Overview of Ancient Samples

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Alan (North Caucasus)

The Alans were a steppe people first mentioned in Roman literature in the 1st century AD. The invasion of the Huns in the late 4th century AD split the Alans into two parts. Some of the Alans were drawn into the migration of peoples from eastern into western Europe. With the Germanic tribes of Visigoths and Vandals they passed into Gaul and Iberia, some even reaching North Africa. The Caucasian Alans occupied part of the Caucasian plain and the foothills of the main mountain chain, they became sedentary and took to cattle-breeding and agriculture.

Alemanni–Frank (Bavaria)

By the time the Alemanni fought alongside the Huns in 451 AD at the Catalaunian Plains, the Franks had become powerful enough to be counted as allies of the Romans under Aetius. In 496 AD, the Alemanni were defeated by the Franks, and over time were absorbed into their kingdom.

Almohad Muslim (Iberia)

The Almohad movement was founded by Ibn Tumart among the Berber Masmuda tribes in the south of what is now Morocco. Around 1120 AD, the Almohads first established a Berber state in Tinmel in the Atlas Mountains. They succeeded in overthrowing the ruling Almoravid dynasty by 1147 AD, when Abd al-Mu'min al-Gumi conquered Marrakesh and declared himself caliph. They then extended their power over all of the Maghreb by 1159 AD. Al-Andalus soon followed, and all of Muslim Iberia was under Almohad rule by 1172 AD.

Anatolia (Hittite period)

The Hittites occupied the ancient region of Anatolia prior to 1700 BC, developed a culture apparently from the indigenous Hatti people, and expanded their territories into an empire which rivaled, and threatened, the established nation of Egypt. The Hittite language was a distinct member of the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family, and along with the closely-related Luwian language, is the oldest historically-attested Indo-European language.


Interior Alaska has some of the harshest environmental conditions in the world. The land is wooded with spruce, willow, and birch, and is traversed by many river systems. The Athabaskans have lived in this environment characterized by forest, rivers, and extreme climate for centuries. As might be expected, their way of life has incorporated a series of adaptations to the environment, and many aspects of the culture can be traced to these adaptations.

Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex

The Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex (short BMAC) is the modern archaeological designation for a Bronze Age civilization of Central Asia, dated to c. 2400–1900 BC in its urban phase. The inhabitants of the BMAC were sedentary people who practised irrigation farming of wheat and barley.

Balt (Viking Age)

The period from the earliest recorded raids in the late 8th century AD until the Norman conquest of England in 1066 AD is commonly known as the Viking Age in the history of the Scandinavians. The Viking Age lasted until the mid-11th century, when the Christianization of Scandinavia was largely completed.


The inhabitants of the Southern Levant in the Bronze Age are commonly described as “Canaanites,” that is, residents of the Land of Canaan. The term appears in several 2nd millennium BC sources (e.g., Amarna, Alalakh, and Ugarit tablets) and in biblical texts dating from the 8th–7th centuries BC and later. In the latter, the Canaanites are referred to as the pre-Israelite inhabitants of the land. Canaan of the 2nd millennium BC was organized in a system of city-states, where elites ruled from urban hubs over rural (and in some places pastoral) countryside.

Celt (Britain)

The Britons were a Celtic people who occupied much of Britain. They were conquered by the Romans in the 1st century AD and became a part of the Roman Empire. Following the conquest, a distinctive culture emerged under a provincial government. In the early 5th century AD the Romans withdrew from the province of Britannia, leaving the Britons to fend for themselves.

Celt (Gaul)

The term "La Tène" refers to a late Iron Age Celtic culture roughly centred in what is now Switzerland. In Western Europe, its evolution and historical development was roughly coincident with the fate of the Celts themselves. Thus, it emerged out of the preceding Hallstatt Celtic culture, achieved its zenith during the expansion of Celtic power and influence during the 4th century BC and then declined with the Roman subjugation of Gaul around 50 BC.

Celt (Hallstatt culture)

The Hallstatt culture is regarded as the first clearly defined Celtic culture, and it remained the principal early civilization of the region from around 800 BC until succeeded by the La Tene culture in the 5th century BC.


The Celtiberians were a group of Celts and Celticized peoples inhabiting the central-eastern Iberian Peninsula during the final centuries BC. They were explicitly mentioned as being Celts by several classic authors. These tribes spoke the Celtiberian language and wrote it by adapting the Iberian alphabet. The numerous inscriptions that have been discovered, some of them extensive, have allowed scholars to classify the Celtiberian language as a Celtic language.


The Cimmerians were a nomadic people inhabiting the Pontic Steppe. They were displaced by the Scythians and crossed the Caucasus into West Asia. They assaulted Urartu in the late 8th century BC. After being repulsed by Sargon II of Assyria, they turned aside into Anatolia and conquered Phrygia. They reached the height of their power in 652 BC after taking Sardis, the capital of Lydia; however an invasion of Assyrian-controlled Anshan was thwarted. Soon after 619 BC, they were defeated by Alyattes of Lydia and disappeared from the historical record.

Crimea (Ostrogothic period)

The Crimean Peninsula was under partial control of the Roman Empire during the period of 47 BC to c. 340 AD. The territory under Roman control mostly coincided with the Bosporan Kingdom. Rome lost its influence in Taurica in the mid third century AD, when substantial parts of the peninsula fell to the Goths, but at least nominally the kingdom survived until the 340s AD.

Dong Son culture

The Dong Son culture in ancient Vietnam was centred at the Red River Valley of northern Vietnam from 1000 BC until the first century AD. It was the last great culture of Văn Lang and continued well into the period of the Âu Lạc state. Its influence spread to other parts of Southeast Asia, including Maritime Southeast Asia, from about 1000 BC to 1 BC.

Early Slav (Szolad)

In the middle of the 5th century AD, a political vacuum affected Europe as a result of the fall of the Hunnic Empire. The Huns left many regions devastated, and the Slavs were among the new groups moving to these regions.

Early Turk (Central Steppe)

The first people to use the ethnonym Turk to refer to themselves entered the political scenery of Central Asia in the early 6th century AD, although the first attested Turkic-speaking peoples appeared in written historical sources before that time, namely when Oghur Turkic-speaking tribes appeared in the Pontic steppe in the 5th century AD. The fall of the of the Western Khaganate in the 7th century AD created a power vacuum, leading to the fragmentation of Turkic peoples in Central Asia.

East Iranic (Eastern Steppe)

In 744 AD, after the defeat of the last Türk Khagan by the Uyghur-Karluk-Basmyl alliance, the Uyghurs under Bayanchur Khagan established their imperial capital Ordu-Baliq on the site of the old ördü. Large numbers of Sogdian refugees came to Ordu-Baliq to escape the Islamic conquest of their homeland. They converted the Uyghur nobility from Buddhism to Manichaeism.

East Slav (Sunghir)

Kievan Rus' was a loose federation of mainly East Slavic peoples in Europe from the late 9th to the mid-13th century. At its greatest extent, in the mid-11th century, it stretched from the White Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south and from the headwaters of the Vistula in the west to the Taman Peninsula in the east, uniting the majority of East Slavic tribes.

Egyptian (Late Period)

The Late Period of ancient Egypt refers to the last flowering of native Egyptian rulers after the Third Intermediate Period from the 26th Saite Dynasty in 664 BC through a series of Persian and Macedonian-Greek conquests that ended with the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. The Late Period was the final phase of a vast unbroken, and inherently Egyptian, artistic and cultural tradition that dated back to the beginnings of human habitation in the region.

Elmenteitan culture

The Elmenteitan culture was a prehistoric lithic industry and pottery tradition with a distinct pattern of land use, hunting and pastoralism that appeared and developed on the western plains of Kenya, East Africa during the Pastoral Neolithic. Recent genetic analysis of the ancient remains of Elmenteitan has proven that the population of the Savanna Pastoral Neolithic (Cushitic speakers) were also responsible for the pastoralist Elmenteitan culture that lived in the Rift Valley during the same period.


A culture that is identifiably Etruscan developed in Italy about 900 BC, approximately with the Iron Age Villanovan culture, regarded as the oldest phase of Etruscan civilization, and derived from the previous late Bronze Age Proto-Villanovan culture. In the 4th century BC, Etruria saw a Gallic invasion end its influence over the Po Valley and the Adriatic coast. Meanwhile, Rome had started annexing Etruscan cities. This led to the loss of the northern Etruscan provinces. Etruscan civilization endured until its assimilation into the Roman society, beginning in the late 4th century BC with the Roman–Etruscan Wars, continuing with the granting of Roman citizenship as from 90 BC, and ending in 27 BC with the establishment of the Roman Empire.

Gandhara Grave culture

The Gandhara grave culture, also called Swat culture, emerged c. 1700 BC in the upper Indus Valley and spread to the Valleys of Swat, Dir, Chitral, and Peshawar, flourishing until c. 500 BC. Narasimhan et al. 2018 analyzed DNA of 362 ancient skeletons from Central and South Asia, including those from the Iron Age grave sites discovered in the Swat valley of Pakistan. According to them, "there is no evidence that the main BMAC population contributed genetically to later South Asians", and that "Indus Periphery-related people are the single most important source of ancestry" in Indus Valley Civilization and South Asia.


The Getae were an ancient Thracian people inhabiting the banks of the lower Danube region and nearby plains. First appearing in the 6th century BC, the Getae were subjected to Scythian cultural influence and adopted the Scythian manner of fighting.

Granadine Muslim (Iberia)

The Emirate of Granada, also known as the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, was an emirate established in 1230 AD by Muhammad ibn al-Ahmar. After Prince Idris left Iberia to take the Almohad Caliphate leadership, the ambitious Ibn al-Ahmar established the last Muslim dynasty on the Iberian peninsula, the Nasrids. By 1250 AD, the Emirate was the last part of the Iberian peninsula held by the Muslims.


The ties between the Canaries and the Mediterranean world which had existed since antiquity were interrupted by the decline and fall of the Western Roman Empire. Although these linkages were weakened, they were not totally severed, and the Canaries' isolation was not total. The Guanches were the aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands. When the Spanish invaded the Canary Islands in the name of the Castilian flag in the 15th century AD, the archipelago was inhabited by the Guanches. This name initially only referred to Tenerife's aboriginal tribe, but it was soon used to cover all of the islands' native dwellers.

Hellenic (Empuries)

Empuries was founded in 575 BC by Greek colonists from Phocaea. After the conquest of Phocaea by the Persian king Cyrus II in 530 BC, the new city's population increased considerably through the influx of refugees. In the face of strong pressure from Carthage, the city managed to retain its independent Hellenic character. Political and commercial agreements were concluded with the indigenous population long settled in the nearby city of Indika. Tthe city developed into a large economic and commercial centre as well as being the largest Greek colony in the Iberian Peninsula.

Hun (Tian Shan)

In the 4th century AD, the invasion of Hunnic tribes began to overwhelm Sogdia and beyond. These Huns, whom the Persians called collectively Chionites, are often linked, albeit controversially, to the Huns who invaded Europe during the same period. They were also known to practice artificial cranial deformation, which was also practiced by the Huns who invaded Europe. They reportedly organised themselves into four main hordes: "Black" or northern (beyond the Jaxartes), "Blue" or eastern (in Tian Shan), "White" or western, and the "Red" or southern (Alchon), south of the Oxus.


In 454 AD Ardaric, king of the Gepids, defeated Ellac, the eldest son of Attila the Hun. Contrary to the common belief that the Gepids were an exclusively Germanic people rebelling against the Huns, archaeology from the area occupied by the Gepids shows that the ruling elite of the Gepids were a heterogeneous group displaying some East Eurasian features all throughout the 5th and 6th centuries AD. This was no doubt the result of intermarriages with the Huns and the presence of actual Huns within the Gepid aristocracy. Of all the Germanic peoples, the Gepid elite was culturally and physically the most similar to the Huns. Noticeably the practice of Hunnic cranial deformation was extremely common among the Gepids.

Iberia (Middle Ages)

During the 11th century AD the Christian rulers of the northern Iberian peninsula set out to take over the Muslim territories, defining them as Christian lands that had been conquered by infidels, and now needed to be reconquered. The Caliphate of Cordoba, at this time among the richest and most powerful states in Europe, underwent civil war, known as fitna. As a result, it broke into taifas, small rival emirates fighting among themselves.

Iberia (Roman period)

In 218 BC, during the Second Punic War against the Carthaginians, the first Roman troops occupied the Iberian Peninsula; however, it was not until the reign of Augustus that it was annexed after 200 years of war with the Celts and Iberians. The result was the creation of the province of Hispania. The Romans brought with them the Latin language, which was to become the basis for all peninsular tongues.


The Iberians were a non-Indo-European people inhabiting the southern and eastern parts of the Iberian peninsula in the first milennium BC. Iberian soldiers were widely employed by Carthage and Rome as mercenaries and auxiliary troops. A large portion of Carthaginian forces during the Punic Wars was made up of Iberians and Celtiberians.

Icelander (Viking Age)

The recorded history of Iceland began with the settlement by Norse explorers and their Gaelic thralls in the late ninth century. Iceland was still uninhabited long after the rest of Western Europe had been settled. Recorded settlement has conventionally been dated back to 874 AD, although archaeological evidence indicates Gaelic monks from Ireland, known as papar according to sagas, had settled Iceland before that date.


The Inca Empire was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in the city of Cusco. The Inca civilization arose from the Peruvian highlands sometime in the early 13th century AD. Its last stronghold was conquered by the Spanish in 1572 AD.

Izjaslav Ingvarevych (Rurikid dynasty)

Izjaslav Ingvarevych, ‘Izjaslav, son of Ingvar’ was a prince of Dorogobuzh, Principality of Volhynia/Galicia. He died in action at the Battle of Kalka River in 1223 AD. His skull was found in 1989 in a tomb on the territory of Lutsk castle.


The Jōmon period is the time in Japanese prehistory, traditionally dated between c. 14000 BC and 300 BC, during which Japan was inhabited by a hunter-gatherer culture, which reached a considerable degree of sedentism and cultural complexity. During the Final Jōmon period, a slow shift was taking place in western Japan: steadily increasing contact with the Korean Peninsula eventually led to the establishment of Korean-type settlements in western Kyushu, beginning around 900 BC.


The Kangju state was a tribal confederation located north and south of the lower Syr Darya. Not unlike the Wusun, the Kangju were nomadic pastoralists and sedentary agriculturalists. Their most important economic activity was cattle breeding; they also raised sheep, horses and goats. The Kangju further developed a partly urban civilization with clay houses, palaces and fortified walls. The semi-sedentary tribal aristocracy lived in the centers of the towns.


The confederation of the Turkic peoples present in Zhetysu and nearby regions in the 9th century AD, namely the Karluk, the Yaghma and the Chigil, was ruled by a dynasty referred to in the literature as the Karakhanids. The Karakhanids adopted Islam and declared it to be the religion of their tribal society. In the final decade of the 10th century AD, the Karakhanids began a systematic struggle against the Samanids for control of Transoxiana.


The Karluks were a Turkic tribal confederation centered in Zhetysu, a region corresponding to the southeastern part of present-day Kazakhstan. Their encampments stretched from the Ferghana Valley and beyond in the east to Ispijab in the west, where they bordered the Oghuz.


The Khitans were a Para-Mongolic nomadic people from East Asia who, from the 4th century AD, inhabited an area corresponding to parts of present-day Mongolia, Northeast China and the Russian Far East. They spoke the Khitan language, which appears to be related to the Mongolic languages. After the fall of the Liao dynasty in 1125 AD following the Jurchen invasion, many Khitans followed Yelü Dashi's group westward to establish the Kara Khitai dynasty, which lasted several decades before falling to the Mongol Empire in 1218 AD.


The Kimaks were a Turkic tribal confederation centered near the Irtysh. The northern border of the confederation was the Siberian taiga, the eastern border was the Altai Mountains. In the beginning of the 11th century the Kimaks and Kipchaks pushed the Oghuz to the south, the Pechenegs to the west, and the Ugrians to the north into the Siberian taiga.


The Kipchaks were a loosely organized Turkic tribal confederation that by the mid-11th century AD occupied a vast, sprawling territory in the Eurasian steppe, stretching from north of the Aral Sea westward to the region north of the Black Sea. The Cumans were the western grouping of the confederation. Following the Mongol invasions, many Kipchaks were sent to Egypt to be sold as slaves, where they would eventually form the Mamluk state.


In 162 BC, the Yuezhi were driven west to the Ili River valley by the Xiongnu. In 132 BC, they were driven out of the Ili valley by the Wusun. They fled southwest and two years later took northern Bactria from the Saka who had recently defeated the Greco-Bactrians. For about 150 years the Yuezhi maintained their tribal divisions within their new homeland, but in the first decades of the common era one tribe, the Kushans, emerged as more powerful. It is this date, around 30 AD, that is usually used as the founding date of the Kushan Empire.



The Lapita culture flourished in the Pacific Islands from about 1500 BC to about 500 BC. An ultimate Southeast Asian origin of the Lapita complex is assumed by most scholars, perhaps originating from the Austronesians in present-day Taiwan or southern China. This Neolithic dispersal was driven by a rapid population growth in East and Southeast Asia.


The Latins were an ancient Italic people of the Latium region in central Italy. Although they lived in independent city-states, they spoke a common language, held common religious beliefs, and shared a sense of kinship, expressed in the myth that all Latins descend from Latinus. Latinus was worshiped on Mons Albanus during an annual festival attended by all Latins, including those from Rome, one of the Latin states. The Latin cities extended common rights of residence and trade to one another.


The Longobards were one of the Germanic tribes that formed the Suebi, and during the 1st century AD they were described as living east of the lower Elbe River. They are reported around 500 AD north of the Danube, from where they then expanded into the Roman province of Pannonia (what is now western Hungary and lower Austria). In 568 AD the Longobard King Alboin led his people into Italy, where they established a kingdom covering much of the peninsula until 774 AD.


The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age Aegean civilization on the island of Crete and other Aegean Islands, flourishing from c. 3000 BC to c. 1450 BC until a late period of decline, finally ending around 1100 BC. It represents the first advanced civilization in Europe, leaving behind massive building complexes, tools, artwork, writing systems, and a massive network of trade. The civilization was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. The name "Minoan" derives from the mythical King Minos and was coined by Evans, who identified the site at Knossos with the labyrinth and the Minotaur. The Minoan civilization has been described as the earliest of its kind in Europe.


Founded by an Indo-Aryan ruling class governing a predominantly Hurrian population, Mitanni came to be a regional power after the Hittite destruction of Babylon and a series of ineffectual Assyrian kings created a power vacuum in Mesopotamia.

Mongol (Middle Ages)

The destruction of Uyghur Khaganate by the Yenisei Kirghiz resulted in the end of Turkic dominance in Mongolia. According to historians, Kirghiz were not interested in assimilating newly acquired lands; instead, they controlled local tribes through various manaps. The Khitans occupied the areas vacated by the Turkic Uyghurs. The Khitan fled west after being defeated by the Jurchens and founded the Kara Khitai in eastern Kazakhstan. In 1218 AD, Genghis Khan destroyed the Kara Khitai after which the Khitan passed into obscurity. With the expansion of the Mongol Empire, the Mongolic peoples carried on military campaigns from the Adriatic Sea to Indonesian Java island and from Japan to Palestine.

Morisco (Iberia)

The Emirate of Granada was the last Muslim holding in the Iberian Peninsula, which surrendered in 1492 AD to the Catholic forces after a decade-long campaign. Granada was annexed to Castile as the Kingdom of Granada, and had a majority Muslim population. Initially, the Treaty of Granada guaranteed their rights to be Muslim but Cardinal Cisneros's effort to convert the population led to the a series of rebellions. The rebellions were suppressed, and afterwards the Muslims in Granada were given the choice to remain and accept baptism, reject baptism and be enslaved or killed, or to be exiled. The option of exile was often not feasible in practice, and hindered by the authorities. Shortly after the rebellions' defeat, the entire Muslim population of Granada had nominally become Christian.


The Mycenaean civilization represents the first advanced and distinctively Greek civilization in mainland Greece with its palatial states, urban organization, works of art, and writing system. It flourished in the Late Bronze Age, reaching its peak from the 15th to the 13th century BC when it extended its influence not only throughout the Peloponnese in Greece but also across the Aegean, in particular, on Crete and the Cycladic islands. The Mycenaeans, named after their chief city of Mycenae in the Argolid of the northeast Peloponnese, were influenced by the earlier Minoan civilization which had spread from its origins at Knossos, Crete to include the wider Aegean.

Orkhon Turk (Eastern Steppe)

The Second Türk Khaganate was founded by Ashina clan and centered on Ötüken in the upper reaches of the Orkhon River. After decades of war and border raids with China, peace was made in 721–22 AD. The second khaganate remained a tributary and vassal of the Tang dynasty. It then survived until the 740s, when it fell due to internal conflicts and was succeeded by the Uyghur Khaganate.

Orkhon Uyghur (Eastern Steppe)

In 744 AD, after the defeat of the last Türk Khagan by the Uyghur-Karluk-Basmyl alliance, the Uyghurs under Bayanchur Khagan established their imperial capital Ordu Baliq on the site of the old ördü. Ordu-Baliq flourished until 840 AD, when the khaganate was overrun by the Yenisei Kirghiz.


The Paleo-Aleuts arrived in the Aleutian Islands from the Alaskan mainland a few thousand years ago. Ancient Aleut villages were situated on the seashore near fresh water, with a good landing for boats and in a position safe from surprise attack. Village placement in such locations persisted over the long term, as did many other cultural characteristics.

Pazyryk culture

The bearers of the Pazyryk culture were horse-riding pastoral nomads, and some may have accumulated great wealth through horse trading with merchants in Persia, India and China. This wealth is evident in the wide array of finds from the Pazyryk tombs, which include many rare examples of organic objects such as felt hangings, Chinese silk, the earliest known pile carpet, horses decked out in elaborate trappings, and wooden furniture and other household goods. These finds were preserved when water seeped into the tombs in antiquity and froze, encasing the burial goods in ice, which remained frozen in the permafrost until the time of their excavation.


Known as a seafaring nation, the Philistines were a non-Semitic people who arrived in Canaan at the beginning of the 12th century BC. The origin of the Philistines has not yet been fully clarified. The majority of researchers consider them to have been among the Sea Peoples.

Pict (Viking Age)

The period from the earliest recorded raids in the late 8th century AD until the Norman conquest of England in 1066 AD is commonly known as the Viking Age in the history of the Scandinavians. The Viking Age lasted until the mid-11th century, when the Christianization of Scandinavia was largely completed.

Punic (Sardinia)

From the 8th century BC, Phoenicians founded several cities and strongholds on strategic points in the south and west of Sardinia. The majority of the inhabitants in these cities were of indigenous nuragic stock while the Phoenician element was, although culturally predominant, in minority. The Phoenicians came originally from what is now Lebanon and founded a vast trading network in the Mediterranean. Sardinia had a special position because it was central in the Western Mediterranean between Carthage, Spain, the river Rhône and the Etruscan civilization area.

Roman (Imperial)

Imperial Rome describes the period of the Roman Empire (27 BC to 476 AD) following Julius Caesar’s assassination, which ultimately ended Rome’s time as a republic. Rome grew from a city-state on the Tiber river into an empire that spanned the entire Mediterranean and extended onto all three surrounding continents. Rome’s overseas expansion began during the Punic Wars against Carthage in present-day Tunisia. This growth continued for much of the next 300 years, reaching as far as Britannia, Morocco, Egypt, and Assyria.

Roman (Late Antiquity)

In 476 AD, after being refused lands in Italy, Orestes’ Germanic mercenaries, under the leadership of the chieftain Odoacer, captured and executed Orestes and took Ravenna, the Western Roman capital at the time, deposing Emperor Romulus Augustus. The whole of Italy was quickly conquered, and Odoacer’s rule became recognized in the Eastern Roman Empire. Meanwhile, much of the rest of the western provinces were conquered by waves of Germanic invasions, most of them being disconnected politically from the east altogether, and continuing a slow decline. Although Roman political authority in the west was lost, Roman culture would last into the 6th century and beyond.

Saami (Iron Age)

During the Iron Age, close genetic relatives of present-day Saami lived in an area much further south than their current geographic range. Saami languages were spoken in what is now Finland prior to the arrival of the early Finnish language and have dominated the region before 1000 AD. Particularly, southern Ostrobothnia, where Levänluhta is located, has been suggested through place names to harbour a southern Saami dialect until the late first millennium, when early Finnish took over as the dominant language.


The Saka were a group of nomadic peoples who inhabited mainly the Central Steppe. They were known as the Sak in ancient Chinese records. These records indicate that they originally inhabited the Ili and Chu River valleys of present-day Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The exact date of the Sakas' arrival in the valleys of the Ili and Chu in Central Asia is unclear, perhaps it was just before the reign of Darius I. Around 30 Saka tombs in the form of kurgans have also been found in the Tian Shan area dated to between 550–250 BC. In the 2nd century BC, many of them were driven by the Yuezhi from the steppe into Sogdia and Bactria and then to the northwest of the Indian subcontinent.


The Sarmatians were a nomadic people who gradually moved westward from their original homeland. Like the Scythians to whom they were related, they were highly developed in horsemanship and warfare. Their administrative capability and political astuteness contributed to their gaining widespread influence. By the 5th century BC the Sarmatians held control of the land between the Urals and the Don River. In the 4th century BC they crossed the Don and replaced the Scythians as the dominant power in the Pontic Steppe.

Saxon (Britain)

The Saxons were a Germanic people living near the North Sea during the time of the Roman Empire. When the Roman armies left Britain at the beginning of the 5th century AD they left a power vacuum. According to tradition, the Saxons and other Germanic peoples first entered Britain en masse as part of an agreement to protect the Britons from the incursions of the Picts, Gaels and others.

Scandinavian (Viking Age)

The period from the earliest recorded raids in the late 8th century AD until the Norman conquest of England in 1066 AD is commonly known as the Viking Age in the history of the Scandinavians. The Viking Age lasted until the mid-11th century, when the Christianization of Scandinavia was largely completed.

Slav (Viking Age)

The period from the earliest recorded raids in the late 8th century AD until the Norman conquest of England in 1066 AD is commonly known as the Viking Age in the history of the Scandinavians. The Viking Age lasted until the mid-11th century, when the Christianization of Scandinavia was largely completed.

Tagar culture

The Tagar culture flourished between the 8th and 2nd centuries BC and covered the region of the Minusinsk Basin in the upper reaches of the Yenisei River. Livestock breeding constituted the economic basis of the culture, whose people combined semi-settled and migratory types of herding.


The Thracians were a group of Indo-European tribes inhabiting a large area in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. The first historical record of the Thracians is found in the Iliad, where they are described as allies of the Trojans in the Trojan War against the Ancient Greeks. By the 5th century BC, the Thracian population was large enough that Herodotus called them the second most numerous people in the part of the world known by him, and potentially the most powerful, if not for their lack of unity.

Germanic (Poprad) vandal

Vandal (Poprad)

Around the mid 2nd century AD, there was a significant migration by Germanic tribes towards the southeast, creating turmoil along the entire Roman frontier. The 6th century Roman historian Procopius noted that the Goths, Gepids and Vandals were physically and culturally identical, suggesting a common origin.

Villanovan culture

A culture that is identifiably Etruscan developed in Italy about 900 BC, approximately with the Iron Age Villanovan culture, regarded as the oldest phase of Etruscan civilization, and derived from the previous late Bronze Age Proto-Villanovan culture.

Visigoth (Iberia)

The Goths were an early Germanic people, two of whose branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Possibly originating in southern Sweden, the Goths are mentioned by Roman authors as living in the Vistula basin in northern Poland in the 1st century AD. During the subsequent centuries the Goths expanded towards the Black Sea, where they replaced the Sarmatians as the dominant power. Under their leader Alaric I, the Visigoths embarked on a long migration within the Roman Empire, notably sacking Rome in 410 AD, and eventually settled in Gaul and Iberia, where they founded the Visigothic Kingdom.

Western Scythian

The Scythians were a nomadic people who migrated westward from Central Asia. They replaced the Cimmerians as the dominant power on the Pontic Steppe. According to Heredotus, the Scythians, in pursuit of the Cimmerians, crossed the Caucasus and ravaged West Asia. After losing control over Media, they continued intervening in West Asian affairs, playing a leading role in the destruction of the Assyrian Empire in the Sack of Nineveh. In the aftermath of conflict between Macedon and the Scythians, the Celts seem to have displaced the Scythians from the Balkans; while in the east, the Sarmatians gradually overwhelmed them.


The Wusun were a people who are known to have occupied the Ili River Basin from the 2nd century BC to the 2nd century AD. The Wusun originally lived between the Qilian Mountains and Gansu near the Yuezhi. Around 176 BC the Yuezhi were raided by the Xiongnu, who subsequently attacked the Wusun, killing their leader and seizing their land.


After the downfall of the Xiongnu, the Xianbei replaced them with a loose confederacy. The Xianbei derived from the context of the Donghu, who are likely to have contained the linguistic ancestors of the Mongols. Later branches and descendants of the Xianbei include the Tabghach and Khitan, who seem to have been linguistically Para-Mongolic.


The Xiongnu were a tribal confederation of nomadic peoples who, according to ancient Chinese sources, inhabited the eastern steppe from the 3rd century BC to the late 1st century AD. After their previous rivals, the Yuezhi, migrated into Central Asia during the 2nd century BC, the Xiongnu became a dominant power on the eastern steppe, centered on an area known later as Mongolia. The Xiongnu were also active in areas now part of Siberia, Inner Mongolia, Gansu and Xinjiang. Their relations with adjacent Chinese dynasties to the south-east were complex, with repeated periods of conflict and intrigue, alternating with exchanges of tribute, trade, and marriage treaties.

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