Ancient DNA has been discovered, clarifying the origin of the Avars

Recently, geneticists have been studying the ancient genomes of the Avars in contemporary Hungary. This traces the genetic origins of the Avars to a remote region of East Central Asia. It is direct genetic evidence for one of the largest and fastest migrations in ancient human history.

Looking for the real source

An empire spanning over 200 years was founded by the Avars in the 560s, centered in the Carpathian Basin. Actually their origin is still unclear, there is still much debate. Had they come from the Rouran empire in the Mongolian steppe (which had just been destroyed by the Turks), or should one believe the Turks who strongly disputed such a prestigious legacy?

Historians still do not know if they were organized migrants or those who.


In this case, a multidisciplinary team — including researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, the ELTE University and the Institute of Archaeogenomics of Budapest, Harvard Medical School in Boston, the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton — analysed 66 individuals from the Carpathian Basin.

And the true origin is gradually revealed.

Fastest long-distance migration in human history

They left no written historical evidence, and studying this genome is the surest clue to their origin. “The historical contextualization of the archaeogenetic results allowed us to narrow down the timing of the proposed Avar migration. 


They covered more than 5000 kilometres in a few years from Mongolia to the Caucasus, and after ten more years settled in what is now Hungary. This is the fastest long-distance migration in human history that we can reconstruct up to this point,” explains Choongwon Jeong, co-senior author of the study.

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