Sample from Serbia Splits J2b-CTS6190 and Yields Insight into Migration to Etruria of J2b-CTS473

The finding from late 2019 that an ancient Etruscan sample, R474 from Civitavecchia dating to 700-600 BCE, was positive for haplogroup J2b-L283 was a big deal.

It looks like it was published in Science, Nov 2019 but you can access it here - Ancient Rome: A genetic crossroads of Europe and the Mediterranean

It provided ancient evidence (to match the modern samples) firmly rooting one line of J2b-CTS6190 in Etruria / Liguria since before the rise of Rome. That line is called J2b-CTS473 and the most recent common ancestor lived 900 BCE.

J2b-CTS473 in YFull YTree v9.05. Note that this line is estimated to have begun forming 3300 ybp and the TMRCA is 2900 ybp. The ancestor of this line split from his other J2b-CTS6190>Z34474 siblings (genetically, not necessarily geographically) 1300 BCE and sired lines only in Liguria/Etruria starting 900 BCE.


Notice I'm using geographic terms like Etruria and Liguria in order not to conflate geography with ancient ethnicities of groups that were no doubt very mixed. We can gain much useful circumstantial information for J2b-L283 without even touching the topic of "Etruscan origins" with a ten-foot pole.

Enter the Serbian from Kolubara District

Only a few months ago, a sample from Kolubara, Serbia was found to split J2b-CTS6190 on the YFull YTree by being found negative for one of the SNPs that defined the lineage and positive for the rest.

Kolubara District shown in relation to the two oldest ancient samples in related branches, I4331 from Vrgorac 1600 BCE and MOK15 from Mokrin 1900 BCE.

The result is that now J2b-CTS6190 has just two children lineages. One is called J2b-Z34474 and contains all the branches and men previously called J2b-CTS6190. The other child lineage is represented by a single man, the man from Kolubara that I think we can assume is an ethnic Serb since 95% of the district are and the sample is not annotated with a language code showing otherwise.

After recalibrating the TMRCA estimates from this finding, YFull now estimates that the TMRCA of the Serbian with the other J2b-CTS6190 lived 1300 BCE.

If we assume the Serbian sample is evidence that J2b-CTS6190 originated in the western Balkans (see map above showing ancient related samples), then we now have a 400-year window, at some point during which time a migration from the western Balkans to Etruria would had to have taken place, from 1300 - 900 BCE. The 900 BCE comes from the TMRCA of the Etruria / Liguria line J2b-CTS473.

The reason I assume the Serbian sample is a remnant is because he is not far geographically from where related and more ancient J2b-L283 have been found - 1600 BC in Vrgorac, Croatia was his "cousin", though relatively close as far as historic Y-DNA relationships go being just one branch up the tree at J2b-Z38240. This is only a few hundred years away from his branching point J2b-CTS6190.

By critically looking at the modern distribution of J2b-CTS473 we find that every man traces his male line to either Etruria / Liguria today except for one Virginian of likely English descent and one Portuguese man who has an Italian surname.

An actual prolific Iron Age Etruria / Liguria line, J2b-CTS473, does not show evidence of having any children that migrated to the Balkans. Of surviving lineages, most men stayed in Etruria / Liguria.

This is one piece of circumstantial evidence we should keep in mind when considering the probable origin of the MRCA of samples found in both Italy and the Balkans.

What about Ashkenazi Cohen J2b-Y33795?

These guys can give us another piece of circumstantial information regarding LBA / IA migrations from the western Balkans to northern Italy if we assume that their ancestor was living in Italy about 1750 years ago. I believe this is what Josh Lipson mentioned to me as their current theory.

This makes the geography of the five lines of J2b-Z34474:

  1. YF16770 - Azores
  2. J2b-Y36166 - England (their thousand year old paper trail to Yahya el Negro is contradicted by STR matches to the Bowles clan firmly rooted in England)
  3. J2b-CTS473 - Etruria/Liguria
  4. J2b-Y34371
    1. YF72117 Switzerland + one distantly related sample from Hungary w/ Slovak surname Brachna
    2. J2b-Y33795 Italy
  5. Unknown (Nebula sample that will soon probably disappear)

Given a 900 BC line in Italy and a second line having one child assumed to have been in Italy by 1750 years ago (the ancestor of the J2b-Y33795 Cohens), one might assume that the J2b-Z34474 ancestor himself had migrated to Italy by 1300 BCE, the TMRCA.

Though this assumption is not a smoking gun in my opinion. There could very well have been two independent migrations from across the Adriatic (i.e. ancient Daunian samples that were recently found in a different line of J2b-L283).

Anyway, if one assumes that J2b-Z34474 itself originated in Italy then our time window for the migration to Italy shrinks to the single date of 1300 BCE. Of course these dates are estimates and could be off by a few hundreds of years.

I am agnostic on J2b-Z34474 origin for now but lean towards Italy given the Jewish line. But if we ever find some J2b-Z34474 in the Balkans I may reconsider, using the same logic outlined above.

Further Implications

It would be interesting if we confirmed a J2b-L283 migration from the western Balkans to Etruria / Liguria around 1300 BCE because this date is significant to the history of the Near East, roughly corresponding to the Late Bronze Age Collapse.

Ancient sources speak of invasions of Sea Peoples in the eastern Mediterranean but historians list several other possible factors. Also in some cases it looks like civil unrest may have been caused by locals, possibly dissatisfied with how they were being exploited by the elites.

We do have I think one good candidate for a Late Bronze Age collapse-timed migration of J2b-L283 to the Levant in J2b-Z597>Y146400>..>Y146401. The current estimate for the TMRCA of this branch is 1000-900 BCE but this estimate is not very precise due to lack of samples.

This is an article I wrote about them two years ago but not much has changed because no additional samples found except in the downstream Lebanon branch that is already well attested to Lebanon.

J-L283 Syrian Christians of India descend from J-Y146401 that lived in the Levant 900 BC and likely Europe before that

Another possibility for a Late Bronze Age Collapse era migration is the Aleppo, Syria marked sample on YFull who is J2b-Z1043*. However 3200 ybp is on the edge of the 95% confidence interval for J2b-Z1043 TMRCA, meaning YFull estimates only a 2.5% chance that the migration was before 1200 BCE.

Note we will learn a bit more about possible J2b-L283 Iron Age migrations between the western Balkans and Italy and Sardinia after:

Keeping in mind in each case that the migrations of any of those men's ancestors to where they trace their paper trail may have been much later than the estimated TMRCAs.

How can you contribute to advance our research?

I pay for inexpensive SNP testing at YSEQ for men who look to be in rare lineages or are from undersampled regions that I think could advance our research into our common origins.

Based on the results of the SNP testing, I offer to partially/completely fund a WGS400 test + YFull analysis for those samples that I think would advance our research the most.

I used to have two separate Paypal money pools, one for J-L283 origins research and one for J-Z631/Z1043 origins research. Paypal has since discontinued their money pools.

If you would like to contribute to my testing + analysis fund, please send me money through paypal -

I will assume it is for J2b-L283 research unless you state "J-Z631/Z1043".

Unfortunately there aren't enough donations made specifically to advance the research in other branches so I am not tracking donations toward specific additional branches.

If you want to fund a test to advance the research into a specific branch you could contact me expressing this wish and maybe I can find someone related to you who would be willing to upgrade and maybe pay for part of the test himself.

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

3 thoughts on “Sample from Serbia Splits J2b-CTS6190 and Yields Insight into Migration to Etruria of J2b-CTS473”

  1. Dear Hunter,

    My name is Dusan. Sample from Serbia (Kolubara district) belongs to me. My family from origin came there from Dubrovnik region in 18th century. Previous family name was Puljezi (Pugliesi). Before Dubrovnik might be that we are from Italy. There were stories inside our family like that, but I can not confirm that, because there exist no evidence of it.

    With best regards,
    Dusan Jovanovic

    1. Hi Dusan,
      Thanks for sharing this. I’ll keep this in mind going forward. Maybe we can find a STR match for you to help illuminate your proximal origin.
      If you have a paper trail that you have no reason to disbelieve, going to Dubrovnik, you could update your sample on YFull to Dubrovnik, in my opinion.


  2. Thanks Dusan. Mighty fine research. I have just learned I have one chain of J2b2a1a1a1b3 also. I like to focus on it rite now. My others appear to be 3 chains of ancient and it appears to be an anomaly as I have been gifted twice as much as my father and it shows up as 4% Levant on my DNA chart.
    I’m studying History in my free time to learn more about our Rich Heritage.
    I’m fascinated with Rome and Carthage, especially cryptic traditions.
    But that’s just me. Reading about our ancient cultures for getting along in this day and age and the evolution of the nuclear family.

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