The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Odontological characteristics of the craniological series from the Bol`shoi Olen`ii island in Barents Sea: new data on Eastern impulse in Saami ethnogenesis


Physical anthropology, Institute of Ethnology&Anthropology Russian Academy of Science

Friday 121, Plaza Level Add to calendar

Field seasons 2001-2004 of the Cola archeological expedition resulted in obtaining new odontological data on the people, who occupied the Cola peninsula and were buried at Bol`shoi Olen`ii Island (1000-1500 B.C.). The main goals of our investigations were: 1) to determine a historical position of these people among ancient population of Eastern Europe, 2) to define their role in ethnogenesis of Saami – the most investigated and still the most mysterious people of Europe.

We measured and described remains of 27 individuals. Obtained data testifies that the Eastern branch features prevail in the odontological complex of series and shows that the people of Bol`shoi Olen`iiIsland belong to maturised types. This combination is most typical for North-Eastern relic odontological type, which exists in odontological types of contemporary Karelians, Veps and some groups of Finns of Finland while Saami and Komi considered as classic representatives of this type.

The existence of a reverse odontological trend («Eastern component») is more prominent at the Western margin of the arial thus proving that the initial waves of Saami migration to the West were characterized by more considerable «Eastern component» then contemporary Saami population. But no paleoanthropological evidence for such migrations (Eastern impulse) has been obtained before. The results of our odontological investigations give such an evidence and make it possible to conclude: the population, that left the cemetery at the Bol`shoi Olen`ii Island in Barentz Sea was characterized by the trait complex, which served as a basis for formation of odontological profile of contemporary Saami.

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