Ancient Y DNA and Medieval Hungary

By some definitions, the Migration Period in Europe ends when the Longobards destroy the Gepid Kingdom, leave Pannonia, and invade Italy in the late 500’s CE. For others it goes until roughly 800 CE butting up to the “Viking Age”. These samples from Hungary overlap that arbitrary boundary.

Huns, Sarmatians, Avars…Maybe Some Gepids?

Study: Ancient genomes reveal origin and rapid trans-Eurasian migration of 7th century Avar elites

This study is a transect of centuries and cemeteries through multiple cultural groups. Our R-CTS12023 man (Tiszapüspöki 18184) is used as a comparison to the invading Avar Elites and others with Steppe ancestry. So it seems like the best context for the study would be to try to break it into locations and periods as defined by the ruling culture.

Late Sarmatian and Hun Periods

I’ve also snuck a Roman-Sarmatian period person in here because there was only one. This time period covers roughly the 3rd century CE through the 5th Century CE in Kecskemét, Hajdúnánás, Derecske and Árpás. Some of these Y haplogroup assignments are base groups, I suspect many of these samples have been re-examined by Family Tree DNA, but I’m not sure where to find a search just for ancient remains outside the time tree. I’ll try to find as many as I can.

sarmatian period burial map showing the graves in east, west and central hungary

Haplogroup I

All of the Haplogroup I samples are from Kecskemét

  • I-Y3153 – 900 BCE, found in Germany and England.
  • I-Z141 – 1850 BCE, found in England and Germany
  • I-DF29 – 2400 BCE, found in Sweden and England.
  • I-FTA14546 (2 samples) 1 modern tester with unknown origins

Haplogroup R

R results showed up in Hajdúnánás and Árpás (our Hun period). R1a wins over R1b 3 to 1.

  • R-YP6411 1 modern tester in Germany.
  • R-FGC4547 (2 samples) 1600 BCE, found in Germany, England and Russia.
  • R-U152 (a base group in R1b under R-P312) 2500 BCE found in England and Germany.

Haplogroup G

Appeared in Hajdúnánás among R samples.

  • G-FGC1053 – 1750 BCE, England, Portugal and Russia.

Haplogroup E

A Roman Sarmatian period sample in Derecske

  • E-CTS5856 – 2400 BCE, Germany and England.

Early Avar Period

After the Lombards destroy the Gepid kingdom and the Avars have moved in from the east. Samples are from the late 6th century to the mid 7th century CE. The Avars have invaded and are the new ruling class. The Longobards have left for Italy. These samples are from Budapest, Kunbábony, Szarvas, Szalkszentmárton, Kunpeszér, Petőfiszállás, Kecskemét, Kölked, Derecske, Tiszapüspöki, and Kövegy.

map of early avar dig sites including Budapest, Kunbábony, Szarvas, Szalkszentmárton, Kunpeszér, Petőfiszállás, Kecskemét, Kölked, Derecske, Tiszapüspöki, and Kövegy

Haplogroup N

  • N-P89 (2 samples) formed around 500 BCE, found in Kazakhstan, China, and Uzbekistan
  • N-B219 (2 samples) formed around 300 BCE, found in Kazakhstan, China, Uzbekistan, and 6 other countries.
  • N-L708 formed around 5850 BCE, found in Finland, Russia, and Sweden.
  • N-PRX28 (2 samples) (only known from ancient samples from Hungary)
  • N-Y16313 formed around 100 BCE, found in Kazakhstan, China, and Uzbekistan
  • N-CTS3103 formed around 2700 BCE, found in Finland, Russia, and Sweden

Haplogroup Q

  • Q-BZ93 found in one modern person in Russia.
  • Q-YP789 (2 samples) formed around 150 CE found in Poland, Hungary, Kazakhstan and Russia.

Haplogroup R

R1a for the win, 3 to our 1.

  • R-Z92 formed around 2200 BCE found in Russia, Poland and Ukraine.
  • R-BY40337 formed around 1250 BCE found in Portugal.
  • R-S10885 formed around 400 BCE found in Russia, Kazakhstan, and France
  • R-CTS12023 formed around 650 BCE found in England and Germany. The only R1b in this period.

Haplogroup E

  • E-BY5438 – formed around 900 BCE found in England.

Middle and Late Avar Period

The middle of the 7th century to the 8th century CE. Samples from Kunszállás, Albertirsa, Berettyóújfalu, Alsónyek, and Visonta.

late avar map showing Kunszállás, Albertirsa, Berettyóújfalu, Alsónyek, and Visonta in Hungary.

Haplogroup N

  • N-P89 (6 samples) formed around 500 BCE, found in Kazakhstan, China, and Uzbekistan
  • N-B219 (2 samples) formed around 300 BCE, found in Kazakhstan, China, Uzbekistan, and 6 other countries.

Haplogroup R

  • R-CTS9219 (3 samples) formed around 2300 BCE, found in Germany, Czech Republic, and Ireland. A branch of R1b. Two from Visonta, one from Alsónyek.

Haplogroup E

  • E-FGC11444 formed around 700 BCE, found in Russia, Germany, and Scotland.

Another Treasure Trove of ancient Hungarian DNA

I found another study with Y DNA from January 2022: Whole genome analysis sheds light on the genetic origin of Huns, Avars and conquering Hungarians. There is a differentiation between Mongolian Steppe ancestry and “Native European” ancestry in the study. This one also features samples from the 4th through 11th centuries past the Avars to Conquering Hungarians..which I think would be the Magyar tribes. I’ll try to break them down by period again. I’m not sure if there will be a couple of repeats, but a quick glance left me thinking the bulk of these samples are different from the Avar study above.

I’m also referencing some of the text from this paper: “The genetic origin of Huns, Avars, and conquering Hungarians.”

Huns 4th and 5th centuries

One of these results is from Romania. Locations are Sándorfalva, Vezér utca, Csongrád, Kecskemét, Árpás, and Marosszentgyörgy

walking map of  Sándorfalva, Vezér utca, Csongrád, Kecskemét, Árpás, and Marosszentgyörgy in Hungary and Romania

Haplogroup R

All the Hun era people in this study are haplogroup R. Most are R1a, but there is an R1b and an R1b-U106 result among them. My own personal categories for these are outdated because each branch and each family are different, but generally, in the past, R1a was to be expected farther east and R1b farther west. It’s an oversimplification, but it makes me less surprised to see R1a dominant in eastern European Hun period people.

  • R-PRX20 (2 samples) only known from ancient DNA in Hungary.
  • R-FGC56425 formed around 200 CE popular in Russia, France and the Czech Republic
  • R-S23201 formed around 1850 BCE popular in Russia, Kazakhstan and England.
  • R-FGC4547 formed around 1600 BCE popular in Germany, England and Russia.
  • R-Z326 (our R1b->R-U106->R-L48 cousin from Kecskemét) formed around 1300 BCE popular in Germany and England. Listed as Hunper2. Genetic testing came up with sliding scales of European and Xiongnu ancestry, with a lower portion of European ancestry (I’m going to guess on the father’s side).
  • R-FT218202 (an R1b man from Csongrád) only one living tester in the U.S. outside of this ancient sample.

Early Avars 7th century

The samples are so distributed around the country that I’m running out of destinations on my walking map, so I’m going to break them down by haplogroup. The Avars seem to come along with Haplogroup N in Y DNA. The study identified Asian core groups in their autosomal DNA but there is still a good amount of admixture in the samples.

Haplogroup N

walking map of haplogroup N sites: Madaras, Felgyő, Kunpeszér, Csólyospálos, Ároktő, Szegvár, Kiskőrös, and Csepel

Sites include Madaras, Felgyő, Kunpeszér, Csólyospálos, Ároktő, Szegvár, Kiskőrös, and Csepel.

  • N-PRX33 (3 samples) only known from ancient DNA.
  • N-PRX32 only known from ancient DNA.
  • N-P89 formed around 500 BCE popular in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and China.
  • N-PRX28 (2 samples) only known from ancient DNA in Hungary.
  • N-Y16313 formed around 100 BCE popular in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and China.
  • N-Y335332 only known from ancient DNA in Hungary.

Haplogroup J

Sites include Alattyán, Kiskőrös, Felgyő, Szeged.

  • J-FT34868 100 BCE found in Ireland, Norway and Scotland.
  • J-PRX55 only known from ancient DNA in Hungary.
  • J-FT72594 2200 BCE found in England and Russia
  • J-PRX60 only known from ancient DNA in Hungary.

Haplogroup R

Sites include Kunpeszér, Mélykút and Dunavecse. R1a for the win again two to one. This early avar group is the one our R-CTS12023 person would fall into, if he had been included in this study.

  • R-PRX4 (Asian Core group) only known from ancient DNA in Mongolia and Hungary.
  • R-S10438 (Elite military leader) formed around 1 BCE, found in Russia, Kazakhstan, and France
  • R-ZZ12_1 (under R1b-P312) 2200 BCE, found in England and Ireland and 70 other countries.

Haplogroups E, Q and C

Sites include Szeged, Szegvár, Makó and Fajsz.

Haplogroup E

  • E-PRX51 only known from ancient DNA in Hungary.
  • E-PRX43 only known from ancient DNA in Hungary.

Haplogroup Q

  • Q-YP789 (2 samples) 150 CE, found in Poland, Hungary, Kazakhstan and Russia.

Haplogroup C

  • C-Y11606 700 BCE, found in Kazakhstan, Czech Republic and Poland.

Middle Avar Period 7th to 8th Century

Haplogroup R

walking map of middle avar haplogroup R locations  Jánoshida, Mélykút, Tiszafüred, Alattyán, Szeged, Szarvas, and Madaras

Locations include Jánoshida, Mélykút, Tiszafüred, Alattyán, Szeged, Szarvas, and Madaras. R1a winning at least 4 to 3…possibly 4 to 2 if that last one is a bit suspect.

  • R-PRX19 only known from ancient DNA in Hungary.
  • R-FT71888 100 CE found in Italy and Albania.
  • R-FGC56440? (possibly listed as late Avar at FTDNA) 50 CE, found in Russia, Kazakhstan and France.
  • R-Y39490 700 BCE, found in Belarus.
  • R-PH2558 under R1b/R-M269. 1350 BCE, found in Germany and Italy.
  • R-ZZ12_1 under R1b ->R-P312. 2200 BCE, found in England and Ireland and 70 other countries.
  • R-FGC925 under R1b->R-U106->R-L48 found in Alattyán-Tulát marked as part of their European Core group 1. Family Tree DNA doesn’t list this ancient result in the time tree near R-FGC925 or under R-U106. Also they estimate that R-FGC925 formed around 1600 CE. Way too late in the game to be appearing in Avar period Hungary. It makes me wonder if the sample appears elsewhere entirely or if they think it was contaminated.

Haplogroup N

walking map of middle avar haplogroup N locations Csólyospálos, Kaba and Madaras

Locations include Csólyospálos, Kaba and Madaras

  • N-PRX33 (3 samples) only known from ancient DNA
  • N-M2019 1600 BCE, found in Russia and China.
  • N-PRX28 only known from ancient DNA in Hungary

Haplogroup E

wallking map of haplogroup E middle avar results in  Sükösd, Szeged, Alattyán

Locations include Sükösd, Szeged, and Alattyán. The study makes mention of Haplogroup E being common in the Balkans and southern Europe.

  • E-FTC25721 50 CE, found in England.
  • E-BY7536 3250 BCE, found in Poland, Ukraine and Germany
  • E-PRX51 only known from ancient DNA in Hungary
  • E-FT226363 found in 1 living person in Turkey.
  • E-BY72004 350 BCE, found in Greece and Poland.

Haplogroups I, J and G

walking map of results for haplogroup I, J and G in Sükösd, Pitvaros, Szeged, Kiskőrös, and Kiskundorozsma

Haplogroup I

Locations include Sükösd, Pitvaros, and Szeged.

  • I-Y93578 found in 1 living tester with an unknown origin.
  • I-FTB15723 found in 1 living tester from Russia.
  • I-A11380 550 BCE, found in Bosnia, Serbia, and Belarus.
  • I-FGC69694 900 BCE, found in England, Ireland, and 9 other countries.

Haplogroup J

Locations: Kiskőrös, Kiskundorozsma, Sükösd

  • J-PRX55 only known from ancient DNA in Hungary.
  • J-SK1382 5250 BCE, found in Turkey, Tunisia and Armenia.
  • J-FT148202 2000 BCE, two modern testers of unknown origin.

Haplogroup G

Location: Kiskundorozsma

  • G-Z17085 1600 BCE, found in Italy, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.
  • G-Y91640 found in 1 living tester from England.

Conclusions

This post is getting long, so I think we’ll break at the Middle Avar period and pick up at the late Avar period in the next post.

R1b Far from Home

Considering these results so far and comparing them to the long hauls through contemporary Y DNA in studies of western Europe where R-U106 or R-Z18 or CTS12023 appear, it’s really clear that we’re a minority of Y DNA in Eastern and Southern Hungary in these periods. R1b, which is a monster in the west, is a kitten here where R1a is the king of Haplogroup R.

Just glancing again at the results from Szolad (Longobards in Hungary) R1b is the greater majority of all Y results in that cultural group just to the west in Hungary. Haplogroups R1a, N, E, and J are much bigger fish in these places at these times.

It makes finding someone from our little corner of R-Z18 even more wonderous. I know he was used as a “local” for comparison, but I don’t come away thinking he was all that local for all that long.

Y DNA Vs. Autosomal DNA Vs. Skull Shapes

I didn’t spend a lot of time on this, but Whole genome analysis sheds light on the genetic origin of Huns, Avars and conquering Hungarians supplemental data has a lot of references to skull shapes along with general categories and some autosomal DNA information about matching population groups.

Looking over them as I’ve gone through these results it’s clear that skull shapes like “europid” and “mongoloid” don’t necessarily match Autosomal DNA results the way you’d expect and have nothing to do with Y DNA (as you’d expect I suppose). Although DNA controls how we look, it seems like how these people looked may not have left you with clues to their Y DNA or their autosomal DNA makeup. There is an interesting admixture of people. You may find a man with western European Y DNA, Asian autosomal DNA, and maybe Iranian skull features. A man with Western European Y DNA, Sarmatian southern European Autosomal DNA, and Mongolian features. You can mix and match the components repeatedly, and people did.

Admixture appears to be the name of the game in Hungary.

Lower Diversity in Avar Y DNA

Assuming the Haplogroup N results are mainly Avar DNA sweeping in from the east at the end of the Rouran empire, It seems like Haplogroup N in these results is less diverse than, say..Haplogroup E in the area. In the time tree, I saw the same couple of branches over and over with lots of relevant results for individuals crowded around the same SNP nodes. It could be an artifact of testing and maybe samples were degraded, but it’s an observation. Maybe it shows a more tightly related group of Avars migrating in while the various southern Europeans have had more time on location to diverge from each other.