This post is an update to my five-part series on “Who were the Urartians?”
Right after I published my articles on the Urartian identity, a very interesting paper was published in Science magazine by the leading authors on ancient genetics, Iosif Lazaridis and David Reich. The paper is titled: “The genetic history of the Southern Arc: A bridge between West Asia and Europe” and is mostly focused on tracing the Proto-Indo-European homeland. As I have explained in my video on the same subject, Reich and Lazaridis concluded that the Proto-Indo-European language must have originated not in the Steppe, as previously believed, but somewhere on the Armenian Highlands.
But this is not the subject of the current post. Instead, I want to focus on the Urartian DNA from Van (ancient Tushpa) that was finally released by Turkish academics for the purpose of the above-mentioned paper.
I have long suspected that the DNA from Van, the heartland of the Urartian kingdom, would be a great match for modern Armenians. However, despite numerous excavations of Urartian remains, the Turkish authorities have been reluctant to release genetic data. For the purpose of this international paper, however, they finally have. They have released five Urartian era samples from Van, one of which is an outlier, effectively only four. The results are even more fascinating than I could have anticipated.
The results are crystal clear: the Urartians from Van are indistinguishable from modern Armenians and the closest modern population these samples score to are exclusively the Armenians.
As you can see from the above PCA plot of various populations from the Near East, ancient Urartians from Van are indistinguishable from modern Armenians. The few samples that have been released clearly overlap with modern Armenians. As the sample sizes for both the Armenians and Urartians from Van increase over time, there is no doubt in my mind that both groups will continue to overlap even more.
We can confirm these results also by using the G25 Vahaduo genetics calculator, where we can see the genetic distance of various groups to each other. The lower the number, the closer they are genetically.
As you can see, out of all the populations, the Urartian DNA from Van is closest to modern Armenian populations. They are literally indistinguishable. Especially, Armenians from Urfa, Erzurum, and Gesaria score extremely close to an average Urartian from Van.
It’s also worth noting that modern Armenians don’t score as close to any ancient population as they do to the Urartians from Van. All of this is undeniable evidence that, when it comes to the genetic argument, there should be no doubt by now that Urartians were simply Armenians of the Iron Age and no one else.
Anyone who is interested and wants to do their own calculations through Vahaduo tools can visit this link: https://vahaduo.github.io