J-L283 in Sicily – The Undiscovered Country

Sicily is an important place to test for J-L283 because it is near Sardinia and it is relatively undersampled. While the two oldest ancient European samples come from Croatia and Serbia, we have found ancient J-L283 in some of the earliest branches of J-L283 dating to the Iron Age* in nearby Sardinia (I thought I had found Late Bronze Age dates for some samples but now YFull tree has most around dated to around 900 BC).


One goal of testing more men from Sicily is to better frame our understanding of the deeper origin of the samples found in Sardinia. Do we find any of the same rare Sardinian lineages in Sicily? If so, we may have evidence of migration between Sardinia and Sicily. If not, we may prefer to assume that the Sardinian lineages migrated there from mainland Italy.

The latter became a more attractive idea after last year's find of a J-CTS6190 in an Etruscan burial in Civitavecchia dated to 600-700 BC. But we need to survey all the evidence and test more people from undersampled regions.

YFull Sample Rates: Sardinia = 5 x Tuscany = 25 x Sicily

Within Italy the country, Sardinia is the most sampled region on the YFull tree with 276 samples for a 1961 population of 1.419 million. This comes to 1 YFull sample per 5141 people.

Tuscany may come in second, due to the 1000 Genomes project that sampled 107 men from Tuscany.

The total is 27 samples with regional codes in Tuscany in v8.09 (table), roughly half within Florence. At this time I believe the scientific samples are not geolocated to a region of Italy on the tree, so let's add the 107 from 1000 Genomes study (assuming all 107 are on the YFull tree) to the subtotal to get a grand total of 134 Tuscan origin samples. The sample rate comes to 134 per 3.286 million (1961 population) = 1 YFull sample per 24522 people.

The total is 38 samples with regional codes in Sicily in v8.09 (table). Given a 1961 population of 4.721 million, there is one YFull sample per 124,237 people.

So Sardinia is the highest sampled, followed by Tuscany that is sampled 5 times as less, followed by Sicily sampled 25 times as less.

J-L283 Diversity in Sicily

I've created an interactive J-L283 Sicily google map with paternal ancestor locations and terminal subclades of our Sicilian male line relatives. The clades in the list are ordered by their YFull tree order.

J-L283 in Sicily. Note that the lack of samples in the south part of the island seems to correlate with the lower sampling rate on YFull for southern Sicily as a whole, and may not be indicative of any northern bias in J-L283 distribution within Sicily.

All of the men in this map except for three have been tested this year with the J-L283 Research Fund I created.

There are so far just two J-L283 tracing their most distant known male ancestor to Sicily who have done an advanced test and the YFull analysis.

One is the Ferreri clan J-Z1043>FGC55778>FGC55768*, one of whose relatives with a different surname traces descent to Ucria, Messina.

The other are on the YFull tree under J-Y46913 and they appear to be a medieval migration from Albania which Flor can explain more about. The Arbëreshë, also known as the Albanians of Italy, migrated in several waves, starting as early as the 11th century. They were frequently employed as mercenaries by Italian rulers and many were subsequently granted land to settle.

There is a third Sicilian origin man not on the map, because he didn't indicate a precise location in Sicily. He has indicated he is of Ashkenazi descent and appears to be J-BY100002 by his STRs.


One interesting initial observation is that, except for the Ashkenazi lineage J-BY10002 and the medieval J-Y46913 migrations, all lineages with presence in Sicily that I'm aware of so far are below J-Z1297. Though maybe it doesn't mean much because the majority of all J-L283 men are descendants of J-Z1297.

The specific origin of J-Z1297, whose most recent common ancestor is estimated to have lived 2200 BC, is not reliably known because of a lack of geographically consistent subclades and a lack of older ancient samples. The most ancient J-Z1297 is not very old - it is a J-Z631 dating to 1-200 AD from the Via Salaria necropolis in Rome. I will go only as far to say I think J-Z1297 leans toward a mainland Italian origin at this time and hope for additional testing and ancient samples to take us further toward a specific region in Italy or elsewhere.

The J-L283 Research Fund will purchase/cofund WGS tests and YFull analysis to advance the research into our common origins.

What about Links between Greece and Sicily?

Starting in the Iron Age, the Greeks played a significant role in colonizing parts of Sicily and southern Italy, which was known as Magna Graecia at the time.

From the book "The Open Sea: The Economic Life of the Ancient Mediterranean" by J. G. Manning which I am currently reading, in the 8th century BC the Greek population doubled. From 750 - 600 BC 2-3% of Greek men, from twenty to forty thousand, migrated from Aegean to elsewhere for many different reasons.

The Greeks, along with the Phoenicians, played a key role in developing / transmitting economic, political organizational and other innovations like writing to Italy and the west Mediterranean during the Iron Age.

However we have so far found very little J-L283 diversity in modern Greeks. Of the Greek flags on YFull some of these men descend from Romance speakers (see Vlachs) and some others from Slavs (see Slavic Speakers of Greek Macedonia) and Albanians (see Arvanites). Some of these men have begun to indicate their ethnic diversity with the new YFull language codes (video).

So unless a specific lineage in Sicily is found to be prevalent and exhibit diversity* among Greek Greeks, I think a mainland Italian origin makes the most sense, except for Arbëreshë in Palermo who migrated more recently from Albania as mentioned above.

*When we say a subclade exhibits diversity in a region we mean the existence of several distantly related siblings in or around the region.

Why not Phoenican?

After the finding of ancient J-L283 in both Croatia and Mokrin, Serbia (MOK15 on YFull) pre-dating Phoenicians by 1000 years and found farther inland than their sea trade would have reached, this coupled with the lack of J-L283 diversity in Lebanon or Carthage makes it unlikely that any J-L283 lineage could have been Phoenicians except for descendants of one particular lineage known as J-Y146401.

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These posts are the opinion of Hunter Provyn, a haplogroup researcher in J-M241 and J-M102.

3 thoughts on “J-L283 in Sicily – The Undiscovered Country”

  1. Great research. This is the way to do a genetical research. Of course I’ll study these presumed Arbereshe and Ashkenazic cluster. Arbereshe origin of the Y may be detected, and I did that in the past, for instance for the “Balkan cluster” (discovery and name mine: Argiedude told of an “Albanian cluster”), easily identifiable for having DYS385=11-11 for a RecLOH from 11-14 and DYS459a=8<9 etc. Ciulla belongs to it. But this haplogroup is very recent in the Balkans, the oldest are in Italy and Iberia, so I hypothesized a Vlach origin from Romans or Iberians etc. More doubt about R-M355 with Damis, that constrained Italian Martinucci to throw away its Italian flag from YFull. The hg is recent and arrived in Albania in Middle Ages . It is more diffused in Central Europe beyond Italy and may be also from Huns or other Asiatic people. Pretty all the Albanian cluster have older samples in Italy, beginning with the so called "Balkan" R-M269*. Of course about the Ashkenazic cluster I think that pretty always the other way around happened.

  2. Of course J-Y46913 is clearly Arbereshe: https://www.yfull.com/tree/J-Y46913/. In fact only one isolated sample as there are others in other hgs. The other way around happened. In a cluster clearly Italian (or at least European) we have a Jewish cluster with so many samples due to the expansion of Ashkenazim but with a MRCA very recent, pretty always long after the diaspora. If in that cluster there is one Italian (who I think beongs to the group that introgressed and other a few linked samples may be found after) into the Jewish clusyer) this person is convinced to have had a Jewish origin and to belong to a converted family for giving a Jewish fundament to that cluster clearly introgressed. I have tens of samples of that. The same happened with Caucasian entered the Jewish pool with Khazars etc. Of course, as the Bard said, there is a method in this madness. https://www.yfull.com/tree/J-Z585/

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