Friday, March 5, 2010

Guipúzcoa : Euskadi (Spain)

The Varduli were a tribe that Roman historians reported in Northern Hispania, west of the Vascones and east of the Caristii and the Deba river; now the main part of the Basque province of Guipuzcoa (Gipuzkoa in vernacular Basque), and parts of Alava and Navarre (San Sebastian was in Tarbellian lands though which got to become the diocese of Aquae Tarbellicae, modern Dax, SW France).

Even though probably already Basque-speaking (like many areas of modern NW Spain), the Varduli may have had an Indo-European-speaking elite as proved by their main towns' name : Berganzo (from Celtic *brigantion=summit, see Briançon in France, Bragança in Portugal, ...), Deobriga (Celtic *briga=mount), Uxama (Celtic *ouxamos=elevated, see Exmes - formerly Uxama - in Normandy), ...

  • Sample :
Full scale

  • Brief anthropological analysis :

- Type 1 : Intermediate complexion (from blonde to dark hair, grey/black eyes, rather pale skin on average, ...), leptomorphic, long face (particularly on males), long and convex nose rather parallel to the face, close-set eyes, pointy chin, large jaw
~ Dinaricized Atlanto-Mediterranean

Unsurprisingly, the area is dominated by the well-defined ethnic Basque type even though some individuals do differ from stereotypes around the eye region. Somehow some individuals might remind us of "horsy" Celtic phenotypes from the British Isles and Flanders. Complexion is quite irrelevant.

Within the Atlanto-Med spectrum, more average Iberian-looking individuals are found undoubtedly enough.

Lighter and broader-faced variants of this Basque type are found. All those types were already identified in the French Basque Country.

- Type 2 : Dark complexion (black hair, ...), brachymorphic, large face, square-box head, little and straight nose, close-set eyes, little "pseudo-mongoloid" eyelids, large jaw
~ Dinaricized Alpino-Mediterranean

This second Basque-type was already identified in the French Basque Country as well. It's mostly a female one. More classical Alpino-Med individuals are eventually found :

  • Final morphotypes :


  1. Hey, Heraus.

    Want to mention that while the Varduli seem to have been the main tribe of modern Gipuzkoa, the easternmost tip, where Donostia (San Sebastian) and Irun are, was actually Vascon and was also part of Navarre after the invasion of Western Euskalerria for some time. Hondarribia was even the last stand of the Navarrese resistence in the 16th century.

    On the other side, the westernmost strip was part of the territory of the Caristii, and still speaks Bizkaian dialect. Instead the Varduli extended across Aralar mountains into NE Araba and parts of Navarre, where they had their capital apparently: Araceli (Uharte Arakil).

    Just for comparison with my "Basque index" for your French samples, here I get 14/32: a 44% (realistic: 70% or more). There are many that are ambiguous (pan-Euro or shared with other areas, nordic or mediterranean or whatever, or too blurry). Similar to Bearn or that odd town of Poitou we discussed.

  2. And I'd like to add that some of the faces that you suggest look more "average Iberian" are in fact the most typical Basque and non-Iberian. The three guys you have under that sentence are hyper-Vascoid (and non-Iberian), each one in his own personal style. Not the women though.

    However I'd like to ask where did you got those pictures because I have the strong feeling that I know personally those guys, at least the two at the left. Did you get them from some anti-militarist resource? Because I strongly feel they are former war resistants who may have been in prison in the early 90s... or their clones.

  3. You're right to precisely describe how modern Guipuzcoa was divided in antique times. Unfortunately, I cannot be as "precise" with "Hegoalde" as I am with "Iparralde". Accessing pics for French areas is easier for me.

    I do agree with you that I may not have classified properly all those people. Nevertheless, even ambiguous types do have counterparts on the French side which might hint that these types are part of Basque classical variability. When the whole French Basque Country is uploaded on Anthrofrance (I still haven't tackled Labourd for instance), I'll try to post a summary of major types found in Basque lands.

    I got these pics through browsing socializing websites : I selected people living in middle towns and villages when possible. I only chose people with two autochtonous surnames when given. I can provide you with the names of these people if you want to.

  4. "I can provide you with the names of these people if you want to".

    Nah, never mind. Better respect their privacy. I was just curious.

    "Nevertheless, even ambiguous types do have counterparts on the French side which might hint that these types are part of Basque classical variability".

    Yah, it's impossible to tell. Because these samples will always be samples (not the whole reality) and there's a lot of extended types that could be from anywhere or maybe vary from here to there in such subtle details that are impossible to determine.

  5. Maju's opinions are politically biased and stupid.
    The selections and their classifications are nice.

  6. I wholeheartedly enjoy Maju's comments and I'm all but a defender of my own classifications to say the truth. You know, when you have 32 pics in front of you, it's rather uneasy to solve the puzzle. I'm highly hesitant. Sometimes, it takes days before I eventually approve of my classification. I'm thinking of scrapping classifications and nomenclature but it's been more than a year that I've been sticking to that model, it's a bit heart-breaking.

    BTW my classifications are a bit mechanical : leptomorphs vs brachymorphs, each category being divided into dinaromorphic/non-dinaromorphic. In Northern Europe, brachymorphs will be named "Borreby", in Southern Europe "Alpinoid". I know I'm not making justice to my work by stating such things but I believe that secondary features are more important and when I'm able to notice them, I'm insisting on these peculiar traits. I also love morphotype comparisons but by judging the reactions of people I know, I'm the only one thinking that they're conclusive !

    Eventually, I enjoy everybody's contributions. If readers want to try their own classification, I can give them pics and I may post their contribution.


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.