Re: New Jewish DNA From 14th Century Erfurt #sephardic #dna #germany

Adam Cherson


Thanks for the observations and insights.

The initial period after a new data dump appears (such as the Erfurt data) is usually a highly exploratory time with several hypotheses emerging, re-formulating, and hopefully producing something that most can agree on. In that spirit I make a few tweaks to the initial interpretation from this thread.

I have modified the Sephardic explanation for the Erfurt-ME group because when I reviewed the data I saw that, genetically, the S. Italian Middle Age Jewish population, especially recent arrivals from the Levant, resemble Sephardim closely and could well have been the source of the ME in Erfurt. I now believe part of the Erfurt-ME group could just as well be S. Italian Jews migrating to Erfurt, not necessarily early Sephardic migrants to that area, although I still believe there could have been a few early Sephardic refugees at this time (not enough to constitute the Erfurt-ME group though)..

In some ways this modification would make the model simpler: a heterogeneous group of Italian Jews consisting of two sub-pops, one with some admixed Longobardic-Avar genes (Erfurt2) (BTW: I don't mean to suggest there was Longobardic-to-Jewish conversion, only that there was genetic mixing), and the other perhaps more recently arrived from the Levant (Erfurt1(b)), being more Middle Eastern. In Erfurt they meet a resident population of German Ashkenazim (Erfurt1(a)), and (this is new) they are met there also by a small number of Sephardic refugees (Erfurt3a: I14736 and I13867; the third Erfurt3 sample, I14897, seems to be a horse of different color, perhaps a person of more slavic origins, not sure). In time these 4 sub-pops merge into what we now call Eastern European Jewry (joined there perhaps by other populations migrating into EEs from other places, not included in this model). The fact that Erfurt 1(b) and Erfurt 2 are two different clusters does not imply they came from different places: both could have been S. Italian sub-pops, I figure. And I believe it makes some sense that there were already Jews in Erfurt who could have formed a slightly different cluster.

I am open to other possibilities regarding the origins of the East Asian and Siberian admixture. From where I sit, there is a certain logic to the idea that S. Italy is the pre-Erfurt melting pot and that the East Asian and Siberian admixtures occurred there. From this point of view it seems more likely that the socio-political vector for these genes would have been the Longobard occupation of the area around Benvento, including other populations politically associated and possibly intermixed with the Longobards. such as Avars. I find this historical scenario more compelling than the Khazar hypothesis since Khazaria was more distant from S. Italy than Pannonia and I am not aware of historical fact that would have brought Khazars into S. Italy.

Perhaps the Erfurt-EU group represents a population with a completely different geographical origin which does connect up better with Khazars. Are you able to summarize a historical progression that would have brought the Khazar genes into Erfurt by 1300 CE?

At this point I am seeking to gather as many plausible models for the Erfurt data as possible.

Adam Cherson

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