By Mehmet Kurtkaya, Published on August 1, 2018, Updated January 19, 2019
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Genetic and Archaeological Research in 2018 reconfirms Sumerian Original Homeland as Central Asia, their Ancestral Homeland as Siberia, and confirms the Migration Route(s)International research on ancient genomes (In particular The Genomic Formation of South and Central Asia (March 2018), but also The first horse herders and the impact of early Bronze Age steppe expansions into Asia (May 2018) and The Genetic Prehistory of the Greater Caucasus - May 2018 ) as well as a very important archaeological survey published in 2018 on ancient trade networks reconfirms the contents and the title of my 2016 book, Sumerian Turks: The Civilization's Journey from Siberia to Mesopotamia, even when the genetic research papers were not aimed at Sumerian civilization but rather on finding the Indo-European homeland!
This cannot be called an unintented consequence, as all research effectively uncovers pieces of world history. These genetic research papers on ancient genomes from Siberia, Central Asia and Iran as well as the archaeology research survey showing known migration/trade networks starting in the 4th millenium BC in southern regions of Central Asia, Iran, Mesopotamia and Turkey/Anatolia are extremely relevant to Sumerian research.
A very important research paper by two talented undergraduate students Tian Chen Zeng and Alan J. Aw, and professor Marcus W. Feldman published in May 2018, re-reconfirmed many of my findings and suggestions as explained in my books and articles with a major cross-disciplinary genetics-math-sociology work:
Cultural hitchhiking and competition between patrilineal kin groups explain the post-Neolithic Y-chromosome bottleneck
The Genomic Formation of South and Central AsiaThe Genomic Formation of South and Central Asia by Vagheesh M Narasimhan et. al., March 2018, is a major research paper with many important finds and comments regarding the analysis of the "genome wide ancient DNA from 357 individuals from Central and South Asia including the first from eastern Iran, Turan (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan), Bronze Age Kazakhstan, and South Asia".
There are many, but some of the key quotes and findings from the paper, very relevant to Sumerian research:
"Three individuals from the West Siberian forest zone with direct dates ranging from 6200 BCE to 4000 BCE play an important role in this study as they are representatives of a never-before reported mixture of ancestry that we call West_Siberian_HG: ~30% derived from EHG, ~50% from Ancestral North Eurasians (defined as being related deeply to 22000-15000 BCE Siberians (29, 30)), and ~20% related to present-day East Asians."
"We observe significant West Siberian hunter-gatherer related ancestry (also related to Ancient North Eurasians (ANE) and Eastern European HGs (EHG)) in individuals from Iran and Turan during the EN period.
Of particular note is that the samples from Tajikistan from the site of Sarazm, directly radiocarbon dated to the mid-4th millennium BCE, have about 23% of their ancestry attributable to this source."
These finding are nothing short of ground-breaking. They mention Sarazm as part of Kelteminar culture, the native hunter gatherers of the region who covered a vast area of Central Asia long before BMAC (2300 BC). The Kelteminar culture (5500–3500 BC) was sedentary and they depended on fishing and hunting for living. Fishing is especially important regarding Sumer, as water not only served a basis for their creation myths but fishing and sailing was first practiced in the Near East by the Sumerians. Moreover, the first depiction of a sailboat (5th millenium BC) was found in Kuwait, near Sumer.
At this point, let us also note that Soviet scholar Masson suggested that Turkmenistan Altin Tepe - Kelteminar's language was Finno Ugric. In Russian: Ancient civilizations of the East and steppe tribes in the light of archeology data, Google English Translation. Sumerian Turkish is closely related to Finno-Ugric languages, especially Ugur Turkish, Hungarian and to a lesser extent to Finnish. In fact famed assyriologist Parpola stated that the "The closest affinities of Sumerian within the Uralic family are with the Volgaic and Finnic languages" in his presentation to World Assyriology Congress held in Moscow in 2007. This is quite important because the results of the two independent linguistic inquiries match at both ends, in Central Asia and Sumer, Mesopotamia!
See Sumerian Language Turkish comparisons and analysis. Moreover, all the ancient languages in Turkey compare well to Ugric languages, Ugur=Hurrian, Hattic=Ugat, Hittite (compared to Uralic) in Turkey, and Minoan Linear A in Greece too, according to linguistic studies (see homepage).
As for the West Siberian designation in the study let us note that the West Siberian Plain is the world's largest unbroken lowland, extending from the Arctic Ocean to the Altay Mountains, and from the Ural Mountains to the Yenisei River. West Siberia generally corresponds to the region, and the linguistic designation mentioned as Ural Altaic since the 18th century, first used by Philip Johan von Strahlenberg.
Notes from the "Summary of Key Findings from The Genomic Formation of South and Central Asia" regarding Iran-Turan:
"More Anatolian agriculturalist-related ancestry in the west and more West_Siberian_HG or AASI-related ancestry in the east"
"The primary population of the BMAC was largely derived from preceding local Chalcolithic peoples."
The study shows how Siberians were part of Central Asia and migrated to Iran. Below you will find how these findings relate to Sumerian's original homeland, Central Asia, and ancestral homeland, Siberia, in detail.
Domestication of the Horse by the Botai people in KazakistanIt was already known that horse was first domesticated in Kazakhstan by the Botai people some 5000 years ago.
In May 2018, Peter de Barros Damgaard et. al. reported some important findings in their research paper The first horse herders and the impact of early Bronze Age steppe expansions into Asia.
Among them, the finding that Botai people in Kazakistan derive from an Ancient North Eurasian (Siberian) ancestry. Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) is a frequently used term to denote a population group based on the genome of a 24,000 year-old Upper Paleolithic hunter-gatherer from South Central Siberia, known as Mal'ta boy who had basal Y-DNA R. They were Siberians.
Hence, the people who first domesticated the horse are related to Native Americans, Yeniseians, Eskimos and other Far Eastern Siberian populations.
Quote from the research article:
"...They form part of a previously undescribed west-to-east cline of Holocene prehistoric steppe genetic ancestry in which Botai, Central Asians, and Baikal groups can be modeled with different amounts of Eastern hunter-gatherer (EHG) and Ancient East Asian genetic ancestry represented by Baikal_EN."
Lake Baikal is the area I had included along with the Lake Balkash and Altai mountains as the ancestral homeland of the Sumerian Turks, while noting the connection to the 24,000 year-old Mal'ta boy from the same region.
Another important quote from that paper:
"Intriguingly, we find that direct descendants of Upper Paleolithic hunter-gatherers of Central Asia, now extinct as a separate lineage, survived well into the Bronze Age."
Consider the above, with this information obtained from the research of an international team of scientists with lead author Chuan-Chao Wang The Genetic Prehistory of the Greater Caucasus where they report this surprising discovery:
"...the existence of a yet-to-be identified ancient north-central Eurasia population with a wide distribution between the Caucasus, Urals and the Pacific coast", of which they have discovered so far the southwestern-most and also the youngest genetic representative!"
The genetic ancestry of an individual in Maykop (Northern Caucasus) who relates to Native Americans, namely the Karitiana tribe from the Amazon forests in Brazil!
I had already suggested that there were connections between ancient civilizations in Eurasia and the Americas by analyzing the existing evidence: Eurasian kurgans, Egyptian pyramids, Sumerian Ziggurats and Central American step pyramids were actually related by ancient migrations. I had also included comparisons of Gobeklitepe and American Pacific Northwest artifacts as indicated by Gobeklitepe archaeologists.
Today the people who domesticated the horse have few direct descendants, if any, and the same applies to Botai horses they have domesticated. "All domestic horses dated from ~4,000 ya to present only show ~2.7% of Botai-related ancestry and Przewalski’s horses are the feral descendants of horses herded at Botai and not truly wild horses" reports another major study .
Many scholars suggest that horse is central to Indo-European speakers and culture, and that horse played a significant role in the spreading of Indo-European languages. Regarding the origins of Indo-European languages Damgaard et. al. paper remarked that:
"Finally, the lack of steppe ancestry in samples from Anatolia indicates that the spread of the earliest branch of IE languages into that region was not associated with a major population migration from the steppe".
This finding is a blow to the Steppe Theory of Indo-European Urheimat. The authors also note the existence of Indo-European words in cuneiform records and suggest Indo-European was spoken in Anatolia since 2600 BC.
Iran - Central Asia related since at least 5000-6000 years ago
Image from Wikimedia
Axe With Eagle-Headed Demon And Animals, from Central Asia (Bactria-Margiana), late 3rd - early 2nd millennium BC. Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is not a double headed eagle, yet reminiscent of it. Double-headed eagles are known from Hittite and (the Sphinx Gate of Alacahoyuk) and Assyrian art. Double headed eagle was the symbol of the Roman Empire.
The Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC / Oxus civilisation) is dated to c. 2300–1700 BC, and includes Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. This region was continously inhabited before BMAC hence there is considerable continuity during the Copper Age (Chalcolitic) in addition to changes due to migrations within BMAC and migrations from Kazakhstan and Iran.
The Kopet Dag (Dağ/Dagh), located to the southeast of the Caspian Sea lies along the frontier between Turkmenistan and Iran. The region includes sites such as Namazga Tepe, Altindepe, Ulug Depe, Kara Depe, Yassi-depe and Geok-Syur, Jeitun (Djeitun culture since 6000 BC). The inhabitants of the region used irrigation in farming of wheat and barley.
Sarazm (part of the major Central Asian Kelteminar culture and later Bactria) has genetic links to major Turkmenistan ancient sites, Gonur Tepe, Altin Depe and Anau.
Tepe Sialk (Starting at 6000 BC) is the site of the oldest Ziggurat and the oldest major pyramid structure in the world (3000BC). It has archaeological links to the Sumerian city of Uruk.
Tepe Hissar in north-eastern Iran (5th- 2nd millennium BC), acted as a bridge between Mesopotamia and Central Asia. It was also connected to Tepe Sialk as observed in pottery styles . Moreover, Tepe Hissar has genetic ties to Siberia.
Anau was connected to the Iranian plateau and Tepe Sialk. Anau stamp seal has some parallels to Altindepe, Tepe Hissar, and Tepe Sialk.
Sarazm, Tajikistan, Initial Center of the Sumerian Civilization
Image from Wikimedia
Woman with the kaunakes, beginning of the 2nd millennium BC from Bactria / North of Afghanistan, Louvre museum. Sumerians also wore Kaunakes, hence this dress was one of the many evidences used in proving Sumerian origins.
Of all the places analyzed in The Genomic Formation of South and Central Asia, Sarazm stood out as indicated by the authors, by the existence of West Siberian DNA which is related to Ancient Northern Eurasians / Siberians.
Botai people who first domesticated the horse were also connected to Ancient Northern Eurasians / Siberians as seen in The first horse herders and the impact of early Bronze Age steppe expansions into Asia.
And Sarazm was also connected to the Botai people who first domesticated the horse (Davidski notes Botai ancestry in Sarazm)
Sarazm, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is situated in the Zarafshan Valley of north-west Tajikistan near the border with Uzbekistan. It was part of the Kelteminar culture and a major center connected to both Kazakistan and Western Siberia as well as the Altai-Baikal region, South Central and Eastern Siberia.
Around 3000 BC, "...Sarazm may be considered as the largest metallurgical center of Central Asia engaged in export" quote from "Elena E. Kuz'mina, (2007), Edited by J.P. Mallory, The origin of the Indo-Iranians.
In the UNESCO document about Sarazm we find even more impressive stuff. A few of the many important quotes from Penjikent Historical and Archaeological reserve of Sarazm:
"Sarazm is located in a very strategic place which has probably been the key to its unique development during the IV-III millennium BC in Central Asia. It is located on the bank of the Zaravshan river, just between a mountainous zone and a large valley area, one being favourable to cattle grazing, the other to agriculture and farming. Sarazm was a natural meeting point between the nomadic shepherds of the mountains and the first agrarian populations of Transoxiane (region between the Sy Daria and Amou Daria) which practised complementary activities."
"Zeravshan Valley was the main supply region for tin in the ancient world. So far archaeological investigations have proven its continuous exploitation at mining sites both in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan since the second millennium BC.
But it is quite likely that the exploitation started at least a millennium earlier as evidenced by tin-bronze metallurgy at Sarazm and the contemporary use of in in the leading cities of Mesopotamia, like Ur. In the Royal Graves the abundance of lapis lazuli and tin point in the same direction..."
The connection of Sarazm to Sumer is right there in the UNESCO document but not in a way to imply Sumerian origins but to show Sumerian trade connection. There is much more in the document but one other interesting fact:
"A burial site with a woman, a man and an adolescent was the central element. On the woman's skeleton and around it, several thousands of various beads were found (from burned steatite, lapis lazuli, cornelian, turquoise and silver), which were used for decoration of clothes or simply to cover her body, and her hair was decorated by 49 massive gold beads."
Reminiscent of Sumerian Queen Puabi from the Sumerian city of Ur, during the First Dynasty of Ur (c. 2600 BC) Info on Puabi at University of Pennsylvannia
However, the most important findings from Sarazm, relevant to Sumerian origins, are those relating to Lapis Lazuli use. Sarazm is very near the Lapis deposits in Afghanistan Badakhsan region, the only known source of Lapis Lazuli in Ancient World. At this point a very important 2018 article is of big help (see below).