Advances in Anthropology
2013. Vol.3, No.3, 164-172
Published Online August 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
A DNA Genealogy Solution to the Puzzle of Ancient
Look-Alike Ceramics across the World
Anatole A. Klyosov, Elena A. Mironova
The Academy of DNA Genealogy, Newton, USA
Received February 19th, 2013; revised March 24th, 2013; accepted April 16th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Anatole A. Klyosov, Elena A. Mironova. This is an open access article distributed under the
Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any
medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
A puzzling similarity has been observed in some of the ceramics and figurines in several cultures in East-
ern Europe (the Trypillia-Cucuteni culture, 6500 - 5500 years before present [ybp]), Thailand (the
Ban-Chiang culture, between 7400 and 3800 ybp), China (the Yangshao culture, between 8000 and 4000
ybp), North America (the Anasazi-Mogollon culture, between 7500 ybp and present time). It is remark-
able that the ceramics of these four cultures match each other in 17 (45%) of the 38 indicators used to dis-
tinguish archeological ceramic piece in the comparative research. Remarkably, all four cultures with
look-alike ceramics also use the swastika as a common symbol. We advance the hypothesis that all four
cultures are connected by the Aryan (bearers of R1a) migrations between 5500 and 3000 ybp. While the
Aryan migrations in Eurasia are well verified by DNA data, those in the Americas are not known as yet.
Consideration of R1a haplotypes among Native Americans do not conflict with the hypothesis.
Keywords: Y-Chromosome; Mutations; Haplotypes; Haplogroups; SNP; Ceramics; Trypillia-Cucuteni;
Ban-Chiang; Yangshao; Anasazi-Mogollon; Aryan Swastika
This paper aims to explain a puzzling similarity in ceramics
excavated from four Neolithic cultures and described in detail
in Mironova (2013). The archaeological cultures, all agricul-
tural, are:
in Europe, the Trypillian, or Trypillia-Cucuteni culture,
6500 - 5500 years before present (ybp), northwest from the
Black Sea, and between the rivers Dnestr on the West and
Dnepr on the East
in North-East Thailand, the Ban-Chiang culture, near the
border with Laos, 7400 - 3800 ybp
in China, the Yangshao culture, in the Huang He (Yellow
River) basin, 8000 - 4000 ybp
in North America, the Anasazi-Mogollon culture, located in
Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado, 7500- the pre-
The dates given here are for the cultures, not for the ceramics,
which—if dated at all—are often not reliably dated. All the cul-
tures are ancient; the Trypillian culture, which belongs to the
Proto-Slavic region of Vincha-Tordosh-Keresh-Cucuteni-Try-
pillia cultures of 8000 - 5000 ybp, reveals some similarity with
ceramics and other artifacts of the Mesolithic Lepenski Vir
culture in Serbia, dated at least 9400 - 8200 ybp using stron-
tium isotope measurements (Boric & Price, 2013).
It is remarkable that these cultures—separated by thousands
of miles—designed ceramics and figurines that bear similarities
that cannot be regarded as accidental.
Features by which the Ceramic Artifacts Were
The features by which we assessed the ceramics were as-
signed according to 38 features referred to technology, shape,
function and ornament, the latter was based on classification by
Golan (1991). We have found 17 similarities (45%) among the
ceramics of the said four cultures. Remarkably, all four cultures
with look-alike ceramics also use the swastika as a common
symbol. The 17 similarities include the technology of ceram-
ics-making using clay ribbons (without potter’s wheel) and
polishing instruments, and finishing the surface: print of bas-
kets, bast texture, engobe coating. Besides, they include com-
mon shapes and ornaments (designs, images, symbols) as fol-
lows: spoons with similar ornaments, anthropomorphic images,
Great Goddess figure, Great Goddess face, “Eyes of God-
dess”/volute sign, “eye” sign, Triglav (triskelion), spiral, double
spiral, “Seeded soil” sign, triangles, S-shape ornaments, the W
sign, apparent calendar functions of the vessels. Besides, some
common characteristics were not mentioned in (Golan, 1991),
such as swastika, “Tausen” symbol, figurine shape, figurine
ornament, such as mouth open, position of arms and legs, ex-
posed genitals. Most of similarities are in the design/symbols
categories. Not all similarities are shown in the figures in this
paper, for more detailed comparisons the reader is referred to
(Mironova, 2013) containing more than 140 illustrations.
Let us consider some examples.
Great Goddess Images and Figurines
Certain patterns on ceramic vessels and on figurines of early
agricultural civilizations are referred to in contemporary litera-
ture as “images of the Great Goddess”. Typically, the Great
Goddess is drawn from broken lines; she has a human body
with spread limbs. This pattern occurs frequently in ornaments
of the European Cucuteni-Trypillia and the Chinese Yangshao
archaeological cultures (Figure 1).
The pattern, which resembles a human figure, follows certain
rules: the “body” is drawn as a rectangle with a central red line;
the limbs also have a central red line. In fact, these patterns are
not really so much images as they are symbols. Often, the pat-
tern has no head, or replaces the head with other symbols (see
In the four cultures we are considering, this Great Goddess
image has been strikingly consistent through seven or eight
millennia, and it occurs thousands of miles apart. We see it in
the Anasazi-Mogollon cultures (Figure 2).
In China, in the Majiayao-Yangshao culture, 2300-2050 BC
(Figure 3), we see a head of the Great Goddess on ceramics
pieces a thousand years older than an American pot with a
similar motif. In Figure 3, we see not only a head but a symbol
built into it; this symbol is called “Seeded soil”.
One pose of the Great Goddess reflects childbirth. It is found
on many images, including those from the Lepenski Vir culture
in the Balkans. In Figure 4 the Lepenski Vir Idol (upper (b)) is
paired with an embossed female figure (a) from Yangshao-
Machang culture; the two figures have arms and legs in nearly
identical positions.
Similar images of the Great Goddess are spread from the
Balkans to South East Asia, and strikingly similar figurines are
found in pre-Columbian cultures in America (Figure 5).
Most of the figurines hold their hands on the stomach, and in
all of them the mouth is open. All expose genitals, most of
(a) (b)
Figure 1.
A vessel with the symbolic image of the Great Goddess from Cucuteni
(a); a very similar image of the Great Goddess on the vessel from
Yangshao (b).
(a) (b)
Figure 2.
Image of the Great Goddess. Anasazi culture (a). Mogollon culture (b),
1000-1150 BC, North America.
Figure 3.
Vessel from China (Yangshao) Gansu, culture Majiayao, Machang
phase, 2300-2050 BC. The image below is a close-up of the head.
them have a symbol in a form of a letter M (or W) either carved
or drawn in the collarbone area [not seen in the Figs here due to
their small size, the reader is referred to (Mironova, 2013)]. It
seems that Great Goddess figurines followed a common design.
Triskelion (Triglav)
The Triskelion, or Trinity, or Triglav (the triple Godhead)
symbol is often seen on ceramics in the cultures mentioned
above (e.g., Figure 6).
The Triglav sign in the both illustrations is not accompanied
with any additional symbols. It is presented in the canonical
form, with curved, spiral ends.
Figure 7 shows plates from the Chinese Majiayao and the
American Anasazi cultures, both with the Triglav patterns,
accompanied with other early agricultural symbols: the first
bears a double spiral in the center along with the “eye” sign,
repeated many times along the plate’s rim, the second contains
three disks filled with dots (the Seeded soil sign) and three
birds around them (apparently, a sign of triple deities, triune
A vessel from the Ban-Chiang culture (Thailand) shows the
pattern of Triglav as an isosceles triangle, formed with the rib-
bons as red lines (distinctive feature of Ban-Chiang archaeo-
logical culture). According to Golan, (1991), a triangle with
three dots descends from the Great Goddess symbol (the trian-
gle is a cloud, the three circles are the symbol of the triune
God). One can also see a spiral, a symbol of early agricultural
Neolithic civilizations, near the base of triangle (Figure 8).
These symbols are generally interpreted as representing 1)
continuous development—a spiral, 2) vigilance—eye(s), 3)
sustainable harvest—the Seeded soil pattern. All symbolize a
triad of birth, life, and death (Golan, 1991). They might also
symbolize the three phases of the agricultural cycle: seeding,
growing, harvesting.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 165
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
(a) (b) (c)
Figure 4.
Upper (a) a Chinese vessel (Yangshao-Machiang) with embossed female image. Upper (b) the Lepenski Vir Idol, 7th millennium BC. (c) vase
from Ban-Chiang, late stage, 300 BC-200 AD.
(a) (b)
Figure 7.
iglav image on a plate of the Neolithic culture Majiayao (a) The Tr
(China); (b) Stylized Triglav sign on a plate from Anasazi culture.
(a) (b)
Figure 5.
(a) an Indian idol from the Appalachians, Cherokee, North Carolina.
(b) a female figure from Arizona.
(a) (b)
Figure 8.
om Ban-Chiang culture,
uteni and the Ban-Chiang cultures (Figure 9).
e Yangshao cu-
Tausen sign is common in the Anasazi-Mogollon culture
in America (Figure 11).
Figure 6.
(a) A plate from the East European Cucuteni culture with the Triglav
sign; (b) A plate of the American Indian culture Hohokam (the Ana-
A vessel fr
with the Triglav sign.
Figure 10 shows similar Tausen pattern in th
Tausen re.
The “Tausen” symbol, which is apparently related to har-
vesting, has been identified on clay seals of the Trypillia/Cu-
(a) (b)
Figure 9.
Seals from Cucuteni (a) and Ban-Chiang (b).
Figure 10.
The “Tausen” sign on ceramics from Yangshao.
concave shapes, on
lates and cups in particular. It might have been connected with
A DNA-Genealogy-Bsis
alike ceramics and
ed archeological
he artifacts are random in their origin; all similarities are
n other words, they have a common source.
uth-East Asia, and—in
Commonly, the Tausen pattern is used on
the richness of the harvest (see also Figure 12).
ased Hypothe
How do we explain the presence of look-
figurines in four distinct and widely separat
Two answers have been predicated:
1) T
2) The artifacts are products of similar design, technology,
and symbol. I
The first statement is unlikely. So, let us consider possible
explanations for the similarities of artifacts which are so
ct in geography. A possible explanation is that an ancient
culture initiated certain ceramic designs and patterns, and that
cultures in Eastern Europe, China, Thailand, America are “de-
rivative” or “descended” from the designs of that ancient cul-
ture. This connection could be the result of physical migrations,
or demic diffusion. The idea of diffusion from Europe or China
to the New World is the most difficult to imagine. But here,
DNA becomes useful. If the basic features of a set of artifacts
were initially created as an “intellectual property” by an ancient
tribe, is it possible to trace the creating tribe using Y-chromo-
somal haplogroups? When and where did the creative tribe live
when the ceramic designs and symbols were being shaped? Do
we know about migrations of any tribe or haplogroup which
had connections to Eastern Europe, China, Thailand, and
America many thousands of years ago?
A preliminary answer is yes. We do know of a haplogroup
which migrated from East Europe to So
me conjectural accounts—from China and Europe to Amer-
ica. According to the work of Klyosov (2009a) and Klyosov
Figure 11.
The sign “Tausen” on a plate fromMogollon culture in America (a),
on from the Anasazi (b).
arose in Central Asia,
pproximately 20 thousand years before the present. It made a
and on a spo
and Rozhanskii (2012), haplogroup R1a
long migration westward, (via Tibet, Hindustan, the Iranian
plateau, Anatolia) and arrived in the Balkans around 10 - 9000
ybp. This is seemingly the Lepenski Vir culture with its Eu-
ropeoid (Caucasoid) excavated skeletons, and their strontium
isotopes datings (see above). Among the chain of possible de-
rivative cultures we see Trypillia-Cucuteni of 6500 - 5500 ybp.
The R1a-Z93 subclade (South Eastern branch) arose 5700 ybp;
its concurrent Z283 subclade (Eurasian branch) subclade arose
5500 ybp (Rozhanskii & Klyosov, 2012), and they migrated
eastward from Europe to the Russian Plain and further east, to
Altai, Mongolia, China. Skeletal remains of the R1a haplogroup
were excavated 3000 kilometers east of Ural Mountains,
slightly north of Mongolia and China, dated 3800 - 3400 ybp
(Keyser et al., 2009). The remains were identified as belonging
to the R1a-Z93-L342.2-L657 subclade (Klyosov, 2013), which
came to India and Iran about 3600 ybp. Also, R1a bearers
might have migrated from Europe eastward 5000 years ago or
even before that, and contributed to the Afanasievo culture in
the Altai area, which overlaps the present day Russian and
Chinese Altai regions, north of the Tarim basin. This migratory
connection of R1a bearers to East Europe and China might
explain the penetration of ceramics and figurine design from
the Trypillian culture to the South East Asian cultures. The
Ban-Chiang culture could have borrowed the art of ceramics
and figurines from China. This art and craftsmanship could also
have been brought to China and Thailand with the Aryans some
4000 - 3500 years ago, via the Andronovo culture. Except for
R1a, no other haplogroup could have connected Eastern Europe
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 167
Figure 12.
Cup with the “Tausen” sign from the Yangshao culture
Figure 13.
The map of swastika as a characteristic feature of ancient cultures
Curator, Department of Prehistoric Anthropology, US
plogroup I is absent in South-East Asia,
s is haplogroup R1b; haplogroups O and C are absent in
a as an Argument of the Aryan Culture
and Their Descendants
ssed a multitude of swastika images from various excavations,
(Thomas Wilson,
National Museum. 1894).
and China/Thailand. Ha
Europe, as are South-East Asian haplogroups N, and D.
A more difficult task is to build North America into the mig-
ration system we have posited. In addition to the Great G
e Triglav, and the Tausen symbols used in Anasazi-Mogollon
ceramics, the swastika is often used (Figure 13). A skeptic
might say that the swastika could have been introduced ran-
domly in South America among Maya, and in North America,
in Navajo and Anasazi tribes, and in other tribes in the Ameri-
cas, and among the Aryans, and in Trypillia-Cucuteni, and in
Ban-Chiang culture. However, that degree of pure accidents is
next to impossible, particularly when accompanied with similar
Thomas Wilson, in his study of the swastika (1894), discu-
cluding swastikas of the Etruskans, swastikas of Indians in
Hindustan, swastikas in Latin America (Maya, Nicaragua and
others), swastikas of native Americans from what is now
known as Ohio, Arkansas, and Kansas. How the swastikas got
to all these places is something of a mystery.
Looking at the map in Figure 13, one can see that most of
(a) (b)
Figure 14.
Swastika on a plamage shows the
n, which is known on ceramics of the Ban-Chiang and
te from the Trypillia culture (a). The i
W (or M) sig
Lepensky Vir cultures. Swastika on a vessel of the Yangshao culture,
China (b).
Figure 15.
Swastika of Navajo tribe in America.
the mutes
r military expeditions) of R1a bearers between 5000 and 2500
Russian Plain to India, Iran, and the
arks there are related to already known migration ro
ybp. This includes the routes from Europe to Iran, India, and
China. It includes travels to Scandinavia, Iceland (but not to
neighboring Greenland), Mesopotamia, the Middle East, the
Arabian Peninsula, and Egypt, but not southward in Africa. In
addition, the map shows swastika images in North and South
America. Could R1a bearers have arrived in America in ancient
times? Legends and myths about pre-Christopher Columbus
travels to America abound. There are legends about the Vikings
who allegedly reached shores of America (Jones, 1986). There
are legends about the lost fleet of Alexander the Great, which
might have reached America (Gladwin, 1947; Dybovsky, 2011).
There are legends that Chinese explorers made a journey to
America (de Guignes, 1761; Menzies, 2004). These legends are
not scholarly, but we should keep them in mind when we con-
sider R1a among native Americans (see below).
Figures 14-17 show swastikas in the Trypillia, Ban-Chiang,
Anasazi, and Mogollon ancient cultures, and in Navajo t
e last three in America.
The swastika has accompanied the Aryans in the course of
their migrations from the
iddle East (Figure 18-20). The swastika was very common in
Russia until it was chosen by Nazis as their main symmbol in
the 1930s. Even traditional Russian lace which had been made
for centuries with a swastika ornamentation (e.g., Figure 18)
was stopped in the 1930s.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Figure 16.
Swastika on a spoon from the Anasazi culture.
(a) (b)
Figure 17.
Swastika on a veon a plate from
n culture (b).
ssel from the Anasazi culture (a) and
the Mogollo
Figure 18.
Swastika on the Vologda lace, a tr
ian ornament for mil-
Since the bearersoup used swastikas
commonly, and since the swastika in the
mericans by
ditional Russ
lennia until the 1930s.
R1a in America
of the R1a haplogr
there is much use of
mericas, it is, perhaps, possible that R1a bearers contacted
ancient native Americans. What can DNA tell us?
One way to study the DNA record would be to look at unu-
sual, “exotic” R1a haplotypes among Native A
sting ancient, excavated bones in America, in those regions
Figure 19.
Swastika on a scarf of a legendary Russian character (Alyosha Pop
the 12th century CE. The cartoon was made at the end of
ovich) from
the 19th century, or copied from an old picture. Swastika was a common
image in old Russia inherited from the Aryans on the Russian Plain.
Figure 20.
Swastika in the Middle East, inherited from the Aryans there aroun
ybp. A fraction of the R1a-L342.2 haplogroup, the same
e are no such
ata. Another way is to 1) analyze the haplogroups of Native
ypes far less frequently
8% C, and 16% “other”. A haplotype tree for available R1-
4000 - 3500
subclade as that among the Hindu Indians, currently reaches 9% among
the Arabs in the Middle East (Abu-Amero et al., 2009).
where the swastika was found. Unfortunately, ther
Americans (NA) who have had Y-chromosome tests, 2) iden-
tify those who belong to haplogroup R1a, and 3) determine
when their common R1a ancestor arrived in America. Unfortu-
nately, relatively few Native Americans have had their Y
chromosomes tested, and, as far as we know, none of them has
been tested for extended haplotypes.
Though native Americans have been tested for Y-chrom-
somal haplogroups and (short) haplot
an have Europeans, we know that the most frequent hap-
logroup in NA is Q (Zegura et al., 2004; Bolnick et al., 2006;
Mahli et al., 2008; O’Rourke & Raff, 2010; Dulik et al., 2012).
Haplogroups Q, R, and C, account for 95% of all Native
American Y-chromosomes. In one study, 558 NA from the
three main language groups—Eskimo-Aleut, Na-Dene, and
Amerind—76% had haplogroup Q, 13% R, and 6% C (Zegura
et al., 2004). In another study of 281 haplotypes of Native
Americans in the Central and Eastern regions of the United
States (Bolnick et al., 2006)—where most of the decorative
swastikas have been found—45% had haplogroup Q, 31% R1,
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 169
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Figure 21.
A 10 marker haplotype tree of 72 Native Americans who belonged to the R1-M173 haplogroup (and/or any downstream
s). The tree was composed from data in (Bolnick et al, 2006). A branch in the upper-right part belongs to R1a
M173 hap
“R1” here means undifferentiated R1 (if any), R1a and R1b.
X 10 13 11 17
ave DYS392 = 13 or 14
(any others), which might
were some R1a bearers—unknown to us as
tarting point
Judith Remy Leder for her
valuable help with the preparation of the manuscript.
Cabrera, V. M., & Underhill, P. A. (2009). Saudi Arabian Y-chro-
mosome diversity annearby regions. BMC
Genetics, 10, 1959. d -59
haplogroup. Composition and analysis of haplotype trees is explained in (Klyosov, 2009b; Klyosov and Rozhanskii, 2012).
lotypes is shown in Figure 21. It should be noted that though our hypothesis needs further testing, it is a s
Since Bolnick et al. (2006) did not resolve the upstream hapl-
ogroup R1 into R1 itself, and sub-groups R1a, R1b, we had to
y on our phylogenetic program to resolve the tree into
branches. Indeed, one branch in Figure 21, in the upper right
side, has been identified as an R1a subgroup, with a distinct
DYS392 = 11 (the penultimate allele below), such as in ##
141-144 in Figure 21:
13 25 16 10 11 13 X X 11 13 11 16
13 25 16 10 11 14 X
13 25 16 10 11 14 X X 10 14 11 17
13 25 16 10 11 14 X X 11 14 11 17
The rest of haplogroups in the tree h
s in #145 in the tree, along with ma
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somes to haplogroups and their subclades. In general, the over-
all shape of the tree indicates a highly heterogeneous origin of
the haplotypes, which might certainly include men descended
from ancient common ancestors who belonged to the R1 hap-
logroup with downstream subclades (including R1a) among
native Americans.
We conclude that available data do not conflict with the hy-
pothesis that there
yet—who arrived on the shores of the New World and brought
with them ceramic designs and sacred symbols known in East
Europe and South East Asia. This conjecture is supported to
some degree by the DNA record available to us today. Al-
for explaining the remarkable similarities of ceramics in four
widely spaced archeological sites.
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