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Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Turks of Tuscany

A just-released DNA study appears to prove that Greek historian Herodotus was right about the origins of the ancient Etruscans of Northern Italy: they really did come from Turkey.

The Tuscan samples were taken from individuals who had lived in the area for at least three generations, and were selected on the basis of their surnames, which were required to have a geographical distribution not extending beyond the linguistic area of sampling. The samples were compared with data from modern Turkish, South Italian, European and Middle-Eastern populations.
"We think that our research provides convincing proof that Herodotus was right", says Professor [Alberto] Piazza, "and that the Etruscans did indeed arrive from ancient Lydia. However, to be 100% certain we intend to sample other villages in Tuscany, and also to test whether there is a genetic continuity between the ancient Etruscans and modern-day Tuscans. This will have to be done by extracting DNA from fossils; this has been tried before but the technique for doing so has proved to be very difficult." [Link]

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