May 18, 2014

Oldest Cappadocian Neolithic site changed swiftly from hunting to herding

Reconstructed home entrance
(credit: Kvaekstad)
Aşıklı Höyük (Aksaray province) is the oldest known Cappadocian Neolithic site, located to the Northeast of the famous Çatalhöyük.

The site was inhabited since c. 9000 BCE, having a diet based on varied wild meat sources. But c. 8200 BCE the meat became almost exclusively that of sheep and goats, whose remains increased around this date from less than 50% (presumably wild) to around 90% of all meat sources, indicating that the community had become dependent on them, almost certainly because of transition to herding.

Not just that, young male sheep and goats make up the bulk of those remains, indicating the typical lamb culling proper of agricultural economies. Also analysis of the archaeo-dung indicates that the animals were kept captive in the settlement itself.
Altogether, these findings suggest the people in this area shifted from hunting to herding in just a few centuries.

Importantly, everything suggests that there was no immigration to the area: just a local change of economic paradigm. The homes were built just in exactly the same fashion as the previous ones, using their remains as foundations (typical of "tells", artificial hills formed by this long term continuity in habitation).

It is unclear from the source if they were involved in farming yet but it seems apparent that it was sedentarism what caused the economic change.

I find notable and needed to be mentioned that the life expectancy of men and women in Aşıklı Höyük was extremely unequal, with the latter dying often in their early 20s and showing signs of hard work, while the former generally survived to their 50s. Class inequality have also been proposed, considering the relative lack of burials compared to expected population size - however this last is controversial.

61 comments:

  1. In other words, this is one of the original places where the transition from hunting to herding happened and not a place to which it diffused. Is there anything about horticulture transition accompanying the transition to herding?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What you see is what you get: news media stuff (no referenced paper, no link to source). If you go to the article you see that it's mostly well explained but not this issue you ask for.

      Lead researcher Mary Stirner is mentioned as saying that "cultivation of grain may have played a major role in the move from hunting to herding". But no data is given on this issue either. Being such an old site, contemporary of PPNA, it is very possible that they were rather grain foragers than true farmers but I can't say for sure on the data I have.

      If you find the paper, please send me a copy.

      Delete
    2. A reader just sent me the paper. It is: Mary C. Stiner et al., "A forager–herder trade-off, from broad-spectrum hunting to sheep management at As ̧ ıklı Höyük, Turkey". PNAS 2014. doi:www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1322723111

      I'll update along the week as I find necessary (and have time). Want a copy?

      Delete
    3. PS- I haven't read the paper yet but the donor commented: "The authors claim domesticated grain was present at the earlier stages but only secondary to foraged grain and other plant food."

      So I guess that's the detail your were asking for.

      Delete
  2. I wonder whether Aşıklı Höyük and sourrounding settlements are associated with the first settlers of Cyprus at Shillourokambos (http://www.asor.org/pubs/books-monographs/swiny.pdf). Archaeologists generally propose that these early PPNB Cypriot settlers originated from the Levant rather than from Anatolia. Something unique among these early Cypriot settlers was that their sites show evidence of cattle domestication, in contrast to Aşıklı Höyük and releated Anatolian societies. As I trust your knowledge and experience in early European archaeology, I would appreciate some comments on the possible link between Aşıklı Höyük and the early Neolithic Cypriot farmers. Thnaks in advance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know more than you do probably. Just that, checking links and notes it seems that the settlement of Cyprus was in fact pre-Neolithic. Then regarding the PPNB, which seems the first Neolithic of Cyprus, all I can find points (but on what grounds?) that it was PPNB rather than the Anatolian groups at the origin but also to interaction with Anatolia (obsidian imports, which are the main sign of interaction with the mainland in the Early Neolithic but anyhow something going on all around the wider region). The lack of pottery at that time makes cultural identification a bit harder anyhow. Later the Khirokitia cultural traits (tholoi for housing) suggest influences from Syria (Tell Halaf), much as Vinca-Dimini (although these are rather identified as similar by pottery style and athropometry).

      Personally I've often found Cypriots (at least some) looking rather similar to Lebanese, even if genetically they cluster best with Turkey. But of course modern Cypriots may have accumulated several layers of influences so it says little about Early Neolithic.

      As an aside, which may be relevant or not, I have recently developed the working hypothesis of the first European (Thessalian) farmers being somehow related to Palestine (in their Asian side) because of the noticeable NE African element present in them (autosomal, Y-DNA E1b-V13 - G is also present in North Palestine at similar frequencies as in Anatolia, although ill-studied so far). That would imply arrival via the coast maybe and maybe this implies Cyprus somehow (?). But I don't know of any specific evidence as of now beyond the genetic hint and the lack of obvious candidates for cultural ancestry in Anatolia.

      Some interesting links, sometimes implied in the above comments:
      → http://www.bu.edu/asor/pubs/books-monographs/swiny.pdf
      → http://phys.org/news/2013-12-archaeologists-uncover-late-stone-age.html
      → http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131209142553.htm
      → http://neareast-prehistory.com/html/dispersal.html
      → http://context-database.uni-koeln.de/c14.php?c14M=3&AN=1&global=1
      → http://context-database.uni-koeln.de/map.php?mapM=1&AN=1&Zeit=6
      → http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/2012/01/spehardi-jews-in-context-of-levant-and.html

      Delete
    2. Cypriot/Lebanese links could be more recent given the shared heritage of Crusader states. The Lusignans were "Kings of Jerusalem and Cyrpus" after they lost Jerusalem.

      Delete
    3. Knights never farmed the land, and they were the ones who could emigrate when an invasion happened. The links probably go to much more ancient periods, be it the Phoenician colonization or even much older.

      Delete
    4. I'm not thinking just of knights. But yah, I'm not excluding previous waves (or later ones from Anatolian Greeks and Armenians either). Wiki claims a population of 50,000 Maronites in the 13th century, presumably coming from other Crusader States.

      Delete
    5. Eastern Christians were as much at risk of the Crusader intolerance and criminal violence as were Muslims. Have you read Maalouf's excellent historical book on "The Crusaders Through Arab Eyes"?

      Figures on Medieval demographics should be taken with great caution, especially considering that Cypriot Maronites today are just over 1000 individuals. Either they converted massively to other sects and/or there were never so many to begin with.

      Delete
    6. Yah, I'm taking that figure with a grain of salt.

      Wiki is also saying that Cypriot Maronite Arabic dates to refugees in the 9th and 10th centuries. It's wiki so who knows if that's true, but if it is it would preclude the crusades, and would suggest the period when it was a condominium of the Caliphate and the Byzantines.

      FYI though the Maronites have been in full communion with Rome since they were "rediscovered" early in the Crusades. I'm aware of how brutal, horrific and downright evil the Crusades were. Maronites were just lucky enough to be mostly spared this, unlike many other Christian, Muslim and Jewish groups that were slaughtered on mass.

      "Figures on Medieval demographics should be taken with great caution, especially considering that Cypriot Maronites today are just over 1000 individuals."

      Acculturation and assimilation (both linguistically and religiously) are powerful forces, especially acting over 1,000 years. I agree that 50,000 doesn't really pass the smell test though. That would be what, a third of the population?

      Delete
    7. Got an error on the previous attempt so hopefully this isn't a double post.

      Yah, the 50,000 doesn't really pass the smell test. Wiki also says the Maronite community in Cyprus dates to the period when it was a condominium between the Byzantines and Arabs in the 9th and 10th centuries, which if true would exclude the Crusades.

      I'm well aware of how bad the Crusades were. The outright slaughter and barbarity is absolutely abhorrent. Maronites weren't one of the groups subject to it though - they very quickly re-entered communion with the Catholic Church. That's why they're an Eastern Catholic Church today.

      Delete
    8. The Christians of Antioch were totally massacred by the Crusaders upon arrival. Not sure how they relate to Maronites because all those sects are a bit of a conceptual labyrinth to me (so "all are Jews" is a lot simpler for me: Rabbinic, Christian and Mohammedan alike - been there, done that, got the scar in my frontal lobe).

      So are you saying that Maronites are Catholics, right? Catholic not in the Greek sense but in the Latin sense, i.e. obedient to Rome, right? Shouldn't they be Syrian or Palestinian Christians? Did they join by coercion in the crusades?

      Delete
    9. The Maronites were dissenters from the Eastern Orthodox/Byzantine Church. Their liturgical language is Syriac but yes, they defer with Rome today, and it seems they have since around the 11th century.

      From what I've read, the suppression of minority Christian viewpoints in the Middle East by the Byzantine Empire played a big role in helping the Muslim conquest in the area. Many Christian groups actually had more religious freedom under the Caliphate than under the yoke of the empire.

      The Maronites were more of a rural/mountain group both as a way to avoid imperial control (and later the control of the Caliphate to some extent) but also due to the monastic lifestyle of their founder. They wouldn't have been present at Antioch. From what I understand though the Christians in Antioch were massacred because the Crusaders were just too dumb to tell the difference, no?

      Not sure of the exact circumstances of them aligning with Rome. It seems there's some controversy about it today even. My suspicion would be a simple "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." If you're suspicious of both Constantinople and Islam, Rome presented a useful ally.

      Delete
  3. Hi Maju, thanks a lot for all the info provided! I really appreciate your views. Yes please I would like a copy of that paper if possible.

    Regarding the Thessalian farmers, I also agree that it is highly possible that Neolithic Levantine people and especially ancient Cypriots, were involved in the spread of agriculture in the Balkans and from there further north and west. A very interesting finding, which I am sure you have already spotted, is the high allele sharing between modern Cypriots and the Swedish Neolithic farmer Gok4 (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-JXffzwQQek0/T5WDLwnr2fI/AAAAAAAAEyY/TuDjzH5UJI0/s1600/allele_sharing.png). Also, from your blog, check out the shared genetic drift between modern Cypriots and another Swedish Neolithic farmer, Gok2, (http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/2014/04/diversity-and-legacy-of-ancient.html). Interestingly, modern Cypriots share more genetic drift with this Swedish Neolithic farmer than any other neighbouring Levantine/Anatolian population. Something that I was wondering regarding Thessaly is whether there was an active stock of hunter-gatherers there, who mixed with the incoming Near Eastern farmers. In other words, was there a hybrid hunter/farmer population (EEF in Lazarides paper) in Neolithic Greece as observed in western and northern Europe?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Yes please I would like a copy of that paper if possible."

      I will need an email to send it to.

      What paper is the Gok4 "shared allele" map from?

      With Gok2 at least things look more normal: the greatest shared genetic drift with Gok4 is in Sardinia and Basque Country, while Cyprus looks rather low for European parameters, although indeed high for West Asian ones.

      Cypriots and Turks in general align closer to Europeans than other West Asians, so this could be interpreted as "normal" (just greater "Europeanness") but the comparison with Turks in this case highlight Cypriots. On the other hand the issue of possible Greek colonization of Cyprus in the Bronze Age remains unsolved, so the affinity of the island with Greece (and that way with European Neolithic peoples such as Gok4) is hard to ascertain beyond reasonable doubt as "evidence".

      For what I can find, Cypriots are high in Y-DNA J2 (37%) and E1b1b (20%) and that the E1b of Cyprus (or at least Turkish Cypriots, per Wikipedia) is commonly E1b-V13, so plausibly an ancestor of European E1b-V13, which was clearly carried by some Neolithic farmers and is now most outstanding among Albanians and mainland Greeks (not Cretans though). The Druze link can be dismissed because Druzes have a dual Aegean/Egyptian recent (1 Ka old) origin and are therefore not representative of the Levant (no matter what Zionist propaganda says).

      It's a hint but I understand that the matter of this possible Cypriot "missing link" still requires of more specific research.

      From the Archaeological viewpoint, a serious problem to really understand all this process of the European (Thessalian) Neolithic genesis is that the first Neolithic is still without pottery and that Thessalian pottery is among the oldest of West Eurasia in fact, so impossible to track the origins via pots. It's possible I must say that the origin of Thessalian Neolithic pottery is not in West Asia (still in the late PPNB phase) but in Eastern Europe and Siberia, where apparently some proto-Uralic peoples carried the East Asian concept of pottery (which dates to the Late Upper Paleolithic over there) to the West.

      I wonder if we can some day manage to track the origins of Thessalian Neolithic by means of other artifacts such as stone tools or whatever. So far it remains as a "singularity" of sorts, although I have already said that some of the genetic evidence suggests some sort of Palestinian link, even if just partial.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for your comments. Here is the Gok4 paper (Skoglund et al 2012).

      http://211.144.68.84:9998/91keshi/Public/File/41/336-6080/pdf/466.full.pdf

      You can send me the full paper at cypriotgenes@gmail.com. Thanks!

      Interesting comment about an Aegean/Egyptian origin of the Druze. It can explain some weird genetic and cultural characteristics of the Druze such as high E-V13 frequency and incorporation of ancient Greek philosophy in their religion. May I ask however on which scientific evidence you base this theory on?

      I am not sure of Bronze age colonization of Cyprus, but what I am sure about (as well as 99% of archaeologists and historians around the world) is an extensive Iron age colonization of Cyprus from mainland Greece (mainly Arcadia region). Otherwise, we need a convincing alternative explanation on why Cypriots suddenly started speaking Greek and using distinctive Greek architecture, pottery and burial practices, as well as worshiping the Greek Gods. Given the much closer proximity of Cyprus to the Levant/Anatolia rather than the Mycenaean world, it is really highly unlikely that such a dramatic cultural shift occurred just by diffusion. The genetic divergence between modern Greek Cypriots and mainland Greeks is mainly a result of events that happened in the past 1000 years, which include settlement of central European populations in Greece (i.e. Slavs, Vlachs, Arvanites) and Semetic populations in Cyprus. As a result modern day Greeks and Greek Cypriots have similar western European admixture (i.e Atlantic-Med) but the mainland Greeks have much higher northern European admixture. As far as Turkish Cypriots is concerned, this community was formed very recently (17th century AD) and genetic evidence so far shows that they do not differ substantially from Greek Cypriots.

      Delete
    3. "Interesting comment about an Aegean/Egyptian origin of the Druze. It can explain some weird genetic and cultural characteristics of the Druze such as high E-V13 frequency and incorporation of ancient Greek philosophy in their religion. May I ask however on which scientific evidence you base this theory on?"

      The Egyptian origins section seems transparent, as it was in Ismaili Egypt when the movement arose 1000 years ago. I can't find support right now for the Aegean origin aspect, so maybe it is wrong but I'm pretty sure I read about that as something Druze themselves spoused as told in their traditions: Aegean (or Anatolian?) and Egyptian origins. The sect derives at least partly from Gnosticism, which is a Greek tradition.

      In any case the Druze are a (diverse) set of locally endogamous populations with striking differences with other Levant populations, so it's quite transparent that they are too different to be mere locals diverging since just 1000 years ago.

      Their traditions clearly attest to diversity of origins: [The genetic] "findings are consistent with the Druze oral tradition, that claims that the adherents of the faith came from diverse ancestral lineages stretching back tens of thousands of years". They are probably the last semi-Islamized incarnation of an old Gnostic faith.

      "... what I am sure about (as well as 99% of archaeologists and historians around the world) is an extensive Iron age colonization of Cyprus from mainland Greece (mainly Arcadia region)".

      I was not aware of that. Mycenaean pottery is found in Late Bronze Age Cyprus anyhow, at about the same time when Ugarit was destroyed by "the Sea Peoples" (essentially Mycenaean Greeks) and their pleads to Alashiya (Cyprus) to defend them from the mariner invaders were clearly not heeded (exact reason?)

      Maybe we are talking about the same phenomenon because Iron Age "formally" begins only some decades after these pillages (surely as the Hittite Empire fell to the Phrygians the steel tech spread quickly around).

      "Given the much closer proximity of Cyprus to the Levant/Anatolia rather than the Mycenaean world, it is really highly unlikely that such a dramatic cultural shift occurred just by diffusion".

      Cypriots are much closer to Turks than to Greeks. Probably it happened by conquest (i.e. elite domination), as most other linguistic shifts since the Late Copper Age.

      "The genetic divergence between modern Greek Cypriots and mainland Greeks is mainly a result of events that happened in the past 1000 years, which include settlement of central European populations in Greece (i.e. Slavs, Vlachs, Arvanites) and Semetic populations in Cyprus".

      I have to strongly disagree with that. Neither country shows signs of significant genetic input from the origins you suggest, not at all.

      Think Y-DNA please: any immigration by conquest, as you suggest, would leave a clear Y-DNA trail and nope. In fact not even Southern Slavs look "real Slavs" (except maybe Slovenes) nor Levant peoples look "real Arabs", not even the Bedouins.

      Ethno-cultural changes are often translated into legends of mythical arrivals but these at most correspond to a tiny elite in many cases and sometimes not even that (acculturation by alliance).

      The "North European" you see in Greeks should not be compared with Cypriots but with Thessalian Neolithic (partial) descendants from further West in Europe. In some cases it seems greater, as is the ANE element in Greeks and other Balcanic peoples, indicating Indoeuropean impact but certainly much much older than the Slavic Medieval one: it was the original Greeks, Thracians and such who brought that Eastern European component in fact.

      Delete
    4. Re. Gok4 I don't know what to think, really, as the data is contradictory with that of Gok2.

      In Skoglund 2014 the affinity (shared allele drift) of Gok2-Cyprus is much less outstanding (see: fig. 1). It is abnormally high by West Asian standards but clearly low for almost all European ones.

      The strongest affinity by this measure of Gok2 is with Sardinians and Basques. Maybe they had different ancestries in spite of belonging to the same community? It doesn't seem to be the case because in the PCA both cluster similarly near Basques and in the ADMIXTURE graph Gok4 looks like a "Rusified" Sardinian, what is not what a Cypriot looks like at all.

      Strange apparent contradiction.

      Delete
    5. Hi again Maju and thanks for sharing your interesting views.

      I truly understand and respect your opinion regarding the origin of the North European admixture among modern Greeks. In fact this is one of the 2 explanations that I have in mind (i.e. an ancient source for the Northern admixture). The other explanation, which I proposed (i.e. a more recent Northern admixture) seems more probable to me based on the following 2 facts:

      1. Sites of apparent Greek presence in ancient times, like Cyprus and Southern Italy, have high Atlantic-Med admixture but low North European admixture.

      2. There is undisputed historical evidence (supported by linguistic evidence as well) that Slavs, Vlachs and Arvanites settled Greece from the 8th century AD onwards. For genetic evidence for Slavic admixture check the dominating Polish admixture among modern Greeks in the recent Hellenthal et al publication in Science (http://admixturemap.paintmychromosomes.com/). If that is not convincing then I do not know what is. Another source of evidence for Slavic presence in Greece is the high frequency of the clearly Slavic R1a1a-M458 Y-DNA haplogroup. Regarding Vlachs and Arvanites I am not aware of genetic evidence but the linguistic evidence is overwhelming for the presence of large numbers of both Arvanites (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6e/Pelopones_ethnic.JPG/730px-Pelopones_ethnic.JPG) and Vlachs (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f0/Map-balkans-vlachs.png).

      Another possibility could be that Mycaenean Greeks had low Northern European admixture, while later Greek tribes, such as the Dorians and the Macedonians had much higher. Basically, this issue will be set once and for all once we have an ancient sample from Bronze age or Iron age Greece (preferably the Peloponnese).

      Delete
    6. "Cypriots are much closer to Turks than to Greeks".

      Below you will find my Oracle results (100% Greek Cypriot) from the MDLP project. It is the only admixture project that uses different Greek sub-populations, which is extremely informative. Imagine clustering all Italians together in a single population. Not very informative! Basically, Cypriots are close to Cretans genetically but indeed are very different from North Greeks, who in fact do not even appear among the 20 closest populations to Cypriots in the Oracle results! On the contrary, Cretan Greeks appear closer to some Cypriots than the 'Cypriot' reference population (i.e. example below).

      Greek_Cretan (derived) 5,73
      Cypriot (derived) 5,87
      Jew_Syria (derived) 6,38
      Jew_Italia (derived) 8,80
      Sephardim (derived) 9,46
      Jew_Francestrale (derived) 9,77
      Jew_Morocco (derived) 9,80
      Jew_Algeria (derived) 9,89
      Jew_Tunisia (derived) 9,90
      Lebanese (derived) 11,97
      Ashkenazim (derived) 11,97
      Jew_Libya (derived) 12,07
      Sicilian (derived) 12,25
      Druze (derived) 13,07
      Greek_Azov (derived) 13,20
      Greek_East (derived) 13,90
      Italian-South (derived) 13,91
      Jew_Romania (derived) 13,98
      Syrian (derived) 14,92
      Turk (derived) 15,06

      Regarding the Swedish Neolithic farmers, I think you misunderstood my point. Of course I understand that these are much closer to western Mediterranean populations (i.e. Sardinians) rather than Cypriots (clearly apparent in the more recent Skoglund publication). What I was saying was that maybe ancient Cypriots are the source of the Near Eastern component among these EEFs. This however is very difficult to ascertain as you say, without the presence of ancient Cypriot DNA samples. In fact the Cypriot antiquities department is on hold of a significant number of ancient skeletal remains from all eras of Cypriot history and prehistory, but from a few unofficial discussions I had with them, they are not particularly interested in attempting to isolate DNA.. If there is any development on that, I will definitely post it in your blog. Thanks again for the constructive discussion!

      Delete
    7. What I see in your commentaries is that they are based 100% in the Dienekes' "zombie" component system, which is a point of view but not the only one possible nor necessarily the best one.

      I am used, and you probably are too, to see Cypriots and neighboring populations in many studies and they generally do not cluster way too close to Greeks, at least not mainland Greeks.

      Your mention of Cretans is interesting because Cretans are different and, grosso modo, more Anatolian than mainland Greeks, at the very least in Y-DNA (much more J2 and much less E1b, as happens with Turks).

      Western Jews (Ashkenazi and Sephardi) cluster very close to Cypriots and Turks and that is in fact a major reason why I think that they originated essentially in the Anatolian diaspora (essentially converts) and not in Palestine (although they have minor Palestine connections too).

      So there is no contradiction, even if different approaches may emphasize this or that, in essence it is the same thing, I understand.

      Delete
    8. We don't know all that much about the original ethnogenesis of the original Hebrews anyways, so I'm not sure much could be said about when these connections showed up.

      I thought the affinities with Turkey were specifically with Kurdistan though, and not necessarily Anatolian itself?

      Delete
    9. Check here (1) and here (2).

      (1) Palestinians have high internal diversity compared with other Levant and Anatolian populations, including Western Jews (who are nearly identical to Cypriot/Turks) and are the most distinct from Northern pops (Cypriots, Turks and Western Jews).

      (2) These differences are not caused by affinity with Peninsular Arabs nor Egyptians: Palestinians also appear distinctive at K=6 in a West Asian/NE African context.

      On the other hand Western Jews show in (1) as Turk/Cypriots and in (2) as dominated by a component that, when combined with the Kurdish one "makes" Turks.

      So Western Jews are clearly Northern West Asians (similar to Turks, Cypriots) while Palestinians are unique. This Palestinian uniqueness can only derive from a long distinct history that, at the very least, should go to the times of the Hebrew Bible and probably much deeper in the past to the Natufian/PPNA era.

      Hard to say much more because while Jews are extremely well researched (and everything points to a Cyprus/Turkey origin for "Roman" Jews, although not for the other branches), Palestinians have been largely neglected in research, which is to some extent politically controlled.

      "I thought the affinities with Turkey were specifically with Kurdistan though, and not necessarily Anatolian itself?"

      Actually not. There was long ago some talk about a lineage allegedly shared (at some important phylogenetic distance) by some Jews and some Kurds but seems mostly irrelevant now and nobody is insisting on that.

      But the Anatolian/Cypriot connection is extremely obvious and even if certain research has tried to hide it with wording such as an expanded notion of "the Levant", it is so apparent that "Roman" Jews are so akin to Anatolians and not to real Levant peoples that it seems that genetic research on Jews has stopped almost completely, as it does not serve the Zionist discourse anymore.

      Truth is stubborn.

      Delete
    10. Check also the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia on the ancient Diaspora, talking quite clearly of mass proselytism and the many important communities of Asia Minor (among others). It is a quite good historical background.

      Delete
    11. Ah, you and I are talking about two different things it seems (though on the Kurdish thing I may just be remembering wrong).

      I don't think any reasonable person denies that Jewish communities pick up a lot of affinity to whatever community they're living in, particularly after so long. I don't think that pointing out that Sephardic Jews have affinities with neighbouring populations tells us very much about where their origins.

      Delete
    12. Western Jews do not show that kind of affinity with Europe or North Africa because by that time the no-converts rule applied (imposed by Christianity and Islam). But in Hellenistic and Roman times that did not happen yet, and in fact we must understand the rise of Rabbinic Judaism as almost exactly the same process of Judaic proselytism that created Christianity (a Jewish sect) and Islam (another even more traditionally Jewish sect, even if they take the Bible with distrust their norms are very close to ancient Judaism).

      We must not confuse historical Judaism and historical Jews with modern ones (Rabbinic Judaism), which is a phenomenon created by the Diaspora itself. Only the consolidation of the other two major Jewish sects (Christianity and Islam) as state religions in all West Eurasia forced Rabbinic Judaism to stop proselytizing, so they became the endogamous community we know from Medieval and Modern times.

      Delete
    13. Hi Maju, although I accept that your points are justified and based on scientific evidence, I still do not understand why you insist in claiming that Cypriots are basically genetically identical to Turks and in fact present them together as a single population ‘Turks/Cypriots’. I understand that you do not trust Dienekes’ Oracle approach, so I am presenting admixture results from the Eurogenes k15 (EU test v2) calculator:
      Cypriot average (Cyprus DNA project, n=30)
      North_Sea 2.75
      Atlantic 8.72
      Baltic 2.11
      Eastern_Euro 1.33
      West_Med 19.33
      West_Asian 18.70
      East_Med 41.15
      Red_Sea 5.91
      South_Asian 0.00
      Southeast_Asian 0.00
      Siberian 0.00
      Amerindian 0.00
      Oceanian 0.00
      Northeast_African 0.00
      Sub-Saharan 0.00

      Turkish average (Eurogenes project)
      North_Sea 3.25
      Atlantic 7.28
      Baltic 2.98
      Eastern_Euro 4.13
      West_Med 7.79
      West_Asian 29.39
      East_Med 28.80
      Red_Sea 5.62
      South_Asian 4.36
      Southeast_Asian 2.02
      Siberian 3.28
      Amerindian 0.32
      Oceanian 0.42
      Northeast_African 0.30
      Sub-Saharan 0.03

      Lebanese Christian average (Eurogenes project)
      North_Sea 1.49
      Atlantic 2.78
      Baltic 1.14
      Eastern_Euro 0.71
      West_Med 11.81
      West_Asian 20.20
      East_Med 47.37
      Red_Sea 12.34
      South_Asian 0.77
      Southeast_Asian 0.23
      Siberian 0.08
      Amerindian 0.03
      Oceanian 0.13
      Northeast_African 0.87
      Sub-Saharan 0.05

      South Italian average (Eurogenes project)
      North_Sea 8.45
      Atlantic 13.95
      Baltic 5.70
      Eastern_Euro 0.82
      West_Med 18.42
      West_Asian 15.37
      East_Med 29.86
      Red_Sea 5.32
      South_Asian 0.50
      Southeast_Asian 0.02
      Siberian 0.17
      Amerindian 0.32
      Oceanian 0.09
      Northeast_African 0.57
      Sub-Saharan 0.43

      Conclusions: Cypriots are as similar to Turks as they are to Lebanese and to South Italians. Turks are not even approaching the West_Med (Sardinian-like) or the East_Med (Levantine-like) admixture of Cypriots. In addition, Turks have substantial South Asian and East Asian admixture components, which are totally absent among Cypriots. Basically, I would conclude the following, in order of genetic influence:

      modern Cypriots = ancient Levantine component + ancient European Mediterranean component + ancient Anatolian component + other (NW Europe, SW Asia)

      modern Turks = ancient Anatolian component + ancient Levantine component + ancient European Mediterranean component + ancient Mongoloid component + other (NW+NE Europe, SW Asia)
      Yes close, but definitely not identical!

      Delete
    14. What I don't trust is the use of "zombies" in general. The can be of some use of course but they are not nearly as good as a direct comparison between populations with a reasonable sampling strategy. Zombies force populations to align according to those polarities and that may well introduce noise.

      "Turks are not even approaching the West_Med (Sardinian-like) or the East_Med (Levantine-like) admixture of Cypriots."

      Maybe. But Turks from where. This is another issue I have with sampling strategies. Obviously Turks from, say, Thrace, Cappadocia, the Black Sea or Cilicia will be different among themselves. There are 76 million Turks and just one million Cypriots! It's like comparing Russia with Lithuania or France with Basques: conceptual nonsense. Logically among the French there are some that are more Basque-like and some that are more British-like, etc., among Russians there are some more Caucasus-like, Polish-like or Finnish-like, etc. Same with Turks. But we have to do with just a few samples. Where is the Cilicia sample for instance? That I would like to explore, really.

      Delete
    15. Your position would completely fail to explain Y-chromosomal Aaron.

      I'd be hestitant to rely too much on a diagram of only the first two dimensions of a PCA. Two dimensional projections of PCAs are a great visualization tool, but they don't tell us much about dimensions 3 and above which may still be important. There's a 3 dimensionsal PCA figure here that if I'm reading right shows Basque and African populations close on dimensions 1 and 2 but very very distant on dimension 3 for example: http://www.rense.com/general48/palestinians.pdf

      Re: Diaspora - don't forget there was an earlier Diaspora that may have substantially altered the genetic make up of Palestine, as there were substantially population movements associated with the invasions by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. Samaritans are probably a pretty good example of "historic" DNA in the region, particularly on the Y DNA side, but their diversity is very low. Here's a paper on their DNA in any event: http://evolutsioon.ut.ee/publications/Shen2004.pdf

      This is a rather old paper on the genetic affinities in the area that claims that the genetic distance between modern Israelis and Palestinians is from later admixture into both groups, with Arab Y-DNA lineages representing ~30% of the population. More than a bit out of date but covers a lot of ground: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002929707613251

      Here is another article about Iberia that I think you would find pretty interesting: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2668061/

      It models Iberia as descending from 3 groups: Basques, North Africans, and Sephardic Jews (which are up to 20% of the Y DNA in some areas). I suspect that the "Sephardic" component includes a lot of Phoenician too, but it's interesting none the less, and at it glance it seems to correspond well with the other North Africa/Iberia papers here lately.

      I don't think anyone would deny that conversions and proselytizing happened. It seems pretty silly for you to claim that it is responsible for 100% of the DNA of modern Jewish populations though. As it also seems silly to think that the Palestinian gene pool has not been affected by the last 2,000 years of history, particularly given the violence that was perpetrated there by the Romans, Byzantines and Crusaders. There's genetic evidence for more recent admixture in any event: http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pgen.1001373#pgen-1001373-g004

      "Western" Jews do show affinities to Europe. The presence is of mtDNA haplgroup V in Sephardic groups now in Turkey is one example of that.

      Delete
    16. 1. "Your position would completely fail to explain Y-chromosomal Aaron."

      No because Western Jews still have minor affinity to Palestinians, something like a thin thread, probably thicker in the Y-DNA lines. Anyhow, the alleged Aaron lineage has been de-hyped and actually includes several not really related lineages, only one of which can be the real Aaron's one. The priestly caste was/is in any case a minor subgroup of all Jews, historical or modern.

      2. "There's a 3 dimensionsal PCA figure here that if I'm reading right shows Basque and African populations close on dimensions 1 and 2 but very very distant on dimension 3 for example: http://www.rense.com/general48/palestinians.pdf"

      That study is old and relative only to HLA, not the best trail to follow on population affinities (because it is immunological and hence subject to strong selection forces). But anyhow you are partly right on PCAs being limited in their potency to visualize relationships.

      Not sure why you mention this because I've been emphasizing ADMIXTURE analysis but, in any case, both methods converge in their results in several different studies, scholarly and amateur, Zionist or Anti-Zionist in bias. So we are looking at the issue from different angles and the results are the same.

      3."Re: Diaspora - don't forget there was an earlier Diaspora that may have substantially altered the genetic make up of Palestine"...

      How does that matter if it was something that affected historical Jews? We are discerning here between (a) historical Jews of the Iron Age (up to the Great Jewish Revolt and subsequent Roman genocide, which spared many, at the very least Christian Jews - from then on known as Palestinians) and (b) new Jews of Middle and Modern Ages, whose origins are a bit of mystery but, thanks to genetics and historical references, can be recognized now (the Western or Euro-Mediterranean fraction only) as descendants of the Hellenistic Diaspora in (essentially) Asia Minor, a diaspora that was mostly made of converts because in those times proselytism was fair game for Judaism (and hence Christianity and Islam, Jewish sects after all) and because population genetics demonstrates it. There is still a thin link to Palestine but it's very minor.

      ...

      Delete
    17. ...

      4. The Nebel 2001 can't explain anything because it is way too old to even differentiate between J1 and J2, go figure!

      5. The Adams study demonstrates that Sephardi Jews are not Spaniards by the Y-DNA (although they probably are by the mtDNA, other studies say) and that modern Spaniards have nothing significant from Sephardi Jews. The data is clear but Adams makes a number or incorrect speculations on it that can be easily dismantled, for example the North African component is clearly inconsistent with the pattern of Al-Andalus, being strong in Galicia but almost nil in Granada, etc. So, as often happens, one has to take the data and ignore the "conclusions", which are contradictory with it.

      "I suspect that the "Sephardic" component includes a lot of Phoenician too"...

      There's nothing obviously Phoenician either, unless maybe in Ibiza (?)

      6. "I don't think anyone would deny that conversions and proselytizing happened. It seems pretty silly for you to claim that it is responsible for 100% of the DNA of modern Jewish populations though".

      I'm not saying "100%" but 90% or more yes. And if 2.5% would matter, I would be a Neanderthal, you know.

      What I say is that one thing is the spiritual legacy (so to say, because Rabbinic Judaism is not the Judaism of Moses either), and another very different the genetic legacy.

      "As it also seems silly to think that the Palestinian gene pool has not been affected by the last 2,000 years of history"...

      Not so silly when the Islamic conquest was assimilationist and we have plenty of populations elsewhere which seem also very continuous since those times. Of course there may have been some changes, but there are also elements that, because are not really found anywhere else, must be Palestinian-specific since long ago. And those elements are quite dominant in the Palestinian genetic pool.

      7. ""Western" Jews do show affinities to Europe. The presence is of mtDNA haplgroup V in Sephardic groups now in Turkey is one example of that."

      In mtDNA almost without doubt and also at lesser levels in the autosomal DNA, especially among Ashkenazim. But I'm talking of the essence, the core, that 80% of the ancestry of modern (Western) Jews, which is clearly Anatolian or something very similar.

      Delete
    18. 1. I'm referring just to the main Aaron line that is found in Samaritans too.

      2. Ah. I'm not sure that that is very helpful though. Which Sephardi population are you including? Is it a mixed Sephardi-Romaniot person? BTW fun fact - the first ruler the Ottomans appointed for Cyprus when they took possession of it was a Sephardi Jew.

      Notice that Lebanese, Jordanian and Palestinian populations are all over the map in that too. I think it would be better to include more groups to get a bigger picture of the variation. If you compare several Sephardic populations you'd get a better idea of the common "Sephardic" component and whats from other influences. Other Jewish groups would be good to include too. How large a sample is each group? Samples of the "host" populations would be useful references too. There's also a fairly endogamous community of Sephardic Jews in Portugal that survived as crypto-Jews.

      I guess here's my point:

      "We find that the Jewish populations cluster together in several analyses, separately from the remaining populations. In addition, we find that the genetic ancestry of the Jewish populations is intermediate such that in several types of analysis of population structure, the Jewish populations are placed centrally, between the Middle Eastern populations and the European populations. These results are compatible with an ancient Middle Eastern origin for Jewish populations, together with gene flow from European and other groups in the Jewish diaspora." Source - http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2156/10/80 It's hardly unexpected that many Jewish people would cluster with other populations that are intermediate between the Middle East and Europe.

      That's a really good paper to look at too btw. Look at their admixture analysis (which omits Turkey unfortunately). Notice how the Palestinians and Jewish groups' Middle Eastern component (purple at K=5) remains united until K=6, where it partially thought not completely splits into different groups. It pretty clearly shows Palestinians as more closely related to those Jewish groups than they are to neighbouring Druze and Bedouin groups. I'd think that's pretty consistent with a split ~2,000 years prior.

      Delete
    19. Per Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y-chromosomal_Aaron):

      "The Samaritan M267 lineages differed from the classical Cohen modal haplotype at DYS391, carrying 11 rather than 10 repeats", as well as, have a completely different haplogroup, which should have been "J1". Samaritan Kohanim descend from a different patrilineal family line, having haplogroup E1b1b1a (M78) (formerly E3b1a).[1]

      So there is no such thing as "the main Aaron line that is found in Samaritans too".

      It is later explained that the last Samaritan Cohen who claimed direct descent from the line of Aaron died in the 17th century.

      Later:

      46.1% of Kohanim carry Y chromosomes belonging to a single paternal lineage (J-P58*) that likely originated in the Near East well before the dispersal of Jewish groups in the Diaspora.

      However this lineage is even more common among Bedouins, Yemenis (67%) and Jordanians (55%), so it's basically the main founder effect of the Neolithic colonization of Arabia from Palestine, surely related to the expansion of Semitic languages. It can still be Aaron's lineage or something similar, of course, but it is not privy of the Kohanim.

      "Which Sephardi population are you including?"

      The 1000 Genomes sample with that label. They are not individuals but populations. I just never managed to get ADMIXTURE to produce individual bar results (technical incompetence, I guess), so what you see is the population's average (normally most individuals within a pop. are quite similar but not always).

      " If you compare several Sephardic populations you'd get a better idea of the common "Sephardic" component and whats from other influences."

      Feel free to do it and share the results if you can. It may be interesting but, then again, we have seen various studies that converge towards Anatolia, most are made in Israel or with teams that include Israeli scientists like Doron M. Behar, so the conclusion is very solid, I believe.

      The Koppleman study is not useful because it has a huge gap precisely in the area where Western Jews find their closest relatives: there are no (non-Jewish) Turks, no Cypriots, no Greeks, not even Lebanese! Logically Jews appear intermediate between Palestine and Europe, as would do Turks or neighboring populations if present.

      It is clearly not the correct approach, although it may be useful as propaganda piece. It is a pity that you are falling for that clearly deficient pseudo-analysis when you have before you other much better studies which show the obvious: Western Jews are close relatives of Turks and Cypriots (as opposed to Levant peoples, and very particularly Palestinians).

      No hay más ciego que el que no quiere ver (the only blind person is who does not want to see), Spanish saying.

      Delete
    20. The irony is it's actually the non-priestly Samartian families that best have the Y-Chromosal Aaron sequence. E1b1b1a is present in Jewish Kohanim groups.

      Personally, despite my faith, I do not think Aaron existed as a historical person (or if he did did not leave the genetic legacy that was claimed). The story of Moses only actually appears in the writings of the third source (the Deuteronomist source dated to ~650 BC). I prefer to look at it as a priestly caste (similar to the Brahmins) inventing its own myth to justify its position. Whatever Y chromosome pool was in the group when it was codified and became endogamous. Given the timing, I'd find it plausible even that this caste may have been refugees from Samaria.

      Re: Bedouins, I think it's important to note that you're referring just to Negev Bedouins, correct? It is my understanding that that Y chromosomal lineage in Negev Bedouin actually has been shown pretty clearly to be from a somewhat recent founder effect (ie they all form a single closely related clade). Notice by the way in this paper (http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1039&context=humbiol_preprints) that on Y DNA Jewish and Samaritan Kohanim
      cluster quite closely with Bedouins (note this study also includes Turks). There were supposed to have been upwards of a million Samaritans in the area when it came under Roman control. Perhaps this shows where they went.

      Delete
    21. Here's the paper re: the founder effect for Bedouins:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2987219/

      Delete
    22. Well, I do not have any faith in the Judaic mythology but I do think that legends have a kernel of truth and in the case of the OT, it seems likely that at least parts of the story of Moses and Aaron are very real, even if of course no "god" appeared to them at all, including the absolutely arbitrary death sentences and prizes, the massive slaughter of cattle for the stomachs of the priests, the extremist misogyny, the racism, the wars and massacres of other nations (even if distorted and exaggerated), etc. There's nothing good nor wise in that book.

      The part before Moses is totally borrowed from other religions, be it Egyptian or Mesopotamian, but from Moses on it becomes semi-historical.

      Moses in fact seems likely to have been the missing pharaoh Amenmese. Actually Moses is how the name of so many Egyptians end, being preceded by the name of a god that in this case has been censored but most likely was originally Amun. Amenmese was probably married to a Nubian, like Moses, was probably the son of a pharaoh, like Moses, and apparently rallied the Semitic miner slaves of Egypt in the Negev, which were grouped in 12 camps for what I have read, to become his military force in the struggle for the throne of Egypt. He failed but his tomb remains empty, so it's plausible that he went to exile in the desert (Negev rather than Sinai), although surely Aaron, his Semitic right, murdered him at Mt. Horeb.

      But the real history of Jews as ethnicity (and not anymore as a warmongering cult of the desert) begins later, with David and such, when all the Southern Canaanites had already been unified under that sect. These historical Jews between David and the Roman era are the ones from which Palestinians largely descend, modern Jews only have a weaker link to that population, and even their religion has been dramatically modified as well. Some think that Islam is more approximate to the original Jewish faith as told in the OT, at least in many aspects.

      Delete
    23. "Re: Bedouins, I think it's important to note that you're referring just to Negev Bedouins, correct?"

      AFAIK yes. Reading the genetic literature one would be pushed to think that they are the only Bedouins on Earth, what is far from correct. Their autosomal uniqueness is hard to ascertain being such a small population with the risk of endogamy and such (this also applies to other populations like Palestinian Druzes, Samaritans, etc.)

      "that on Y DNA Jewish and Samaritan Kohanim cluster quite closely with Bedouins"

      Nope. What that study notices is that Jewish Kohanim, Samaritan and Bedouins cluster closely because the have the same wider J1-whatever lineage. Saudis and especially Yemenis also would cluster closely, although not shown in this study (Yemeni Jews are mentioned in the text however). Instead Palestinians, being much more diverse, do not.

      The PCA anyhow is very strange because it makes Palestinians and Turks (two very different populations in the Y-DNA side) cluster almost at the same point. Never mind Moroccans (high E1b-M81) and Iraqis (almost not E1b whatsoever) doing the same. I wonder which were the vectors because the result seems strongly counterintuitive.

      I feel like the dice are strongly leaded in this strange "study" but it seems difficult to analyze how exactly without a table of haplogroup frequency per population. Their focus on haplotypes to the expense of the much more fundamentally informative haplogroups is totally insane. I never heard before of any of the co-authors in any case.

      Delete
    24. The study on J1e seems very interesting. On first read, they propose that J1e migrated from Kurdistan southwards via Palestine and Mesopotamia.

      However their dates are just inacceptable (Zhivotovski method, repeatedly found to yield extremely short results inconsistent with even the presence of E1b-V13 in Cardium Neolithic) and the process surely took place much earlier, in the Upper Paleolithic, at least the core part of it.

      Considering that in that period Low Mesopotamia was still a sea branch and the deserts as such could not be settled, the most likely routes must have been via Palestine and maybe via the coasts of that Low Mesopotamia extension of the Red Sea. It was probably also in that period when J1 reached NE Africa, where it is very important also among non-Semitic peoples. The expansion to NW Africa is more recent however for all I know (very low diversity compared with NE Africa or the Horn).

      In any case the age estimates must be at least doubled (probably more than doubled because Ziv. is an extremist of the shortest (im-)possible molecular clock). That still allows for a Neolithic or Mesolithic founder effect among Bedouins but not for most other populations.

      Delete
    25. "Got an error on the previous attempt so hopefully this isn't a double post."

      The comment was idling in the "awaiting moderation" queue but I believe it wasn't there a couple of days ago, so I'm thinking it's some Blogger glitch. My apologies in any case, I approved it because it was not exactly duplicate (I try to delete duplicate comments, which also happen and I blame Blogger for that).

      Delete
    26. No need to apologize. I think the error was in Chrome. Hard to tell if a comment went through or not when Chrome crashes and Google has no one to blame but itself if its own blogging software can't get along with its browser lol.

      In terms of religious changes, keep in mind that Rabbinic Judaism evolved in Babylon out of Pharisaic Judaism. Changes have certainly occurred, but I don't think one can say that modern Judaism has strayed particularly far from its roots. Rather, I think it would be more correct to say that some diversity of the faith was lost during the exile. For the core of the Torah, we do have the Greek Septuagint, the Samaritan Torah and the Dead Sea Scrolls to compare as independent sources. Even on the basis of the Torah alone, I think just about anyone would view modern Judaism as the closest religious tradition to Judaism as it was practiced in the First Century BCE, with Islam being the next closest religion. The Qu'ran itself acknowledges differences between its doctrine and both Judaism and Christianity in the chapter "The Cow" which is actually a pretty enjoyable read in and of itself.

      You might find it interesting btw to know that just as their is a schism in Judaism between those who follow Oral Law (Rabbinic Judaism) and those who do not (Karaite Judaism), a similar schism exists in Islam with mainstream Muslims and those who follow the Qu'ran only (with the latter group being a small minority in both cases).

      The biggest reforms in the Israelite religion seem to have occurred with the Deuteronomists around 650 BCE and by returning Babylonian exiles around 550 BCE. I believe the 650 BCE reforms are most noticeable in the archaeological record.

      I don't think the Egyptian origin for both Moses and monotheism are in favour these days. Indeed, it wasn't until the Deuteronomists that Israelite religion seems to have become distinctly monotheistic, with YHWH transitioning from being the national god of Israel (and Judah) to becoming the one and only God.

      My personal suspicion is that Moses' Egyptian links may have been an attempt to justify and codify the alliance that Israel (Samaria) and Judah entered with Egypt to counter balance Neo-Assyrian and later Babylonian expansion in the area. Though I think deeper Egyptian connections are certainly plausible, along side groups like the Apiru, Sashu and various other semi-nomadic groups in the region around ~1,200 BC (which when "Israel" is first mentioned).

      Delete
    27. "Changes have certainly occurred, but I don't think one can say that modern Judaism has strayed particularly far from its roots."

      That's surely debatable. The Talmud is inspired on the OT but it is not the OT, much like the Gospels or the Quran are inspired on it but also reform it quite significantly. It is clearly a reform, like the other sects. More or less? Well, debatable.

      We could enter on whether Phariseism is more true to the original Judaism than the original teachings of Christ for example - it is quite obvious that in the Hellenistic/Roman period there were schisms and sects and various interpretations already: that there was not one single Judaism but several. The real issue is that it is a new school that, while having roots in ancient Judaism, is not the same thing because it introduces new teachings.

      Of course: adapt or die. From a secular viewpoint it is perfectly understandable but from a religious one it is quite more questionable, I presume. What matters to me is that: both Rabbinic Jews and Christian Jews were proselytizing massively among other peoples in that era and also that there was a point where there was no clear difference between both sects as in "Jews vs non-Jews".

      The fact of Saul/Paul being ordered by the Jewish hierarchy of Tarsus (one of the best candidates for epicenter of modern Western Jewish genesis) to fight the incipient Christian sect as a heresy, clearly indicates that Christianism was a Jewish sect. Exactly the same about the religion persecution of Jesus. Why did Pilate wash his hands? To signal that it was an internal Jewish affair and that, as Roman, he could not care less, beyond his obligations as governor.

      "Even on the basis of the Torah alone, I think just about anyone would view modern Judaism as the closest religious tradition to Judaism as it was practiced in the First Century BCE, with Islam being the next closest religion".

      Maybe, very debatable in any case. (And why 1st century and not the time of Moses or Solomon, I wonder? Hellenization and "Babylonization" was already strong in that late time as was massive proselytism). Some traditions like the Passover are stronger in Christianism, others are very strong in Islam, like the continuity of ritualized animal sacrifices, which has vanished from Rabbinic Judaism. It's complicated and I really do not wish to get too deep into this discussion. What matters is that all are sects derived from the same root in an era of "primitive globalization" in which no endogamous ghetto cult could survive anymore: they adapted and expanded and that way they survived.

      "You might find it interesting btw to know that just as their is a schism in Judaism between those who follow Oral Law (Rabbinic Judaism) and those who do not (Karaite Judaism), a similar schism exists in Islam with mainstream Muslims and those who follow the Qu'ran only (with the latter group being a small minority in both cases)."

      Interesting to know indeed - although pretty much irrelevant to the discussion because of their tiny minority status.

      ...

      Delete
    28. ...

      "I don't think the Egyptian origin for both Moses and monotheism are in favour these days. Indeed, it wasn't until the Deuteronomists that Israelite religion seems to have become distinctly monotheistic, with YHWH transitioning from being the national god of Israel (and Judah) to becoming the one and only God".

      How can "he" be "the one and only God" while it was only an ethnic deity? I mean for as long as Yewe (Yaveh in common transliterations) was restricted to a single "chosen people" it is theologically impossible that "he" was an absolute "God", even for the reductive parameters of Humankind. In fact I would argue the same to those sectarians of present day who claim to have the "copyright of God": a partial god can't be a real God. I'm pretty much Spinozian in all this, to be honest.

      Yewe was anyhow originally an unnamed god: in the Exodus and such "he" is not only not named but the name cannot be uttered at all. That's why I think that "he" was originally Amun but with a synchretic element favored by the "nameless" thing. Amun was not monotheistic anyhow, although he had elements of "supreme god". The only Egyptian mono-theos known was Aten, which was fought against precisely by the priests of Amun. These are two different "Egyptian theories" because there are also those who think that Jewish religion derives from the solar cult of Aten but that's not the theory I spouse. IMO Moses was at least inspired by his own knowledge of the cult of Amun. A third "Egyptian theory" would be that Yewe is Seth, just because the Semitic Hyksos venerated him, but I'd rather think that Seth is related to the name Satan, and in this sense the ancient Jews followed the Egyptian idea of Seth as "the enemy" (even if Satan is seldom mentioned in the Bible).

      "My personal suspicion is that Moses' Egyptian links may have been an attempt to justify and codify the alliance that Israel (Samaria) and Judah entered with Egypt to counter balance Neo-Assyrian and later Babylonian expansion in the area."

      That would basically make Moses totally ahistorical, a pure invention. In time of Moses (est. late 2nd millennium BCE) there was no Assyrian threat yet but there was very clear Egyptian threat and even at times domination of the Levant. IMO the breakaway of the Semitic slaves with the Egyptian Empire fits well with Amenmesse's chronology because it is in that time when the Egyptian grip on the Levant collapsed definitively, as it fell to its own intestine quarrels.

      We have the following likely chronology:
      1. c. 1330, the Queen of Beth Shemesh asked for help from Egypt but, apparently failed to get it. Beth Shemesh is the first town in Palestine to show an archaeological record consistent with the Jewish taboo of porc.
      2. c. 1210, the Meneptah stele declares the vanquising of Israel by Egypt. The first historical mention of Israel ever. It may well be the root of the "slavery" period.
      3. c. 1200 Amenmesse (Moses?) is believed to have briefly ruled as usurper-pharaoh. He was probably never killed (he was not in his tomb, unlike his relatives)... until Aaron arranged his death at Mt. Horeb. His successor, rival and maybe (half?) brother, Siptah, was the son of a Canaanite concubine (Sutailja or Shoteraja), just for the record.

      So I guess it's quite plausible that there was a seed of Israel before Moses/Amenmesse but that it was destroyed by Meneptah, the last pharaoh to control Canaan ever. Enslaved remnants of this realm were enlisted by Moses (possibly part-Hebrew by origin) for his own purposes but he ended up being recycled into the founder of a new nation-sect, after being defeated by Siptah.

      Delete
    29. "That's surely debatable. The Talmud is inspired on the OT but it is not the OT, much like the Gospels or the Quran are inspired on it but also reform it quite significantly. It is clearly a reform, like the other sects. More or less? Well, debatable."

      That's not quite how it works. A better analogy IMHO for the relationship between the Talmud and the Torah is the relationship between the Hadith and overall jurisprudence to the Quran. The Talmud is not universally considered a divinely inspired text in and of itself (unlike the Gospel or the Quran). Conservative and Reform Judaism do not view it as divinely inspired or binding. Karaite Judaism rejects in completely of course.

      In Christianity, the equivalent would be closer to sacred tradition (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_Tradition).

      "We could enter on whether Phariseism is more true to the original Judaism than the original teachings of Christ for example"

      The Sadducees rejected the Oral Law that became the Talmud at the time. As I mentioned before, a lot of the diversity in Judaism was lost with the exile. Though much of that diversity seems to be returning today.

      "The fact of Saul/Paul being ordered by the Jewish hierarchy of Tarsus (one of the best candidates for epicenter of modern Western Jewish genesis) to fight the incipient Christian sect as a heresy, clearly indicates that Christianism was a Jewish sect."

      I don't think there's any mystery about where Rabbinic Judaism developed, but Rabbinic Judaism isn't a purely "western Judaism" thing. The Babylonian Talmud gives a pretty good idea of what were the most important cities at the time. The Pumbedita and Sura Academies were certainly important centres for centuries.

      Christianity certainly was a Jewish sect at its inception. I would argue that under Paul's influence that gradually ceased diminished though. The Saint Thomas Christians in India give a pretty good idea of what early Christianity would have looked like.

      "Maybe, very debatable in any case. (And why 1st century and not the time of Moses or Solomon, I wonder? Hellenization and "Babylonization" was already strong in that late time as was massive proselytism)."

      For one because we don't have any good records of the time of Solomon or Moses, so it's hard for us to say anything there. We do have Samaritans and Karaites to compare Rabbinic Judaism to though, and both seem much closer to Rabbinic Judaism than to other Abrahamic faiths.

      I think you're making a bit of a silly distinction here anyways. Jews are the people who consider themselves Jews. No more and no less. We could take any arbitrary point in time to establish some sort of "real" ethnicity and none would be any more valid than another.

      Delete
    30. "That's not quite how it works."

      Yes, it is how it works: "divinely inspired" or not what matters is whether it rules the religious community. From a secular viewpoint, all the rest is mere theological speculation, what matters is effective doctrine and law as taught to children and shared by the religious community. We are talking of the ideology and culture that keeps together the community, all the rest is mere empty chatter.

      "As I mentioned before, a lot of the diversity in Judaism was lost with the exile."

      There was no significant "exile". The bulk of the Diaspora was created out of conversion. It's not the same exile as proselytism, actually quite the opposite. I don't know for sure but I can guess that the sects that did not prosper were those which were not proselytistic or were unsuccessful at it. When the Roman repression (and quite likely partial genocide) fell on Palestine, those sects ceased to exist one way or the other.

      "Christianity certainly was a Jewish sect at its inception."

      And so it is today. Like Talmudic Judaism it was reformed in order to adapt to the new era, just that in different ways and with different degrees of success.

      "... because we don't have any good records of the time of Solomon or Moses"...

      The Pentateuch, attributed traditionally to Moses' authorship, are good accounts on how early Judaism was. Many of those laws were gradually abandoned, abolished or reformed by new doctrine. A lot of new norms and traditions arose instead.

      "I think you're making a bit of a silly distinction here anyways. Jews are the people who consider themselves Jews."

      That's OK for today's conventional ethno-religious classification but what interests us is identification with ancient Jews, both genetically and culturally. My whole point is that Judaism in the Hellenistic-Roman era (and later as well but critically at that point) experienced many changes, including the widespread assimilation of other peoples by conversion and doctrinal reforms that were to some extent related to this phenomenon of expansion.

      A secondary but not less important question is that for me as non-JCM (JCM=Judeo-Christo-Muslim), the distinctions you make among these sects are as shallow and irrelevant as the distinctions that can be between any two Christian, Jewish or Muslim sects. For me they are all Jews in their religious beliefs, which are very much opposed to what I consider healthy and good. In the end I have the same kind of discussions with a Christian, a Muslim and (would I know one) surely a Rabbinic Jew. Some details may vary but the core issues are exactly the same: "it's in my holy book", "God said this or that" and all that annoying junk.

      They are just branches of the same tree. Within the tree you may think that there are a lot of differences but form outside it's clearly a single homogeneous thing.

      Delete
    31. "How can "he" be "the one and only God" while it was only an ethnic deity?"

      I don't think it's a big stretch to go from "our god is better than those other gods" to "our god is great and the other gods are false" to "our god is the God of all." YHWH also seems to have taken on aspects of the Caaninite El, the chief god of their pantheon. El Elyon is actually one of the names of God in the Bible. A transition from henotheism to monotheism isn't that shocking to me at least (the same processes occurred in Atenism as a matter of fact).

      I don't really see the Seth-Satan connection. Etymologically Satan just means "the adversary" in Hebrew (just as Shayṭān does in Arabic). The name Shaytan amongst the Indoeuropean Yazidi seems to just be a very unfortunate coincidence.

      I do think some influence from the mostly (thought not entirely) Semitic Hykos is plausible. I don't think a direct link from Amun is though. The imagery and terminology just don't seem to match. The terms for God of El Elyon and YHWH both have direct parallels in the Caananite El and Yaw. Asherah is also referred to in the Bible just as she is present in early Israelite archaeology. I'm not sure why foreign gods need to be invoked when there are so many links to Caananite and Semitic religion?

      "That would basically make Moses totally ahistorical, a pure invention."

      That's my suggestion, yes. At least the present form of his story. It seems rather convenient that this origin myth shows up that happens to justify a hereditary priestly elite allied with Egypt against Assyria. (Note - reading more articles on this it seems the order of composition is still quite disputed, though at a similar time frame more or less.)

      I think it's worth noting that Moses also had links to Midan through his father in law btw. They may be some kernel of truth preserved there as well.

      Delete
    32. "Yes, it is how it works: "divinely inspired" or not what matters is whether it rules the religious community. "

      There's a distinction between someone believing text A is the Word of God and someone believing text A is just interpreting the Word of God. It can be a pretty important one at times. How authoritative one views such an interpretation can matter a lot. Apparently enough for some people to kill over. :/

      "There was no significant "exile"."

      Whatever you want to call the destruction of the Second Temple then. Judaism lost its recognized central authority.

      "My whole point is that Judaism in the Hellenistic-Roman era..."

      This is why I was insisting on focusing on that era, and not the era of Solomon or Moses. It also happens to be the best attested, which helps.

      "A secondary but not less important question is that for me as non-JCM (JCM=Judeo-Christo-Muslim), the distinctions you make among these sects are as shallow and irrelevant as the distinctions that can be between any two Christian, Jewish or Muslim sects. For me they are all Jews in their religious beliefs, which are very much opposed to what I consider healthy and good."

      That's because you're using Jewish as a substitute for what most people would call Abrahamic.

      "They are just branches of the same tree. Within the tree you may think that there are a lot of differences but form outside it's clearly a single homogeneous thing."

      They are branches of the same tree, but they are not homogeneous. Sardinians and Japanese are all branches of the same Out-of-Africa tree but that doesn't mean we can equate the two in all things.

      I think the genetics analogy may be apt here. Suppose there is a founding population called Abraham. I would view modern Judaism (and Samaritans) as primarily of that Abraham population, but with 2000-2500 years of drift. Christianity would be drawn primarily from that same population Abraham, but would have received some additional inputs as well as their own drift. Islam is also drawn from Abraham and also receive additional inputs, some shared with Christianity, and some not.

      Delete
    33. "That's because you're using Jewish as a substitute for what most people would call Abrahamic."

      I doubt that Abraham has any relevance. It is Moses (or at least the tradition attributed to him) who invents Judaism and, by extension, all its modern branches. If anything it'd be "Mosean".

      I normally use the terms Yahvistic (but, heh, some say Allah, others God, and others say nothing, so whatever) or JCM but Jewish or Judaic is good enough as well.

      "Whatever you want to call the destruction of the Second Temple then."

      I'd say Genocide but its exact terms are historically unclear.

      It does not matter much because the Diaspora and the diversity of sects pre-date it. The Roman genocide, as told by the Romans, was exhaustive and no Palestinian Jew supposedly survived unless enslaved. In practice it was probably less extreme (ancient history is full of exaggerations) and in any case it seems that Christians (Christian Jews from Palestine) were spared. But it was throughout enough to consolidate the Roman conquest for many centuries.

      What matters is that the Diaspora, largely caused by conversions, existed long before that dramatic episode.

      "They are branches of the same tree, but they are not homogeneous. Sardinians and Japanese are all branches of the same Out-of-Africa tree but that doesn't mean we can equate the two in all things."

      Apples and oranges: the timeline of Judaism is much more recent: approx. 20 times more recent. Also one thing is genetics and another ideology.

      "Suppose there is a founding population called Abraham. I would view modern Judaism (and Samaritans) as primarily of that Abraham population, but with 2000-2500 years of drift."

      Nope! Conversion was and still is the main method of expansion. That's why it is a religion and not a haplogroup. Judaism converted the Canaanites (by the sword surely but whatever) and later also other groups (Diaspora). Modern Palestinians descend in essence from the Canaanites (who became Jews and later Palestinians) while modern (Western) Jews descend mostly from the Diaspora converts (Greek and Aramaic speakers who became Jews a thousand years later), probably from those of Asia Minor especially. Similarly Christians (and Muslims) are mostly descendant from converts. So there is no substantial difference in ancestry and, if anything, Christian and Muslim Palestinians have a greater claim on the direct genetic origin from the Jews of Antiquity and the Iron Age.

      That's my whole point: there is no realistic genetic claim by modern Jews to descent from Ancient Jews: it's purely mythological.

      Delete
    34. "Apples and oranges: the timeline of Judaism is much more recent: approx. 20 times more recent. Also one thing is genetics and another ideology. "

      Memetics vs genetics. Not so different.

      "Nope! Conversion was and still is the main method of expansion."

      It's an analogy. Memes can spread by conversion. Drift in this would be ideological drift.

      I'd just add by the way that I think the Philistines deserve reference in terms of the history of Palestine. Gaza was never historically part of Israel, nor was it strictly Canaanite.

      Delete
    35. "Etymologically Satan just means "the adversary" in Hebrew (just as Shayṭān does in Arabic)."

      Could that also be the meaning of Seth (*Sūtaḫ) in Egyptian, another Afroasiatic language and the one most directly related to Semitic?

      " I don't think a direct link from Amun is though. The imagery and terminology just don't seem to match."

      Wikipedia says: In the New Kingdom, Amun became successively identified with all other Egyptian deities, to the point of virtual monotheism...

      Of course, if Amunism was present in Judaism all the time it is much easier to interpret some elements of Christianism, for example the trinity:

      In the Leiden hymns, Amun, Ptah, and Re are regarded as a trinity who are distinct gods but with unity in plurality.

      "All gods are three: Amun, Re and Ptah, whom none equals. He who hides his name as Amun, he appears to the face as Re, his body is Ptah."

      Amun in this verse is clearly a common name for God, whose real name is "hidden", just as in the Mosean tradition.

      The Judaic creation is basically a poor copy of the same story attributed to Ptah or Amun. True that they also have some Mesopotamian traditions like Noah's story, but the Egyptian influence seems more profound to my eyes.

      " The terms for God of El Elyon and YHWH both have direct parallels in the Caananite El and Yaw."

      El is obviously a name for God or also god (uncapitalized) in Canaanite. But that kind of connection is almost a must considering the audience.

      As for Yaw (Yam, god of the sea), I see no obvious relation other than the name.

      "That's my suggestion, yes."

      I disagree: Moses must be a historical figure even if he is obviously made myth, much as his contemporary Herakles was surely a historical figure transformed into legend. His relevance in the formation of Judaism is too strong and his estimated chronology too recent. The details of the legend are of course debatable and many no doubt are imagined. But every legend contains a kernel of truth and in this case the figure of Moses is just too important to be merely mythical, much as Jesus to Christians, Moses to Muslims, Luther to Protestants or Marx to Marxists. With time the original story is deformed but the figure is still too important to be merely mythical.

      Delete
    36. "I'd just add by the way that I think the Philistines deserve reference in terms of the history of Palestine. Gaza was never historically part of Israel, nor was it strictly Canaanite."

      True but it was a small territory. Today's Gazans mostly come from near Tel Aviv and other ethnically cleansed areas of "Israel".

      Delete
    37. >Could that also be the meaning of Seth (*Sūtaḫ) in Egyptian, another Afroasiatic language and the one most directly related to Semitic?

      Seth is also present in a separate from in the Hebrew Bible as Seth, the brother of Cain and Abel and ancestor of Noah. While Seth is not the one who commits fratricide in the Hebrew Bible, it's interesting that he's the brother of the one who does. I think that would be plausible as a link.

      Keep in mind that the word "satan" is used many times just to mean the word "adversary". For example in 1 Samuel 29:4 it says:

      "But the Philistine commanders were angry. "Send him back to the town you've given him!" they demanded. "He can't go into the battle with us. What if he turns against us in battle and becomes our adversary? Is there any better way for him to reconcile himself with his master than by handing our heads over to him?""

      The word "adversary" there is satan in the original Hebrew.

      "The adversary" - ie some specific being - is referred to 13 times. 10 of those references are to the member of the Divine Council that God instructs to test Job. The other 3 are in Zecharia.

      "And Jehovah saith unto the Adversary: 'Jehovah doth push against thee, O Adversary, Yea, push against thee doth Jehovah, Who is fixing on Jerusalem, Is not this a brand delivered from fire?'"

      1 Chronicles 21:1 contains a notable though somewhat ambiguous use of the word "satan" too.

      "And there standeth up an adversary against Israel, and persuadeth David to number Israel," (Young's Literal Translation)

      Alternatively translated as:

      "And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel." (King James Bible)

      Which is correct?

      Either way, no explicit link is made between any of this cases. I think it's pretty clear that during the First Temple Era, the concept of some sort of personification of evil was completely absent, and it only crept in during Persian rule and after (likely under the influence of Zoroastrianism and later Manichaeism). Satan couldn't be Seth because there was no Satan.

      "But every legend contains a kernel of truth"

      Yah, you're right of course. I think a better analogy would be King Arthur though. If you took a copy of a modern version of the legend to the historical Arthur (whoever he may have been), would he even recognize himself? I doubt it. I just wouldn't assume any specific element of the Moses story is part of the kernel. The story of his birth is pretty clearly derived from the legend of Sargon of Akkad's birth, and for all we know that may have been lifted from a previous source too. I would not take for granted that there was only one Moses either.

      "True but it was a small territory. Today's Gazans mostly come from near Tel Aviv and other ethnically cleansed areas of "Israel"."

      Yah. The was probably erased long before anyways.

      The Amun-Trinity suggestion is an interesting one. I've also heard the idea of a trinity attributed to Indoeuropean religion (the trifunctional hypothesis - reflecting three castes). The Hindu Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva) does not seem to be primarily Indoeuropean in origin though. Maybe there's a deeper relationship?

      Delete
    38. So just gave Behar's paper another read, and I thought I should point out that it does not show Jews clustering with Anatolians (as was claimed earlier). She shows a Cyprus-Druze-Samaritan cluster that many Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews fall under as well, but it is distinct from the Turkish cluster. In fact no Jewish sample clusters with Turks.

      Will save most of my comments for the PPNB (as Behar's paper actually agrees very well with that one).

      Delete
    39. Druzes are out of any comparison because they have their own component that is very distinct from anything else. Notice that while Palestinians and the (oversampled) Druzes form their own distinct components by K=8, Jews fail to show any such thing. They would probably at greater K-depths but that would also show lack of unity in Jewish ancestry (various founder effects, endogamy and such), so it was ignored in favor of a level that still allowed for some sort of apparent unity (I guess).

      They appear closest to Cypriots, yes, but not to Samaritans (lots more of "Arab" component). Turks are similar to Cypriots but their "European" component is almost all "Russian" instead of "Sardinian" (otherwise very similar). As I often say, 76 million Turks can't really be represented by a sample the same size of the one representing a mere 1 million Cypriots, so it is probable that there are areas in Anatolia (Cilicia maybe) where the Turks are more like Cypriots.

      Why I think Anatolia? Because of two reasons other than genetic: (1) the Hellenistic Diaspora was huge and scattered in Asia Minor and (2) Jews were expelled from Cyprus after a bloody ethnic war and forbidden to ever return. Unless the bulk of modern Western Jewish ancestry is actually derived of those Jews expelled from Cyprus, it just makes no sense they are from the island, so a nearby and genetically similar area should be suspected and the best candidate seems Turkey, large enough to hide lots of diversity ancient and modern.

      Delete
    40. I'm referring to the PCA. Behar explicitly shows a Cypriot-Druze-Samaritan cluster that is distinct from the Turkish cluster. Figure 1 here: http://bhusers.upf.edu/dcomas/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Behar2010.pdf The Turkish cluster is pretty dispersed but it still does not overlap with a single Jewish sample. Of course my previous criticism of PCAs still applies.

      There's also PCAs of eigenvectors 1/ 3 and 1/ 4 which may be of interest: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v466/n7303/extref/nature09103-s3.pdf Things are a bit more muddled but tell generally the same story (with Turks being particularly distant on eigenvector 4).

      Re: K=8 - I'm not sure we're looking at the same figure? There's no Druze component at K=8 or 9 or 10. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v466/n7303/extref/nature09103-s2.pdf Or are you looking at 4.b? It claims there's an explanation of what's going on there in the supplementary notes but I sure couldn't find it.

      At K=10, compared to Samaritans, Ashkenazi, Sephardics and Palestinians all have a small amount of additional amount of a "Mozabite" component. Palestinians also have an additional small sub-Saharan African component. Cypriots, Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews all have an additional European component. All of that seems fairly consistent with a common origin.

      "Why I think Anatolia? Because of two reasons other than genetic: (1) the Hellenistic Diaspora was huge and scattered in Asia Minor and (2) Jews were expelled from Cyprus after a bloody ethnic war and forbidden to ever return. Unless the bulk of modern Western Jewish ancestry is actually derived of those Jews expelled from Cyprus, it just makes no sense they are from the island, so a nearby and genetically similar area should be suspected and the best candidate seems Turkey, large enough to hide lots of diversity ancient and modern."

      I think your logic's getting a bit tortuous here. I can dig down and see if any of the Turkish samples were from Anatolia's southern coast though if you'd like. Cilicia would be interesting though - I believe it's the last place Sargon II conquered before turning south to Samaria ("Israel")? Either way it doesn't seem very logical for any conversions to be limited to Cyprus and Cilicia or thereabouts. If you have sources on either though I'd love to see them.

      "Turks are similar to Cypriots but their "European" component is almost all "Russian" instead of "Sardinian" (otherwise very similar)."

      That seems like a pretty big difference between the two. On the PCA of eigenvectors 1 and 3 Sardinians cluster close to this Cypriot-Levantine-West Jewish cluster though btw.

      One way or another I think it's pretty irrelevant to geopolitical considerations (which are probably colouring both of our views on the genetics). German recidivist claims on Silesia wouldn't give expelees' descendants a claim on the house of someone Polish family living there now, and that connection was only disrupted 70 years ago, not 2000. Whether Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews can trace 100%, 50%,1% or 0% of their ancestry to Palestine as little to nothing to do with the moral calculus (or lack thereof) involved in the region.

      Delete
    41. That PCA is a detail from a global PCA: the forces acting over it are mostly affinity to Africa and East Asia. Not really useful to discern the internal subtleties of the West Eurasian cluster. The gap between Cyprus and Turkey is absurdly gigantic, and the Western Jews are largely in the middle of it anyhow.

      "I'm not sure we're looking at the same figure?"

      Probably not. You're looking at the global graph and I at the West Eurasian one from the supp. material, which is the one I used to illustrate my comment back in the day (because it was the most meaningful one - what's up with those pointless global shallow analyses, really?)

      → http://leherensuge.blogspot.com/2010/06/jews-are-phoenicians-palestinians-are.html

      "Cilicia would be interesting though"...

      Tarsus was an important Diaspora center.

      "Either way it doesn't seem very logical for any conversions to be limited to Cyprus and Cilicia or thereabouts."

      I never claimed such thing.

      However I do wonder if certain Diaspora communities were central to the founding of modern Western Jews because otherwise their genetics should be a bit different, more diverse, at the very least between the various sub-groups. My impression is that there was only one quite specific population which founded the Western Jewry and that it should be one from Cyprus, Turkey or somewhere nearby.

      Sargon II is too old to matter. They have a Roman Era origin almost certainly.

      Never compared autosomally with Kurds. Do you think there's any chance they originated in that area specifically?

      "Whether Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews can trace 100%, 50%,1% or 0% of their ancestry to Palestine as little to nothing to do with the moral calculus (or lack thereof) involved in the region."

      I wholeheartedly agree.

      But, regardless, the issue of modern Jews' origins is very interesting, although an ideological minefield too.

      Delete
    42. "That PCA is a detail from a global PCA: the forces acting over it are mostly affinity to Africa and East Asia."

      Same thing shows up in their West Eurasian PCA too. But yah, really a PCA doesn't tell us as much as it could.

      "You're looking at the global graph and I at the West Eurasian one from the supp. material, which is the one I used to illustrate my comment back in the day "

      I frankly think the global one is a bit more informative in this case though as we aren't really that interested in the last 1,000-2,000 years of drift that Druze and Bedouins have experienced, but rather deeper affinities. It also helps distinguish from later African admixture and other external influences (East Eurasian admixture from the original Turks).

      The West Eurasian specific one shows a similar picture though. The Turks are clearly too Caucasian (light blue) and not Yemeni Jew enough (light pink) to be the ancestors of a large part of Ashkenazi or Sephardic Jews. Supposing Cilicians are similar to Cypriots, they still actually suffer from the same problem, though to a lesser extent. To get a composition similar to modern Ashkenazi Jews you'd need a major contribution from a Levant population (as well as a later contribution from Europeans of course). So while a Cypriot-Cilician contribution is certainly possible and plausible, it don't think the data here supports it a dominant factor.

      I think your original title "Jews are 'Phoenicians, Palestinians are 'Jews'" was particularly apt though. Allow me to restate it as follows:

      Jews are Canaanite. Palestinians are Canaanite.

      Both Phoenicians and Hebrews were Canaanite peoples that spoke Canaanite languages. The two groups were pretty closely related. I'm doubtful the two would have been easily distinguished even in 100 BCE or 400 BCE for that matter. My understanding was that Hebrews originally had a bit more of a northern skew in their demographics both due to the climate (http://www.diercke.de/bilder/omeda/800/10022E_2_Israel_Niederschlae.jpg) and due to the location of the original kingdom/kingdoms itself (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/bd/Kingdoms_of_Israel_and_Judah_map_830.svg/720px-Kingdoms_of_Israel_and_Judah_map_830.svg.png).

      "However I do wonder if certain Diaspora communities were central to the founding of modern Western Jews because otherwise their genetics should be a bit different, more diverse, at the very least between the various sub-groups. My impression is that there was only one quite specific population which founded the Western Jewry and that it should be one from Cyprus, Turkey or somewhere nearby."

      Keep in mind there was a pretty significant population bottleneck that western Jewish populations went through that probably wiped out a lot of diversity too. I don't think any single origin point of admixture is likely though, but rather gradual layers over time. As with any ethnic group really. Tarsus was definitely an important centre, but so was Libya and Alexandria and other places too. Maybe ancient DNA will shed some light in the future.

      Delete
    43. "Sargon II is too old to matter. They have a Roman Era origin almost certainly."

      Well, Sargon II (and the Bible) claimed to have sent the entire population of the northern Kingdom of Israel into exile and brought in exiles from other lands to replace them. Archaeology (and the Samaritans) disagree and IIRC it couldn't have been more than 20% of the population. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if this sort of practice by the Assyrians made the structure of Middle Eastern populations a bit more of a nonsensical jumbled mess than it might otherwise have been.

      "Never compared autosomally with Kurds. Do you think there's any chance they originated in that area specifically?"

      That's an interesting question isn't it. Quite a few studies have found a lot of genetic similarities IIRC. Could be both a source and a destination (as well as for other northern Semitic groups). I doubt there is only a single source though.

      "But, regardless, the issue of modern Jews' origins is very interesting, although an ideological minefield too."

      Definitely.

      Delete
    44. The Druze and Bedouin detail is because they are over-sampled, something (oversampling small odd highly drifted peoples) that always distorts autosomal studies. I tend to simply ignore such samples or at least reduce them to small numbers, so they don't take over the graph. Anyhow, I'm not sure that the Bedouin drift is as recent as you think.

      "I think your original title "Jews are 'Phoenicians, Palestinians are 'Jews'" was particularly apt though".

      The problem is that actually Jews don't match so well with Lebanese (~ancient Phoenicians) as the Behar study suggests. You have to look at the full picture: the Atzmon study, my own 2011 test... In autosomal genetics there's no one study that can be 100% right, it will always be just a particular approximation, always needed of confirmation from different approaches.

      That's why I have returned to the Anatolian (or Cypriot) theory. Because Turks fit much better than Lebanese or Syrians, never mind Palestinians.

      "Keep in mind there was a pretty significant population bottleneck that western Jewish populations went through"...

      Sephardic Jews seem much less extreme in this aspect than Askhenazi or Moroccan Jews: they don't rush to form their own cluster as do the other two and that means that they are the best subpopulation to use as reference. Otherwise the three groups are quite similar among them, clearly indicating a common origin.

      Regarding the Samaritans the problem is much like with Assyrians, who are not surely descendant of the ancient Assyrians but a population founded in late Antiquity to the Middle Ages on religious basis. Basically anyone believing in the Bible could have reasons to call themselves "Samaritans" and it is plausible that modern Samaritans stem from some such Jewish community and do not represent the bulk of the descendants of ancient Samaritans but a very specific community (genuinely Samaritan or not). As far as I know they only live in two very specific villages that could have been settled in many periods and their numbers are less than people live in my street.

      These religious communities so hyped in the Jewish genetic literature in some cases are actually not reliable reference of anything but their own misty identity.

      [Re. Kurds] "Quite a few studies have found a lot of genetic similarities IIRC. "

      Only very specific lineages, always or mostly Y-DNA (there was one mtDNA study but mostly indicated diverse local origins, although in West Eurasia there are always some doubts about the specifics). But I've never seen an autosomal DNA comparison.



      Delete
  4. Regarding the admixture of modern Cypriots, my experience from the Cyprus DNA project makes me conclude that Cypriots are a hybrid population (a mixture between an ancient European Mediterranean component and an ancient Levantine component). This is nicely appearing in the majority of PCA analyses where Cypriots occupy the space between Greeks/South Italians and Lebanese (https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9o3EYTdM8lQTmtDVWVBNkZXenM/edit). This space is also somewhat occupied by diaspora Jews, who are in fact, also a hybrid population. Basically, Cypriots have too high 'AtlanticMed' admixture (20% and higher) to cluster with either modern Lebanese or modern Turks (<10% for both). In addition, modern Lebanese have higher African/Arabic admixture than Cypriots and Turks have much higher East Asian admixture. On the other hand, Greeks and Italians have much higher North European admixture than Cypriots. If you have any comments on the admixture of modern Cypriots I would be very interested to hear. Also note that the 12 Cypriots that appear in all admixture publications (originally sampled by Behar et al, if I am not mistaken) are not necessarily a representative sample. There are several Cypriots in the Cyprus DNA project which show substantially higher west European admixture, than the 12 included in the published admixture studies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't really comment on this other than saying that an arguable partial Bronze Age Greek colonization of Cyprus could explain most or all those traits.

      I don't trust Dienekes' zombies too much because he has taken way too many arbitrary decision in their selection (for example he discarded the Basque component even if European PCAs systematically make it outstandingly relevant and Basques are not as endogamous as Sardinians or Finns, which he accepts as reference populations) and he uses almost invariably global or all Eurasia samples, what IMO is pointless noise addition to the cost of resolution.

      As for PCAs they are only shallowly informative and don't help that much.

      So I feel that the issue demands a more nuanced approach, one that I do not know of so far.

      Delete

Please, be reasonably respectful when making comments. I do not tolerate in particular sexism, racism nor homophobia. Personal attacks, manipulation and trolling are also very much unwelcome here.The author reserves the right to delete any abusive comment.

Preliminary comment moderation is... OFF (keep it that way, please)