Monday, September 20, 2010

Luarca : Asturias (Spain)

Asturias has been occupied by humans since the Lower Paleolithic era, and during the Upper Paleolithic was characterized by cave paintings in the eastern part of the area. In the Mesolithic period, a native culture developed, that of the Asturiense, and later, with the introduction of the Bronze Age, megaliths and tumuli were constructed. In the Iron Age, the territory came under the cultural influence of the Celts; the local Celtic peoples, known as the Astures, were composed of tribes such as the Luggones, the Pesicos, and others, who populated the entire area with castros (fortified hill-towns).

  • 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, big eyebrows, ...).

- Type 2 : Intermediate complexion (from dark to chestnut hair, from black to green/blue 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

Square-shaped variants are quite typical and dominant in this sample. On average, those individuals' complexion is lighter (green/blue eyes, chestnut hair, ...).

  • Final morphotypes :


  1. Epa, Heraus. The full size image is not the same one as the small one but the one from Santillana del Mar.

    D8 anyhow looks a lot like my cousin, who is half Asturian anyhow (have you checked surnames?, he looks the same person to me - though last time I heard he was living in Bilbao). Otherwise the sample looks Spanish or otherwise West European senso lato, with nearly no Basque affinities.

    Some individuals, specially among your "Alpino-Mediterraneans", look vaguely like some Andalusians or North Africans maybe. They are A2, A4, A6 and A8. The characteristics are small low eyes/eyebrows.


  2. That's corrected, I had used the structure of my Santillana post to gain time. Thanks !

    D8 is a female named Cándano.

  3. I meant B8, LOL. The cousin I am thinking of is a guy, a few years younger than me and named Aldamiz (as myself).

  4. B8 is named Parrondo. Could it be your cousin's second name ?

  5. I don't think so (though to be honest I don't recall their second surname). He's as identical as I can imagine (a little fatter maybe but I have not meet him in many years and we tend to get somewhat round in my family as we age). He even has the same soft expresion in the eyes and the same kind of smile.

    A coincidence I guess.

    Parrondo may well be (surely is) a deformation of Basque surname Ibarrondo anyhow, so maybe genetics are involved after all. But otherwise I can't but be perplex at the similtude. Sorry to bother you with this.

  6. Parrondo appears to be an Asturian-only surname according to the INE.

    I don't know Asturian or Galician Romance dialects very well but I presume that Parrondo could be a local deformation of an attested Basque surname that is Barrondo.

    Parrondo is the name of a little hamlet not far from Cangas del Narcea, according to IGN maps.

    It might be uneasy to know either that hamlet takes its name from the inhabitants' surname or is the geographic source for all Parrondos of Asturias. Should we theorize that this hamlet was founded by a Basque migrant named Barrondo whose surname got deformed as Parrondo ? Could it be a remnant of a more ancient toponymical phase ? Maybe there's some Latin etymology behind that term : Parrontius is an attested Latin first name (in one inscription in Trier). This is the choice of the following website :

    Toponimia asturiana

  7. I didn't mean to enter a debate on the origin of toponyms and surnames (I was just stroke by the almost total similitude of that guy and my cousin, nothing else) but if you insist...

    "Parrondo could be a local deformation of an attested Basque surname that is Barrondo".

    Well, I never heard of Barrondo before but it's such an obvious deformation of Ibarrondo (ibar+ondo: by the river bank) that does not even merit discussion. Same as Recalde/Rekalde is a deformation of Errekalde ("part of the stream/creek" or "by the stream").

    "Should we theorize that this hamlet was founded by a Basque migrant named Barrondo whose surname got deformed as Parrondo?"

    Well, as you know, I am of the opinion that Basque or closely related languages were spread around in all the area, so if the surname is a toponym by origin then we'd be probably before a Vascoid toponym from the Astur period (I never believed Astures were really Celts: that's mountain country, not the usual IE ecosystem and anyhow Celts had only arrived to Western Iberia a few centuries earlier than Romans).

    "This is the choice of the following website"...

    Another IE-centric site that only considers one possible option.

    Some of the toponyms' explanations do not make any sense, not to mention that Roman/Latin influence in Asturias was very weak.


    - Abantru: compare with West Basque toponym Abanto and Abando (this one also surname), surely related to the Greco-Roman attested town of Portus Amanus (later renamed Flaviobriga and probably modern Bilbao or Muskiz). Instead the authors force it to be original from "Antullus"!

    - Anayo: vide Basque 'anai', 'anaia' (brother of man). They attest some Anaius but it's obviously not a genuine Latin name but a local latinized one.

    - Antayu: they say "Anthus+Aius" but is this Aius attested in Latin? Should not be a latinization of aia (rock, peak - cf. Amaia/Amaya, etc.) Ant- may be from andi (big, large). Terminations in -u are very normal in Asturianu and these are indeed derived from Latin -us.


    1. Colega, te escribo desde Gijón/Xixón, y tengo que decirte que desde luego vaya sobrado que vas por la vida, no se puede ser más prepotente, porque está muy clara tu ignorancia tanto en Historia como en Lingüística. Anda, infórmate mejor antes de sacar la lengua a pasear. Como ejemplo: "Roman/Latin influence in Asturias was very weak". Claro, claro, por eso NO HABLAMOS UNA LENGUA ROMÁNICA.

  8. ...

    - Arcayu: I know some Álvarez de Arcaya family in Araba, where this kind of double surnames (patronimic + 'de' + local toponym, usually Basque) are very common, as you know. Hence Arcaya and Arcayu should be the same toponym and again we see the termination in -aia (rock, promontory, as in Araia, near Agurain) and the -aiu (-ayu) variation in Asturianu. I'm not sure right now what is ark- because there are several possible etymologies but maybe from argi (light, bright, shiny - the same root, IMO, as for argyros and argentum, silver - btw, notice also the similitude of Basque 'zilar' and English 'silver').

    - Barneu: unsure but notice the similitud with 'barne' (inner, interior).

    - Diezu looks to me more a derivation of Diez (son of Diego) than the one from Decius.

    - Iyaso is forced to be 'Illius+asus' or 'Lavasus'. But is easier that it derives from 'itsaso' (sea) or otherwise from a Vascoid word incl. the suffix -aso of ancestor (as in 'arbaso', 'amaso', 'aitaso').

    - Mendiellu. Obviously from 'mendi', mountain. Maybe from 'menditxu' (little mountain) if the t-sibilant (tx, ts, tz) sound change into LL/Y can be confirmed.

    - Xarrio. Must be from Basque 'sarri' (ibex) or 'txerri' (pig). Most probably the first one, as it's often found in Romance as sarrio.

    Not everything is Vascoid, of course, but in some cases it looks striking. Anyhow the etymologies look often sloppy. Talabayru, which one would naturally associate to Talavera (specially as Iberian romances do not make a difference between B and V). The Wikipedia entry for Talavera de la Reina (New Castile) says it's an Arab rendering of Elbora (unsure). It also reminds me of Basque surname Labairu (probably from 'laba', oven - compare with volcanic 'lava' a "Latin" or rather archaic Italian word).

    Turiezu and Torazu are said to be from some Toratius (sometimes I think they make up these names, really) but compares best with Turiaso or Turiasu, Tarazona (Aragon, near Navarre, rendered in Basque sometimes as Aturiasu). Also might seem conjecturally related with the river Turia in the Iberian region and all together with the already discussed pre-IE river root *dur, that I say should be *adur (from, incredible!, Basque 'adur': saliva, viscous liquid - but also omnipresent magic force) losing the initial vowel sometimes.

  9. Btw, on second thought, the root 'ark-' is maybe more likely from 'ardi', as in 'arkume' (lamb) and 'arkazte' (young sheep). I could not think of this before because 'ardi', typically changes to art- (as in 'artile': wool, lit. sheep hair) but I realize now that in some cases does to ark- instead.

    There are other options for this root anyhow.

  10. And then again, on third thought, I will have to revise my previous comment because arkume is obvious from ardi+kume (kume=cub, whelp, similar to ume=child) and arkazte is obviously from ardi+gazte (gazte=young). So the sound k is perfectly regular and arkaia (arcaya) cannot be from ardi.


  11. Unless the suffix is kaia (port) or gaia (matter) but these are very rare in toponyms. Argi as prefix looks better.


    This guy looks like a northafrican friend of mine.


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.