Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lower Wallis : Wallis (Switzerland)

The Romans called the area Vallis Poenina (Upper Rhône Valley). The Walser settled the upper part of the Wallis about 1000 years ago, while the lower part remained Romance-speaking. Wallis was colonized by modern Humans after the last glacial period when the Rhône glacier disappeared. Most scientists believe that those populations were replaced during the Neolithic by newcomers as Mesolithic techniques abruptly disappeared replaced by complete Neolithic ones without any form of transitional era. Those newcomers are believed to have originated from the southern Alps. See here for more information about Wallis' history.

  • Sample :
Full scale

  • Brief anthropological analysis :

- Type 1 : Light complexion (aqua-blue eyes, dark blonde hair, ...), brachymorphic, little and concave nose, square-faced, broad forehead, wide-set eyes, large jaw
~ Alpinoid/Subnordid

Even though Alpinoid types are the main types in the Alps, secondary features are quite important : broad noses, aqua-blue eyes, ... rather link those individuals with Piedmontese Alpinoid types than with neighbouring Germanic ones from Upper Wallis.

- Type 2 : Light complexion (from blonde to chestnut hair, light eyes, ...), more or less leptomorphic, straight nose, high cheekbones, close-set eyes
~ Nordoid

Many individuals indeed approach Nordo-Mediterranean metrics. Still, very "Germanic-looking" individuals (narrow "horsy" face, ...) are more of an oddity here, which is a sharp contrast with Upper Wallis.

Conversely, one can find dinaromorphic (Norid ?) individuals with a very arched nose, which is quite consistent of what we know of Arpitanian lands (see for instance for "Arpitanian" France : Dauphiné, Lyonnais).

  • Final morphotypes :


  1. Hmmm... very pan-european (unspecific), except surely for the more "Nordic" subset (in both of your categories; mostly defined by blondism but showing also an array of phenotypes seldom found in Southern Europe - some 10 individuals).

    Both Valais groups look rather different overall but I could not tell exactly why.

    Btw, why do you use the German form Wallis with preference to the French form Valais (even with the Romance-speaking community)?

  2. I believed that Wallis was a generic English form of Valais (taken from German obviously enough). Actually, it looks like the English-speaking sphere uses the French "Valais" for both linguistic areas. It's spelled Valês in Arpitanian.

  3. Heraus,
    By "Subnordid" do you mean this in Montandon's sense of a Nordic modified by Alpine admixture?


  4. In the generic sense of the French School indeed : blonde Alpinoids that - when rather leptomorphic - can approach Nordid metrics. It's a vague term that more or less matches the feeling that brachymorphic people in NE France are different from those in southern France. This is how this term is used in France.


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