankee Quaker is an anomaly in these parts. All roads lead to Rome, as the saying goes.

              Originally posted by Mikey
              In the meantime, what I am getting at is, they could control for this:

              They could test populations known to derive from PRE-EMPIRE Roman Latin populations. I mean the hill country of Latium (Lazio), where the towns were so small and isolated, the people so poor that the slave population was truly minimal.

              Then you take the population of colonies far away that were confirmed by two sources to have been populated with Latin Roman Italians (pre-Empire). This is why the Spanish speak a Latin derivative...
              So you find R1b at very high frequencies in Spain. The Romans were Centum IE speakers. If linguistics is any indicator, we should expect the Italics to have been similar to the Germani, Celts and Tocharians. The Celts invaded Rome, and eventually became assimilated into the Empire. There were Celtic slaves, Celtic soldiers, Celtic merchants and other freemen in Rome. Same for the Germani, but, in the end, perhaps even moreso. So if the Romans were plain vanilla R1b, how on the Greenswords of Midgard could we sort that out?

              Originally posted by Mikey

              There are towns in Spain, France and TONS in Italy where there was no town before (or the population was killed by the Romans), and the Romans subsequently settled 40,000 Latin Roman Italians.
              The Roman imperial expansion did not get into full swing untill well after Rome had already assimilated several other ethnithities. If we could extract some Y-DNA from Roman Graves, that might be informative. Then again, it appears that geneticists tend to leave such findings unpublished. I once read that the reason the Egyptians won't permit anybody to study the DNA of Tutankhamun is because he was J2 CMH.

              Originally posted by Mikey
              If you take a broad survey of these towns, let's say 10 in Spain, 5 in France and 20 in Italy (10 in Latium, 10 elsewhere), and they ALL shown a majority of one haplogroup - well, there you have a good candidate for the pre-Empire Latin Roman haplogroup.
              I've wondered if studying the Y-DNA of Apalachia would reveal a more representative picture of Elizabethan England than a study of modern London.

              BTW, I have a nagging doubt regarding my own lineage. It /may/ actually /be/ Roman, but I hope not.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Mikey
                3) I cannot believe scientists can't definitively solve the mystery of who the Romans (Latins, pre-empire) were.

                I know, I know, everyone will post about how the Roman slave trade could have polluted the gene pool. I disagree for many reasons, but will reserve m comments.

                In the meantime, what I am getting at is, they could control for this:

                They could test populations known to derive from PRE-EMPIRE Roman Latin populations. I mean the hill country of Latium (Lazio), where the towns were so small and isolated, the people so poor that the slave population was truly minimal.

                Then you take the population of colonies far away that were confirmed by two sources to have been populated with Latin Roman Italians (pre-Empire). This is why the Spanish speak a Latin derivative...

                There are towns in Spain, France and TONS in Italy where there was no town before (or the population was killed by the Romans), and the Romans subsequently settled 40,000 Latin Roman Italians.

                If you take a broad survey of these towns, let's say 10 in Spain, 5 in France and 20 in Italy (10 in Latium, 10 elsewhere), and they ALL shown a majority of one haplogroup - well, there you have a good candidate for the pre-Empire Latin Roman haplogroup.
                Great point: they coluld start from me

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Hetware
                  It seems any fundamental connection between the Germani and the Etruscans would have to be much earlier. Germanic may well be far from purly Indo-European, so the Etruscans stand as a likely candidate for contributing to the language. There appear to be some mythological parallels.
                  Nothing new: you adhere to Livius's hypothesis.


                  Originally posted by Hetware
                  BTW, I have a nagging doubt regarding my own lineage. It /may/ actually /be/ Roman, but I hope not.
                  Yeah we know your outlook on the Romani vs. Germani issue...
                  Last edited by F.E.C.; 26 January 2006, 06:15 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Hetware
                    The Celts invaded Rome, and eventually became assimilated into the Empire.
                    When did that happen? Please don't mention Brennus's ridicully quick "raid" of 390 BC.
                    One thing is saying that Celtic populations lived in northern Italy in pre-Roman times, another is saying that they invaded Rome.

                    Francesco

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Derinos

                      FEC:
                      One would be tempted to restate the events as:

                      "During the late BCE millennium when people of Celto-Gallic culture occupied a wide area across southern Europe, an adventitious army of their warriors successfully captured the city of Rome, took a ransom, and dispersed back into the Celto-Gallic population (of which much currently remains, under later cultural modifications.)"

                      How do you like that?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If you want to put it that way no problem to me, just consider that sources are controversial and the Latin tradition, instead of the ransom, tells about the exiled general Camillus who, in that famous 390 BC, kicked some Gaulish asses out of the "Urbe".

                        I didn't mean to annoy anyone by saying that the Celts never "invaded" Rome: don't blame me, blame History if things just never went that way.

                        I have great respect for the Celts' culture and it was not my intention to diminish its enduring influence on Western Europe.

                        Against all odds even my uncommon R1b lineage could have Celtic origins (even if in that case, for some reasons, the circle wouldn't square ), just wait and see if my test's results are any help in that direction...
                        Be sure I' d never say I/may/actually/be/Celt, but I hope not

                        Francesco
                        Last edited by F.E.C.; 26 January 2006, 04:48 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          OK, I'll try to answer all the questions in one post.

                          Hetware first - you asked me what a "landmark paper" is. Are you serious? I would define a landmark paper as one that broke new ground in a field and one that is widely accepted as putting forth a valid new theory.

                          Most of the landmark papers on genetic genealogy have been read by everyone on this board, including you, and you know that. When others refer to a paper, usually someone recognizes immediately and posts the link.

                          I know I am too lazy to surf the web, find the PDF and link to it, but I referred to the landmark paper by I believe Semino on E3b and J2 in Europe. Widely quoted. A landmark paper.

                          Now, as for the genetics of Rome being polluted. Wrong. The Italians (like the Greeks, Jews and Chinese) merely have a wonderful tradition of copious written history. So we know about all the invasions, battles and slave trade in Ancient Italy.

                          Do you not know that the ancient Germans (or Czech, or Poles, or Belarussians or Afghans - whatever) avidly kept foreign slaves? Were invaded? Fought battles and took back captives? Had contact with other tribes?

                          As for Italy, we just have history books to tell us so. But these things were happening in every corner of the world except the most isolated islands and peninsulas. That is why Sardinia, Ireland and Finland are the few regions that are largely, comparatively homogenous.

                          But the Italians were no more "polluted" than anyone else. Everyone is mixed...

                          Yet, no one is mixed.

                          (I know you are loving this post)

                          Study after study shows that the root stock of most ancient people remains a strong presence in almost every land, including Italy. Italy shows a combo population of central Europe/North mediterranean that is exactly what you would expect in 2000 BC or 2000 AD. So, save your pseudoscience ... and put down Suetonius.

                          Now, as for sorting out Roman genetics: you cited a bunch of expansions that did not occur en masse until the empire.

                          I am talking about carefully selecting towns that did not exist until they were founded by a colony of "pure" Roman Latins, towns for my study that then for whatever reason have been isolated and not invaded ever since.

                          Rome's colonies in Italy, France and Spain started in force about 250 BC. The settlers were almost exclusively from Latium in Italy. Several of these towns have escaped the Roman slave trade because of their relative poverty or unimportance, and later escaped Viking or Moorish raids due to their isolation or unimportance or resistance. One example would be Benevento in Italy, but with a little thinking, I can come up with 20 more.

                          If all such towns (plus the small towns in modern Lazio) show large numbers of a Hg, you have a candidate for the Roman Latin soldier Hg.

                          It's very simple.

                          And if they are all R1b, well, you go to clades and subclades.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mikey
                            OK, I'll try to answer all the questions in one post.

                            Hetware first - you asked me what a "landmark paper" is. Are you serious? I would define a landmark paper as one that broke new ground in a field and one that is widely accepted as putting forth a valid new theory.
                            In my experience there are very few landmark papers in any science. There are hundreds which are proclaimed as such. For the most part, it is a fallacious appeal to authority.

                            Originally posted by Mikey
                            Most of the landmark papers on genetic genealogy have been read by everyone on this board, including you, and you know that. When others refer to a paper, usually someone recognizes immediately and posts the link.

                            I know I am too lazy to surf the web, find the PDF and link to it, but I referred to the landmark paper by I believe Semino on E3b and J2 in Europe. Widely quoted. A landmark paper.
                            This silly thing about Phoenician impact on the Y-DNA distributinon around the Mediterranian basin? It's truly brillint in supporting a thesis they don't even state.

                            http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/AJH...0867.text.html

                            Originally posted by Mikey
                            Now, as for the genetics of Rome being polluted. Wrong. The Italians (like the Greeks, Jews and Chinese) merely have a wonderful tradition of copious written history. So we know about all the invasions, battles and slave trade in Ancient Italy.
                            Perhaps you should read what I wrote.

                            Originally posted by Mikey
                            Do you not know that the ancient Germans (or Czech, or Poles, or Belarussians or Afghans - whatever) avidly kept foreign slaves? Were invaded? Fought battles and took back captives? Had contact with other tribes?
                            I am not aware of strong evidence for slavery among the ancient Germani. Tacitus discusses how they treated their "slaves", but Tacitus never set foot in Germania, and assumed slavery as a matter of course for any population. Fact of the matter is, for the most part, the Germanic way of life in that period was more along the lines of rural hamlets which would not have had much use for slavery, per se. Certainly during the Viking era there were serfs who had few rights, but that is a much later period, and perhaps even a very different population altogether. During the great migrations they subjected the inhabitants of the lands they conquered, as did all "good Christians".

                            But I'm still trying to get your point.

                            Originally posted by Mikey
                            As for Italy, we just have history books to tell us so. But these things were happening in every corner of the world except the most isolated islands and peninsulas. That is why Sardinia, Ireland and Finland are the few regions that are largely, comparatively homogenous.
                            I would expect a fair amount of admixture in Sardinia. As for Ireland, it probably depends what you mean by "mixing". There were certainly Anglo-Saxon contributions over the years. I'm probably proof of that myself. There were also Norse, and probably Phoenecian contributions. Some say Spanish from the Elizabethan time, but I have my doubts. Certainly there were the usual contributions found in ports of call in any costal communiti. That would probably account for Spanish and Portuguese contributions.

                            Originally posted by Mikey
                            But the Italians were no more "polluted" than anyone else. Everyone is mixed...

                            Yet, no one is mixed.

                            (I know you are loving this post)
                            I'm just wondering why you are carrying on about this matter.

                            Originally posted by Mikey
                            Study after study shows that the root stock of most ancient people remains a strong presence in almost every land, including Italy.
                            Don't you mean the studies assume the persistence of the "root stock"? How can the researchers possibly know with certainty what they are observing represents the original population? That certainly doesn't apply to many communities around here. I have seen vritually 100% ethnic replacement in many places in my lifetime.

                            Originally posted by Mikey
                            Italy shows a combo population of central Europe/North mediterranean that is exactly what you would expect in 2000 BC or 2000 AD. So, save your pseudoscience ... and put down Suetonius.
                            The relevant books I have close at hand are
                            http://www.springer.com/sgw/cda/frontpage/0,1855,5-10100-72-33759770-0,00.html

                            http://www.pupress.princeton.edu/titles/565.html


                            http://www.wwnorton.com/thamesandhudson/new/spring00/505101.htm

                            http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1405117141/104-6881451-1182325?v=glance&n=283155
                            http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/6269.html
                            Suetonius's The Twelve Caesars is over on the bookshelf, where it has been for quite some time.

                            Originally posted by Mikey
                            Now, as for sorting out Roman genetics: you cited a bunch of expansions that did not occur en masse until the empire.

                            I am talking about carefully selecting towns that did not exist until they were founded by a colony of "pure" Roman Latins, towns for my study that then for whatever reason have been isolated and not invaded ever since.
                            You are already making unfounded assumptions. At the very outset, there were Etruscans and, if they are not completely legendary, Sabines. I believe it is a fairly well established fact that some kind of population existed in the location where Rome was built before it became a significant city. Do we assume them to be Italic? I guess it depends on what you want to determine. If you want to determine who the original Italics were, I believe you have a real challenge on your hands.

                            My professor, Edgar Polomé claimed the Italic branch of the Indo-Europeans originated between the Germani and Celts, and represented the missing continuum between the two. I have my doubts. Of course Dr. Polomé was Belgian, and claimed his homeland as the original homeland of the Italics. If he was in any way correct about that original affinity between both the Germani and Galli, I'd say you have a major challenge on your hands. I can't tell if my DNA is "Celtic" or "Germanic", what the heck do you do to distinguish "Italic" from either of those?

                            Originally posted by Mikey
                            One example would be Benevento in Italy, but with a little thinking, I can come up with 20 more.
                            Following your argument, you'll get Greeks, not Romans.

                            Originally posted by Mikey
                            And if they are all R1b, well, you go to clades and subclades.
                            I suspect the only way we will even untangle any significant amount of deep R1b ancestry in Europe will be through detailed analysis of vast numbers of samples. But not just in one location, and not just in Europe.
                            Last edited by Hetware; 27 January 2006, 05:40 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              http://ulisse.sissa.it/s7_23apr04_1.jsp

                              An Italian monthly magazine (not very reliable) reports they found a genetic link between the Etruscans and the people living in the town of Cuma, Campania

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