Monday, August 16, 2010

Olsztyn : Warmia (Poland)

The first traces of human settlement in the region come from roughly 14 to 15 thousand years ago: traces of settlements made by the Lusatian culture (thirteenth—fifth century BC), including above-ground water housings and artificially created islands. By the early Middle Ages, the area was inhabited by the Warmians, an Old Prussian tribe. In 1346 the old Prussian Warmian forest in the vicinity was cleared and a place was selected on the Alle now Łyna River for a new settlement. It became known to Polish settlers as Olsztyn. The descendants of the German settlers of Allenstein were expelled in 1945 : only local Poles remain.

* : I use former administrative divisions which matched better cultural and ethnic areas of Poland.

  • Sample :

Full scale

  • Brief anthropological analysis :

- Type 1 : Light complexion (from medium dark-brown to blonde hair), brachymorphic, large square-box head, little and distanced oblique eyes, low orbits, broad and rather straight or concave nose, weak browridges, large fronthead, large jaw, receding chin
~ Alpinoid/Baltid

This is a very common type on the shores of the Baltic Sea and in the whole of Poland.

- Type 2 : Light complexion (blonde or red hair, light eyes, ...), leptomorphic, rather leptoprosopic, narrow eyes, long and narrow straight nose, high forehead, large jaw, pointy chin
~ Nordid

Those individuals belong to a well-identified type in West Slavic areas. Funnily enough, it seems that most women do fall in that category contrary to men. Still, these individuals are not as as leptoprosopic as their Polish counterparts in Red Ruthenia. Some individuals are actually rather large-faced and exhibit puffier features (particularly in the nose area).

  • Final morphotypes :


  1. Pigmentation-wise, the composite male here is clearly lighter than the Red Rhutenian one, being rather average with some light tendency. Hue is similar (18: average with slight orange or "yellow" tendency).

    The head shape is also different from the "strange" Red Ruthenian and East Slovenian one (composites) that we have commented elsewhere.

    As usual, I suspect that some of your Nordids are Alpinids (or at least subnordid), though I agree with most of your Alpinid/Baltids (except the third guy, who looks Nordic to me and specifically British-looking).

  2. Olsztyn/neighbouring villages was also heavily resettled by people fom Volhynia, none of their types seem to be represented. This is the thing with villages in noerhern Poland, many are not homogeneous at all because of resettlement from different parts of Poland. Also phenotype may differ greatly village to village, this is especially true in ex-German territories.

    I like your collections Hearus, but I feel Poles aren't being fully represented, because most regions of Poland have more than two subraces in good proportion amongst them. See Pontids for example are present in good amount all across Poland, but they don't have a region where they dominate, so it's likely any of your series will feature them, thus not making all Polish subraces represented to the fullest extent. Forgive me, because I started talking about one thing and then went on to another! I just wanted to give my two cents, hope you don't mind. :)

  3. There are two points :

    - Indeed, I'm generally too lazy to try another approach when classifying. 2 types appear OK to me, it's easy to select pics. It's completely artificial and most of the time it doesn't suit the area (except in rather homogeneous areas such as Italy where people are either Dinaro-Med or Alpinoid). I'm quite aware of the limits of my work, that's pretty much why I try to be quite modest and I welcome my readers' contribution.

    - I cannot explain the lack of Pontid subtypes. I selected people according to their surnames (I thus may have eliminated most people from Volhynia for not having autochtonous surnames). I did not know this area had been resettled BTW. Why Pontid types don't appear is a bit of a mystery. Should I try other Polish areas ? 2 Polish samples and indeed a lack of such types. Note that this very sample somehow suits my idea of how Poles from the Baltic should look like but I may be very wrong. I may try a Latvian sample to check. What do you think ?

  4. "I did not know this area had been resettled BTW... somehow suits my idea of how Poles from the Baltic should look like"

    Check this Wikipedia article. Before the late 1940s there were no many "Baltic Poles". Almost all that area (Gdansk/Danzig, East Prussia and Pomerania) was essentially German and totally cleansed ethnically, and resettled, by international agreement after WWII.

  5. This region consists of 3 parts. Every part has its own distinctiveness after 1945.
    A: The northern most part - along the border with the Koenigsberg oblast - Let's call it Polonized Prussia; Here the population is completely mixed and comes from almost every pre-war Polish region. Significant participation of migrant groups from Pomerania, lands east of San river, western Belarus, Lithuania.
    B: Upper Prussia / Warmia - south-western part. People are mixed and come from almost every northern Polish pre-war region. Significant participation of migrant groups from Pomerania, Cuyavia, eastern Greater Poland, Vilnius, post-insurgent Warsaw, western Belarus, Lithuania, Autochtons (near Olsztyn)
    C: Masuria - southern part - along the border with Mazovia. Mixed people come from almost every pre-war Polish region. Significant participation of migrant groups from Masovia, lands east of San river, Vilnius, western Belarus, Lithuania. After the Warsaw Uprising, Masurian autochtons.
    And THINK that in connection with this diversification we may talk about domination types + Alpinids + Faelids + Balto-CM + Nordids. Of course, there are plenty of intermediate variants in the younger generations, such as Balto-Nordoids or SubNordids. As the area closer to the Vistula the less Alpinids in my opinion.


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.