Y-Chromosome Haplogroup Diversity in Khazar Burials from Southern Russia
Genetic studies of archaeological burials open up new possibilities for investigating the cultural-historical development of ancient populations, providing objective data that can be used to investigate the most controversial problems of archeology. In this work, we analyzed the Y-chromosomes of nine skeletons recovered from elite burial mounds attributed to the 7th–9th centuries of the Khazar Khaganate in the modern Rostov region. Genotyping of polymorphic microsatellite loci of the Y chromosome made it possible to establish that among the nine skeletons studied, three individuals had R1a Y-haplogroup, two had C2b, and one each had G2a, N1a, Q, and R1b Y-haplogroups. Such results were noteworthy for the mixture of West Eurasian and East Asian paternal lineages in these samples. The Y-chromosome data are consistent with the results of the craniological study and genome-wide analysis of the same individuals in showing mixed genetic origins for the early medieval Khazar nobility. These findings are not surprising in light of the history of the Khazar Khaganate, which arose through its separation from the Western Turkic Khaganate and establishment in the North Caucasus and East European steppes.