Friday, October 15, 2010

Saaremaa (Estonia)

The Oeselians (or Osilians) were a historical Finnic people inhabiting Saaremaa (Latin: Oesel or Osilia), an Estonian island in the Baltic Sea. They are first thought to be mentioned as early as the 2nd century BC in Ptolemy's Geography III.

mtDNA studies have revealed that Baltic-Finns and Volga-Finns have the same genetic origins as other Europeans who don't speak Finno-Ugric languages. The Y-chromosomal data has also revealed a common Finno-Ugric ancestry for the males of the neighboring Baltic peoples, speakers of the Indo-European Baltic languages. According to the studies, Baltic males are more closely related to the Finno-Ugric-speaking Volga Finns such as the Mari, than to Baltic Finns.

  • Sample :

Full scale

  • Brief anthropological analysis :

- Type 1 : Light complexion (blonde hair with ash-blonde shades, sometimes red shades, ...), leptomorphic, general robust features, high forehead, long and straight nose, large jaw, close-set eyes
~ Nordid

This type, inbetween classical Trønder and East-Nordid types as identified by many authors, is quite typical from Scandinavia and NE Europe. Some males are rather Finnish-looking because of some distict features (a concave nose, high cheekbones, full lips, less angular features, ...).

- Type 2 : Light complexion (medium light hair, light eyes, ...), brachymorphic, general robust features, squared-box face, high and broad forehead, little and broad nose that can get concave, deep jaw, wide-set eyes
~ Borreby

This type is quite widespread in Northern Europe and seems to be midly prevailing in the island.

Still withing brachymorphic types, some individuals exhibit more "exotic" features which might remind us of Finnish and Sami people : dark stiff hair, a "wavy" concave nose, narrow eyelids, high and prominent cheekbones, ... I don't know how classical anthropology names the following individuals. This type was punctually observed in Svalbard in Norway.

  • Final morphotypes :


  1. Mostly between NW and NE Europe, maybe with greater tendency to the NW. Some individuals you can find even in Spain (D5, C8) but they are probably best classified as NW.


    NW types (most clear): a2, a3, a7, b3, b7, b8, c1, c2, c4, c7, c8, d4 and d5

    More purely 'Nordic' types (North Sea, Scandinavia, Poland): a5, a6, b4, b5, d2, d6

    NE types (often with very marked cheeks): a1, b1, c3, d8

    Absolutely 'Turanian' (looks Central Asian): b2.

  2. C8 strikes me as quite Balkanic looking, for some reasons.

    Great sample, as always, Heraus.

  3. Thank you for sharing, I have been reading this article with interest. By the way, Saaremaa is also a nice place for a holiday !


  4. Très bonne idée d'avoir couvert cette région!

  5. Why did you include Russian samples?

  6. They all have Finnish/Estonian surnames. I'm still able to recognize Russian surnames from Finnish ones. BTW there are very few Russian people living in the island.

  7. There are a handful of individuals who wouldn't look native in any part of Estonia. b2 and c3 being the best examples.

    Some people here may have an Estonian father and a Russian mother, but 100% Estonian names. I have 2 cousins who speak Estonian as a native language and have fully Estonian names, but they're half-Russian and do not look like pure Estonians. The dark brunette hair being one of the non-Estonian traits they have.

  8. D'ailleurs puisque vous êtes dans cette région du monde... il serait intéressant de couvrir les autres pays baltiques et la Filande!

    ps: Si vous possèdez le matériel... j'aimerai bien voir des échantillons de Russie! Saint-Peterbourg, Moscou... enfin des régions dans les environs!


  9. I wouldn't mind more Finland either. If you could sample Savonia (Kuopio), or Kuusamo (which has been used recurrently in genetic population samples because of its isolation).

  10. I'm from Saaremaa, 100% Estonian as far as I know and I have dark brown eyes, black eyebrows and olive skin. But I also have high cheekbones, hazel hair, deep jaw and a concave nose. There are much more dark eyed people in Saaremaa than on the mainland. It is said its because of some Spanish or Portugese ships that wrecked on Saaremaa coast in the 19th century. It would be an iteresting subject to study, whether our grandmothers really were a bit naughty with the sailors :D

  11. "features which might remind us of Finnish and Sami people"

    Again, you sure love dumping all these features on other people, don't you?

    Finns are not even that closely related to Sami, so I don't know what you're on about there.

  12. Type 1 is mostly East Nordid and Nordobaltid derivation.
    since type 2 is mostly Baltid (West Baltid and East Baltid) rather than Borreby.


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.