Sunday, October 10, 2010

Malta Island (Malta)

Pottery found by archeologists at Skorba resembles that found in Italy, and suggests that the Maltese islands were first settled in 5200 BC mainly by stone age hunters or farmers who had arrived from the larger island of Sicily, possibly the Sicani. The Sicani were the only tribe known to have inhabited the island at this time and are generally regarded as related to the Iberians. After 2500 BC, the Maltese Islands were depopulated for several decades until the arrival of a new influx of Bronze Age immigrants, a culture that cremated its dead and introduced smaller megalithic structures called dolmens to Malta.

In a study by Capelli et al. (2005) Y-Dna haplogroups were found at the following frequencies in Malta Island : R1 (35.55% including 32.2% R1b), J (28.90% including 7.80% J1), I (12.20%), E (11.10% including 8.9% E1b1b), F (6.70%), K (4.40%), P (1.10%). J, K, F and E1b1b haplogroups consist of lineages with differential distribution within Middle East, North Africa and Europe while R1 and I are typical in West European populations.

  • Sample :

Full scale

  • Brief anthropological analysis :

- Type 1 : Dark complexion (dark hair, blue eyes are possible), brachymorphic, broad face, round features, thick browridges , short broad nose, wide-spaced sloping eyes
~ Alpino-Mediterranean/Berid

Those individuals are rather fascinating : many of them remind us of Sardinian types which might show affinities with some coastal East-Iberian types as well as I'll try to prove later one (I'm thinking of some French Catalan coastal types or Andalusian ones).

- Type 2 : Rather dark complexion (dark hair, rather pale skin though, blue/green eyes, ...), leptomorphic yet rather large face, robust features, long and high-rooted convex nose, close-set eyes, angular and somehow strong chin, large jaws
~ Dinaromorphic Mediterranean

This is a classical pan-Mediterranean type and one very uneasy to precisely describe as belonging to one nation. These individuals might look more specifically Italian on average although phenotypical convergences with Iberia can be found or eventually Greece.

  • Final morphotypes :

1 comment:

  1. Eastern Med affinity dominates clearly, I would like to compare Maltese with Lebanese/Syrians/Western Jews in particular at autosomal genetics level. But there is also a less specifically Med and more mainland Balcanic element.

    Your first group is more strongly East-Med than the second, which is also in part but shows more diversity.

    I only forcibly spot Italian or West-Med (Iberoid) affinities, always as "admixed". I am unsure about possible North African affinities but I don't see them clear.

    This East Med affinity of Maltese can easily be justified by history and probably prehistory too.


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