Saturday, April 22, 2023

A new Finnish Master's Thesis sheds light on Late Iron Age burials in Southwestern Finland

 The name on thesis is "THE GENETIC MAKEUP AND SOCIAL ORGANISATION IN EARLY MEDIEVAL COASTAL SOUTHWEST FINLAND", the author Nelli-Johanna Saari.  It is available from the library of the University of Helsinki.  I do not quote it because it is limited by copyright laws, but you can order it by email, the Openness Act gives you right to get it.

The main discourse of the thesis is related with archaeological finds. It is good work as far as I can understand, keeping in mind that I have not got acquainted with archaeology more than reading some books published for laymen.  The text was interesting.

Coming to the part dealing genetics I can say more.  This section is rather brief, but earns to be noticed because this is the first one giving something of the thema  i.e. Late Iron Age Finnish genetics (in Finland the Iron Age ended 1200AD!  and historic time from that onwards).

The thesis includes two PCA plots.  These plots prove only that already 1000 years ago the Finns were Finns.  Only addition that can be said is that they might have carried less Saami or Siberian admixture than Finns today, but too few Saami samples on the plot didn't reveal the possibility of Saami admixture in Iron Age samples.  It is also possible that some samples represent Iron Age outliers, samples seen outliers from the present-day perspective.

The admixture analysis shows same tendencies than PCA plots.

The f3-analysis uses homozygous western hunter-gatheters as an ancestral source, which can lead to erroneous conclusions, because thousands years old ancestry comes through a complex history from different eras and directions.


  1. Hi, Mauri. This paper "The Bronze Age culture in Finland from the perspective of the 2020s" by Mika Lavento is quite informative. The Iron Age is mentioned too.

    1. Thank you very much. The Bronze Age represents in Finland preceding population compared to the recent one. Population sizes were rather small and weather conditions had a big effect on livelihood. There was a turning point in the Roman Iron Age when the Finnic languages arrived and absorbt Baltic and Germanic loan words. Those now-a-days emotive events cast long shadow on research and minds mixing with ethnic feelings. So the Bronze Age is seen like examining the surface of moon compared to the period started from the early Roman Iron Age. Furthermore the onset of Baltic Finnic period has political impact in Russia where the common political reckoning wants to see all Finno-Ugric people as one ethnic group belonging to the great Russian sphere of influence. All the Baltic Finnic history is a small powder keg and people have many kind of passions regarding it.


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