Saturday, June 19, 2010

Santillana : Cantabria (Spain)

Cantabria is the richest region in the world in archaeological sites from the Upper Paleolithic period. The first signs of human occupation date from Lower Paleolithic, although this period is not so well represented in the region. The most significant cave painting site is the cave of Altamira, dated from about 16,000 to 9,000 BC.

See here for Eastern Cantabria : Santander.

Linguistic divisions in modern Cantabria

  • Sample :

Full scale

  • Brief anthropological analysis :

- Type 1 : Dark complexion (dark hair, ... but light eyes are frequent), leptomorphic, long face (particularly on males), straight or convex nose rather parallel to the face, rather close-set eyes, high cheekbones, pointy chin, large jaw
~ (Dinaricized) Atlanto-Mediterranean

A pan-Iberian type, these individuals nevertheless show affinities with NW Iberia (Galicia, Asturias, ...) when it comes to secondary features such as the eye region (rather "slanted" eyes on some individuals).

- Type 2 : Dark complexion (dark hair, black eyes, ...), more or less brachymorphic, reduced and "puffy" features, in some cases high-headed, rather little nose (on males at least), strong jaw, close-set eyes
~ Alpino-Mediterranean

Once more a very classical North Iberian type
. Puffier individuals announce Galicia and Asturias. Square-shaped variants are quite typical and quite dominant in this sample, contrary to neighbouring Santander. On average, those individuals' complexion is lighter (green/blue eyes, chestnut hair, ...).

  • Final morphotypes :


  1. It's curious how close they are in kilometric distance to the Basque Country and yet how different they are. Of course you can see many similar faces over here but I'd say that's because 20th century immigration from NW area of Iberia and that you don't find most of these faces among purebreed Basques.

    A few however do fit pretty well and I've estimated a BI of 4, which could be stretched a bit if we consider ambiguous types but could also be lowered if we go hyper-strict.

    Some interesting individuals which may be archetypes to some extent:

    A1 (which could well be called the "Durruti type") is somewhat similar to Basque types yet shows differences too, specially the broad gonials and overall broadness of the face marks the difference. This face as such would be difficult to find in the Basque Country in spite of the affinity.

    A5 (which I'll call the "Palomar type" in honor to an old friend very much alike of that surname) shows an intriguing transmediterranean affinity that reminds me somewhat of the pseudo-Khoisan or horsy type that is sometimes found in Morocco. But still different.

    B1 has a very classical Spanish face which may be Castilian or Leonese (unsure). Probably D8 can be included in this type.

    B3 reminds a lot of Catalan humorist Miki Nadal but with a more austere and dignified look probably.

    B6 and C1 are types that I'd identify with Galicia in particular. Though the latter is maybe more widespread, even I'd say in SE France too.

    And then you have the Ibero-Nordic types, which are a world on themselves: A8, B5 and B8 (plus surely some women but they are blurry). A8 is typical Iberian (too petit, lightly built to be ultra-Nord) yet he has a strong "Slavic" vibe. B5 is blurry but I bet he compares well with some Brits or Irish. B8 is the most defined Ibero-Nordic individual, a common sight.

    My two cents.

  2. Thanks for your imput.

    IMO, the Santander sample was not as drastically different from Basque areas with more types that could fit in the Basque Country (somehow, Santander appears to be more Castilian-looking, at least some rather big-nosed women also found in Burgos). Morphotypes are also somehow a confirmation with Santander and Santillana differing much. I'll make a general map once the whole region is sampled. I'll also try to sample Asturias pretty soon (I'll probably divide it into 3 parts since it's a pretty big and populated area).

    I've got one sample in Biscay waiting to be uploaded. People are probably mixed on an Iberian basis, still it might be interesting.

  3. Yes, it seems clear that Eastern Cantabrians are quite more akin to Basque types, though it's something clinal and not merely abrupt... but abrupt enough probably.

    Different valleys may well have specificities anyhow. Valle del Pas in West Cantabria (near Asturias and Castile-Leon) for instance clusters relatively well with Basques and Catalans in some genetic studies.

    In any case, this one is the part of Cantabria that was Castile since the very beginning, unlike the East, which was acquired by conquest.

    (Sorry, I forgot to subscribe to the other Cantabrian thread. Sometimes happens because of the multi-step comment system).

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