The date of creation of Armenia on Khorenatsi is confirmed by geneticists

Armenian historian of the 5th century Movses Khorenatsi claimed that Armenia was established in 2492 BC, which is considered a legendary date in the Armenian history and mythology. His statements were based on the notes he familiarized himself with during his visit to Babylon.

Regardless of whether he just guessed the year or actually based his knowledge on trustworthy sources, new genome analysis showed that the claim might be quite accurate.

During the analysis, geneticists scanned genome-wide variation in 173 Armenians from Armenia and Lebanon and compared them with 78 other populations from different countries of the world. They discovered that Armenian’s genomes are a mixture of such ancient populations as Sardinians, somewhat Central Asians, and others. According to their approximations, the genome blending has occurred between 3000 and 2000 BC, which suits Khorenatsi’s estimations.

At the end of the Bronze Age, mass mixing of populations has occurred due to intensification of trade, wars, and the growth of population. After 1200 BC, civilizations of Eastern Mediterranean populations suddenly collapsed, which apparently resulted in isolation of Armenian population and decrease of admixture signals in them. Scientists think that such isolated populations aid obtaining genetic data about different nations.

Researchers discovered signs of divergence between two major Armenian populations, the Western and Eastern Armenians, which started 450 – 575 years ago. This corresponds to the beginning of conflict between the Ottoman and Safavid dynasties, and division of Armenia between the Ottoman and Persian Empires.

Armenians share 29 % of their genome with Ötzi (also called the Iceman, the Similaun Man, the Man from Hauslabjoch, the Tyrolean Iceman, and the Hauslabjoch mummy), a well-preserved natural mummy of a man who lived around 3300 BC, which was found in September 1991 in the Ötztal Alps. Armenians are close to Spaniards, Italians, and Romanians from Europe; Lebanese, Jews, Druze, and Cypriots from the Near East; and Georgians and Abkhazians from the Caucasus.

The position of Armenia in worldwide genetic diversity appears to mirror the geographical position of Turkey, population of which is genetically shifted towards Central Asians, meaning that populations genetically related to Armenians bear more resemblance to Neolithic Europeans than modern populations of Middle and Near East.

Full research:  Genetic evidence for an origin of the Armenians from Bronze Age mixing of multiple populations


Related Publications