Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
This study seeks to establish the extent of biological divergence between six populations who have, at various times, inhabited Western Europe: Gauls, Franks, Burgundians, Merovingians, Carolingians, and Basques. Biological divergence is determined using an established methodology for examining and recording the various states of expression of non-metrical, morphological, cranial variants. Being under genetical mediation, an analysis of the distribution of these variants using a mean square 'distance' statistic supplies estimates of the extent of biological divergence between any pair of populations being considered.
Based upon historical sources several hypotheses may be drawn concerning the degrees of relatedness of these six populations. Because of the purported northern European ancestry of the Gauls, Franks, and Burgondes, a strong genetical similarity may be expected between them. Further, it would be expected that the Franks and Gauls show more similarities to each other than the Burgondes with either the Franks or Gauls, based upon the common territory shared by the two former groups.
The Merovingians and Carolingians are said to be dynasties of Frankish kings and so would be expected to strongly resemble the Franks, while it may be foreseen that the Franks and Merovingians are more genetically similar than are the Franks and Carolingians, the Merovingians being closer chronologically and having absorbed fewer non-Frankish peoples than the Carolingians.
Finally the Basques, considered to be of non-northern European origin, would be expected to show stronger affinity for the Frankish Merovingians and Carolingians than for the three northern European populations.
In order to test these hypotheses samples of skeletal material representing each of the six populations were drawn from the collection housed at the Musée de l'Homme, Paris, and the frequencies of 40 non-metrical cranial traits were recorded. Null hypotheses for sex and side-by-side correlation with the incidence of non-metrical cranial variants were also tested.
It was found that hypotheses concerning the degrees of relatedness between these six populations were in general upheld by the biological data: the Basques were found to be roughly twice as close genetically to the Merovingians and Carolingians as they were to the northern European peoples; the genetical 'distance' between the Burgondes and Franks and Burgondes and Gauls was found to be one and one-half times greater than that between the Gauls and Franks; the Merovingians were found to be 25% closer to the Franks than were the Carolingians, and the degree of relatedness between the Merovingians and Carolingians was found to be greater than that between either of those groups and the ancestral Franks. Finally, side-by-side and sex correlation were found to be absent or at a very low level. Discussion of these findings and suggestions for methodological improvements are offered.
Sternberg, Lewis Esh, "BIOLOGICAL DIVERGENCE BETWEEN SIX WESTERN EUROPEAN POPULATIONS AS DETERMINED BY NON-METRICAL CRANIAL VARIANTS" (1975). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5380.
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