View Full Version : Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians: All East Baltid?

Vlad Cletus
Tuesday, September 27th, 2005, 11:47 AM
Besides pigmentation, I don't see how the majority of the Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians would fall under the general depiction of the East Baltid? At least that's what many of the figures promulgated. I traveled through the Baltic States back in August of '04. Most of the people I saw did not really fit under the criteria of that exaggerated distinct type of an East Baltid. Yes, they did have some similar characteristics, but overall not in direct correspondance. I'm referring to the ones you see in the various plates of some books and material related to racial anthropology. I was only 17 at the time and not as well versed in anthropology as I am now, perhaps you can blame my ignorance upon that.

Also, does the sub-racial term West Baltid still apply here? I remember reading some posts regarding it a year ago.

What would this Estonian model be classified as? I'm not thinking of the East Baltid variety.

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005, 12:10 PM
That young Estonian woman may be Aistin.

Western Estonians are rather close to very tall people in Åland, Hälsingland and Jämtland (where the people are of the Hälsinge or West-Baltid variety). They are Trönder-approximative, blonde, long-headed and high-skulled, of Aistin type.


"When we look at the most ancient residents of Latvia from an anthropological standpoint, we must remember the anthropological data of Mesolithic and early Neolithic populations in those territories which are adjacent to Latvia. This helps to provide a more objective understanding of the origins of Latvia's most ancient peoples.

Latvia's most ancient inhabitants tended to be large in size, with large skulls, a distinctly oblong head shape, a broad, high face and a distinctly protruding nose (Denisova 1975). Looking at this data in the context of synchronous populations elsewhere in Europe, we can find specific geographic differentials. This is especially true of the facial width of residents, a factor which has great weight in the specification of race (Denisova 1978). Differences in facial width in Europe became particularly distinctive at the beginning of the Atlantic period, when farming was begun in Europe. At this time, facial width distinctly separated morphological forms in Northern Europe from those in the Mediterranean region -- two distinct geographic regions. Massive, broad-faced morphological forms dominated in northern and northeastern Europe, while gracile, narrow-faced forms are found most often in Middle Europe and the continent's southeastern reaches. During the Atlantic period, narrow-faced populations gradually moved in the northerly and northeasterly direction. They reached the Baltic region only during the Bronze Age. For this reason, during the Mesolithic and Neolithic period, people in the Baltic region (and surrounding regions) had broad faces, a fact which affirms their links to the late Paleolithic populations of Europe. This does not by any means suggest, however, that all of the Mesolithic and early Neolithic populations of Northern Europe were identical from the anthropological standpoint. At least two gradations of facial width (135-142 mm in one group and 144-150 in the other) can be found in this territory. Other characteristics for race specification, moreover, suggest that the most ancient residents of Latvia had several different morphological forms.

Within the previously described morphological form that was characteristic of early Mesolithic inhabitants in Latvia, we can find two different anthropological types which must be linked to inhabitants of different backgrounds. One of these anthropological types is characterized by a large skull and a very broad (149 mm) face.

The fact that this broad-faced morphological form was typical of Mesolithic populations is affirmed by the fairly large territory over which this form is found. Anthropologically similar Mesolithic populations have been found in two burial grounds in the northwestern part of Russia. One of them, the Popov burial ground, is found to the East of the Oneg lake (Ošibkina 1994) and contains individual Mesolithic graves. The second is the widely known Olenij Ostrov burial ground, which contains a wide variety of anthropological types (Yakimov 1960). Only some of the individuals found in these burial grounds had massive, distinctly broad-faced morphological forms. Very similar populations of the same background also inhabited the region around the Middle Dnieper river (the Vasiljevka III burial ground) (Gohman 1966) The graves of these inhabitants date back to the very earliest part of the Mesolithic period (8130 - 8000 BC) (Hedges et al 1995), but basically they are representative of the transitional period between the late Paleolithic and the Mesolithic period. The most ancient broad-faced Mesolithic inhabitants have been found near the Middle Dnieper, and it is possible that they had contacts with late Paleolithic inhabitants in the area. In Latvia, too, these inhabitants are among the most ancient (Boreal period). From the anthropological viewpoint, completely similar Mesolithic inhabitants also populated Scandinavia -- Stangenas, Korsor, Vedbaek, Ravnstrup, Koelbjerg (Broste, Jorgensen et al 1956; Asmus 1973).

Naturally the description provided here is incomplete, because the number of skulls which have been found from the Mesolithic period is not very large. Nevertheless it seems that the territory which in the Mesolithic period was populated by distinctly broad-faced individuals can be defined quite specifically. These inhabitants did not disappear over time. Their successors continued to inhabit Eastern Europe in the early Neolithic period, although their territory, possibly, diminished considerably. It is thought, for example, that these people were no longer present in Latvia during the Atlantic period.

During the early Neolithic period, similar residents populated the Upper Volga and Upper Oka, the area in which the Upper Volga culture prevailed (unpublished data by the author). The same anthropological type was also found among early Neolithic residents of the Dnieper-Donetz culture of Ukraine (Gohman 1996;Konduktorova 1973). The large number of skulls found in this region provide a very complete understanding of the anthropological type of the massive, broad-faced (145-153 mm on average) inhabitants of the region, and they allow us to conclude firmly that such inhabitants existed in the Mesolithic and early Neolithic period. It is possible that residents of the same background also continued to populate Denmark (Stasevang, Kolderod, Dojringe) during the same period.

The morphological type described here is quite unique and is easily distinguished from any other type. The very informational nature of this article does not allow me to discuss other anthropologically important characteristics of the distinctly broad-faced populations. Compared to the inhabitants of the Boreal period, however, they had considerably (by 10 mm!) narrower faces, even though the faces were still quite broad (140 mm on average). A second important difference lay in the horizontal profile of the face. It had a crass profile at both facial levels, which unquestionably pointed to a European belonging. These people continued to inhabit ancient fishing territories until the end of the Mesolithic period, but in Latvia, this complex of anthropological characteristics remained characteristic in other times, too. During the Mesolithic period, anthropologically similar peoples inhabited Normandy (Hoedik) (Vallois 1957) and the Middle European lowlands (Vianen, Hengelo, Bottendorf) (G. Asmus 1973). The most ancient similar morphological form was prevalent among inhabitants of France's Madlein culture."


Vlad Cletus
Tuesday, September 27th, 2005, 12:29 PM
Your post clarifies it well.

Yes, the Aistin, I saw that term used a few times a while ago. Meaning Nordid-Baltid blend, correct? It's perplexing that under some taxonomies, East-Baltids are considered eastern Peripheral Nordish.

Could the Livs be associated with this type?

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005, 01:04 PM
Your post clarifies it well.
Yes, the Aistin, I saw that term used a few times a while ago.

I got the term from Swedish anthropologist Bertil Lundman. It is an East-Nordid variety. Lundman wrote they would have been lumped with the West-Nordids in a scheme which was not according to height-length index.

Meaning Nordid-Baltid blend, correct?

No, that is an interpretation I have only seen online. Lundman did not write anything of the kind. It is simply a Nordid variety.

It's perplexing that under some taxonomies, East-Baltids are considered eastern Peripheral Nordish.
Could the Livs be associated with this type?

I think we should distinguish between those with and without non-Europid admixture. The Metis ("which was created when Mongoloid characteristics were stratified upon the European type", Jānis Graudonis) Finno-Ugrics inhabited the northern parts of the Baltic countries, but not NW Estonia.

"2) the Metis type, which merged Mongoloid characteristics with European ones.3 The first type has been found more often in the southern regions of the eastern Baltic territory, while the second type is more common to the northern regions."


You should also read the next passage.

"Ethnic processes in the region became more complicated around the end of the third millennium and the beginning of the second millennium BC, when the culture of corded ware and battle (boat) axes entered from the west-southwest, passing through the eastern Baltic region, into the southwestern part of Finland, across the Aaland islands to the Swedish shores, and across a broad area of Europe's forested territories.4 The appearance of these inhabitants in Latvian territory is reflected by finds of boat axes, as well as monuments of corded ware.5"

It coincides perfectly with where Lundman's Aistins predominate and how the Battle-Axe people entered the region.

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005, 01:40 PM
Do you have a second picture of her? In the first picture she looks mostly Eastnordid with possible West Baltid influence.

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005, 01:44 PM
I do not know how you use West-Baltid, but if we go by Lundman, it is an East-Nordid type, similar to Trönder.

Do you mean a type which is like East-Baltid but without the metis element?

Do you have a second picture of her? In the first picture she looks mostly Eastnordid with possible West Baltid influence.

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005, 02:12 PM
I mean those Baltids which are less infantilised and show no that obvious signs of Lappoid influence, are still more Cromagnoid. So with Eastnordid I mean something different from Westbaltid and Westbaltid is quite strong in the Baltid states. They are more smooth, soft Cromagnoids without showing the typical-extreme Eastbaltid features, are closer to Cromagnids-Nordids.

Vlad Cletus
Tuesday, September 27th, 2005, 10:51 PM
Is there a chart which illustrates every time period in order? Neolithic and Mesolithic denote the early and middle Stone age. I just find it a little tough to read through the whole article and not exactly know what some certain words related to archaeology mean.

After nearly two years, I'm still a beginner at this, but I haven't done constant studying, which is why I lack the expertise.