A more recent, revised and updated version of this paper has been published (2019)


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Anatolian has long been considered the first to branch out of Proto-Indo-European, due to its peculiar archaisms[Trager and Smith 1950], even before the proposal of a Late Indo-European community from which all other known IE languages branched out[Meid 1975][Kortlandt 1990][Lehmann 1992][Dunkel 1997][Melchert 1998][Adrados 1998][Ringe 2006][Mallory and Adams 2007][Beekes 2011].

In the Kurgan model, Anatolian was originally associated with the expansion of the Kurgan culture of the lower Volga and Kazakhstan into the Transcaucasian Copper Age culture ca. 2400-2300 BC[Gimbutas 1963]. With time, the Maykop culture has been demonstrated to be much older than previously thought, coinciding with the Uruk expansion in Mesopotamia after about 3700 BC, and especially ca. 3350 BC[Anthony 2007].

Even this new chronology does not fit well with the much older guesstimates attributed to the split from a common Indo-Hittite stem. Also, there is a strong genetic continuity in the Armenian highlands during the Neolithic and Chalcolithic, and partially also during the Bronze Age and the Iron Age[Lazaridis et al. 2016][Margaryan et al. 2017], explained by a history of genetic isolation from their surroundings[Haber et al. 2017]. These data contradict an expansion of peoples from the steppe through the Caucasus.

In Anatolia, the low genetic diversity of early Middle Eastern farmers, which migrated into south-eastern Europe from north-western Anatolia during the early Neolithic, was broken by another wave of ‘eastern’ ancestry that reached south-eastern Europe before at least ca. 3800 BC. These migrants brought CHG ancestry and J-M304 lineages, typical of Caucasus and eastern Iranian populations, to the late Neolithic central and western Anatolia[Lazaridis et al. 2016][Kilinc et al. 2016]. This ‘eastern’ ancestry may have been caused by interactions between central Anatolia and the Fertile Crescent in the late Pre-Pottery Neolithic B[Özdoğan 2008], a migration related to other inter-regional exchanges, or admixture among local populations. The Tepecik-Çiftlik site’s presumed role as an obsidian hub and its cultural links with the Levant and might have started already before the Pottery Neolithic[Kilinc et al. 2016].

Anthony’s proposal of a western migration route of Anatolian-speaking peoples through the Balkans ca. 4200 BC[Anthony 2007][Anthony and Ringe 2015] is supported by the resurge of haplogroup R1b-M343 (potentially R1b1a1a2-M269 subclades) and the presence of steppe ancestry in the Balkans, although at a slightly earlier date, in the mid-fifth millennium[Mathieson et al. 2017].

Anatolian Middle Bronze Age migrations ca. 1900 BC saw the destruction of cities, from the Ezero culture in south-eastern Europe to north-west and north-central Anatolia[Mellaart 1958]. Although traditionally associated with an east-west movement of peoples, it could well represent the opposite direction, thus including expanding Anatolian-speaking peoples through northern Anatolia, from the west to the central part. Samples from Bronze Age south-western Anatolia (ca. 2800-1800 BC) show the ‘eastern’ contribution of CHG, but lacking steppe-related EHG and WHG ancestry[Lazaridis et al. 2016].

neolithic_europe.jpg Diachronic map of Early Neolithic migrations ca. 5000-4000 BC [Anthony 2007][Piezonka 2015][Czekaj-Zastawny, Kabaciński, and Terberger 2015].

The modern distribution of R1b1a1a2-M269 haplogroup in the Balkans and Anatolia (not reaching the Armenian highlands) points to the posterior migration of R1b1a1a2-M269 lineages with Anatolian languages. Its modern peak around Kosovo can be explained by posterior founder effects that might have happened during any expansion of peoples in the region in the past four thousand years, and which can tentatively be assigned to a recent Albanian expansion.

The modern distribution of R1b1a1a2-M269 haplogroup in the Balkans and Anatolia (not reaching the Armenian highlands) points to the posterior migration of R1b1a1a2-M269 lineages with Anatolian languages. Its modern peak around Kosovo can be explained by posterior founder effects that might have happened during any expansion of peoples in the region in the past four thousand years, and which can tentatively be assigned to a recent Albanian expansion. Its modern distribution in the Alps and in ancient Tyrrhenia might point to an eastern route of the Suvorovo-Novodanilovka settlers of eastern Hungary, hence giving support to the theories describing Etruscan as an Anatolian branch[Adrados 1989][Adrados 1994]. On the other hand, it could well be a sign of independent back and forth migrations between the Adriatic Sea and the Italian Peninsula.

r1b-M269.jpg Modern distribution of R1b1a1a2-M269 (xL23) lineages, adapted from Richard Rocca (2012).


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