Bioarchaeological Analysis Mutual Relations of Populations Armenian Highlands and Eurasia Using Craniological and Dental Nonmetric Traits

Article excerpt

Abstract

Undertaken here is a multidimensional craniometric analysis of more than 254 ethnic groups of the Neolithic and Bronze Ages from the territory of Eurasia. On the basis of the received information, cluster analysis was done and has shown the genetic condensations of ethnoses and vectors of relatives or, conversely, distinctions between them. Craniometric and odontologic investigation of the Bronze Age is interesting and in connection with discussion about the origin of Indo-Europeans and about the place of their ancestral home. Different aspects of the problem of the ancestral home of Indo-Europeans are far from completely resolved and generate lively debate in the pages of scientific publications. New anthropological data allowed identification of alien Mediterranean characteristics influencing various ethnic Eurasian groups and revealed evidence of a migratory stream from the Armenian highlands and the Caucasus. This research provided new evidence of patterns of ethnic contact and intermixture in Western Eurasia.

Keywords: craniometrical characteristics, dental anthropology, biocultural, Mediterranean type, Bronze Ages, Armenian highlands

1. Introduction

The origin and development of ancient cultures is clearly connected with the general laws of social and economic development and environmental influence. The physical environment has played a significant role in all stages in the development of mankind, being a factor of paramount value favoring or constraining the cultural and economic progress of a society. In conjunction with the expansion of cattle-breeding and the emergence of ancient metallurgy, the Eurasian steppe, from serving as a factor dividing ethnic groups, became a factor uniting them in a larger community. The expansion into the steppes of wheeled vehicles invented in the Near East and "kibetka-houses" on wheels allowed cattlemen-farmers to move and survive with ease on the open steppes. Their movement across Eurasia in early times was not a military invasion, but a slow expansion caused by a decline in the child mortality rate and a resultant increase in population growth (Sarianidi, 2010). The wide expanse of the Eurasian steppes, offering favorable conditions for human life and the spread of information and technology, promoted a process of wide cultural integration in the Bronze Age throughout this area. The steppe was not only a conductor of new ideas and new people, but it also absorbed them, synthesizing and adapting to them new conditions. In what does the association consist? First of all, in a way of life that favored the strengthening of contacts between different groups that led to the occurrence of identical or very similar religious and ideological representations. A similar environment promoted the leveling of culture of the various ethnoses living in the steppe. Owing to similar circumstances, assimilation processes were facilitated that resulted in the contemporary ethnic diversity of the population of this territory, reflecting s it does a great variety of anthropological types. Reference to the morphological features of the ancient population of Eurasia was made in some previous works (Khudaverdyan, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011a), which showed the participation of the indigenous population from the Near East, the Armenian highlands and Caucasus in the formation of the anthropological character of certain tribes and their movements, and also the desire to track the roots of the local substrate. The areas surrounding the Black Sea coast at certain stages of history became a center of interrelations of various cultures. Overland lines of contact existed between the Near East through the Armenian highlands and the Caucasus and on to the Balkans, and through Caucasus and the Balkans to the north Black Sea coast and in the return direction. The ethnic history of the region developed under the interaction of various groups since the early Bronze Age, among which the Indo-European played a leading role, those tribes having created one of the most advanced cultures of the then-contemporary world. …