Sunday, May 30, 2010

Santander : 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.

Cantabria is divided into two cultural areas. In the East is the heart of Castile where Castilian is spoken. In the East are lands which belonged to the former Astur-Leonese Kingdom. We'll first deal with Eastern Cantabria.




Linguistic divisions in modern Cantabria



  • Sample :
Full scale



  • Brief anthropological analysis :

- Type 1 : Intermediate complexion (from blonde to dark hair, black/grey eyes, rather pale skin on average, ...), leptomorphic, long face (particularly on males), straight or convex nose rather parallel to the face, rather close-set eyes, pointy chin, large jaw
~ (Dinaricized) Atlanto-Mediterranean





Unsurprisingly enough, the area is largely dominated by a well-defined ethnic type akin to the Basque type. It should be no surprise indeed since Castilian is now largely admitted to be a Romance language on a Basque substrate. Placenames in Eastern Cantabria might show Basque influence as well.


- 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




A very classical North Iberian type, already identified in areas such as Burgos or the Basque Country. Some lighter individuals exhibiting classical Alpinid features (distances eyes, concave nose, brachymorphism, ...) might be more atypical.




  • Final morphotypes :

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cheshire : NW England (England)

The History of Cheshire can be traced back to primitive tools that date to the Hoxnian Interglacial, between 380.000BC and 400.000BC. Stone Age archeology has been found showing more permanent habitation during the Neolithic period, and by the Iron Age the area is known to have been occupied by Celtic Cornovii tribe.

The Romans occupied Cheshire for almost 400 years, from 70AD, and created the town and fort of Deva Victrix, now Chester. After the Romans withdrew, Cheshire formed part of Mercia, a Saxon kingdom, that saw invasions from the Welsh and Danes.




  • Sample :
Full scale


  • Brief anthropological analysis :

- Type 1 : Light complexion (pinky undertones, light blue eyes, blonde hair, ...), leptomorphic, long and convex nose rather parallel to the face, high cheekbones, close-set eyes, rather angular and pointy chin, large jaw
~ Dinaricized Atlantid aka "Keltic Nordic"




This type constitutes a basic "Celtic" insular phenotype. Contrary to neighbouring Shropshire, darker individuals are quite rare in this sample.




- Type 2 :
Intermediate complexion (light skin, light eyes, reddish undertones, ...), brachymorphic, chubby features, rather low-rooted and little broad nose that can get convex, wide forehead, large and strong jaws, prominent chin, wide-set eyes
~ Alpinoid/Brünn




This is the most typical British phenotype which is widespread throughout the whole islands. As usual, women may show classical "Celtic" dinaromorphism. Let's note that this phenotype is quite abundant in this area in contrast with English counties neighbouring Wales where Keltic-Nordid types were in majority.

Darker individuals are eventually found that exhibit common features such as little noses that can get snub-tipped, rather chinky eyes, ... Leptmorphic individuals link this type with darker individuals classified under the first section.





  • Final morphotypes :

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Almería : Andalusia (Spain)

The area has been inhabited since the Upper Paleolithic with remnants of Mousterian activities in Cueva de Zájara. It was part of a greater Mediterrean arc noted for rupestrian art (see : "Arte rupestre del arco mediterráneo en la Península Ibérica").

The name "Almería" stems from Arabic المرية Al-Mariyya: "The Mirror". The city was built not far from the Iberian town known as Urci. The area was indeed submitted to Iberians before Roman occupation. It is now quite plausible that the Iberian language was a distant cousin to the Basque language (see this article in French from 2010 : "Iberian and Basque : researchs and comparisons" ; for instance one cannot help noticing that 'urki' in modern Basque simply means "birch").




  • Sample :
Full scale


  • Brief anthropological analysis :

- Type 1 : Dark complexion, brachymorphic, broad face, round features, thick browridges , short broad nose, wide-spaced sloping eyes
~ Alpino-Mediterranean/Berid




A very classical Iberian type, it is abundantly found throughout the peninsula. Some minority individuals - more or less leptomorphic - do remind us of a very localized type that we identified in neighbouring Granada : high cheekbones, a broad jaw, a long upper lip, wide-set eyes, a "pseudo-mongoloid" eye shape (narrow eyelids), ...




- Type 2 : Intermediate complexion (rather pale skin, from chestnut to dark hair, ...) complexion, leptomorphic, robust features, long and high-rooted straight or rather wavy nose, close-set eyes, angular and somehow strong chin, large jaws
~ Atlanto-Mediterranean




On average, those generic Mediterranean people seem to show more affinities with coastal and northern Iberia (see Murcia) than with western Andalusia (see Huelva). Those affinities may be clearer with larger-faced variants. "Horsy" and very gracile phenotypes found in Portugal and western Andalusia are quite rare.




  • Final morphotypes :

Matera : Basilicata (Italy)

Basilicata was originally known as Lucania, named for the Lucani, who were the first known settlers. Their name was derived from lucus, Latin for forest. Samnite tribes also inhabited the area before the Greeks invaded in the 7th century BC. The Greeks established settlements at Siris, Metaponto and Heraclea, making the region part of the wider Magna Grecia. They also developed basic agriculture and started trading.

Matera has gained international fame for its "Sassi". The Sassi originate from a prehistoric (troglodyte) settlement, and are suspected to be some of the first human settlements in Italy.



  • Sample :
Full scale


  • Brief anthropological analysis :

- Type 1 : Dark complexion, dark eyes, leptomorphic, rather narrow face, long and narrow high-rooted convex nose, close set eyes, large jaw, pointy chin
~ Dinaromorphic Mediterranean




This type belongs to very classical pan-Italian type already identified in many Italian provincie. Most women are strikingly more brachymorphic on average. Curiously enough, I find that some individuals do have a rather coastal Iberian vibe about them in contrast with more "Italic"-looking areas in central Italy.



Some individuals do show more unique and distinctive features (either an arched nose or a very dark complexion) that remind us of phenotypes found in southern areas such as Puglia.




- Type 2 :
Intermediate complexion, brachymorphic, square-box face, little low-rooted nose that can get snub-tipped, rather wide set eyes
~ Alpinoid




Once more, a very classical type abundantly found throughout the peninsula. Light eyes are not rare in this area. Some darker individuals do exhibit puffy features (a large snub-tipped nose, a well-defined oral cavity, fat deposits, ...) that announce more southern phenotypes from Calabria.




  • Final morphotypes :

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Istria : Littoral (Slovenia)

The name is derived from the Illyrian tribe of the Histri, which Strabo refers to as living in the region. The Histri are classified in some sources as a "Venetic" Illyrian tribe, with certain linguistic differences from other Illyrians. Under Roman rule, the region was called together with the Venetian part the X. Roman Region of "Venetia et Histria". Per ancient definition it was the north-eastern border of Italy. Dante Alighieri refers to it as well, the eastern border of Italy per ancient definition is the river Arsia (modern Raša).

In 1910, the ethnic and linguistic composition was completely mixed. Generally speaking, Italians lived on coast, all the inland cities and northern Istria, while Croats and Slovenes lived in the eastern and southeastern inland parts on the countryside.






  • Sample :
Full scale


  • Brief anthropological analysis :

- Type 1 : Intermediate complexion (from dark to blue eyes, rather dark hair, ...), leptomorphic, long face, narrow and close-set eyes, long and narrow convex nose, lop ears, pointy chin
~ Dinaro-Mediterranean




Contrary to neighbouring Croatian Istria's dinaroid individuals (who were somehow more ambiguous, particularly around the eye area), those dinaromorphic Slovenian people undoubtedly show broad Italian affinities. Lighter individuals could be North Italian.




- Type 2 :
Intermediate complexion (from dark to medium blonde hair), brachymorphic, large head, little and distanced oblique eyes, low orbits, rather broad and puffy nose, well drawn oral cavity, full lips, weak browridges, large jaw, receding chin
~ Alpinid/Gorid




Those individuals do match an original type already identified in Trieste : a little and rather puffy nose, a well-defined oral cavity, puffy general features, ... In this area, this is the main male subtype and it can be associated with the local Slovenes. Very Balkanic-looking "Gorid" individuals (rather "slanted" eyes, strong dinaromorphism, ...) are much less representated than in neighbouring Croatian Istria.



  • Final morphotypes :