Tuscans and Etruscans

Latest bit on the DNA front suggests there is no DNA link between the ancient Etruscans and their modern-day Tuscan counterparts. An excerpt from the ANSA coverage:

The current population of Tuscany is not descended from the Etruscans, the people that lived in the region during the Bronze Age, a new Italian study has shown.

Researchers at the universities of Florence, Ferrara, Pisa, Venice and Parma discovered the genealogical discontinuity by testing samples of mitochondrial DNA from remains of Etruscans and people who lived in the Middle Ages (between the 10th and 15th centuries) as well as from people living in the region today.

While there was a clear genetic link between Medieval Tuscans and the current population, the relationship between modern Tuscans and their Bronze Age ancestors could not be proven, the study showed.

”Some people have hypothesised that the most ancient DNA sequences, those from the Etruscan era, could contain errors or have been contaminated but tests conducted with new methods exclude this,” said David Caramelli of Florence University and Guido Barbujani of Ferrara University.

”The most simple explanation is that the structure of the Tuscan population underwent important demographic changes in the first millennium before Christ,” they said.

”Immigration and forced migration have diluted the Etruscan genetic inheritance so much as to make it difficult to recognise”.

The scientific data does not necessarily mean that the Etruscans died out, the researchers said.

Etruscan Necropolis from Foggia

A brief item from AdnKronos:

An ancient Etruscan cemetery has been uncovered by Italian tax police or Guardia di Finanza in the country’s south during a police investigation to stop tomb robbers. The cemetery or necropolis is believed to date back to the Etruscan civilisation that existed in central and southern Italy from 1,200 BC to 550 BC before the Roman era.

The necropolis was found in the province of Foggia, located in the southern region of Puglia.

Police intervention is believed to have prevented the sacking of the 500-square-metre necropolis, in particular five tombs that contained the remains of warriors, buried with precious funerary artefacts dating back to the fourth century before Christ.

During the operation, two people were reported to the authorities.

The illegal trafficking of antique artefacts is highly lucrative in Italy.

The tomb robbers or ‘tombaroli’ steal the items from ancient graves and other historic sites and later sell them on the international black market.

I’d like to think we’ll hear more of this, but the brevity of even the Italian coverage suggests otherwise, alas.