People may have first seen the Shaman Rock with the natural brown rock formation resembling a dragon between 30,000 to 25,000 years ago.


“On the western side of the surface of the back of the rock, there is a natural brown rock formation resembling a dragon.” ref

To an Animistic Thinker: “Things are not just as they seem, they may have a spirit, or spirit energy relates to them”
To a Totemistic Thinker: “Things are not just as they seem, they may have a spirit, or spirit energy relates to them; they may have religio-cultural importance.”

“Yangshao culture sites in Xi’an have produced clay pots with dragon motifs. A burial site Xishuipo in Puyang which is associated with the Yangshao culture shows a large dragon mosaic made out of clam shells. The Liangzhu culture also produced dragon-like patterns.” ref

“The Chinese Dragon, also known as the loonglong or lung (simplified Chinesetraditional Chinesepinyinlóng), is a legendary creature in Chinese mythologyChinese folklore, and Chinese culture at large. Chinese dragons have many animal-like forms such as turtles and fish, but are most commonly depicted as snake-like with four legs. Academicians have identified four reliable theories on the origin of the Chinese dragon: snakesChinese alligatorsthunder worship, and nature worship. They traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water.” ref

Dragons or dragon-like depictions have been found extensively in neolithic-period archaeological sites throughout China. Some of earliest depictions of dragons were found at Xinglongwa culture sites. Yangshao culture sites in Xi’an have produced clay pots with dragon motifs. A burial site Xishuipo in Puyang which is associated with the Yangshao culture shows a large dragon mosaic made out of clam shells. The Liangzhu culture also produced dragon-like patterns. The Hongshan culture sites in present-day Inner Mongolia produced jade dragon objects in the form of pig dragons which are the first 3-dimensional representations of Chinese dragons. One such early form was the pig dragon. It is a coiled, elongated creature with a head resembling a boar. The character for “dragon” in the earliest Chinese writing has a similar coiled form, as do later jade dragon amulets from the Shang dynasty. A snake-like dragon body painted on red pottery wares was discovered at Taosi (Shanxi) from the second phase of the Longshan Culture, and a dragon-like object coated with approximately 2000 pieces of turquoise and jade was discovered at Erlitou.” ref

“With the addition of the Yellow Dragon of the center to Azure Dragon of the East, these Vermilion, White, and Black Dragons coordinate with the Four Symbols, including the Vermilion Bird of the South, White Tiger of the West, and Black Tortoise of the North. Dragons were varyingly thought to be able to control and embody various natural elements in their “mythic form” such as “water, air, earth, fire, light, wind, storm, [and] electricity”. Some dragons who were able to breathe fire were thought to be exiled from tiān and banished to Earth. In China, a dragon is thought to have power over rain. Dragons and their associations with rain are the source of the Chinese customs of dragon dancing and dragon boat racing. Dragons are closely associated with rain and drought is thought to be caused by a dragon’s laziness. Prayers invoking dragons to bring rain are common in Chinese texts.” ref

“The Luxuriant Dew of the Spring and Autumn Annals, attributed to the Han dynasty scholar Dong Zhongshu, prescribes making clay figurines of dragons during a time of drought and having young men and boys pace and dance among the figurines in order to encourage the dragons to bring rain. Texts from the Qing dynasty advise hurling the bone of a tiger or dirty objects into the pool where the dragon lives; since dragons cannot stand tigers or dirt, the dragon of the pool will cause heavy rain to drive the object out. Rainmaking rituals invoking dragons are still very common in many Chinese villages, where each village has its own god said to bring rain and many of these gods are dragons. The Chinese dragon kings are thought of as the inspiration for the Hindu myth of the naga. According to these stories, every body of water is ruled by a dragon king, each with a different power, rank, and ability, so people began establishing temples across the countryside dedicated to these figures.” ref

“Historically, the Chinese dragon was associated with the emperor of China and used as a symbol to represent imperial power. Liu Bang, the founder of the Han dynasty, claimed that he was conceived after his mother dreamt of a dragon. During the Tang dynasty, emperors wore robes with dragon motif as an imperial symbol, and high officials might also be presented with dragon robes. In the Yuan dynasty, the two-horned, five-clawed dragon was designated for use by the Son of Heaven or emperor only, while the four-clawed dragon was used by the princes and nobles. Similarly, during the Ming and Qing dynasty, the five-clawed dragon was strictly reserved for use by the emperor only. The dragon in the Qing dynasty appeared on the flag of the Qing dynasty.ref

“The dragon is sometimes used in the West as a national emblem of China, though such use is not commonly seen in the People’s Republic of China or Taiwan. Instead, it is generally used as the symbol of culture. In Hong Kong, the dragon was a component of the coat of arms under British rule. It was later to become a feature of the design of Brand Hong Kong, a government promotional symbol. The dragon was the symbol of the Chinese emperor for many dynasties. During the Qing dynasty, the Azure Dragon was featured on the first Chinese national flag. It was featured again on the Twelve Symbols national emblem, which was used during the Republic of China, from 1913 to 1928. The dragon has been used as a state symbol in Vietnam. During the Nguyễn dynasty, the dragon was featured on the imperial standards. It was also featured on the coats of arms of the State of Vietnam, and later South Vietnam.” ref

“The Chinese dragon has very different connotations from the European dragon – in European cultures, the dragon is a fire-breathing creature with aggressive connotations, whereas the Chinese dragon is a spiritual and cultural symbol that represents prosperity and good luck, as well as a rain deity that fosters harmony. It was reported that the Chinese government decided against using the dragon as its official 2008 Summer Olympics mascot because of the aggressive connotations that dragons have outside of China and chose more “friendly” symbols instead. Sometimes Chinese people use the term “Descendants of the Dragon” (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ) as a sign of ethnic identity, as part of a trend started in the 1970s when different Asian nationalities were looking for animal symbols as representations. For example, the wolf may be used by the Mongols as it is considered to be their legendary ancestor.ref

“The ancient Chinese self-identified as “the gods of the dragon” because the Chinese dragon is an imagined reptile that represents evolution from the ancestors and qi energy. Dragon-like motifs of a zoomorphic composition in reddish-brown stone have been found at the Chahai site (Liaoning) in the Xinglongwa culture (6200–5400 BCE or around 8,200 to 7,400 years ago). The presence of dragons within Chinese culture dates back several thousands of years with the discovery of a dragon statue dating back to the fifth millennium BC from the Yangshao culture in Henan in 1987, and jade badges of rank in coiled form have been excavated from the Hongshan culture c. 4700–2900 BCE or around 6,700 to 4,900 years ago. Some of the earliest Dragon artifacts are the pig dragon carvings from the Hongshan culture.ref

“The coiled dragon or snake form played an important role in early Chinese culture. The character for “dragon” in the earliest Chinese writing has a similar coiled form, as do later jade dragon amulets from the Shang period. Ancient Chinese referred to unearthed dinosaur bones as dragon bones and documented them as such. For example, Chang Qu in 300 BC documents the discovery of “dragon bones” in Sichuan. The modern Chinese term for dinosaur is written as 恐龍; 恐龙; kǒnglóng (‘terror dragon’), and villagers in central China have long unearthed fossilized “dragon bones” for use in traditional medicines, a practice that continues today. The binomial name for a variety of dinosaurs discovered in China, Mei long, means ‘sleeping dragon’. Fossilized remains of Mei long have been found in China in a sleeping and coiled form, with the dinosaur nestling its snout beneath one of its forelimbs while encircling its tail around its entire body.ref

“Chinese dragons are strongly associated with water and weather in popular religion. They are believed to be the rulers of moving bodies of water, such as waterfalls, rivers, or seas. The Dragon god is the dispenser of rain as well as the zoomorphic representation of yang, the masculine power of generation. In this capacity as the rulers of water and weather, the dragon is more anthropomorphic in form, often depicted as a humanoid, dressed in a king’s costume, but with a dragon head wearing a king’s headdress. There are four major Dragon Kings, representing each of the Four Seas: the East Sea (corresponding to the East China Sea), the South Sea (corresponding to the South China Sea), the West Sea (sometimes seen as the Qinghai Lake and beyond), and the North Sea (sometimes seen as Lake Baikal).” ref

“Because of this association, they are seen as “in charge” of water-related weather phenomena. In premodern times, many Chinese villages (especially those close to rivers and seas) had temples dedicated to their local “dragon king”. In times of drought or flooding, it was customary for the local gentry and government officials to lead the community in offering sacrifices and conducting other religious rites to appease the dragon, either to ask for rain or a cessation thereof. The King of Wuyue in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period was often known as the “Dragon King” or the “Sea Dragon King” because of his extensive hydro-engineering schemes which “tamed” the sea. In coastal regions of China, Korea, Vietnam, traditional legends and worshipping of whale gods as the guardians of people on the sea have been referred to Dragon Kings after the arrival of Buddhism.” ref


dragon is a magical legendary creature that appears in the folklore of multiple cultures worldwide. Beliefs about dragons vary considerably through regions, but dragons in Western cultures since the High Middle Ages have often been depicted as winged, horned, and capable of breathing fire. Dragons in eastern cultures are usually depicted as wingless, four-legged, serpentine creatures with above-average intelligence. Commonalities between dragons’ traits are often a hybridization of felinereptilianmammalian, and avian features. Some scholars believe large extinct or migrating crocodiles bear the closest resemblance, especially when encountered in forested or swampy areas, and are most likely the template of modern Asian dragon imagery.” ref

“The word dragon entered the English language in the early 13th century from Old French dragon, which, in turn, comes from the Latindraco (genitive draconis) meaning “huge serpent, dragon”, from Ancient Greek δράκωνdrákōn (genitive δράκοντοςdrákontos) “serpent”. The Greek and Latin term referred to any great serpent, not necessarily mythological. The Greek word δράκων is most likely derived from the Greek verb δέρκομαι (dérkomai) meaning “I see”, the aorist form of which is ἔδρακον (édrakon). This is thought to have referred to something with a “deadly glance”, or unusually bright or “sharp” eyes, or because a snake’s eyes appear to be always open; each eye actually sees through a big transparent scale in its eyelids, which are permanently shut. The Greek word probably derives from an Indo-European base *derḱ- meaning “to see”; the Sanskrit root दृश् (dr̥ś-) also means “to see.” ref

Draconic creatures appear in virtually all cultures around the globe and the earliest attested reports of draconic creatures resemble giant snakes. Draconic creatures are first described in the mythologies of the ancient Near East and appear in ancient Mesopotamian art and literature. Stories about storm-gods slaying giant serpents occur throughout nearly all Near Eastern and Indo-European mythologies. Famous prototypical draconic creatures include the mušḫuššu of ancient Mesopotamia; Apep in Egyptian mythology; Vṛtra in the Rigveda; the Leviathan in the Hebrew Bible; Grand’Goule in the Poitou region in France; Python, Ladon, Wyvern and the Lernaean Hydra in Greek mythology; Kulshedra in Albanian Mythology; Unhcegila in Lakota mythology; Jörmungandr, Níðhöggr, and Fafnir in Norse mythology; the dragon from Beowulf; and aži and az in ancient Persian mythology, closely related to another mythological figure, called Aži Dahaka or Zahhak. Nonetheless, scholars dispute where the idea of a dragon originates from and a wide variety of hypotheses have been proposed.ref

“In his book An Instinct for Dragons (2000), David E. Jones (anthropologist) suggests a hypothesis that humans, like monkeys, have inherited instinctive reactions to snakes, large cats, and birds of prey. He cites a study which found that approximately 39 people in a hundred are afraid of snakes and notes that fear of snakes is especially prominent in children, even in areas where snakes are rare. The earliest attested dragons all resemble snakes or have snakelike attributes. Jones therefore concludes that dragons appear in nearly all cultures because humans have an innate fear of snakes and other animals that were major predators of humans’ primate ancestors. Dragons are usually said to reside in “dark caves, deep pools, wild mountain reaches, sea bottoms, haunted forests”, all places which would have been fraught with danger for early human ancestors.ref

“In her book The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times (2000), Adrienne Mayor argues that some stories of dragons may have been inspired by ancient discoveries of fossils belonging to dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. She argues that the dragon lore of northern India may have been inspired by “observations of oversized, extraordinary bones in the fossil beds of the Siwalik Hills below the Himalayas and that ancient Greek artistic depictions of the Monster of Troy may have been influenced by fossils of Samotherium, an extinct species of giraffe whose fossils are common in the Mediterranean region. In China, a region where fossils of large prehistoric animals are common, these remains are frequently identified as “dragon bones” and are commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. Mayor, however, is careful to point out that not all stories of dragons and giants are inspired by fossils and notes that Scandinavia has many stories of dragons and sea monsters, but has long “been considered barren of large fossils.” In one of her later books, she states that, “Many dragon images around the world were based on folk knowledge or exaggerations of living reptiles, such as Komodo dragons, Gila monsters, iguanas, alligators, or, in California, alligator lizards, though this still fails to account for the Scandinavian legends, as no such animals (historical or otherwise) have ever been found in this region.ref

“Robert Blust in The Origin of Dragons (2000) argues that, like many other creations of traditional cultures, dragons are largely explicable as products of a convergence of rational pre-scientific speculation about the world of real events. In this case, the event is the natural mechanism governing rainfall and drought, with particular attention paid to the phenomenon of the rainbow.ref

The word “dragon” has come to be applied to the legendary creature in Chinese mythology, loong (traditional 龍, simplified 龙, Japanese simplified 竜, Pinyin lóng), which is associated with good fortune, and many East Asian deities and demigods have dragons as their personal mounts or companions. Dragons were also identified with the Emperor of China, who, during later Chinese imperial history, was the only one permitted to have dragons on his house, clothing, or personal articles. Archaeologist Zhōu Chong-Fa believes that the Chinese word for dragon is an onomatopoeia of the sound of thunder or lùhng in Cantonese.

“The Chinese dragon (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: lóng) is the highest-ranking creature in the Chinese animal hierarchy. Its origins are vague, but its “ancestors can be found on Neolithic pottery as well as Bronze Age ritual vessels.” A number of popular stories deal with the rearing of dragons. The Zuo zhuan, which was probably written during the Warring States period, describes a man named Dongfu, a descendant of Yangshu’an, who loved dragons and, because he could understand a dragon’s will, he was able to tame them and raise them well. He served Emperor Shun, who gave him the family name Huanlong, meaning “dragon-raiser”. In another story, Kong Jia, the fourteenth emperor of the Xia dynasty, was given a male and a female dragon as a reward for his obedience to the god of heaven, but could not train them, so he hired a dragon-trainer named Liulei, who had learned how to train dragons from Huanlong. One day, the female dragon died unexpectedly, so Liulei secretly chopped her up, cooked her meat, and served it to the king, who loved it so much that he demanded Liulei to serve him the same meal again. Since Liulei had no means of procuring more dragon meat, he fled the palace.” ref

“One of the most famous dragon stories is about the Lord Ye Gao, who loved dragons obsessively, even though he had never seen one. He decorated his whole house with dragon motifs and, seeing this display of admiration, a real dragon came and visited Ye Gao, but the lord was so terrified at the sight of the creature that he ran away. In Chinese legend, the culture hero Fu Hsi is said to have been crossing the Lo River, when he saw the lung ma, a Chinese horse-dragon with seven dots on its face, six on its back, eight on its left flank, and nine on its right flank. He was so moved by this apparition that, when he arrived home, he drew a picture of it, including the dots. He later used these dots as letters and invented Chinese writing, which he used to write his book I Ching. In another Chinese legend, the physician Ma Shih Huang is said to have healed a sick dragon. Another legend reports that a man once came to the healer Lo Chên-jen, telling him that he was a dragon and that he needed to be healed. After Lo Chên-jen healed the man, a dragon appeared to him and carried him to heaven.” ref

“In the Shanhaijing, a classic mythography probably compiled mostly during the Han dynasty, various deities and demigods are associated with dragons. One of the most famous Chinese dragons is Ying Long (“responding dragon”), who helped the Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor, defeat the tyrant Chiyou. The dragon Zhulong (“torch dragon”) is a god “who composed the universe with his body.”  In the Shanhaijing, many mythic heroes are said to have been conceived after their mothers copulated with divine dragons, including Huangdi, Shennong, Emperor Yao, and Emperor Shun. The god Zhurong and the emperor Qi are both described as being carried by two dragons,  as are Huangdi, Zhuanxu, Yuqiang, and Roshou in various other texts. According to the Huainanzi, an evil black dragon once caused a destructive deluge, which was ended by the mother goddess Nüwa by slaying the dragon.” ref

“From its origins as totems or the stylized depiction of natural creatures, the Chinese dragon evolved to become a mythical animal. The Han dynasty scholar Wang Fu recorded Chinese myths that long dragons had nine anatomical resemblances.

The people paint the dragon’s shape with a horse’s head and a snake’s tail. Further, there are expressions such as ‘three joints’ and ‘nine resemblances’ (of the dragon), to wit: from head to shoulder, from shoulder to breast, and from breast to tail. These are the joints; as to the nine resemblances, they are the following: his antlers resemble those of a stag, his head that of a camel, his eyes those of a demon, his neck that of a snake, his belly that of a clam (shen, ), his scales those of a carp, his claws those of an eagle, his soles those of a tiger, his ears those of a cow. Upon his head, he has a thing like a broad eminence (a big lump), called [chimu] (尺木). If a dragon has no [chimu], he cannot ascend to the sky.” ref

“Further sources give variant lists of the nine animal resemblances. Sinologist Henri Doré [fr] lists these characteristics of an authentic dragon: “The antlers of a deer. The head of a crocodile. A demon’s eyes. The neck of a snake. A tortoise’s viscera. A hawk’s claws. The palms of a tiger. A cow’s ears. And it hears through its horns, its ears being deprived of all power of hearing”. He notes that, “Others state it has a rabbit’s eyes, a frog’s belly, a carp’s scales”. Chinese dragons were considered to be physically concise. Of the 117 scales, 81 are of the yang essence (positive) while 36 are of the yin essence (negative). Initially, the dragon was benevolent, wise, and just, but the Buddhists introduced the concept of malevolent influence among some dragons. Just as water destroys, they said, so can some dragons destroy via floods, tidal waves, and storms. They suggested that some of the worst floods were believed to have been the result of a mortal upsetting a dragon.” ref

“Many pictures of Chinese dragons show a flaming pearl under their chin or in their claws. The pearl is associated with spiritual energy, wisdom, prosperity, power, immortality, thunder, or the moon. Chinese art often depicts a pair of dragons chasing or fighting over a flaming pearl. Chinese dragons are occasionally depicted with bat-like wings growing out of the front limbs, but most do not have wings, as their ability to fly (and control rain/water, etc.) is mystical and not seen as a result of their physical attributes. This description accords with the artistic depictions of the dragon down to the present day. The dragon has also acquired an almost unlimited range of supernatural powers. It is said to be able to disguise itself as a silkworm, or become as large as our entire universe. It can fly among the clouds or hide in water (according to the Guanzi). It can form clouds, turn into water, change color as an ability to blend in with their surroundings, and be an effective form of camouflage or glow in the dark (according to the Shuowen Jiezi).” ref

A large number of ethnic myths about dragons are told throughout China. The Houhanshu, compiled in the fifth century BCE by Fan Ye, reports a story belonging to the Ailaoyi people, which holds that a woman named Shayi who lived in the region around Mount Lao became pregnant with ten sons after being touched by a tree trunk floating in the water while fishing. She gave birth to the sons and the tree trunk turned into a dragon, who asked to see his sons. The woman showed them to him, but all of them ran away except for the youngest, who the dragon licked on the back and named Jiu Long, meaning “sitting back”. The sons later elected him king and the descendants of the ten sons became the Ailaoyi people, who tattooed dragons on their backs in honor of their ancestor.” ref

“The Miao people of southwest China have a story that a divine dragon created the first humans by breathing on monkeys that came to play in his cave. The Han people have many stories about Short-Tailed Old Li, a black dragon who was born to a poor family in Shandong. When his mother saw him for the first time, she fainted and, when his father came home from the field and saw him, he hit him with a spade and cut off part of his tail. Li burst through the ceiling and flew away to the Black Dragon River in northeast China, where he became the god of that river. On the anniversary of his mother’s death on the Chinese lunar calendar, Old Li returns home, causing it to rain. He is still worshipped as a rain god.” ref

According to an art historian John Boardman, depictions of Chinese Dragon and Indian Makara might have been influenced by Cetus in Greek mythology possibly after contact with silk-road images of the Kētos as Chinese dragon appeared more reptilian and shifted head-shape afterwards. In many other countries, folktales speak of the dragon having all the attributes of the other 11 creatures of the zodiac, this includes the whiskers of the Rat, the face and horns of the Ox, the claws and teeth of the Tiger, the belly of the Rabbit, the body of the Snake, the legs of the Horse, the goatee of the Goat, the wit of the Monkey, the crest of the Rooster, the ears of the Dog, and the snout of the Pig.” ref, ref

“In Egyptian mythology, Apep or Apophis is a giant serpentine creature who resides in the Duat, the Egyptian Underworld. The Bremner-Rhind papyrus, written around 310 BCE or around 2,310 years ago, preserves an account of a much older Egyptian tradition that the setting of the sun is caused by Ra descending to the Duat to battle Apep. In some accounts, Apep is as long as the height of eight men with a head made of flint. Thunderstorms and earthquakes were thought to be caused by Apep’s roar and solar eclipses were thought to be the result of Apep attacking Ra during the daytime. In some myths, Apep is slain by the god Set. Nehebkau is another giant serpent who guards the Duat and aided Ra in his battle against Apep. Nehebkau was so massive in some stories that the entire earth was believed to rest atop his coils. Denwen is a giant serpent mentioned in the Pyramid Texts whose body was made of fire and who ignited a conflagration that nearly destroyed all the gods of the Egyptian pantheon. He was ultimately defeated by the Pharaoh, a victory which affirmed the Pharaoh’s divine right to rule.ref

“The ouroboros was a well-known Egyptian symbol of a serpent swallowing its own tail. The precursor to the ouroboros was the “Many-Faced”, a serpent with five heads, who, according to the Amduat, the oldest surviving Book of the Afterlife, was said to coil around the corpse of the sun god Ra protectively. The earliest surviving depiction of a “true” ouroboros comes from the gilded shrines in the tomb of Tutankhamun. In the early centuries CE, the ouroboros was adopted as a symbol by Gnostic Christians, and chapter 136 of the Pistis Sophia, an early Gnostic text, describes “a great dragon whose tail is in its mouth”. In medieval alchemy, the ouroboros became a typical Western dragon with wings, legs, and a tail. A famous image of the dragon gnawing on its tail from the eleventh-century Codex Marcianus was copied in numerous works on alchemy.ref

“Ancient people across the Near East believed in creatures similar to what modern people call “dragons”. These ancient people were unaware of the existence of dinosaurs or similar creatures in the distant past. References to dragons of both benevolent and malevolent characters occur throughout ancient Mesopotamian literature. In Sumerian poetry, great kings are often compared to the ušumgal, a gigantic, serpentine monster. A draconic creature with the foreparts of a lion and the hind-legs, tail, and wings of a bird appears in Mesopotamian artwork from the Akkadian Period (c. 2334 – 2154 BCE or around 4,334 to 4,154 years ago) until the Neo-Babylonian Period (626–539 BCE or 2,626 to 2,539 years ago). The dragon is usually shown with its mouth open. It may have been known as the (ūmu) nā’iru, which means “roaring weather beast”, and may have been associated with the god Ishkur (Hadad). A slightly different lion-dragon with two horns and the tail of a scorpion appears in art from the Neo-Assyrian Period (911–609 BCE). A relief probably commissioned by Sennacherib shows the gods Ashur, Sin, and Adad standing on its back.ref

“Another draconic creature with horns, the body and neck of a snake, the forelegs of a lion, and the hind-legs of a bird appears in Mesopotamian art from the Akkadian Period until the Hellenistic Period (323–31 BCE or around 2,323 to 2031 years ago). This creature, known in Akkadian as the mušḫuššu, meaning “furious serpent”, was used as a symbol for particular deities and also as a general protective emblem.  It seems to have originally been the attendant of the Underworld god Ninazu, but later became the attendant to the Hurrian storm-god Tishpak, as well as, later, Ninazu’s son Ningishzida, the Babylonian national god Marduk, the scribal god Nabu, and the Assyrian national god Ashur.ref 

“Scholars disagree regarding the appearance of Tiamat, the Babylonian goddess personifying primeval chaos, slain by Marduk in the Babylonian creation epic Enûma Eliš. She was traditionally regarded by scholars as having had the form of a giant serpent, but several scholars have pointed out that this shape “cannot be imputed to Tiamat with certainty” and she seems to have at least sometimes been regarded as anthropomorphic. Nonetheless, in some texts, she seems to be described with horns, a tail, and a hide that no weapon can penetrate, all features which suggest she was conceived as some form of dragoness.ref

“In the Ugaritic Baal Cycle, the sea-dragon Lōtanu is described as “the twisting serpent / the powerful one with seven heads.” In KTU 1.5 I 2–3, Lōtanu is slain by the storm-god Baal, but, in KTU 1.3 III 41–42, he is instead slain by the virgin warrior goddess Anat.  In the Book of PsalmsPsalm 74, Psalm 74:13–14, the sea-dragon Leviathan, is slain by Yahweh, god of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, as part of the creation of the world. In Isaiah 27:1, Yahweh’s destruction of Leviathan is foretold as part of his impending overhaul of the universal order: “On that day The LORD shall punish with his sharp, great, and strong sword, Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent; He will slay the dragon that is in the sea.” —Isaiah 27:1ref

Jesus is somewhat related to the “Canaanite” god Baal and Father God is god El. Israel = Isra-“El” Baal is the son of El. “The title baʿal was a synonym in some contexts of the Hebrew adon (“Lord”) and adonai (“My Lord”) still used as aliases of the Lord of Israel Yahweh.” ref

“The Jewish Study Bible of Oxford University Press says on page 68 “The scientific etymology of Israel is uncertain, a good guess being ‘[The God] El rules.'” implying God through the word for the supreme deity of the Canaanite religion.” ref

“Specific deities known as ‘El, ‘Al, or ‘Il include the supreme god of the ancient Canaanite religion and the supreme god of East Semitic speakers in the Early Dynastic Period of Mesopotamia. Although ʼĒl gained different appearances and meanings in different languages over time, it continues to exist as -il or -el in compound noun phrases such as Ishmael, Israel, Daniel, Raphael, Michael, and Gabriel.” ref

“Job 41:1–34 contains a detailed description of the Leviathan, who is described as being so powerful that only Yahweh can overcome it. Job 41:19–21 states that the Leviathan exhales fire and smoke, making its identification as a mythical dragon clearly apparent. In some parts of the Old Testament, the Leviathan is historicized as a symbol for the nations that stand against Yahweh. Rahab, a synonym for “Leviathan”, is used in several Biblical passages in reference to Egypt. Isaiah 30:7 declares: “For Egypt’s help is worthless and empty, therefore I have called her ‘the silenced Rahab‘.” Similarly, Psalm 87:3 reads: “I reckon Rahab and Babylon as those that know me…” In Ezekiel 29:3–5 and Ezekiel 32:2–8, the pharaoh of Egypt is described as a “dragon” (tannîn). In the story of Bel and the Dragon from the Book of Daniel, the prophet Daniel sees a dragon being worshipped by the Babylonians. Daniel makes “cakes of pitch, fat, and hair”; the dragon eats them and bursts open.ref

Azhi Dahaka (Avestan Great Snake) is a dragon or demonic figure in the texts and mythology of Zoroastrian Persia, where he is one of the subordinates of Angra Mainyu. Alternate names include Azi Dahak, Dahaka, and Dahak. Aži (nominative ažiš) is the Avestan word for “serpent” or “dragon. The Avestan term Aži Dahāka and the Middle Persian azdahāg are the sources of the Middle Persian Manichaean demon of greed “Az”, Old Armenian mythological figure Aždahak, Modern Persian ‘aždehâ/aždahâ’, Tajik Persian ‘azhdahâ’, Urdu ‘azhdahā’ (اژدها), as well as the Kurdish ejdîha (ئەژدیها). The name also migrated to Eastern Europe, assumed the form “azhdaja” and the meaning “dragon”, “dragoness” or “water snake” in the Balkanic and Slavic languages. Despite the negative aspect of Aži Dahāka in mythology, dragons have been used on some banners of war throughout the history of Iranian peoples. The Azhdarchid group of pterosaurs are named from a Persian word for “dragon” that ultimately comes from Aži Dahāka.” ref

“Aži Dahāka is the most significant and long-lasting of the ažis of the Avesta, the earliest religious texts of Zoroastrianism. He is described as a monster with three mouths, six eyes, and three heads, and as being cunning, strong, and demonic. In other respects, Aži Dahāka has human qualities, and is never a mere animal. In a post-Avestan Zoroastrian text, the Dēnkard, Aži Dahāka is possessed of all possible sins and evil counsels, the opposite of the good king Jam (or Jamshid). The name Dahāg (Dahāka) is punningly interpreted as meaning “having ten (dah) sins”. In Persian Sufi literature, Rumi writes in his Masnavi that the dragon symbolizes the sensual soul (nafs), greed and lust, that need to be mortified in a spiritual battle.ref

“In Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, the Iranian hero Rostam must slay an 80-meter-long dragon (which renders itself invisible to human sight) with the aid of his legendary horse, Rakhsh. As Rostam is sleeping, the dragon approaches; Rakhsh attempts to wake Rostam, but fails to alert him to the danger until Rostam sees the dragon. Rakhsh bites the dragon, while Rostam decapitates it. This is the third trial of Rostam’s Seven LaborsRostam is also credited with the slaughter of other dragons in the Shahnameh and in other Iranian oral traditions, notably in the myth of Babr-e-Bayan. In this tale, Rostam is still an adolescent and kills a dragon in the “Orient” (either India or China, depending on the source) by forcing it to swallow either ox hides filled with quicklime and stones or poisoned blades. The dragon swallows these foreign objects and its stomach bursts, after which Rostam flays the dragon and fashions a coat from its hide called the babr-e bayān. In some variants of the story, Rostam then remains unconscious for two days and nights, but is guarded by his steed Rakhsh. On reviving, he washes himself in a spring. In the Mandean tradition of the story, Rostam hides in a box, is swallowed by the dragon, and kills it from inside its belly. The king of China then gives Rostam his daughter in marriage as a reward.ref

Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is a rift lake in Russia. It is situated in southern Siberia, between the federal subjects of Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Republic of Buryatia to the southeast. At 31,722 km2 (12,248 sq mi)—slightly larger than Belgium—Lake Baikal is the world’s seventh-largest lake by surface area, as well as the second largest lake in Eurasia after the Caspian Sea. However, because it is also the deepest lake, with a maximum depth of 1,642 metres (5,387 feet; 898 fathoms), Lake Baikal is the world’s largest freshwater lake by volume, containing 23,615.39 km3 (5,670 cu mi) of water or 22–23% of the world’s fresh surface water, more than all of the North American Great Lakes combined. It is also the world’s oldest lake at 25–30 million years, and among the clearest.” ref

“Lake Baikal is home to thousands of species of plants and animals, many of them endemic to the region. It is also home to Buryat tribes, who raise goats, camels, cattle, sheep, and horses on the eastern side of the lake, where the mean temperature varies from a winter minimum of −19 °C (−2 °F) to a summer maximum of 14 °C (57 °F). The region to the east of Lake Baikal is referred to as Transbaikalia or as the Transbaikal, and the loosely defined region around the lake itself is sometimes known as Baikalia. UNESCO declared Baikal a World Heritage Site in 1996.” ref

The lake is surrounded by mountains; the Baikal Mountains on the north shore, the Barguzin Range on the northeastern shore, and the Primorsky Range stretching along the western shore. The mountains and the taiga are protected as a national park. It contains 27 islands; the largest, Olkhon, is 72 km (45 mi) long and is the third-largest lake-bound island in the world. The lake is fed by as many as 330 inflowing rivers. The main ones draining directly into Baikal are the Selenga, the Barguzin, the Upper Angara, the Turka, the Sarma, and the Snezhnaya. It is drained through a single outlet, the Angara.” ref

Baikal is one of the clearest lakes in the world. During the winter, the water transparency in open sections can be as much as 30–40 m (100–130 ft), but during the summer it is typically 5–8 m (15–25 ft). Baikal is rich in oxygen, even in deep sections, which separates it from distinctly stratified bodies of water such as Lake Tanganyika and the Black SeaIn Lake Baikal, the water temperature varies significantly depending on location, depth, and time of the year. During the winter and spring, the surface freezes for about 4–5 months; from early January to early May–June (latest in the north), the lake surface is covered in ice. On average, the ice reaches a thickness of 0.5 to 1.4 m (1.6–4.6 ft), but in some places with hummocks, it can be more than 2 m (6.6 ft).” ref

Lake Baikal is rich in biodiversity. It hosts more than 1,000 species of plants and 2,500 species of animals based on current knowledge, but the actual figures for both groups are believed to be significantly higher. More than 80% of the animals are endemicThe Baikal seal or nerpa (Pusa sibirica) is endemic to Lake Baikal. A wide range of land mammals can be found in the habitats around the lake, such as the brown bear (Ursus arctos), Eurasian wolf (Canis lupus lupus), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), sable (Martes zibellina), stoat (Mustela erminea), Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), leopard (Panthera pardus), tiger (Panthera tigris), snow leopard (Panthera uncia), moose (Alces alces), elk (Cervus canadensis), reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), Siberian roe deer (Capreolus pygargus), Siberian musk deer ((Moschus moschiferus), wild boar (Sus scrofa), red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), Siberian chipmunk (Eutamias sibiricus), marmots (Marmota sp.), lemmings (Lemmus sp.), and mountain hare (Lepus timidus). Until the Early Middle Ages, populations of the European bison (Bison bonasus) were found near the lake; this represented the easternmost range of the species.” ref

There are 236 species of birds that inhabit Lake Baikal, 29 of which are waterfowl. Although named after the lake, both the Baikal teal and Baikal bush warbler are widespread in eastern Asia. Fewer than 65 native fish species occur in the lake basin, but more than half of these are endemic. The lake hosts a rich endemic fauna of invertebrates. The copepod Epischura baikalensis is endemic to Lake Baikal and the dominating zooplankton species there, making up 80 to 90% of the total biomass. It is estimated that they filter as much as a thousand cubic kilometers of water a year, or the lake’s entire volume every twenty-three years. Among the most diverse invertebrate groups are the amphipod and ostracod crustaceans, freshwater snails, annelid worms, and turbellarian worms. More than 350 species and subspecies of amphipods are endemic to the lake. As of 2006, almost 150 freshwater snails are known from Lake Baikal, including 117 endemic species from the subfamilies Baicaliinae (part of the Amnicolidae) and Benedictiinae (part of the Lithoglyphidae), and the families Planorbidae and Valvatidae.ref

Lake Baikal History

The Baikal area, sometimes known as Baikalia, has a long history of human habitation. Near the village of Mal’ta, some 160 km northwest of the lake, remains of a young human male known as MA-1 or “Mal’ta Boy” are indications of local habitation by the Mal’ta–Buret’ culture ca. 24,000 years ago. An early known tribe in the area was the KurykansLocated in the former northern territory of the Xiongnu confederation, Lake Baikal is one site of the Han–Xiongnu War, where the armies of the Han dynasty pursued and defeated the Xiongnu forces from the second century BCE to the first century CE. They recorded that the lake was a “huge sea” (hanhai) and designated it the North Sea (Běihǎi) of the semimythical Four Seas. The Kurykans, a Siberian tribe who inhabited the area in the sixth century, gave it a name that translates to “much water”. Later on, it was called “natural lake” (Baygal nuur) by the Buryats and “rich lake” (Bay göl) by the Yakuts. Little was known to Europeans about the lake until Russia expanded into the area in the 17th century. The first Russian explorer to reach Lake Baikal was Kurbat Ivanov in 1643.” ref

“Lake Baikal was under Anbei Protectorate of Tang Dynasty from 647 CE to 682 CE. Russian expansion into the Buryat area around Lake Baikal in 1628–58 was part of the Russian conquest of Siberia. It was done first by following the Angara River upstream from Yeniseysk (founded 1619) and later by moving south from the Lena River. Russians first heard of the Buryats in 1609 at Tomsk. According to folktales related a century after the fact, in 1623, Demid Pyanda, who may have been the first Russian to reach the Lena, crossed from the upper Lena to the Angara and arrived at Yeniseysk.” ref

“Vikhor Savin (1624) and Maksim Perfilyev (1626 and 1627–28) explored Tungus country on the lower Angara. To the west, Krasnoyarsk on the upper Yenisei was founded in 1627. A number of ill-documented expeditions explored eastward from Krasnoyarsk. In 1628, Pyotr Beketov first encountered a group of Buryats and collected yasak (tribute) from them at the future site of Bratsk. In 1629, Yakov Khripunov set off from Tomsk to find a rumored silver mine. His men soon began plundering both Russians and natives. They were joined by another band of rioters from Krasnoyarsk, but left the Buryat country when they ran short of food. This made it difficult for other Russians to enter the area. In 1631, Maksim Perfilyev built an ostrog at Bratsk. The pacification was moderately successful, but in 1634, Bratsk was destroyed and its garrison killed. In 1635, Bratsk was restored by a punitive expedition under Radukovskii. In 1638, it was besieged unsuccessfully.” ref

“In 1638, Perfilyev crossed from the Angara over the Ilim portage to the Lena River and went downstream as far as Olyokminsk. Returning, he sailed up the Vitim River into the area east of Lake Baikal (1640) where he heard reports of the Amur country. In 1641, Verkholensk was founded on the upper Lena. In 1643, Kurbat Ivanov went further up the Lena and became the first Russian to see Lake Baikal and Olkhon Island. Half his party under Skorokhodov remained on the lake, reached the Upper Angara at its northern tip, and wintered on the Barguzin River on the northeast side.” ref

“In 1644, Ivan Pokhabov went up the Angara to Baikal, becoming perhaps the first Russian to use this route, which is difficult because of the rapids. He crossed the lake and explored the lower Selenge River. About 1647, he repeated the trip, obtained guides, and visited a ‘Tsetsen Khan’ near Ulan Bator. In 1648, Ivan Galkin built an ostrog on the Barguzin River which became a center for eastward expansion. In 1652, Vasily Kolesnikov reported from Barguzin that one could reach the Amur country by following the Selenga, Uda, and Khilok Rivers to the future sites of Chita and Nerchinsk.” ref

“The Trans-Siberian Railway was built between 1896 and 1902. Construction of the scenic railway around the southwestern end of Lake Baikal required 200 bridges and 33 tunnels. Until its completion, a train ferry transported railcars across the lake from Port Baikal to Mysovaya for a number of years. The lake became the site of the minor engagement between the Czechoslovak legion and the Red Army in 1918. At times during winter freezes, the lake could be crossed on foot, though at risk of frostbite and deadly hypothermia from the cold wind moving unobstructed across flat expanses of ice. In the winter of 1920, the Great Siberian Ice March occurred, when the retreating White Russian Army crossed frozen Lake Baikal. The wind on the exposed lake was so cold, many people died, freezing in place until spring thaw. Beginning in 1956, the impounding of the Irkutsk Dam on the Angara River raised the level of the lake by 1.4 m (4.6 ft). As the railway was built, a large hydrogeographical expedition headed by F.K. Drizhenko produced the first detailed contour map of the lake bed.” ref

Olkhon Island

Olkhon (Russian: Ольхо́н, also transliterated as OlchonBuryatОйхонOikhon) is the third-largest lake island in the world. It is by far the largest island in Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia, with an area of 730 km2 (280 sq mi). Structurally, it constitutes the southwestern margin of the Academician Ridge. The island measures 71.5 km (44.4 mi) in length and 20.8 km (12.9 mi) in width. There are two versions regarding the origin of the name of the island and both are derived from the language of the Buryats, the indigenous people of Olkhon. The first is that the island’s name comes from the word oyhon – “woody”, and the second is that it comes from olhan – “dry”. It is still debated which of the two is the actual origin of the name Olkhon as both words describe the island perfectly. Much of the island is still covered by forests and the amount of precipitation is extremely low – about 240 mm (9.4 in) per year.” ref

Olkhon has a dramatic combination of terrain and is rich in archaeological landmarks. Steep mountains line its eastern shore, and at 1,276 m (4,186 ft) above sea level, Mount Zhima is the highest point on the island, peaking at 818 m (2,684 ft) above the water level of Lake Baikal. The island is large enough to have its own lakes, and features a combination of taiga, steppe and even a small desert. A deep strait separates the island from the land. The island’s appearance is a result of millions of years of tectonic movement resulting in the hollowing of the channel between the land (Maloe More Sound and Olkhon Gate Strait) and the block of stone forming the island. The steep slopes of the mountains show the vertical heave of the earth.ref

The population of the island is around 1,744 and consists mostly of Buryats, the island’s aboriginal people. Shamanka is a rock, on Olkhon Island, Lake Baikal, Russia. It is in Pribaikalsky National Park, and is near Khuzhir, the largest city on Olkhon Island. The rock connects to Olkhon Island, though depending on perspective, can appear an island. The rock is considered one of the “Nine Holy Sites of Asia”. The indigenous Buryats, adherents of shamanism, believe the island to be a spiritual place; one of the groups of deities revered in Buryati yellow shamanism is called the oikony noyod, the “thirteen lords of Olkhon”. On the western coast, close to Khuzhir, is Baikal’s most famous landmark, the Shamanka, or Shaman’s Rock. Natives believe that Burkhan, a modern religious cult figure of the Altai peoples, lives in the cave in this rock. Olkhon is considered a centre of Kurumchinskay culture of the 6th–10th centuries. The museum at Olkhon, named after Revyakin, has exhibits on the nature and ethnography of the island, including pipe-smoking and a samovar collection. The island has a long history of human habitation. The original Indigenous peoples were the Buryats and the Yakuts. Russian explorers first visited during the 17th century.ref

“Three Brothers Rock, or Sagaan-Khushun Cape, is one of Baikal’s natural monuments and another popular tourist sightseeing spot. It is easily recognized as three big rocks standing in a row overlooking Lake Baikal. According to an old Buryatian legend, there once lived three brothers on Olkhon Island whose father had supernatural powers. Once, their father turned them into eagles but only on the condition that they would not eat dead meat. The brothers were extremely happy with their newly gained freedom as eagles and decided to fly around the island after promising not to eat dead meat. However, when they were flying around the island, they became hungry and found a dead animal. Despite their promises to their father, they ate this dead animal. When their father learned about it, he was furious and turned them into the three rocks that we see today.ref

Khoboy Cape is the most northern point of Olkhon island. The name comes from an old Buryat word meaning “fang” because of its shape, a vertically oriented marble rock, appearing much like a fang.ref

The Cape of Khargoy is famous for its remains of an ancient Kurykan’s stone wall. The wall is probably one of the best preserved ancient structures of the island and is composed of large stones without the use of any binding materials. The wall is about 185 m (607 ft) in length, and in some parts, its height can be as tall as 1.5–2 m (4.9–6.6 ft). The Kurykan Wall at Cape Khorgoy was first discovered and described in 1879 by geologist Jan Czerski.” ref

Shaman Rock

Shaman Rock, Cape Burhan, or Shamanka is a rock, on Olkhon Island, Lake Baikal, Russia. It is in Pribaikalsky National Park, and is near Khuzhir, the largest city on Olkhon Island. The rock connects to Olkhon Island, though depending on perspective, can appear an island. The rock is considered one of the “Nine Holy Sites of Asia”. The height of the part of the rock closest to the shore is 30 metres (98 ft), and the height of the far part is 42 metres (138 ft). In the near-bank part of the rock is the Shaman Cave, which formed via weathering and erosion. The length of the cave is about 12 metres (39 ft), and the width is from 3 metres (9.8 ft) to 4.5 metres (15 ft). The height of the cave is from 1 metre (3.3 ft) to 6.5 metres (21 ft). On the western side of the surface of the back of the rock there is a natural brown rock formation resembling a dragon.” ref

Serge (post)

serge (Buryatсэргэlit.tethering post’) is a hitching post, property marker, and ritual pole used among the Buryats and Yakuts. The serge is placed to indicate that the place in question has an owner. For example, a serge stands as a pole at the entrance to a yurt or at the gate of a house to indicate that as long as the serge is there, the family will live there. Traditionally, a serge cannot be destroyed, but can only decay. The serge is connected to the horse cult, as both the hosts and the guests tied their horses to it. It is also a symbol of the world tree that unites the three worlds: Three horizontal grooves are cut on the pole, the upper one intended to bind the horses of the heavenly inhabitants of the upper world, the middle one intended for the horses of men, and the lower one for the horses of the underworld.” ref

“Three serges made from birch trees (generally dug up by the roots) were used at the initiation of the shaman. One has ribbons tied to it, the colors of the ribbons indicating whether the shaman is to be a black or yellow shaman, or serve both good and evil. Another has a bell attached to it and a horse, as a sacrifice. A third is to be climbed by the new shaman. For black shamans, this rite is called shanar; for yellow shamans, shandroo (or altan serge, “golden hitch”). At the cemeteries of the shamans very high serges were placed for the unification of gods and spirits. Serges in the form of stone obelisks were also placed on these cemeteries (deer stones). The most famous of these stones is the Altan Serge (“golden pole”) located in the Tamchinsky datsan, in the Buryat village Gusinoye Ozero.” ref


The Buryats are a Mongolic ethnic group native to southeastern Siberia who speak the Buryat language. They are one of the two largest indigenous groups in Siberia, the other being the Yakuts. The majority of the Buryats today live in their titular homeland, the Republic of Buryatia, a federal subject of Russia which sprawls along the southern coast and partially straddles Lake Baikal. Smaller groups of Buryats also inhabit Ust-Orda Buryat Okrug (Irkutsk Oblast) and the Agin-Buryat Okrug (Zabaykalsky Krai) which are to the west and east of Buryatia respectively as well as northeastern Mongolia and Inner Mongolia, China. They traditionally formed the major northern subgroup of the Mongols. Buryats share many customs with other Mongols, including nomadic herding, and erecting gers for shelter. Today the majority of Buryats live in and around Ulan-Ude, the capital of the Buryat Republic, although many still follow a more traditional lifestyle in the countryside. They speak a central Mongolic language called Buryat.” ref

“It is most likely that the ancestors of modern Buryats are Bayyrku and Kurykans who were part of the tribal union of the Tiele. The Tiele, in turn, came from the Dingling. The first information about Dingling appeared in sources from the 2nd century BCE. The name “Buriyad” is mentioned as one of the forest people for the first time in The Secret History of the Mongols (possibly 1240). It says Jochi, the eldest son of Genghis Khan, marched north to subjugate the Buryats in 1207. the Buryats lived along the Angara River and its tributaries at this time. Meanwhile, their component, Barga, appeared both west of Baikal and in northern Buryatia’s Barguzin valley. Linked also to the Bargas were the Khori-Tumed along the Arig River in eastern Khövsgöl Province and the Angara. A Tumad rebellion broke out in 1217, when Genghis Khan allowed his viceroy to seize 30 Tumad maidens. Genghis Khan’s commander Dorbei the Fierce of the Dörbeds smashed them in response. The Buryats joined the Oirats challenging the imperial rule of the Eastern Mongols during the Northern Yuan period in the late 14th century.” ref

“Historically, the territories around Lake Baikal belonged to Mongolia, Buryats were subject to Tüsheet Khan and Setsen Khan of Khalkha Mongolia. When the Russians expanded into Transbaikalia (eastern Siberia) in 1609, the Cossacks found only a small core of tribal groups speaking a Mongol dialect called Buryat and paying tribute to the Khalkha. However, they were powerful enough to compel the Ket and Samoyed peoples on the Kan and the Evenks on the lower Angara to pay tribute. The ancestors of most modern Buryats were speaking a variety of TurkicTungusic dialects at that time. In addition to genuine Buryat-Mongol tribes (Bulagad, Khori, Ekhired, Khongoodor) that merged with the Buryats, the Buryats also assimilated other groups, including some Oirats, the Khalkha, Tungus (Evenks) and others. The Khori-Barga had migrated out of the Barguzin eastward to the lands between the Greater Khingan and the Argun. Around 1594, most of them fled back to the Aga and Nerchinsk in order to escape subjection by the Daurs.” ref

“The Russians reached Lake Baikal in 1643 but the Buryats resisted them and their forces. The Buryats were defeated, though they attempted to revolt a few times. These revolts were suppressed. The territory and people were formally annexed to the Russian state by treaties in 1689 and 1727, when the territories on both the sides of Lake Baikal were separated from Mongolia. Consolidation of modern Buryat tribes and groups took place under the conditions of the Russian state. From the middle of the 17th century to the beginning of the 20th century, the Buryat population increased from 77,000 (27,700–60,000) to 300,000. Another estimate of the rapid growth in people referring to themselves as Buryat is based on the clan list names paying tribute in the form of a sable-skin tax. This indicates a population of about 77,000 in 1640 rising to 157,000 in 1823 and more than a million by 1950.” ref

“The historical roots of the Buryat culture are related to the Mongolic peoples. After Buryatia was incorporated into Russia, it was exposed to two traditions – Buddhism and Orthodox Christianity. Buryats west of Lake Baikal and Olkhon (Irkut Buryats), are more “Russified“, and they soon abandoned nomadism for agriculture, whereas the eastern (Transbaikal) Buryats are closer to the Khalkha, may live in yurts and are mostly Buddhists. In 1741, the Tibetan branch of Buddhism was recognized as one of the official religions in Russia, and the first Buryat datsan (Buddhist monastery) was built.” ref

“The second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century was a time of growth for the Buryat Buddhist religion (48 datsans in Buryatia in 1914). Buddhism became an important factor in the cultural development of Buryatia. Because of their skills in horsemanship and mounted combat, many were enlisted into the Amur Cossacks host. During the Russian Civil War most of the Buryats sided with the White forces of Baron Ungern-Sternberg and Ataman Semenov. They formed a sizable portion of Ungern’s forces and often received favorable treatment when compared with other ethnic groups in the Baron’s army. After the Revolution, most of the lamas were loyal to Soviet power. In 1925, a battle against religion and clergy in Buryatia began. Datsans were gradually closed down and the activity of the clergy was curtailed. Consequently, in the late 1930s the Buddhist clergy ceased to exist and thousands of cultural treasures were destroyed. Attempts to revive Buddhism started during World War II, and it was officially re-established in 1946. A revival of Buddhism has taken place since the late 1980s as an important factor in the national consolidation.” ref

“In the 1930s, Buryat-Mongolia was one of the sites of Soviet studies aimed to disprove Nazi race theories. Among other things, Soviet physicians studied the “endurance and fatigue levels” of Russian, Buryat-Mongol, and Russian-Buryat-Mongol workers to prove that all three groups were equally able. In 1923, the Buryat-Mongol Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was formed and included Baikal province (Pribaykalskaya guberniya) with Russian population. The Buryats rebelled against the communist rule and collectivization of their herds in 1929. The rebellion was quickly crushed by the Red Army with loss of 35,000 Buryats. The Buryat refugees fled to Mongolia and resettled, however, only a few of them joined the Shambala rebellion there. In 1937, in an effort to disperse Buryats, Stalin’s government separated a number of counties (raions) from the Buryat-Mongol Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and formed Ust-Orda Buryat Autonomous Okrug and Agin-Buryat Autonomous Okrug; at the same time, some raions with Buryat populations were left out. Fearing Buryat nationalism, Joseph Stalin had more than 10,000 Buryats killed. Moreover, Stalinist purge of Buryats spread into Mongolia, known as the incident of L’humbee.” ref

“In 1958, the name “Mongol” was removed from the name of the republic (Buryat ASSR). Also around 1958, the Mongolian script was banned and replaced by Cyrillic. BASSR declared its sovereignty in 1990 and adopted the name Republic of Buryatia in 1992. The constitution of the Republic was adopted by the People’s Khural in 1994, and a bilateral treaty with the Russian Federation was signed in 1995. In the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine since 2022, the Buryats have been reported as one of Russia’s ethnic minority groups suffering from a disproportionally large casualty rate among Russian forces, reinforcing the processes of assimilation and Russification. Ethnic Buryats often enlist in the army because of financial reasons.” ref

“The Buryat national tradition is ecological by origin in that the religious and mythological ideas of the Buryat people have been based on a theology of nature. The environment has traditionally been deeply respected by Buryats due to the nomadic way of life and religious culture. The harsh climatic conditions of the region have in turn created a fragile balance between humans, society and the environment itself. This has led to a delicate approach to nature, oriented not towards its conquest but rather towards a harmonious interaction and equal partnership with it. A synthesis of Buddhism and traditional beliefs that formed a system of ecological traditions has thus constituted a major attribute of Buryat eco-culture. Prior to the arrival of the Russians, Buryats lived in semi-nomadic groups scattered across the steppes. Kinship was immensely important in Buryat society, both in spiritual and social terms. All Buryats traced their lineage to a single mythical individual, with the particular ancestor varying based upon geographical region. Kinship also determined proximity, as neighbours were nearly always related. Groups of relatives that inhabited the same grazing land organized themselves into clans based on genealogy. While coalitions between clans did occur, they were infrequent and often relied on looser interpretations of kinship and relations.” ref

“Marriage was arranged by the family, at times occurring as early as one to two years old. A unique aspect of traditional Buryat marriage was the kalym, an exchange that combined both bride wealth and a dowry. Kalym involved a husband exchanging an agreed number of head of cattle for his bride, while the bride’s family would provide dowry in the form of a yurt and other essential household goods. If a husband did not have enough cattle, a period of bride service would be arranged. Polygamy was permitted, however only men of extreme wealth could afford the price of multiple wives. Marriage ceremonies involved rituals such as the bride stoking the fire in the grooms tent with three pieces of fat, and sprinkling fat upon the clothing of the groom’s father. The arrival of the Russians saw drastic changes to the way kalym system worked. Money became a significant part of the exchange. Over time, the price of a bride significantly increased to the point where “in the 1890s, bride price involved ‘400 to 600 rubles’ in addition to 86–107 head of livestock, when 70 years earlier only the wealthiest Western Buryats gave 100 heads (of cattle).” As the situation worsened, many men engaged in multi-year work contracts with wealthy herd-owners under the promise their employer would aid them in gaining a wife. Later on, the kalym system fell out of favour, and was replaced by marriages arrangements based upon courtship and romantic feelings.” ref

“Religion today in the Republic of Buryatia is primarily divided between Russian Orthodoxy, Buddhism, and irreligious. Shamanism has undergone a revival in rural areas since Soviet repression, however it is still small. Those involved practise either Yellow shamanismBlack shamanism, or a mixture of the two. Similarly, Buddhism has seen a revival among the Buryats. Construction of monasteries, training of monks, and the increasing piety of the Buryats has seen growth. Buryats traditionally practised shamanism, also called Tengrism, with a focus on worship of nature. A core concept of Buryat shamanism is the “triple division” of the physical and spiritual world.  There are three divisions within the spirit world: the tengeri, the bōxoldoy, and lower spirits.  These spirits are the supreme rulers of mankind, the spirits of commoners, and the spirits of slaves respectively. In parallel to this is the concept that man is divided into three parts: the body (beye), the “breath and life” of a man, and the soul. The soul is further divided into three parts: first, second, and third. The first soul is contained within the entirety of the physical skeleton, and that damage to it damages the soul. Rituals involving the sacrifice of animals involve great care not to damage the bones, lest the deity receiving the offering reject it. The second soul is believed to have the power to leave the body, transform into other beings, and is stored in the organs. The third soul is similar to the second, differing only in that its passing marks the end of one’s life.” ref

“The number three and multiples of it are deeply sacred to the Buryat. Examples of this numerology include three major yearly sacrifices, shamans prolonging the lives of the sick by three or nine years, the total number of tengeri being 99, and countless other examples. Shamans are divided into two classes: “great” shamans of arctic regions and “little” shamans from the taiga. Shamans often are associated with nervous disorders, and in some cases are prone to seizure. Shamans can also be divided into “White” shamans that summon good spirits and “Black” shamans that summon malicious ones. Yellow shamanism refers to shamanistic practices that have been heavily influenced by Buddhism. Shamans exist to heal, especially in regards to psychological illnesses. Buryat shamanism is not necessarily hereditary, and other members of the kinship-group can receive the calling (however, shamans do keep records of their lineage, and a descendant is preferred). Shamans could both control and be controlled by spirits.” ref

“There are variations in belief between different traditional groups, so there is no consensus on beliefs and practices. For example, Western Buryats along the Kuda river believe in reincarnation of the third soul, likely a result of their exposure to Buddhism. Traditionally, the Buryats were semi-nomadic pastoralists. Buryat nomads tended herds of cattle, sheep, goats, and camels. Buryats also relied greatly on local resources to supplement their diets. Following colonization by Russia, pastoralism was gradually replaced by agriculture. The Buryat of today are largely agrarian but most in rural areas still focus on raising livestock as their main way of surviving. The Buryats located in Siberia are still largely focused on raising livestock due to the shortness of the growing season. They focus on the raising of dairy cattle and the growing of berries to sustain most of their diet. There are also some communities that farm various types of trees and cash crops such as wheat and rye. On the slopes of the Sayan and Altai Mountains, there are communities whose way of life is breeding reindeerMongolian Buryats are farmers as well but are typically semi-settled. They build sheds and fences to keep livestock contained and use hay as their main source of food for the livestock. However, the Buryats located in Buryatia are more focused on the agricultural aspect of farming and not the livestock-raising aspect.” ref

“Buryat healing practices incorporate folk shamanic traditions and Tibeto-Mongolian medicine. Before the adoption of Buddhism, the Buryats relied on shamanic rituals to stop or cure pain and illness which was said to be caused by evil spirits. With the conversion to Tibetan Buddhism, Buryats incorporated Tibetan medical practices to their healing practices. Medical schools were soon established and Buryats studying in these schools learned about medical and prescription techniques. Training in treatment and diagnostics was also given in these schools. Buryats soon contributed to expanding the Tibeto-Mongolian medical literature. Traditional Buryat medicine emphasizes the use of mineral and thermal springs for healing. A balanced diet (of meat, offal, plants, and herbs) and proper nutrition were recommended to cure illness. The use of herbs for medical purposes was minimal because of the lack of vegetation in the semi-deserts and dry steppes. However, Buryat healers were considered skilled in healing wounds, treating head trauma, midwifery, and bone-setting. In the modern age, some practices derived from Buryat folk medicine have been incorporated into contemporary settings.” ref

Shamanism in Siberia

A large minority of people in North Asia, particularly in Siberia, follow the religio-cultural practices of shamanism. Some researchers regard Siberia as the heartland of shamanism. The people of Siberia comprise a variety of ethnic groups, many of whom continue to observe shamanistic practices in modern times. Many classical ethnographers recorded the sources of the idea of “shamanism” among Siberian peoples. Siberian shamans’ spirit-journeys (reenacting their dreams wherein they had rescued the soul of the client) were conducted in, e.g., Oroch, Altai, and Nganasan healing séances.” ref

Shamanism or samanism is a religious practice that involves a practitioner (shaman or saman) interacting with the spirit world through altered states of consciousness, such as trance. The goal of this is usually to direct spirits or spiritual energies into the physical world for the purpose of healing, divination, or to aid human beings in some other way. Beliefs and practices categorized as “shamanic” have attracted the interest of scholars from a variety of disciplines, including anthropologists, archeologists, historians, religious studies scholars, philosophers, and psychologists. Hundreds of books and academic papers on the subject have been produced, with a peer-reviewed academic journal being devoted to the study of shamanism.” ref

“The Modern English word shamanism derives from the Russian word šamán, which itself comes from the word samān from a Tungusic language – possibly from the southwestern dialect of the Evenki spoken by the Sym Evenki peoples, or from the Manchu language. The etymology of the word is sometimes connected to the Tungus root sā-, meaning “to know”. However, Finnish ethnolinguist Juha Janhunen questions this connection on linguistic grounds: “The possibility cannot be completely rejected, but neither should it be accepted without reservation since the assumed derivational relationship is phonologically irregular (note especially the vowel quantities).” ref

Mircea Eliade noted that the Sanskrit word śramaṇa, designating a wandering monastic or holy figure, has spread to many Central Asian languages along with Buddhism and could be the ultimate origin of the word shaman. The term was adopted by Russians interacting with the indigenous peoples in Siberia. It is found in the memoirs of the exiled Russian churchman Avvakum. It was brought to Western Europe twenty years later by the Dutch traveler Nicolaes Witsen, who reported his stay and journeys among the Tungusic- and Samoyedic-speaking Indigenous peoples of Siberia in his book Noord en Oost Tataryen (1692). Adam Brand, a merchant from Lübeck, published in 1698 his account of a Russian embassy to China; a translation of his book, published the same year, introduced the word shaman to English speakers.” ref

“According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a shaman (/ˈʃɑːmən/ SHAH-men, /ˈʃæmən/ or /ˈʃmən/) is someone who is regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing. The word “shaman” probably originates from the Tungusic Evenki language of North Asia. According to Juha Janhunen, “the word is attested in all of the Tungusic idioms” such as Negidal, Lamut, Udehe/Orochi, Nanai, Ilcha, Orok, Manchu and Ulcha, and “nothing seems to contradict the assumption that the meaning ‘shaman’ also derives from Proto-Tungusic” and may have roots that extend back in time at least two millennia. The term was introduced to the west after Russian forces conquered the shamanistic Khanate of Kazan in 1552.” ref

“The term “shamanism” was first applied by Western anthropologists as outside observers of the ancient religion of the Turks and Mongols, as well as those of the neighbouring Tungusic- and Samoyedic-speaking peoples. Upon observing more religious traditions around the world, some Western anthropologists began to also use the term in a very broad sense. The term was used to describe unrelated magicoreligious practices found within the ethnic religions of other parts of Asia, Africa, Australasia, and even completely unrelated parts of the Americas, as they believed these practices to be similar to one another. While the term has been incorrectly applied by cultural outsiders to many Indigenous spiritual practices, the words “shaman” and “shamanism” do not accurately describe the variety and complexity that is Indigenous spirituality. Each nation and tribe has its own way of life, and uses terms in their own languages.” ref

There is no single agreed-upon definition for the word “shamanism” among anthropologists. Thomas Downson suggests three shared elements of shamanism: practitioners consistently alter consciousness, the community regards altering consciousness as an important ritual practice, and the knowledge about the practice is controlled. Anthropologist and archeologist Silvia Tomaskova argued that by the mid-1600s, many Europeans applied the Arabic term shaitan (meaning “devil”) to the non-Christian practices and beliefs of Indigenous peoples beyond the Ural Mountains. She suggests that shaman may have entered the various Tungus dialects as a corruption of this term, and then been told to Christian missionaries, explorers, soldiers, and colonial administrators with whom the people had increasing contact for centuries. A female shaman is sometimes called a shamanka, which is not an actual Tungus term but simply shaman plus the Russian suffix -ka (for feminine nouns).” ref 

Shamanism Terminology in Siberian languages

  • “‘shaman’: saman (Nedigal, Nanay, Ulcha, Orok), sama (Manchu). The variant /šaman/ (i.e., pronounced “shaman”) is Evenk (whence it was borrowed into Russian).
  • ‘shaman’: alman, olman, wolmen (Yukagir)
  • ‘shaman’: [qam] (Tatar, Shor, Oyrat), [xam] (Tuva, Tofalar)
  • The Buryat word for shaman is бөө (böö) [bøː], from early Mongolian böge. Itself borrowed from Proto-Turkic *bögü (“sage, wizard”)
  • ‘shaman’: ńajt (Khanty, Mansi), from Proto-Uralic *nojta (c.f. Sámi noaidi)
  • ‘shamaness’: [iduɣan] (Mongol), [udaɣan] (Yakut), udagan (Buryat), udugan (Evenki, Lamut), odogan (Nedigal). Related forms found in various Siberian languages include utagan, ubakan, utygan, utügun, iduan, or duana. All these are related to the Mongolian name of Etügen, the hearth goddess, and Etügen Eke ‘Mother Earth’. Maria Czaplicka points out that Siberian languages use words for male shamans from diverse roots, but the words for female shaman are almost all from the same root. She connects this with the theory that women’s practice of shamanism was established earlier than men’s, that “shamans were originally female.ref

Shamanistic practice shows great diversity, even if restricted to Siberia. In some cultures, the music or song related to shamanistic practice may mimic natural sounds, sometimes with onomatopoeiaThis holds true for the practices of the noaidi among Sami groups. Although the Sami people live outside of Siberia, many of their shamanistic beliefs and practice shared important features with those of some Siberian cultures. The joiks of the Sami were sung on shamanistic rites.[10] Recently, joiks are sung in two different styles: one of these is sung only by young people; the traditional one may be the other, the “mumbling” style, which resembles magic spells. Several surprising characteristics of joiks can be explained by comparing the music ideals, as observed in joiks and contrasted to music ideals of other cultures. Some joiks intend to mimic natural sounds. This can be contrasted to bel canto, which intends to exploit human speech organs on the highest level to achieve an almost “superhuman” sound.ref

“The intention to mimic natural sounds is present in some Siberian cultures as well: overtone singing, and also shamanic songs of some cultures can be examples.

  • In a Soyot shamanic song, sounds of bird and wolf are imitated to represent helping spirits of the shaman.
  • The seances of Nganasan shamans were accompanied by women imitating the sounds of the reindeer calf, (thought to provide fertility for those women). In 1931, A. Popov observed the Nganasan shaman Dyukhade Kosterkin imitating the sound of polar bear: the shaman was believed to have transformed into a polar bear.ref

Sound mimesis is not restricted to Siberian cultures and is not necessarily linked to shamanistic beliefs or practices. See, for example, Inuit throat singing, a game played by women, an example of Inuit music that employs overtone singing, and, in some cases, the imitation of natural sounds (mostly those of animals, e.g. geese). The imitation of animal sounds can also serve such practical reasons as luring game in hunt.” ref

Uralic languages are proven to form a genealogical unit, a language family. Not all speakers of these languages live in Siberia or have shamanistic religions. The largest populations, the Hungarians and Finns, live outside Siberia and are mostly Christian. Sámi people had kept shamanic practices alive for a long time. They live in Europe, but practiced shamanism until the 18th century. Most others (e.g. HungarianFinnicMari) have only remnant elements of shamanism. The majority lives outside Siberia. Some of them used to live in Siberia, but have migrated to their present locations since then. The original location of the Proto-Uralic peoples (and its extent) is debated. Combined phytogeographical and linguistic considerations (distribution of various tree species and the presence of their names in various Uralic languages) suggest that this area was somewhere between the Kama and Vyatka rivers on the western side of the Ural Mountains.” ref

“Among several Samoyedic peoples shamanism was a living tradition also in modern times, especially at groups living in isolation until recent times (Nganasans). There were distinguished several types of shamans among NenetsEnets, and Selkup people. (The Nganasan shaman used three different crowns, according to the situation: one for upper world, one for underneath word, one for occasion of childbirth.) Nenets peopleEnets peopleNganasan people speak Northern Samoyedic languages. They live in North Siberia (Nenets live also in European parts), they provide classical examples. Selkups are the only ones who speak Southern Samoyedic languages nowadays. They live more to the south, shamanism was in decline also at the beginning of the 20th century, although folklore memories could be recorded even in the 1960s. Other Southern Samoyedic languages were spoken by some peoples living in the Sayan Mountains, but language shift has taken place, making all these languages extinct. There were several types of shamans distinguishing ones contacting upper world, ones contacting underneath world, ones contacting the dead.” ref

The isolated location of Nganasan people enabled that shamanism was a living phenomenon among them even in the beginning of the 20th century, the last notable Nganasan shaman’s seances could be recorded on film in the 1970s. One of the occasions in which the shaman partook was the clean tent rite, held after the polar night, which included sacrifices. Some peoples of the Sayan Mountains spoke once Southern Samoyedic languages. Most of them underwent a language shift in the beginning and middle of the 19th century, borrowing the language of neighboring Turkic peoples. The Kamassian language survived longer: 14 old people spoke it yet in 1914. In the late 20th century, some old people had passive or uncertain knowledge of the language, but collecting reliable scientific data was no longer possible. Today Kamassian is regarded as extinct.” ref

“The shamanism of Samoyedic peoples in the Sayan Mountains survived longer (if we regard Karagas as a Samoyedic people, although such approaches have been refined: the problem of their origin may be more comple). Diószegi Vilmos could record not only folklore memories in the late 1950s, but he managed also to talk personally to (no longer practicing) shamans, record their personal memories, songs, some of their paraphernalia. Starting from the late 9th century onwards, the ancestors of the Hungarian people migrated from their Proto-Uralic homeland in Siberia to the Pannonian Basin, an area that includes present-day Hungary. Today, shamanism is no longer widely practiced by Hungarians, but elements of shamanism have been preserved in their folklore.” ref

“Comparative methods reveal that some motifs used in folktales, fragments of songs, and folk rhymes retain aspects of the ancient belief system. In an effort to prove that shamanistic remnants existed within Hungarian folklore ethnographer, Diószegi Vilmos, compared ethnographic records of Hungarian and neighboring peoples, and works about various shamanic traditions of some Siberian peoples. Mihály Hoppál continued Diószegi Vilmos’s work comparing shamanic beliefs of speakers of Uralic languages with those of several non-Uralic Siberian peoples. Although Ugrian folklore preserves many traces of shamanism, shamanism itself was a dying practice among the Khanty and Mansi people by the 1930s. Shamanism is still practiced by many indigenous peoples, but, among the modern Ugrians, shamanism is largely practiced by the Khanty.” ref

“Whether this shamanism is borrowed entirely from neighboring Turkic peoples, or whether it has some ethnic features, maybe remnants of Samoyedic origin, is unresolved. Comparative considerations suggest, that

  • Karagas shamanism is affected by Abakan-Turkic and Buryat influence. Among the various Soyot cultures, the central Soyot groups, keeping cattle and horses, show Khalkha Mongol phenomena in their shamanism, the shamanism of Western Soyots, living on the steppe, is similar to that of Altai Turkic peoples. A shaman story narrates contacts between Soyots and Abakan Turkic peoples in a mythical form.
  • Karagas and Eastern (reindeer-breeding, mountain-inhabiting) Soyots. have many similarities in their culture and shamanism. It was these two cultures who presented some ethnic features, phenomena lacking among neighboring Turkic peoples. E.g., the structure of their shamanic drum showed such peculiarity: it had two transoms. It was also these two cultures who showed some features, which could be possibly of Samoyedic origin: the shaman’s headdress, dress and boots has the effigies symbolizing human organs, mostly bones; in the case of headdress, representation of human face. Also the dress-initiating song of the Karagas shaman Kokuyev contained the expression “my shamanic dress with seven vertebrae”. Hoppál interprets the skeleton-like overlay of the Karagas shaman-dress as symbol of shamanic rebirth, similar remark applies for the skeleton-like iron ornamentation of the (not Samoyedic, but genealogically unclassified, Paleosiberian) Ket shamanic dress, although it may symbolize also the bones of the loon (the helper animal of the shaman). (The theory of Ket origin of the Karagas has already been mentioned above.) The skeleton-like overlay symbolized shamanic rebirth also among some other Siberian cultures.” ref

“The traditional culture of Ket people was researched by Matthias Castrén, Vasiliy Ivanovich Anuchin, Kai DonnerHans Findeisen, Yevgeniya Alekseyevna Alekseyenko. Shamanism was a living practice in the 1930s yet, but by the 1960s almost no authentic shaman could be found. Ket shamanism shared features with those of Turkic and Mongolic peoples. Besides that, there were several types of shamans, differing in function (sacral rites, curing), power, and associated animal (deer, bear). Also among Kets (like at several other Siberian peoples, e.g. Karagas), there are examples of using skeleton symbolics, Hoppál interprets it as a symbol of shamanic rebirth, although it may symbolize also the bones of the loon (the helper animal of the shaman, joining air and underwater world, just like the shaman who traveled both to the sky and the underworld as well). The skeleton-like overlay represented shamanic rebirth also among some other Siberian cultures.” ref

Turkic peoples spread over large territories, and are far from alike. In some cases, shamanism has been widely amalgamated with Islam, in others with Buddhism, but there are surviving traditions among the Siberian Tatars, Tuvans, and Tofalar. The Altai Turks may be related to neighboring Ugrian, Samoyed, Ket, or Mongols. There may be also ethnographic traces of such past of these nowadays Turkic-speaking peoples of the Altai. For example, some of them have phallic-erotic fertility rites, and that can be compared to similar rites of Ugriansɮ. Among the Tungusic peoples of Siberia, shamanism is also widespread. The Tale of the Nisan Shaman, a famous piece of folklore which describes the resurrection of a rich landowner’s son by a female shaman, is known among various Tungusic peoples including the Manchus, Evenks, and Nanai people.” ref

Linguistically, Koryak and Chukchi are close congeners of Yup’il. Koryak shamanism is known. Yup’ik groups comprise a huge area stretching from Eastern Siberia through Alaska and Northern Canada (including Labrador Peninsula) to Greenland. Shamanistic practice and beliefs have been recorded at several parts of this vast area crosscutting continental borders. Like Yup’ik cultures themselves, shamanistic practices reveal diversity. Some mosaic-like examples from various cultures: the soul concepts of the various cultures were diverse as well, some groups believed that the young child had to be taken for by guardian names inherited from a recently deceased relative. Among some groups, this belief amounted to a kind of reincarnation. Also shamanism might include beliefs in soul dualism, where the free-soul of the shaman could fly to celestial or underneath realms, contacting mythological beings, negotiating with them in order to cease calamities or achieve success in hunt. If their wrath was believed to be caused by taboo breaches, the shaman asked for confessions by members of the community. In most cultures, shamanism could be refused by the candidate: calling could be felt by visions, but generally, becoming a shaman followed conscious considerations.” ref

Based on the seeming evidence, I speculate that around 14,000 years ago, it could be possible Siberian Shamanism (along with dogs and a bird carving, different but yet possibly related to the bird carvings in Siberia dating from 24,000 to 15,000 years ago) was transferred to China, after “N” DNA reached Siberia bringing them pottery. Bird sculptures through ethnographic comparison at 24,000–15,000 years old Mal’ta with objects used by Siberian shamans, suggest a fully developed shamanism.

Chinese Wu, Ritualists, and Shamans: An Ethnological Analysis

Abstract: The relationship of wu (巫) to shamanism is problematic, with virtually all mentions of historical and contemporary Chinese wu ritualists translated into English as shaman. Ethnological research is presented to illustrate cross-cultural patterns of shamans and other ritualists, providing an etic framework for empirical assessments of resemblances of Chinese ritualists to shamans. This etic framework is further validated with assessments of the relationship of the features with biogenetic bases of ritual, altered states of consciousness, innate intelligences and endogenous healing processes. Key characteristics of the various types of wu and other Chinese ritualists are reviewed and compared with ethnological models of the patterns of ritualists found cross-culturally to illustrate their similarities and contrasts. These comparisons illustrate the resemblances of pre-historic and commoner wu to shamans but additionally illustrate the resemblances of most types of wu to other ritualist types, not shamans. Across Chinese history, wu underwent transformative changes into different types of ritualists, including priests, healers, mediums and sorcerers/witches. A review of contemporary reports on alleged shamans in China also illustrates that only some correspond to the characteristics of shamans found in cross-cultural research and foraging societies. The similarities of most types of wu ritualists to other types of ritualists found cross-culturally illustrate the greater accuracy of translating wu as “ritualist” or “religious ritualist.” ref

The Shamanic Origins Of Medicine In Ancient China

“The link between medicine and shamanism in ancient China can be found in the etymology of the words used to describe the practices, as well as other ancient texts.” ref

“Wu (shaman): female shamans in ancient China, Chinese shamanism, is alternatively called “Wuism” ref

“Shamanism is China’s oldest indigenous belief system. It is still widely practiced in villages and even cities, especially during times of ritual transition and crisis. Shaman rituals are performed on mountaintops, at traditional shrines and in village homes. Ancient shaman in China likely used jade ornaments with divine markings to command mystical forces and communicate with gods and ancestors. Ancient Chinese believed that there ancestors originated with God and communicated through supernatural beings and symbols, whose images were placed on jade ornaments.” ref

Wu (shaman)

“Wu (ChinesepinyinWade–Gileswu) is a Chinese term translating to “shaman” or “sorcerer”, originally the practitioners of Chinese shamanism or “Wuism” (巫教 wū jiào). The glyph ancestral to modern  is first recorded in bronze script, where it could refer to shamans or sorcerers of either sex. Modern Mandarin wu (Cantonese mouh) continues a Middle Chinese mju or mjo. The Old Chinese reconstruction is uncertain, given as *mywo or as *myag, the presence of a final velar -g or  in Old Chinese being uncertain.” ref

“By the late Zhou Dynasty (4th to 3rd centuries BCE), wu referred mostly to female shamans or “sorceresses”, while male sorcerers were named xi 覡 “male shaman; sorcerer”, first attested in the Guoyu or Discourses of the States (4th century BCE). Other sex-differentiated shaman names include nanwu 男巫 for “male shaman; sorcerer; wizard”; and nüwu 女巫, wunü 巫女, wupo 巫婆, and wuyu 巫嫗 for “female shaman; sorceress; witch”. Wu is used in compounds like wugu 巫蠱 “sorcery; cast harmful spells”, wushen 巫神 or shenwu 神巫 (with shen “spirit; god”) “wizard; sorcerer”, and wuxian 巫仙 (with xian “immortal; alchemist”) “immortal shaman.” ref

“The word tongji 童乩 (lit. “youth diviner”) “shaman; spirit-medium” is a near-synonym of wu. Chinese uses phonetic transliteration to distinguish native wu from “Siberian shaman“: saman 薩滿 or saman 薩蠻. “Shaman” is occasionally written with Chinese Buddhist transcriptions of Shramana “wandering monk; ascetic”: shamen 沙門, sangmen 桑門, or sangmen 喪門. Joseph Needham suggests “shaman” was transliterated xianmen 羨門 in the name of Zou Yan‘s disciple Xianmen Gao 羨門高 (or Zigao 子高). He quotes the Shiji that Emperor Qin Shi Huang (r. 221–210 BCE), “wandered about on the shore of the eastern sea, and offered sacrifices to the famous mountains and the great rivers and the eight Spirits; and searched for xian “immortals”, [xianmen], and the like.” Needham compares two later Chinese terms for “shaman”: shanman 珊蛮, which described the Jurchen leader Wanyan Xiyin, and sizhu 司祝, which was used for imperial Manchu shamans during the Qing Dynasty.” ref

Shaman is the common English translation of Chinese wu, but some scholars maintain that the Siberian shaman and Chinese wu were historically and culturally different shamanic traditions. Arthur Waley defines wu as “spirit-intermediary” and says, “Indeed the functions of the Chinese wu were so like those of Siberian and Tunguz shamans that it is convenient (as has indeed been done by Far Eastern and European writers) to use shaman as a translation of wu. In contrast, Schiffeler describes the “untranslatableness” of wu, and prefers using the romanization “wu instead of its contemporary English counterparts, “witches,” “warlocks,” or “shamans”,” which have misleading connotations.” ref

“Taking wu to mean “female shaman”, Edward H. Schafer translates it as “shamaness” and “shamanka”. The transliteration-translation “wu shaman” or “wu-shaman” implies “Chinese” specifically and “shamanism” generally. Wu, concludes von Falkenhausen, “may be rendered as “shaman” or, perhaps, less controversially as “spirit medium”. Paper criticizes “the majority of scholars” who use one word shaman to translate many Chinese terms (wu 巫, xi 覡, yi 毉, xian 仙, and zhu 祝), and writes, “The general tendency to refer to all ecstatic religious functionaries as shamans blurs functional differences.” ref

“The character 巫 wu besides the meanings of “spirit medium, shaman, witch doctor” (etc.) also has served as a toponym: Wushan 巫山 (near Chongqing in Sichuan Province), Wuxi 巫溪 “Wu Stream”, Wuxia 巫峽 “Wu Gorge”. Wu is also a surname (in antiquity, the name of legendary Wu Xian 巫咸). Wuma 巫馬 (lit. “shaman horse”) is both a Chinese compound surname (for example, the Confucian disciple Wuma Shi/Qi 巫馬施/期) and a name for “horse shaman; equine veterinarian” (for example, the Zhouli official). The contemporary Chinese character  for wu combines the graphic radicals gong  “work” and ren  “person” doubled (cf. cong ). This 巫 character developed from Seal script characters that depicted dancing shamans, which descend from Bronzeware script and Oracle bone script characters that resembled a cross potent.” ref

“The first Chinese dictionary of characters, the (121 CE) Shuowen Jiezi defines wu as zhu  “sacrifice; prayer master; invoker; priest” (“祝也 女能以舞降神者也 象从工 两人舞形”) and analyzes the Seal graph, “An Invoker. A woman who can serve the Invisible, and by posturing bring down the spirits. Depicts a person with two sleeves posturing.” This Seal graph for wu is interpreted as showing “the 工 work of two dancing figures set to each other – a shamanistic dance” or “two human figures facing some central object (possibly a pole, or in a tent-like enclosure?).” ref

“This dictionary also includes a variant Great Seal script (called a guwen “ancient script”) that elaborates wu 巫. Hopkins analyzes this guwen graph as gong 廾 “two hands held upward” at the bottom (like shi 筮’s Seal graph) and two “mouths” with the “sleeves” on the sides; or “jade” because the Shuowen defines ling 靈 “spiritual; divine” as synonymous with wu and depicting 巫以玉事神, “an inspired shaman serving the Spirits with jade.” ref

“Schafer compares the Shang Dynasty oracle graphs for wu and nong  “play with; cause” (written with 玉 “jade” over 廾 “two hands”) that shows “hands (of a shaman?) elevating a piece of jade (the rain-compelling mineral) inside an enclosure, possibly a tent. The Seal and modern form 巫 may well derive from this original, the hands becoming two figures, a convergence towards the dancer-type graph.” ref

“Tu Baikui 塗白奎 suggests that the wu oracle character “was composed of two pieces of jade and originally designated a tool of divination.” Citing Li Xiaoding 李孝定 that gong 工 originally pictured a “carpenter’s square”, Allan argues that oracle inscriptions used wu 巫 interchangeably with fang  “square; side; place” for sacrifices to the sifang 四方 “four directions.” ref

“This 巫 component is semantically significant in several characters:

  • wu (with the “speech radical” 言) “deceive; slander; falsely accuse”
  • shi (with the “bamboo radical” 竹) “Achillea millefolium (used for divination)”
  • xi (with the “vision radical” 見) “male shaman; male sorcerer”
  • ling (with the “cloud radical” 雨 and three 口 “mouths” or “raindrops”) “spirit; divine; clever”
  • yi “doctor”, which is an old “shaman” variant character for yi  (with the “wine radical” )” ref

“A wide range of hypotheses for the etymology of  “spirit medium; shaman” has been proposed. Laufer proposed a relation between Mongolian bügä “shaman”, Turkish bögü “shaman”, “Chinese buwu (shaman), bukpuk (to divine), and Tibetan aba (pronounced ba, sorcerer)”. Coblin puts forward a Sino-Tibetan root *mjaɣ “magician; sorcerer” for Chinese  < mju < *mjag 巫 “magician; shaman” and Written Tibetan ‘ba’-po “sorcerer” and ‘ba’-mo “sorcereress” (of the Bön religion).” ref

“Schuessler notes Chinese xian < sjän < *sen  “transcendent; immortal; alchemist” was probably borrowed as Written Tibetan gšen “shaman” and Thai [mɔɔ] < Proto-Tai *hmɔ “doctor; sorcerer”. In addition, the Mon–Khmer and Proto-Western-Austronesian *səmaŋ “shaman” may also be connected with . Schuessler lists four proposed etymologies: Firstly,  could be the same word as  誣 “to deceive”. Schuessler notes a written Tibetan semantic parallel between “magical power” and “deceive”: sprul-ba “to juggle, make phantoms; miraculous power” cognate with [pʰrul] “magical deception.” ref

“Secondly, wu could be cognate with   “to dance”. Based on analysis of ancient characters, Hopkins proposed that  巫 “shaman”,   “not have; without”, and  舞 “dance”, “can all be traced back to one primitive figure of a man displaying by the gestures of his arms and legs the thaumaturgic powers of his inspired personality”. Many Western Han Dynasty tombs contained jade plaques or pottery images showing “long-sleeved dancers” performing at funerals, whom Erickson identifies as shamans, citing the Shuowen jiezi that early  characters depicted a dancer’s sleeves.” ref

“Thirdly,  could also be cognate with  母 “mother” since , as opposed to  覡, were typically female. Edward Schafer associates  shamanism with fertility rituals. Jensen cites the Japanese sinologist Shirakawa Shizuka 白川静’s hypothesis that the mother of Confucius was a . Fourthly,  could be a loanword from Iranian *maguš “magus; magician” (cf. Old Persian magušAvestan mogu), meaning an “able one; specialist in ritual”. Mair provides archaeological and linguistic evidence that Chinese  < *myag 巫 “shaman; witch, wizard; magician” was a loanword from Old Persian *maguš “magician; magus“. Mair connects the bronze script character for  巫 with the “cross potent” symbol  found in Neolithic West Asia, suggesting the loan of both the symbol and the word.” ref

Early records of wuChinese shamanism

“The oldest written records of wu are Shang Dynasty oracle inscriptions and Zhou Dynasty classical texts. Boileau notes the disparity of these sources. Concerning the historical origin of the wu, we may ask: were they a remnant of an earlier stage of the development of archaic Chinese civilization? The present state of the documentation does not allow such a conclusion for two reasons: first, the most abundant data about the wu are to be found in Eastern Zhou texts; and, second, these texts have little in common with the data originating directly from the Shang civilization; possible ancestors of the Eastern Zhou wu are the cripples and the females burned in sacrifice to bring about rain. They are mentioned in the oracular inscriptions but there is no mention of the Shang character wu. Moreover, because of the scarcity of information, many of the activities of the Zhou wu cannot be traced back to the Shang period. Consequently, trying to correlate Zhou data with Neolithic cultures appears very difficult.” ref

Wu in Shang oracular inscriptions

“Shima lists 58 occurrences of the character wu in concordance of oracle inscriptions: 32 in repeated compounds (most commonly 巫帝 “wu spirit/sacrifice” and 氐巫 “bring the wu) and 26 in miscellaneous contexts. Boileau differentiates four meanings of these oracular wu:

  1. “a spirit, wuof the north or east, to which sacrifices are offered”
  2. “a sacrifice, possibly linked to controlling the wind or meteorology”
  3. “an equivalent for shi筮, a form of divination using achilea”
  4. “a living human being, possibly the name of a person, tribe, place, or territory” ref

“Based on this ancient but limited Shang-era oracular record, it is unclear how or whether the Wu spirit, sacrifice, person, and place were related. The inscriptions about this living wu, which is later identified as “shaman”, reveal six characteristics:

  1. whether the wuis a man or a woman is not known;
  2. it could be either the name for a function or the name of a people (or an individual) coming from a definite territory or nation;
  3. the wu seems to have been in charge of some divinations, (in one instance, divination is linked to a sacrifice of appeasement);
  4. the wu is seen as offering a sacrifice of appeasement but the inscription and the fact that this kind of sacrifice was offered by other persons (the king included) suggests that the wuwas not the person of choice to conduct all the sacrifices of appeasement;
  5. there is only one inscription where a direct link between the king and the wu Nevertheless, the nature of the link is not known, because the status of the wudoes not appear clearly;
  6. he follows (being brought, presumably, to Shang territory or court) the orders of other people; he is perhaps offered to the Shang as a tribute.” ref

Wu in Zhou received texts

“Chinese wu 巫 “shaman” occurs over 300 times in the Chinese classics, which generally date from the late Zhou and early Han periods (6th-1st centuries BCE). The following examples are categorized by the common specializations of wu-shamans: men and women possessed by spirits or gods, and consequently acting as seers and soothsayers, exorcists and physicians; invokers or conjurers bringing down gods at sacrifices, and performing other sacerdotal functions, occasionally indulging also in imprecation, and in sorcery with the help of spirits.” ref

“A single text can describe many roles for wu-shamans. For instance, the Guoyu idealizes their origins in a Golden Age. It contains a story about King Zhao of Chu (r. 515-489 BCE) reading in the Shujing that the sage ruler Shun “commissioned Chong and Li to cut the communication between heaven and earth”. He asks his minister to explain and is told: Anciently, men and spirits did not intermingle. At that time there were certain persons who were so perspicacious, single-minded, and reverential that their understanding enabled them to make meaningful collation of what lies above and below, and their insight to illumine what is distant and profound. Therefore the spirits would descend upon them. The possessors of such powers were, if men, called xi (shamans), and, if women, wu (shamanesses). It is they who supervised the positions of the spirits at the ceremonies, sacrificed to them, and otherwise handled religious matters. As a consequence, the spheres of the divine and the profane were kept distinct. The spirits sent down blessings on the people, and accepted from them their offerings. There were no natural calamities.” ref

“In the degenerate time of [Shaohao] (traditionally put at the twenty-sixth century BCE), however, the Nine Li threw virtue into disorder. Men and spirits became intermingled, with each household indiscriminately performing for itself the religious observances which had hitherto been conducted by the shamans. As a consequence, men lost their reverence for the spirits, the spirits violated the rules of men, and natural calamities arose. Hence the successor of [Shaohao], [Zhuanxu] …, charged [Chong], Governor of the South, to handle the affairs of heaven in order to determine the proper place of the spirits, and Li, Governor of Fire, to handle the affairs of Earth, in order to determine the proper place of men. And such is what is meant by cutting the communication between Heaven and Earth.” ref

Wu-shamans as healers

“The belief that demonic possession caused disease and sickness is well documented in many cultures, including ancient China. The early practitioners of Chinese medicine historically changed from wu 巫 “spirit-mediums; shamans” who used divination, exorcism, and prayer to yi 毉 or 醫 “doctors; physicians” who used herbal medicine, moxibustion, and acupuncture. As mentioned above, wu 巫 “shaman” was depicted in the ancient 毉 variant character for yi 醫 “healer; doctor”. This archaic yi 毉, writes Carr, “ideographically depicted a shaman-doctor in the act of exorcistical healing with (矢 ‘arrows’ in) a 医 ‘quiver’, a 殳 ‘hand holding a lance’, and a wu 巫 ‘shaman’.” Unschuld believes this 毉 character depicts the type of wu practitioner described in the Liji.” ref

“Several times a year, and also during certain special occasions, such as the funeral of a prince, hordes of exorcists would race shrieking through the city streets, enter the courtyards and homes, thrusting their spears into the air, in an attempt to expel the evil creatures. Prisoners were dismembered outside all gates to the city, to serve both as a deterrent to the demons and as an indication of their fate should they be captured. Replacing the exorcistical 巫 “shaman” in 毉 with medicinal 酒 “wine” in yi 醫 “healer; doctor” signified, writes Schiffeler, “the practice of medicine was not any longer confined to the incantations of the wu, but that it had been taken over (from an official standpoint) by the “priest-physicians,” who administered elixirs or wines as treatments for their patients.” ref

“Wu and yi are compounded in the word wuyi 巫醫 “shaman-doctor; shamans and doctors”, translated “exorcising physician”, “sorcerer-physician”, or “physician-shaman”. Confucius quotes a “Southern Saying” that a good wuyi must have heng  “constancy; ancient tradition; continuation; perseverance; regularity; proper name (e.g., Yijing Hexagram 32)”. The (ca. 5th century BCE) Lunyu “Confucian Analects” and the (ca. 1st century BCE) Liji “Record of Rites” give different versions of the Southern Saying.” ref

“First, the Lunyu quotes Confucius to mention the saying and refer to the Heng Hexagram: The Master said, The men of the south have a saying, Without stability a man will not even make a good shaman or witch-doctor. Well said! Of the maxim; if you do not stabilize an act of te 德, you will get evil by it (instead of good), the Master said, They (i.e. soothsayers) do not simply read the omens. Confucius refers to a Yijing line interpretation of the Heng “Duration” Hexagram: “Nine in the third place means: He who does not give duration to his character meets with disgrace.” In Waley’s earlier article about the Yijing, he translated “If you do not stabilize your “virtue,” Disgrace will overtake you”, and quoted the Lunyu.” ref

“The people of the south have a saying, ‘It takes heng to make even a soothsayer or medicine-man.’ It’s quite true. ‘If you do not stabilize your virtue, disgrace will overtake you’.” Confucius adds 不占而已矣, which has completely baffled his interpreters. Surely the meaning is ‘It is not enough merely to get an omen,’ one must also heng ‘stabilize it’. And if such a rule applies even to inferior arts like those of the diviner and medicine-man, Confucius asks, how much the more does it apply to the seeker after [de] in the moral sense? Surely he too must ‘make constant’ his initial striving! Second, the Liji quotes Confucius to elaborate upon the Southern Saying.” ref

“The Master said, ‘The people of the south have a saying that “A man without constancy cannot be a diviner either with the tortoise-shell or the stalks.” This was probably a saying handed down from antiquity. If such a man cannot know the tortoise-shell and stalks, how much less can he know other men? It is said in the Book of Poetry (II, v, ode 1, 3) “Our tortoise-shells are wearied out, And will not tell us anything about the plans.” The Charge to [Yue] says ([Shujing], IV, VIII, sect. 2, 5, 11), “Dignities should not be conferred on men of evil practices. (If they be), how can the people set themselves to correct their ways? If this be sought merely by sacrifices, it will be disrespectful (to the spirits). When affairs come to be troublesome, there ensues disorder; when the spirits are served so, difficulties ensue.” ‘It is said in the [Yijing], “When one does not continuously maintain his virtue, some will impute it to him as a disgrace; (in the position indicated in the Hexagram.) ‘When one does maintain his virtue continuously (in the other position indicated), this will be fortunate in a wife, but in a husband evil.” ref

“This Liji version makes five changes from the Lunyu. (1) It writes bushi 卜筮 “diviner” instead of wuyi 巫醫 “shaman-doctor”, compounding bu “divine by bone or shell, scapulimancy or plastromancy” and shi (also with “shaman”) “divine by milfoil stalks, cleromancy or sortilege”. (2) Instead of quoting Confucius to remark “well said!”; he describes the southern proverb as “probably a saying handed down from antiquity” and rhetorically questions the efficacy of divination. (3) The Liji correctly quotes the Shijing criticizing royal diviners: “Our tortoises are (satiated =) weary, they do not tell us the (proper) plans.” (4) It quotes the “Charge to Yue” 說命 (traditionally attributed to Shang king Wu Ding) differently from the fabricated Guwen “Old Texts” Shujing “Classic of History” chapter with this name.” ref

“Dignities may not be conferred on man of evil practices, but only on men of worth. Anxious thought about what will be good should precede your movements. Your movements also should have respect to the time for them. … Officiousness in sacrifices is called irreverence; ceremonies when burdensome lead to disorder. To serve the spirits in this way is difficult. (5) It cites an additional Yijing Hexagram 32 line that gender determines the auspiciousness of heng. “Six in the fifth place means: Giving duration to one’s character through perseverance. This is good fortune for a woman, misfortune for a man.” ref

“The mytho-geography Shanhaijing “Classic of Mountains and Seas” associates wu-shamans with medicinal herbs. East of the Openbright there are Shaman Robust, Shaman Pushaway, Shaman Sunny, Shaman Shoe, Shaman Every, and Shaman Aide. They are all on each side of the corpse of Notch Flaw and they hold the neverdie drug to ward off decay. There is Mount Divinepower. This is where Shaman Whole, Shaman Reach, Shaman Share, Shaman Robust, Shaman Motherinlaw, Shaman Real, Shaman Rite, Shaman Pushaway, ShamanTakeleave, and Shaman Birdnet ascend to the sky and come down from Mount Divinepower. This is where the hundred drugs are to be found.” ref

“Shaman Whole” translates Wu Xian 巫咸 below. Boileau contrasts Siberian and Chinese shamanic medicines. Concerning healing, a comparison of the wu and the Siberian shaman shows a big difference: in Siberia, the shaman is also in charge of cures and healing, but he does this by identifying the spirit responsible for the disease and negotiates the proper way to appease him (or her), for example by offering a sacrifice or food on a regular basis. In archaic China, this role is performed through sacrifice: exorcism by the wu does not seem to result in a sacrifice but is aimed purely and simply at expelling the evil spirit.” ref

Wu-shamans as rainmakers

“Wu anciently served as intermediaries with nature spirits believed to control rainfall and flooding. During a droughtwu-shamans would perform the yu  “sacrificial rain dance ceremony”. If that failed, both wu and wang  “cripple; lame person; emaciated person” engaged in “ritual exposure” rainmaking techniques based upon homeopathic or sympathetic magic. As Unschuld explains, “Shamans had to carry out an exhausting dance within a ring of fire until, sweating profusely, the falling drops of perspirations produced the desired rain.” These wu and wang procedures were called pu / “expose to open air/sun”, fen  “burn; set on fire”, and pulu 暴露 “reveal; lay bare; expose to open air/sun.” ref

“For the year 639 BCE, the Chunqiu records, “In summer, there was a great drought” in Lu, and the Zuozhuan notes a discussion about fen wu wang 焚巫尪: The duke (Xi) wanted to burn a wu and a cripple at the stake. Zang Wenzhong 臧文仲 said: this is no preparation for the drought. Repair the city walls, limit your food, be economic in your consumption, be parsimonious and advise (people) to share (the food), this is what must be done. What use would be wu and cripple? If Heaven wanted to have them killed, why were they born at all? If they (the cripple and the wu) could produce drought, burning them would augment very much (the disaster). The duke followed this advice, and subsequently “scarcity was not very great.” ref

“The Liji uses the words puwang 暴尪 and puwu 暴巫 to describe a similar rainmaking ritual during the reign (407-375 BCE) of Duke Mu 穆公 of Lu. There was a drought during the year. Duke Mu called on Xianzi and asked him about the reason for this. He said: ‘Heaven has not (given us) rain in a long time. I want to expose to the sun a cripple and what about that?’ (Xianzi) said: ‘Heaven has not (given us) rain in a long time but to expose to the sun the crippled son of somebody, that would be cruel. No, this cannot be allowed.’ (the duke said): ‘Well, then I want to expose to the sun a wu and what about that?’ (Xianzi) answered: ‘Heaven has not (given us) rain in a long time but to put one’s hope on an ignorant woman and offer her to pray (for rain), no, this is too far (from reason).” ref

“Commentators interpret the wu as a female shaman and the wang as a male cripple. De Groot connects the Zuozhuan and Liji stories about ritually burning wu. These two narratives evidently are different readings of one, and may both be inventions; nevertheless they have their value as sketches of ancient idea and custom. Those ‘infirm or unsound’ wang were non-descript individuals, evidently placed somewhat on a line with the wu; perhaps they were queer hags or beldams, deformed beings, idiotic or crazy, or nervously affected to a very high degree, whose strange demeanour was ascribed to possession.” ref

Wu-shamans as oneiromancers

Oneiromancy or dream interpretation was one type of divination performed by wu 巫. The Zuozhuan records two stories about wu interpreting the guilty dreams of murderers. First, in 581 BCE the lord of Jin, who had slain two officers from the Zhao (趙) family, had a nightmare about their ancestral spirit, and called upon an unnamed wu “shaman” from Sangtian 桑田 and a yi “doctor” named Huan 緩 from Qin. The marquis of [Jin] saw in a dream a great demon with disheveled hair reaching to the ground, which beat its breast, and leaped up, saying: “You have slain my descendants unrighteously, and I have presented my request to the High God in consequence.” It then broke the great gate (of the palace), advanced to the gate of the State chamber, and entered. The duke was afraid and went into a side-chamber, the door of which it also broke. The duke then awoke, and called the witch of [Sangtian], who told him everything which he had dreamt. “What will be the issue?” asked the duke. “You will not taste the new wheat,” she replied.” ref

“After this, the duke became very ill, and asked the services of a physician from [Qin], the earl of which sent the physician [Huan] to do what he could for him. Before he came, the duke dreamt that his disease turned into two boys, who said, “That is a skilful physician; it is to be feared he will hurt us; how shall we get out of his way?” Then one of them said: “If we take our place above the heart and below the throat, what can he do to us?” When the physician arrived, he said, “Nothing can be done for this disease. Its seat is above the heart and below the throat. If I assail it (with medicine), it will be of no use; if I attempt to puncture it, it cannot be reached. Nothing can be done for it.” The duke said, “He is a skilful physician”, gave him large gifts, and send him back to [Qin].” ref

“In the sixth month, on the day [bingwu], the marquis wished to taste the new wheat, and made the superintendent of his fields present some. While the baker was getting it ready, [the marquis] called the witch of [Sangtian], showed her the wheat and put her to death. As the marquis was about to taste the wheat, he felt it necessary to go to the privy, into which he fell, and so died. One of the servants that waited on him had dreamt in the morning that he carried the marquis on his back up to heaven. The same at mid-day carried him on his back out from the privy, and was afterwards buried alive with him.” ref

“Commentators have attempted to explain why the wu merely interpreted the duke’s dream but did not perform a healing ritual or exorcism, and why the duke waited until the prediction had failed before ordering the execution. Boileau suggests the wu was executed in presumed responsibility for the Zhao ancestral spirit’s attack. Second, in 552 BCE a wu named Gao 皋 both appears in and divines about a dream of Zhongxing Xianzi. After conspiring in the murder of Duke Li of Jin, Zhongxing dreams that the duke’s spirit gets revenge.” ref

“In autumn, the marquis of [Jin] invaded our northern border. [Zhongxing Xianzi] prepared to invade [Qi]. (Just then), he dreamt that he was maintaining a suit with duke [Li], in which the case was going against him, when the duke struck him with a [ge] on his head, which fell down before him. He took his head up, put it on his shoulders, and ran off, when he saw the wizard [Gao] of [Gengyang]. A day or two after, it happened that he did see this [Gao] on the road, and told him his dream, and the wizard, who had had the same dream, said to him: “Your death is to happen about this time; but if you have business in the east, you will there be successful [first]”. Xianzi accepted this interpretation.” ref

“Boileau questions: why wasn’t the wu asked by Zhongxin to expel the spirit of the duke? Perhaps because the spirit went through him to curse the officer. Could it be that the wu was involved (his involvement is extremely strong in this affair) in a kind of deal, or is it simply that the wu was aware of two different matters concerning the officer, only one connected to the dream? According to these two stories, wu were feared and considered dangerous. This attitude is also evident in a Zhuangzi story about the shenwu 神巫 “spirit/god shaman” Jixian 季咸 from Zheng. In [Zheng], there was a shaman of the gods named [Jixian]. He could tell whether men would live or die, survive or perish, be fortunate or unfortunate, live a long time or die young, and he would predict the year, month, week, and day as though he were a god himself. When the people of [Zheng] saw him, they all ran out of his way. “As soothsayers.” writes de Groot, “the wu in ancient China no doubt held a place of great importance.” ref

Wu-shamans as officials

“Sinological controversies have arisen over the political importance of wu 巫 in ancient China. Some scholars believe Chinese wu used “techniques of ecstasy” like shamans elsewhere; others believe wu were “ritual bureaucrats” or “moral metaphysicians” who did not engage in shamanistic practices. Chen Mengjia wrote a seminal article that proposed Shang kings were wu-shamans.” ref

“In the oracle bone inscriptions are often encountered inscriptions stating that the king divined or that the king inquired in connections with wind- or rain-storms, rituals, conquests, or hunts. There are also statements that “the king made the prognostication that …,” pertaining to weather, the border regions, or misfortunes and diseases; the only prognosticator ever recorded in the oracle bone inscriptions was the king … There are, in addition, inscriptions describing the king dancing to pray for rain and the king prognosticating about a dream. All of these were activities of both king and shaman, which means in effect that the king was a shaman.” ref

“Chen’s shaman-king hypothesis was supported by Kwang-chih Chang who cited the Guoyu story about Shao Hao severing heaven-earth communication (above). This myth is the most important textual reference to shamanism in ancient China, and it provides the crucial clue to understanding the central role of shamanism in ancient Chinese politics. Heaven is where all the wisdom of human affairs lies. … Access to that wisdom was, of course, requisite for political authority. In the past, everybody had had that access through the shamans. Since heaven had been severed from earth, only those who controlled that access had the wisdom – hence the authority – to rule. Shamans, therefore, were a crucial part of every state court; in fact, scholars of ancient China agree that the king himself was actually head shaman.” ref

“Some modern scholars disagree. For instance, Boileau calls Chen’s hypothesis “somewhat antiquated being based more on an a priori approach than on history” and says, In the case of the relationship between wu and wang [king], Chen Mengjia did not pay sufficient attention to what the king was able to do as a king, that is to say, to the parts of the king’s activities in which the wu was not involved, for example, political leadership as such, or warfare. The process of recognition must also be taken into account: it is probable that the wu was chosen or acknowledged as such according to different criteria to those adopted for the king. Chen’s concept of the king as the head wu was influenced by Frazer‘s theories about the origin of political power: for Frazer the king was originally a powerful sorcerer.” ref

“The Shujing “Classic of History” lists Wu Xian 巫咸 and Wu Xian 巫賢 as capable administrators of the Shang royal household. The Duke of Zhou tells Prince Shao 召 that: I have heard that of ancient time, when King Tang had received the favoring decree, he had with him Yi Yin, making his virtue like that of great Heaven. Tai Jia, again, had Bao Heng. Tai Wu had Yi Zhi and Chen Hu, through whom his virtue was made to affect God; he had also [巫咸] Wu Xian, who regulated the royal house; Zu Yi had [巫賢] Wu Xian. Wu Ding had Gan Pan. These ministers carried out their principles and effected their arrangements, preserving and regulating the empire of [Shang], so that, while its ceremonies lasted, those sovereigns, though deceased, were assessors to Heaven, while it extended over many years.” ref

“According to Boileau, In some texts, Wu Xian senior is described as being in charge of the divination using [shi 筮] achilea. He was apparently made a high god in the kingdom of Qin 秦 during the Warring States period. The Tang subcommentary interprets the character wu of Wu Xian father and son as being a cognomen, the name of the clan from which the two Xian came. It is possible that in fact the text referred to two Shang ministers, father and son, coming from the same eponymous territory wu. Perhaps, later, the name (wu 巫) of these two ministers has been confused with the character wu (巫) as employed in other received texts.” ref

“Wu-shamans participated in court scandals and dynastic rivalries under Emperor Wu of Han (r. 141-87 BCE), particularly regarding the crime of wugu 巫蠱 (with gu “venom-based poison”) “sorcery; casting harmful spells”. In 130 BCE, Empress Chen Jiao was convicted of using shamans from Yue to conduct wugu magic. She “was dismissed from her position and a total of 300 persons who were involved in the case were executed”, their heads were cut off and exposed on stakes. In 91 BCE, an attempted coup against crown prince Liu Ju involved accusations of practicing wugu, and subsequently “no less than nine long months of bloody terrorism, ending in a tremendous slaughter, cost some tens of thousands their lives!.” ref

“Ever since Emperor Wu of Han established Confucianism as the state religion, the ruling classes have shown increasing prejudice against shamanism. Some modern writers view the traditional Confucianist disdain for female shamans as sexism. Schafer wrote: In the opinion of the writer, the Chou ruling class was particularly hostile to women in government, and regarded the ancient fertility rites as impure. This anti-female tendency was even more marked in the state of Lu, where Confucius approved of the official rain-ceremony in which men alone participated. There was, within ancient China, a heterogeneity of culture areas, with female shamans favored in some, males in others. The “licentiousness” of the ceremonies of such a state as Cheng (doubtless preserving the ancient Shang traditions and customs) was a byword among Confucian moralists. Confucius’ state seems on the other hand to have taken the “respectable” attitude that the sexes should not mingle in the dance, and that men were the legitimate performers of the fertility rites. The general practice of the later Chou period, or at least the semi-idealized picture given of the rites of that time in such books as the Chou li, apparently prescribed a division of magical functions between men and women. The former generally play the role of exorcists, the latter of petitioners. This is probably related to the metaphysical belief that women, embodying the principle yin, were akin to the spirits, whereas men, exemplifying the element yang, were naturally hostile to them.” ref

“Accepting the tradition that Chinese shamans were women (i.e., wu 巫 “shamaness” as opposed to xi 覡 “shaman”), Kagan believes: One of the main themes in Chinese history is the unsuccessful attempt by the male Confucian orthodoxy to strip women of their public and sacred powers and to limit them to a role of service … Confucianists reasserted daily their claim to power and authority through the promotion of the phallic ancestor cult which denied women religious representation and excluded them from the governmental examination system which was the path to office, prestige, and status. In addition, Unschuld refers to a “Confucian medicine” based upon systematic correspondences and the idea that illnesses are caused by excesses (rather than demons).” ref

“The Zhouli provides detailed information about the roles of wu-shamans. It lists, “Spirit Mediums as officials on the payroll of the Zhou Ministry of Rites (Liguan 禮官, or Ministry of Spring, Chun guan 春官).” This text differentiates three offices: the Siwu 司巫 “Manager/Director of Shamans”, Nanwu 男巫 “Male Shamans”, and Nüwu 女巫 “Female Shamans”. The managerial Siwu, who was of Shi 士 “Gentleman; Yeoman” feudal rank, yet was not a wu, supervised “the many wu.” ref

“The Managers of the Spirit Mediums are in charge of the policies and orders issued to the many Spirit Mediums. When the country suffers a great drought, they lead the Spirit Mediums in dancing the rain-making ritual (yu 雩). When the country suffers a great calamity, they lead the Spirit Mediums in enacting the long-standing practices of Spirit Mediums (wuheng 巫恆). At official sacrifices, they [handle] the ancestral tablets in their receptacles, the cloth on which the spirits walk, and the box containing the reeds [for presenting the sacrificial foodstuffs]. In all official sacrificial services, they guard the place where the offerings are buried. In all funerary services, they are in charge of the rituals by which the Spirit Mediums make [the spirits] descend (jiang 降).” ref

“The Nanwu and Nüwu have different shamanic specializations, especially regarding inauspicious events like sickness, death, and natural disaster. The Male Spirit Mediums are in charge of the si 祀 and yan 衍 Sacrifices to the Deities of the Mountains and Rivers. They receive the honorific titles [of the deities], which they proclaim into the [four] directions, holding reeds. In the winter, in the great temple hall, they offer [or: shoot arrows] without a fixed direction and without counting the number. In the spring, they make proclamations and issue bans so as to remove sickness and disease. When the king offers condolence, they together with the invocators precede him.” ref

“The Female Mediums are in charge of anointing and ablutions at the exorcisms that are held at regular times throughout the year. When there is a drought or scorching heat, they dance in the rain-making ritual (yu). When the queen offers condolence, they together with the invocators precede her. In all great calamities of the state, they pray, singing and wailing. (part 26)” ref

“Von Falkenhausen concludes: If we are to generalize from the above enumeration, we find that the Spirit Mediums’ principal functions are tied up with averting evil and pollution. They are especially active under circumstances of inauspiciousness and distress. In case of droughts and calamities, they directly address the supernatural powers of Heaven and Earth. Moreover, they are experts in dealing with frightful, dangerous ghosts (the ghosts of the defunct at the time of the funeral, the evil spirits at the exorcism, and the spirits of disease) and harmful substances (unburied dead bodies during visits of condolence and all manner of impure things at the lustration festival).” ref

Chu CiChu Ci

“The poetry anthology Chu Ci, especially its older pieces, is largely characterized by its shamanic content and style, as explicated to some extent by sinologist David Hawkespassim]]). Among other points of interest are the intersection of Shamanic traditions and mythology/folk religion in the earlier textual material, such as Tianwen (possibly based on even more ancient shamanic temple murals), the whole question of the interpretation of the 11 verses of the Jiu Ge (Nine Songs) as the libretto of a shamanic dramatic performance, the motif of shamanic spirit flight from Li Sao through subsequent pieces, the evidence of possible regional variations in wu shamanism between ChuWeiQi, and other states (or shamanic colleges associated with those regions), and the suggestion that some of the newer textual material was modified to please Han Wudi, by Liu An, the Prince of Huainan, or his circle. The Chu Ci contents have traditionally been chronologically divided into an older, pre-Han dynasty group, and those written during the Han Dynasty. Of the traditionally-considered to be the older works (omitting the mostly prose narratives, “Bu Ju” and “Yu Fu“) David Hawkes considers the following sections to be “functional, explicitly shamanistic”: Jiu GeTian Wen, and the two shamanic summons for the soul, “The Great Summons” and “Summons of the Soul“. Regarding the other, older pieces he considers that “shamanism, if there is any” to be an incidental poetic device, particularly in the form of descriptions of the shamanic spirit journey.” ref


“The mainstream of Chinese literacy and literature is associated with the shell and bone oracular inscriptions from recovered archeological artifacts from the Shang dynasty and with the literary works of the Western Zhou dynasty, which include the classic Confucian works. Both are associated with the northern Chinese areas. South of the traditional Shang and Zhou areas was the land (and water) of Chu. Politically and to some extent culturally distinct from the Zhou dynasty and its later 6 devolved hegemonic states, Chu was the original source and inspiration for the poems anthologized during the Han dynasty under the title Chu Ci, literally meaning something like “the literary material of Chu.” ref

“Despite the tendency of Confucian-oriented government officials to suppress wu shamanic beliefs and practice, in the general area of Chinese culture, the force of colonial conservatism and the poetic voice of Qu Yuan and other poets combined to contribute an established literary tradition heavily influenced by wu shamanism to posterity. Shamanic practices as described anthropologically are generally paralleled by descriptions of wu practices as found in the Chu Ci, and in Chinese mythology more generally.” ref

Li SaoYuan You, and Jiu BianLi SaoYuan You, and Jiu Bian

“The signature poem of the Chu Ci is the poem Li Sao. By China’s “first poet”, Qu Yuan, a major literary device of the poem is the shamanic spirit journey. “Yuan You“, literally “The Far-off Journey” features shamanic spirit flight as a literary device, as does Jiu Bian, as part of its climactic ending. In the Li Sao, two individual shaman are specified, Ling Fen (靈氛) and Wu Xian (巫咸). This Wu Xian may or may not be the same as the (one or more) historical person(s) named Wu Xian. Hawkes suggests an equation of the word ling in the Chu dialect with the word wu.” ref

Questioning Heaven: Heavenly Questions

“The Heavenly Questions (literally “Questioning Heaven”) is one of the ancient repositories of Chinese myth and a major cultural legacy. Propounded as a series of questions, the poem provides insight and provokes questions about the role of wu shaman practitioners in society and history.” ref

Jiu GeJiu Ge

“The Jiu Ge may be read as the lyrical preservation of a shamanic dramatic performance. Apparently typical of at least one variety of shamanism of the Chu area of the Yangzi River basin, the text exhibits a marked degree of eroticism in connection with shamanic invocations.” ref

Summoning the soulHun and po

“Summoning the soul (hun) of the possibly dead was a feature of ancient culture. The 2 Chu Ci pieces of this type may be authentic transcriptions of such a process.” ref

Individual wu shaman 

“Various individual wu shaman are alluded to in the Chu Ci. In some cases the binomial nomenclature is unclear, referring perhaps to one or two persons; for example, in the case of Peng Xian, who appears likely to represent Wu Peng and Wu Xian, which is a common type of morphological construction in Classical Chinese poetry. David Hawkes refers to some wu shaman as “Shaman Ancestors”. Additionally, the distinction between humans and transcendent divinities tends not to be explicit in the received Chu Ci text. In some cases, the individual wu shaman are known from other sources, such as the Shanhaijing (Classic of Mountains and Seas). The name of some individual shaman includes “Wu” (巫) in the normal position of the family surname, for example, in the case of Wu Yang (巫陽, “Shaman Bright”). Wu Yang is the major speaker in Zhao Hun/Summons for the Soul. He also appears in Shanhaijing together with Wu Peng (巫彭): 6 wu shaman are depicted together reviving a corpse, with Wu Peng holding the Herb of Immortality.” ref

“In the Li Sao, two individual shaman are specified: Ling Fen (靈氛) and Wu Xian (巫咸). This Wu Xian may or may not be the same as the (one or more) historical person(s) named Wu Xian. Hawkes suggests an equation of the word ling in the Chu dialect with the word wu. In Shanhaijing (Classic of Mountains and Seas), the name of some individual shaman includes “Wu” (巫) in the normal position of the family surname, for example, in the case of the following list, where the 6 are depicted together reviving a corpse, with Wu Peng holding the Herb of Immortality. Wu Peng and Wu Yang and others are also known from the Chu Ci poetry anthology. Wu Yang is the major speaker in Zhao Hun (also known as, Summons for the Soul).” ref

“From Hawkes:

  • The six shamans receiving a corpse: Wu Yang (巫陽, “Shaman Bright”), Wu Peng (巫彭), Wu Di (巫抵), Wu Li (巫履) [Tang reconstruction *Lǐ, Hanyu Pinyin Lǚ], Wu Fan (巫凡), Wu Xiang (巫相)
  • Ten other individuals named Wuin Shanhaijing: Wu Xian (巫咸), Wu Ji (巫即), Wu Fen (or Ban) (巫肦), Wu Peng (巫彭), Wu Gu (巫姑), Wu Zhen (巫真), Wu Li (巫禮), Wu Di (巫抵), Wu Xie (巫謝), Wu Luo (巫羅).” ref

“ModernChinese folk religion

Aspects of Chinese folk religion are sometimes associated with “shamanism”. De Groot provided descriptions and pictures of hereditary shamans in Fujian, called saigong (pinyin shigong) 師公. Paper analyzed tongji mediumistic activities in the Taiwanese village of Bao’an 保安. Shamanistic practices of Tungusic peoples are also found in China. Most notably, the Manchu Qing dynasty introduced Tungusic shamanistic practice as part of their official cult (see Shamanism in the Qing dynasty). Other remnants of Tungusic shamanism are found within the territory of the People’s Republic of China. documented Chuonnasuan (1927–2000), the last shaman of the Oroqen in northeast China.” ref

Chinese shamanism

Chinese shamanism, alternatively called Wuism (Chinese: 巫教; pinyinwū jiàolit. ‘wu religion, shamanismwitchcraft‘; alternatively 巫觋宗教 wū xí zōngjiào), refers to the shamanic religious tradition of China. Its features are especially connected to the ancient Neolithic cultures such as the Hongshan culture. Chinese shamanic traditions are intrinsic to Chinese folk religion. Various ritual traditions are rooted in original Chinese shamanism: contemporary Chinese ritual masters are sometimes identified as wu by outsiders, though most orders don’t self-identify as such. Also Taoism has some of its origins from Chinese shamanism: it developed around the pursuit of long life (shou 壽/寿), or the status of a xian (仙, “mountain man”, “holy man”).” ref

“The Chinese word wu 巫 “shaman, wizard”, indicating a person who can mediate with the powers generating things (the etymological meaning of “spirit”, “god”, or nomen agentisvirtusenergeia), was first recorded during the Shang dynasty (ca. 1600-1046 BCE), when a wu could be either sex. During the late Zhou dynasty (1045-256 BCE) wu was used to specify “female shaman; sorceress” as opposed to xi 覡 “male shaman; sorcerer” (which first appears in the 4th century BCE Guoyu). Other sex-differentiated shaman names include nanwu 男巫 for “male shaman; sorcerer; wizard”; and nüwu 女巫, wunü 巫女, wupo 巫婆, and wuyu 巫嫗 for “female shaman; sorceress; witch”. The word tongji 童乩 (lit. “youth diviner”) “shaman; spirit-medium” is a near-synonym of wu. Modern Chinese distinguishes native wu from “Siberian shaman“: saman 薩滿 or saman 薩蠻; and from Indian Shramana “wandering monk; ascetic”: shamen 沙門, sangmen 桑門, or sangmen 喪門.” ref

Berthold Laufer (1917:370) proposed an etymological relation between Mongolian bügä “shaman”, Turkic bögü “shaman”, Chinese buwu (shaman), bukpuk (to divine), and Tibetan aba (pronounced ba, sorcerer). Coblin (1986:107) puts forward a Sino-Tibetan root *mjaɣ “magician; sorcerer” for Chinese wu < mju < *mjag 巫 “magician; shaman” and Written Tibetan ‘ba’-po “sorcerer” and ‘ba’-mo “sorcereress” (of the Bön religion). Further connections are to the bu-mo priests of Zhuang Shigongism and the bi-mo priests of Bimoism, the Yi indigenous faith. Also Korean mu 무 (of Muism) is cognate to Chinese wu 巫. Schuessler lists some etymologies: wu could be cognate with wu 舞 “to dance”; wu could also be cognate with mu 母 “mother” since wu, as opposed to xi 覡, were typically female; wu could be a loanword from Iranian *maghu or *maguš “magi; magician”, meaning an “able one; specialist in ritual”. Mair (1990) provides archaeological and linguistic evidence that Chinese wu < *myag 巫 “shaman; witch, wizard; magician” was maybe a loanword from Old Persian *maguš “magician; magi“. Mair connects the nearly identical Chinese Bronze script for wu and Western heraldic cross potent , an ancient symbol of a magus or magician, which etymologically descend from the same Indo-European root.” ref

Early history

“The Chinese religion from the Shang dynasty onwards developed around ancestral worship. The main gods from this period are not forces of nature in the Sumerian way, but deified virtuous men. The ancestors of the emperors were called di (帝), and the greatest of them was called Shangdi (上帝, “the Highest Lord”). He is identified with the dragon (Kui 夔), symbol of the universal power (qi).” ref

“Cosmic powers dominate nature: the Sun, the Moon, stars, winds and clouds were considered informed by divine energies. The earth god is She (社) or Tu (土). The Shang period had two methods to enter in contact with divine ancestors: the first is the numinous-mystical wu (巫) practice, involving dances and trances; and the second is the method of the oracle bones, a rational way. The Zhou dynasty, succeeding the Shang, was more rooted in an agricultural worldview. They opposed the ancestor-gods of the Shang, and gods of nature became dominant. The utmost power in this period was named Tian (天, “heaven”). With Di (地, “earth”) he forms the whole cosmos in a complementary duality.” ref

Qing periodShamanism in the Qing dynasty

“The Manchu rulers of the Qing dynasty (1636–1912) introduced substantial elements of Tungusic shamanism to China. Hong Taiji (1592–1643) put shamanistic practices in the service of the state, notably by forbidding others to erect new shrines (tangse) for ritual purposes. In the 1620s and 1630s, the Qing ruler conducted shamanic sacrifices at the tangse of Mukden, the Qing capital. In 1644, as soon as the Qing seized Beijing to begin their conquest of China, they named it their new capital and erected an official shamanic shrine there. In the Beijing tangse and in the women’s quarters of the Forbidden City, Qing emperors and professional shamans (usually women) conducted shamanic ceremonies until the abdication of the dynasty in 1912.” ref

“In 1747 the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1735–1796) commissioned the publication of a Shamanic Code to revive and regulate shamanic practices, which he feared were becoming lost. He had it distributed to Bannermen to guide their practice, but we know very little about the effect of this policy. Mongols and Han Chinese were forbidden to attend shamanic ceremonies. Partly because of their secret aspect, these rituals attracted the curiosity of Beijing dwellers and visitors to the Qing capital. French Jesuit Joseph-Marie Amiot published a study on the Shamanic Code, “Rituels des Tartares Mandchous déterminés et fixés par l’empereur comme chef de sa religion” (1773). In 1777 the Qianlong Emperor ordered the code translated into Chinese for inclusion in the Siku quanshu. The Manchu version was printed in 1778, whereas the Chinese-language edition, titled Qinding Manzhou jishen jitian dianli (欽定滿洲祭神祭天典禮), was completed in 1780 or 1782. Even though this “Shamanic Code” did not fully unify shamanic practice among the Bannermen, it “helped systematize and reshape what had been a very fluid and diverse belief system.” ref

Northeast shamanism: Northeast China folk religion

“Shamanism is practiced in Northeast China and is considered different from those of central and southern Chinese folk religion, as it resulted from the interaction of Han religion with folk religion practices of other Tungusic people such as Manchu shamanism. The shaman would perform various ritual functions for groups of believers and local communities, such as moon drum dance and chūmǎxiān (出馬仙 “riding for the immortals”).” ref

“Shamanism saw a decline due to Neo-Confucianism labeling it as untutored and disorderly. This was furthered in the 19th century with the arrival of Western imperialism’s view of shamanism as superstition, opposing their view of science and western religion. The final hit was Maoist China causing all religious practices to disappear from public spaces. While spirit mediums have begun reappearing (mostly in rural China) since the 1980’s, they operate with a low profile, often working from their homes, relying on word of mouth to generate business, or in newly built temples under a Taoist Association membership card to be legitimate under the law. The term shamanism and the religion itself has been critiqued by Western scholars due to an unfair and limited comparison to more favored religions such as Christianity and other modern and more documented religions in Western society.” ref

“Today, the term shamanism has a somewhat negative stigma.  Spirit mediums are often viewed as scammers, and are frequently portrayed as such in television shows and comedies. Along with the focus on science, modern medicine, and material culture in China (which created serious doubt in spiritual practices), shamanism is viewed as an opposition to the modern focus of science and medicine in the pursuit of modernizing. The marginalization of shamanism is one of the reasons for it mostly being practiced in rural or less developed areas or in small towns, along with the lack of enforcement of anti-shamanism policies among authorities in rural areas (either because they believe in Shamanism themselves or “look the other way in concession to local beliefs”). Shamanistic practices today include controlling the weather, healing diseases modern medicine can not treat, exorcism of ghosts and demons, and seeing or divining the future.” ref

“Shamanism’s decrease in popularity is not reflected in all areas. It still maintains popularity in many areas in southern China (such as in Chaoshan) and rural northern China. Taiwan (although Taiwan tried to ban Shamanism, in the end only restricting it) still have many who openly practice without the stigma seen in other parts of China.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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6,720 to 4,920 years old Ritualistic Hongshan Culture of Inner Mongolia with 5,000-year-old Pyramid Mounds and Temples

The Hongshan Culture

“As an important part of the Neolithic Age in Northern China, the Hongshan Culture covers an area from the Wuerjimulun River valley of Chifeng, Inner Mongolia in the north to Chaoyang, Lingyuan and the northern part of Hebei Province in the south, and extends eastward to cover Tongliao and Jinzhou. Hongshan Culture is characterized primarily by the ancient painted potteries, the “Z”-stripped potteries, and the unique digging tools-stone spades and laurel leave-shaped two-holed stone knives. The potteries of Hongshan Culture fall into two types-clay potteries and sand-mixed potteries, both manually made. The clay potteries are mostly red, usually in the forms of bowl, basin, jar, and pots, etc., most of which are containers with small flat bottoms. Most of the clay potteries are decorated with black or purple stripes arranged mainly in parallel lines, triangles, scale-shaped patterns, and occasionally in “Z”-shaped pressed stripes. The stoneware of Hongshan Culture is made by grinding with the blades of stone knives finely ground and the edges and backs in curved symmetry, indicating a fairly developed agricultural economy of the culture. Within the area of Hongshan Culture, bones of oxen, lambs, pigs, deer, and river deer have been unearthed, though in small numbers. The oxen, lambs, and pigs, which are presumably domestic animals, vaguely indicate that the early inhabitants of Hongshan Culture lived a settled life supplemented by animal husbandry, fishery, and hunting.” ref

“More than 20 cirrus-shaped jade articles have been unearthed at the site of Hongshan Culture, and each of them represents two fundamental themes-cirrus-shaped angles and minor convexities. A combination of cirrus-shaped angles and minor convexities in different ways constitute the various patterns and designs of the cirrus-shaped jade articles of Hongshan Culture, which is best demonstrated by the enormous blackish-green jade dragon unearthed at Sanxingtala Township of Wengniute Banner. The dragon is 26 cm in height with the head of a swine and the body of a serpent, coiling like cirrus. Similar dragons were found later in Balin Right Banner and the Antiques Store of Liaoning Province. These cirrus-shaped jade articles can be classified into four types by analyzing their patterns and designs: decorative articles, tools, animals, and special ones, of which the hoop-shaped articles are among the typical pieces of the jade ware of Hongshan Culture. The association of the shapes of these jade articles with their cultural context indicates that the special articles and the tools were made to meet the needs of religious ceremonies. The discovery of cirrus-shaped jade dragon at Hongshan Culture strongly suggests Inner Mongolia as one of the essential sites to trace the worship for dragons by the Chinese people.” ref

“From religious relics of Hongshan Culture like the “Goddess Temple” and stone-pile tombs have been found at Dongshanzui of Kazuo County and Niuheliang at the juncture of Lingyuan County and Jianping County of Liaoning Province. The central part of Dongshanzui relics is the foundation of a large-scaled square structure built of stone. The overall layout of the bilateral symmetry of the foundation to a south-north axis, which is characteristic of the traditional Chinese architectural style, is the first of its kind ever discovered at the site of Neolithic Age. The pottery figures unearthed at the relics indicate that the sites used to be places for sacrificial ceremonies or similar activities. In the first place, archeological studies show that Hongshan Culture was developed on the basis of Xinglongwa Culture and Zhaobaogou Culture, and the inheritance and development in religious traditions between the three cultures are evident. No sites devoted exclusively to sacrificial rites have been found so far in Xinglongwa Culture and Zhaobaogou Culture. The discovery of Niulianghe Relics indicates that large-scaled centers for sacrificial rites had shown up by the end of Hongshan Culture. This is not only a breakthrough in the study of Hongshan Culture but a discovery of great significance to the exploration of the origin of the Chinese civilization.” ref

“Secondly, Hongshan Culture is credited with remarkable achievements in architecture, pottery-making, jade-carving, and pottery sculptures which are at higher levels than those of Xinglongwa Culture and Zhaobaogou Culture. The duet of square pottery molds unearthed at the relics of a house of Hongshan Culture at Xitai, Aohan Banner, which is the earliest mold for metal casting, shows that the early people of Hongshan Culture had mastered the technology of bronze casting. Next, hunting was in the dominant position in Xinglongwa Culture and Zhaobaogou Culture, while by contrast, agriculture played an essential role in the economy of Hongshan Culture. Judging from the position of Hongshan Culture in the archeological culture of ancient Northern China and China in the Neolithic Age, we can well assume that Hongshan Culture is one of the most advanced cultures among the ranks of its peers in both southern and northern China at that time when the smelting of bronze had made appearance, the earliest cities surrounded by ditches had shown up, and the division between urban and rural areas had taken shape. Religious activities characterized by worshiping dragon and jade and respecting the ancestors were in vogue. The conflicts among social groups and the subsequent fights for the unification of religious beliefs had become the fundamental social issue. This is another proof to the assumption that the people of Hongshan Culture had marched from the clan society into the historical phase of ancient kingdoms. Therefore, we can say that by laying a foundation for the development of the Chinese civilization of five thousand years and formulating and influencing the layout of the origin and the progress of the protocol-dominating culture of China, Hongshan Culture plays an extremely essential role in the evolution of the Chinese civilization.” ref

“The archaeological site at Niuheliang is a unique ritual complex associated with the Hongshan culture. Excavators have discovered an underground temple complex—which included an altar—and also cairns in Niuheliang. The temple was constructed of stone platforms, with painted walls. Archaeologists have given it the name Goddess Temple due to the discovery of a clay female head with jade inlaid eyes. It was an underground structure, 1m deep. Included on its walls are mural paintings. Housed inside the Goddess Temple are clay figurines as large as three times the size of real-life humans. The exceedingly large figurines are possibly deities, but for a religion not reflective in any other Chinese culture. The existence of complex trading networks and monumental architecture (such as pyramids and the Goddess Temple) point to the existence of a “chiefdom in these prehistoric communities.” ref

“Painted pottery was also discovered within the temple. Over 60 nearby tombs have been unearthed, all constructed of stone and covered by stone mounds, frequently including jade artifacts. Cairns were discovered atop two nearby two hills, with either round or square stepped tombs, made of piled limestone. Entombed inside were sculptures of dragons and tortoisesIt has been suggested that religious sacrifice might have been performed within the Hongshan culture.” ref

Niuheliang is a Neolithic archaeological site in Liaoning Province, Northeast China, along the middle and upper reaches of the Laoha River and the Yingjin River (presently on the border of Chaoyang and Jianping County). The Niuheliang site belongs to the Hongshan culture (4,700 – 2,900 BC 6,720 to 4,9320 years ago). It includes evidence of religion, such as a temple, an altar, and a cairnNiuheliang is a large burial site scattered over hilltops over a 50 square kilometer area. The altitude of Niuheliang ranges between 550 meters and 680 meters above sea level. Niuheliang dates to 3,500-3,000 BCE. It was a burial and sacrificial center in the late Hongshan period. No residential settlements have been discovered here so far.  The site features a unique temple on a loam platform, with an altar and cairn complex, covering an area of around 5 km². The altar at Niuheliang was made of stone platforms, supported by painted, clay cylinders. A north-south axis connects this temple complex with a central peak of the Zhushan mountains, otherwise known as “Pig Mountain”. The subterranean ritual complex was built on a ridge and decorated with painted walls, referred to by Chinese archaeologists as the Goddess Temple, due to the discovery of a clay female head with jade inlaid eyes. Pig dragons and large, nude, clay figurines were also found at Niuheliang. Some of the figurines are up to three times the size of real-life humans; the interior of the figurines was structured from wood and straw. Six groups of cairns were discovered nearby, south, and west of the temple site. The primary burial goods accompanying the graves were jade artifacts, although most of the excavated graves had already been looted.” ref


“According to the excavator of this site, Guo Dashun, there are in fact two varieties of animals represented in the jades. One is a boar with narrow eyes and flat snout; the other is a bear, represented by round eyes and short perky ears. He also found similar boar and bear symbolism in the vessels found at Xiaoheyan site. The bear has been widely worshipped in Northeast Asia, such as by the Ainu in northern Japan, and in Siberia. Thus, Guo Dashun sees this site in the wider Northeast Asian context. Some similarities with Xinglongwa culture (6200-5400 BC) of northeastern China have also been pointed out.” ref

Pyramidal structure?

“One year after the temple-cairns complex was discovered nearby a pyramidal structure “disguised” as a hill known as Zhuanshanzi, which was included during the Han dynasty (-206~220) in a section of the Great Wall. Built with earth and imported stone, its structure is more elaborate than the cairns. This site contains some of the essential elements, temples, cairns, and platforms, present in later ancestor worship of the Chinese such as the Ming tombs 5000 years later.” ref

“63% of the combined samples from various Hongshan archeological sites belonged to the subclade N1 (xN1a, N1c) of the paternal haplogroup N-M231 and calculated N to have been the predominant haplogroup in the region in the Neolithic period at 89%, its share gradually declining over time. Today this haplogroup is most common in Finland, the Baltic states, and among northern Siberian ethnicities, such as the Yakuts.” ref

Chinese archaeologists discovered a pyramid-shaped building, dating back more than 5,000 years ago, in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, in north China. The “pyramid”, located on a mountain ridge one kilometer north of Sijiazi Township in the Aohan Banner (county), is a three-storied stone building, with the bottom layer being more than 30 meters long and 15 meters wide. The “pyramid” belongs to the Hongshan Culture period of 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, according to Guo Dashun, a famous Chinese archaeologist who works in Liaoning Archaeological Research Institute. Seven tombs and ruins of an altar were found on the top of the “pyramid.” ref

“At the site of the altar, there are many fragments of broken pottery carved with the Chinese character “mi” (rice). Archaeologists said that the character “mi” may have something to do with people’s understanding of astrology in ancient times. In one of the tombs, archaeologists found a bone flute and a stone ring, and they unearthed a stone sculpture of a goddess the size of a human body in another tomb. Archaeologists were surprised to find a stone-carved linga on the wall of a tomb and a small stone statue of a goddess below the linga in the same tomb.” ref

“Archaeologist Guo said that many of the relics were first-time discoveries and they are of great significance in studying the burial customs, religious and sacrifice rituals, and the social structure of the Hongshan Culture. He pointed out, the discovery of the “pyramid” is also of great significance in exploring the origin of the Chinese civilization. The Hongshan Culture, belonging to the Neolithic culture, is mainly distributed in the juncture area between Inner Mongolia, Liaoning and Hebei provinces.” ref

“In northeast China, Hongshan culture was preceded by Xinglongwa culture (6200–5400 BC), Xinle culture (5300–4800 BC), and Zhaobaogou culture, which may be contemporary with Xinle and a little later. Moreover, the Yangshao culture was in the larger area and contemporary with Hongshan culture. These two cultures interacted with each other.” ref

Pyramids in China (pyramidal shaped tomb structures: 5,000 years old)

In the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in northern China, Chinese archeologists have discovered a pyramid which they have dated to be more than 5,000 years old. Archaeologist Guo Dashun stated that the three-stepped pyramid belongs to the Hongshan culture period of 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, during the Stone Age. At the top of the pyramid, the archeologists found seven tombs and the ruins of an altar. Also found were many fragments of broken pottery carved with the Chinese character mi (rice). They also discovered a bone flute, a stone ring, and a life-sized sculpture of a goddess. The term Chinese pyramids refers to pyramidal shaped structures in China, most of which are ancient mausoleums and burial mounds built to house the remains of several early emperors of China and their imperial relatives. About 38 of them are located around 16 to 22 mi) north-west of Xi’an, on the Guanzhong Plains in Shaanxi Province. The most famous is the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, northeast of Xi’an and 1.7 km west of where the Terracotta Warriors were found. The earliest tombs in China are found just north of Beijing in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and in Liaoning. They belong to the Neolithic Hongshan culture (6,700 to 2,900 years ago) a culture in northeastern China. The site of Niuheliang in Liaoning contains a pyramidal structure.culture in northeastern China. Hongshan burial artifacts include some of the earliest known examples of jade working. The Hongshan culture is known for its jade pig dragons and embryo dragons. Clay figurines, including figurines of pregnant women, are also found throughout Hongshan sites. Small copper rings were also excavated. Origin of the mysterious Yin-Shang bronzes in China indicate they contain lead with puzzlingly highly radiogenic isotopic compositions appeared suddenly in the alluvial plain of the Yellow River around 3,400 years ago. Excavators have discovered an underground temple complex—which included an altar—and also cairns in Niuheliang. The temple was constructed of stone platforms, with painted walls. Archaeologists have given it the name Goddess Temple due to the discovery of a clay female head with jade inlaid eyes. It was an underground structure, 1m deep. Included on its walls are mural paintings. Housed inside the Goddess Temple are clay figurines as large as three times the size of real-life humans. The exceedingly large figurines are possibly deities, but for a religion not reflective in any other Chinese culture. The existence of complex trading networks and monumental architecture (such as pyramids and the Goddess Temple) point to the existence of a “chiefdom in these prehistoric communities. Painted pottery was also discovered within the temple. Over 60 nearby tombs have been unearthed, all constructed of stone and covered by stone mounds, frequently including jade artifacts. Cairns were discovered atop two nearby two hills, with either round or square stepped tombs, made of piled limestone. Entombed inside were sculptures of dragons and tortoisesIt has been suggested that religious sacrifice might have been performed within the Hongshan culture. In northeast China, Hongshan culture was preceded by Xinglongwa culture (6200–5400 BC), Xinle culture (5300–4800 BC), and Zhaobaogou culture, which may be contemporary with Xinle and a little later. Yangshao culture was in the larger area and contemporary with Hongshan culture (see map). These two cultures interacted with each other. Just as suggested by evidence found at early Yangshao culture sites, Hongshan culture sites also provide the earliest evidence for feng shui. The presence of both round and square shapes at Hongshan culture ceremonial centers suggests an early presence of the gaitian cosmography (“round heaven, square earth”). The three exceptional pyramids around Xi’an, constructed using three different methods:

1. The Qian Shi Huang pyramid (Qin Dynasty) constructed of clay bricks

The first and largest “burial pyramid” is thought to be that of the first Emperor Qin Shi Huang, who unified China as a country and founded the Qin Dynasty. It lies in the huge mausoleum at the foot of the Qing Ling Shan Mountains, 80 km southwest of Xi’an. He began construction as soon as he ascended the throne at the tender age of 13 in 246 BC. It was to be of tremendous dimensions – its base was 354 x 357 meters, and its original height was 200 meters, making it the largest “pyramid” in the world (for comparison, the great pyramid in Giza is 230 x 230 meters and 147 meters high). For the 36 years that work went on, up to 700,000 people were employed at the site at a time to construct the pyramid and the subterranean complexes over an area of several thousand square meters. Construction was completed in 210 BC.

2. Qian Ling pyramid (Tang Dynasty), formed from a hill

This pyramid and the burial complexes are located on the slopes of Mount Liang, 6 km north of Quianling, the county seat, 80 km northwest of Xi’an. It is the mausoleum of the third Tang emperor, Gaozong (650-683 AD) and his wife, who became the Empress Wu Zetian (684-704, seventh daughter of Emperor Zhongzong (Li Xian), who was buried there in 684 or 706. The “pyramid” was not made by piling up material, however, but by shaping an existing hill (resulting in a “shaped pyramid”) which is not square and has large differences in its base lengths. What is special is the emperor’s subterranean burial chambers, which belie influences that are atypical for early China (see Fig. ??). Of the 18 Tang emperor burial sites in the Guanzhong Plain, it is the only complex that was not found and plundered by grave robbers. The enormous stairway access is almost 2 km long with two bulwark towers in front of the “pyramid” and is flanked by figures of animals and people that are up to 4 meters high and by monolithic stone pillars. Among these are armed guards, winged horses (yima), stone lions (shishi) and the Shusheng Tablets and Uncharactered Stele (wuzibei).

3. Earthen Pyramid of Princess Yongtai (Tang Dynasty)

Princess Yongtai (Huang Ti) was the granddaughter of Emperor Gaozong and Empress Wu Zetian, and died in 701 AD at only 17 years of age. She was buried near the Qianling Mausoleum in 706, together with Prince Duwei Wu Yanhin, a nephew of Wu Zetian who had died one year earlier (this delayed burial was possible because the bodies had been mummified). Yongtai‘s grave is surrounded by strong, 3-meters-tall walls, oriented to the four cardinal directions. They are 275 meters long from north to south and 220 meters wide from east to west. The pyramidal hill is located in the middle of the mausoleum. Today, it is only 14 meters high, with a respectable side length of 56 meters. An arched corridor 88 meters long, almost 4 meters wide and 6 meters high leads from the southern entrance to an antechamber and from there to the actual burial chamber. This one impressed and surprised me even more than that of Emperor Gaozong; it corresponds almost exactly to the Egyptian construction method. These similarities are not limited to the long corridors leading below the pyramid, but also include the chamber‘s shape and especially the outer sarcophagus. It is made of black basalt and is almost identical to the 24 sarcophagi in the Serapeum of Sakkara (see page 92). The frescoes are also exceptionally well preserved. The burial chamber‘s east and west walls are covered with depictions of black dragons, white tigers and an honor guard, and the ceiling features astronomical motifs. The antechamber‘s east and west walls bear depictions of waiting servants. This tomb is believed to have been plundered very early. Nevertheless, more than 1,300 items have been discovered in the vicinity during the past 50 years, including gold- and silverware, glazed figurines, porcelain and copperware.

3. Earthen Pyramid of Mao Ling (Han Dynasty)

This burial site is located 40 km from Xi‘an, near the village of Maoling, northeast of the city of Xingping. The mausoleum of Mao Ling, the burial pyramid of Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty (141-87 BC) is the largest of the five mausoleums built during the Western Han Dynasty and is also called the “Pyramid of the East”. Its construction is thought to have begun in 139 BC and lasted 53 years. It was surrounded by a square bulwark wall almost 6 meters thick, 431 meters long east to west and 415 meters long north to south. There was one gate in the middle of each section of the wall, one for every cardinal point. The central burial mound is a truncated pyramid, eroded to a height of 46.5 meters, with a base of about 217 x 222 meters. Around the central mausoleum are over 20 other tombs for Wudi’s family, ministers and generals, such as the burial pyramid of generals Huo Qubing, Wei Qing and Jin Midi, located between 1 and 2 km east of the emperor‘s tomb. Today, the complex also features the Mao Ling Museum, where splendid burial objects are displayed; historical records claim that the emperor spent one third of all tax income for several decades on the mausoleum‘s construction and his family’s burial goods.

Finding feng shui?

Early feng shui relied on astronomy to find correlations between humans and the universe. The culture may also have contributed to the development of settlements in ancient Korea. A group called “Qiang” were mentioned in ancient Chinese texts as well as in inscriptions on oracle bones 3000 years ago. The Qiang people who practice Qiang folk religion are an ethnic group in Chin mainly in a mountainous region in the northwestern part of Sichuan on the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. It is possible that the modern Qiang might be descendants of one of the groups referred to as Qiang in ancient times. Many of the peoples formerly designated as “Qiang” were gradually removed from this category in Chinese texts as they become sinicized or reclassified, and by the Ming and Qing dynasties, the term “Qiang” denoted only non-Han people living in the upper Min River Valley and Beichuan area, the area now occupied by the modern Qiang. Qiang territory lies between the Han Chinese and historical Tibet, and the Qiang would fall under the domination of both. Each village may have one or more stone towers in the past, and the Himalayan Towers remains a distinctive feature of some Qiang villages. Himalayan Towers are also called Stone star-shaped towers, are a series of stone towers located mostly in Kham, a province of premodern Tibet, and in Sichuan. The towers are located principally in the Changtang and Kongpo regions of Tibet as well as in the area inhabited by the modern Qiang people and in the historical region inhabited by the Western Xia. These towers can be found both in cities and in uninhabited regions. Many of the towers use a star pattern of walls as opposed to a strictly rectangular method and heights can exceed 200 ft. The Qiang worship five major gods, twelve lesser gods, some tree gods, and numerous stones were also worshiped as representatives of gods. A special god is also worshiped in every village and locality, who are mentioned by name in the sacred chants of the Qiang priests. Mubyasei, also known Abba Chi, is the supreme god of the universe and the same name is also used to refer to a male ancestor god, Abba Sei. In certain places, Shanwang, the mountain god, is considered to represent the supreme god. Archaeologists have released a photograph of a skull found in an ancient tomb in Alaer (Aral) in Southern Xinjiang, China.  The skull shows an unusual characteristic in which the teeth are vertically oriented instead of horizontally.  In addition, the researchers have revealed that the skeleton recovered from the tomb measured a massive 2.3 metres (7 feet 6 inches) which researchers have said that skeleton is 4,000 years old and belonged to the Qiang people. The Qiang people have been recognized as a ‘first ancestor’ culture due to their ancient roots – they were mentioned in ancient Chinese texts as well as inscriptions on the oracle bones of 3,000 years ago. However, the ancient Qiang people referred to in these ancient texts were a broad group of nomadic people and the ancestors of the modern Tibeto-Burman speakers, they are therefore not the equivalent of the modern Qiang people who are a small branch of the ancient Qiangs. The Qiangs were also not a single distinctive ethnic group in the past. According to historical records, a clan group made their homes in what is today’s Sichuan Province. During 600 to 900 AD when the Tibetan Regime gradually expanded its rule over the region, some Qiangs were assimilated by the Tibetans and others by the Hans, leaving a small number unassimilated. These developed into the distinctive ethnic group of today. Prehistoric transport and trade nvolved migrations out of the Fertile Crescent would carry early agricultural practices to neighboring regions—westward to Europe and North Africa, northward to Crimea, and eastward to MongoliaInterestingly, the region where the tomb was uncovered is in the same region where the well-known Tarim mummies with Caucasoid features were recovered. The mummies were found to have typical Europoid body features (elongated bodies, angular faces, recessed eyes), and many of them have their hair physically intact, ranging in color from blond to red to deep brown. Like the Qiang skeleton, the Tarim mummies were also found to be very tall.  Could there be a link between them? The ancient people of the Sahara imported domesticated animals from Asia between 6000 and 4000 BCE. In Nabta Playa by the end of the 7th millennium BCEprehistoric Egyptians had imported goats and sheep from Southwest AsiaForeign artifacts dating to the 5th millennium BCE in the Badarian culture in Egypt indicate contact with distant Syria. In predynastic Egypt, by the beginning of the 4th millennium BCEancient Egyptians in Maadi were importing pottery as well as construction ideas from Canaan. By the 4th millennium BCE shipping was well established, and the donkey and possibly the dromedary had been domesticated. Domestication of the Bactrian camel and use of the horse for transport then followed. Charcoal samples found in the tombs of Nekhen, which were dated to the Naqada I and II periods, have been identified as cedar from Lebanon. Predynastic Egyptians of the Naqada I period also imported obsidian from Ethiopia, used to shape blades and other objects from flakesThe Naqadans traded with Nubia to the south, the oases of the western desert to the west, and the cultures of the eastern Mediterranean to the east. Pottery and other artifacts from the Levant that date to the Naqadan era have been found in ancient Egypt. Egyptian artifacts dating to this era have been found in Canaan and other regions of the Near East, including Tell Brak and Uruk and Susa in Mesopotamia. By the second half of the 4th millennium BCE, the gemstone lapis lazuli was being traded from its only known source in the ancient world—Badakhshan, in what is now northeastern Afghanistan—as far as Mesopotamia and Egypt. By the 3rd millennium BCE, the lapis lazuli trade was extended to HarappaLothal and Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley Civilization (Ancient India) of modern-day Pakistan and northwestern India. The Indus Valley was also known as Meluhha, the earliest maritime trading partner of the Sumerians and Akkadians in Mesopotamia. The ancient harbor constructed in Lothal, India, around 2,400 years ago is the oldest seafaring harbor known. Ancient Egyptian trade consisted of the gradual creation of land and sea trade routes connecting the Ancient Egyptian civilization with the Fertile CrescentArabiaSub-Saharan Africa, and India. are circular and stepped and were made of clay. structures of Igbo culture was the Nsude Pyramids, at the Nigerian town of Nsude, northern Igboland. Ten pyramidal structures were built of clay/mud. The first base section was 60 ft. in circumference and 3 ft. in height. The next stack was 45 ft. in circumference. Circular stacks continued, till it reached the top. The structures were temples for the god Ala/Uto, who was believed to reside at the top. A stick was placed at the top to represent the god’s residence. The structures were laid in groups of five parallel to each other. Because it was built of clay/mud like the Deffufa of Nubia, time has taken its toll requiring periodic reconstruction. These pyramids bear a different but somewhat similar resemblance to the Step Pyramid of Saqqara, in Egypt and could have possibly, derive from the same cultural/religious/philosophical tradition that inspired this ancient Egyptian monument also similar to Nubian-like pyramids thousands of miles away from the Nubian area in the heart of Igboland. Evidence like this could show some correlation between the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Igbo. There is an existing ideology amongst the Yorubas of Nigeria and other writers of Yoruba history that the original ancestors of the Yorubas originated in ancient Egypt hence there was migration between Egypt and Yorubaland. This researcher contends that even if there was migration between Egypt and Nigeria, such migration did not take place during the predynastic and dynastic period as speculated by some scholars. No one knows precisely the origins of the methods of specialized bronze and brass castings in Nigeria, and the reasons for the similarities between the Nok terracottas (as old as 2,500 years), the art from Igbo-Ukwu near Enugu, and the Yoruba art that produced the famous Ife bronze heads and those of ancient Egyptians. These arts found in Nigeria might have been produced independently of any foreign culture. The ancient Egyptians were not known to be too keen about traveling and to adapt so much to foreign cultures. Trade, adventure, and escape from wars might have led some of them to travel to other parts of the world, but traveling to stay in other countries seemed not to be one of their preferences. Furthermore, the absence of a known and generally acceptable descendant of Egyptians in Nigeria suggests that the Egyptians did
not live in Nigeria permanently. The Nubian dynasty of Egypt (the 25th Dynasty of Egypt) saw the first widespread construction of pyramids (many in modern Sudan) since the Middle Kingdom. Amongst the Yorubas of Nigeria, are of the opinion that there were migrations between Egypt and Yorubaland. There is some thinking that there is some linkage between the Egyptians to the Yorubas, like the various forms of spirits, gods and ancestors worshipped. A royal pyramidal tomb, located in Ji’an, Jilin, was built by the Goguryeo Kingdom. The site includes archaeological remains of 40 tombs which were built by Goguryeo, which was founded by Jumong in a region called Jolbon Buyeo, thought to be located in the middle Amrok River and Tongjia River basin, overlapping the current ChinaNorth Korea border located in and around the city of Ji’an in China. Some of the tombs have elaborate ceilings designed to roof wide spaces without columns and carry the heavy load of a stone or earth tumulus (mound) was placed above them. The paintings in the tombs, while showing artistic skills and specific style, are also an example of strong influence from various cultures. located in and around the city of Ji’an in China. Koguryo (or Goguryeo, 2,037 years ago to 668 CE) was an ancient kingdom located in what is now Manchuria and the northern Korean Peninsula. Goguryeo was a Korean kingdom with a religion makeup of BuddhismTaoism, and Shamanism. In the geographic monographs of the Book of Han, the word Goguryeo was first mentioned around 2,113 to 1,349 years ago, as a region under the jurisdiction of the Xuantu Commandery, page 33. Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Goguryo Kingdom located in and around the city of Ji’an in China and located in the northern and central parts of the Korean Peninsula and the southern and central parts of inner and outer Manchuria. Goguryeo was an active participant in the power struggle for control of the Korean peninsula and was also associated with the foreign affairs of neighboring polities in China and JapanJumong, the founder of Goguryeo, was worshipped and respected among the people. There was even a temple in Pyongyang dedicated to Jumong. At the annual Dongmaeng Festival, a religious rite was performed for Jumong, ancestors, and gods.  Other pyramids in China, built using different construction methods, and not simply made of piled-up earth. What may deserve more attention than the earthen pyramids of Xi’an, as they are actual layered stone block pyramids, much like those in South America.

Layered stone pyramid of Jian/Zangkunchong (Goguryeo Dynasty)

There are two isolated layered pyramids near the city of Ji’an in Jangxi province in southeastern China. The perfectly preserved Ji’an pyramid is built of precisely cut stone blocks and contains a large burial chamber. Each base has a length of exactly 31.60 meters on every side, and the height is 12.4 meters. It is made up of seven layers, the first of four layers of stone, and all others of three. This layout is surprisingly similar to that of the layered pyramids in South America. The twelve monoliths that were placed so as to lean against the outer walls’ lower layers – the largest of which is 2.7 meters wide and 4.5 meters high – also set this one apart from other Chinese pyramids. Of these twelve monoliths, four are so-called guardian stones, but only “Paechong” (Korean for “warden‘s tomb”) is still intact. Interestingly, the pyramid is oriented to the cardinal points, while the heads of the stone sarcophagi in the chamber pointed precisely to the mystical volcanic crater of Paektusan (Mount Paektu) on the horizon with its beautiful crater lake at an altitude of 2,500 meters. There are three hypotheses about who built it: The first hypothesis suggests that it was built during the ancient Goguryeo empire, which briefly ruled Korea and parts of eastern China, as a stone mausoleum for King Kwangkaeto the Great (Gwangaeto, 374-413 AD). He is also credited with the construction of the nearby stone pyramid that is almost completely destroyed. The foundation walls, with their base lengths of almost 40 meters, are all that remain of that pyramid, which is thought to be his tomb. The second hypothesis posits that the remaining pyramid is the tomb of King Zangsu (Jangsu), which is why it is called “Zangkunchong”. It is also called Juni Ten (the general’s tomb) and “Pyramid of the East”. This name comes from the 20th regent of Goguryeo, the northernmost of the three Korean kingdoms, whose capital was Ji’an. Historical documents state that king Jansu was crowned king in 413 AD at the young age of 19 and went on to lead the kingdom, stretching from Korea to Mongolia, to its golden age. He died in 491 AD. But how did the Goguryeo Dynasty acquire the knowledge necessary for the construction of such flawless layered pyramids, the likes of which had never been seen in the area, and were not seen there again? The third hypothesis posits that the pyramids were built during the Kokuryo period, around 500 AD. That theory does not name the ruler who is buried there.

Xia Pyramids (Xia Dynasty), made of clay bricks 

The Xia pyramids are located in western China, on the eastern slope of the Helan mountains, about 35 kilometers west of Yinchuan, the capital of the autonomous region of Ningxia Hui. They consist of pyramidal mausoleums for the imperial family with heights of between 9 and 20 meters, and 207 documented stone tombs for nobles and higher magistrates, all scattered over an area of 40 km2. Chinese researchers have conducted archaeological and scientific analyses on these tombs since the 1980s, but the sudden rise and fall of the western Xia dynasty (also referred to as the Tangut Empire, 1038-1227) remains a mystery. One theory suggests that they were overrun and largely eradicated by invading Mongols under Genghis Khan. The best-preserved burial pyramid (Mausoleum No. 3) is the only one to have been excavated and explored. It was attributed to the first Xia emperor, Jingzong (1003-1048), whose birth name was Li Yuanhao. The pyramids were built with clay tiles, and the construction method used combines elements from the construction of pyramids, towers and traditional temple-mausoleums, while the chambers feature Buddhist elements and paintings, although these might have been added later.

Stone and earth Xituanshan Pyramid near Jiaohe

The ruins of Xituanshan, near the city of Jiaohe, on the border of the Taklamakan Desert, were excavated in 1950 after water erosion exposed the first two tombs (see sunken desert cities on page 586). The entire complex spans an area of 1,000 meters x 500 meters for a total area of 500,000 m2. Historical accounts state that it was the capital of the Chesi Empire from about 108 BC to 450 AD. But in 2006, Chinese archaeologists dug deeper and uncovered a group of six much older tombs that are thought to date back to the Bronze Age, or 1,000 BC, making them 3,000 years old, or almost 1,000 years older than the Chesi empire. For five of the pyramidal structures, only parts of the foundations and first layers remain, but these still reveal their original shape and size. The largest pyramidal tomb has been clearly identified as a three-layered pyramid made of stones and earth. It has a square base of 50 meters x 30 meters and an oval platform of 15 meters x 10 meters at its apex, on which stood a stone sarcophagus covered with a granite plate and surrounded by four engraved stone tablets. This mysterious sarcophagus and the pyramidal tombs were attributed to the “king of an earlier tribe”. I am certain that this complex was built by the legendary Sand People.

Stone and earth Hongshan Pyramids near Sijiazi

In the autonomous province of Inner Mongolia in northeastern China, a 5,000-year-old, three-tiered pyramid was discovered on a shaped-hill pyramid north of the city of Sijiazi in Aohan County. Even Chinese archaeologists immediately recognized it as a man-made pyramid, specifically as a burial complex from the Hongshan Culture (4,500-2,250 BC). The tiered pyramid is said to be about 30 meters long and 15 meters wide, and an altar and seven graves were found on its platform. In the graves, besides the remains, were various vaults containing a bone flute, a stone ring and the stone statue of a goddess. The archaeologists also discovered clay fragments with small stars scratched into their interiors which they believed to indicate either an early culture’s astronomical knowledge or a mythology that indicated that they would one day return to the stars.

What is the oldest Chinese dynasty?

The Shang dynasty is the oldest Chinese dynasty whose existence is supported by archaeological finds, but more evidence for the existence of the Xia dynasty may yet emerge. It’s estimated that the Shang ruled the Yellow River Valley of China for most of the second millennium BCE—so about 1766 to 1046 BCE. For centuries, people found what they called dragon bones—bones and shells with mysterious inscriptions—in many parts of China. Excavations of the ancient city of Anyang in the early twentieth century revealed tens of thousands of these bone fragments and bronze vessels, many of which had inscriptions in proto-Chinese characters. These artifacts contained records dating back to the Shang dynasty, allowing scholars to learn much about Shang life, such as their agricultural methods, medical treatments, legal system, and craft making styles. The Shang built huge cities with strong social class divisions, expanded earlier irrigation systems, excelled in the use of bronze, and developed a writing system. Shang kings fulfilled a sacred, not political, role, while a council of chosen advisers and bureaucrats—official administrators—organized and ran the government. The oldest surviving form of Chinese writing is found as inscriptions of divination records on the bones or shells of animals, called oracle bonesoracle, from a similar Latin root as the English word orator, means holy messenger or speaker. The writing found on oracle bones shows complexity, indicating that this language had existed for a long time. Writing allowed science in the Shang dynasty to advance, as observations could be recorded more accurately. The Oracle Scripts are accounts of eclipses and other celestial events written by astronomers of the Shang period. Shang astronomers’ works also showed advances in mathematics, the development of odd and even numbers, and principles of accounting. The I-Ching—also known as The Book of Changes—was either written or compiled at this same time, around 3,250 to 3,150 years ago. The I-Ching is a book of divination with roots going back to the fortune tellers of the rural areas and their oracle bones. Musical instruments were also developed by the Shang. At Yin Xu, near Angyang, excavations have revealed instruments from the Shang period such as the ocarina—a wind instrument—drums, and cymbals. Bells, chimes, and bone flutes have been discovered elsewhere. The Shang created a lunar calendar, based on the cycles of the moon, that was used to predict and record important events, especially planting and harvesting of crops. Because lunar years are shorter than solar years, which are based on the Earth’s orbit of the sun, Shang kings employed specially-trained astronomers who made adjustments and maintained the precision of the calendar. Bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, was a hugely important metal during the Shang period. Shang metal workers developed a highly sophisticated method for casting bronze and used it to make ceremonial objects and weapons. Bronze swords and spearheads were stronger than other available metals, giving Shang soldiers an advantage in battle. The influence of the Early Shang extended hundreds of kilometers away from the capital, and many of the Shang bronze techniques diffused over large areas. The Shang in turn adopted skills, ideas, and even crops from some neighboring societies, such as wheat and axes, which may have come from Western Asia. However—because natural barriers like the ocean, mountain ranges, deserts, and steppes kept the Shang in relative isolation—the Shang dynasty as well as later dynasties evolved in unique and insular ways. The first Shang ruler supposedly founded a new capital for his dynasty at a town called Shang, near modern-day Zhengzhou on the Yellow River, is in east-central China Henan province notable as the ancient Shang dynasty capital, whose earthen walls still stand in the city center. Shang, along with other ancient Chinese cities, had two city walls—one inner and one outer wall. The common residents could live within the outer wall, but could not go past the inner wall, which enclosed a temple area, cemetery sites, bronze foundries, bronze casting areas, and bone workshops. The inner walls thus encircled an area of political elite and craft specialists, who together were the engineers of the important ritual performances. In this way, the architecture of these cities was designed to separate different social classes. However, it seems that there were many capitals aside from this one, and rulers may have moved from one to the other because of religious rituals, military strategy, or food requirements. That suggests that the power of the dynasty was concentrated in the king, whose political authority was reinforced by the Shang religion. Anyang, another Shang capital, also in modern-day Henan Province, is another important—but slightly later—Shang city that has been excavated. It was located at the intersection between lowland agricultural areas of the North China Plain and mountains which acted as a defensive border. This site yielded large numbers of oracle bones that describe the travels of eleven named kings. The names and timeframes of these kings match traditional lists of Shang kings. Anyang was a huge city, with an extensive cemetery of thousands of graves and 11 large tombs—evidence of the city’s labor force, which may have belonged to the 11 Shang kings. Cities were crucial to political and religious affairs, and they were the seats of administrative affairs, royal tombs, palaces, and shrines. Common people were concentrated in the agricultural areas outside the cities. The border territories of Shang rule were led by chieftains who gained the right to govern through connections with royalty. Shang relied heavily on neighboring fiefs for raw materials, much of which was devoted to ceremonial performances. The Shang enacted a feudal system, a system in which duties are tied to land ownership, with sharp class divisions based on clan birthright. The aristocracy were centered around Anyang, which was the seat of governmental affairs for the surrounding areas. Regional territories farther from the capital were also controlled by the wealthy. There were many local rulers who held hereditary titles. In this imperial system, elite classes benefitted from the production of peasants and large-scale projects under elite control, usually operated using various forms of unfree labor. There is also evidence of a class of proto-bureaucrats, many of whom were titled officials, who had managerial roles and kept extensive records. Shang religion was incredibly important, and it extended into the political and economic spheres. The Shang religion and state power were closely connected; state power was consolidated through a sense of reverence for royal Shang ancestors. Further, by the end of the Shang dynasty, the king was the only one who could interpret the oracle bones, thereby making him the head shaman. The Shang religion was characterized by a combination of animism, the idea that everything has a soul; shamanism, the belief in shamans who have the ability to communicate with the spiritual world; ancestor worship; and divination. Different gods represented natural and mythological symbols, such as the moon, the sun, the wind, the rain, the dragon, and the phoenix. Peasants prayed to these gods for bountiful harvests. Festivals to celebrate gods were also common. In particular, the Shang kings, who considered themselves divine rulers, consulted the great god Shangdi—the Supreme Being who ruled over humanity and nature—for advice and wisdom. The Shang believed that the ancestors could also confer good fortune; the Shang would consult ancestors through oracle bones in order to seek approval for any major decision, and to learn about future success in harvesting, hunting, or battle. It appears that there was belief in the afterlife during the Shang dynasty. Archaeologists have found Shang tombs surrounded by the skulls and bodies of human sacrifices. Some of these contain jade, which was thought to protect against decay and grant immortality. Archaeologists believe that Shang tombs were very similar to those found in the Egyptian pyramids in that they buried servants with them. Chinese archaeologists theorize that the Shang, like the ancient Egyptians, believed their servants would continue to serve them in the afterlife. Because of this belief, aristocrats’ servants would be killed and buried with them when they died. Another interpretation is that these were enemy warriors captured in battle. One elaborate tomb which has been unearthed was that of Lady Hao, a consort of a Shang king who reigned around 1200 BCE. The artifacts found in her tomb indicate that she had a high social status and a great deal of power in Shang society, which makes historians speculate about the role of women in the Shang dynasty. Based on the artifacts found in Lady Hao’s tomb, it seems that she had her own wealth and political influence, and it is possible that she also had a prominent role in the military, as many bronze weapons were found buried with her. The 16 other skeletons in Fu Hao’s tomb are believed to have been slaves, who were buried alive in order to serve her in the afterlife. The Chinese Bronze Age had begun by 3,700 years ago in the kingdom of the Shang dynasty and ancient DNA reveals a migration of the ancient Di-qiang populations into Xinjiang as early as the early Bronze Age. Moreover, in the Chinese Bronze Age it was believed the king’s right to rule was based on his good relations with the spirits of his ancestors who controlled the destiny of the domain. The king continually posed questions to his ancestors about policy. He did this by instructing his scribe to write the question on an “oracle bone” — that is, an animal shoulder blade or the breast bone of a turtle. A priest then held a hot rod to the bone until it cracked and interpreted the pattern of the cracks for the answer. It was also the king’s duty to please the great forces of nature — the sun and rain gods — who controlled the outcome of the harvest. So that these gods and his ancestor spirits would look favorably on his kingdom, the king made regular sacrifices of wine and cereals, which were placed in elaborate bronze vessels and heated over the fires on the temple altar. During the Shang dynasty bronze vessels were the symbol of royalty. At times the Shang kings make animal and human sacrifices as well; and when the king and powerful members of the royal court died, it was not unusual that their wives, servants, bodyguards, horses and dogs were killed and buried with them. During the Zhou Dynasty people gradually turned away from this custom and substituted clay figures for real people and animals. The Zhou Dynasty (Chinese folk religionAncestor worship, and Heaven worship) lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history with capitals in Fenghao (3,046 to 2,771 years ago), Luoyang (2,510 to 314 years ago). The Zhou emulated extensively Shang cultural practices, perhaps to legitimize their own rule, and became the successors to Shang culture. At the same time, the Zhou may also have been connected to the Xirong, a broadly defined cultural group to the west of the Shang, which the Shang regarded as tributaries. In about 1050 BC the Shang dynasty was defeated in battle by armies from Zhou, a rival state to the west, which seems both to have inherited cultural traditions from the Neolithic cultures of the northwest and to have absorbed most of the material culture of the Shang.  The conquerors retained their homeland in the Wei River valley in present-day Shaanxi province and portioned out the rest of their territory among their relatives and local chiefs, creating a number of local courts or principalities. The culture of the early Zhou is known to us not solely through archaeological evidence, but also through transmitted texts, such as the Book of Documents (Shujing), which describes the Zhou conquest of the Shang as the victory of just and noble warriors over a decadent and dissolute king.  In these texts and bronze inscriptions alike, the rule of the Zhou kings was linked to heaven, conceived of as the sacred moral power of the cosmos.  A king and a dynasty could rule only so long as they retained heaven’s favor. Zhou rulers introduced what was to prove one of East Asia’s most enduring political doctrines. The concept of the “Mandate of Heaven”. They did this so by asserting that their moral superiority justified taking over Shang wealth and territories, also that heaven had imposed a moral mandate on them to replace the Shang and return good governance to the people. The Mandate of Heaven was presented as a religious compact between the Zhou people and their supreme god in heaven (literally the ‘sky god’). The Zhou agreed that since worldly affairs were supposed to align with those of the heavens, the heavens conferred legitimate power only one person, the Zhou ruler. In return, the ruler was duty-bound to uphold heaven’s principles of harmony and honor. Any ruler who failed in this duty, who let instability creep into earthly affairs, or who let his people suffer, would lose the mandate. Under this system, it was the prerogative of spiritual authority to withdraw support from any wayward ruler and to find another, more worthy one. In this way, the Zhou sky god legitimated regime change. In using this ccreed, nthe Zhou rulers had to acknowledge that any group of rulers, even they themselves could be ousted if they lost the mandate of haven because of improper practices. The book of odes, written during the Zhou period clearly intoned this caution. The early Zhou kings contended that heaven favored their triumph because the last Shang kings had been evil men whose policies brought pain to the people through waste and corruption. After the Zhou came to power, the mandate became a political tool. Like in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus River valley, civilization in China developed around a great river. The Yellow River carried floodwater and sediment to the land around it, making the area incredibly fertile, and thus an excellent place for the Stone Age inhabitants of the area to experiment with agriculture. While the Yellow River was the main cradle of Chinese civilization, people also settled around other rivers, such as the Huai and the Yangtze. By around 4000 BC, villages began to appear. They cultivated a number of crops, but most important was a grain called millet (two types of millet: proso and foxtail millet). The Chinese, even up to modern times, revere the Wǔgǔ, the Five Sacred Grains, which are traditionally considered soybeans, wheat, hemp, and the two types of millet. Rice was also cultivated in this period, but it was not yet the important staple that it would later become in the Chinese diet. The Neolithic Chinese domesticated animals such as pigs, dogs, and chickens. Silk production, through the domestication of silk worms, probably also began in this early period. During the Neolithic period in China, there were multiple groups of people, mostly around the Yellow River, with separate emerging cultures. Some of these various cultures include the Yangshao culture (ca. 4800 – ca. 3000 BC), the Majiayao culture (ca. 3800 – ca. 2000 BC), the Dawenkou culture (ca. 4300 – ca. 2400 BC), the Qijia culture (ca. 2200 – ca. 1800 BC), and the Longshan culture (ca. 2600 – ca. 2000 BC). Over time, they influenced each other more and more, and pottery, art, and artifacts recovered by archaeologists show greater homogenization as time went on. By 2000 BC a more unified Chinese culture was developing, and there is also evidence of urbanism and the use of early writing among the Chinese. Archaeologists have discovered advanced Bronze Age culture in China, which they call the Erlitou culture. Its capital, Erlitou, was a huge city around 2000 BC, with two possible palaces, a drainage system, and what seems to have been a very high population. This may be the people referred to in Chinese mythology as the Xia.


Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Sacred Snakes or Dragons and Rivers? To me, it’s snakes/dragons in one theme express as rivers thus developed on animism to gods or totem and other believed sacred beings

Snake Worship?

“Snake worship is seen in several ancient cultures, particularly, snake as renewal. Snake worship is devotion to serpent deities. The tradition is present in several ancient cultures, particularly in religion and mythology, where snakes were seen as entities of strength and renewal.” ref

Near East

Ancient Mesopotamia

“Ancient Mesopotamians and Semites believed that snakes were immortal because they could infinitely shed their skin and appear forever youthful, appearing in a fresh guise every time. The Sumerians worshipped a serpent god named Ningishzida. Before the arrival of the Israelites, snake cults were well established in Canaan in the Bronze Age, for archaeologists have uncovered serpent cult objects in Bronze Age strata at several pre-Israelite cities in Canaan: two at Megiddo,[2] one at Gezer, one in the sanctum sanctorum of the Area H temple at Hazor, and two at Shechem.” ref

“In the surrounding region, serpent cult objects figured in other cultures. A late Bronze Age Hittite shrine in northern Syria contained a bronze statue of a god holding a serpent in one hand and a staff in the other. In sixth-century Babylon a pair of bronze serpents flanked each of the four doorways of the temple of Esagila. At the Babylonian New Year’s festival, the priest was to commission from a woodworker, a metalworker, and a goldsmith two images, one of which “shall hold in its left hand a snake of cedar, raising its right [hand] to the god Nabu“. At the tell of Tepe Gawra, at least seventeen Early Bronze Age Assyrian bronze serpents were recovered.” ref

United Arab Emirates

“Significant finds of pottery, bronze-ware, and even gold depictions of snakes have been made throughout the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Bronze Age and Iron Age metallurgical center of Saruq Al Hadid has yielded probably the richest trove of such objects, although finds have been made bearing snake symbols in Bronze Age sites at Rumailah, Bithnah, and Masafi. Most of the depictions of snakes are similar, with a consistent dotted decoration applied to them. Although the widespread depiction of snakes in sites across the UAE is thought by archaeologists to have a religious purpose, this remains conjecture.” ref


Further information: Nehushtan, Brazen Serpent, Staff of Moses, and Serpents in the Bible

Gnosticism: Gnosticism

Further information: Gnostic texts, Naassenes, and Ophites

“In Gnosticism, the biblical serpent in the Garden of Eden was praised and thanked for bringing knowledge (gnosis) to Adam and Eve and thereby freeing them from the malevolent Demiurge‘s control. Gnostic Christian doctrines rely on a dualistic cosmology that implies the eternal conflict between good and evil, and a conception of the serpent as the liberating savior and bestower of knowledge to humankind as opposed to the Demiurge or creator god, identified with the Hebrew God of the Old Testament. Gnostic Christians considered the Hebrew God of the Old Testament as the evil, false god and creator of the material universe, and the Unknown God of the Gospel, the father of Jesus Christ and creator of the spiritual world, as the true, good God. They were regarded as heretics by the proto-orthodox Early Church Fathers.” ref


Mami Wata, who plays a major role in various African and African-American religions. In Africa the main center of serpent worship was Dahomey, but the cult of the python seems to have been of exotic origin, dating back to the first quarter of the 17th century. By the conquest of Whydah the Dahomeyans were brought in contact with a people of serpent worshippers, and ended by adopting from them the beliefs which they at first despised. At Whydah, the chief center, there is a serpent temple, tenanted by some fifty snakes. Every python of the danh-gbi kind must be treated with respect, and death is the penalty for killing one, even by accident. Danh-gbi has numerous wives, who until 1857 took part in a public procession from which the profane crowd was excluded; a python was carried round the town in a hammock, perhaps as a ceremony for the expulsion of evils.” ref

“The rainbow-god of the Ashanti was also conceived to have the form of a snake. His messenger was said to be a small variety of boa, but only certain individuals, not the whole species, were sacred. In many parts of Africa the serpent is looked upon as the incarnation of deceased relatives. Among the Amazulu, as among the Betsileo of Madagascar, certain species are assigned as the abode of certain classes. The Maasai, on the other hand, regard each species as the habitat of a particular family of the tribe.” ref

“Eva Meyerowitz wrote of an earthenware pot that was stored at the Museum of Achimota College in Gold Coast. The base of the neck of this pot is surrounded by the rainbow snake. The legend of this creature explains that the rainbow snake only emerged from its home when it was thirsty. Keeping its tail on the ground the snake would raise its head to the sky looking for the rain god. As it drank great quantities of water, the snake would spill some which would fall to the earth as rain.” ref

“There are four other snakes on the sides of this pot: Danh – gbi, the life giving snake, Li, for protection, Liwui, which was associated with Wu, god of the sea, and Fa, the messenger of the gods. The first three snakes Danh – gbi, Li, Liwui were all worshipped at Whydah, Dahomey where the serpent cult originated. For the Dahomeans, the spirit of the serpent was one to be feared as he was unforgiving. They believed that the serpent spirit could manifest itself in any long, winding objects such as plant roots and animal nerves. They also believed it could manifest itself as the umbilical cord, making it a symbol of fertility and life.” ref

Mami Wata is a water spirit or class of spirits associated with fertility and healing, usually depicted as a woman holding a large snake or with the lower body of a serpent or fish. She is worshipped in West, Central, and Southern Africa, and the African diaspora.” ref

African diasporic religion

“In Haitian Vodou, the creator loa Damballa is represented as a serpent, and his wife Ayida-Weddo is called the “rainbow serpent.” In West African mythology, Ayida-Weddo is believed to hold up the sky. Simbi are a type of serpentine loa in Haitian Vodou. They are associated with water and sometimes are believed to act as psychopomps serving Papa Legba.” ref

Ancient Egypt

“Ancient Egyptians worshipped snakes, especially the cobra. The cobra was not only associated with the sun god Ra, but also many other deities such as Wadjet, Renenutet, Nehebkau, and Meretseger. Serpents could also be evil and harmful such as the case of Apep. They were also referenced in the Book of the Dead, in which Spell 39 was made to help repel an evil snake in the underworld. “Get back! Crawl away! Get away from me, you snake! Go, be drowned in the Lake of the Abyss, at the place where your father commanded that the slaying of you should be carried out.” ref

“Wadjet was the patron goddess of Upper Egypt, and was represented as a cobra with spread hood, or a cobra-headed woman. She later became one of the protective emblems on the pharaoh’s crown once Upper and Lower Egypt were united. She was said to ‘spit fire’ at the pharaoh’s enemies, and the enemies of Ra. Sometimes referred to as one of the eyes of Ra, she was often associated with the lioness goddess Sekhmet, who also bore that role.” ref

The Americas

North America

Indigenous peoples of the Americas such as the Hopi (The Hopi language is one of 30 in the Uto-Aztecan language family) give reverence to the rattlesnake as grandfather and king of snakes who is able to give fair winds or cause tempest. Among the Hopi of Arizona, snake-handling figures largely in a dance to celebrate the union of Snake Youth (a Sky spirit) and Snake Girl (an Underworld spirit). The rattlesnake was worshipped in the Natchez temple of the sun. The Mound Builders evidently reverenced the serpent, as the Serpent Mound demonstrates, though we are unable to unravel the particular associations.” ref


“The classic Maya vision serpent, is depicted at Yaxchilan. The Maya deity Kukulkan and the Aztec Quetzalcoatl (both meaning “feathered serpent”) figured prominently in their respective cultures of origin. Kukulkan (Q’uq’umatz in K’iche’ Maya) is associated with Vision Serpent iconography in Maya art. Kukulkan was an official state deity of Itza in the northern Yucatan. In many Mesoamerican cultures, the serpent was regarded as a portal between two worlds. The worship of Quetzalcoatl dates back to as early as the 1st century BCE at Teotihuacan. In the Postclassic period (CE 900-1519), the cult was centered at Cholula. Quetzalcoatl was associated with wind, the dawn, the planet Venus as the morning star, and was a tutelary patron of arts, crafts, merchants, and the priesthood.” ref

South America

“The Raimondi Stela from the Chavín culture, Ancash, Peru depicts a fanged and clawed figure with snakes for hair. Serpents figure prominently in the art of the pre-Incan Chavín culture, as can be seen at the type-site of Chavín de Huántar in Peru. In Chile the Mapuche mythology featured a serpent figure in stories about a deluge. Lake Guatavita in Colombia also maintains a Cacique legend of a “Serpent God” living in the waters, which the tribe worshipped by placing gold and silver jewelry into the lake.” ref



“Serpents, or nāgas, play a particularly important role in Cambodian mythology. A well-known story explains the emergence of the Khmer people from the union of Indian and indigenous elements, the latter being represented as nāgas. According to the story, an Indian brahmana named Kaundinya came to Cambodia, which at the time was under the dominion of the naga king. The naga princess Soma sallied forth to fight against the invader but was defeated. Presented with the option of marrying the victorious Kaundinya, Soma readily agreed to do so, and together they ruled the land. The Khmer people are their descendants.” ref


Main article: Naga (mythology)

Manasa seen in a village in the Sundarbans, West Bengal, India or Devotions to Nagadevata

“Snakes, nagas, have high status in Hindu mythology. Nāga (Sanskrit:नाग) is the Sanskrit and Pāli word for a deity or class of entity or being, taking the form of a very large snake, found in Hinduism and Buddhism. The use of the term nāga is often ambiguous, as the word may also refer, in similar contexts, to one of several human tribes known as or nicknamed Nāgas; to elephants; and to ordinary snakes, particularly the Ophiophagus hannah, the Ptyas mucosa, and the Naja naja, the latter of which is still called nāg in Hindi and other languages of India. A female nāga is a nāgīn. The snake primarily represents rebirth, death, and mortality, due to its casting of its skin and being symbolically “reborn”. Over a large part of India, there are carved representations of cobras or nagas or stones as substitutes. To these humans food and flowers are offered and lights are burned before the shrines. Among some Indians, a cobra that is accidentally killed is burned like a human being; no one would kill one intentionally. The serpent-god’s image is carried in an annual procession by a celibate priestess.” ref

Naga Temple Kukke Subramanya Swamy temple, Karnataka

“At one time there were many prevalent different renditions of the serpent cult located in India. In Northern India, a masculine version of the serpent named Rivaan and known as the “king of the serpents” was worshipped. Instead of the “king of the serpents”, actual live snakes were worshipped in Southern India. “The Manasa-cult in Bengal, India, however, was dedicated to the anthropomorphic serpent goddess, Manasa. A roadside temple to Snakes, Tamil Nadu, India. Nāgas form an important part of Hindu mythology.” ref

“They play prominent roles in various legends:

· Shesha (Aadi shesha, Anantha) on whom Vishnu does yoga nidra (Anantha shayana).

· Vasuki is the king of Nagas.

· Kaliya poisoned the Yamuna river where he lived. Krishna subdued Kaliya and compelled him to leave the river.

· Manasa is the queen of the snakes.

· Astika is half Brahmin and half naga.

· A snake is commonly depicted around Shiva‘s neck.” ref

· “Patanjali the great sage and author of the Yoga Sutras was said to be the embodiment of Adi Shesha, the divine serpent who forms Vishu’s couch. It was rumored he transformed into a giant snake while teaching his students from behind a screen.” ref

· “Nag panchami is an important Hindu festival associated with snake worship which takes place of the fifth day of Shravana (July–August). Snake idols are offered gifts of milk and incense to help the worshipper to gain knowledge, wealth, and fame.” ref

“Different districts of Bengal celebrate the serpent in various ways. In the districts of East Mymensing, West Sylhet, and North Tippera, serpent-worship rituals were very similar, however. On the very last day of the Bengali month Shravana, all of these districts celebrate serpent-worship each year. Regardless of their class and station, every family during this time created a clay model of the serpent-deity – usually the serpent-goddess with two snakes spreading their hoods on her shoulders. The people worshipped this model at their homes and sacrificed a goat or a pigeon for the deity’s honor. Before the clay goddess was submerged in water at the end of the festival, the clay snakes were taken from her shoulders. The people believed that the earth these snakes were made from cured illnesses, especially children’s diseases.” ref

“These districts also worshipped an object known as a Karandi. Resembling a small house made of cork, the Karandi is decorated with images of snakes, the snake goddess, and snake legends on its walls and roof. The blood of sacrificed animals was sprinkled on the Karandi and it also was submerged in the river at the end of the festival.” ref

“Among the Khasi tribe of Meghalaya, there exists a legend of snake worshipping. The snake deity is called “U Thlen” (lit: Python or large serpent) and it is said to demand human sacrifice from his worshippers. Those who can provide the Thlen with human blood, are usually rewarded with riches, but he would shame those who cannot provide the needed sacrifice. The subject of the Thlen is still a sensitive subject among the Khasis, and in recent years, in some rural areas, people have been killed in the name of being “Nongshohnoh” or Keepers of the Thlen, the evil snake God.” ref

“As kul devata also nagas are worship at many parts of India including Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. In Madhya Pradesh, a village Sironja Gadariya in KATNI District people worship naga as a god of their ancestry. They are mainly brahman who worship Shiva also. They are descendants of Bharadwaj saga and using Surname Dwivedi. In this village, people are worship naga dev in every ceremony like birth, marriage, and any other small and special events. They also claim that even a real serpent mostly cobra living with them but never harms anyone. They consider that they are their ancestors who are cursed due to some wrong deeds.” ref

“Finally, another tradition in Hindu culture relating to yoga brings up kundalini, a type of spiritual energy said to sit at the base of the human spine. The term means “coiled snake” in Sanskrit roots and several goddesses are associated with its vitality, including Adi Parashakti and Bhairavi.” ref


“Eight dragon kings who assembled at the gathering where Shakyamuni preached the Lotus Sutra, as described in the sutra. Kumarajiva’s translation of the Lotus Sutra refers to them by their Sanskrit names: Nanda, Upananda, Sagara, Vasuki, Takshaka, Anavatapta, Manasvin, and Utpalaka. According to the “Introduction” (first) chapter of the Lotus Sutra, each attends the gathering accompanied by several hundreds of thousands of followers.” ref


“In Korean mythology, Eobshin, the wealth goddess, appears as an eared, black snake. Chilseongshin (the Jeju Island equivalent to Eobshin) and her seven daughters are all snakes. These goddesses are deities of orchards, courts, and protect the home. According to the Jeju Pungtorok, “The people fear snakes. They worship it as a god…When they see a snake, they call it a great god, and do not kill it or chase it away.” The reason for snakes symbolizing worth was because they ate rats and other pests.” ref


Matsura Sayohime (松浦佐用姫) was a legendary heroine in Japanese Buddhist mythology. As recounted, she was born to Lord Kyōgoku after he and his wife prayed to the Bodhisattva Kannon. After her father’s death, Sayohime was too poor to sponsor a memorial service for him; to raise funds, she sold herself to a man named Gonga no Tayu, who (unbeknownst to Sayohime) intended to sacrifice her to the snake deity of his village in place of his own daughter. When presented to the snake, Sayohime read from the Lotus sutra, enabling the deity to achieve enlightenment and shed its monstrous form. The deity then returned Sayohime to the care of her mother.” ref


“In Australia, Austronesian Australoid religions tell of a huge python, known by a variety of names but universally referred to as the Rainbow Serpent, that was said to have created the landscape, embodied the spirit of fresh water, and punished lawbreakers. The Aboriginal peoples in southwest Australia called the serpent the Waugyl, while the Warramunga of the east coast worshipped the mythical Wollunqua.” ref


Ancient Rome

“Serpent worship was well known in ancient Europe. The Roman genius loci took the form of a serpent. In Italy, the Marsian goddess Angitia, whose name derives from the word for “serpent,” was associated with witches, snakes, and snake-charmers. Angitia is believed to have also been a goddess of healing. Her worship was centered in the Central Apennine region.” ref

“A snake was kept and fed with milk during rites dedicated to Potrimpus, a Prussian god. On the Iberian Peninsula there is evidence that before the introduction of Christianity, and perhaps more strongly before Roman invasions, serpent worship was a standout feature of local religions (see Sugaar). To this day there are numerous traces in European popular belief, especially in Germany, of respect for the snake, possibly a survival of ancestor worship: The “house snake” cares for the cows and the children, and its appearance is an omen of death; and the lives of a pair of house snakes are often held to be bound with that of the master and the mistress.[citation needed] Tradition states that one of the Gnostic sects known as the Ophites caused a tame serpent to coil around the sacramental bread, and worshipped it as the representative of the Savior.[citation needed] In Lanuvium (32 km from Rome) a big snake was venerated as a god and they offered human sacrifice to it. See Plutarch, Parallela Minora XIV, 309a and Sextus Propertius Elegies IV, 8. Two snakes form a bronze caduceus from the mythical Longanus river in Sicily.” ref

Ancient Greece

Statue of Asclepius in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin

See also: Dragons in Greek mythology

“Serpents figured prominently in archaic Greek myths. According to some sources, Ophion (“serpent”, a.k.a. Ophioneus), ruled the world with Eurynome before the two of them were cast down by Kronos and Rhea. The oracles of the ancient Greeks were said to have been the continuation of the tradition begun with the worship of the Egyptian cobra goddess, Wadjet. We learn from Herodotus of a great serpent that defended the citadel of Athens.” ref


“The basal East Eurasians (bEE) are an ancient population that had no divergence among the ancestors of East Asians, Northeast Asians/East Siberian, and Native Americans. NA-ES-NA presents another ancient population that had no split between the ancestors of Northeast Asians/East Siberian and Native Americans.” ref

Schematic of peopling history in Southeast and East Asians, Northeast Asian/East Siberians and Native Americans.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


Here are my thoughts/speculations on where I believe is the possible origin of shamanism, which may have begun sometime around 35,000 to 30,000 years ago seen in the emergence of the Gravettian culture, just to outline his thinking, on what thousands of years later led to evolved Asian shamanism, in general, and thus WU shamanism as well. In both Europe-related “shamanism-possible burials” and in Gravettian mitochondrial DNA is a seeming connection to Haplogroup U. And the first believed Shaman proposed burial belonged to Eastern Gravettians/Pavlovian culture at Dolní Věstonice in southern Moravia in the Czech Republic, which is the oldest permanent human settlement that has ever been found. It is at Dolní Věstonice where approximately 27,000-25,000 years ago a seeming female shaman was buried and also there was an ivory totem portrait figure, seemingly of her.

And my thoughts on how cultural/ritual aspects were influenced in the area of Göbekli Tepe. I think it relates to a few different cultures starting in the area before the Neolithic. Two different groups of Siberians first from northwest Siberia with U6 haplogroup 40,000 to 30,000 or so. Then R Haplogroup (mainly haplogroup R1b but also some possible R1a both related to the Ancient North Eurasians). This second group added its “R1b” DNA of around 50% to the two cultures Natufian and Trialetian. To me, it is likely both of these cultures helped create Göbekli Tepe. Then I think the female art or graffiti seen at Göbekli Tepe to me possibly relates to the Epigravettians that made it into Turkey and have similar art in North Italy. I speculate that possibly the Totem pole figurines seen first at Kostenki, next went to Mal’ta in Siberia as seen in their figurines that also seem “Totem-pole-like”, and then with the migrations of R1a it may have inspired the Shigir idol in Russia and the migrations of R1b may have inspired Göbekli Tepe.

Seeming Connections: Totem poles, Ceremonial poles, Spirit poles, Sacred poles, Deity poles, Deities with poles, Pole star, Axis Mundi, Sacred trees, World tree, Maypole, Sun Dance with poles, etc.

“Migration from Siberia behind the formation of Göbeklitepe: Expert states. People who migrated from Siberia formed the Göbeklitepe, and those in Göbeklitepe migrated in five other ways to spread to the world, said experts about the 12,000-year-old Neolithic archaeological site in the southwestern province of Şanlıurfa.“ The upper paleolithic migrations between Siberia and the Near East is a process that has been confirmed by material culture documents,” he said.” ref

“Semih Güneri, a retired professor from Caucasia and Central Asia Archaeology Research Center of Dokuz Eylül University, and his colleague, Professor Ekaterine Lipnina, presented the Siberia-Göbeklitepe hypothesis they have developed in recent years at the congress held in Istanbul between June 11 and 13. There was a migration that started from Siberia 30,000 years ago and spread to all of Asia and then to Eastern and Northern Europe, Güneri said at the international congress.” ref

“The relationship of Göbeklitepe high culture with the carriers of Siberian microblade stone tool technology is no longer a secret,” he said while emphasizing that the most important branch of the migrations extended to the Near East. “The results of the genetic analyzes of Iraq’s Zagros region confirm the traces of the Siberian/North Asian indigenous people, who arrived at Zagros via the Central Asian mountainous corridor and met with the Göbeklitepe culture via Northern Iraq,” he added.” ref

“Emphasizing that the stone tool technology was transported approximately 7,000 kilometers from east to west, he said, “It is not clear whether this technology is transmitted directly to long distances by people speaking the Turkish language at the earliest, or it travels this long-distance through using way stations.” According to the archaeological documents, it is known that the Siberian people had reached the Zagros region, he said. “There seems to be a relationship between Siberian hunter-gatherers and native Zagros hunter-gatherers,” Güneri said, adding that the results of genetic studies show that Siberian people reached as far as the Zagros.” ref

“There were three waves of migration of Turkish tribes from the Southern Siberia to Europe,” said Osman Karatay, a professor from Ege University. He added that most of the groups in the third wave, which took place between 2600-2400 BCE, assimilated and entered the Germanic tribes and that there was a genetic kinship between their tribes and the Turks. The professor also pointed out that there are indications that there is a technology and tool transfer from Siberia to the Göbeklitepe region and that it is not known whether people came, and if any, whether they were Turkish.” ref

“Around 12,000 years ago, there would be no ‘Turks’ as we know it today. However, there may have been tribes that we could call our ‘common ancestors,’” he added. “Talking about 30,000 years ago, it is impossible to identify and classify nations in today’s terms,” said Murat Öztürk, associate professor from İnönü University. He also said that it is not possible to determine who came to where during the migrations that were accepted to have been made thousands of years ago from Siberia. On the other hand, Mehmet Özdoğan, an academic from Istanbul University, has an idea of where “the people of Göbeklitepe migrated to.” ref

“According to Özdoğan, “the people of Göbeklitepe turned into farmers, and they could not stand the pressure of the overwhelming clergy and started to migrate to five ways.” “Migrations take place primarily in groups. One of the five routes extends to the Caucasus, another from Iran to Central Asia, the Mediterranean coast to Spain, Thrace and [the northwestern province of] Kırklareli to Europe and England, and one route is to Istanbul via [Istanbul’s neighboring province of] Sakarya and stops,” Özdoğan said. In a very short time after the migration of farmers in Göbeklitepe, 300 settlements were established only around northern Greece, Bulgaria, and Thrace. “Those who remained in Göbeklitepe pulled the trigger of Mesopotamian civilization in the following periods, and those who migrated to Mesopotamia started irrigated agriculture before the Sumerians,” he said.” ref

Mal’ta–Buret’ culture

The Mal’ta–Buret’ culture (also Maltinsko-buretskaya culture) is an archaeological culture of the Upper Paleolithic (generally dated to 24,000-15,000 years ago). It is located roughly northwest of Lake Baikal, about 90km to the northwest of Irkutsk, on the banks of the upper Angara River. The type sites are named for the villages of Mal’ta (Мальта́), Usolsky District and Buret’ (Буре́ть), Bokhansky District (both in Irkutsk Oblast).” ref

“A boy whose remains were found near Mal’ta is usually known by the abbreviation MA-1 (or MA1) dated to 24,000 years ago. According to research published since 2013, MA-1 belonged to the population of Ancient North Eurasians, who were genetically “intermediate between modern western Eurasians and Native Americans, but distant from east Asians”, and partial genetic ancestors of Siberians, American Indians, and Bronze Age Yamnaya and Botai people of the Eurasian steppe. In particular, modern-day Native Americans, Kets, Mansi, and Selkup have been found to harbor a significant amount of ancestry related to MA-1. MA-1 is the only known example of basal Y-DNA R* (R-M207*) – that is, the only member of haplogroup R* that did not belong to haplogroups R1R2, or secondary subclades of these. The mitochondrial DNA of MA-1 belonged to an unresolved subclade of haplogroup U.” ref

Mal’ta consists of semi-subterranean houses that were built using large animal bones to assemble the walls, and reindeer antlers covered with animal skins to construct a roof that would protect the inhabitants from the harsh elements of the Siberian weather. These dwellings built from mammoth bones were similar to those found in Upper Paleolithic Western Eurasia, such as in the areas of FranceCzechoslovakia, and Ukraine. Evidence seems to indicate that Mal’ta is the most ancient known site in eastern Siberia, with the nearby site of Buret’.” ref 

“However, relative dating illustrates some irregularities. The use of flint flaking and the absence of pressure flaking used in the manufacture of tools, as well as the continued use of earlier forms of tools, seem to confirm the fact that the site belongs to the early Upper Paleolithic. Yet it lacks typical skreblos (large side scrapers) that are common in other Siberian Paleolithic sites. Additionally, other common characteristics such as pebble cores, wedge-shaped cores, burins, and composite tools have never been found. The lack of these features, combined with an art style found in only one other nearby site (the Venus of Buret’), make Mal’ta culture unique in Siberia.” ref

There were two main types of art during the Upper Paleolithic: mural art, which was concentrated in Western Europe, and portable art. Portable art, typically some type of carving in ivory tusk or antler, spans the distance across Western Europe into Northern and Central Asia. Artistic remains of expertly carved bone, ivory, and antler objects depicting birds and human females are the most commonly found; these objects are, collectively, the primary source of Mal’ta’s acclaim.” ref

“In addition to the female statuettes there are bird sculptures depicting swans, geese, and ducks. Through ethnographic analogy comparing the ivory objects and burials at Mal’ta with objects used by 19th and 20th-century Siberian shamans, it has been suggested that they are evidence of a fully developed shamanism. Also, there are engraved representations on slabs of mammoth tusk. One is the figure of a mammoth, easily recognizable by the trunk, tusks, and thick legs. Wool also seems to be etched, by the placement of straight lines along the body. Another drawing depicts three snakes with their heads puffed up and turned to the side. It is believed that they were similar to cobras.” ref

“Perhaps the best example of Paleolithic portable art is something referred to as “Venus figurines“. The Mal’ta boy (dated 24,000 years ago) was buried with various artifacts and a Venus figurine. Until they were discovered in Mal’ta, “Venus figurines” were previously found only in Europe. Carved from the ivory tusk of a mammoth, these images were typically highly stylized, and often involved embellished and disproportionate characteristics (typically the breasts or buttocks). It is widely believed that these emphasized features were meant to be symbols of fertility. Around thirty female statuettes of varying shapes have been found in Mal’ta. The wide variety of forms, combined with the realism of the sculptures and the lack of repetitiveness in detail, are definite signs of developed, albeit early, art.” ref

“At first glance, what is obvious is that the Mal’ta Venus figurines are of two types: full-figured women with exaggerated forms, and women with a thin, delicate form. Some of the figures are nude, while others have etchings that seem to indicate fur or clothing. Conversely, unlike those found in Europe, some of the Venus figurines from Mal’ta were sculpted with faces. Most of the figurines were tapered at the bottom, and it is believed that this was done to enable them to be stuck into the ground or otherwise placed upright. Placed upright, they could have symbolized the spirits of the dead, akin to “spirit dolls” used nearly worldwide, including in Siberia, among contemporary people.” ref

“The Mal’ta figurines garner interest in the western world because they seem to be of the same basic form as European female figurines of roughly the same time period, suggestion some cultural and cultic connection. This similarity between Mal’ta and Upper Paleolithic Europe coincides with other suggested similarities between the two, such as in their tools and dwelling structures. A 2016 genomic study shows that the Mal’ta people have no genetic connections to the Dolní Věstonice people from the Gravettian culture. The researchers conclude that the similarity between the figurines may be either due to cultural diffusion or to a coincidence, but not to common ancestry between the populations.” ref

“Discussing this easternmost outpost of paleolithic culture, Joseph Campbell finishes by commenting on the symbolic forms of the artifacts found there:

We are clearly in apaleolithicprovince where theserpent,labyrinth, and rebirth themes already constitute a symbolic constellation, joined with the imagery of the sunbird andshamanflight, with the goddess in her classic role ofprotectress of the hearth, mother of man’s second birth, andlady of wild thingsand of the food supply.” ref

“The term Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) has been given in genetic literature to an ancestral component that represents descent from the people similar to the Mal’ta–Buret’ culture and the closely related population of Afontova Gora. A people similar to MA1 and Afontova Gora were important genetic contributors to Native Americans, Siberians, Europeans, Caucasians, Central Asians, with smaller contributions to Middle Easterners and some East Asians. Lazaridis et al. (2016) notes “a cline of ANE ancestry across the east-west extent of Eurasia.” The “ANE-cline”, as observed among Paleolithic Siberian populations and their direct descendants, developed from a sister lineage of Europeans with significant admixture from early East Asians. MA1 is also related to two older Upper Paleolithic Siberian individuals found at the Yana Rhinoceros Horn Site called Ancient North Siberians (ANS).” ref

Afontova Gora

Afontova Gora is a Late Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic Siberian complex of archaeological sites located on the left bank of the Yenisei River near the city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Afontova Gora has cultural and genetic links to the people from Mal’ta-Buret’. The complex was first excavated in 1884 by Ivan Savenkov. Afontova Gora is a complex, consisting of multiple stratigraphic layers, of five or more campsites. The campsites shows evidence of mammoth hunting and were likely the result of an eastward expansion of mammoth hunters. The human fossils discovered at Afontova Gora, a male and a girl dated to 17,000~15,000 years ago.” ref

Afontova Gora I is situated on the western bank of the Enisei River and has yielded the remains from horse, mammoth, reindeer, steppe bison, and large canids. A canid tibia has been dated 16,900 years old and the skull has been taxonomically described as being that of a dog, but it is now lost. Its description falls outside of the range of Pleistocene or modern northern wolves. (The name Afontova Gora 1 refers to the remains of a canid.)” ref

“Afontova Gora II is the site human fossil remains were found, and remains of mammoth, Arctic fox, Arctic hare, reindeer, bison, and horse were discovered at the site. Afontova Gora II consists of 7 layers. Layer 3 from Afontova Gora II is the most significant: the layer produced the largest amount of cultural artifacts and is the layer where the human fossil remains were discovered. Over 20,000 artifacts were discovered at layer 3: this layer produced over 450 tools and over 250 osseous artifacts (bone, antler, ivory). The fossils of two distinct individuals were discovered in the initial excavations: the upper premolar of an 11-15-year-old child and the left radius, ulna, humerus, phalanx, and frontal bone of an adult.” ref

“The bodies of two individuals, known as Afontova Gora 2 (AG2). The human fossil remains of Afontova Gora 2 were dated to around 17,000 years ago. DNA from the humerus of Afontova Gora 2, despite significant contamination, DNA analysis confirmed that the individual was male. The individual showed close genetic affinities to Mal’ta 1 (Mal’ta boy). Afontova Gora 2 also showed a greater genetic affinity for the Karitiana people than for the Han Chinese. Around 1.9-2.7% of the genome was Neanderthal in origin. More human fossil remains were discovered at Afontova Gora II, The remains belonged to two different females: the atlas of an adult female and the mandible and five lower teeth of a teenage girl (Afontova Gora 3) estimated to be around 14–15 years old. Initially, the new findings were presumed to be roughly contemporaneous with Afontova Gora 2.” ref 

“Afontova Gora III is a site that consists of 3 layers. Afontova Gora 3 (AG3) was discovered within the complex. Direct AMS dating revealed that Afontova Gora 3 is dated to around 16,090 cal BCE or around 18,090 years ago). Researchers analyzing the dental morphology of Afontova Gora 3 concluded that the teeth showed distinct characteristics with most similarities to another fossil (the Listvenka child) from the Altai-Sayan region and were neither western nor eastern. Afontova Gora 3 and Listvenka showed distinct dental characteristics that were also different from other Siberian fossils, including those from Mal’ta.” ref

“DNA was extracted from one of the teeth of Afontova Gora 3 and analyzed. Compared to Afontova Gora 2, researchers were able to obtain higher coverage genomes from Afontova Gora 3. DNA analysis confirmed that the individual was female. mtDNA analysis revealed that Afontova Gora 3 belonged to the mitochondrial Haplogroup R1b. Around 2.9-3.7% of the genome was Neanderthal in origin. Researchers determined that Afontova Gora 2, Afontova Gora 3, and Mal’ta 1 (Mal’ta boy) shared common descent and were clustered together in a Mal’ta cluster. Genetically, Afontova Gora 3 is not closer to Afontova Gora 2 when compared to Mal’ta 1. When compared to Mal’ta 1, the Afontova Gora 3 lineage apparently contributed more to modern humans and is genetically closer to Native Americans.” ref

Phenotypic analysis shows that Afontova Gora 3 carries the derived rs12821256 allele associated with, and likely causal for, blond hair color, making Afontova Gora 3 the earliest individual known to carry this derived allele. The allele was found in three later members of the largely ANE-derived Eastern Hunter-Gatherers populations from Samara, Motala and Ukraine c. 10,000 years ago, suggesting that it originated in the Ancient North Eurasian population before spreading to western Eurasia. The hundreds of millions of copies of this mutated alelle (a single-nucleotide polymorphism) are at the root of the classic European blond hair mutation, as massive population migrations from the Eurasian steppe, by a people who had substantial Ancient North Eurasian ancestry, entered continental Europe.” ref

“A genetic study on the Tarim mummies found that they were primarily descended from a population represented by the Afontova Gora 3 specimen (AG3), genetically displaying “high affinity” with it. The genetic profile of the Afontova Gora 3 individual represented about 72% of the ancestry of the Tarim mummies, while the remaining 28% of their ancestry was derived from Baikal EBA (Early Bronze Age Baikal populations). The Tarim mummies are thus one of the rare Holocene populations who derive most of their ancestry from the Ancient North Eurasians (ANE, specifically the Mal’ta and Afontova Gora populations), despite their distance in time (around 14,000 years). More than any other ancient populations, they can be considered as “the best representatives” of the Ancient North Eurasians.” ref

“Afontova Gora V is the site where remains of hare, pika, cave lion, horse, reindeer, bison, and partridge were discovered at the site.” ref

“By c. 32kya, populations carrying Ancient North Eurasian (ANE)-related ancestry were probably widely distributed across northeast Eurasia. They may have expanded as far as Alaska and the Yukon, but were forced to abandon high latitude regions following the onset of harsher climatic conditions that came with the Last Glacial Maximum.” ref

“In archaeogenetics, the term Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) is the name given to an ancestral component that represents the lineage of the people of the Mal’ta–Buret’ culture (c. 24,000 BP) and populations closely related to them, such as the Upper Paleolithic individuals from Afontova Gora in Siberia. The ANE lineage is defined by association with the “Mal’ta boy” (MA-1), the remains of an individual who lived during the Last Glacial Maximum, 24,000 years ago in central Siberia, discovered in the 1920s. Together with the Yana Rhinoceros Horn Site samples, and Afontova Gora individuals, they are collectively referred to as ‘Ancient North Siberians’. The Ancient North Eurasians represent a distinct cluster of genetic diversity within the larger Eurasian gene pool, forming an early Siberian variation of modern humans. It is suggested that the ANE ancestry found among modern human populations was largely contributed from a population linked to Afontova Gora (AG-3), rather than Malta (MA-1) or Yana.” ref

“Populations genetically similar to MA-1 and Afontova Gora were an important genetic contributor to Native Americans, Europeans, Ancient Central Asians, South Asians, and some East Asian groups, in order of significance. Lazaridis et al. (2016:10) note “a cline of ANE ancestry across the east-west extent of Eurasia”. A 2016 study found that the global maximum of ANE ancestry occurs in modern-day Kets, Mansi, Native Americans, and Selkups. Around 20,000 to 25,000 years ago, a branch of Ancient North Eurasian people mixed with Ancient East Asians, which led to the emergence of Ancestral Native American, Ancient Beringian, and Ancient Paleo-Siberian populations. It is unknown exactly where this population admixture took place, and two opposing theories have put forth different migratory scenarios that united the Ancient North Eurasians with ancient East Asian populations.” ref

“ANE ancestry has spread throughout Eurasia and the Americas in various migrations since the Upper Paleolithic, and more than half of the world’s population today derives between 5 and 42% of their genomes from the Ancient North Eurasians. Significant ANE ancestry can be found in Native Americans, as well as in regions of northern Europe, South Asia, Central Asia, and Siberia. It has been suggested that their mythology may have featured narratives shared by both Indo-European and some Native American cultures, such as the existence of a metaphysical world tree and a fable in which a dog guards the path to the afterlife.” ref

“According to Jennifer Raff, the Ancient North Eurasian population mixed with a daughter population of ancient East Asians, who they encountered around 25,000 years ago, which lead to the emergence of Native American ancestral populations. However, the exact location where the admixture took place is unknown, and the migratory movements that united the two populations are a matter of debate. One theory supposes that Ancient North Eurasians migrated south to East Asia, or Southern Siberia, where they would have encountered and mixed with ancient East Asians. Genetic evidence from Lake Baikal in Mongolia supports this area as the location where the admixture took place.” ref

“However, a third theory, the “Beringian standstill hypothesis”, suggests that East Asians instead migrated north to Northeastern Siberia, where they mixed with ANE, and later diverged in Beringia, where distinct Native American lineages formed. This theory is supported by maternal and nuclear DNA evidence. According to Grebenyuk, after 20,000 BP, a branch of Ancient East Asians migrated to Northeastern Siberia, and mixed with descendants of the ANE, leading to the emergence of Ancient Paleo-Siberian and Native American populations in Extreme Northeastern Asia. However, the Beringian standstill hypothesis is not supported by paternal DNA evidence, which may reflect different population histories for paternal and maternal lineages in Native Americans, which is not uncommon and has been observed in other populations.” ref

“The descendants of admixture between ANE and ancient East Asians include Ancient Beringian/Ancestral Native American, which are specific archaeogenetic lineages, based on the genome of an infant found at the Upward Sun River site (dubbed USR1), dated to 11,500 years ago. The AB and the Ancestral Native American (ANA) lineage formed about 25,000 years ago, and subsequently diverged from each other, with the AB staying in the Beringian region, while the Ancestral Native Americans populated the Americas. The ANE genetic contribution to late-Paeolithic Ancestral Native Americans (USR1 specimen, dated to 11,500 BP in Alaska, and Clovis specimen, dated to 12,600 BP in Montana) is estimated at around 36.8%. There are also the Ancient Paleo-Siberians, populations represented by the Late Upper Paeolithic Lake Baikal Ust’Kyakhta-3 (UKY) 14,050-13,770 BP. They carried 30% ANE ancestry and 70% East Asian ancestry.” ref

“The ancient Bronze-age-steppe Yamnaya and Afanasevo cultures were found to have a significant ANE component at c. 50%. According to Moreno-Mayar et al. 2018 between 14% and 38% of Native American ancestry may originate from gene flow from the Mal’ta–Buret’ (ANE) population. This difference is caused by the penetration of posterior “Neo-Siberian” migrations into the Americas, with the lowest percentages of ANE ancestry found in Inuit and Alaskan Natives, as these groups are the result of migrations into the Americas roughly 5,000 years ago. Estimates for ANE ancestry among first wave Native Americans show higher percentages, such as 42% for those belonging to the Andean region in South America. The other gene flow in Native Americans (the remainder of their ancestry) was of an East Asian-related origin, specifically diverged from other East Asians c. 30,000 years ago. Gene sequencing of another south-central Siberian people (Afontova Gora-2) dating to approximately 17,000 years ago, revealed similar autosomal genetic signatures to that of Mal’ta boy-1, suggesting that the region was continuously occupied by humans throughout the Last Glacial Maximum.” ref

“Genomic studies also indicate that the ANE component was brought to Western Europe by people related to the Yamnaya culture, long after the Paleolithic. It is reported in modern-day Europeans (10%–20%). Earlier ANE ancestry is found in European hunter-gatherer populations through Paleolithic interactions with Eastern European Hunter-Gatherers, which resulted in populations such as Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherers. Western Hunter-Gatherers of the Villabruna cluster also carried the Y-haplogroup R1b, derived from the Ancient North Eurasian haplogroup R*, indicating “an early link between Europe and the western edge of the Steppe Belt of Eurasia.” A deer tooth pendant impregnated with the genetic material of an ANE woman was found in the Denisova Cave, and dated to circa 24,700 years before present. She is closely related to Mal’ta and Afontova Gora specimens, found further east.” ref

“An early Neolithic Central Asian specimen (Tutkaul1) from Tajikistan was found to be primarily derived from Ancient North Eurasians with some additional Neolithic Iranian-related inputs. The sample is closely related to Afontova Gora 3 (AG3) and Mal’ta 1, as well as to the West Siberian hunter-gatherers (Tyumen and Sosnoviy). While the sample also displays affinity for Eastern hunter-gatherers (EHGs), AG3 was found to be closer to EHGs than Tutkaul1, who instead may be a good proxy for ANE-related ancestry among ancient populations from the Iran and the Turan region. The Ancient Tianyuan Man and modern East/Southeast Asian populations were found to lack Upper Paleolithic Western Eurasian or ANE-related admixture, suggesting “resistance of those groups to the incoming UP population movements”, or alternatively a subsequent reexpansion from a genetically East Asian-like population reservoir.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

refref, ref

Ancient North Eurasian (ANE)

Ancient Beringian/Ancestral Native American (AB/ANA)

Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG)

Western Hunter-Gatherers (WHG)

Western Steppe Herders (WSH) 

Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherer (SHG)

Early European Farmers (EEF)

Jōmon people (Ainu people OF Hokkaido Island) 

Neolithic Iranian farmers (Iran_N) (Iran Neolithic)

Amur Culture (Amur watershed)

Groups partially derived from the Ancient North Eurasians

Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG) is a lineage derived predominantly (75%) from ANE. It is represented by two individuals from Karelia, one of Y-haplogroup R1a-M417, dated c. 8.4 kya, the other of Y-haplogroup J, dated c. 7.2 kya; and one individual from Samara, of Y-haplogroup R1b-P297, dated c. 7.6 kya. This lineage is closely related to the ANE sample from Afontova Gora, dated c. 18 kya. After the end of the Last Glacial Maximum, the Western Hunter-Gatherers (WHG) and EHG lineages merged in Eastern Europe, accounting for early presence of ANE-derived ancestry in Mesolithic Europe. Evidence suggests that as Ancient North Eurasians migrated West from Eastern Siberia, they absorbed Western Hunter-Gatherers and other West Eurasian populations as well.” ref

Caucasian Hunter-Gatherer (CHG) is represented by the Satsurblia individual dated ~13 kya (from the Satsurblia cave in Georgia), and carried 36% ANE-derived admixture. While the rest of their ancestry is derived from the Dzudzuana cave individual dated ~26 kya, which lacked ANE-admixture, Dzudzuana affinity in the Caucasus decreased with the arrival of ANE at ~13 kya Satsurblia.” ref

Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherer (SHG) is represented by several individuals buried at Motala, Sweden ca. 6000 BC. They were descended from Western Hunter-Gatherers who initially settled Scandinavia from the south, and later populations of EHG who entered Scandinavia from the north through the coast of Norway.” ref

“Iran Neolithic (Iran_N) individuals dated ~8.5 kya carried 50% ANE-derived admixture and 50% Dzudzuana-related admixture, marking them as different from other Near-Eastern and Anatolian Neolithics who didn’t have ANE admixture. Iran Neolithics were later replaced by Iran Chalcolithics, who were a mixture of Iran Neolithic and Near Eastern Levant Neolithic.” ref

Ancient Beringian/Ancestral Native American are specific archaeogenetic lineages, based on the genome of an infant found at the Upward Sun River site (dubbed USR1), dated to 11,500 years ago. The AB lineage diverged from the Ancestral Native American (ANA) lineage about 20,000 years ago.” ref

“West Siberian Hunter-Gatherer (WSHG) are a specific archaeogenetic lineage, first reported in a genetic study published in Science in September 2019. WSGs were found to be of about 30% EHG ancestry, 50% ANE ancestry, and 20% to 38% East Asian ancestry.” ref

Western Steppe Herders (WSH) is the name given to a distinct ancestral component that represents descent closely related to the Yamnaya culture of the Pontic–Caspian steppe. This ancestry is often referred to as Yamnaya ancestry or Steppe ancestry.” ref

“Late Upper Paeolithic Lake Baikal – Ust’Kyakhta-3 (UKY) 14,050-13,770 BP were mixture of 30% ANE ancestry and 70% East Asian ancestry.” ref

“Lake Baikal Holocene – Baikal Eneolithic (Baikal_EN) and Baikal Early Bronze Age (Baikal_EBA) derived 6.4% to 20.1% ancestry from ANE, while rest of their ancestry was derived from East Asians. Fofonovo_EN near by Lake Baikal were mixture of 12-17% ANE ancestry and 83-87% East Asian ancestry.” ref

Hokkaido Jōmon people specifically refers to the Jōmon period population of Hokkaido in northernmost Japan. Though the Jōmon people themselves descended mainly from East Asian lineages, one study found an affinity between Hokkaido Jōmon with the Northern Eurasian Yana sample (an ANE-related group, related to Mal’ta), and suggest as an explanation the possibility of minor Yana gene flow into the Hokkaido Jōmon population (as well as other possibilities). A more recent study by Cooke et al. 2021, confirmed ANE-related geneflow among the Jōmon people, partially ancestral to the Ainu people. ANE ancestry among Jōmon people is estimated at 21%, however, there is a North to South cline within the Japanese archipelago, with the highest amount of ANE ancestry in Hokkaido and Tohoku.” ref


Haplogroup migrations related to the Ancient North Eurasians: I added stuff to this map to help explain.


ref, ref, ref

“Lighter skin and blond hair evolved in the Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) population. The SLC24A5 gene’s derived threonine or Ala111Thr allele (rs1426654) has been shown to be a major factor in the light skin tone of Europeans. Possibly originating as long as 19,000 years ago, it has been the subject of selection in the ancestors of Europeans as recently as within the last 5,000 years, and is fixed in modern European populations.” refref

I don’t see it as white skin being more evolved than those with dark skin, as bigots could see it, but rather it is just one of many factors that happen when the evolutionary pressures on a region like Siberia have on evolutionary changes that would not have happened if not for the different climate pressures the far north have that is not experienced in lower latitudes.


“Worldwide distribution of haplogroup Q-M242. The blue star is the original place of haplogroup Q-M242, around Central Asia and Siberia. The brown number one is Russian sample location in the Krasnoyarsk Region. The brown number two is Chinese sample location in Gansu province. The brown number three is Chinese sample location in Zhejiang province. The red arrows are the expansion routes of haplogroup Q-M242. The purple words show the locations of subclades of haplogroup Q used in this study.” ref

“Q-M242 is the predominant Y-DNA haplogroup among Native Americans and several peoples of Central Asia and Northern SiberiaHaplogroup Q-M242 is one of the two branches of P-P226 (M45), the other being R-M207. Q-M242 is believed to have arisen around the Altai Mountains area (or South Central Siberia), approximately 17,000 to 31,700 years ago.” ref

“Several branches of haplogroup Q-M242 have been predominant pre-Columbian male lineages in indigenous peoples of the Americas. Most of them are descendants of the major founding groups who migrated from Asia into the Americas by crossing the Bering Strait. These small groups of founders must have included men from the Q-M346, Q-L54, Q-Z780, and Q-M3 lineages. In North America, two other Q-lineages also have been found. These are Q-P89.1 (under Q-MEH2) and Q-NWT01. They may have not been from the Beringia Crossings but instead come from later immigrants who traveled along the shoreline of Far East Asia and then the Americas using boats.” ref

“It is unclear whether the current frequency of Q-M242 lineages represents their frequency at the time of immigration or is the result of the shifts in a small founder population over time. Regardless, Q-M242 came to dominate the paternal lineages in the Americas. In the indigenous people of North America, Q-M242 is found in Na-Dené speakers at an average rate of 68%. The highest frequency is 92.3% in Navajo, followed by 78.1% in Apache, 87% in SC Apache, and about 80% in North American Eskimo (Inuit, Yupik)–Aleut populations. (Q-M3 occupies 46% among Q in North America).” ref

“On the other hand, a 4000-year-old Saqqaq individual belonging to Q1a-MEH2* has been found in Greenland. Surprisingly, he turned out to be genetically more closely related to Far East Siberians such as Koryaks and Chukchi people rather than Native Americans.  Today, the frequency of Q runs at 53.7% (122/227: 70 Q-NWT01, 52 Q-M3) in Greenland, showing the highest in east Sermersooq at 82% and the lowest in Qeqqata at 30%. Haplogroup Q-M242 has been found in approximately 94% of Indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica and South America.” ref

“The frequencies of Q among the whole male population of each country reach as follows:

  • 61% in Bolivia.
  • 51% in Guatemala,
  • 40.1% (159/397) to 50% in Peru
  • 37.6% in Ecuador,
  • 37.3% (181/485) in Mexico (30.8% (203/659) among the specifically Mestizo segment)
  • 31.2% (50/160) in El Salvador,
  • 15.3% (37/242) to 21.8% (89/408) in Panama,
  • 16.1% in Colombia,
  • 15.2% (25/165) in Nicaragua,
  • 9.7% (20/206) in Chile,
  • 5.3% (13/246 in 8 provinces in northeastern, central, southern regions) to 23.4% (181/775 in 8 provinces in central-west, central, northwest regions) in Argentina,
  • 5% in Costa Rica,
  • 3.95% in Brazil, and so on.” ref

My speculations of shamanism are its dispersals, after 24,000 to 4,000 years ago, seem to center on Lake Baikal and related areas. To me, the hotspot of Shamanism goes from west of Lake Baikal in the “Altai Mountains” also encompassing “Lake Baikal” and includes the “Amur Region/Watershed” east of Lake Baikal as the main location Shamanism seems to have radiated out from. 

Shamanism Among the Peoples of the North: Uralic, Transeurasian, Dené–Yeniseian, Chukotko-Kamchatkan, and Eskaleut languages

I think shaman beliefs came into the Americas from North Asia from 24,000 to 1,000 years ago. I think these peoples brought into the Americas a kind/several kinds of Shamanism-totemism with heavy animism.

Timing of the arrival of indigenous haplogroups in Mesoamerica

“Coalescent times (time to more recent common ancestor [in years] [TMRCAs]) were estimated for haplogroups Q-MEH2, Q-M3, and Q-L54 using ρ-statistics and Bayesian analysis. The results presented in Table 3 correspond to the average of three generation times (18, 20, and 25 years). In general, the TMRCA estimates for Q-M3 and Q-L54 suggested their simultaneous arrival in Mesoamerica, consistent with previous coalescent estimates for these lineages (). Nonetheless, subtle differences in the TMRCAs were found among the populations. Using Bayesian methods, the TMRCA for Q-M3 ranged between 17,823 years ago (Nahuas) and more than 24,000 years ago (Éza’r and Tepehuas), whereas the TMRCA for Q-L54 ranged from 17,505 years ago (Totonacas) to 23,788 years ago (Nahuas). These data support the diversification of these lineages soon after their arrival in Mexico and Mesoamerica. The TMRCA for Q-MEH2 was 9,699 years ago, suggesting a more recent arrival in a separate migration, although the sample size for this lineage was quite small.” ref

“Paleo-Natives reached the region known today as Mesoamerica around 10,000–16,000 years ago. These original settlers were hunter-gatherers surviving on wild animals, collecting wild plants, shellfish, and possibly fishing. Within the traditional Mayan region, a number of settlements have been found at Los Tapiales in the Quiche Basin in the highlands of Guatemala dating to 10,000–11,000 years ago. About 8000 years ago, it is thought that these people started selecting plants that provided for subsistence. It is thought that these efforts eventually led to the in situ development of agriculture and the domestication of animals. An agrarian mode of existence combined with the domestication of animals provided surplus food for communal consumption during lean times and ushered a new era of centralized governance, population growth, and creativity. Proto or Archaic Mayans were first detected in what we know today as Petén, Central Guatemala about 4000 years ago. The region of Petén is considered the birthplace of Mayan civilization. The Ceibal, in the Pasión region of Petén, represents the earliest known Mayan sedentary community discovered thus far, dating back to about 3000 years ago.” ref

Of the indigenous haplogroups seen in Native Mexicans, Q-M3 was the most prominent (79.4%), followed by Q-L54 (18.3%) and then Q-MEH2 (2.3%) (Figure 1). The Ceibal location corresponds roughly to the collection area of our Q’eqchi population. Increasingly complex City–States such as Nakbe appeared during the subsequent Pre-Classic Period, also in the region of Petén. The City–State system incited rivalries and warfare in the quest for control over trade routes between the lowlands and the highlands. At the start of the Classic period (around 1800 years ago), the Mayan empire had become a complex and dynamic entity, undergoing a series of population expansions and contractions. The Classic Period also experienced an intensification of trade and commerce among Mayan City–States and other civilizations including the Aztecs. Undoubtedly, these cultural and demographic events impacted the genetic makeup of Mayans throughout their empire.” ref

“Throughout their suzerainty, individual City–States emerged and flourished just to be dramatically abandoned centuries later while others were established de novo nearby. Regional soil exhaustion, ecological collapse, drought, overpopulation, and/or epidemics are frequently cited as reasons for the downfall of specific settlements and eventually the entire Empire. The contemporary Mayans share several cultural traits including mythology, science, art, architecture, and language, oral as well as written. This cultural homogeneity among Mayan groups is likely the result of the extensive trade and communication routes that permeated the Mayan territory from its beginning. The current classification employed to discriminate among Mayan groups is primarily based on degrees of linguistic similarities.” ref

“Despite the many cultural communalities among Mayan groups, little is known about the genetic diversity of distinct Mayan populations. Specifically, minimal information exists on the genetic constitution of Mayan populations and their relationships to non-Mayan Mesoamerican groups. What little is known suffers from limited scope and population coverage within the Mayan territory as well as fragmentary data encompassing few and different marker systems making direct comparisons difficult. In the present study, we comprehensibly assess, for the first time, the paternal genetic profiles of a number of key populations representing the main geographical regions of the traditional Mayan domain.” ref 

“Q-M3 haplotypes in Native Mexicans using 14 Y-STRs showed connections with those of different indigenous North American groups (Figure S4; Table S9). These included the Inuvialuit (Hñähñús, Nahuas-SLP, and Totonacas), Tlingit (Hñähñús, Nahuas-HGO, Nahuas-SLP, and Totonacas), and Gwich’in (Hñähñús, Nahuas-SLP, and Popolocas). A number of these North American haplotypes appeared on a single branch extending from the left side of the network. On the other side, a separate cluster (shown in inset) included Tlicho, Tlingit, Gwich’in, and one Hñähñús haplotype and branch extending from it included Gwich’in, Tlingit, Totonaca, and Nahua haplotypes.” ref

“Alaska’s indigenous Tlingit people are descendants of the first humans to settle in northwest America more than 10,000 years ago, DNA study reveals. The researchers looked at genetic data from Shuká Káa (Tlingit for ‘Man Before Us’), an ancient individual whose remains – found in a cave in southeastern Alaska – date to about 10,300 years ago. They also analyzed the genomes of three more people from the nearby British Columbia coast in Canada, whose remains date back between 6,075 and 1,750 years ago. ‘Interestingly, the mitochondrial type that Shuká Káa belonged to was also observed from another ancient skeleton dated to about 6,000 years ago but seems to have disappeared after that.” ref

“Researchers also compared Native Mexican haplotypes with those from the Greenland Inuits () and Inuvialuit of the Northwest Territories (, ) using 17 Y-STR haplotypes. Most Inuit and Inuvialuit haplotypes clustered together with a single Nahua haplotype (Figure S5; Table S9). One other Inuit Q-M3 haplotype appeared on a branch with Native Mexican haplotypes. The position of the Inuit haplotypes suggested a possible ancestor-descendant relationship with those of Native Mexicans, although the former may possess SNPs not present in the latter.” ref

“Researchers further analyzed the genetic relationships between Native Mexican populations and indigenous groups from Central America (Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Panama) using RST values from 14 Y-STR haplotypes belonging to Q-M3. Through this analysis, we observed some similarities among these populations (Figure S6; Table S10). Populations in regions close to Mexico (Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua) were more genetically similar, whereas those from Panama differed from nearly all Native Mexican groups. This finding contrasts with previous studies, where certain Chibchan-Panamanian haplotypes were similar to ones appearing in the Nahuas and Hñähñús, suggesting possible Uto-Aztecan and Oto-Manguean gene flow to the Panama region ().” ref

“Researchers also evaluated the genetic relationships between indigenous South American and Native Mexican populations using 14 Y-STRs from Q-M3 (Figure S7; Table S11). In the resulting MDS plot, the South American populations were generally similar to Native Mexicans, although appearing around the periphery of the main cluster of Mexican populations. When mapping known SNPs in South American Q-M3 haplotypes onto these populations, we observed that the Q-SA04, Q-SA05, and Q-Z5915 sublineages were confined to South American populations, as previously seen (). The Q-SA04 sublineage seems to have a recent origin, whereas the Z5915 SNP along with other markers may help to differentiate Y-chromosomes in South American populations ().” ref

“The apparent connection between Bolivian and Peruvian populations may be due to a shared apomorphy, which has diverged recently in indigenous South Americans. However, Bolivians with Q-CTS11357 haplotypes clustered among Native Mexicans. This was not wholly surprising, as Q-CTS11357 haplotypes have recently been documented in Mexican populations (). Thus, it is likely that some Native Mexican men having Q-M3 Y chromosomes belong to this sublineage.” ref

“Unlike that for Q-M3, the Q-L54 network exhibited a slightly simpler topology, with a number of long branches (Figure 6). Hñähñú and Nahua haplotypes were scattered across the network reflecting their great diversity, an assessment also supported by the highest Vp and the mean pairwise differences values in these groups (Table 1). A similar distribution was previously noted in Mexican and some Central American populations () (Figure S8; Table S9). Totonacan haplotypes grouped into a single subbranch and also showed the lowest Vp values (Table 1). Again, remarkably, almost none of these Y-STR haplotypes were shared between the study and comparative populations. Furthermore, the Q-PV3 sublineage within Q-L54 was quite divergent from the other haplotypes in the network, suggesting it might represent another founding lineage in the Americas (Figure 6).” ref

“Researchers evaluated the genetic relationship of Q-L54 haplotypes present in Native Mexican and other comparative populations using 14 Y-STR haplotypes. We noted that Native Mexicans showed considerable similarity to other Mesoamerican and South American populations () (Figure S9; Tables S9 and S12). By contrast, the Gwich’in, Altai-kizhi, and Tuvans were distinct from all New World populations. A network analysis of Q-L54 haplotypes defined by 15 Y-STRs in Native Mexican and comparative populations revealed substructure within this haplogroup (Figure S10A; Table S9). Altai-kizhi and Tuvan haplotypes formed a central cluster in the network that contained one Tepehua sample, whereas all indigenous Canadian haplotypes appeared in a separate branch containing one Nahua haplotype. The remaining Native Mexican haplotypes were widely dispersed along other branches.” ref

“Researchers further explored the relationship between Native Mexicans and South American populations using 15 Y-STR haplotype data from Q-L54. The resulting MDS plot showed genetic affinities between these populations through the Q-CTS1780 sublineage (Figure S10B; Tables S9 and S13), which is closely related to the Q-Z780 sublineage. Both Q-CTS1780 and Q-Z780 define the sub-haplogroup Q1b1a2 (). Their dissimilarity with Colombian populations was possibly related to the ancient differentiation of Q-L54 haplotypes in the Isthmo-Colombian region, as reported previously () and evident by the presence of the Q-SA02 and Q-SA03 sublineages (). In both the Q-M3 and in Q-L54 networks, the comparative populations shared few haplotypes, a finding mirroring the great Y chromosome diversity of the Native Mexican populations.” ref


“Males carrying C-M130 are believed to have migrated to the Americas some 6,000-8,000 years ago, and was carried by Na-Dené-speaking peoples into the northwest Pacific coast of North America.” ref 

Dené–Yeniseian languages? (I think similar to the Sami or Ainu peoples, Dené–Yeniseian peoples who migrated related to beliefs that were likely “paganistic” Shamanism, with heavy totemism themes)

“Dené–Yeniseian is a proposed language family consisting of the Yeniseian languages of central Siberia and the Na-Dené languages of northwestern North America. Reception among experts has been somewhat favorable; thus, Dené–Yeniseian has been called “the first demonstration of a genealogical link between Old World and New World language families that meets the standards of traditional comparativehistorical linguistics,” besides the Eskimo–Aleut languages spoken in far eastern Siberia and North America.” ref

“Na-Dene (/ˌnɑːdɪˈneɪ/; also Nadene, Na-Dené, Athabaskan–Eyak–Tlingit, Tlina–Dene) is a family of Native American languages that includes at least the Athabaskan languages, Eyak, and Tlingit languages. Haida was formerly included, but is now considered doubtful. By far the most widely spoken Na-Dene language today is Navajo. In February 2008, a proposal connecting Na-Dene (excluding Haida) to the Yeniseian languages of central Siberia into a Dené–Yeniseian family was published and well-received by a number of linguists. It was proposed in a 2014 paper that the Na-Dene languages of North America and the Yeniseian languages of Siberia had a common origin in a language spoken in Beringia, between the two continents.” ref

“Proto-Algic is the proto-language from which the Algic languages (Wiyot language *of Humboldt BayCalifornia*Yurok language *of Del Norte County and Humboldt County on the far north coast of California*, and Proto-Algonquian) *estimated to have been spoken around 2,500 to 3,000 years ago, usually divided into three subgroups: Eastern Algonquian *of the Atlantic coast of North America from Canada to North Carolina*, which is a genetic subgroup, and Central Algonquian *Eastern Great Lakes*, and Plains Algonquian are descended. Proto-Algic is estimated to have been spoken about 7,000 years ago somewhere in the American Northwest, possibly around the Columbia Plateau of WashingtonOregon, and IdahoSergei Nikolaev has argued in two papers for a systematic relationship between the Nivkh language of Sakhalin *the largest island of Russia north of the Japanese archipelago*, and the Amur river basin *of the Russian Far East and Northeastern China*, and the Algic languages, and a secondary relationship between these two together and the Wakashan languages.*of British Columbia around and on Vancouver Island, and in the northwestern corner of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state*.” refrefref

Genetics Reveal Movements of Ancient Siberians

“DNA reveals the previously unknown degree of mixture between Japan, North America, and the Eurasian mainland. Ancient DNA preserved in the icy climate of Siberia has revealed new insights about how ancient humans migrated five to seven thousand years ago.” ref

“In a study published recently in Current Biology, the researchers examined the DNA from 10 different ancient humans, which is quite a lot considering most of them date from 5,500 to 7,500 years old. These remains came from three locations in Siberia — the Altai Mountains, the Kamchatka Peninsula, and the Russian Far East.” ref

Altai Mountains meetings and Shamanism?

“Researchers were surprised to discover a previously unknown population with mixed genetics in the Altai Mountains in southern Siberia. At some point during the last Ice Age, a group of ancient north Eurasians mixed with a population from northeastern Siberia. The corresponding mixture is one that researchers haven’t seen before, the head researcher explained. It’s also not clear where these two groups first met and intermingled since the people were mostly nomadic at the time. It’s possible they met in the region where the remains are found, though, which may have provided a good passage between mountains to the north and the desert to the south. “It’s a perfect meeting point for groups, geographically speaking,” the head researcher explained.” ref

“Five of the Altai Mountains remains — all males — had very similar DNA, despite dating from different times between 7,500 and 5,500 years ago. But the sixth male, which dates to about 6,500 years ago, comes from farther east. The DNA shows this, but so does the archaeological context. The individual was buried with rich burial goods and a costume that the head researcher explained could indicate some sort of shamanism. Moreover, the head researcher explained it’s unclear whether this man is representative of a larger migration between the Altai Mountains and people farther east. But it shows that a degree of movement was occurring between different people at the time.” ref

Japanese Connection?

“Nest, one of the analyzed individuals was found in the Russian Far East. This male isn’t that remarkable at first glance, for the DNA resembles that of other similarly aged people that have been previously analyzed. Or at least three-quarters of the DNA is similar. The other quarter of this man’s genome appears to be Japanese. This discovery is surprising. This man dates back to about 7,000 years ago, but Japan was settled much earlier — possibly 30,000 years ago. This means that people from Japan were traveling back to the mainland and mixing with other humans there. “These hunter-gatherers were also able to cross bodies of water and interact among each other,” the head researcher explained. Overall, these results show how fluid ancient people were in Eurasia and even North America. “These foraging communities were in close contact with each other, they were highly mobile with each other and were admixing,” the head researcher also explained. “We are really talking about large-distance mobility.” ref

Crossing the water to and from the Americas?

“Two males and one female from Kamchatka lived relatively recently — only 500 years ago. The reason it’s interesting is that researchers haven’t previously published any ancient genome information from this region. All three of the remains the head researcher and his colleagues analyzed contained small portions of ancestry from Indigenous Americans. The presence of these markers suggests that Indigenous Americans were also crossing back to Russia prior to the period these individuals were alive. “This probably happened over a long period of time,” the head researcher explained. While researchers had previously known there was gene flow back and forth across the Bering Sea — perhaps for 5,000 years — this finding stretches that area of gene flow further south into the Kamchatka Peninsula.” ref

Here are other supporting articles:

Pic ref

Ancient Women Found in a Russian Cave Turn Out to Be Closely Related to The Modern Population


“Ancient genomes have revolutionized our understanding of Holocene prehistory and, particularly, the Neolithic transition in western Eurasia. In contrast, East Asia has so far received little attention, despite representing a core region at which the Neolithic transition took place independently ~3 millennia after its onset in the Near East. We report genome-wide data from two hunter-gatherers from Devil’s Gate, an early Neolithic cave site (dated to ~7.7 thousand years ago) located in East Asia, on the border between Russia and Korea. Both of these individuals are genetically most similar to geographically close modern populations from the Amur Basin, all speaking Tungusic languages, and, in particular, to the Ulchi. The similarity to nearby modern populations and the low levels of additional genetic material in the Ulchi imply a high level of genetic continuity in this region during the Holocene, a pattern that markedly contrasts with that reported for Europe.” ref

“Six of seven individuals whose remains have been recovered from the cave have been DNA tested. Originally, three of the specimens were thought to be adult males, two were thought to be adult females, one was thought to be a sub-adult of about 12-13 years of age, and one was thought to be a juvenile of about 6-7 years of age based on the skeletal morphology of the remains. Results of genetic analysis of the sub-adult individual have not yet been published. However, two specimens, NEO236 (Skull B, DevilsGate2) and NEO235 (Skull G), who had been presumed to be adult males according to a forensic morphological assessment of their remains, were discovered through genetic analysis to actually be females. The juvenile specimen also has been determined to be female through genetic analysis. Three of the specimens (including the only adult male plus NEO235/Skull G and another adult female, labeled as Skull Е, DevilsGate1, or NEO240, who has been genetically determined to be a first-degree relative of NEO235/Skull G) have been assigned to mtDNA haplogroup D4m; a previous genetic analysis of one of these adult female specimens determined her mtDNA haplogroup to be D4. Another three specimens (including the juvenile female, the DevilsGate2 specimen, and another adult female; both the juvenile female and the DevilsGate2 specimen have been determined to be first-degree relatives of the other adult female, and the juvenile female and the DevilsGate2 specimen also have been determined to be second-degree relatives of each other) have been assigned to haplogroup D4; a previous genetic analysis of the DevilsGate2 specimen determined her mtDNA haplogroup to be MThe only specimen from the cave who has been confirmed to be male through genetic analysis has been assigned to Y-DNAhaplogroup C2b-F6273/Y6704/Y6708, equivalent to C2b-L1373, the northern (Central Asian, Siberian, and indigenous American) branch of haplogroup C2-M217. ref

“The haplogroup C-M217 is now found at high frequencies among Central Asian peoples, indigenous Siberians, and some Native peoples of North America. Haplogroup C-M217 is the modal haplogroup among Mongolians and most indigenous populations of the Russian Far East, such as the Buryats, Northern Tungusic peoplesNivkhsKoryaks, and Itelmens. The subclade C-P39 is common among males of the indigenous North American peoples whose languages belong to the Na-Dené phylum. C2b1a1a P39 Canada,USA(Found in several indigenous peoples of North America, including some Na-Dené-,Algonquian-, orSiouan-speaking populations).” ref

“Males carrying C-M130 are believed to have migrated to the Americas some 6,000-8,000 years ago, and was carried by Na-Dené-speaking peoples into the northwest Pacific coast of North America. The distribution of Haplogroup C-M130 is generally limited to populations of Siberia, parts of East Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. Haplogroup C2 (M217) – the most numerous and widely dispersed C lineage – was once believed to have originated in Central Asia, spread from there into Northern Asia and the Americas while other theory it originated from East Asia. C-M217 stretches longitudinally from Central Europe and Turkey, to the Wayuu people of Colombia and Venezuela, and latitudinally from the Athabaskan peoples of Alaska to Vietnam to the Malay Archipelago. The highest frequencies of Haplogroup C-M217 are found among the populations of Mongolia and Far East Russia, where it is the modal haplogroup. Haplogroup C-M217 is the only variety of Haplogroup C-M130 to be found among Native Americans, among whom it reaches its highest frequency in Na-Dené populations.” ref


“High-Resolution SNPs and Microsatellite Haplotypes Point to a Single, Recent Entry of Native American Y Chromosomes into the Americas”

“Phylogenetic analyses of STR variation within haplogroups C and Q traced both lineages to a probable ancestral homeland in the vicinity of the Altai Mountains in Southwest Siberia. Divergence dates between the Altai plus North Asians versus the Native American population system ranged from 10,100 to 17,200 years for all lineages, precluding a very early entry into the Americas. The geographic source of Native American Y chromosomes, shown as a circle that included the following territory: Lake Baikal (eastward to the Trans-Baikal and southward into northern Mongolia), the Lena River headwaters, the Angara and Yenisey river basins, the Altai Mountain foothills, and the region south of the Sayan Mountains (including Tuva and western Mongolia). The Native American sample, included 588 individuals from 18 populations allocated three major Native American language families as follows: 342 Amerind speakers, 186 Na-Dene speakers, and 60 Aleut-Eskimo speakers. Native American linguistic affiliations, C lineage network for Asia and the Americas, noting the position of the C-P39 ancestral node leading to C-P39 has haplotype (15–13–13–29–24–9–11–13–11–11) and was present in 2 Altai. This ancestral node is also connected to a one-step neighbor (DYS19 = 16) below it in the network that was found in 11 Altai. The first node after the C-P39 mutation differs from the ancestral node only at DYS390 (23 versus 24 repeats) and was found in a single Cheyenne individual. The one-step neighbor (DYS393 = 12) to the left of this node leads to a mixed Amerind and Na-Dene lineage, whereas the two-step neighbor (DYS389II = 28; DYS391 = 10) below it leads to an exclusively southwestern Na-Dene branch present in 14 Apache and 1 Navajo. The haplotype for the 2 Wayu (15–13–13–30–25–10–11–13–11–11) exhibited 6 mutational step differences from the C-P39 modal haplotype (15–13–13–28–23–9–11–12–11–11), reflecting its marked divergence from the predominant Native American C-haplogroup. Haplogroup C has a much more patchy distribution, with most of the C-P39 chromosomes in our sample concentrated in the three Na-Dene populations. Both Native American founder haplogroups are present at moderately high frequencies in our sample of 98 southern Altai (Q = 17%; C = 22%); however, it is the STR data that proved to be of critical import for narrowing down the presumptive Asian source region. The ancestral nodes leading to both Q-M3 and C-P39, the two Native American–specific haplogroups, were present in the southern Altai individuals. Although the Kets and Sekups currently inhabit the eastern part of Western Siberia and the Yenisey River Valley, according to Russian ethnographers, their ancient homelands are thought to lie farther south, on the slopes of the Sayan and Altai mountains. Thus, our present data support the hypothesis that the Altai Mountain region is the principal candidate for the geographic source of the founding Native American Y chromosomes. As far as we are aware, only the Altai region possesses all of the major Native American Y chromosome and mtDNA founding haplogroups, thereby making it the best available candidate for the ancestral source region for the Native American population system.” 

“It is believed that the Maya language developed from Proto-Mayan dating from minimum 2,000 BC. It then diffused into several branches known as Yucatecan, Huastecan, Cholan, Qhanjobalan, Mamean and Quechuan. All these Mayan dialects are agglutinative languages and can be shown to pertain to the Asiatic, Altaic language group. Here are some Maya words which are very similar to Turkish. The Maya word is given in bold and the corresponding Turkish word is in red within brackets.” ref 

“Leader:  Ahau (Agha)Ax: Baat (Balta)Servant, Low: Ashac (Uşak, Aşağı)A lot, Strong: Tchac (Çok)Pine tree: Tcha (Çam)Difficult: Tchetun (Çetin)Augment, Climb: Tchich (Çık)Left handed: Tchol (Çolak, Solak)Boulder: Kaa (Kaya), Bird: Kutz (Kuş)Inside: İçil (İçinde)Female: İş (Dişi)Belt: Kaşnak (Kasnak)Day: Kin (Gün)Sun: Kiniş (Güneş)Person: Kişe (Kişi)Old man: Koça (Koca)Slave: Kul (Kul)Mother: Naa (Ana)Be: Ol (Ol)Stay clean: Tamazkal (Temiz-kal)Inundation: Tosh (Taşkın)Hill: Tepek (Tepe)Stone: Tetl (Taş)Gather: Top (Topla)Dust: Toz (Toz)Full: Tul (Tolu, Dolu)Filled: Tulan (Dolgun)Deep: Tup (Dip)Pebble: Tzekel (Çakıl)Scabies: Ueez (Uyuz)Urinate: Uiş (İşe)Reach: Ul (Ulaş)Bore: Uy (Oy)Humid: Yash (Yaş)Green: Yashil (Yeşil)Summer: Yashkin (Yaz-günü).” ref 

These 37 words form a small sample indicating the relationship of the main Maya Yucatec language with Turkish. Since there have been no physical interaction in the last two millennia between Asiatic Turks and Central American Maya, these words cannot be loanwords. They have to stem from a common root language, which I have labeled as the Proto-language.” ref 



Mayans: a Y chromosome perspective 

“American Indians had their origins in Asia, and are basically Mongoloid in physical type. The earlier incomers to the new world possessed a series of traits that were relatively ancient and were shared with most cultural groups in the old world. These included the use of fire and the fire drill; the domesticated dog; stone implements of many kinds; the spear thrower, harpoon and simple bow; cardage, netting and basketry; crisis rites and shamanistic beliefs and practices. Important traits lacking in the new world but known in the old world included all the significant domesticated animals, plants and artifacts of the latter, cattle, sheep, the goat, pig, horse, camel and reindeer; wheat, barley and rice; the wheel and the plow; iron; and stringed instruments.” The Native Peoples of Americas migrated from Asia first into North America through the Bering Sea and Alaska. And some of the languages of Native Peoples of Americas corresponding to words “father” and “mother” in Turkish. The ancestors of Turks also lived in Asia all throughout the history. Since, the Proto-Indians and the Proto-Turks lived in the same area in the distant past, they could have been the same people or closely related people and speaking the same language or closely related language. While one group stayed in their motherland, other group left As~ a and went to North America in waves of migrations. Ali languages are dynamic and subject to change in time. Similarly, both the Proto-Turkic and Proto-Indian languages are expected to change throughout ~~ o 000 or more years of separation from each other even if the were the same or similar structured languages at the beginning. In their present form, it would be difficult to find the same language being spoken by both peoples in two widely find the same language being spoken by both peoples in two widely separated continents. However, if the Proto-Indians and the Proto-Turks were the same or closely related people and speaking the same or similar languages, there must stili exist in both groups of languages some living words which also have the same meaning.”

“Andean civilization centering in Peru preceded the Incas by thousands of years and the Inca civilization was built upon and enriched by several pre-existing cultures. The religions of pre-Inca peoples were polytheistic, i.e., believing in many gods, and involved the practice of ancestor worship and included various aspects of magic such as amulets, fertility figurins and apacheta or piles of stones”. It should be noted that there is a definite parallel between this culture associated with pre-Inca civilization in South America and similar culture practiced by ancient Turkish people of Central Asia. The ancient Turks are also known to worship their ancestors and “piles of stones”. In Turkish spoken in Central Asia, there is the word “oba” or “obo” which has several meanings one of which is “piles of stones at a site designated as sacred”. Turkish people have considered such “piles of stones” sacred long before they adapted other modern religions and they have carried out rituals around such “mounds of stones” at certain times of the year. This culture is still being practiced by some Turkish people in various regions of Asia [ 9]. It seems that the practice of worship to “piles of stones” by pre-Inca peoples of Andean civilization is very much the same culture as the Turkish “obo” culture. In addition to the Turkish “obo” culture, we should also note that in Altaic mythology, there is the reference to a culture in which a particular stone was considered as sacred and was worshiped by ancient Turkish people. This magical stone, which was called “Yada Tashi”, was possessed by the Turkish people. They believed that it was due to the magic of this stone that they were always successful in their wars with their neighbors. Whenever they did not posses this magical stone, they would loose their strugles with their neighbors and environment. Misfortunes would befall on them. Here, again we have an ancient Turkish culture which bears resemblance to the worshiping of Inca ancestors to piles of stones.”


“Y DNA projects for C-M217 here, C-P39 here, and the main C project here.  Please note that on the latest version of the ISOGG tree, M217, P44, and Z1453 are now listed as C2, not C3.  In the Messavilla study (1962), fourteen individuals from the Kichwa and Waorani populations of South America were discovered to carry haplogroup C3* (M217).  Most of the individuals within these populations carry variants of expected haplogroup Q, with the balance of 26% of the Kichwa samples and 7.5% of the Waorani samples carrying C3* (M217).  MRCA estimates between the groups are estimated to be between 5.0-6.2 years ago, or years before the present.” ref

In the paper, the authors state that:

“We set out to test whether or not the haplogroup C3* (M217) Y chromosomes found at a mean frequency of 17% in two Ecuadorian populations could have been introduced by migration from East Asia, where this haplogroup is common. We considered recent admixture in the last few generations and, based on an archaeological link between the middle Jōmon culture in Japan and the Valdivia culture in Ecuador, a specific example of ancient admixture between Japan and Ecuador 6 Kya. In a paper, written by Estrada et all, titled “Possible Transpacific Contact on the Cost of Ecuador”, Estrada states that the earliest pottery-producing culture on the coast of Ecuador, the Valdivia culture, shows many striking similarities in decoration and vessel shape to the pottery of eastern Asia. In Japan, resemblances are closest to the Middle Jomon period. Both early Valdivia and Middle Jomon are dated between 2000 and 3000 BCE. A transpacific contact from Asia to Ecuador during this time is postulated.” ref

The conclusions from the 1962 paper states that:

Three different hypotheses to explain the presence of C3* Y chromosomes in Ecuador but not elsewhere in the Americas were tested: recent admixture, ancient admixture ∼6 Kya, or entry as a founder haplogroup 15–20 Kya with subsequent loss by drift elsewhere. We can convincingly exclude the recent admixture model, and find no support for the ancient admixture scenario, although cannot completely exclude it. Overall, our analyses support the hypothesis that C3* (M217) Y chromosomes were present in the “First American” ancestral population, and have been lost by drift from most modern populations except the Ecuadorians.

At the time not having the understanding of C-M217 (C3*) as we have now, the 1962 paper stated that:

“Other than one C3* individual in Alaska, C3* is unknown in the rest of the Native world including all of North American and the balance of Central and South America, but is common and widespread in East Asia.” ref

Some not all Mayan DNA shows C haplogroup. Genetic Overview of the Maya Populations: Mitochondrial DNA Haplogroups ref

Native American founding lineages of Y chromosomes, called C-M217 (C3*), within a restricted area of Ecuador in North-Western South America. ref
“Mound Builder people of the Hopewell culture were the descendants of people of the Adena culture (circa 800 BC to AD 1) who were, in turn, descended from the local Archaic cultures (circa 3000-500 BCE). Comparisons between the mtDNA from individuals from the Hopewell site and a database of mtDNA from groups from all over the world, demonstrated that these ancient Native Americans shared close ties with Asia especially, China, Korea, Japan, and Mongolia.” ref
“Monks Mound by the Mississippian culture began about 900–950 CE, in Illinois, United States. Monks Mound roughly the same size at its base as the Great Pyramid of Giza. The perimeter of its base is larger than the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan. As a platform mound, the earthwork supported a wooden structure on the summit.” ref

“Several studies of the peopling of the Americas have made use of Native American variants. South American C-M217 (or C3), 17 which is defined by marker M21721 and is derived from haplogroup C, which is in turn defined by markers M216 and M130.22 This latter haplogroup is also found among various ethnic groups from northeast Asia, Australasia, and Oceania. The five haplogroup C (C-M130) individuals originated from two Ecuadorian communities, and one from Peru. All five individuals were Quechua speakers (Supplementary Table 4), and displayed also the derived allele for SNP M217; thus, these South American natives belong to the C-M217 lineage, as previously reported.” ref


Human Migration from Asia into Alaska (North America) (11,000 to 6,000 years ago)

“likely relates to the Na-Dene languages described as C-M217/C2/C3/C-M130 DNA lineage”

Archaic period: 8000 BC– 1000 BCE

This C-M217/C2/C3/C-M130 DNA lineage is also in the Mound Builders (some of which are pyramid-like) such as the Adena (800 BCE–100 CE), Hopewell (200 BCE–500 CE), and the Maya civilization with pyramids.

Prevalence of Y-SNP haplogroup C-M217 (C3*) around the Pacific Ocean. Light blue: previous studies; dark blue: present study; yellow: relative frequency of C-M217 (C3*) carriers.

Dene-Yeniseian and Na-Dene

“The Dene-Yeniseian hypothesis regards the Ket language spoken in the Yenisei River Basin as genetically related to the widespread Na-Dene language family in North America. Na-Dene comprises Tlingit and the recently extinct Eyak in Alaska, along with over thirty Athabaskan languages spoken from the western North American Subarctic to pockets in California (Hupa), Oregon (Tolowa) and the American Southwest (Navajo, Apache) (Krauss 1976). Pre-Proto-Na-Dene is believed to have spread from Alaska ca. 3000-2500 BCE. Q1b-YP4010 in a 2,000-year-old North American sample from Lovelock Cave, Nevada, is possibly directly linked to the Southern Athabascan expansion, supporting that some Cis-Baikal LN patrilines survived among ancient Na-Dene speakers. Subclades of hg. Q1b-YP4010 shown by Onnyos-1 are later found widespread among Cis-Baikal Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age individuals, most of them attributed to the Glazkovo culture. In fact, their ancestry is shared by Cis-Baikal LN/EBA individuals featuring – among others – hg. Q1b-Y11938, a haplogroup shared with the few sampled modern Ket people (a tribe of Yeniseian-speaking people in Siberia).” ref

“The population movement represented by Palaeo-Eskimo ancestry is thus probably the most relevant for a hypothetical Dene-Yeniseian connection before the (Pre-)Proto-Na-Dene expansion and eventual admixture with North American First Peoples, since Baikal LN/EBA samples show both Y-DNA lineages – Q1b-Y11938 closely related to modern Kets, and Q1b-YP4010 linked to the Paleo-Eskimo Syalakh/Bel’kachi-related expansions. The ancestor of Common Yeniseian (dated earlier than ca. 1000 BCE), Proto-Yeniseic, can be dated to a considerably earlier period (possibly ca. 3000-2000 BCE), and Na-Dene to a roughly similar time (ca. 3500-2500 BCE), which – based on the innovations of the latter – allows for a Dene-Yeniseian split ca. 7000-5000 BCE (cf. Vajda in Flegontov et al. 2017). The Baikal LN/EBA-related split in population genomics is visible ca. 7,000 years ago, showing that a Na-Dene – Yeniseian connection is not far-fetched in terms of reconstructible languages or tight link in population genomics.” ref

“Nevertheless, based on the shared ancestry among Northern Pacific groups and the highly variable linguistic guesstimates, it is still possible that the arrival of Proto-Na-Dene was linked to the formation of the Northern Archaic people, as previously proposed (e.g. Esdale 2008, Potter 2008). After all, their Northern Archaic tradition (ca. 5000-4500 BCE) probably involved a mixture of Syalakh/Bel’kachi-related population with back-migrating peoples bringing Archaic Cultural Diffusion to Alaska, which would justify the presence of Q1b-M3 among early Athabascans. Chukotko-Kamchatkan speakers show the closest affinity to Palaeo-Eskimos among modern populations, with the split from other present-day Siberian populations happening ca. 4300 BCE, and from Saqqaq estimated ca. 4400-2400 BCE. The split with Eskimo-Aleut is estimated to have occurred ca. 4200-2900 BCE, due to their admixture with a group related to Northern Athabascans (Flegontov et al. Nature 2019).” ref

Diné Bahaneʼ (Navajo“Story of the People”), the Navajo creation myth, describes the prehistoric emergence of the Navajo as a part of the Navajo religious beliefs. It centers on the area known as the Dinétah, the traditional homeland of the Navajo, and forms the basis of the traditional Navajo way of life and ceremony.” ref

The Union of Two Worlds: Reconstructing Elements of Proto-Athabaskan Folklore and Religion

This study reconstructs elements of proto-Athabaskan folklore and religion, challenging received wisdom about the character of Southern Athabaskan culture. Detailed parallelism between Athabaskan and Old World folklore traditions, especially Inner Asian ones, means we must now consider that Southern Athabaskan cultures may retain significant elements of proto-Athabaskan belief systems originating in Asia.” ref

“Reconstruction of Proto-Na-Dene (= Proto-Athabaskan-Eyak-Tlingit, PAET in Jeff Leer’s terms)is based on comparison of three groups of languages: 1) Tlingit dialects (Tl), 2) Eyak (E) and3) Athabaskan languages (PA = Proto-Athabaskan)1. Eyak and the Athabaskan languages are close to each other and are traced back to an intermediate Proto-Eyak-Athabakan language(PEA = PAE of Jeff Leer). The regular phonetic correspondences between Eyak and PA were interpreted by Michael E. Krauss and Jeffrey Leer, including very complicated correspondences of sonorants (Krauss & Leer 1981). Leer (1992; 2008; 2008a) has proposed a PND reconstruction, explaining most of the regular sound correspondences between the Na-Dene languages.” ref

Every Dene nation has its own creation story about how the Earth came to be, and how the Dene people and language were created. All of these tales often feature a Creator who forms the waters and lands of Denendeh. Dene oral traditions are records of history, known as þqtú hoghena nüsí hotßü honü, as well as spiritual legends, called üæqhzé. Every Dene nation has its own creation story about how the Earth came to be, and how the Dene people and language were created. All of these tales often feature a Creator who forms the waters and lands of Denendeh. They also feature common characters such as Raven and Yamǫǫ̀zha. Raven is a trickster figure who can transform into different forms. Raven’s behaviors and errors are meant to teach the Dene right from wrong. (See also Raven Symbolism.) Another well-known shape-shifter is Yamǫǫ̀zha (also known as Yamǫ́ria to some people; for others, Yamǫ́ria is a different being). Yamǫǫ̀zha is a medicine man who transforms from human to animal, and helps the Dene solve problems. In some tales, Yamǫǫ̀zha is half-animal/half-human. These legends are significant to Dene culture and spirituality, as they transmit lore and lessons to younger generations. (See also Indigenous Peoples: Religion and Spirituality.)” ref

“Ravens appear as stock characters in several traditional Serbian epic poems. Like in many other cultures, the raven is associated with death – more specifically with an aftermath of a bloody or significant battle. Ravens often appear in pairs and play the role of harbingers of tragic news, usually announcing the death of a hero or a group of heroes. They tend to appear in combination with female characters as receivers of the news. Usually, a mother or a wife of a hero will be notified about the hero’s death by a visit from a pair of ravens. Sometimes, these are treated as supernatural creatures capable of communicating with humans that report about events directly. Alternatively, these are ordinary birds bringing along scavenged body parts, such as a hand or a finger with a ring, by which the fate of the hero will be recognized. The most notable examples of this pattern are found in the songs “Car Lazar i Carica Milica” (Tsar Lazar and Tsarina Militsa) and “Boj na Mišaru” (Battle of Mishar).” ref

Kutkh (also KutkhaKootkhaKutq, Kutcha and other variants, RussianКутх) is a Raven spirit traditionally revered in various forms by various indigenous peoples of the Russian Far East. Kutkh appears in many legends: as a key figure in creation, as a fertile ancestor of mankind, as a mighty shaman and as a trickster. He is a popular subject of the animist stories of the Chukchi people and plays a central role in the mythology of the Koryaks and Itelmens of Kamchatka. Many of the stories regarding Kutkh are similar to those of the Raven among the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast, suggesting a long history of indirect cultural contact between Asian and North American peoples.” ref

“Koryaks believe in a Supreme Being whom they call by various names: ŋajŋənen (Universe/World), ineɣitelʔən (Supervisor), ɣət͡ɕɣoletənvəlʔən (Master-of-the-Upper-World), ɣət͡ɕɣolʔən (One-on-High), etc. He is considered to reside in Heaven with his family and when he wishes to punish mankind for immoral acts, he falls asleep and thus leaves man vulnerable to unsuccessful hunting and other ills. Koryak mythology centers on the supernatural shaman Quikil (Big-Raven), who was created by the Supreme Being as the first man and protector of the Koryak. Big Raven myths are also found in Southeast Alaska in the Tlingit culture, and among the HaidaTsimshian, and other natives of the Pacific Northwest Coast Amerindians.” ref

Postglacial genomes from foragers across Northern Eurasia reveal prehistoric

mobility associated with the spread of the Uralic and Yeniseian languages


“The North Eurasian forest and forest-steppe zones have sustained millennia of sociocultural connections among northern peoples. We present genome-wide ancient DNA data for 181 individuals from this region spanning the Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Bronze Age. We find that Early to Mid-Holocene hunter-gatherer populations from across the southern forest and forest-steppes of Northern Eurasia can be characterized by a continuous gradient of ancestry that remained stable for millennia, ranging from fully West Eurasian in the Baltic region to fully East Asian in the Transbaikal region. In contrast, cotemporaneous groups in far Northeast Siberia were genetically distinct, retaining high levels of continuity from a population that was the primary source of ancestry for Native Americans. By the mid-Holocene, admixture between this early Northeastern Siberian population and groups from Inland East Asia and the Amur River Basin produced two distinctive populations in eastern Siberia that played an important role in the genetic formation of later people. Ancestry from the first population, Cis-Baikal Late Neolithic-Bronze Age (Cisbaikal_LNBA), is found substantially only among Yeniseian-speaking groups and those known to have admixed with them. Ancestry from the second, Yakutian Late Neolithic-Bronze Age (Yakutia_LNBA), is strongly associated with present-day Uralic speakers. We show how Yakutia_LNBA ancestry spread from an east Siberian origin ~4.5kya, along with subclades of Y-chromosome haplogroup N occurring at high frequencies among present-day Uralic speakers, into Western and Central Siberia in communities associated with Seima-Turbino metallurgy: a suite of advanced bronze casting techniques that spread explosively across an enormous region of Northern Eurasia ~4.0kya. However, the ancestry of the 16 Seima-Turbino-period individuals–the first reported from sites with this metallurgy–was otherwise extraordinarily diverse, with partial descent from Indo-Iranian-speaking pastoralists and multiple hunter-gatherer populations from widely separated regions of Eurasia. Our results provide support for theories suggesting that early Uralic speakers at the beginning of their westward dispersal where involved in the expansion of Seima-Turbino metallurgical traditions, and suggests that both cultural transmission and migration were important in the spread of Seima-Turbino material culture.” ref

My art and when as well as who may have brought in the new elitism and compulsory authority to the Americas.

“For the Tlingit (branch of the Na-Dené language family), hereditary slavery was practiced extensively until it was outlawed by the United States. Wealth and economic power are important indicators of rank. Scientists suggest that the main ancestor of the Ainu and of the Tlingit can be traced back to Paleolithic groups in Southern Siberia.” ref

Gene flow across linguistic boundaries in Native North American populations

“Geneticists and anthropologists often expect that human language groups and gene pools will share a common structure. It is noted that both language and genes are passed from parents to children, mating tends to be endogamous with respect to linguistic groups, and splits in linguistic communities usually occur with splits in breeding populations. Cavalli-Sforza et al. have reported that genetic trees of major geographic populations correlate well with language families. They argue that a process consisting of population fissions, expansion into new territories, and isolation between ancestral and descendant groups will produced a tree-like structure common to both genes and languages. Linguists agree that population fissions and range expansions play an important role in the generation of linguistic diversity.” ref

“The potential correspondence between gene pools and language groups in Native North American populations is particularly interesting for several reasons. Early investigations of the correspondence between genetic groups and linguistic groups in Native North Americans produced equivocal results. On the one hand, average genetic distances between populations in different language families were greater than average genetic distances between populations within language families. On the other hand, genetic distances were not significantly correlated with glottochronological distances. In the three language families, the average nucleotide diversity within populations is low in Eskimo-Aleut populations and high in Amerind populations. However, nucleotide diversity varies considerably among the populations classified as Na-Dene-speaking. The Alaskan Athabascan and Haida populations, who reside in the North, have low nucleotide diversities, in the range of nucleotide diversities in the Eskimo-Aleut-speaking populations. The Navajo and Apache, who reside in the Southwest, have high nucleotide diversities, in the range of nucleotide diversities in populations classified as Amerind speaking.” ref 

“Several patterns that depart from the tree structure are apparent upon close examination. For example, the GLC expected distances consistently overestimate the realized genetic distances for several populations, including the Navajo, Aleut, and Siberian Yupik populations. This relationship means that these populations are genetically similar to populations with distantly related languages. Similarly, the GLC tree consistently underestimates the genetic distance between three Eskimo populations (Central Yupik, Canadian Inuit, and Inupaiq) and all other populations. First, none of Greenberg’s major language groups (Eskimo-Aleut, Na-Dene, or Amerind) forms a unique cluster. The most exclusive cluster that contains all Eskimo-Aleut populations (defined by branch a) also includes all four Na-Dene-speaking populations and the Amerind-speaking Cheyenne, Bella Coola, and Nuu Chah Nulth populations.” ref

“The most exclusive cluster with all Na-Dene-speaking populations (defined by branch b) also includes six Eskimo-Aleut-speaking populations (Siberian Yupik, Greenland Inuit, Central Yupik, Canadian Inuit, and Inupiaq) and the Amerind-speaking Bella Coola. The most exclusive cluster with all Amerind-speaking populations (defined by branch c) includes the Eskimo-Aleut-speaking Aleuts and the Na-Dene-speaking Navajo. Second, there is a strong North-South geographic pattern to the clustering pattern. An Arctic-Pacific Northwest cluster that includes all Aleut-Eskimo populations, all Na-Dene populations, and the Amerind Nuu Chah Nulth and Bella Coola populations originates on one side of branch a, whereas a more Southern group includes the Pima, Cherokee, Sioux, and Chippewa Amerind-speaking population forms to the other side of branch a. The Southwestern Athabascan-speaking populations, Navajo and Apache, defy the geographic groupings, but this result is consistent with the archaeological record.” ref

“Anthropologists agree that circa anno Domini 1400 the ancestors of Navajos and Apaches migrated from the Mackenzie Basin of Canada to the Southwest region, where they came into contact with Amerind-speaking populations who had been living there for thousands of years. The occurrence of haplogroup A differs markedly between the far Northern and the Southwestern samples. With only few exceptions, mtDNA lineages observed in the northern Na-Dene classified populations (Haida and Alaskan Athabascans) belong to haplogroup A. Haplogroup A is also common in Eskimos and Aleuts. Outside of the far North, the only samples in which haplogroup A appears commonly are the Southwestern Athabascan-speaking populations (Navajo and Apache). mtDNA sequences belonging to haplogroups B and C are frequent primarily in the Amerind-classified populations, including the Bella Coola, and Nuu Chah Nulth populations on the Northwest Coast. The Navajo and Apache are the only Na-Dene-classified populations with substantial frequencies of B- and C-group haplotypes, although haplogroup C is observed in the Haida and Alaskan Athabascan samples.” ref 

I think god beliefs (great spirit/shy father god) came into the Americas from North Asia from 7,000 to 5,000 years ago. I think it likely relates to the Na-Dene languages migrations as all of the Na-Dene languages have “great spirit” beliefs and some have shy father god/creator beliefs as well.

I think Na-Dene speakers brought into the Americas a kind/several kinds of Shamanism-Paganism with Totemism and Animism. Especially a daytime blue sky-god/sun-god but also an earth/moon goddess and bird mythology beliefs. Similar to the Hemudu culture (5500 – 3300 BCE or around 7,500 to 5,300 years ago) from China.

Hemudu’s inhabitants worshiped a sun spirit as well as a fertility spirit. They also enacted shamanistic rituals to the sun and believed in bird totems. A belief in an afterlife and ghosts is thought to have been widespread as well. People were buried with their heads facing east or northeast and most had no burial objects. Infants were buried in urn-casket style burials, while children and adults received earth level burials. They did not have a definite communal burial ground, for the most part, but a clan communal burial ground has been found from the later period. Two groups in separate parts of this burial ground are thought to be two intermarrying clans. There were noticeably more burial goods in this communal burial ground.” ref

“The Great Spirit is the concept of a life force, a supreme being or god, present in many, but not all, indigenous cultures in Canada and the United States. Interpretations of the Great Spirit also vary between cultures. It is known as Wakan Tanka in Lakota, Gitche Manitou in Algonquian, and by other, specific names in a number of First Nations and Native American cultures. According to Lakota activist Russell Means, a more semantically accurate translation of Wakan Tanka is the Great Mystery.” ref

“The Great Spirit has at times been conceptualized as an “anthropomorphic celestial deity,” a god of creation, history, and eternity, who also takes a personal interest in world affairs and might regularly intervene in the lives of human beings. Numerous individuals are held to have been “speakers” for the Great Spirit; persons believed to serve as an earthly mediator responsible for facilitating communication between humans and the supernatural more generally. Such a speaker is generally considered to have an obligation to preserve the spiritual traditions of their respective lineage. The Great Spirit is looked to by spiritual leaders for guidance by individuals as well as communities at large.” ref

“While belief in an entity or entities known as the Great Spirit exists across numerous indigenous American peoples, individual tribes often demonstrate varying degrees of cultural divergence. As such, a variety of stories, parables, fables, and messages exhibiting different, sometimes contradictory themes and plot elements have been attributed to the same figure by otherwise disparate cultures. Wakan Tanka (Wakȟáŋ Tȟáŋka) can be interpreted as the power or the sacredness that resides in everything, resembling some animistic and pantheistic beliefs. This term describes every creature and object as wakan (“holy”) or having aspects that are wakan; tanka corresponds to “great” or “large.” ref

“The Lakota used Wakan Tanka to refer to an organization or group of sacred entities whose ways were considered mysterious and beyond human understanding. It was the elaboration on these beliefs that prompted scholarly debate suggesting that the term “Great Mystery” could be a more accurate translation of such a concept than “Great Spirit”. Activist Russell Means also promoted the translation “Great Mystery” and the view that Lakota spirituality is not originally monotheistic.” ref

“Chief Luther Standing Bear (1868–1939) of the Lakota Nation put it thus:

From Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit, there came a great unifying life force that flowed in and through all things – the flowers of the plains, blowing winds, rocks, trees, birds, animals – and was the same force that had been breathed into the first man. Thus all things were kindred, and were brought together by the same Great Mystery.” ref

Manitou, akin to the Haudenosaunee concept of orenda, is perceived as the spiritual and fundamental life force by Algonquian peoples. It is believed by practitioners to be omnipresent; manifesting in all things, including organisms, the environment, and events both human-induced and otherwise. Manifestations of Manitou are also believed to be dualistic, and such contrasting instances are known as aashaa monetoo (“good spirit”) and otshee monetoo (“bad spirit”) respectively. According to legend, when the world was created, the Great Spirit, Aasha Monetoo, gave the land to the indigenous peoples, the Shawnee in particular.” ref

“The Anishinaabe culture, descended from the Algonquian-speaking Abenaki and Cree, inherited the Great Spirit tradition of their predecessors. Gitche Manitou (also transliterated as Gichi-manidoo) is an Anishinaabe language word typically interpreted as Great Spirit, the Creator of all things and the Giver of Life, and is sometimes translated as the “Great Mystery”. Historically, Anishinaabe people believed in a variety of spirits, whose images were placed near doorways for protection. According to Anishinaabe tradition, Michilimackinac, later named by European settlers as Mackinac Island, in Michigan, was the home of Gitche Manitou, and some Anishinaabeg tribes would make pilgrimages there for rituals devoted to the spirit.” ref

“Other Anishinaabe names for such a figure, incorporated through the process of syncretism, are Gizhe-manidoo (“venerable Manidoo“), Wenizhishid-manidoo (“Fair Manidoo“) and Gichi-ojichaag (“Great Spirit”). While Gichi-manidoo and Gichi-ojichaag both mean “Great Spirit”, Gichi-manidoo carried the idea of the greater spiritual connectivity while Gichi-ojichaag carried the idea of individual soul’s connection to the Gichi-manidoo. Consequently, Christian missionaries often used the term Gichi-ojichaag to refer to the Christian idea of a Holy SpiritThe contemporary belief in the great spirit is generally associated with the Native American Church. The doctrine regarding the great spirit within this modern tradition is quite varied and generally takes on Christian ideas of a monotheistic God alongside animistic conceptions. The number of adherents to these contemporary beliefs in the great spirit are unknown, but it is likely they number over a quarter million people.” ref

“Early European explorers describe individual Native American tribes and even small bands as each having their own religious practices. Theology may be monotheisticpolytheistichenotheisticanimisticshamanisticpantheistic or any combination thereof, among others. Traditional beliefs are usually passed down in the forms of oral histories, stories, allegories, and principles.” ref

“The sun dance is a religious ceremony practiced by a number of Native American and First Nations peoples, primarily those of the Plains Nations. Each tribe that has some type of sun dance ceremony that has their own distinct practices and ceremonial protocols. In many cases, the ceremony is held in private and is not open to the public. Most details of the ceremony are kept from public knowledge out of great respect for, and the desire for protection of, the traditional ways. Many of the ceremonies have features in common, such as specific dances and songs passed down through many generations, the use of traditional drums, the sacred pipe, praying, fasting and, in some cases, the piercing of the skin. In Canada, the Plains Cree call this ceremony the Thirst Dance; the Saulteaux (Plains Ojibwe) call it the Rain Dance; and the Blackfoot (Siksika, Kainai, and Piikani) call it the Medicine Dance. It is also practiced by the Canadian Dakota and Nakoda, and the Dene.” ref

Q-M3 and C-M130/C-M217 Haplogroups

“Haplogroup Q-M3 Possible time of origin 10,000-15,000 years ago, Possible place of origin Beringia: Either East Asia or North America.” ref  I think the most likely is in East Asia “Siberia”, coming over with the Na-Dene language family migrations.  

“A 2019 study suggested that Native Americans are the closest living relatives to 10,000-year-old fossils found near the Kolyma River in northeastern Siberia. As a whole, the greatest frequency of the four Native American associated haplogroups occurs in the AltaiBaikal region of southern Siberia. Some subclades of C and D closer to the Native American subclades occur among Mongolian, Amur, Japanese, Korean, and Ainu populations. A subtype “A” has been defined and identified among the Japanese (including Ainu), and among Caribbean and South American isolates. A subtype “B” has been identified in Japan and India. Native Americans in coastal British Columbia were found to have both subtypes A and B. Bone marrow specimens from an Andean mummy about 1500 years old were reported to have shown the presence of the A subtype. The presence of subtypes A and B in the Americas is suggestive of a Native American source population related to the Ainu ancestors, the Jōmon. Nevertheless, some scholars suggest that the ancestors of western North Americans speaking Na-Dene languages made a coastal migration by boat.” ref

“Haplogroup C is one of five mtDNA haplogroups found in the indigenous peoples of the Americas, the others being ABD, and X. The subclades C1b, C1c, C1d, and C4c are found in the first people of the Americas. C1a is found only in Asia.” ref

“Males carrying C-M130/C-M217, also known as C2 (and previously as C3) are believed to have migrated to the Americas some 6,000-8,000 years ago, and was carried by Na-Dené-speaking peoples into the northwest Pacific coast of North America.” ref

The haplogroup C-M217 is now found at high frequencies among Central Asian peoples, indigenous Siberians, and some Native peoples of North America. The oldest sample with C2-M217 is AR19K in the Amur River basin (19,587-19,175 years ago). C2a1-F3447 includes all extant Eurasian members of C2a-L1373, whereas C2a2-BY63635/MPB374 contains extant South American members of C2a-L1373 as well as ancient archaeological specimens from South America and Chertovy Vorota Cave in Primorsky Krai. Haplogroup C-M217 is the modal haplogroup among Mongolians and most indigenous populations of the Russian Far East, such as the Buryats, Northern Tungusic peoplesNivkhsKoryaks, and Itelmens. The subclade C-P39 is common among males of the indigenous North American peoples whose languages belong to the Na-Dené phylumC2b1a1a P39 Canada, USA (Found in several indigenous peoples of North America, including some Na-Dené-, Algonquian-, or Siouan-speaking populations” ref 

Edward Vajda of Western Washington University presented evidence suggesting that the Na-Dene languages (Athabaskan–Eyak–Tlingit) might be related to the Yeniseian (or Yeniseic) languages of Siberia, the only living representative of which is the Ket language.” ref

Haplogroup Q-M3 is one of the Y-Chromosome haplogroups linked to the indigenous peoples of the Americas (over 90% of indigenous people in Meso & South America). Today, such lineages also include other Q-M242 branches (Q-M346Q-L54Q-P89.1Q-NWT01, and Q-Z780), haplogroup C-M130 branches (C-M217 and C-P39), and R-M207, which are almost exclusively found in the North America. Haplogroup Q-M3 is defined by the presence of the (M3) single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). Q-M3 occurred on the Q-L54 lineage roughly 10-15 thousand years ago as the migration into the Americas was underway. There is some debate as to on which side of the Bering Strait this mutation occurred, but it definitely happened in the ancestors of the indigenous peoples of the Americas.” ref

Q-M19 M19 This lineage is found among Indigenous South Americans, such as the Ticuna and the Wayuu. Origin: South America approximately 5,000 to 10,000 years ago.” ref

Haplogroup C2 (M217) – the most numerous and widely dispersed C lineage – was once believed to have originated in Central Asia, spread from there into Northern Asia and the Americas while other theory it originated from East Asia. C-M217 stretches longitudinally from Central Europe and Turkey, to the Wayuu people of Colombia and Venezuela, and latitudinally from the Athabaskan peoples of Alaska to Vietnam to the Malay Archipelago. C-P39 (C2b1a1a) is found among several indigenous peoples of North America, including some Na-Dené-, Algonquian– and Siouan-speaking populations.” ref

“The Arctic Small Tool tradition of Alaska and the Canadian Arctic may have originated in East Siberia about 5,000 years ago. This is connected with the ancient Paleo-Eskimo peoples of the Arctic. The Arctic Small Tool tradition source may have been the Syalakh-Bel’kachi-Ymyakhtakh culture sequence of East Siberia, dated to 6,500–2,800 years ago.” ref

Tlingit People

The Tlingit are Alaska Native Indigenous Peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America and are one of two-hundred twenty-nine (229) federally recognized Tribes of Alaska. Their language is the Tlingit language, is spoken by the Tlingit people of Southeast Alaska and Western Canada, and is a branch of the Na-Dene language family. Tlingit has a complex phonological system compared to Indo-European languages such as English or Spanish. A branch of the Na-Dené language family of Alaska and western Canada, the Tlingit language may have split from the closely related Athabaska language five thousand years agoTlingit people today belong to two federally recognized Alaska Native tribes: the Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska and the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe.” ref, ref, ref

“The Tlingit have a matrilineal kinship system, with children born into the mother’s clan, and property and hereditary roles passing through the mother’s line. Their culture and society developed in the temperate rainforest of the southeast Alaskan coast and the Alexander Archipelago. The Tlingit have maintained a complex hunter-gatherer culture based on semi-sedentary management of fisheries. Hereditary servitude was practiced extensively until it was outlawed by the United States Government. An inland group, known as the Inland Tlingit, inhabits the far northwestern part of the province of British Columbia and the southern Yukon in Canada.” ref

“The Tlingit culture is multifaceted and complex, a characteristic of Northwest Pacific Coast people with access to easily exploited rich resources. In Tlingit culture a heavy emphasis is placed upon family and kinship, and on a rich oratory tradition. Wealth and economic power are important indicators of rank, but so is generosity and proper behavior, all signs of “good breeding” and ties to aristocracy. Art and spirituality are incorporated in nearly all areas of Tlingit culture, with even everyday objects such as spoons and storage boxes decorated and imbued with spiritual power and historical beliefs of the Tlingits.” ref

“Tlingit society is divided into two moieties, the Raven and the Eagle. These in turn are divided into numerous clans, which are subdivided into lineages or house groups. They have a matrilineal kinship system, with descent and inheritance passed through the mother’s line. These groups have heraldic crests, which are displayed on totem poles, canoes, feast dishes, house posts, weavings, jewelry, and other art forms. The Tlingits pass down at.oow(s) or blankets that represented trust. Only a Tlingit can inherit one but they can also pass it down to someone they trust, who becomes responsible for caring for it but does not rightfully own it. Like other Northwest Coast native peoples, the Tlingit did practice hereditary slavery.

“Tlingit thought and belief, although never formally codified, was historically a fairly well-organized philosophical and religious system whose basic axioms shaped the way Tlingit people viewed and interacted with the world around them. Tlingits were traditionally animists, and hunters ritually purified themselves before hunting animals. Shamans, primarily men, cured diseases, influenced weather, aided in hunting, predicted the future, and protected people against witchcraft. A central part of the Tlingit belief system was the belief in reincarnation of both humans and animals.” ref

“Tlingit tribes historically built plank houses made from cedar and today call them clanhouses; these houses were built with a foundation such that they could store their belongings under the floors. It is said that these plank houses had no adhesive, nails, or any other sort of fastening devices. Clan houses were usually square or rectangular in shape and had front facing designs and totem poles to represent to which clan and moiety the makers belonged. Various cultures of indigenous people have continuously occupied the Alaska territory for thousands of years, leading to the Tlingit. Human culture with elements related to the Tlingit originated around 10,000 years ago near the mouths of the Skeena and Nass Rivers.” ref 

“Food is a central part of Tlingit culture, and the land is an abundant provider. Most of the richness of intertidal life found on the beaches of Southeast Alaska can be harvested for food. Though eating off the beach could provide a fairly healthy and varied diet, eating nothing but “beach food” is considered contemptible among the Tlingit and a sign of poverty. Indeed, shamans and their families were required to abstain from all food gathered from the beach, and men might avoid eating beach food before battles or strenuous activities in the belief that it would weaken them spiritually and perhaps physically as well.” ref

“Thus for both spiritual reasons as well as to add some variety to the diet, the Tlingit harvest many other resources for food besides those they easily find outside their front doors. No other food resource receives as much emphasis as salmon; however, seal and game are both close seconds. Halibut, shellfish, and seaweed traditionally provided food in the spring, while late spring and summer bring seal and salmon. Summer is a time for gathering wild and tame berries, such as salmonberry, soap berry, and currants. In fall, sea otters are hunted. Herring and eulachon are also important staples, that can be eaten fresh or dried and stored for later use. Fish provide meat, oil, and eggs. Sea mammals, such as sea lions and sea otters, are used for food and clothing materials. In the forests near their homes, Tlingit hunted deer, bear, mountain goats, and other small mammals.” ref

Clan, Language, and Migration History Has Shaped Genetic Diversity in Haida and Tlingit Populations From Southeast Alaska

The linguistically distinctive Haida and Tlingit tribes of Southeast Alaska are known for their rich material culture, complex social organization, and elaborate ritual practices. However, much less is known about these tribes from a population genetic perspective. For this reason, we analyzed mtDNA and Y-chromosome variation in Haida and Tlingit populations to elucidate several key issues pertaining to the history of this region. These included the genetic relationships of Haida and Tlingit to other indigenous groups in Alaska and Canada; the relationship between linguistic and genetic data for populations assigned to the Na-Dene linguistic family, specifically, the inclusion of Haida with Athapaskan, Eyak, and Tlingit in the language family; the possible influence of matrilineal clan structure on patterns of genetic variation in Haida and Tlingit populations; and the impact of European entry into the region on the genetic diversity of these indigenous communities.” ref

“Analysis indicates that, while sharing a “northern” genetic profile, the Haida and the Tlingit are genetically distinctive from each other. In addition, Tlingit groups themselves differ across their geographic range, in part due to interactions of Tlingit tribes with Athapaskan and Eyak groups to the north. The data also reveal a strong influence of maternal clan identity on mtDNA variation in these groups, as well as the significant influence of non-native males on Y-chromosome diversity. These results yield new details about the histories of the Haida and Tlingit tribes in this region. Southeast Alaska has long been known for its diversity of Native American communities. Prior to European contact, Eyak, Haida, Tlingit, and Tsimshian tribes lived in coastal and island portions of Southeast Alaska and northern British Columbia (Fig. 1).” ref

“These groups are known for their distinctive totem poles, house carvings, masks and ceremonial garb, and material culture as well as their complex social organization and elaborate potlatches, and are considered to be part of a “Northwest Coast Culture.” However, while this region has been well studied from ethnographic and linguistic perspectives, much less is known about these tribes from a population genetic perspective. The ancestors of the Haida and Tlingit populations probably did not establish themselves in Southeast Alaska until after the end of the last glacial maximum. The earliest Paleoarctic sites, including Chuck Lake and Thorne River, Groundhog Bay in Icy Strait (Chichagof Island), and Hidden Falls on Baranof Island near Sitka, date to 10,000–6,500 years ago and are marked by microblade and cobble stone tools. During this period, the Northwest Coast developed into a distinct culture area.” ref

“Over the next 2,000 years, the culture and social organization associated with Northwest Coast peoples began to emerge. Around 5,000 years ago, the coastal art and aesthetic styles associated with the Northwest Coast began to appear. By 3,000 years ago, the cultures of the Northwest Coast were largely the same as those observed at the time of contact. The indigenous populations living in the region today are the direct cultural, and possibly biological, descendants of these prehistoric Northwest Coast groups. The Tlingit language, recognized as one of the oldest branches of the family, may have split from the Eyak-Athapaskan branch about 5,000 years ago. It is subdivided into Gulf Coast, Northern, Southern, and Inland dialects, which are largely mutually intelligible.” ref

“Sixteen component “tribes” (qwaan) comprise the three coastal subdialect regions. Each of these tribes is centered on a primary village. These are, north to south, the Gulf Coast region with Yakutat and Lituya Bay; the Northern region with Hoonah, Chilkat, Auk, Sitka, Hutsnuwu, Taku, and Sawdum; and the Southern region with Kake, Kuiu, Henya, Klawak, Stikine, Tongass, and Sanya. By contrast, Eyak is essentially an extinct language, historically spoken in the Copper River region of southcentral Alaska. According to linguistic evidence, even current place names surrounding the Gulf of Alaska (including Yakutat) came from Eyak sources. This evidence, and Tlingit oral history, suggests that Eyak was once more widespread in Southeast Alaska than at the time of European contact. Athapaskan is the youngest branch of the AET grouping within Na-Dene. Populations speaking Athapaskan languages now occupy large areas of northern North America, with most living in Alaska and Canada.” ref

“Proto-Athapaskan itself may have originated in the subarctic region of North America some 3,000 years ago. The current distribution of Athapaskan languages in North America likely reflects a series of migrations from this source area within the past 1,000 years. Most researchers also support the “Na-Dene hypothesis,” which asserts a distant “genetic” relationship between AET and Haida languages. According to this model, Haida and AET languages resemble each other because of sharing a common ancestry. However, some have questioned the inclusion of Haida in the Na-Dene linguistic family, viewing it as a linguistic isolate. The Haida language itself is divided into Northern and Southern dialects, with Northern Haida being split into Alaskan (Kaigani) Haida and Masset (North Graham Island) Haida dialects.” ref

“All Northwest Coast groups have some form of an exogamous matrilineal clan system. In these systems, clan status is passed from mothers to their children. Based on this status, individuals have access to specific clan territories for hunting and fishing, and can use clan-specific crests for decorating clothing and dwellings. The clan system is comprised by two moieties or reciprocating descent groups. For the Tlingit and Eyak, clans are grouped into Raven (Yéil) or Eagle/Wolf (Ch’aak’/Gooch) moieties. Traditionally, moiety membership influenced marriage practices, whereby persons belonging to Eagle clans would marry those from Raven clans, and vice versa. Like the Tlingit and Eyak, the Haida are grouped into two moieties, although the clans belonging to the Haida Eagle moiety would belong to the Tlingit Raven moiety. By contrast, the Tsimshian have four phratries instead of two moieties. Thus, all Northwest Coast populations are organized into maternally linked clans, grouped into exogamous units, which influence their social and ritual practices, and probably also their genetic make-up.” ref 

“Tlingit genetic analyses of HLA I and HLA II genes as well as HLA-A, -B, and -DRB1 gene frequencies links the Ainu people of Japan to some Indigenous peoples of the Americas, especially to populations on the Pacific Northwest Coast such as Tlingit. The scientists suggest that the main ancestor of the Ainu and of the Tlingit can be traced back to Paleolithic groups in Southern Siberia.” ref

Genetic Study Establishes Native Ancestors Were in Alaska 3,000 Years Ago

A new genetic study provides evidence that at least some Alaska Natives live in roughly the same location where their ancestors lived 3,000 years ago. While studying what they thought was a bear bone found in a cave on the southeast coast of Alaska, a team led by University at Buffalo evolutionary biologist Charlotte Lindqvist determined that the bone had actually belonged to a young woman. The bone was radiocarbon dated to around 3,000 years ago, and analysis of genetic material extracted from it revealed that the young woman was most closely related to the Tlingit peoples and other tribes that live nearby. A Tlingit group has named the ancient individual Tatóok yík yées sháawat, or Young lady in cave. There is evidence from Tlingit oral history that they were already in the area more than a millennium before the time of the young woman covered in the study. Tlingit narratives include the story of the most recent eruption of Mount Edgecumbe, which suggests their ancestors were in the area 4,500 years ago. To read about excavations in an Alaskan village that have provided evidence of an episode in the local people’s oral tradition, go to “Cultural Revival.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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“These ideas are my speculations from the evidence.”

“1 central Eurasian Neolithic individual from Tajikistan (around 8,000 years ago) and approximately 8,200 years ago Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov group from Karelia in western Russia formed by 19 genomes affinity to Villabruna ancestry than all the other Eastern Hunter-Gatherer groups”

Eastern Hunter-Gatherer?

“In archaeogenetics, the term Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG), sometimes East European Hunter-Gatherer, or Eastern European Hunter-Gatherer is the name given to a distinct ancestral component that represents descent from Mesolithic hunter-gatherers of Eastern EuropeThe Eastern Hunter Gatherer genetic profile can be modeled as an admixture between a Siberian Paleolithic population called Ancient North Eurasians (ANE) with European Western Hunter-Gatherers (WHG), although the relationship between the ANE and EHG ancestral components is not yet well understood due to lack of samples that could bridge the spatiotemporal gap. During the Mesolithic, the EHGs inhabited an area stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Urals and downwards to the Pontic–Caspian steppe.” ref 

“Along with Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherers (SHG) and Western Hunter-Gatherers (WHG), the EHGs constituted one of the three main genetic groups in the postglacial period of early Holocene Europe. The border between WHGs and EHGs ran roughly from the lower Danube, northward along the western forests of the Dnieper towards the western Baltic SeaDuring the Neolithic and early Eneolithic, likely during the 4th millennium BC EHGs on the Pontic–Caspian steppe mixed with Caucasus hunter-gatherers (CHGs) with the resulting population, almost half-EHG and half-CHG, forming the genetic cluster known as Western Steppe Herder (WSH). WSH populations closely related to the people of the Yamnaya culture are supposed to have embarked on a massive migration leading to the spread of Indo-European languages throughout large parts of Eurasia.” ref

“Haak et al. (2015) identified the Eastern Hunter-Gatherers (EHG) as a distinct genetic cluster in two males only. The EHG male of Samara (dated to ca. 5650-5550 BCE) carried Y-haplogroup R1b1a1a* and mt-haplogroup U5a1d. The other EHG male, buried in Karelia (dated to ca. 5500-5000 BCE) carried Y-haplogroup R1a1 and mt-haplogoup C1g. The authors of the study also identified a Western Hunter-Gatherer (WHG) cluster and a Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherer (SHG) cluster, intermediate between WHG and EHG. Also, Lazaridis et al. (2016) confirmed SHGs to be a mix of EHGs and WHGs. They suggested that EHGs harbored mixed ancestry from Ancient North Eurasians (ANEs) and WHGs. The people of the Yamnaya culture were found to be a mix of EHG and a “Near Eastern related population”. During the 3rd millennium BC, the Yamnaya people embarked on a massive expansion throughout Europe, which significantly altered the genetic landscape of the continent. The expansion gave rise to cultures such as Corded Ware, and was possibly the source of the distribution of Indo-European languages in Europe.” ref

“EHGs may have mixed with “an Armenian-like Near Eastern source”, which formed the Yamnaya culture, as early as the Eneolithic (5200-4000 BCE). Researchers have found that EHGs may have derived different amounts of their ancestry from WHGs and ANEs. Their relationship to the WHG and ANE is not well clarified. The people of the Mesolithic Kunda culture and the Narva culture of the eastern Baltic were a mix of WHG and EHG, showing the closest affinity with WHG. Samples from the Ukrainian Mesolithic and Neolithic were found to cluster tightly together between WHG and EHG, suggesting genetic continuity in the Dnieper Rapids for a period of 4,000 years. The Ukrainian samples belonged exclusively to the maternal haplogroup U, which is found in around 80% of all European hunter-gatherer samples.” ref

“The people of the Pit–Comb Ware culture (PCW/CCC) of the eastern Baltic bear 65% EHG ancestry. This is in contrast to earlier hunter-gatherers in the area, who were more closely related to WHG. This was demonstrated using a sample of Y-DNA extracted from a Pit–Comb Ware individual. This belonged to R1a15-YP172. The four samples of mtDNA extracted constituted two samples of U5b1d1, one sample of U5a2d, and one sample of U4aGünther et al. (2018) analyzed 13 SHGs and found all of them to be of EHG ancestry. Generally, SHGs from western and northern Scandinavia had more EHG ancestry (ca 49%) than individuals from eastern Scandinavia (ca. 38%). The authors suggested that the SHGs were a mix of WHGs who had migrated into Scandinavia from the south, and EHGs who had later migrated into Scandinavia from the northeast along the Norwegian coast. SHGs displayed higher frequencies of genetic variants that cause light skin (SLC45A2 and SLC24A5), and light eyes (OCA/Herc2), than WHGs and EHGs.” ref

“Members of the Kunda culture and Narva culture were also found to be more closely related with WHG, while the Pit–Comb Ware culture was more closely related to EHG. Northern and eastern areas of the eastern Baltic were found to be more closely related to EHG than southern areas. The study noted that EHGs, like SHGs and Baltic hunter-gatherers, carried high frequencies of the derived alleles for SLC24A5 and SLC45A2, which are codings for light skinMathieson et al. (2018) analyzed the genetics of a large number of skeletons of prehistoric Eastern Europe. Thirty-seven samples were from Mesolithic and Neolithic Ukraine (9500-6000 BC). These were classified as intermediate between EHG and SHG. The males belonged exclusively to R haplotypes (particularly subclades of R1b1 and R1a) and I haplotypes (particularly subclades of I2). Mitochondrial DNA belonged almost exclusively to U (particularly subclades of U5 and U4).” ref

“A large number of individuals from the Zvejnieki burial ground, which mostly belonged to the Kunda culture and Narva culture in the eastern Baltic, were analyzed. These individuals were mostly of WHG descent in the earlier phases, but over time EHG ancestry became predominant. The Y-DNA of this site belonged almost exclusively to haplotypes of haplogroup R1b1a1a and I2a1. The mtDNA belonged exclusively to haplogroup U (particularly subclades of U2, U4 and U5). Forty individuals from three sites of the Iron Gates Mesolithic in the Balkans were estimated to be of 85% WHG and 15% EHG descent. The males at these sites carried exclusively R1b1a and I (mostly subclades of I2a) haplotypes. mtDNA belonged mostly to U (particularly subclades of U5 and U4).” ref

“People of the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture were found to harbor about 20% hunter-gatherer ancestry, which was intermediate between EHG and WHG. Narasimshan et al. (2019) coined a new ancestral component, West Siberian Hunter-Gatherer (WSHG). WSHGs contained about 30% EHG ancestry, 50% ANE ancestry, and 20% East Asian ancestry. Unlike the Yamnaya culture, in the Dnieper–Donets culture no Caucasian Hunter-Gatherer (CHG) or Early European Farmer (EEF) ancestry has been detected. Dnieper-Donets males and Yamnaya males carry the same paternal haplogroups (R1b and I2a), suggesting that the CHG and EEF admixture among the Yamnaya came through EHG males mixing with EEF and CHG females. According to David W. Anthony, this suggests that the Indo-European languages were initially spoken by EHGs living in Eastern Europe. ref

Yamnaya Western Steppe Herders

“According to Jones et al. (2015) and Haak et al. (2015), autosomal tests indicate that the Yamnaya people were the result of a genetic admixture between two different hunter-gatherer populations: distinctive “Eastern Hunter-Gatherers” (EHG), from Eastern Europe, with high affinity to the Mal’ta–Buret’ culture or other, closely related people from Siberia and a population of “Caucasus hunter-gatherers” (CHG) who probably arrived from the Caucasus or Iran. Each of those two populations contributed about half the Yamnaya DNA. This admixture is referred to in archaeogenetics as Western Steppe Herder (WSH) ancestry. Admixture between EHGs and CHGs is believed to have occurred on the eastern Pontic-Caspian steppe starting around 5,000 BCE, while admixture with Early European Farmers (EEF) happened in the southern parts of the Pontic-Caspian steppe sometime later. More recent genetic studies have found that the Yamnaya were a mixture of EHGs, CHGs, and to a lesser degree Anatolian farmers and Levantine farmers, but not EEFs from Europe due to lack of WHG DNA in the Yamnaya. This occurred in two distinct admixture events from West Asia into the Pontic-Caspian steppe.” ref

Haplogroup R1b, especially subclades of R1b-M269, is the most common Y-DNA haplogroup found among both the Yamnaya and modern-day Western Europeans. Additionally, a minority are found to belong to haplogroup I2. They are found to belong to a wider variety of mtDNA haplogroups, including U, T, and haplogroups associated with Caucasus Hunter-Gatherers and Early European FarmersPeople of the Yamnaya culture are believed to have had mostly brown eye colour, light to intermediate skin, and brown hair colour, with some variation. A 022 study by Lazaridis et al. found that the typical phenotype among the Yamnaya population was brown eyes, brown hair, and intermediate skin color. None of the Yamnaya samples were predicted to have either blue eyes or blonde hair. Some individuals are believed to have carried a mutation to the KITLG gene associated with blond hair, as several individuals with Steppe ancestry are later found to carry this mutation. The Ancient North Eurasian population, who contributed significant ancestry to Western Steppe Herders, are believed to be the source of this mutation. A study in 2015 found that Yamnaya had the highest ever calculated genetic selection for height of any of the ancient populations tested. It has been hypothesized that an allele associated with lactase persistence (conferring lactose tolerance into adulthood) was brought to Europe from the steppe by Yamnaya-related migrations.” ref

“The geneticist David Reich has argued that the genetic data supports the likelihood that the people of the Yamnaya culture were a “single, genetically coherent group” who were responsible for spreading many Indo-European languages. Reich’s group recently suggested that the source of Anatolian and Indo-European subfamilies of the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) language was in west Asia and the Yamna were responsible for the dissemination of the latter. Reich also argues that the genetic evidence shows that Yamnaya society was an oligarchy dominated by a small number of elite males. The genetic evidence for the extent of the role of the Yamnaya culture in the spread of Indo-European languages has however been questioned by Russian archaeologist Leo Klejn and Balanovsky et al., who note a lack of male haplogroup continuity between the people of the Yamnaya culture and the contemporary populations of Europe. Klejn has also suggested that the autosomal evidence does not support a Yamnaya migration, arguing that Western Steppe Herder ancestry in both contemporary and Bronze Age samples is lowest around the Danube in Hungary, near the western limits of the Yamnaya culture, and highest in Northern Europe, which Klejn argues is the opposite of what would be expected if the geneticists’ hypothesis is correct.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


“These ideas are my speculations from the evidence.”

I am still researching the “god‘s origins” all over the world. So you know, it is very complicated but I am smart and willing to look, DEEP, if necessary, which going very deep does seem to be needed here, when trying to actually understand the evolution of gods and goddesses. I am sure of a few things and less sure of others, but even in stuff I am not fully grasping I still am slowly figuring it out, to explain it to others. But as I research more I am understanding things a little better, though I am still working on understanding it all or something close and thus always figuring out more. 

Sky Father/Sky God?

“Egyptian: (Nut) Sky Mother and (Geb) Earth Father” (Egypt is different but similar)

Turkic/Mongolic: (Tengri/Tenger Etseg) Sky Father and (Eje/Gazar Eej) Earth Mother *Transeurasian*

Hawaiian: (Wākea) Sky Father and (Papahānaumoku) Earth Mother *Austronesian*

New Zealand/ Māori: (Ranginui) Sky Father and (Papatūānuku) Earth Mother *Austronesian*

Proto-Indo-European: (Dyus/Dyus phtr) Sky Father and (Dʰéǵʰōm/Plethwih) Earth Mother

Indo-Aryan: (Dyaus Pita) Sky Father and (Prithvi Mata) Earth Mother *Indo-European*

Italic: (Jupiter) Sky Father and (Juno) Sky Mother *Indo-European*

Etruscan: (Tinia) Sky Father and (Uni) Sky Mother *Tyrsenian/Italy Pre–Indo-European*

Hellenic/Greek: (Zeus) Sky Father and (Hera) Sky Mother who started as an “Earth Goddess” *Indo-European*

Nordic: (Dagr) Sky Father and (Nótt) Sky Mother *Indo-European*

Slavic: (Perun) Sky Father and (Mokosh) Earth Mother *Indo-European*

Illyrian: (Deipaturos) Sky Father and (Messapic Damatura’s “earth-mother” maybe) Earth Mother *Indo-European*

Albanian: (Zojz) Sky Father and (?) *Indo-European*

Baltic: (Perkūnas) Sky Father and (Saulė) Sky Mother *Indo-European*

Germanic: (Týr) Sky Father and (?) *Indo-European*

Colombian-Muisca: (Bochica) Sky Father and (Huythaca) Sky Mother *Chibchan*

Aztec: (Quetzalcoatl) Sky Father and (Xochiquetzal) Sky Mother *Uto-Aztecan*

Incan: (Viracocha) Sky Father and (Mama Runtucaya) Sky Mother *Quechuan*

China: (Tian/Shangdi) Sky Father and (Dì) Earth Mother *Sino-Tibetan*

Sumerian, Assyrian and Babylonian: (An/Anu) Sky Father and (Ki) Earth Mother

Finnish: (Ukko) Sky Father and (Akka) Earth Mother *Finno-Ugric*

Sami: (Horagalles) Sky Father and (Ravdna) Earth Mother *Finno-Ugric*

Puebloan-Zuni: (Ápoyan Ta’chu) Sky Father and (Áwitelin Tsíta) Earth Mother

Puebloan-Hopi: (Tawa) Sky Father and (Kokyangwuti/Spider Woman/Grandmother) Earth Mother *Uto-Aztecan*

Puebloan-Navajo: (Tsohanoai) Sky Father and (Estsanatlehi) Earth Mother *Na-Dene*



Sky Father/Sky Mother “High Gods” or similar gods/goddesses of the sky more loosely connected, seeming arcane mythology across the earth seen in Siberia, China, Europe, Native Americans/First Nations People and Mesopotamia, etc.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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“Several linguists and geneticists suggest that the Uralic languages are related to various Siberian languages and possibly also some languages of northern Native Americans. A proposed family is named Uralo-Siberian, it includes Uralic, Yukaghir, Eskimo–Aleut (Inuit), possibly Nivkh, and Chukotko-Kamchatkan. Haplogroup Q is found in nearly all Native Americans and nearly all of the Yeniseian Ket people (90%).” ref, ref

You can find some form of Shamanism, among Uralic, Transeurasian, Dené–Yeniseian, Chukotko-Kamchatkan, and Eskaleut languages.

My speculations of shamanism are its dispersals, after 24,000 to 4,000 years ago, seem to center on Lake Baikal and related areas. To me, the hotspot of Shamanism goes from west of Lake Baikal in the “Altai Mountains” also encompassing “Lake Baikal” and includes the “Amur Region/Watershed” east of Lake Baikal as the main location Shamanism seems to have radiated out from. 

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Based on the seeming evidence, I speculate that around 14,000 years ago, it could be possible Siberian Shamanism (along with dogs and a bird carving, different but yet possibly related to the bird carvings in Siberia dating from 24,000 to 15,000 years ago) was transferred to China, after “N” DNA reached Siberia bringing them pottery. Bird sculptures through ethnographic comparison at 24,000–15,000 years old Mal’ta with objects used by Siberian shamans, suggest a fully developed shamanism.

Pic refref

Bridging the Boreal Forest: Siberian Archaeology and the Emergence of Pottery among Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers of Northern Eurasia

Globalization and the Emergence of Ceramic-using Hunter-gatherers in Northern Eurasia

A comparative perspective on the ‘western’ and ‘eastern’ Neolithics of Eurasia: Ceramics; agriculture and sedentism

The transmission of pottery technology among prehistoric European hunter-gatherers

“Although isolated cases of innovation cannot be excluded, a continuous process of adoption with the earlier occurrence of an antecedent tradition in western Siberia or central Asia, Siberia fit better though both are consistent with an ultimate origin for these traditions in the Far East.” ref

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Comb Ceramic culture’s Comb Ceramics had its origin from North China

Comb Ceramic culture

“The Comb Ceramic culture or Pit-Comb Ware culture, often abbreviated as CCC or PCW, was a northeast European culture characterised by its Pit–Comb Ware. It existed from around 4200 BCE to around 2000 BCE. The bearers of the Comb Ceramic culture are thought to have still mostly followed the Mesolithic hunter-gatherer (Eastern Hunter-Gatherer) lifestyle, with traces of early agriculture. The distribution of the artifacts found includes Finnmark (Norway) in the north, the Kalix River (Sweden) and the Gulf of Bothnia (Finland) in the west and the Vistula River (Poland) in the south. It would include the Narva culture of Estonia and the Sperrings culture in Finland, among others. They are thought to have been essentially hunter-gatherers, though e.g. the Narva culture in Estonia shows some evidence of agriculture. Some of this region was absorbed by the later Corded Ware horizonThe Pit–Comb Ware culture is one of the few exceptions to the rule that pottery and farming coexist in Europe. In the Near East farming appeared before pottery, then when farming spread into Europe from the Near East, pottery-making came with it. However, in Asia, where the oldest pottery has been found, pottery was made long before farming. It appears that the Comb Ceramic Culture reflects influences from Siberia and distant China.” ref

“By dating according to the elevation of land, the ceramics have traditionally (Äyräpää 1930) been divided into the following periods: early (Ka I, c. 4200 BC – 3300 BC), typical (Ka II, c. 3300 BC – 2700 BC) and late Comb Ceramic (Ka III, c. 2800 BC – 2000 BC). However, calibrated radiocarbon dates for the comb-ware fragments found (e.g., in the Karelian isthmus), give a total interval of 5600 BC – 2300 BC (Geochronometria Vol. 23, pp 93–99, 2004). The settlements were located at sea shores or beside lakes and the economy was based on hunting, fishing, and the gathering of plants. In Finland, it was a maritime culture that became more and more specialized in hunting seals. The dominant dwelling was probably a teepee of about 30 square meters where some 15 people could live. Also, rectangular houses made of timber became popular in Finland from 4000 BC cal. Graves were dug at the settlements and the dead were covered with red ochre. The typical Comb Ceramic age shows an extensive use of objects made of flint and amber as grave offerings.” ref

The stone tools changed very little over time. They were made of local materials such as slate and quartz. Finds suggest a fairly extensive exchange network: red slate originating from northern Scandinavia, asbestos from Lake Saimaa, green slate from Lake Onega, amber from the southern shores of the Baltic Sea, and flint from the Valdai area in northwestern Russia. The culture was characterized by small figurines of burnt clay and animal heads made of stone. The animal heads usually depict moose and bears and were derived from the art of the Mesolithic. There were also many rock paintings. There are sources noting that the typical comb ceramic pottery had a sense of luxury and that its makers knew how to wear precious amber pendants. The great westward dispersal of the Uralic languages is suggested to have happened long after the demise of the Comb Ceramic culture, perhaps in the 1st millennium BC.” ref

“Saag et al. (2017) analyzed three CCC individuals buried at Kudruküla as belonging to Y-hg R1a5-YP1272 (R1a1b~ after ISOGG 2020), along with three mtDNA samples of mt-hg U5b1d1, U4a and U2e1Mittnik (2018) analyzed two CCC individuals. The male carried R1 (2021: R1b-M343) and U4d2, while the female carried U5a1d2b. Generally, the CCC individuals were mostly of Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG) descent, with even more EHG than people of the Narva cultureLamnidis et al. (2018) found 15% Western Hunter-Gatherer (WHG) ancestry, 65% Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG) – higher than among earlier cultures of the eastern Baltic, and 20% Western Steppe Herder (WSH).” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Haplogroup N1 (N1a, N1c) was found in ancient bones of Liao civilization (at least by 6,200 BCE or around 8,200 years ago):

“N1a1a (M178) is seen at 60% among Finns and approximately 40% among LatviansLithuanians & 35% among Estonians. N1a2b (P43) estimated to be approximately 4,000 to 5,500 years old, is seen at low to moderate frequency among speakers of some other Uralic languages. Haplogroup N-P43 forms two distinctive subclusters of STR haplotypes, Asian and European, the latter mostly distributed among Finno-Ugric-speaking peoples and related populations. N has also been found in many samples of Neolithic human remains exhumed from Liao civilization in northeastern China, and in the circum-Baikal area of southern Siberia. It is suggested that yDNA N, reached southern Siberia from 12-14 kya. From there it reached southern Europe 8-10kya.” ref

“N1a1a1a1a1a-CTS2929/VL29 Found with high frequency among Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, northwestern Russians, Swedish Saami, Karelians, Nenetses, Finns, and Maris, moderate frequency among other Russians, Belarusians, Ukrainians, and Poles, and low frequency among Komis, Mordva, Tatars, Chuvashes, Dolgans, Vepsa, Selkups, Karanogays, and Bashkirs. ref

“N1a1a1a1a1a1a1-L1025/B215 Highest frequency among Lithuanians, significant in Latvians and Estonians and lesser frequency in BelorussiansUkrainians, South-West Russians, and Poles. With exception of Estonians, L1025 has highest share among N-M231 clades in previously mentioned populations. Also observed in Finland and Sweden, with sporadic instances in NorwayGermanyNetherlandsUnited Kingdom, the AzoresCzech Republic, and Slovakia. ref

“N1a1a1a1a2-Z1936,CTS10082 Found with high frequency among FinnsVepsaKarelians, Swedish Saami, northwestern RussiansBashkirs, and Volga Tatars, moderate frequency among other RussiansKomisNenetsesOb-UgriansDolgans, and Siberian Tatars, and low frequency among MordvaNganasansChuvashesEstoniansLatviansUkrainians, and Karanogays. ref

“Haplogroup N1c was known as N3. N1c represents the western extent of haplogroup N, which is found all over the Far East (China, Korea, Japan), Mongolia, and Siberia, especially among Uralic speakers of northern Siberia. Haplogroup N1 reaches a maximum frequency of approximately 95% in the Nenets (40% N1c and 57% N1b) and Nganassans (all N1b), two Uralic tribes of central-northern Siberia, and 90% among the Yakuts (all N1c), a Turkic people who live mainly in the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic in central-eastern Siberia. N1c is found chiefly in north-eastern Europe, particularly in Finland (61%), Lapland (53%), Estonia (34%), Latvia (38%), Lithuania (42%), and northern Russia (30%), and to a lower extent also in central Russia (15%), Belarus (10%), eastern Ukraine (9%), Sweden (7%), Poland (4%) and Turkey (4%). N1c is also prominent among the Uralic-speaking ethnicities of the Volga-Ural region, including the Udmurts (67%), Komi (51%), Mari (50%), and Mordvins (20%), but also among their Turkic neighbors like the Chuvashs (28%), Volga Tatars (21%) and Bashkirs (17%), as well as the Nogais (9%) of southern Russia.” ref

Haplogroup N is a descendant of East Asian macro-haplogroup NO. It is believed to have originated in Indochina or southern China approximately 15,000 to 20,000 years ago. Haplogroup N1* and N1c were both found at high frequency (26 out of 70 samples, or 37%) in Neolithic and Bronze Age remains (4500-700 BCE) from the West Liao River valley in Northeast China (Manchuria) by Yinqiu Cui et al. (2013). Among the Neolithic samples, haplogroup N1 made up two-thirds of the samples from the Hongshan culture (4700-2900 BCE) and all the samples from the Xiaoheyan culture (3000-2200 BCE), hinting that N1 people played a major role in the diffusion of the Neolithic lifestyle around Northeast China, and probably also to Mongolia and Siberia.” ref

Ye Zhang et al. 2016 found 100% of Y-DNA N out of 17 samples from the Xueshan culture (Jiangjialiang site) dating from 3600–2900 BCE, and among those 41% belonged to N1c1-Tat. It is therefore extremely likely that the N1c1 subclade found in Europe today has its roots in the Chinese Neolithic. It would have progressively spread across Siberia until north-eastern Europe, possibly reaching the Volga-Ural region around 5500 to 4500 BCE with the Kama culture (5300-3300 BCE), and the eastern Baltic with the Comb Ceramic culture (4200-2000 BCE), the presumed ancestral culture of Proto-Finnic and pre-Baltic people. There is little evidence of agriculture or domesticated animals in Siberia during the Neolithic, but pottery was widely used. In that regard, it was the opposite development from the Near East, which first developed agriculture then only pottery from circa 5500 BCE, perhaps through contact with East Asians via Siberia or Central Asia.” ref

  • “N1c1a (M178): found in Siberia (Khakass-Daurs)
    • N1c1a1 (L708): found in Siberia (Anayins)
      • N1c1a1a (P298): found in Siberia (Yakuts)
        • N1c1a1a1 (L392, L1026): Finno-Ugric branch; found throughout north-east Europe
          • N1c1a1a1a (CTS2929/VL29): Baltic-Finnic branch
            • N1c1a1a1a1 (L550): West Finnic branch; found around the Baltic Sea and in places settled by the Vikings
              • N1c1a1a1a1a (L1025)
                • N1c1a1a1a1a1 (M2783): found especially in Balto-Slavic countries, with a peak in Lithuania and Latvia
                • N1c1a1a1a1a2 (Y4706): found mostly in Finland and Scandinavia
            • N1c1a1a1a2 (CTS9976): East Finnic branch; found among the Chudes (Karelia, Estonia)
            • N1c1a1a1a2a (L1022)
          • N1c1a1a1a2a1 (Z1936): Finno-Permic branch; found in the Volga-Ural region and among the Karelians and Savonians
            • N1c1a1a1a2a1a (Z1925): found in Finland, Lapland, Scandinavia, the Volga-Ural and the Altai
              • N1c1a1a1a2a1a1 (Z1933)
                • N1c1a1a1a2a1a1a (Z1927): found among the Karelians
                • N1c1a1a1a2a1a1b (CTS8565): found among the Savonians” ref
“Ancient mtDNA from archaeological sites in North East Europe dated to 7,500 and 3,500 years ago. Reveals Prehistoric Gene-Flow from Siberia in the Complex Human Population History of North East Europe. Siberia, it has undergone a complicated early and mid-Holocene migration history due to repeated environmental changes. With the data at hand, it is therefore difficult to make any definite statement about sixth-millennium connections between Karelia and Siberia. Interestingly, samples from aBOO, which are 4,000 years younger and located further North-West than aUzPo, were characterized by a large proportion and elevated diversity of mtDNA lineages showing a clear ‘Central/East Siberian’ origin (hgs C, D, and Z). Haplogroups C and D are the most common hgs in northern, central and eastern Asia. They are thought to have originated in eastern Asia and expanded through multiple migrations after the Late Glacial Maximum (∼20,000 years ago). Notably, haplotypic matches were observed between aBOO and modern-day central Siberian Buryats of the peri-Baikal region, which was proposed to be the origin of ancient migrations that disseminated hgs C and D.” ref

“Today, the sharp western boundary for the distribution of hgs C, D and Z lies in the VUB, where they display intermediate frequencies: C (0.3–11.8%), Z (0.2–0.9%), and D (0.6–12%). Sub-hgs Z1 and D5 are also present in modern-day Saami, with highest cumulated frequencies (15.9%) in the Saami of Finland, the easternmost part of the Saami geographical distribution. A precise date for the arrival of these ‘Central/East Siberian’ lineages in NEE is difficult to estimate, although the presence of ‘Central/East Siberian’ lineages in the 3,500 year-old aBOO site indicates that an eastern genetic influence pre-dates historical westward expansions from Central/East Siberia of, e.g., the Huns and the Mongols (∼400–1,500 CE). We present here direct genetic evidence for a prehistoric gene-flow from Siberia. On the basis of modern-day genetic data, hg Z1 was proposed to have been introduced into populations of the VUB and Saami by migrations from Siberia via the southern Urals to the Pechora and Vychegda basins (northwest Urals), associated with the appearance of the Kama culture ∼8,000 years ago.” ref

D5’6 (16189) is mainly found in East Asia and Southeast Asia, especially in China, Korea, and Japan. It does not appear to have participated in the migration to the Americas, and frequencies in Central, North, and South Asia are generally lower, although the D5a2a2 subclade is prevalent (57/423 = 13.48%) among the Yakuts, a Turkic-speaking group that migrated to Siberia in historical times under the pressure of the Mongol expansion.” ref

“mt-DNA D5a3 – Tibet, Korea, Japan (time to most recent common ancestor 11,100 years ago )

  • D5a3a – China, Tibet, Finland
    • D5a3a1 – China, Uyghur, Ukraine
      • D5a3a1a – Finland, Norway (Saami), Russia (Veliky Novgorod, etc.), and Mansi, Ugric indigenous people living in Russia. ref

Mansi people

The Mansi are an Ugric indigenous people living in Khanty–Mansia, an autonomous okrug within Tyumen Oblast in Russia. In Khanty–Mansia, the Khanty and Mansi languages have co-official status with Russian. The Mansi language is one of the postulated Ugric languages of the Uralic family. The Mansi people were formerly known as the Voguls. The Mansi are one of the closest linguistic relatives of modern Hungarians. The Mansi share many similarities with the Khanty people and together they are called Ob-Ugric peoples. Their languages are closely related but also clearly distinct from each other. Weapons used by the Mansi were advanced for the period and included longbows, arrows, spears, and the use of iron helmets and chain mail. In a 2018 study, Mansi samples showed variation in the amounts of West and East Eurasian admixtures. Some of them clustered with the Khanty, while outlier samples had additional West Eurasian admixture, making them closer to Uralic-speakers from Volga-Ural region.” ref

“A notable part of the traditional Mansi religion is the bear cult. A bear celebration is held in connection with the bear hunt (a similar concept to the Finnish peijaiset); it lasts for several days and involves songs, dances and plays. Mansi folklore also includes mythical and heroic stories and fate songs, which are biographical poems. An example of the traditional material culture of Ob-Ugric peoples is ornamenting leather clothing and birchbark objects with mosaics. According to a 2019 study, in addition to having a high level of East Eurasian-like ancestry, the Mansi have also West Eurasian admixture. Their admixture can be modeled to be about 60 % Bronze Age Baikal Lake-like and 40% Srubnaya-like, or about 54% Nganasan-like and about 38% Srubnaya-like, with additional Ancient North Eurasian ANE-related admixture.” ref

Bear worship (also known as the bear cult or arctolatry) is the religious practice of the worshipping of bears found in many North Eurasian ethnic religions such as among the Sami people in Scandinavia, Nivkh people in the Sakhalin Island and the lower Amur River of the Russian Far East and Manchuria/Northeastern China, and Ainu people in the area of the Sea of Okhotsk, including Hokkaido Island, Northeast Honshu Island, Sakhalin Island, the Kuril Islands, the Kamchatka Peninsula, and Khabarovsk Krai, since before the arrival of the Yamato Japanese and Russians.” refrefrefref

“Likewise, Bear worship is seen in the BasquesGermanic peoplesSlavs, and Finns. There are also a number of deities from Celtic Gaul and Britain associated with the bear, and the DaciansThracians, and Getians were noted to worship bears and annually celebrate the bear dance festival. The bear is featured on many totems throughout northern cultures that carve them. In an article in Enzyklopädie des Märchens, American folklorist Donald J. Ward noted that a story about a bear mating with a human woman, and producing a male heir, functions as an ancestor myth to peoples of the northern hemisphere, namely, from North America, Japan, China, Siberia and Northern Europe.” ref

Kama Culture (5300-3300 BCE or around 7,300 to 5,300 years ago)

The Kama culture (also known as Volga-Kama or Khutorskoye from finds near the Khutorskoye settlement) is an Eastern European Subneolithic archaeological culture from the 6th-4th millennium BCE. The area covers the KamaVyatka, and the IkBelaya watersheds (Perm and Kirov regions, UdmurtiaTatarstan, and Bashkortostan). In its development the Kama culture passed through three stages: early (sites: Mokino, Ust-Bukorok, Ziarat, Ust-Shizhma), middle (sites: Khutorskaya Kryazhskaya, Lebedynska), and late (sites: Lyovshino, Chernashka). The culture was formed in the early Neolithic on a local Mesolithic substrate under the influence of southern steppe populations. The prehistoric phase according to archaeologists emerged around 2,000 BCE. During this stage, the culture existed in the area that began in the Ufa River (in modern Bashkortostan) through the entire Kama drainage area to the upper Pechora River (Komimu). In the southern regions the influence of the nearby forest-steppe cultures of the Middle Volga can be observed during the whole period of existence. In the developed Neolithic a population of Trans-Ural origin penetrates in the upper and middle Kama. In this period there are formed local variants: Verkhnekamsk, Ikska-Belsky, and Nizhnekamsk. At the end of the Neolithic the lower Kama falls under the influence of the Early Eneolithic Samara culture.” ref

Linguist Asko Parpola (2022) associates the Kama culture and the Elshanka culture with the early Proto-Uralic language, which would later expand eastwards and westwards with the Seima-Turbino material culture. Uralic languages would later be transmitted by language shift from groups of hunters and fishers participating in the spread of the Seima-Turbino culture towards Siberia and back to Northeastern Europe. The pottery is thick-walled, egg-shaped, both round- and pointed-bottomed. The stone and bone inventory of the pottery culture demonstrated a Mesolithic character. It is heavily ornamented with comb stamp designs, vertical and horizontal zigzags, sloping rows, braids, triangles, banded comb meshes. Kama culture is noted for its metal work and handicrafts. The instruments for work include scrapers, sharpeners, knives, leaf-shaped and semi-rhombic arrowheads, chisels and adzes, weights.” ref

“The definition of the Kama culture remains a subject of debate. Initially, it was determined by O.H. Bader on the territory of the Middle Kama, where he distinguished two phases: Borovoye (Borovoy Lake I) and Khutorskoye. A.Kh. Khalikov united the finds with Pitted and Combed Ware of the Lower and Middle Kama into one Volga-Kama culture. I.V. Kalinina, based on the study of ceramics came to the conclusion that there are two distinct cultures: Volga-Kama pitted pottery and Kama combed pottery. A.A. Vibornov identified three stages of development in the Kama culture, and V.P. Denisov and L.A. Nagovitchin joined the Kama Neolithic finds with combed ceramics into a single Khutorskoye culture, synchronous with the Poluden culture in the Ural Mountains. Its comb decorated pottery is similar to that of the Upper Volga culture. The Kama culture is also culturally close and genetically related to the Volosovo culture. There are scholars who also believe that the culture is related to the Dnieper-Donetsk.” ref

Comb Ceramic culture (4200-2000 BCE or around 6,200 to 4,000 years ago)

The Comb Ceramic culture or Pit-Comb Ware culture, often abbreviated as CCC or PCW, was a northeast European culture characterised by its Pit–Comb Ware. It existed from around 4200 to 2000 BCE. The bearers of the Comb Ceramic culture are thought to have still mostly followed the Mesolithic hunter-gatherer (Eastern Hunter-Gatherer) lifestyle, with traces of early agriculture. The distribution of the artifacts found includes Finnmark (Norway) in the north, the Kalix River (Sweden), the Gulf of Bothnia (Finland) in the west, and the Vistula River (Poland) in the south. It would include the Narva culture of Estonia and the Sperrings culture in Finland, among others. They are thought to have been essentially hunter-gatherers, though e.g. the Narva culture in Estonia shows some evidence of agriculture. Some of this region was absorbed by the later Corded Ware horizon.” ref

“The Pit–Comb Ware culture is one of the few exceptions to the rule that pottery and farming coexist in Europe. In the Near East farming appeared before pottery, then when farming spread into Europe from the Near East, pottery-making came with it. However, in Asia, where the oldest pottery has been found, pottery was made long before farming. It appears that the Comb Ceramic Culture reflects influences from Siberia and distant China. However, calibrated radiocarbon dates for the comb-ware fragments found (e.g., in the Karelian isthmus), give a total interval of 5600 – 2300 BCE or around 7,600 to 4,300 years ago. The settlements were located at sea shores or beside lakes and the economy was based on hunting, fishing and the gathering of plants. In Finland, it was a maritime culture which became more and more specialized in hunting seals. The dominant dwelling was probably a teepee of about 30 square meters where some 15 people could live. Also rectangular houses made of timber become popular in Finland from 4000 BC cal. Graves were dug at the settlements and the dead were covered with red ochre. The typical Comb Ceramic age shows an extensive use of objects made of flint and amber as grave offerings.” ref

“In earlier times, it was often suggested that the spread of the Comb Ware people was correlated with the diffusion of the Uralic languages, and thus an early Uralic language would have been spoken throughout this culture. It was also suggested that bearers of this culture likely spoke Finno-Ugric languages. Another view is that the Comb Ware people may have spoken Palaeo-European languages, as some toponyms and hydronyms also indicate a non-Uralic, non-Indo-European language at work in some areas. In addition, modern scholars have located the Proto-Uralic homeland east of the Volga, if not even beyond the Urals. The great westward dispersal of the Uralic languages is suggested to have happened long after the demise of the Comb Ceramic culture, perhaps in the 1st millennium BCE. The culture was characterized by small figurines of burnt clay and animal heads made of stone. The animal heads usually depict moose and bears and were derived from the art of the Mesolithic. There were also many rock paintings. There are sources noting that the typical comb ceramic pottery had a sense of luxury and that its makers knew how to wear precious amber pendants.” ref

Pre-Finno-Ugric substrate

Pre-Finno-Ugric substrate refers to substratum loanwords from unidentified non-Indo-European and non-Uralic languages that are found in various Finno-Ugric languages, most notably Sami. The presence of Pre-Finno-Ugric substrate in Sami languages was demonstrated by Ante Aikio. Janne Saarikivi points out that similar substrate words are present in Finnic languages as well, but in much smaller numbers. The number of substrate words in Sámi likely exceeds one thousand words. Borrowing to Saami from Paleo-Laplandic probably still took place after the completion of the Great Saami Vowel Shift. Paleo-Laplandic likely became extinct about 1500 years ago. The Nganasan language also has many substrate words from unknown extinct languages in the Taimyr peninsula.” ref

“There are irregularities in Sami substrate words which suggest they might have been borrowed from distinct, but related languages. In the west, the substrate languages probably had an s-type sibilant which corresponds to an š-type sibilant in the east. As we only have fragments of Lakelandic Sami which were preserved in Finnish placenames and dialectal vocabulary, the features of the Paleo-Lakelandic substrate in Lakelandic Sami cannot be studied. Many placenames in Finland come from Sami words of unknown origin which are likely substrate words, such as jokuu from Proto-Sami *čuokōs ‘track, way’. The Sami substrate in Finnish dialects also reveals that Lakelandic Sami languages had a high number of words with an obscure origin, likely deriving from old languages of the region.” ref

“According to Aikio, the speakers of the Proto-Samic language arrived in Lapland around 650 BCE or around 2,650 years ago and fully assimilated the local Paleo-European populations by the middle of 1st millennium CE. In his opinion, the detailed reconstruction of these languages is impossible. The languages of more eastern post-Swiderian cultures might have influenced Finno-Ugric languages as well. According to Peter Schrijver, some of these substrate languages probably had many geminated consonants. A lexical comparison with the hypothetical Pre-Germanic substratum yields no results. There are also some examples of possible substrate words in Finno-Volgaic languages that differ from the Pre-Sami substrate, i.e. Proto-Finno-Volgaic *täštä “star”, or *kümmin “ten”. Some words in Finno-Volgaic languages contain rare consonant clusters, which suggests loanwords from unknown languages. Finnish words such as jauho (Eng. flour), lehmä (cow), tähti (star), tammi (oak) and ihminen (human) could be substrate words.” ref

Finnish rock art

Finnish rock art pictographs created during the Stone Age have been found at 127 sites around Finland. They consist mainly of brownish-red figures and markings painted onto steep granite walls, often overlooking waterways. There are scenes featuring people, boats, elk, fish, and mysterious part human figures. The survival of the art in adverse climatic conditions is due to their protection by a naturally forming thin layer of silicon dioxide on the rock surface. The Comb Ceramic Culture who lived in what is now Finland between 5000 to 2000 BCE is credited with their production. The paints used included a mix of iron oxide, blood, and animal fat or egg, although traces of the organic materials are no longer detectable.” ref

“Characteristics to the art are sacrificial parts (arrow points, bones, signs of fire, etc.) and the location on steep cliffs at water’s edge. Similar sites can be found in parts of Northern Sweden, Norway and Russia – mainly, it seems, in areas once populated by the Saami or other Finnic peoplesMost of the paintings lie in the Saimaa and Päijänne lake districts. By far the best-known site, at Astuvansalmi, and another site is Värikallio in the Hossa Hiking Area. This has unusual figures with triangular heads. The biggest painted area is in Central Finland, where the Saraakallio rock paintings include 50–200 pictures, maybe even more.” ref

Värikallio rock paintings

The Värikallio rock painting is located in Suomussalmi Hossa National Park in KainuuThe rock painting is the third largest in terms of motifs in Finland and it was apparently painted in the Stone Age. Today, the region is an almost uninhabited wilderness. The Värikallio rock painting is located on the northern shore of the easternmost part of Somerjärvi on the tops of the Oulujoki watershed. The distance from the Kuusamo border is 700 meters to the south. The painting surface is on the vertical rock wall facing southwest. There are paintings at a distance of 10.5 meters, approximately 0.2–2.5 meters above the lake level. A vertical cliff descends directly into the water.” ref

“Hossa is a village in Finland, located in the province of Oulu and part of the Suomussalmi municipality. The village is a popular outdoor tourist destination and is known for the oldest rock paintings in Northern Finland, dating back to 1500-2500 BC (Värikallio). The name “Hossa” originates from the old Sami word Huossa meaning “a place far away.” ref 

“The age of the rock paintings in Finland has been estimated based on the tilting of the lake basin due to land uplift. However, the height of the water level at Värikallio has remained almost at the same level throughout the post- glacial period, and therefore this timing method is not suitable for this site. Most of the rock paintings in our country are from the comb ceramic period, i.e. from the period 5000–3200 BCE. The youngest paintings may date back to 2000 BCE  stages or even later. Based on their style, the Värikallio rock paintings are estimated to have been made between 1500 and 2500 BCE.” ref

“The Värikallio rock painting is Finland’s third largest picture field. The largest picture field is Saraakallio I and the second largest is Astuvansalmi . The painting field is quite compact and its patterns are small. A maximum of 61 separate patterns have been identified on Värikallio, most of which depict human figures and deer. Some of the patterns have not been preserved intact and have remained unrecognized. The human figure with a horned head is located just above the crack in section C.” ref

Astuvansalmi rock paintings

The Astuvansalmi rock paintings (FinnishAstuvansalmen kalliomaalaukset) are located in RistiinaMikkeliSouthern SavoniaFinland at the shores of the lake Yövesi, which is a part of the large lake Saimaa. The paintings are 7.7 to 11.8 metres above the water-level of lake Saimaa. The lake level was much higher at the time the rock paintings were made. There are about 70 paintings in the area. The rock where the paintings are located looks like a human head, the form especially visible during wintertime when viewed from the ice of the lake. The rock has presumably been some kind of a cult or ceremony site. The images of moose in Finnish rock paintings may be related to ‘animal ceremonialism’, whereupon the continuity of the hunted species is guaranteed by a ritual in which the animal is sent back to its ‘owner’.” ref

The oldest paintings were made about 3000–2500 BCE. They are located at the highest level (about 11 metres). The water level changed rapidly (about 2.5 metres) with the landslide of Vuoksi. Later on the level slowly went down 8 metres to its present level. All the later paintings were made from boats during the different historical water-levels. Other archaeological artefacts have been found on the site, at the bottom of the lake, among them small amber statuettes of old gods (Ukko and Akka). Some animal jewellery was also found, one showing a bear head. The jewellery and statuettes refer to some religious ceremonies held on the site. Arrowheads have also been found, dated to 2200–1800 BCE and 1300–500 BCE. Stone age settlements from about 3300–2800 BCE have been found near Astuvansalmi in Heiniemi.” ref

The Astuvansalmi rock paintings contain the following pictures: 18 to 20 moose, about as many human figures, tens of hands and animal tracks, 8 to 9 boats, and geometrical figures and pictures that are thought to show a fish and a dog. The paintings could have a link to the Siberian and North European shamanistic tradition, where the sun was thought to be a deer or an moose running through the sky. The Lapps (or Sami people) also had a belief that the sun was a running Cosmic Sun-Reindeer. The people in the paintings were the shamans, who had a contact with the spirit world through trance with their drumming and songs. Shamanism is the oldest cultural tradition of Finland and the North. It has been actively present already in the Paleolithic age.” ref

“The human figures are both shamans and spirits, who are connected with hunting ceremonies. The human figures could also have meant the people who drew them. The rare woman figure holding a bow in her hand is thought to show the mythic “Tellervo“, a goddess from the Kalevala mythology, who is thought to be the progenitor of the human race. Women never usually to