Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2006-09 > 1158945106

From: ellen Levy <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Fwd: Celts descended from Spanish fishermen, study finds
Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2006 10:11:46 -0700 (PDT)
In-Reply-To: <>

What I find particularly disturbing about these newest
writings by Sykes and Oppenheimer is that their
theories are held forth not theories, but "factual
history." Earlier "factual histories," in this case,
theories concerning Celtic origins and the movement of
the IE languages, are now described as myths. Hence,
one paradigm replaces another, yet neither is true
historic fact, because the reconstruction of ancient
population/genetic/linguistic history is always
speculative theory and interpretation of the available
evidence. It is amazing to me that Oppenheimer
actually calls earlier theories "false."

Oppenheimer's theory apparently places Celtic origins
in the Mediterranean, coming out of Anatolia! This
theory is further based on the newest paradigm of IE
origins (whose biggest proponent appears to be Colin
Renfrew) eminating from Anatolia rather than the north
Black Sea area (the most well-known proponent of this
theory is probably J.P. Mallory).

Oppenheimer's theory is unusual, to say the least. He
relies on linguistic evidence (IE origins) and
literary evidence (the Irish myths), but fails in my
opinion to bring in the necessary supporting
archaeological or genetic evidence, only saying his
"genetic analysis" supports his theories. I honestly
don't know of any evidence placing the Celtic homeland
in modern-day Turkey.

As many of the list are already aware, the debate over
IE origins is far from over. Mallory certainly
presents persuasive evidence against an Anatolian
origin for Proto-IE.

I am particularly concerned that the contemporary
frequency and distribution of haplogroups (in this
case, R1b of the WAMH) is being used to project back
as far as 15,000 years ago, thereby creating a
"history" that is, in reality, highly speculative.
This is then used to create the "R1b indigenous
paradigm," as I've come to think of it. All others,
including all you I's out there, are simply latecomers
or "immigrant minorities."

The first settlers of the British Isles are even
proported by Oppenheimer to have possibly spoken a
language related to Basque. There is absolutely no
evidence to support this contention. It is
speculation, pure and simple, and should be presented
as such. Remember, Basque and Etruscan aren't even

Sykes and Oppenheimer are clearly busy creating and
selling a new paradigm to the public. But is this
paradigm really any more historically accurate than
prior paradigms? Here's some things to consider in
addressing this question based primarily on aDNA mtDNA

1. The increased genetic diversity of modern day
Iberian mtDNA compared to the ancient Iberians.

2. The lack of close relationship between the ancient
Iberians and the Etruscans (as well as the lack of
close relationship between modern day Italians and
both the Etruscans and ancient Iberians).

3. The evidence presented in the DNA studies
concerning the effect of drift associated with Basque
population structure.

4. Evidence suggesting later migratory movements of
groups such as mtDNA haplogroup V into areas such as

5. Extinction and near extinction of various
Paleolithic/Neolithic mtDNA lineages (N1a, for

6. (Related to #4 above) Evidence from Alzualde's 2005
study of ancient Basques suggesting post-Neolithic
migratory movements and significant gene flow among
the western European populations between 5,000-1,500
YBP, leading to homogenized mtDNA lineages. Note that
this period of time is a perfect match to the actual
movement of Neolithic technology into the British
Isles, but much later in time than proposed by
Oppenheimer and Sykes.

7. The lack of any concrete genetic evidence
concerning the presence of Y chromosome haplogroups,
including Rlb of the WAMH, in Europe immediately
following the end of the LGM.

Ellen Coffman

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