S1194: Origins and Migration History

S1194: Origins and Migration History

Origins: R1b & S1194 - From Steppes to Western Europe

Link to a very detailed writeup on R1b posted at Eupedia


Origins: R1b & S1194 - Pontic-Caspian Steppe to Western Europe

Created Mar 2018:-

(This is a work-in-progress and will continue to change as more data becomes available. It includes some ideas that are merely exploratory as to how the future might unfold - last updated 2018-03-16).

This paper explores current ideas as to how S1194 got to the various places it is found today. Our research thus far has our origin near Samara Russia i.e. Volgograd (Stalingrad). The people emerging in this area included the many Yamna peoples (Russian for 'Pit Grave' Culture).

Among these people were sub-clades of both R1a and R1b tribes. R1a and R1b are believed to be at least 20K+ years old. The parent R1+ line is known to be around 25K years old based on the Mal'ta ancient DNA burial discovery from Mal'ta Siberia. Because of the time period and DNA finds, we know there was intermixing of R1a and R1b, but also there are migrations to other areas by one or the other of R1a / R1b, where the mix varied around 85%-95% of one to 15%/5% of the other. For reasons yet to be explained, there doesn't seem to have been any even mixing just evidence for mostly one clade with a small percent of the other.

There were 3 main Yamna groups: The northern Steppes peoples who were mostly R1a (as sub-clade M417). The eastern Steppes peoples who were also dominantly R1a then the southern Steppes people who were dominantly R1b (as sub-clade L23). As mentioned, each had a small % of the other clade.

Of the three Yamna groups, The mostly R1a northern Steppes are now found in eastern Europe and the eastern Steppes groups are found in Iran and / north India. The northern group are now referred to as Slavic and Baltic and are most dominant today in areas that include the Baltic states, a pocket in central Poland and then in much of eastern Europe including Russia, and in parts of the Balkans.

The R1a and R1b Yamnaya were among the 1st peoples to domesticate horses plus they had developed wheels and wagons which gave them great mobility. They were well advanced compared to other cultures. They really became influential, and dominant, when they developed bronze age weapons. Their descendants in Europe also became experts with steel.

The two migrations from the Steppes to Europe that potentially involve R1b-L11 and later us R1b-S1194 were the northern Yamnaya (mostly R1a but also R1b) and the southern Yamnaya (mostly R1b but also may have included a small % of R1a). There is considerable uncertainty as to if R1b-L11 existed back in the Steppes before the migrations, or emerged later from either the northern Yamnaya migrations or the southern Yamnaya migrations. No signs of R1b-L11 ancient DNA have turned up other than near Bohemia (Unetice Culture). If this remains the case then there can really only be one migration path for R1b-L11 (and thus R1b-P312/R1b-U106/R1b-S1194). If there was only one migration, it will either be north of, or South of, the Carpathian mountains. So, if R1b-L11 shows up at some future time in the Steppes, then there could well have been 2 migration paths for R1b-L11. If the latter turned out to be true then the hunt will be on to find out if R1b-P312 went the lower southern route and R1b-U106 (and S1194) took the upper northern route.

Researchers are continuing to look at ancient DNA from the various migration path regions to try to answer this question. Today the ancient DNA evidence doesn't exist. We do know that the northern Yamnaya migrations passed through Russia/Ukraine/Belorus/Poland, to the Baltic states plus the South Baltic area. These people are seen as originators of the Cordedware Culture. Some other researchers believe that R1b-L11 only emerged after a southern Yamnaya migration, up the Danube from the Black Sea, through the Hungarian Plains, then over the Carpathian mountains and on into Bohemia. This issue still requires more research and data to resolve it one way or the other. If R1b-L11 DNA can be found in the Hungarian Plains then the Southern migration gains greater support, but by the same token the reverse could be true if R1b-L11 is found in Ukraine or Belorus or Russia. This issue will remain a mystery until much more supporting ancient DNA is found which could include L11 being found back in the Steppes.

About 4,700 ybp the Yamnaya swept into Europe. Possibly in one sweep or maybe in waves. But, the R1b-L11 clades quickly came to dominate in Western Europe. The dominance happened in a startlingly short period (i.e. 200-300 years). We believe our ancient forbears were initially part of a Western Cordedware Culture and probably located near today's Czech Republic (Bohemia). Cordedware was then, in time, replaced by the Unetice Culture in this same region.

One hypothesis suggests that in or around Bohemia (Czech Republic) the Unetice culture which might be thought of as the origin of R1b-L11, gave birth to three main branches of R1b-L11. These being R1b-P312 (often called Celtic), R1b-U106 (associated with Scandinavia and north Germanic Tribes) and R1b-S1194 who we believe were closely linked to and part of, the R1b-U106 tribes located near the south Baltic, however this hypothesis still requires more research and DNA evidence.

As already mentioned, an alternative hypothesis is that R1b-L11 was already in existence back in the pre-migration Steppes and that the northern Yamnaya migration included R1a plus R1b-U106 + R1b-S1194 while the southern Yamnaya migration via the Danube & Hungarian Plains, included R1b and particularly R1b-P312 peoples. If this were to be proven it could explain the great differences in PIE (Proto Indo-European) language between the R1b-P312 (Celtic) languages and the R1b-U106 (Scandinavian / Germanic) languages. If we look at the research into when Celtic & Germnic PIE split, some experts argue that the Germanic variants of PIE are older than Celic variants of PIE. Other experts try to argue (with difficulty) that Germanic is the newer. That argument gets trapped in the issue of Germanic & Baltic-Slavic Variants of PIE having a distinctly close affinity and that Baltic variants of PIE are accepted as older. Again more ancient DNA finds are required for proofs and until such proofs emerge anything remains possible.

The link just below provides some very interesting perspectives on the possibility that Proto-Celtic PIE arrived south of the Carpathians (via the Danube) and that Proto-Germanic arrived north (east) of the Carpathians via the Ukraine. This fosters the enigmatic question of did R1b-P312 & R1b-U106 travel by the different routes to Germany and if they did then R1b-L11 must have existed in the Steppes before both those R1b sub-clades formed. Restated, R1b-L11-P312 & R1b-L11-U106 may already have been in the Steppes and formed two seperate migrations into Europe. We now need more ancient DNA to validate or refute this idea.


It is accepted history that the bulk of R1b-P312 (so called Celts etc) were part of the culture called Urnfield in today's Germany/Poland/Czech etc: areas plus the later Hallstatt & La Tene cultures in Switzerland and Austria. Then sub-clades of these peoples moved into northern Italy, into France/Spain and on into & the UK. The R1b-U106 branch showed up in Scandinavia in both Sweden & south Jutland, plus later the north Netherlands & north parts of Germany. We believe R1b-S1194 were integrated with the R1b-U106 tribes that had settled around the south Baltic (as indicated in the home page map).

There are many excellent historical narratives that explain how various Germanic tribes (that would have been dominantly R1b-U106 but also small numbers of others including us R1b-S1194) migrated to parts of Germany (in the post Roman era) and that other R1b-S1194 and R1b-U106 people were included in the heavily documented Danish incursions into England between approx 850 CE and up to 1030 CE.

We are not seeing much evidence to date that suggests R1b-S1194 came to England with the Angles / Saxons & Frisians in the 400 CE-600 CE era. What we already see in England is that R1b-CTS4528/DF100 tend to show up *away* from the Angles / Saxon / Frisian areas i.e. we are not strong at all in the eastern half or the south eastern part of England. Nor is R1b-CTS4528/DF100 strong in the 'Celtic' or R1b-P312 areas of the UK. But, we do show up in *all* the border areas of England as those border areas existed in around 1018 CE. These were the Cornish border, the Welsh border, the Scottish border and also in the area called the Danelaw near York. It is only time and a lot more testing that will allow us to better understand why we show up in the border regions of England however it is a well documeneted and historical fact that King Canute (Knud) in 1018 CE after taking control of England, sent his Danish army (estimated at 30,000-40,000 troops, back to Scandinavia but kept a core of 3000 elite warriors behind and sent groups of them as frontline defenders of the three border areas. This is an interesting historical narrative that might explain why R1b-CTS4528/DF100 show in those areas today. One historical reference claims that the elite warriors kept in England had to win the right to be part of this force. Other accounts write about how in time some of these warriors and decendants became the famous 'Housecarls' of King Harold up to his defeat at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
Link to overview of 'Housecarls'

In the 'great migration' era 0 CE to 1000 CE, it appears our ancestors were parts of the known migrations of tribes from the south Baltic to all the other places that R1b-CTS4528/DF100 are showing up today. What makes this south Baltic story believable is the amount of historical data supporting it vs speculative ideas and some unproven hypothesis that lack a historical narrative. History tends to back an expansion of R1b-S1194 out of the south Baltic region and with the possibility R1b-S1194 had a more ancestral home in the Unetice Culture of Bohemia (today's Czech Republic). This latter idea still needs DNA proofs, but some is already begining to emerge in the reports published by Olalde et al in 2018 as there are some strong hints that R1b-S1194 DNA *might* be among the recent (late 2017 & early 2018 published papers) on ancient DNA in Germany and Bohemia particularly from the recent Bell Beaker Study by Olalde et al.

Another very deep, detailed, well written and infomative description of R1b origins can be found at Eupedia R1b


What can be learned from this research

  • R1b grew into prominence in the West Asian Steppes Region
  • The hub of early R1b/R1a peoples was around Samara Russia
  • The Yamna (Pit Grave Culture) emerged around Samara
  • Yamnaya R1a & R1b tribes migrated to many places incl Europe
  • Yamnaya R1a & some R1b formed the Cordedware Culture
  • R1b-L11 appears to have emerged in Bohemia (today's Czech Republic)
  • P312, U106 & S1194 appeared from the Unetice Culture in Bohemia
  • S1194 appeared as part of some Nth German Sth Baltic tribes
  • S1194 appear to have migrated to many other parts of Europe

Definitions of some terms used

  • Hg = Haplogroup (defined by SNPs), Ht = Haplotype (defined by STRs).
  • Hg R-P310 means Haplogroup R and clade = P310.
  • Hg R-L11 means Haplogroup R and clade L11 (same as P310, but from diff lab)
  • Writing L11/P310 covers both names together (to try to minimise confusion)
  • L11/P310 without an * or +, is a generic name as in a Haplogroup
  • L11*/P310* with an '*' means no known sub-clades
  • L11* and/or P310* can also be referred to as a 'terminal SNP'
  • L11+/P310+ with a '+' means there are known sub-clades

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