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R1a says I'm Kurgan, am I also Viking?

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  • R1a says I'm Kurgan, am I also Viking?

    According to the analysis of my yDNA by the Genographic Project, I'm in haplogroup R1a, so my direct ancestors are the "Kurgans." It has been well documented that the Kurgans were nomadic farmers who lived on the grassy steppes of the Ukraine and southern Russia 5000 to 7000 years ago. It is likely that they were the first to domesticate the horse (approximately 5000 years ago). It is possible (but my no means certain) that they also may be responsible for the birth of Indo-European languages. (See short discussion and links below.) Finding out the Kurgans are my direct ancestors I think is one of the two most interesting things I discovered from my yDNA analysis.

    The other thing I learned that I found most interesting is that most men from Western Europe, especially Ireland, where my Cooley ancestors lived until they left Ireland for America in 1625, are NOT members of my haplogroup (R1a) -- my DNA matches that of men in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia much better. The haplogroup R1a - or, more precisely, its subclade R1a1 - which I'm a member of -- is said to indicate a "Norse Viking origin" when it is found among men of Irish or British descent like me. In fact, I just found out I can now get a "Norse Viking Tribe of Britain" certificate from Oxford Ancestors! (See http://www.oxfordancestors.com/service-tribes.html . However, also see http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb....lo_r1a_two.htm for a skeptical comment.)


    Comments welcome.
    -Donald

    *** Some Genetics ***

    Haplogroup R1a [my group] -- defined by the M17 (SNP marker) of the Y chromosome is associated with the Kurgan culture -- which existed in the Russian & Ukrainian Steppes north of the Black and Caspian Seas from 5000 to 7000 years ago. This DNA lineage is currently common in Slavic populations of Eastern Europe, central and western Asia, India, but it is not very common in some countries of Western Europe (e.g. France, or some parts of Great Britain) However, 23.6% of Norwegians, 18.4% of Swedes, 16.5% of Danes, 11% of Saami share this lineage.

    Note that Haplogroup R1b [and NOT R1a] is the most common haplogroup in European populations. It is believed to have expanded throughout Europe as humans re-colonized after the last glacial maximum 10-12 thousand years ago.

    *** The Kurgan Culture ***

    The Kurgan people were an Indo-European culture existing during the fifth, fourth, and third millennia BC; they lived in northern Europe, from Russia across Germany, and various authorities have mounted a case for them being THE proto-Indo-European culture, from which all Indo-European cultures descend. The word kurgan means barrow or grave in Slavic and Turkic; Kurgan culture is characterized by pit-graves or barrows, a particular method of burial. They are also called the Pit-grave people, or Barrow people.

    The earliest Kurgan sites are in the Ukraine and southern Russia, from which they spread by about 2000 BC to Europe, crossing the Dnieper River. Wherever Kurgan culture spread, it was marked by common elements unlike those of the surrounding Bronze-Age cultures. These are the characteristics of the Kurgan people:

    They practiced animal husbandry; in rubbish dumps at Kurgan hill-forts and villages are found the bones of lots and lots of horses, many cattle, and a few pigs, sheep and goats. Few bones of wild game (such as deer) were found, so Kurgans were not a hunting culture. Horse-heads carved in diorite were found, with harness-marks cut into them to indicate bridles.

    Kurgan horse-herders may have been like their possible decendents, the Scythians, who rode geldings only, their main herds being kept wild under stallions, and controlled through the mares which were hobbled near the settlements and milked regularly. Both wild-horse bones and bones of domesticated horses were found in Kurgan sites; modern bone-analysis specialists can apparently tell the difference between the two types.

    ***************
    The Kurgan Hypothesis (The orgins of Indo-European language):

    In 1956 Marija Gimbutas introduced her Kurgan hypothesis combining kurgan archaeology with linguistics to locate the origins of the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) speaking peoples. She tentatively named the culture "Kurgan" after their distinctive burial mounds and traced its diffusion into Europe. This hypothesis has had a significant impact on Indo-European research. Those scholars who follow Gimbutas identify a Kurgan culture as reflecting an early Indo-European ethnicity which existed in the steppes and southeastern Europe from the fifth to third millennia BC.
    Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurgan_culture

  • #2
    I think that Haplogroup "I" is associated with the Vikings, at least according to the following link: http://home.comcast.net/~whitathey/haplogroups.htm

    "I" has an unusually high presence in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, where the Vikings originated. "I" is more present in those countries than R1a, and even R1b in the case of Sweden.

    Also, R1a and R1b are sister groups, as they share the M173 mutation common to R1, so they are quite close anyway. It could be that R1b was the local population, while R1a were the Indo-European conquerors that eventually imposed their languages and cultures on almost the whole of Europe. But this is just a theory; I do not have any hard evidence. It is not uncommon to see a minority blend with the majority and impose its culture.

    Comment


    • #3
      Why R1a Irishmen may have Norse Vikings as ancestors

      Yes, haplogroup I is more associated with Scandinavians,than is haplogroup R1a. However, R1a is found at very high percentages in Western Norway. Hence if one's ancestors lived in Ireland or England, and their yDNA is haplogroup R1a (instead of the much more common R1b), then it is likely (but not certain) that their ancestors got to Ireland via Norway. In other words, their ancestors were likely Norse Vikings. At least this is my understanding, but I'm far from an expert, so someone please correct me if I'm wrong. One thing is for sure, R1a types had to get to Ireland somehow (and mine lived there at least as far back as the 1500s), it appears the Norse Viking route is the best explanation. Oxford Ancestors agrees, and gives R1a men with Irish & English ancestors "Norse Viking Tribe of Britain" Certificates.

      Here is part of what the person who set up the interesting website http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb....plogroups.html said (go there to read the rest):

      "R1a is found at very high percentages in Western Norway, where it reaches 30%. Some researchers believe the Icelandic Sagas, which describe a migration of a population from Asia beyond the Ural mountains, to Norway, may actually be based in fact. [This is the homeland area of haplogroup R1a -- the Kurgan area in the steppes of Russia and Central Asia.] Thor Heyerdahl, of Kon Tiki fame, spent the remaining years of his life attempting to prove this theory -- and DNA evidence is seeming to prove him right. The Swedes have long believed this legend, and the emergence of a specific type of Scandinavian R1a with a Central Asian motif seems to support this account.

      The MacDonalds have determined that their progenitor, Somerled, belonged to haplogroup R1a (of the same Central Asian motif) and it seems this holds true for most of the pseudo-aristocracy of Scandinavia. R1a is found at levels of less than 1% in most regions of Ireland, and at levels of 1-3% in England, and only slightly higher in Scotland. The highest concentrations of this haplogroup are seen in areas of Britain colonized by the Norse Vikings. One of the leading DNA experts has called R1a the only sure proof of Norse Viking origins when seen in men of deep British ancestry."

      Comment


      • #4
        I see that EthnoAncestry has just listed their Product 5 (R1a breakdown) as available. As an R1a (70 R1a on Athey, 18 R1b, 15 J2, all others single digit) on 37 STRs, I'm wondering what I would really learn by finding out I am an R1a1a, for instance. Anyone know what the breakdown tells us?

        Comment


        • #5
          R1a1

          I think the R1a1 (M17) marker is very confusing, and I really want to learn more about it and how these people (Kurgan) spread around the world. This is what I have read so far:

          The R1a1 is said to originate from the Kurgan culture, and were the first men to use horses and also the origin of the Indo-European language group. But some also say that the idea that R1a1 originates from Kurgan Culture is questionable?

          R1a1 is rare in West Europe, but for some reason a lot of people in Scandinavia have this haplogroup. It is more commonly found some parts of Eastern Europe.

          I know that some Jewish groups have this haplogroup, but ironically, in west Europe the R1a1 haplogroup is called the "Aryan" marker. It indicates Viking ancestry in the British Isles. When found in Jewish persons, it indicates that they have ancestors in Eastern Europe. Some say, and I hope I don't offend anyone, that these were East Europeans that converted to the jewish religion a long time ago.

          People from the highest cast in India, are also often R1A1.

          30% of people in West Norway and many people from Iceland are R1a1. This haplogroup can also be found in some parts of Ireland and Scotland.

          I am a Norwegian with haplogroup R1a1, and my family is Norwegian on both sides for many generations back.

          The theory is that the Vikings were R1a1, and their ancestors came from some other part of the world than the rest of Europe. But from where, why and when?
          Last edited by joinge; 9 October 2005, 11:44 PM.

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          • #6
            Skeptic Here

            I highly doubt that these hard and fast theories will hold up over time, i.e., that a certain prehistoric haplogroup (like R1a) can indicate a certain historic (Viking) ancestry, because by historical times, it is quite likely that ethnic groups already resembled modern groups, meaning they were mixed.

            Let me start at the beginning. A haplogroup indicates only the point of divergence from the previous common ancestor, invariably in prehistoric times. For example, your R1a ancestors became isolated in the Ukraine area during the last ice age, mutated, and thus R1a was born, from that relatively homogenous group. These were the "Kurgan" culture.

            But by historical times (when the ethnonyms become more recognizable, like "Viking" or "Roman"), groups had already significant gene flow.

            The problem is best illustrated in Italy. Say you wanted to track the haplogroup of the Romans. It is fairly well documented that a variety of the European haplogroups (remember, which existed since pre-history) existed in Italy in historical (Roman) times. So, which was the Roman haplogroup? Well, they probably had 2-5. Ditto the Vikings.

            It is also impossible to tell the mechanism for which a haplogroup reached a region. R1a in Britain could have come from Indo-European conquerors, Goths in the Roman Army, Anglo-Saxon invaders, Vikings, or the bastard children of visiting continental royalty. In sum, all R1a really tells you is that, in prehistoric times, you were Kurgan.

            The labs are working on identifying microstrains. Again Italy. In Italy, there is a high presence of J. They next identified J2. Now they have identified various markers on J2, at least seven that I know of. J2 is common in the Mediterranean. By looking at these micro-micro lines/markers, they believe they can tell you whether your J2 substrain was the result of the ancient Italians, ancient Etruscans, ancient Greeks, Jewish admixture or Moorish invasions. Incidentally, despite all this, the researchers preach caution on all the IDs except for a very few, which they are SURE about. There are many mysteries still to be solved...

            Finally, I should tell you that I, as an educated student of history, science and DNA, am VERY skeptical about the current state of identifying the Indo-Europeans. Remember that for years, and YEARS, and YEARS, scholars have debated this. First the evidence was archaeological, then linguistic, now biological.

            Those who think our era is somehow special exhibit the same hubris every past generation has made the mistake to exhibit. We could be just as wrong as the scientific avante garde in the 1500s who banished Galileo for his beliefs.

            Logic to me dictates that the current IE theories are way off. The idea that IEs were R1a is preposterous: It would mean that vast quantities of Europe (Spain, France, England, Italy, etc. or over 1/2 the land mass) all of the sudden began spoking Indo-European languages without any male genetic admixture.

            Nonsense. Impossible. Has never happened.

            The rival theory that IEs were J2 is also to me unlikely, but for reasons I will spare you here.

            I for one believe the IE haplogroup is I, for a variety of reasons. One thing should be so intuitive as to escape attack: Indo-European is the language of most Europeans. And Haplogroup I is the only haplogroup that is almost exclusively European. It is spread over the whole of Europe, and the nations (Persia, etc.) that are not in Europe that speak an IE language. The proposed I homeland of Croatia would fit with all the linguistic models based on tree species, etc. in proto-IE.

            Of course, I'm willing to accept any model, if you can articulate it plausibly.

            Mikey

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by cobra
              I think that Haplogroup "I" is associated with the Vikings, at least according to the following link: http://home.comcast.net/~whitathey/haplogroups.htm

              "I" has an unusually high presence in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, where the Vikings originated. "I" is more present in those countries than R1a, and even R1b in the case of Sweden.

              Also, R1a and R1b are sister groups, as they share the M173 mutation common to R1, so they are quite close anyway. It could be that R1b was the local population, while R1a were the Indo-European conquerors that eventually imposed their languages and cultures on almost the whole of Europe. But this is just a theory; I do not have any hard evidence. It is not uncommon to see a minority blend with the majority and impose its culture.
              ------------------

              According to a thesis by Rootsi the I halogroup is also well representet in the Saami (1/3) and at lower frequencies inn the Finn populations. So I would not dear say it is a strict Viking hg.

              http://evolutsioon.ut.ee/publications/Rootsi2004.pdf

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Noaide
                ------------------

                According to a thesis by Rootsi the I halogroup is also well representet in the Saami (1/3) and at lower frequencies inn the Finn populations. So I would not dear say it is a strict Viking hg.

                http://evolutsioon.ut.ee/publications/Rootsi2004.pdf
                Scandinavians have visited and settled in Finland and northern parts of Scandinavia before, during and after Viking times, so it's not surprising to find haplogroup I there. Among my (haplogroup I) relatively close matches are even Greenland Inuits, an Australian Aboriginal and a Native American. However, all those noted they were "European admixture". So, a Finn or a Saami of haplogroup I are most likely a Finn (Scandinavian admixture) and a Saami (Scandinavian admixture).

                Comment


                • #9
                  I disagree, you are actually contribute to some quite old "Germania Power" stereotypes here. If the Saami "I" was contributed by Norwegian settlers, the Saami male population also predictably should have a high frequency of R1a and R1b that the Norwegian male population have. Or is it in your opinion that old those viking actually already then knew what haplogroup they belonged to and only the "I" fellows went northwards?

                  Let me compare it for you:

                  Norwegian Y-DNA composition:

                  I = 40.3%
                  R1a = 23.6%
                  R1b = 27.8%
                  N3 = 6.9%

                  Saami Y-DNA compostion:

                  I = 25.9%
                  R1a = 11%
                  R1b = 3.9%
                  N3 = 47.2%

                  I can promise you that the admixure with Norwegians have been limited. The Saami "I" came to Scandinavia earlier than the Norwegian "I".

                  The female Saami lines has even have less in common with the Norwegian female lines or all other neighbouring peoples showing a long history in the area.



                  Originally posted by Eki
                  Scandinavians have visited and settled in Finland and northern parts of Scandinavia before, during and after Viking times, so it's not surprising to find haplogroup I there. Among my (haplogroup I) relatively close matches are even Greenland Inuits, an Australian Aboriginal and a Native American. However, all those noted they were "European admixture". So, a Finn or a Saami of haplogroup I are most likely a Finn (Scandinavian admixture) and a Saami (Scandinavian admixture).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Noaide
                    I disagree, you are actually contribute to some quite old "Germania Power" stereotypes here. If the Saami "I" was contributed by Norwegian settlers, the Saami male population also predictably should have a high frequency of R1a and R1b that the Norwegian male population have. Or is it in your opinion that old those viking actually already then knew what haplogroup they belonged to and only the "I" fellows went northwards?

                    Let me compare it for you:

                    Norwegian Y-DNA composition:

                    I = 40.3%
                    R1a = 23.6%
                    R1b = 27.8%
                    N3 = 6.9%

                    Saami Y-DNA compostion:

                    I = 25.9%
                    R1a = 11%
                    R1b = 3.9%
                    N3 = 47.2%

                    I can promise you that the admixure with Norwegians have been limited. The Saami "I" came to Scandinavia earlier than the Norwegian "I".

                    The female Saami lines has even have less in common with the Norwegian female lines or all other neighbouring peoples showing a long history in the area.

                    The ratio I/R1a is about the same (about 2 to 1) among both Saami and Norwegians. For some reason the ratio I/R1b is much higher among Norwegians. Could it be that R1b is more frequent in southern Norway than in the north? Maybe southern Norway was already settled by hg R1b when hg I arrived, so that the hg I people had to look for land further north? Or maybe hg I people arrived first but R1b people forced them northwards?

                    If it was the Saami who brought the haplogroup I to Norway and not the other way around, why do the non-Saami Norwegians have much higher percentage of the haplogroup I (40% vs 26%)?
                    Last edited by Eki; 13 December 2005, 07:43 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The different Saami subpopulations shows a much similar compositions in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia across a huge area that impossible could be reached by only the Vikings. This suggest that the population had a common origin before it spread across Scandinavia. I suspect the "I", "R1x" and "N3" come together or mixed at the same time for the Saami's case when much of the coast became fri of the icecap covering Scandinavia.

                      Originally posted by Eki
                      The ratio I/R1a is about the same (about 2 to 1) among both Saami and Norwegians. For some reason the ratio I/R1b is much higher among Norwegians. Could it be that R1b is more frequent in southern Norway than in the north? Maybe southern Norway was already settled by hg R1b when hg I arrived, so that the hg I people had to look for land further north? Or maybe hg I people arrived first but R1b people forced them northwards?

                      If it was the Saami who brought the haplogroup I to Norway and not the other way around, why do the non-Saami Norwegians have much higher percentage of the haplogroup I (40% vs 26%)?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        derinos

                        Sure, Cualaigh, now you are American, but once you were Irish, once you were Norse, before that a Kurgan and remember, before that, an African!
                        My spelling of your name is Gaelic, perhaps not quite correct, but you must be aware of the "Tain Bo Cualaigh", the important ancient Irish bardic
                        poem that must, from its content, date back to the arrival of the IndoEuropeans in Ireland, (estimated from midden digs, at about 4-6000BC), bringing their rare and coveted cattle, to be rustled by the heroes of the Tain, or Raid, of Cooley??

                        The Light be with you!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Noaide
                          The different Saami subpopulations shows a much similar compositions in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia across a huge area that impossible could be reached by only the Vikings. This suggest that the population had a common origin before it spread across Scandinavia. I suspect the "I", "R1x" and "N3" come together or mixed at the same time for the Saami's case when much of the coast became fri of the icecap covering Scandinavia.
                          Not all Norwegians were what you would associate with a "Viking". It's known that Norwegian as well as Finnish and Karelian hunters, traders or "tax-collectors" (robbers would probably be a more appropriate word for them by modern standards) moved by foot through Lapland probably even before Viking times.
                          Last edited by Eki; 14 December 2005, 03:47 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have never heard about that kind of norwegians, it occationally in more recent times came rangers or drifters from Sweden and Finland who was fleeing from poverty and hunger during some periods the last century, but these were few.

                            I should also remind you about the historical findings of strong Saami settlements deep into southern Norway in the Østerdalen valley some distance north of Oslo. These findings show that the Saami was dominating this area until 750 a.c. and there was no traces of germanic settlements before after that time. Also in south Sweden Saami's had a dominating presence until historic times.

                            Originally posted by Eki
                            Not all Norwegians were what you would associate with a "Viking". It's known that Norwegian as well as Finnish and Karelian hunters, traders or "tax-collectors" (robbers would probably be a more appropriate word for them by modern standards) moved by foot through Lapland probably even before Viking times.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Noaide
                              I have never heard about that kind of norwegians, it occationally in more recent times came rangers or drifters from Sweden and Finland who was fleeing from poverty and hunger during some periods the last century, but these were few.

                              I should also remind you about the historical findings of strong Saami settlements deep into southern Norway in the Østerdalen valley some distance north of Oslo. These findings show that the Saami was dominating this area until 750 a.c. and there was no traces of germanic settlements before after that time. Also in south Sweden Saami's had a dominating presence until historic times.
                              The Norwegian Vikings knew about the Kveens in northern Scandinavia, so they must have met them:

                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quen

                              Already during the first millennium A.D. the northernmost Finns on the Scandinavian peninsula were called Kveens by the Norse - the Norwegians -, mainly because the historical areas of Kainuu' - up to middle ages - reached much further up north-west and north than at the present time.

                              In the past, centuries ago, the traditional lands of the Kveens (a.k.a. the Kveenland Gvenland or Quenland) reached all the way from the above mentioned costal areas of the Arctic Ocean in the northernmost tip of the Scandinavian peninsula down to the middle parts of today's Sweden and Finland, reaching - on the Finnish side - the moderm day provinces of Kainuu and Oulu (Oulun lääni in Finnish) and - on the Swedish side - the areas by the Gulf of Bothnia, including the modern day cities of Luleå and Umeå, and - on west-east dimension - from the costal areas of the Atlantic Ocean in North-Western Scandinavia (now part of Norway) all the way to the White Sea in east (now part of Russia).

                              Traditionally - already during the Viking ages, and before -, the Norvegians have called the above described area - i.e. the entire northernmost territories of Scandinavia east from the Norvegian coast - Kvenland, the land of the Kveens (or Kvens / Cwens) . By Kveens the Norwegians have always meant people of Finnic background, in the middle ages the Finnish people of Kainuu, kainuulaiset as the Finns call them still today.

                              The Finns, however, have known a large part of the same area throughout the centuries as Lapland in north and Kainuu south from there; and today south-east from Lapland. In today's republic of Finland Kainuu lies in the North-Eatern part of the country, below (south from) Lapland, much smaller than in its clory days.

                              The earliest known written mentionings of the Kveens in history are from the period of the Vikings. However, the stories of of the epic Kalevala are - to a large extend - based ot the history of the Kveens, i.e. the people of Kainuu (in Finnish).

                              According to the Northern Norwegian Viking leader Ottar from Björkoy in Hålogaland (Haalogaland) (see also: Ottar from Hålogaland, near Troms (Tromsa), as well as the sagas by Egil the Finnish Kveens (a.k.a. Cwen people or Cwens, Quens) were in charge of the large northernmost territories of the Scandinavian Peninsula during the 9th century AD, and presumably long before that.


                              Ottar met the English King Alfred the Great in England in the end of the 9th century and made a thorough account to him of the life in Northern Norway and the Kveens, and about his exploration trip to the White Sea. This account was included to the translation by Alfred the Great of the World History of Orosius. This was the first genuine and comprenensive account of the North, and thus it is a principle source in the exploration of the Nordic history.

                              According to these and other historical documents the Norvegians and the Finnish Kveens united there forces on the 9th century against the attacks by the Finnish Karelians who - with the assistance of Novgorod - made advances up North, particularly coming to the 11th century.

                              Some Finnish tribes fought with the vikings, others against them. In 1154 AD The Arab historian and scientist Al Idrisi wrote that the King of Finland has possessions in Norway. In 1187 AD - According to a Swedish chronicle and some other documentation - the Finnish Karelians conquered the Swedish capital and destroyed it.

                              In 1251 the Karelians fought against the Norvegians and in 1271 the Kveens and the Karelians cooperated in battles against the Norvegians in Haalogaland. These battles had a lasting effect in life in the entire Northern Scandinavia.

                              The Finnish Kveens and other Finnish or Fenno-Ugric (closely related to Finns) groups participated in the Viking conquests in Russia, the British Isles and elsewhere.

                              During several following centuries a gradual and slow process of a Swedish expansion in today's Finland and the formation of Sweden-Finland took place, not through any wars or battles fought between Finns and Swedes, but rather scirmishes between Finns themselves, others symphatizing with the catholic Swedes and others with the orthodox Russians. This period saw many tendencies and attempts to autonomy for the eastern half of Sweden-Finland, i.e. today's Finland.

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