The Scytho-Siberian world[1][a] was an archaeological horizon which flourished across the entire Eurasian Steppe during the Iron Age from approximately the 9th century BC to the 2nd century AD. It included the Scythian, Sauromatian and Sarmatian cultures of Eastern Europe, the Saka-Massagetae and Tasmola cultures of Central Asia, and the Aldy-Bel, Pazyryk and Tagar cultures of south Siberia.

Scytho-Siberian world
Geographical rangeEurasian Steppe
PeriodIron Age
Datesc. 900 BC–200 AD
Preceded bySrubnaya culture, Andronovo culture
Followed byGoths, Alans, Xiongnu, Circassians

The Scythian-Siberian world was characterized by the Scythian triad, which are similar, yet not identical, styles of weapons, horses' bridles, and jewelry and decorative art. The question of how related these cultures were is disputed among scholars. Its peoples were of diverse origins, and included not just Scythians, from which the cultures are named, but other peoples as well, such as the Cimmerians, Massagetae, Saka, Sarmatians, and obscure forest steppe populations. Mostly speakers of the Scythian branch of the Iranian languages,[b] all of these peoples are sometimes collectively referred to as Scythians, Scytho-Siberians, Early Nomads, or Iron Age Nomads.[3]

Origins and spread edit

 
Horseman from the Pazyryk burials, c. 300 BC, one of the most famous archaeological discoveries from the Scytho-Siberian world.[2] Equestrianism is one of the chief characteristics of the Scytho-Siberian world

The Scytho-Siberian world emerged on the Eurasian Steppe at the dawn of the Iron Age in the early 1st millennium BC. Its origins has long been a source of debate among archaeologists.[4] The Pontic–Caspian steppe was initially thought to have been their place of origin, until the Soviet archaeologist Aleksey Terenozhkin suggested a Central Asian origin.[5][6]

Recent excavations at Arzhan in Tuva, Russia have uncovered the earliest Scythian-style kurgan yet found.[7] Similarly the earliest examples of the animal style art which would later characterize the Scytho-Siberian cultures have been found near the upper Yenisei River and North China, dating to the 10th century BC. Based on these finds, it has been suggested that the Scytho-Siberian world emerged at an early period in southern Siberia.[5] It is probably in this area that the Scythian way of life initially developed.[2][8] Recent genetic studies have concluded that the Scythians formed from European-related groups of the Yamnaya culture and East Asian/Siberian groups during the Bronze Age and early Iron Age.[9][10][5][11]

The Scytho-Siberian world quickly came to stretch from the Pannonian Basin in the west to the Altai Mountains in the east.[12] There were, however, significant cultural differences between east and west.[10] Over time they came in contact with other ancient civilizations, such as Assyria, Greece and Persia. In the late 1st millennium BC, peoples belonging to the Scytho-Siberian world expanded into Iran (Sakastan), India (Indo-Scythians) and the Tarim Basin.[13] In the early centuries AD the western part of the Scytho-Siberian world came under pressure from the Goths and other Germanic peoples.[13] The end of the Scythian period in archaeology has been set at approximately the 2nd century AD.[2]

Recent archeological and genetic data confirmed that Western and Eastern Scythians of the 1st millennium BC originated independently, but both formed from a combination of a Yamnaya-related ancestry component from the area of the European steppes,[14] and an East Asian-related component most closely corresponding to the modern North Siberian Nganasan people of the lower Yenesei.[14] Furthermore, archaeological evidence now tends to suggest that the origins of the Scytho-Siberian world, characterized by its kurgan burial mounds and its Animal style of the 1st millennium BC, are to be found among Eastern Scythians rather than their Western counterparts: eastern kurgans are older than western ones (such as the Altaic kurgan Arzhan 1 in Tuva), and elements of the Animal style are first attested in areas of the Yenisei river and modern-day China in the 10th century BC.[15] The rapid spread of the Scytho-Siberian world, from the Eastern Scythians to the Western Scythians, is also confirmed by significant east-to-west gene flow across the steppes during the 1st millennium BC.[14][15]

Peoples edit

 
Depiction of a Sarmatian from a Roman sarcophagus, 2nd century AD. Although a different people than the Scythians, the Sarmatians were part of the Scytho-Siberian world.[5]

Ethnicity edit

The peoples of the Scytho-Siberian world are mentioned by contemporary Persian and Greek historians. They were mostly speakers of Iranian languages.[b] Despite belonging to similar material cultures, the peoples of the Scytho-Siberian world belonged to many separate ethnic groups.[16][17] Peoples associated with the Scytho-Siberian world include speakers of the Scythian languages:[5][18]

Although the peoples of the forest steppe were part of the Scytho-Siberian world, their origins are obscure;[18] there might have been early Slavs, Balts, and Finno-Ugric peoples among them.[20][21] The settled population of the Scytho-Siberian world areas also included Thracians.[9]

Terminology edit

 
Head of a Saka warrior, as a defeated enemy of the Yuezhi, from Khalchayan, northern Bactria, 1st century BC.[22][23][24]

Among the diverse peoples of the Scytho-Siberian world, the Scythians are the most famous, due to the reports on them published by the 5th century Greek historian Herodotus. The ancient Persians referred to all nomads of steppe as Saka. In modern times, the term Scythians is sometimes applied to all the peoples associated with the Scytho-Siberian world.[20] Within this terminology it is often distinguished between "western" Scythians living on the Pontic–Caspian steppe, and "eastern" Scythians living on the Eastern Steppe.[5][13] The term Scytho-Siberians has also been applied to all peoples associated with the Scytho-Siberian world.[25] The terms Early Nomads[26] and Iron Age Nomads have also been used.[10] The terms Saka or Sauromates, and Scytho-Siberians, is sometimes used for the "eastern" Scythians living in Central Asia and southern Siberia respectively.[9][27]

The ambiguity of the term Scythian has led to a lot of confusion in literature.[c][18]

Nicola Di Cosmo (1999) questions the validity of referring to the cultures of all early Eurasian nomads as "Scythian", and recommends the use of alternative terms such as Early Nomadic.[29][d]

By ancient authors, the term "Scythian" eventually came to be applied to a wide range of peoples "who had no relation whatever to the original Scythians", such as Huns, Goths, Turks, Avars, Khazars, and other unnamed nomads.[13]

Characteristics edit

 
Horse attacked by tiger, Ordos culture, 4th–1st century BC. The cultures of the Scytho-Siberian world are characteristic for their art, which was made in the animal style.

The cultures of the Scytho-Siberian world are recognized for three characteristics known as the Scythian triad:[18][27]

Their art was made in the animal style, so characteristic that it is also called Scythian art.

Finds edit

In the beginning of the 18th century, Russian explorers began uncovering Scythian finds throughout their newly acquired territories.

Significant Scythian archaeological finds have been uncovered up to recent times. A major find are the Pazyryk burials, which were discovered on the Ukok Plateau in the 1940s. The finds are notably for revealing the form of mummification practiced by the Scythians.[2] Another important find is the Issyk kurgan.[8]

Society edit

 
The Golden Man of Issyk Kurgan, c. 4th–3rd century BC

The Scythians were excellent craftsmen with complex cultural traditions. Horse sacrifices are common in Scythian graves, and several of the sacrificed horses were evidently old and well-kept, indicating that the horse played a prominent role in Scythian society.[2] They played a prominent role in the network connecting ancient civilizations known as the Silk Road.[13] The homogeneity of patrilineal lineages and contrasting diversity of matrilineal lineages of samples from Scythian burial sites indicate that Scythian society was strongly patriarchal.[27]

Numerous archaeological finds have revealed that the Scythians led a warlike life: Their competition for territory must have been fierce. The numerous weapons placed in graves are indicative of a highly militarized society. Scythian warfare was primarily conducted through mounted archery. They were the first great power to perfect this tactic. The Scythians developed a new, powerful type of bow known as the Scythian bow. Sometimes they would poison their arrows.[2]

Physical appearance edit

The Scythians were tall and powerfully built, even by modern standards.[e] Skeletons of Scythian elites differ from those of modern people by their longer arms and legs, and stronger bone formation. Commoners were shorter, averaging 10–15 cm (4–6 in) shorter than the elite.[31]

Their physical traits are characteristic of Iranian peoples and support a common origin indicated by the linguistic evidence, however, people of mixed physical appearance are also indicated by the archaeological and historical evidence.[e][31]

Numerous Eastern Scythian remains have been found in an excellent state of preservation in the Altai mountains, with soft tissues such as skin and hair preserved.[32] From the Pazyryk valley, Scythian remains show a variety of hair colors, ranging from black to bright chestnut.[33] Mummified Scythian warriors from the Ukok plateau and Mongolia had blond hair.[34][35]

Preserved skin tissue also reveals that the eastern Scythians had tattoos. Tattooing is not thought to have been practiced by western Scythians.[36]

Genetics edit

The genetics of remains from Scythian-identified cultures show broad general patterns, among these are remarkably different histories for men and women. Their ethnic affiliations are summarized above. Their familial inter-relations are discussed below.

There are two distinct paternal lineages in the east and west,[5][10][27] with the eastern and western paternal lineages being themselves homogeneous. The Western Scythian males almost uniformly carried haplogroup R1b,[37][38] which is closely related to modern European peoples from the Pontic region, while the Eastern Scythians carried R1a, Q1a and N.[39] In a sample of Siberian Scythians, there was a nearly equal proportion of West and East Eurasian maternal lineages.[27]

The maternal lineages among Scythians are diverse,[5][10][27] showing a mixture of Eastern and West Eurasian lineages, with increasing East Asian admixture in the Iron Age.[9][40] In Western Scythians, West Eurasian maternal lineages are 62.5-74% of the total, while East Eurasian maternal lineages are 26-37%.[9] In a sample of Eastern Scythians from Tuva, the maternal lineages are nearly equally divided between Western and East Eurasian sources.[27]

Ethnogenesis edit

 
Reconstruction of a Saka Scythian, found in the kurgan Olon-Kurin-Gol 10 in Pazyryk, Altai Mountains, Mongolia.
Genetic makeup of Bronze and Iron Age Steppe populations
Map of Scythian cultures, including different Saka populations with genetic profiles, combining Steppe_MLBA, BMAC, and Khövsgöl LBA ancestries.
Genetic makeup of Iron Age Central Asian Scythians. The three main ancestry components are shown in green, red and violet representing the ancestries maximized in Anatolian farmers, Iranian farmers, and Hunter Gatherers from West Siberia, respectively.

The Scythians represent a "multitude of horse-warrior nomad" groups, which emerged from Bronze and Iron Age Central Asians (Western Steppe Herders or "Steppe_MLBA") who admixed with an East Asian-derived population represented by Khövsgöl LBA groups, giving rise to the various "Scythian cultures".[41] Different Scythian groups arose locally, rather than through migration patterns.[42][43] As a whole, Scythians can be modeled as a mixture between West Eurasian sources, primarily Western Steppe Herders (Steppe_MLBA) and BMAC-like groups, with additional amounts of admixture from a population represented by the Khövsgöl LBA peoples of East Eurasian origin. Previous suggested admixture sources represented by other modern "East Eurasian proxies", such as Han Chinese or Nganasans, failed and were less reliable than Khövsgöl sources.[44] Scythians can broadly be differentiated into "Western" and "Eastern" sub-groups, with Western Scythians displaying affinity to various modern groups in the Caucasus and Central Asia, while Eastern Scythian affinity is more widespread but nearly exclusively found among modern Turkic-speaking as well as Uralic and Paleosiberian peoples.[45][9][46][47] Overall, modern Tajiks and Yaghnobis were found to display the strongest genetic continuity with the Bronze and Iron Age populations of Central Asia (Indo-Iranians).[48][49] Scythian Steppe populations display genetic heterogeneity along a West-to-East cline, with Eastern Scythians having higher genetic diversity.[6] Eastern Scythians around the Altai mountains were of multiple origins and originated from an admixture event in the Bronze Age. The Eastern Scythians genetically formed from mixture between Steppe_MLBA sources (which could be associated with different cultures such as Sintashta, Srubnaya, and Andronovo) and a specific East Eurasian source that was already present during the LBA in the neighboring northern Mongolia region.[50] Eastern Scythians did not belong to a single genetic or cultural cluster, while Western Scythians fall in or close to the European cluster.[51]

A later different Eastern influx, starting during the Middle to post-Iron Age period, is evident in three outlier samples of the Tasmola culture (Tasmola Birlik) and one of the Pazyryk culture (Pazyryk Berel), which displayed c. 70-83% additional Ancient Northeast Asian ancestry represented by the Neolithic Devil’s Gate Cave specimen, suggesting them to be recent migrants from further East. The same additional Eastern ancestry is found among the later groups of Huns (Hun Berel 300CE, Hun elite 350CE), and the Karakaba remains (830CE). At the same time, western Sarmatian-like and minor additional BMAC-like ancestry spread eastwards, with a Saka-associated sample from southeastern Kazakhstan (Konyr Tobe 300CE) displaying around 85% Sarmatian and 15% BMAC ancestry. Sarmatians are modeled to derive primarily from the preceding Western Steppe Herders of the Pontic–Caspian steppe.[11]

Western Scythian culture genetics edit

This section lists the findings of genetic studies of the remains excavated in western Asia and eastern Europe ascribed to one of the Scythian cultures.

Initially, the Western Scythians carried only West Eurasian maternal haplogroups, but the frequency of East Eurasian haplogroups rises to 26% in samples dated to the 2nd century BCE.[52] Among the Western Scythians discovered at Rostov-on-Don, in European Russia, East Eurasian maternal haplogroups make up 37.5% of the total. These results possibly suggest the increasing presence of East Eurasian women in Western Scythian populations, although autosomal genetic evidence is needed to confirm this observation.[53]

In terms of paternal haplogroups, most Western Scythian remains from the North Pontic region have been observed to carry a specific clade haplogroup R1b, which distinguishes them from Eastern Scythians, who generally exhibited haplogroup haplogroup R1a, as well as other haplogroups. One Scythian from the Samara region carried R1a-Z93.[54]

Unterländer, et al. (2017) found that contemporary descendants of western Scythian groups are found among various groups in the Caucasus and Central Asia.[45]

Eastern Scythian culture genetics edit

This section lists the findings of genetic studies of the remains excavated in central Eurasia and the eastern steppe ascribed to one of the Scythian cultures. Pilipenko (2018)[55] studied mtDNA from remains of the Tagar culture, which was part of the Scytho-Siberian world. Although found in Khakassia, at the eastern extreme of the Eurasian steppe, remains from the early stage of the Tagar culture were found to be closely related to those of contemporary Scythians on the Pontic-Caspian steppe far to the west, exhibiting both West Eurasian and East Eurasian lineages. However, the fossils from the middle stage of the Tagar culture showed a strong increase in East Eurasian maternal lineages, increasing from 35% to nearly 45% by the middle stage.[56] Notably, the mtDNA haplogroups C and D increased from 8.7 to 37.8%.[57]

Mary, et al. (2019) [27] studied the genetics of remains from the Aldy-Bel culture in and around Tuva in central Asia, adjacent to western Mongolia; the Aldy-Bel culture is considered one of the Scytho-Siberian cultures. The authors also analyzed the maternal haplogroups of 26 Siberian Scythian remains from Arzhan. 50% of the remains carried an East Eurasian haplogroup, while 50% carried a West Eurasian haplogroup. In contrast to the paternal lineages, the maternal lineages were extremely diverse. The most common lineages were variants of haplogroup C4.[58]

Mary, et al. (2019) also determined the paternal haplogroups of 16 Siberian Scythian males of the Aldy-Bel culture. 56.2% of the haplogroups belonged to varieties of haplogroup R1a. On the other hand, 31.2% belonged to haplogroup Q1b, which was found in Bronze Age samples from the Altai mountains. Additionally, one specimen (6.25%) carried haplogroup N-M231, which is associated with neolithic remains from Northern China.[59]

The Scythian groups of the Pontic Steppe and South Siberia had significantly different paternal genetics, which suggests that the Pontic and South Siberian Scythians had completely different paternal origins, with almost no paternal gene flow between them.[27][f]

Since the Middle Iron Age onwards, the Eastern Scythians received additional Northern East Asian geneflow, paralleling the emergence of Huns, which shared this newly arrived component. There was also an increase in Sarmatian and BMAC-like ancestries.[11]

Unterländer, et al. (2017) found that eastern Scythians share closest genetic similarities with modern-day speakers of Siberian Turkic languages, such as Telengits, Tubalars, and Tofalars, which supports a "multi-regional origin" of the eastern Iron Age Scythians.[60] Eastern Scythians share partial ancestry with contemporary Turkic, Mongolian, and Siberian groups in eastern Eurasia, while evidence of genetic affinity with Scythians is strongest among modern speakers of the Kipchak languages.[61] There is increasing evidence for a partial continuity from the eastern Scythians to the Turkic-speakers of the Altai region, as well as modern Uralic and Paleosiberian peoples.[62][47] Turkic-speaking Central Asians can be described as having formed from admixture between Scythian-like groups, displaying their highest genetic affinity to modern day Tajiks, and "Eastern Steppe Xiongnu" groups during the Iron Age.[63] The admixture with West Eurasian sources was found to be "in accordance with the linguistically documented language borrowing in Turkic languages".[64]

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ Also referred to as the Scythian cultures, Scythic cultures, Scytho-Siberian cultures, Early Nomadic cultures, the Scythian civilization, the Scythian horizon, the Scythian world, or the Scythian continuum.
  2. ^ a b "[A] nomadic people made up of many different tribes thrived across a vast region that stretched from the borders of northern China and Mongolia, through southern Siberia and northern Kazakhstan, as far as the northern reaches of the Black Sea. Collectively they were known by their Greek name: the Scythians. They spoke Iranian languages ..."[2]
  3. ^ "The Achaemenids called the Scythians 'Saka' which sometimes leads to confusion in the literature. The term 'Scythians' is particularly used for the representatives of this culture who lived in the European part of the steppe zone. Those who lived in Central Asia are often called Sauromates or Saka and in the Altai area, they are generally known as Scytho-Siberians."[28]
  4. ^ "Even though there were fundamental ways in which nomadic groups over such a vast territory differed, the terms 'Scythian' and 'Scythic' have been widely adopted to describe a special phase that followed the widespread diffusion of mounted nomadism, characterized by the presence of special weapons, horse gear, and animal art in the form of metal plaques. Archaeologists have used the term 'Scythic continuum' in a broad cultural sense to indicate the early nomadic cultures of the Eurasian steppe. The term 'Scythic' draws attention to the fact that there are elements – shapes of weapons, vessels, and ornaments, as well as lifestyle – common to both the eastern and western ends of the Eurasian steppe region. However, the extension and variety of sites across Asia makes Scythian and Scythic terms too broad to be viable, and the more neutral 'early nomadic' is preferable, since the cultures of the Northern Zone cannot be directly associated with either the historical Scythians or any specific archaeological culture defined as Saka or Scytho-Siberian."[29]
  5. ^ a b "[T]he [elite] Scythians were relatively tall. This tallness is particularly noticeable in warrior burials and those of men of the upper social stratum, who would seem tall even today ... [T]hese skeletons differ from those of today in their longer arm and leg bones and a generally stronger bone formation ... The physical characteristics of the Scythians correspond to their cultural affiliation: [T]heir origins place them within the group of Iranian peoples ... [W]e are dealing with a period in which huge areas of Siberia far into Mongolia were still inhabited by ancient Europoids."[30]
  6. ^ "The absence of R1b lineages in the Scytho-Siberian individuals tested so far and their presence in the North Pontic Scythians suggest that these two groups had a completely different paternal lineage makeup with nearly no gene flow from male carriers between them."[27]

References edit

  1. ^ Alekseyev, Andrey [in Russian] (2017). "Scytho-Siberian world". Great Russian Encyclopedia (in Russian).
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Simpson 2017.
  3. ^ Unterländer 2017. Genomic inference reveals that Scythians in the east and the west of the steppe zone can best be described as a mixture of Yamnaya-related ancestry and an East Asian component. Demographic modelling suggests independent origins for eastern and western groups with ongoing gene-flow between them, plausibly explaining the striking uniformity of their material culture. We also find evidence that significant gene-flow from east to west Eurasia must have occurred early during the Iron Age. The origin of the widespread Scythian-Siberian cultures has long been debated in Eurasian archaeology. The northern Black Sea steppe was originally considered the homeland and centre of the Scythians3 until Terenozhkin formulated the hypothesis of a Central Asian origin4. On the other hand, evidence supporting an east Eurasian origin includes the kurgan Arzhan 1 in Tuva5, which is considered the earliest Scythian kurgan5. Dating of additional burial sites situated in east and west Eurasia confirmed eastern kurgans as older than their western counterparts6,7. Additionally, elements of the characteristic 'Animal Style' dated to the tenth century BCE1,4 were found in the region of the Yenisei river and modern-day China, supporting the early presence and origin of Scythian culture in the East.
  4. ^ Järve 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Unterländer 2017.
  6. ^ a b Krzewińska 2018. The nomadic populations were heterogeneous and carried genetic affinities with populations from several other regions including the Far East and the southern Urals. Genetic analyses of maternal lineages of Scythians suggest a mixed origin and an east-west admixture gradient across the Eurasian steppe (10–12). The genomics of two early Scythian Aldy-Bel individuals (13) showed genetic affinities to eastern Asian populations (12).
  7. ^ Medrano 2018.
  8. ^ a b Alekseev 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Juras 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d e Krzewińska 2018.
  11. ^ a b c Gnecchi-Ruscone, Guido Alberto; Khussainova, Elmira; Kahbatkyzy, Nurzhibek; Musralina, Lyazzat; Spyrou, Maria A.; Bianco, Raffaela A.; Radzeviciute, Rita; Martins, Nuno Filipe Gomes; Freund, Caecilia; Iksan, Olzhas; Garshin, Alexander (March 2021). "Ancient genomic time transect from the Central Asian Steppe unravels the history of the Scythians". Science Advances. 7 (13). Bibcode:2021SciA....7.4414G. doi:10.1126/sciadv.abe4414. PMC 7997506. PMID 33771866. Our findings shed new light onto the debate about the origins of the Scythian cultures. We do not find support for a western Pontic-Caspian steppe origin, which is, in fact, highly questioned by more recent historical/archeological work (1, 2). The Kazakh Steppe origin hypothesis finds instead a better correspondence with our results, but rather than finding support for one of the two extreme hypotheses, i.e., single origin with population diffusion versus multiple independent origins with only cultural transmission, we found evidence for at least two independent origins as well as population diffusion and admixture (Fig. 4B). In particular, the eastern groups are consistent with descending from a gene pool that formed as a result of a mixture between preceding local steppe_MLBA sources (which could be associated with different cultures such as Sintashta, Srubnaya, and Andronovo that are genetically homogeneous) and a specific eastern Eurasian source that was already present during the LBA in the neighboring northern Mongolia region (27).
  12. ^ Kennedy 2017.
  13. ^ a b c d e Nicholson 2018, pp. 1346–1347.
  14. ^ a b c Unterländer 2017."Genomic inference reveals that Scythians in the east and the west of the steppe zone can best be described as a mixture of Yamnaya-related ancestry and an East Asian component. Demographic modelling suggests independent origins for eastern and western groups with ongoing gene-flow between them, plausibly explaining the striking uniformity of their material culture. We also find evidence that significant gene-flow from east to west Eurasia must have occurred early during the Iron Age." and "The blend of EHG [European hunter-gatherer] and Caucasian elements in carriers of the Yamnaya culture was formed on the European steppe and exported into Central Asia and Siberia"
  15. ^ a b Unterländer 2017. "The origin of the widespread Scythian culture has long been debated in Eurasian archaeology. The northern Black Sea steppe was originally considered the homeland and centre of the Scythians until Terenozhkin formulated the hypothesis of a Central Asian origin. On the other hand, evidence supporting an east Eurasian origin includes the kurgan Arzhan 1 in Tuva, which is considered the earliest Scythian kurgan. Dating of additional burial sites situated in east and west Eurasia confirmed eastern kurgans as older than their western counterparts. Additionally, elements of the characteristic ‘Animal Style' dated to the tenth century BC were found in the region of the Yenisei river and modern-day China, supporting the early presence of Scythian culture in the East."
  16. ^ David & McNiven 2018, p. 156.
  17. ^ Watson 1972, p. 142.
  18. ^ a b c d e f Ivanchik 2018.
  19. ^ a b Batty 2007, p. 205.
  20. ^ a b West 2002, pp. 439–440.
  21. ^ Davis-Kimball, Bashilov & Yablonsky 1995, p. 33.
  22. ^ Abdullaev, Kazim (2007). "Nomad Migration in Central Asia (in After Alexander: Central Asia before Islam)". Proceedings of the British Academy. 133: 87–98.
  23. ^ Foundation, Encyclopaedia Iranica. "Welcome to Encyclopaedia Iranica". iranicaonline.org.
  24. ^ "Also a Saka according to this source".
  25. ^ Jacobson 1995, pp. 36–37.
  26. ^ David & McNiven 2018.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Mary 2019.
  28. ^ Ancient Nomads of the Altai Mountains: Belgian-Russian multidisciplinary archaeological research on the Scytho-Siberian culture. Royal Museums of Art and History. 2000. p. 18.
  29. ^ a b Di Cosmo 1999, p. 891.
  30. ^ Rolle 1989, pp. 55–56.
  31. ^ a b Rolle 1989, pp. 55–57.
  32. ^ Argent, Gala (2011). "2". At Home, with the Good Horses: Relationality, Roles, Identity and Ideology in Iron Age Inner Asia (PhD). University of Leicester. Retrieved 1 January 2023.
  33. ^ Argent 2011, p. 43: "Rudenko also noted that men’s hair varied among shaved, bright chestnut, dark blond and soft, black and curly..."
  34. ^ Argent 2011, p. 38: "Second, also on the Ukok plateau, is the cemetery of Verh-Kaldzhin, where a blond man nicknamed the “warrior” was buried with one horse (Verh-Kaldzhin 2-1)."
  35. ^ The frozen tombs of the Altai Mountains : [catalogue publ. for the exhibition "The frozen tombs of the Altai Mountains", presented in Gent (2006), Gorno-Altaisk (2007) and Paris (2008) ...]. Ghent: UNESCO World Heritage Centre. 2006. p. 51. ISBN 978-90-70830-04-5. "Of particular value, kurgan Olon Kurin Gol 10 contained a completely intact burial chamber with a mummified blond warrior fully dressed and equipped with a full set of weapons."
  36. ^ Baumer, Christoph (18 April 2018). History of Central Asia, The: 4-volume set. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 186. ISBN 978-1-83860-868-2.
  37. ^ Mary 2019, p. 10/13: "Haplogroup R1a-M173 was previously reported for 6 Scytho-Siberian individuals from the Tagar culture (Keyser et al. 2009) and one Altaian Scytho-Siberian from the Sebÿstei site (Ricaut et al. 2004a), whereas haplogroup R1a1a1b2-Z93 (or R1a1a1b-S224) was described for one Scythian from Samara (Mathieson et al. 2015) and two Scytho-Siberians from Berel and the Tuva Republic (Unterländer et al. 2017). On the contrary, North Pontic Scythiians were found to belong to the R1b1a1a2 haplogroup (Krzewińska et al. 2018), showing a distinction between the two groups of Scythians."
  38. ^ Krzewińska 2018: "The Iron Age nomads mostly carried the R1b Y haplogroup, which is characteristic of the Yamnaya of the Russian steppe (4)."
  39. ^ Mary 2019, p. 10/13: "The absence of R1b lineages in the Scytho-Siberian individuals tested so far and their presence in the North Pontic Scythians suggest that these 2 groups had a completely different paternal lineage makeup with nearly no gene fow from male carriers between them."
  40. ^ Pilipenko 2018.
  41. ^ Gnecchi-Ruscone, Guido Alberto; Khussainova, Elmira; Kahbatkyzy, Nurzhibek; Musralina, Lyazzat; Spyrou, Maria A.; Bianco, Raffaela A.; Radzeviciute, Rita; Martins, Nuno Filipe Gomes; Freund, Caecilia; Iksan, Olzhas; Garshin, Alexander; Zhaniyazov, Zhassulan; Bekmanov, Bakhytzhan; Kitov, Egor; Samashev, Zainolla (26 March 2021). "Ancient genomic time transect from the Central Asian Steppe unravels the history of the Scythians". Science Advances. 7 (13). Bibcode:2021SciA....7.4414G. doi:10.1126/sciadv.abe4414. ISSN 2375-2548. PMC 7997506. PMID 33771866.
  42. ^ Järve, Mari; Saag, Lehti; Scheib, Christiana Lyn; Pathak, Ajai K.; Montinaro, Francesco; Pagani, Luca; Flores, Rodrigo; Guellil, Meriam; Saag, Lauri; Tambets, Kristiina; Kushniarevich, Alena; Solnik, Anu; Varul, Liivi; Zadnikov, Stanislav; Petrauskas, Oleg (22 July 2019). "Shifts in the Genetic Landscape of the Western Eurasian Steppe Associated with the Beginning and End of the Scythian Dominance". Current Biology. 29 (14): 2430–2441.e10. Bibcode:2019CBio...29E2430J. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2019.06.019. ISSN 0960-9822. PMID 31303491. Recently, studies of ancient Scythian genomes have affirmed the confederate nature of the Scythian tribes, showing them to be genetically distinct from one another but finding little or no support for large-scale east-to-west movements, instead generally suggesting separate local origins of various Scythian groups [1, 2, 3].
  43. ^ Järve 2019. "The Early Iron Age nomadic Scythians have been described as a confederation of tribes of different origins, based on ancient DNA evidence [1, 2, 3]. All samples of this study also possessed at least one additional eastern component, one of which was nearly at 100% in modern Nganasans (orange) and the other in modern Han Chinese (yellow; Figure S2). The eastern components were present in variable proportions in the samples of this study."
  44. ^ Gnecchi-Ruscone, Guido Alberto; Khussainova, Elmira; Kahbatkyzy, Nurzhibek; Musralina, Lyazzat; Spyrou, Maria A.; Bianco, Raffaela A.; Radzeviciute, Rita; Martins, Nuno Filipe Gomes; Freund, Caecilia; Iksan, Olzhas; Garshin, Alexander; Zhaniyazov, Zhassulan; Bekmanov, Bakhytzhan; Kitov, Egor; Samashev, Zainolla (26 March 2021). "Ancient genomic time transect from the Central Asian Steppe unravels the history of the Scythians". Science Advances. 7 (13). Bibcode:2021SciA....7.4414G. doi:10.1126/sciadv.abe4414. ISSN 2375-2548. PMC 7997506. PMID 33771866. Genetic ancestry modeling of the IA groups performed with qpWave and qpAdm confirmed that the steppe_MLBA groups adequately approximate the western Eurasian ancestry source in IA Scythians while the preceding steppe_EBA (e.g., Yamnaya and Afanasievo) do not (data file S4). As an eastern Eurasian proxy, we chose LBA herders from Khovsgol in northern Mongolia based on their geographic and temporal proximity. Other eastern proxies fail the model because of a lack or an excess of affinity toward the Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) lineage (25).
  45. ^ a b Unterländer 2017: "Contemporary descendants of western Scythian groups are found among various groups in the Caucasus and Central Asia, while similarities to eastern Scythian are found to be more widespread, but almost exclusively among Turkic language speaking (formerly) nomadic groups, particularly from the Kipchak branch of Turkic languages."
  46. ^ Krzewińska 2018: "The results point to the presence of a deep shared ancestry of all Iron Age nomadic groups associated with Bronze Age populations of the steppe, which, however, is not equivalent with a direct genetic continuity between Srubnaya-Alakulskaya and the western Scythians."
  47. ^ a b Gurkan, Cemal (8 January 2019). "On The Genetic Continuity of the Iron Age Pazyryk Culture: Geographic Distributions of the Paternal and Maternal Lineages from the Ak-Alakha-1 Burial". International Journal of Human Genetics. 19 (1). doi:10.31901/24566330.2019/19.01.709. ISSN 0972-3757. Notably, there is clear population continuity between the Uralic people such as Khants, Mansis and Nganasans, Paleo-Siberian people such as Yukaghirs and Chuvantsi, and the Pazyryk people even when considering just the two mtDNA and Y-STR haplotypes from the Ak-Alakha-1 mound 1 kurgan (Tables 1a, b, Table 2, Fig. 1).
  48. ^ Guarino-Vignon, Perle; Marchi, Nina; Bendezu-Sarmiento, Julio; Heyer, Evelyne; Bon, Céline (14 January 2022). "Genetic continuity of Indo-Iranian speakers since the Iron Age in southern Central Asia". Scientific Reports. 12 (1): 733. Bibcode:2022NatSR..12..733G. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-04144-4. ISSN 2045-2322. PMC 8760286. PMID 35031610.
  49. ^ Dai, Shan-Shan; Sulaiman, Xierzhatijiang; Isakova, Jainagul; Xu, Wei-Fang; Abdulloevich, Najmudinov Tojiddin; Afanasevna, Manilova Elena; Ibrohimovich, Khudoidodov Behruz; Chen, Xi; Yang, Wei-Kang; Wang, Ming-Shan; Shen, Quan-Kuan; Yang, Xing-Yan; Yao, Yong-Gang; Aldashev, Almaz A; Saidov, Abdusattor (25 August 2022). "The Genetic Echo of the Tarim Mummies in Modern Central Asians". Molecular Biology and Evolution. 39 (9). doi:10.1093/molbev/msac179. ISSN 0737-4038. PMC 9469894. PMID 36006373.
  50. ^ Gnecchi-Ruscone, Guido Alberto; Khussainova, Elmira; Kahbatkyzy, Nurzhibek; Musralina, Lyazzat; Spyrou, Maria A.; Bianco, Raffaela A.; Radzeviciute, Rita; Martins, Nuno Filipe Gomes; Freund, Caecilia; Iksan, Olzhas; Garshin, Alexander (March 2021). "Ancient genomic time transect from the Central Asian Steppe unravels the history of the Scythians". Science Advances. 7 (13). Bibcode:2021SciA....7.4414G. doi:10.1126/sciadv.abe4414. PMC 7997506. PMID 33771866. Our findings shed new light onto the debate about the origins of the Scythian cultures. We do not find support for a western Pontic-Caspian steppe origin, which is, in fact, highly questioned by more recent historical/archeological work (1, 2). The Kazakh Steppe origin hypothesis finds instead a better correspondence with our results, but rather than finding support for one of the two extreme hypotheses, i.e., single origin with population diffusion versus multiple independent origins with only cultural transmission, we found evidence for at least two independent origins as well as population diffusion and admixture (Fig. 4B). In particular, the eastern groups are consistent with descending from a gene pool that formed as a result of a mixture between preceding local steppe_MLBA sources (which could be associated with different cultures such as Sintashta, Srubnaya, and Andronovo that are genetically homogeneous) and a specific eastern Eurasian source that was already present during the LBA in the neighboring northern Mongolia region (27).
  51. ^ Järve, Mari; Saag, Lehti; Scheib, Christiana Lyn; Pathak, Ajai K.; Montinaro, Francesco; Pagani, Luca; Flores, Rodrigo; Guellil, Meriam; Saag, Lauri; Tambets, Kristiina; Kushniarevich, Alena; Solnik, Anu; Varul, Liivi; Zadnikov, Stanislav; Petrauskas, Oleg (July 2019). "Shifts in the Genetic Landscape of the Western Eurasian Steppe Associated with the Beginning and End of the Scythian Dominance". Current Biology. 29 (14): 2430–2441.e10. Bibcode:2019CBio...29E2430J. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2019.06.019. ISSN 0960-9822. PMID 31303491. ...and most of the Eastern Scythians [3], who are themselves a very heterogeneous group both culturally and genetically. On the other hand, the Chernyakhiv samples overlapped with modern Europeans, representing the most "western" range of variation among the groups of this study (Figure 2).
  52. ^ Unterländer 2017, p. 4: "The eastern Scythians display nearly equal proportions of mtDNA lineages common in east and west Eurasia, whereas in the western Scythian groups, the frequency of lineages now common in east Eurasia is generally lower, even reaching zero in four samples of the initial Scythian phase of the eight to sixth century BCE (group #1 in Fig. 2), and reaches 18–26% during later periods (sixth to second century BCE; #2 and #3) (Supplementary Table 7)."
  53. ^ Juras 2017, p. 8/10: "Mitochondrial haplogroup analyses of the NPR Scythians from this study and those from Rostov-on-Don and Pazyryks from Altai and Inner Mongolia, reveal that, for the most part, the same lineages are found in all three groups and are often singularly represented in each group. Noteworthy, comparing the frequencies of east and west Eurasian haplogroups in all three groups of the Scythian horizon, an east-west mtDNA lineage cline is visible, for east Eurasian lineages going west-east is from 26.3% (in present study) through 37.5% (in Scythians from Rostov-on-Don) to 46.7% (in Pazyryks) with the opposite trend for west Eurasian lineages." [...] "The genetic influx of East Eurasian haplotypes might be the result of establishing relationships between migrants with European ancestry and women of east Eurasian origin as was previously proposed by66 in case of Iron Age south Siberian populations. However, more detailed studies of autosomal DNA are needed to clearly resolve this issue."
  54. ^ Mary 2019, p. 10/13: "Haplogroup R1a-M173 was previously reported for 6 Scytho-Siberian individuals from the Tagar culture (Keyser et al. 2009) and one Altaian Scytho-Siberian from the Sebÿstei site (Ricaut et al. 2004a), whereas haplogroup R1a1a1b2-Z93 (or R1a1a1b-S224) was described for one Scythian from Samara (Mathieson et al. 2015) and two Scytho-Siberians from Berel and the Tuva Republic (Unterländer et al. 2017). On the contrary, North Pontic Scythians were found to belong to the R1b1a1a2 haplogroup (Krzewińska et al. 2018), showing a distinction between the two groups of Scythians"
  55. ^ Pilipenko, Aleksandr S.; Trapezov, Rostislav O.; Cherdantsev, Stepan V.; Babenko, Vladimir N.; Nesterova, Marina S.; Pozdnyakov, Dmitri V.; Molodin, Vyacheslav I.; Polosmak, Natalia V. (20 September 2018). "Maternal genetic features of the Iron Age Tagar population from Southern Siberia (1st millennium BC)". PLOS ONE. 13 (9): e0204062. Bibcode:2018PLoSO..1304062P. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0204062. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 6147448. PMID 30235269.
  56. ^ Pilipenko et al. 2018: "We observed differences in the mtDNA pool structure between the Early and the Middle chronological stages of the Tagar culture population, as evidenced by the change in the ratio of Western to Eastern Eurasian mtDNA components. The contribution of Eastern Eurasian lineages increased from about one-third (34.8%) in the Early Tagar group to almost one-half (45.8%) in the Middle Tagar group."
  57. ^ Pilipenko et al. 2018: "According to the results of Unterlander et al. [4], East Eurasian mtDNA components in the Western Eurasian steppe belt increased during the Early Iron Age .... The observed reduction in the genetic distance between the Middle Tagar population and other Scythian-like populations of Southern Siberia (Fig 5; S4 Table), in our opinion, is primarily associated with an increase in the role of East Eurasian mtDNA lineages in the gene pool (up to nearly half of the gene pool) and a substantial increase in the joint frequency of haplogroups C and D (from 8.7% in the Early Tagar series to 37.5% in the Middle Tagar series)."
  58. ^ Mary 2019, p. 7/13.
  59. ^ Mary 2019, p. 10/13.
  60. ^ Unterländer 2017, p. 69: "Thirdly, contemporary populations with the highest likelihood of being directly descended from eastern Scythian groups are almost exclusively Turkic language speakers (Supplementary Fig. 10b). Particularly high statistical support was documented for some Turkic speaking groups geographically located close to the archaeological sites of the eastern Scythians (e.g. Telenghits, Tubular, Tofalar), but also among Turkic speaking populations located in Central Asia (e.g. Kyrgyz, Kazakhs and Karakalpaks) (Supplementary Fig. 11). These same results were found for some Turkic groups located even further to the West, such as the Kazan Volga-Tatars. Finally, contemporary populations likely to share a common ancestor with eastern Scythians were mainly found among Turkic, Mongolian and Siberian groups located in eastern Eurasia (Supplementary Fig. 10d and Supplementary Fig. 11). In summary, these results provide further support for a multi-regional origin of the various Scythian groups from the Iron Age."
  61. ^ Unterländer 2017: "Contemporary descendants of western Scythian groups are found among various groups in the Caucasus and Central Asia, while similarities to eastern Scythian are found to be more widespread, but almost exclusively among Turkic language speaking (formerly) nomadic groups, particularly from the Kipchak branch of Turkic languages (Supplementary Note 1)."
  62. ^ Tikhonov, Dmitrii; Gurkan, Cemal; Peler, Gökçe; Dyakonov, Viktor (2019). "On The Genetic Continuity of the Iron Age Pazyryk Culture: Geographic Distributions of the Paternal and Maternal Lineages from the Ak-Alakha-1 Burial". International Journal of Human Genetics. 19 (1). doi:10.31901/24566330.2019/19.01.709. S2CID 202015095. "The substantial presence of the Ak-Alakha-1 mtDNA and Y-STR haplotypes in the contemporary Anatolian populations may be attributed to two major historical events: (a) the less likely being the Scythian invasion of Anatolia around 7th century BCE and settlement for around 30 years near the Aras or Araxes River (Herodotus 1920), and (b) the more likely being the Central Asiatic Turkic migrations into Anatolia from around 11th century CE onwards, keeping in mind the ever growing support for a strong genetic continuity between the ancient eastern Scythians and the proto-Turkic tribes (Unterlander et al. 2017)."
  63. ^ Dai, Shan-Shan; Sulaiman, Xierzhatijiang; Isakova, Jainagul; Xu, Wei-Fang; Abdulloevich, Najmudinov Tojiddin; Afanasevna, Manilova Elena; Ibrohimovich, Khudoidodov Behruz; Chen, Xi; Yang, Wei-Kang; Wang, Ming-Shan; Shen, Quan-Kuan; Yang, Xing-Yan; Yao, Yong-Gang; Aldashev, Almaz A; Saidov, Abdusattor (25 August 2022). "The Genetic Echo of the Tarim Mummies in Modern Central Asians". Molecular Biology and Evolution. 39 (9). doi:10.1093/molbev/msac179. ISSN 0737-4038. PMC 9469894. PMID 36006373. Given the Steppe-related ancestry (e.g., Andronovo) existing in Scythians (i.e., Saka; Unterländer et al. 2017; Damgaard et al. 2018; Guarino-Vignon et al. 2022), the proposed linguistic and physical anthropological links between the Tajiks and Scythians (Han 1993; Kuz′mina and Mallory 2007) may be ascribed to their shared Steppe-related ancestry. By contrast, the Kyrgyz, together with other Turkic-speaking populations, originated from the admixture since the Iron Age.
  64. ^ He, Guang-Lin; Wang, Meng-Ge; Zou, Xing; Yeh, Hui-Yuan; Liu, Chang-Hui; Liu, Chao; Chen, Gang; Wang, Chuan-Chao (January 2023). "Extensive ethnolinguistic diversity at the crossroads of North China and South Siberia reflects multiple sources of genetic diversity". Journal of Systematics and Evolution. 61 (1): 230–250. doi:10.1111/jse.12827. ISSN 1674-4918. S2CID 245849003.

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