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Thread: Ancient East, West and North Germanics had different Y-DNA lineages

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    Post Ancient East, West and North Germanics had different Y-DNA lineages

    One of the most exciting and fascinating aspects of Y-DNA analysis is to be able to retrace the lineages of ancient peoples and their migrations or colonisations. It's intellectually stimulating because there are so many Y-DNA lineages all mixed up nowadays that need to be disentangled to make sense of what happened in history. I have already identified most if not all the ancient Roman Y-haplogroups and we also have a pretty good idea of what the ancient Celtic and Slavic haplogroups were. The latest additions were E-V13 and J2b2-Z628 (aka Z597) among the original Slavic, Celtic, Italic but also Germanic lineages, all descended from a common Proto-Indo-European source around the Carpathians.


    Core Germanic lineages

    All Germanic people shared I1 and R1b-U106 lineages in various proportions, with West Germanics having the highest percentage of R1b-U106, North Germanics the highest I1, and East Germanics the highest E-V13. Both I2a2a-L801 and R1a-L664 are also found among North and West Germanics, but may be absent from East Germanics.

    Lineages of Alpine Celtic or Italic origin such as R1b-U152 and G2a-L497 are also found among all Germanic peoples, although they are rarer in Norway and Sweden.

    A specific subset of subclades appear to have expanded together during the Iron Age from southern Scandinavia (Denmark and Scania) and are now found in all North and West Germanic populations (East Germanics may have originated in another part of Scandinavia). I will call them the core Germanic clades. These include two large branches of R1b-U106, namely R1b-Z18 (TMRCA 3800 ybp, but most of its subclades are under 2200 years old) and R1b-L48 (4700 ybp), the L22 (4000 ybp) and Z382 (3400 ybp) branches of I1 and all clades downstream of I2a2a-L801 (4100 ybp). It is likely that some E-V13 clades were also part of the blend, but they haven't been identified yet (although a good candidate is E-L540, with is mostly found in/around Germany and Scandinavia).


    North Germanic lineages

    Modern Scandinavians have unique Y-haplogroups that are usually not found anywhere else except in places settled by the Vikings. These include N1c1-L550 (TMRCA 2900 ybp) , Q1a2-L527 (3100 ybp), Q1a2-L804 (3200 ybp), R1a-Z284 (4300 ybp) and R1b-L238 (4500 ybp). The last one is also found in North Germany, Poland and Britain, but the vast majority of individuals in this haplogroup belong to the almost exclusively Nordic Y10824 clade (TMRCA 1700 ybp).

    Aside from that North Germanic have a higher frequency of I1 than other Germanics and several I1 branches are typically Nordic, such as I1-Y11221 (TMRCA 3000 ybp), I1-L22 (4000 ybp) and I1-Z382 (3400 ybp).

    R1a-L664 branches that are of Nordic origin are R1a-S2894 and R1a-S3479.


    West Germanic lineages

    The majority of R1b-U106 clades are found in West Germanic countries. Some of them include Celto-Germanic lineages from central and northern Germany and the Low Countries that only became Germanic after Germanic tribes descended from Scandinavia from 750 BCE onwards. That is the case of large branches like R1b-DF96 (3800 ybp) and R1b-U198 (3400 ybp)and many minor branches (that is to say most branches except DF98, Z18 and L48).

    Other R1b clades than U106 are also unique to West Germanics, such as R1b-DF19 (4500 ybp, found in Germany, the Benelux, France, Britain and Ireland) and R1b-DF99 (4200 ybp, found in West Germany, Switzerland, Britain and Ireland).

    The principal West Germanic branch of I1 is I1-Z138 (4600 ybp). All other branches under Z59 or CTS6364 have a strong presence in Scandinavia, but many are also found in West Germanic countries, especially downstream of L22 and Z382.

    The R1a-S2857 branch of L664 appears to be West Germanic, while the minor YP5527 branch could be Celtic or Celto-Germanic but later assimilated by Germanic tribes.


    East Germanic lineages

    I have been trying to identify the Y-DNA of the Goths and Vandals for a while as these were two unusual Germanic tribes. They were both East Germanic, and therefore more distantly related to West Germanics like the Anglo-Saxons, Franks and Lombards, or to the North Germanics who remained in Scandinavia and later became the Vikings.

    The main I1 lineage of the East Germanics appear to have been the Z63 branch and more specifically I1-BY351 and I1-S2078. These are found in all places along the migration path of the Goths, from Germany and Poland to Ukraine, the Balkans (and Turkey), Hungary, Switzerland, Italy (including Sardinia), Spain and Portugal.

    Interestingly, two other major Germanic haplogroups, I2a2a-L801 and R1a-L664 appear to be mostly absent from Eastern and Southern Europe (except I-L801 in northern Sicily, presumably of Norman origin), which indicates that these lineages were not present among the East Germanic tribes, but principally among North and West Germanics.

    The Goths almost certainly mixed with Slavic tribes in Poland and Ukraine, as R1a-CTS1211 is found in all the places they settled, such as Italy, southern France and Spain (and obviously in the Balkans although it is mixed with later CTS1211 from the South Slavic expansion).
    On the other hand it seems that the Goths possessed a considerable percentage of E-V13, probably acquired in East Germany, Poland and Ukraine. I am increasingly convinced that several large branches of E-V13 were brought to Central Europe during the Corded Ware period and expanded during the Unetice and Tumulus periods. Some in the south would become Hallstatt and Italic lineages, while those in the North would be assimilated by the Germanic tribes who descended from Scandinavia during the Iron Age. The Goths would have spread those E-V13 lineages from the North European Plain to the Balkans, Italy and Spain. The E-V13 phylogeny is still too incomplete to know for sure at the moment, but good candidates include the CTS9320 branch (3000 years old, found in Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Croatia, Albania, Greece, northern Italy, Sardinia but also Norway), L241 (found in Ukraine, Romania and Sardinia) and the S2972 (found among the Chuvash, in Macedonia, Bosnia and Sardinia, but also Ireland). These clades may have originated during the Unetice period and could be shared with Celts too.

    It's hard to estimate the proportion of each haplogroup that the Goths would have carried, mostly because E-V13 is a pan-Indo-European lineage and its deep clades haven't been well studied. In 2015 I hypothesised that a group of Goths from the Carpathians migrated to the Volga-Ural region and contributed substantial ancestry to the Mordvins, Chuvash and Tatars based on their considerable percentages of I1-Z63, R1b-U106, R1a-M458 and R1a-CTS1211. Of course a lot of CTS1211 came from Slavic Russians. But if we include only the I1 and R1b-U106, the Mordvins and Chuvash have 7% of it and the Tatars 17%. They also have a bit of I2a2a. I originally assumed it would be the Germanic L801, but it now rather seems to be the East European L701, which makes sense since I2-L801 isn't so rare in places settled by the Goths. However they also have high percentages of E-V13 and I recently found on the FTDNA Project for Mordovia a individual who tested positive for the E-Z17264 (2500 ybp) clade downstream of CTS9320, which is also found in Greece and Sardinia! It's also the one found in Norway. With such a young TMRCA, it can only have been spread by the Goths to places so remote from each others.

    Also noteworthy is the presence of very young clades of J2b2-Z628 in the Volga-Ural region. The Mordvins, Tatars and Bashkirs all possess between 4% and 10% of J2b2 and it seems to be exclusively the J-Y12000 formed 2500 years ago and with a TMRCA of 1450 years. But the truly interesting thing is that its parent clade, J-Z8429 (TMRCA 2700 ybp), is found in Norway, Germany, Czechia, Italy and Spain! Once again it could have been spread by the Goths.

    If the frequencies observed in the Volga-Ural region are any indication, the Goths could have possessed more E-V13 (3-14%), J2b2 (4-10%), R1a-M458 (2-5%) and R1a-CTS1211 (? probably more than 7%) than either I1 (3-10%) or R1b-U106 (3-7%). But a strong founder effect could have changed completely the original proportions, so let's remain careful. In any case, if I1-Z63 might be the least ambiguous indicator of Gothic ancestry in southern Europe. In Italy, southern France and Spain, R1a-CTS1211 can also only be Gothic. But the combined percentage should certainly be doubled, if not tripled to account for the E-V13, J2b2 and R1b-U106 that cannot yet distinguished from other historical peoples who brought them to southern Europe. In the Balkans, if we use only I1-Z63 as a proxy for Gothic Y-DNA, the percentage could easily be quadrupled. It wouldn't be surprising to find up to 20% of Gothic paternal lineages (i.e. mixed Slavo-Germanic Y-DNA brought by the Gothic confederacy) in parts of the Balkans like western Bulgaria or Serbia.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 21-06-18 at 20:09.
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