The face of Ariadne

By Razib Khan | December 14, 2010 1:38 am

ardiadneIn response to my post from this weekend positing that the Sardinians are a particularly pristine distillation of the genetic heritage of Europe’s first Neolithic farmers, a friend suggests that I compare & contrast Sardinian actress Caterina Murino and the depictions of women which one sees on the walls of Minoan palaces. The Minoans being the presumably pre-Indo-European people who were responsible for an ancient civilization on Crete, before their conquest by Bronze Age Greeks sometime in the 15th century BCE.

The title is a reference to the daughter of king Minos of Knossos, as well as what Heinrich Schliemann asserted after he discovered the ‘mask of Agamemnon’. In the late Bronze Age the people of Crete and Sardinia were associated with the ‘Sea Peoples’, raiders whose assaults on the kingdoms of the ancient Near East resulted in the fall of the Mycenaeans and Hittites, and the near collapse of Egypt.

Also, since I’ve been referencing Dodecad’s 10 putative ancestral components, I thought it would be useful to point to the phylogenetic relationships between them. Remember, these components are not necessarily real concrete ancient populations which were amalgamated. For example, the positions of the “Northwest African” and “South Asian” ancestral components may be a function of ancient admixture events which have distributed across the population and produced a distinctive stabilized allelic profile. I also wouldn’t be surprised if both the “Southern” and “Northern” European components resemble each other because of an underlying Paleolithic European substrate which is represented by haplogroups U5 and I.

Addendum: I would have juxtaposed the Minoan image with this photo, but copyright issues.

Image Credit: Kalumba2009.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Anthroplogy
MORE ABOUT: Genetics
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  • http://washparkprophet.blogspot.com ohwilleke

    ” In the late Bronze Age the people of Crete and Sardinia were associated with the ‘Sea Peoples’, raiders whose assaults on the kingdoms of the ancient Near East resulted in the fall of the Mycenaeans and Hittites, and the near collapse of Egypt.”

    The most strongly supported argument historically is that the Sea Peoples were displaced or raiding Mycenaens and Hittites who were ethnically distinct from the substrate Minoan peoples (and parallel mainland Greek and Anatolian peoples) whom the Myceneans conquered, albeit with some admixture and culturally assimilation during the period during the Bronze Age between consequest by Indo-European language speakers and prior non-Indo-European peoples. So, there is no a priori reason to closely associate Sea Peoples with Minoans.

  • onur

    The most strongly supported argument historically is that the Sea Peoples were displaced or raiding Mycenaens and Hittites

    If by Hittite you mean Hittites proper (speakers of the Hittite/Neshili language), they were almost certainly not involved among the Sea Peoples, as Hittites weren’t a maritime people. But some other Anatolian branch IE groups like the ones living in coastal western Anatolia may have been involved among the Sea Peoples, as coastal Anatolia (especially western coast) harbored some maritime Anatolian branch IE groups during the Bronze and Iron Ages.

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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com

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