Wednesday, January 20, 2010

South Tyrol : Trentino-Alto Adige (Italy)

Archaeological findings show people settled in the middle alpine region, later to be called Tyrol, when the glaciers retreated and flora and fauna revived, after the last ice age ended around 12,000 BC. Artefacts found on the Seiser Alm date to the Upper Palaeolithic era. In the valley bottoms near Bozen, Brixen and Salorno Mesolithic hunters resting places were discovered. Stone artefacts recovered there were dated to the 8th millennia BC. Discovery of Ötzi on the Similaun glacier in 1991 proved man had already crossed the highest Alpine passes 5000 years ago.

In 15 BCE the region was conquered by the Romans : Meran and Bolzano became part of Italia's Regio X. After the fall of the Ostrogothic Kingdom in 553, the northern part of Tyrol came under the influence of the Bavarii. South Tyrol around the town of Bolzano came to be massively German-speaking overwhelming Ladino speakers.

  • Sample :
Full Scale

  • Brief anthropological analysis :

- Type 1 : Light, brachymorphic, little nose, square-faced, broad forehead, wide-set eyes, large jaw
~ Alpinoid/Subnordid

This type, though not uncommon in North Italy, is strikingly quite dominant in Bolzano : it might represent a generic Austrian type. This series is completed by a darker one :

- Type 2 : Light complexion, leptomorphic, close-set eyes, arched nose, large jaws, pointy chin
~ Nordo-Dinarid

This type isn't uncommon in North Italy either. It's not very "Germanic-looking" as one could have expected. A darker series :

  • Final morphotypes :


  1. Curious because it's a "melting pot" region, where Italy and Germany (Austria) merge, with an important geographical barrier separating these two regions (an absolute barrier in the Paleolithic). In general I'd say that type 1 looks German and type 2 Italian but some individuals are ambiguous or appear to relate better to some other location like SW Europe.

  2. In my opinion, the last three could pass for german-swiss...

  3. il terzo tipo della prima fila e`identico a un forista austriaco di anthroforum...

    la mascella piu´ amplia e la fronte piatta denotano un influsso dalico che marca la differenza tra altoatesini e trentini-veronesi-vicentini.

    saluti aluxito-malefix

  4. hello, here more pictures of common sudtiroleans, if interested take a look, bye

  5. Please correct to "came to be massively German-speaking overwhelming Ladin speakers". Ladin (Rhaetoroman in the Dolomites) and Ladino are two different languages.
    Since the 1920's until one generation ago there was a massive immigration from various Italian regions mainly to big cities (Italian speakers grow from 5 to 70% in Bolzano city). This has greatly increased the diversity beside the "normal" immigration since the 1990's.
    From admixture analysis on a small sampleset I suspect the Germanic (Nordic) + Celtic (Atlantic) element is dominant in german speakers of South Tyrol with 38-46%. Then we have the West-Med component (Ötzi/Sardinians) 16% and the Baltic and East-Med with both 11% and with smaller influence East-Euro, West-Asian and Middle Eastern.


I've chosen to let people comment freely on my posts. Nevertheless, you'll lose your time taunting me and calling me a fascist (which I'm really not) : I pray you to read my introduction which will reassure that my intentions genuinely aim at achieving amateurish knowledge. I understand that you may not share my passion for the history of the peopling of the World, just don't let me know as clear conscience gained by bashing a humble documentary work is useless.