Last Updated: January 13, 2018
Read about The Jews of Khazaria - the best general-interest book about the Khazars in English
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Exciting news starting January 11th: MyHeritageDNA has added a chromosome browser so we can see the exact start and end positions on particular chromosomes where we match our genetic cousins. MyHeritageDNA has many thousands of Jewish participants and has been growing at a rapid pace.
"O nakhodke sosuda s graffiti v Mariupole" by Eduard Ye. Kravchenko and V. K. Kul'baka was published in Russian (with an English summary) in the journal Arkheologicheskii al'manakh No. 21 (2010) on pages 386-395. This article describes Khazar-era artifacts found in the city of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine. They include two Arabic dirhams that were used as pendants, mirror fragments, and a pot (shown on the bottom of page 389) that bears two drawn symbols: a Jewish menorah and a plus sign that's interpreted as a Christian cross. The authors believe the potter was neither a Jew nor a Christian but was a pagan who was familiar with these other religions that were practiced in Khazaria at the time. Was the plus sign really not a tamga?
Gennady E. Afanasiev and his co-authors published the Russian article "Khazarskie konfederaty v Basseyne Dona" in Yestestvennonauchnie metodi issledovaniya i paradigma sovremennoy arkheologii: Materiali Vserossiyskoy nauchnoy koferentsii, Moskva, Institut arkheologii Rossiyskoy akademii nauk, 8-11 dekabrya 2015 in 2015 on pages 146-153. They examined the uniparental markers of 4 individuals in the Saltovo-Mayaki culture of Khazaria who lived circa the 800s:
•Sample A80301 belonged to the Y-DNA haplogroup R1a1a1b2a (R-Z94) which is of Persian/West Asian origin and found today among Turkic-speaking Karachay people. A80301's mtDNA haplogroup was I4a which is found today in northwestern and central Europe such as in Sweden, and also found around the Black Sea, in the North Caucasus, and in Armenia, Iran, and Siberia.
•Sample A80302's mtDNA haplogroup was D4m2, which is found today in Siberia among the Dolgan, Yakut, and Even peoples, but is never found among Ashkenazim.
•Sample A80410 belonged to the Y-DNA haplogroup G, commonly found among peoples in West Asia and the Caucasus today.
•Sample A80411 belonged to the Y-DNA haplogroup J2a, which is also commonly found in West Asia and the Caucasus today, and also in Central Asia and in parts of Europe like the Balkans.
Anatole A. Klyosov and Tatiana Faleeva's article "Excavated DNA from Two Khazar Burials" in Advances in Anthropology 7 (2017) on pages 17-21 examines the Y-DNA STRs of two Khazar samples from the lower Don region of southern Russia. Both of them belong to haplogroups within R1a's subclade Z93's Turkic branches, not part of the Ashkenazic Jewish or North Slavic lineages of R1a. The authors write that "R1a-Z93 is very common in present-day Turkic-speaking peoples such as Caucasian Karachaevo-Balkars, also Tatars, Bashkirs, Kirgiz, and other populations who apparently descended from Scythians, and have their common ancestors in the R1a-Z93 subclade dated back to 1500-2500 years ago".
Although not directly related to the Khazars, it may interest you that DNA was recovered from an early-medieval Hun buried in Hungary and his Y-DNA haplogroup is L while his mtDNA haplogroup is D4j12.
DNA from 31 Avars from early-medieval southeastern Hungary included the East Eurasian mtDNA haplogroups C, M6, D4c1, and F1b as well as (more frequently) some European mtDNA haplogroups. 23% of the Hungarian conquerors (mainly Magyars, but said to have been joined by Khazars) belonged to the "Central and East-Eurasian haplogroups (A, B, C, D, F, G, M)". Supplementary Table S11 (Tab 11 in the spreadsheet) specifies A, A10, A11, A12a, B4, B4c1b, C, C4a1, C4a2, D4c1, D4h1, D4h4a, D4i, D4m2, D4m2a, F1b, G2a, M, M7, N1a1a1a, N1a1a1a1a, and N1b1.
Finding Your Roots's season 4 has premiered on PBS TV. In episode 1: "The Impression", first aired on October 3, 2017, comedian Larry David and politician Bernie Sanders, who are Americans of Ashkenazic Jewish descent, have their genealogies and genetics delved into in depth by experts. David's roots are from Tarnopol (in the part of the Galizia region in what is now western Ukraine), Poland, and the Bavarian and Hesse-Darmstadt regions of Prussian Germany, while Bernie also has ancestors from Galitzia, in addition to eastern Poland. In their DNA tests through 23andMe, David and Sanders were found to be genetic cousins who share identical-by-descent autosomal DNA segments on chromosomes 7, 9, and 11.
My article "The Chinese Lady Who Joined the Ashkenazic People" first appeared in Jewish Times Asia's March 2015 issue.
At Family Tree DNA's November 2015 genetic genealogy conference, Doron Behar delivered a presentation on the latest findings on the genetics of Ashkenazic Levites who belong to haplogroup R1a. Behar tested 66 Ashkenazic Levite samples and 10 non-Ashkenazic holders of R1a1 using the company's "Big Y" test. The results showed that the branches next-closest to Ashkenazim are Yezdi and Iberian holders, followed by Palestinian Arabs, and much farther away is an Assyrian. Roberta Estes wrote here that "Doron was able to confirm that the Levite population did arise in the Near East." While this seems true based on the data, one of Behar's slides nevertheless says "Unresolved origin", but maybe he means unresolved in terms of the precise population in that region that had transmitted this haplogroup to Jewish people. As I mentioned in my older comment above, an Iranian people have been proposed by other researchers to be that source population.
My article "Sephardic
Jews in Galitzian Poland and Environs" had its extended version
published in ZichronNote's May 2016 issue.
My second article in the series, "Sephardic Jews in Lithuania and Latvia", had its extended version published in ZichronNote's August 2016 issue.
My third article in the series, "Sephardic Jews in Central and Northern Poland", was published in ZichronNote's February/May 2017 double issue.
Over a thousand years ago, the far east of Europe was ruled by Jewish kings who presided over numerous tribes, including their own tribe: the Turkic Khazars. After their conversion, the Khazar people used Jewish personal names, spoke and wrote in Hebrew, were circumcised, had synagogues and rabbis, studied the Torah and Talmud, and observed Hanukkah, Pesach, and the Sabbath. The Khazars were an advanced civilization with one of the most tolerant societies of the medieval period. It hosted merchants from all over Asia and Europe. On these pages it is hoped that you may learn more about this fascinating culture.
Current Publications for Sale
THE JEWS OF KHAZARIA
WORLD OF THE KHAZARS
IN THE 9th AND 10th CENTURIES
THE KUZARI: IN DEFENSE
OF THE DESPISED FAITH
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