The origins of the Avars have been explained with ancient DNA

The origins of the Avars have been explained with ancient DNA

Reconstruction of an ancient horse-drawn carriage during the Avar period on Grave 1341/1503 of the Derecske-Bikás-dűlő site (Déri Museum, Debrecen). Available: © Ilona C. Kiss

Not much known before the Huns of Attila, the Avars were their victorious successors. They ruled most of Europe and Eastern Europe for almost 250 years. We know they came from Central Asia in the sixth century, but ancient writers and modern historians have long debated their origin.

Currently, a multidisciplinary research team of geneticists, archeologists and historians, including researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, obtain and study the earliest genomes from elite Avar fossils. seriousness seen in modern Hungary. This study reveals the genetic origin of the Avar elite in the farthest reaches of East Central Asia. It provides accurate genetic information for one of the largest and fastest -growing movements in ancient human history.

In the 560s, the Avars established a kingdom that lasted more than 200 years, in the middle of the Carpathian Basin. Despite much intellectual debate, their country of birth and origin are unclear. They were first identified from the historical sources of their enemies, the Byzantines, who wondered about the cause of the terrible Avar warriors after their immediate voyage to Europe. Did they come from the kingdom of Rouran in the Mongolian steppe (which was only destroyed by the Turks), or would one believe the Turks who vehemently disputed this inheritance?

Historians have wondered if it was a well -organized group of foreigners or a group of refugees. Archaeological research has pointed to differences between the Carpathian Basin and Eurasian nomadic artifacts (weapons, ships, horse harnesses), for example, a gold pectoral-like lunula used as a symbol of power. . We also know that the Avars introduced stirrup in Europe. However, we have not been able to determine their origin in the Eurasian steppes.

In this study, a multidisciplinary team – with researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, the ELTE University and the Institute of Archeogenomics of Budapest, Harvard Medical School in Boston, the Austrian Academy of Science and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton – 66 people from the Carpathian Basin were surveyed. The study includes eight valuable Avar tombs known, filled with gold objects, and others from the land before the Avar period.

“We are addressing a question that has been a mystery for more than 1400 years: who were the Avar elites, the mysterious founders of a kingdom that almost broke up Constantinople and for 200 years ruled the lands of modern Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Austria, Croatia and Serbia? ” explains Johannes Krause, senior author of the study.

The origins of the Avars have been explained with ancient DNA

Derecske-Bikás-dűlő, Tomb 1341/1503 (Déri Museum, Debrecen). Available: © Szilvia Döbröntey-David

Moving long distances is the fastest in human history

The Avars did not abandon the written accounts of their history and these early genome-wide data provided important clues about their origin. “The historical contextualization of the archaeogenetic effects allows us to reduce the time of the expected Avar migration. They covered more than 5000 kilometers in a few years from Mongolia to the Caucasus,” he said. “And after ten years of living in what is now Hungary. This is the fastest move in human history that we can rebuild to this day,” said Choongwon Jeong. , lead author of the study.

Guido Gnecchi-Ruscone, lead author of the study, added, “in addition to their direct connection to Northeast Asia and their origins following the fall of the Rouran Empire, we also see the 7th-century Avar period elites show 20 to 30. percent of the other non-native ancestors, perhaps related to the North Caucasus and the Western Asian Steppe, may show a further migration from the Steppe after the they arrived in the 6th century. ”

The Middle East genealogy is found in people from some places in the settlement between the Danube and Tisza rivers today in central Hungary. However, outside of the original residence, we see a great deal of integration between individuals, especially in the south-Hungarian area of ​​Kölked. This shows an elite Avars alien ruling a large population with the help of a heterogeneous local elite.

These interesting results indicate the extent to which there is a potential for mixed consensus among geneticists, archeologists, historians and anthropologists for the study of the “Migration period” in the first millennium CE.

The research is published in Phone.

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More information:
Johannes Krause, Ancient genomes show the origin and rapid movement of the trans-Eurasian migration of 7th Century Avar elites, Phone (2022). DOI: 10.1016 / j.cell.2022.03.007.

Journal information:

Presented by Max Planck Society

Directions: Explained the origin of Avars with ancient DNA (2022, April 1) retrieved on 2 April 2022 from html

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