Etruscan origins

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A map showing the extent of Etruria and the Etruscan civilization. The map includes the 12 cities of the Etruscan League and notable cities founded by the Etruscans.

There are three main hypotheses as to the origins of the Etruscan civilization in the Early Iron Age. The first is autochthonous development in situ out of the Villanovan culture, as claimed by the Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus who described the Etruscans as indigenous people who had always lived in Etruria.[1] The second is a migration from the Aegean sea, as claimed by two Greek historians: Herodotus, who described them as a group of immigrants from Lydia in Anatolia,[2] and Hellanicus of Lesbos who claimed that the Tyrrhenians were the Pelasgians originally from Thessaly, Greece, who entered Italy at the head of the Adriatic sea. [3] The third hypotheses was reported by Livy and Pliny the Elder, and puts the Etruscans in the context of the Rhaetian people to the north and other populations living in the Alps.[4]

An autochthonous population that diverged genetically was suggested as a possibility by Cavalli-Sforza.[5]

Helmut Rix's classification of the Etruscan language in a proposed Tyrsenian language family reflects the ambiguity of the origins. Rix finds Etruscan on one hand genetically related to the Rhaetic language spoken in the Alps north of Etruria, suggesting autochthonous connections, but on the other hand he notes that the Lemnian language found on the "Lemnos stele" is closely related to Etruscan, entailing either Etruscan presence in "Tyrsenian" Lemnos, or "Tyrsenian" expansion westward to Etruria.[6] The Lemnian language might have arrived in the Aegean Sea during the Late Bronze Age, when Mycenaean rulers recruited groups of mercenaries from Sicily, Sardinia and various parts of the Italian peninsula.[7] Other scholars have suggested that the Lemnian inscriptions might be due to an Etruscan commercial settlement on the island that took place before 700 BC, not related to the Sea Peoples.[8][9][10][11][12]

A mtDNA study published in 2013 concluded that the Etruscans appear very similar based on their mtDNA to a Neolithic population from Central Europe and to other Tuscan populations.[13][14] This coincides with the Rhaetic language, which was spoken south and north of the Alps in the area of the Urnfield culture of Central Europe. The Villanovan culture, the early period of the Etruscan civilization, derives from the Proto-Villanovan culture that branched from the Urnfield culture around 1200 BC. A 2019 genetic study by Stanford, published in the journal Science, which analyzed the autosomal DNA of 11 Iron age samples from the areas around Rome, concluded that Etruscans (900-600 BC) and the Latins (900-200 BC) from Latium vetus are genetically similar, and Etruscans also have Steppe-related ancestry despite speaking a pre-Indo-European language.[15]

Autochthonous origin (indigenous)[edit]

The Mars of Todi, a life-sized bronze sculpture of a soldier making a votive offering, late 5th to early 4th century BC
Painted terracotta Sarcophagus of Seianti Hanunia Tlesnasa, about 150–130 BC

Dionysius of Halicarnassus asserted:[16]

Indeed, those probably come nearest to the truth who declare that the nation migrated from nowhere else, but was native to the country, since it is found to be a very ancient nation and to agree with no other either in its language or in its manner of living.

With this passage, Dionysius launched the autochthonous theory, that the core element of the Etruscans, who spoke the Etruscan language, were of "Terra (Earth) itself"; that is, on location for so long that they appeared to be the original or native inhabitants. They are therefore the owners of the Villanovan culture.[17]

Picking up this theme, Bonfante (2002) states:[18]

...the history of the Etruscan people extends ... from c. 1200 to c. 100 BC. Many sites of the chief Etruscan cities of historical times were continuously occupied from the Iron Age Villanovan period on. Much confusion would have been avoided if archaeologists had used the name 'Proto-Etruscan' .... For in fact the people ... did not appear suddenly. Nor did they suddenly start to speak Etruscan.

An additional elaboration conjectures that the Etruscans were[19] ethnic island of very ancient peoples isolated by the flood of Indo-European speakers.

In 1942, the Italian historian Massimo Pallottino published a book entitled The Etruscans (which would be released in English in 1955). Pallottino presented various hypotheses that gained wide acceptance in the archeological community. He said "no one would dream of asking where Italians or Frenchmen came from originally; it is the formation of the Italian and French nations that we study." He meant that the formation process for Etruscan civilization took place in Etruria or nearby.[20] Formulating a different point of view on the same evidence, Pallottino says:[21]

... we must consider the concept 'Etruscan' as ... attached to ... a nation that flourished in Etruria between the eighth and first centuries BC... We may discuss the provenance of each of these elements but a more appropriate concept ... would be that of formation... the formative process of the nation can only have taken place on the territories of the Etruscans proper; and we are able to witness the final stages of this process.

J. P. Mallory compares the Etruscans to other remnant non Indo-European central Mediterranean populations, such as the Basques of the Iberian Peninsula and southern France, who absorbed the art styles and alphabet of their Greek neighbors.[22]

Allochthonous origin[edit]

Terracotta heads of Etruscan male youths, with one wearing a helmet and the other bare-headed, 3rd–2nd centuries BC, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Certain Greek and Roman authors saw the presence of the Etruscans in Italy as a "historical problem", since they differed from the other civilizations in the area.

In Greco-Roman mythology, Aeneas (Greek: Αἰνείας, Aineías) was a Trojan hero, the son of prince Anchises and the goddess Venus. His father was also the second cousin of King Priam of Troy. The journey of Aeneas from Troy (led by Venus, his mother), which led to the founding of the city of Rome, is recounted in Virgil's Aeneid, where the historicity of the Aeneas legend is employed to flatter the Emperor Augustus. Romulus and Remus, appearing in Roman mythology as the traditional founders of Rome, were of Eastern origin: their grandfather Numitor and his brother Amulius were alleged to be descendants of fugitives from Troy.

Herodotus reports the Lydians' claim that the Etruscans came from Lydia in Asia Minor:[23]

This is their story: [...] their king divided the people into two groups, and made them draw lots, so that the one group should remain and the other leave the country; he himself was to be the head of those who drew the lot to remain there, and his son, whose name was Tyrrhenus, of those who departed. [...] they came to the Ombrici, where they founded cities and have lived ever since. They no longer called themselves Lydians, but Tyrrhenians, after the name of the king's son who had led them there.

Since ancient times, doubts have been raised about the authenticity of Herodotus' story. Xanthus of Lydia, originally from Sardis and a great connoisseur of the history of the Lydians, wasn't aware of a Lydian origin of the Etruscans, as reported by Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus.[16]

Xanthus of Lydia, who was well acquainted with ancient history as any man and who may be regarded as an authority second to none on the history of his own country [and yet he] neither names Tyrrhenus in any part of his history as a ruler of the Lydians nor knows anything of the landing of a colony of Lydians in Italy

The classical scholar Michael Grant commented on this story, writing that it "is based on erroneous etymologies, like many other traditions about the origins of 'fringe' peoples of the Greek world".[24] Grant writes there is evidence that the Etruscans themselves spread it to make their trading easier in Asia Minor when many cities in Asia Minor, and the Etruscans themselves, were at war with the Greeks.[25]

The French scholar Dominique Briquel also disputed the historical validity of Herodotus' text. Briquel demonstrated that "the story of an exodus from Lydia to Italy was a deliberate political fabrication created in the Hellenized milieu of the court at Sardis in the early 6th century BC." [26][27] Briquel also commented that "the traditions handed down from the Greek authors on the origins of the Etruscan people are only the expression of the image that Etruscans' allies or adversaries wanted to divulge. For no reason, stories of this kind should be considered historical documents".[28]

However, the Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus objected that the Tyrrhenian (Etruscan) culture and language shared nothing with the Lydian. He stated:[16]

For this reason, therefore, I am persuaded that the Pelasgians are a different people from the Tyrrhenians. And I do not believe, either, that the Tyrrhenians were a colony of the Lydians; for they do not use the same language as the latter, nor can it be alleged that, though they no longer speak a similar tongue, they still retain some other indications of their mother country. For they neither worship the same gods as the Lydians nor make use of similar laws or institutions, but in these very respects they differ more from the Lydians than from the Pelasgians.

"Sea peoples"[edit]

The Orator, c. 100 BC, an Etrusco-Roman bronze statue depicting Aule Metele (Latin: Aulus Metellus), an Etruscan man wearing a Roman toga while engaged in rhetoric; the statue features an inscription in the Etruscan alphabet

The Etruscans or Tyrrhenians may have been one of the sea peoples of the 14th–13th century BC,[29] if Massimo Pallottino's assimilation of the Teresh of Egyptian inscriptions with Tyrrhenoi is correct.[30] There is no further evidence to connect the Sea Peoples to the Etruscans: the Etruscan autonym Rasna, does not lend itself to the Tyrrhenian derivation.

Neither the Etruscan material culture or language has provided scholars with conclusive evidence regarding the Etruscans' origins. The language, which has been partly deciphered, has variants and representatives in inscriptions on Lemnos, in the Aegean, but these may have been created by travellers or Etruscan colonists, during the period before Rome destroyed Etruscan political and military power.

During the 6th to 5th centuries BC, the word "Tyrrhenians" was referred specifically to the Etruscans, for whom the Tyrrhenian Sea is named, according to Strabo.[31] In Pindar, the Tyrsanoi appear grouped with the Carthaginians as a threat to Magna Graecia:[32]

I entreat you, son of Cronus, grant that the battle-shouts of the Carthaginians and Etruscans stay quietly at home, now that they have seen their arrogance bring lamentation to their ships off Cumae.

Thucydides mentions them together with the Pelasgians and associates them with Lemnian pirates and with the pre-Greek population of Attica. Lemnos remained relatively free of Greek influence up to Hellenistic times, and the Lemnos stele of the 6th century BC is inscribed with a language very similar to Etruscan. This has led to the postulation of a "Tyrrhenian language group" comprising Etruscan, Lemnian and Raetic.[33] There is thus linguistic evidence of a relationship between the Lemnians and the Etruscans. Some scholars ascribe this link to Etruscan expansion between the 8th and 6th centuries BC, putting the homeland of the Etruscans in Italy and the Alps particularly because of their relation to the Alpine Raetic population.[34] Adherents of this latter school of thought point to the legend of Lydian origin of the Etruscans referred to by Herodotus, and the statement of Livy that the Raetians were Etruscans driven into the mountains by the invading Gauls. Critics of this theory point to the very scanty evidence of a linguistic relationship of Etruscan with Indo-European, let alone Anatolian in particular, and to Dionysius of Halicarnassus who decidedly argues against an Etruscan-Lydian relationship. The Indo-European Lydian language is first attested some time after the Tyrrhenian migrants are said to have left for Italy.[35]

Differentiating between cultural origin and cultural influence[edit]

The origin of the civilisation of Etruria is an ancient debate, still currently disputed among scholars, because the terms in which historians have opened and contested theories have relied on out-dated conceptions of origin and culture. The last two millennia of raising inconclusive theories towards a definitive location for the origins of Etruria has led modern scholarship to diverge from traditional approaches to national origins and instead focus on the development of concepts, such as national origin and cultural formation, differentiating between cultural influence and cultural origin.

Fresco in the François Tomb (4th century BC)
Etruscan helmet (9th century BC)
Etruscan terracotta figure of a young woman, late 4th–early 3rd century BC

The initial sources of inquiry for historians studying Etruscan origins are the classical sources provided by ancient scholars such as Herodotus and Dionysius. These writers were naturally interested in where such an advanced civilisation originated. Herodotus initiated the Anatolian theory which told the story of Etruscan origins as a mass migration from Lydia, led by King Tyrsenos, a migration due to the famine experienced shortly after the Trojan War. Larissa Bonfante argues that the traditional concept of origin that classical Greek writers subscribed to "had to be explained as the result of a migration, under the leadership of a mythical founding hero".[36] Valeria Forte furthermore has added that the travelling of heroic leaders to a foreign land is a "fixed narrative" used to "promote the political and cultural dominance of Eastern civilisations on Italic culture".[37] The argument is that the "stereotypical images of a maritime immigration into Italy from the East", is a typical formula classical writers such as Herodotus applied without any historical investigation.[37]

The second key hypothesis was launched by the Augustan historian, Dionysius of Halicarnassus. Being aware that his predecessors were "unanimous in stating that the Etruscans came from the East"[38] he expressed an alternate hypothesis that the Etruscans were "native to the country",[39] and by doing so opened the autochthonous theory. Scholarship has questioned why ancient sources appear "unanimous" towards an Anatolian origin. Bonfante suggests that it is the natural response for Greek writers to connect other civilisations accomplishments to "Greek heroes" in an attempt to promote a "glorified national narrative".[37] On the other hand, R.S.P. Beekes argues that these ancient writers, especially Herodotus, found the famine in Lydia an obvious connection to the migration to Etruria, rather than a debatable area of discussion. The autochthonous theory that Dionysius instigated was a view held by Etruscans themselves, whom he consulted, though how much these Etruscans knew about their own origins is questionable.

The reason modern scholarship, such as John Bryan Perkins, sceptically uses ancient sources as evidence to support an argument, is because these sources generally promote a national image and harbour political prejudices. He argues that the ancient interpretation of Etruscan origins has derived from a "hostile tradition, of rivals and enemies; the Greeks and Romans". The extent of "classical prejudice" is exemplified in early records of the Etruscans. Classical literature typically portrayed Etruscans as 'pirates' and 'freebooters'. Massimo Pallottino points out that their reputation for piracy took shape between the time of Homer and the image shown in the Homeric Hymns, and was clearly a product of the intense commercial and territorial rivalry between the Etruscans and Greek traders. Consequentially Perkins concludes that ancient "standards of historical criticism were not ours" in which "a great deal of it is seen through a veil of interpretation, misunderstanding, and at times, plain invention".[40] The ancient tendency to invent or apply a fabricated account within their historical record is evident in Herodotus' Histories. His use of fanciful story telling contributes to the overarching glorified narrative of Greece in the Persian wars and exemplifies the greatness of Greek conquest. This agenda is problematic when viewing his 'heroic' understanding of Etruscan origins, because Herodotus' stories tend to contribute to the national narrative rather than an intended historical record. His account is seen through, what Perkins refers to as, antiquity's "distorting mirror".[40]

Valeria Forte admits to classical prejudice; however, she argues that political distortion has not ceased, yet rather contemporary "political propaganda and nationalist bias has infiltrated Italian archaeology".[37] The modern historiography of Etruscan origins is not exempt from political distortion; Etruscology acknowledges that by attempting to answer where the Etruscans came from, consequentially they are shaping the Italian sense of identity. Pride is taken in being the sole connection to such an advanced civilisation. D. H. Lawrence concludes in his non-fictional research on Etruscan culture that "the present-day Italians were, in fact, much more Etruscan than Roman".[41] Forte points out that Italians use Etruscan civilisation to "represent a model of cultural expression" within their national image.

In the 1950s, Professor Pallottino resurrected the initial autochthonous theory and by doing so contended with traditional scholarship that has "remained fixated on the idea that the origins of the Italic people were to be found in the effects of immigration from outside". The argument has been developed on the basis that the Etruscan culture appears unique to any other known prehistoric culture, therefore must have developed nowhere else but within Italy".[42] He admits to foreign contributions to the cultural development of the Etruscans, however, he maintains that the mixture of culture took place on Italian soil; the "parent stock" was sufficiently homogeneous and therefore of Italian origin. Indigenous arguments are based on the unique attributes of Etruscan culture, believing that it is an "evolutionary sequence" in which Etruria developed its independent culture, a "formative process of the Etruscan which can only take place on the territory of Etruria itself".[42] Nevertheless, to subscribe to this thesis a problem arises; Etruscan culture was "no doubt in itself a unique and developing phenomenon", however, this culture has been compounded of and developed from other earlier cultural strains.[42] The question remains whether these strains were dominant in the finished product; it is difficult to differentiate between a product of a foreign culture and an independent culture with foreign influences. Other historical methodologies, such as linguistics, archaeology and DNA research, have attempted to clarify this distinction and highlight the extent of foreign influence in Etruscan culture.

Linguists have attempted to shed light on the degree of foreign influence on the Etruscan civilisation. R.S.P. Beekes places reliance on his linguistic analysis of the Lemnian inscriptions, which he believes "provided the answer to the problem of the origins of the Etruscans".[43] The Lemnos stele is a sixth-century stele in a pre-Hellenic tongue found in Lemnos, a Northern Greek island. The inscription shows distinct similarities to the Etruscan language; both languages apply a similar four vowel system, grammar and vocabulary. Beekes argues that autochthonous theories are merely "a desperate attempt to avoid the evident conclusion from the Lemnian inscription".[43] He does not suggest that the language shaped the Etruscan culture, but rather that the similarities in the two languages proves that the Etruscans migrated from Asia Minor, as Herodotus suggested.

Alison E. Cooley criticises Beekes' assumption that the Eastern features found in the etymological research of the Lemnian inscription "simply settles the question", yet she imposes that the "later Eastern attributes of the Etruscan is often a product of acculturation".[44] Cooley in contrary to Beekes argues that the similarities in the languages are a result of contact with Greek and Lydian civilisation due to commercial trade.

Linguists, such as Beekes, are commonly criticised for the assumption that "because they speak a common language, they must belong to the same race".[40] However, recently linguists such as Kari Gibson have argued that language is the predominant factor in the cultural formation of a national identity and therefore cannot be discarded as an independent attribute of a cultural identity, but rather the framework through which such a civilisation functions. Gibson suggests that language is inextricably linked to national and cultural identity of the speaker, and as a "powerful symbol of national and ethnic identity" determines an individual's perception of their environment.[45] To place this argument in the linguistic debate of Etruscan origins, modern scholars such as Cooley are perhaps being overly dismissive of the impact of language on the development of the Etruscan identity; "Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity".[46] It is difficult for scholarship to evaluate the degree of influence the Lydian language would have had on the cultural development of Etruria, though language is undeniably a key ingredient in the development of Etruscan culture.

Archaeology has a prominent role in revealing aspects of Etruscan daily life and the social structure of such a sophisticated civilisation, thus exposing foreign influences. The most significant archaeological discoveries of Etruscan civilisation are found in the excavation of gravesites. Bonfante emphasises the unique cultural elements the funerary frescoes in these gravesites illustrate. The well preserved frescoes of the funerary chambers found in the necropolis of Monterozzi, situated on a ridge southeast of the ancient city of Tarquinia, are vital to the reconstruction of Etruscan culture. Scholars of the autochthonous theory tend to draw attention to the frescoes' depiction of women. Material evidence for the high social status of Etruscan women can be found on the frescoes in the Tomb of the Leopards, dating to the 5th century BC.[47] The fresco illustrates women and men conversing together and wearing the same crowns of laurel, which implies that symbols of status in Etruscan society were similar for men and women. This advanced status for women is a unique Etruscan element that is not known from any other culture of its time.

Frescoes found in the Tomb of Hunting and Fishing mark the earliest time where men are not depicted dominating their environment. In the fresco of birds flying over a boat of men, the men are shown to be proportionally smaller than the birds. Pallottino points out that this is a unique attribute from Etruscan artworks, because it provides an insight into how the Etruscans viewed themselves in comparison to their environment. Ancient works dated prior to this fresco tended to view men dominating their environment. However, the Tomb of Hunting and Fishing illustrates men in the background of the work, rather than typically the foreground, suggesting to scholars such as Pallottino that Etruria had developed a culture and social understanding unlike any other prehistoric civilisation and therefore cannot be a product of any prior culture.

Genetic evidence[edit]

There have been a number of genetic studies of Etruscans and modern Tuscans compared with other populations, some of which indicate the local, European origin of Etruscans and others supportive of an allochthonous origin. In general, the direct testing of ancient Etruscan DNA has supported a deep, local origin, while the testing of modern samples as a proxy for Etruscans are rather inconclusive and inconsistent.[48][49]

The very large mtDNA study from 2013 indicates, based on maternally-inherited DNA, that the Etruscans were a native population.[13][14] The study extracted and typed the hypervariable region of mitochondrial DNA of 14 individuals buried in two Etruscan necropoleis, analyzing them along with previously analyzed Etruscan mtDNA, other ancient European mtDNA, modern and Medieval samples from Tuscany, and 4,910 modern individuals from the Mediterranean basin. The ancient (30 Etruscans, 27 Medieval Tuscans) and modern DNA sequences (370 Tuscans) were subjected to several million computer simulation runs, showing that the Etruscans can be considered ancestral to Medieval and, especially in the subpopulations from Casentino and Volterra, of modern Tuscans; modern populations from Murlo and Florence, by contrast, were shown not to continue the Medieval population. By further considering two Anatolian samples (35 and 123 individuals), it was estimated that the genetic links between Tuscany and Anatolia date back to at least 5,000 years ago, and the "most likely separation time between Tuscany and Western Anatolia falls around 7,600 years ago", strongly suggesting that the Etruscan culture developed locally, and not as an immediate consequence of immigration from the Eastern Mediterranean shores. According to the study, ancient Etruscan mtDNA is closest among modern European populations and is not particularly close to Turkish or other Eastern Mediterranean populations. Among ancient populations based on mtDNA, ancient Etruscans were found to be closest to LBK Neolithic farmers from Central Europe.[13][14]

This result is largely in line with previous mtDNA results from 2004 (in a smaller study also based on ancient DNA), and contradictory to results from 2007 (based on modern DNA). The 2004 study was based on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from 80 bone samples taken from tombs dating from the seventh century to the third century BC in Etruria.[50] This study found that the ancient DNA extracted from the Etruscan remains had some affinities with modern European populations including Germans, English people from Cornwall, and Tuscans in Italy. In addition the Etruscan samples possibly revealed more genetic inheritance from the eastern and southern Mediterranean than modern Italian samples contain. The study was marred by concerns that mtDNA sequences from the archeological samples represented severely damaged or contaminated DNA;[51] however, subsequent investigation showed that the samples passed the most stringent tests of DNA degradation available.[52]

A 2019 genetic study by Stanford, published in the journal Science, which analyzed the autosomal DNA of 11 Iron age samples from the areas around Rome, concluded that Etruscans (900-600 BC) and the Latins (900-200 BC) from Latium vetus were genetically similar.[15] Their DNA was a mixture of two-thirds Copper age ancestry (EEF + WHG) from Central Italy (Etruscans ~66–72%, Latins ~62–75%), and one-third Steppe-related ancestry (Etruscans ~27–33%, Latins ~24–37%).[15] The Etruscans also had Steppe-related ancestry despite speaking a pre-Indo-European language,[15] and were most likely an indigenous population in Italy.[15]

An mtDNA study from 2007, by contrast, earlier suggested a Near Eastern origin.[53] Achilli et al. (2007) found in a modern sample of 86 individuals from Murlo, a small town of Etruscan origin, an unusually high frequency (17.5%) of supposed Near Eastern mtDNA haplogroups, while other Tuscan populations do not show the same striking feature. Based on this result Achilli concluded that "their data support the scenario of a post-Neolithic genetic input from the Near East to the present-day population of Tuscany, a scenario in agreement with the Lydian origin of Etruscans". This research has been much criticized by etruscologists.[54] In the absence of any dating evidence, there is no direct link between this genetic input and the Etruscans. Furthermore, there is no evidence that these mtDNA haplogroups found in Murlo might be proof of an eastern origin of the Etruscans, as some of these mtDNA haplogroups have been found in other studies as early as the Neolithic and Aeneolithic in Italy and Germany.[55][14][56] Not to mention that all the mtDNA haplogroups found in Murlo and classified by Achilli et al. as of Near Eastern origin are actually widespread in modern samples from other areas of Italy and Europe with no link with the Etruscans.[57]

A recent Y-DNA study from 2018 on a modern sample of 113 individuals from Volterra, a town of Etruscan origin, Grugni at al. keeps all the possibilities open, although the last scenario is the one most supported by the percentages, and concludes that "the presence of J2a-M67* (2.7%) suggests contacts by sea with Anatolian people, the finding of the Central European lineage G2a-L497 (7.1%) at considerable frequency would rather support a Northern European origin of Etruscans, while the high incidence of European R1b lineages (R1b 49.8%, R1b-U152 24.5%) cannot rule out the scenario of an autochthonous process of formation of the Etruscan civilisation from the preceding Villanovan society, as suggested by Dionysius of Halicarnassus".[58] In Italy Y-DNA J2a-M67*, not yet found in Etruscan samples, is more widespread on the Adriatic Sea coast between Marche and Abruzzo, and not in those where once lived the Etruscans, and in the study has its peak in the Ionian side of Calabria.[59][60] In 2014, a late Bronze Age Kyjatice culture sample in Hungary was found to be J2a1-M67,[61] a couple of J2a1b were found in Late Neolithic samples from the LBK culture in Austria,[62] a J2a1a was found in a Middle Neolithic Sopot culture sample from Croatia,[62] a J2a was found in a Late Neolithic Lengyel Culture sample from Hungary.[63] In 2019, in a Stanford study published in Science, two ancient samples from the Neolithic settlement of Ripabianca di Monterado in province of Ancona, in the Marche region of Italy, were found to be Y-DNA J-L26 and J-M304.[15] Therefore, Y-DNA J2a-M67 is likely in Italy since the Neolithic and can't be the proof of recent contacts with Anatolia.

In the collective volume Etruscology published in 2017, British archeologist Phil Perkins provides an analysis of the state of DNA studies and writes that "none of the DNA studies to date conclusively prove that Etruscans were an intrusive population in Italy that originated in the Eastern Mediterranean or Anatolia" and "there are indications that the evidence of DNA can support the theory that Etruscan people are autochthonous in central Italy".[49]


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Further reading[edit]

  • Bartoloni, Gilda. The Villanovan culture: at the beginning of Etruscan history. In The Etruscan World, edited by Jean MacIntosh Turfa, 79-98. Abingdon: Routledge, 2013.
  • Becker, Marshall J., Etruscan Skeletal Biology and Etruscan Origins in A Companion to the Etruscans (ed. S. Bell e A. A. Carpino), 2015, pp. 181-202.
  • Briquel, Dominique. Etruscan origins and the ancient authors. In The Etruscan World, edited by Jean MacIntosh Turfa, 36-55. Abingdon: Routledge, 2013.
  • Drews, Robert, Herodotus 1.94, the Drought Ca. 1200 B.C., and the Origin of the Etruscans, in Historia: Zeitschrift Für Alte Geschichte, vol. 41 no. 1, Stuttgart, Franz Steiner Verlag, 1992, pp. 14–39;
  • Gianni, Giovanna Bagnasco. Massimo Pallottino's 'Origins' in perspective. In The Etruscan World, edited by Jean MacIntosh Turfa, 29-35. Abingdon: Routledge, 2013.
  • Kron, Geof. Fleshing out the demography of Etruria. In The Etruscan World, edited by Jean MacIntosh Turfa, pp. 56–78. London-New York: Routledge, 2013.
  • Moser, Mary E., The origins of the Etruscans: new evidence for an old question, in John Franklin Hall (a cura di), Etruscan Italy: Etruscan Influences on the Civilizations of Italy from Antiquity to the Modern Era, Provo, Utah: Museum of Art, Brigham Young University, 1996, pp. 29–43
  • Perkins, Phil. DNA and Etruscan identity. In Naso, Alessandro (ed.) Etruscology, pp. 109–118. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017.
  • Schiavo, Fulvia Lo. The western Mediterranean before the Etruscans. In The Etruscan World, edited by Jean MacIntosh Turfa, 197-215. Abingdon: Routledge, 2013.