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Thread: Modern people in Northern Italy's Tuscany not descendants of ancient people, DNA says

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    Modern people in Northern Italy's Tuscany not descendants of ancient people, DNA says

    Modern people in Northern Italy's Tuscany not descendants of ancient people, DNA says

    The Tuscans' proud claim to be the descendants of the ancient Etruscans has taken a knock.

    A DNA comparison of Etruscan skeletons and a sample of living Tuscans has thrown up only "tenuous genetic similarities", said lead researcher Guido Barbujani of Ferrara University.

    "If the Tuscans were the direct descendants of the Etruscans the DNA should be the same," said Barbujani, a genetecist who coordinated the study with Stanford University in the United States.

    The study, which appears in the current edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concludes that most modern Tuscans are descended from a non-Etruscan people....

    The Etruscans are believed to have formed the first advanced civilisation in Italy, based in an area called Etruria, corresponding mainly to present-day Tuscany and northern Lazio.

    At the height of their power at around 500 BC - when Rome itself was subjugated - they spread to the foothills of the Alps and southward close to Naples.

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    Sv: Tuscany's Etruscan claim knocked

    Hm. Considering the events concerning the rise and fall of the Roman empire and the later Völkerwanderung, this result shouldn't be surprising to anyone but a Tuscan. "Local patriotism" can be rather silly.

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    Re: Tuscany's Etruscan claim knocked

    "It could be that the skeletons from which we extracted the DNA belonged to an elite group that did not spread demographically," Barbujani said.


    This could be like the Aryans invading India and changing their civilization entirely, even their language, despite being a small minority.

    This study seems to be an expansion of a previous study that was done a few years ago (which I recall reading 2 months ago). In that original study, they compared the archeological Etruscan dna to many regions around the Mediterranean, and found that the greatest match came from western Turkey (or perhaps the islands just off western Turkey). If you consider that the massive Greek immigration into southern Italy and Sicily was occuring at the same time that the Etruscans first appear (about 700-500 BC), and that this study found that the greatest likely match for ancient Etruscans was a place very, very close to ancient Greece (if not a part of it), well, it really makes me think! Very interesting!

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    Re: Tuscany's Etruscan claim knocked

    Euclides posted the link to the original 2004 Etruscan dna study in this thread:

    http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=55775

    On re-reading it, the conclusions that Etruscans are most closely related to the people of west Turkey aren't all that solid, actually, and from its results they could just as well have come from Cornwall! But it's the best that has been done so far for an ancient people.

    On a related note, if I recall correctly, the Romans, just a couple hundred years after the original Etruscan and Greek settlements on the Italian peninsula, referred to southern Italians as "Italiotes", which meant foreigner, while they considered all other co-inhabitants of the peninsula as native Italians, including, I presume, the Etruscans. This is another piece of evidence supporting the argument of the authors that perhaps the Etruscans were a dominant but minority elite, and that the vast majority of the "Etruscans" were instead the original inhabitants of the Tuscany region, who adopted the language and culture of these new intruders. The tests indicate the 2 most closely related people to Etruscans are west Turkey and the modern people of Tuscany. This perhaps indicates that this elite was already well mixed with the original Italian inhabitants of Tuscany.

    [After the fall of the Roman empire, somehow, the word "Italiot" came to be used to designate all the people of Italy. The dividing line between the Italiotes and the native Italians was somewhere between Naples and Rome. Naples was founded by Greeks, and its original name is Greek: Naapoli. I would guess that southern Italians and Sicilians are perhaps 50% Italian and 50% Greek.]

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