History of the Peoples of the Great Hungarian Plain in the First
Millennium: A Craniometric Point of View
5 gábor holló, 1 lászló szathmáry, 1 antónia marcsik, 2 and zoltán barta 1
8 Abstract We carried out an examination relying on six dimensions of 1,573
9 crania coming from the Great Hungarian Plain. The crania represent seven
10 archeological periods: Sarmatian age (1–4th century), the period of transi-
tion (about 400–420), Hun and Gepidic epochs (about 420–455 and 455–567,
respectively), early Avar age (about 568–670), late Avar period (about 670–
12 895), the epoch of the Hungarian conquest and settlement (about 895–1000), [First Page]
13 and the Arpadian age (about 1000–1301). We were curious about the anatomi-
14 cal background behind cultural changes of the various populations that inhab- , (1)
15 ited this area. After having noticed some discontinuities between the popula-
16 tions, as revealed by univariate analysis of single dimensions, we performed a
17 principal-components analysis to see whether or not the diverse components Lines: 0 to 42
18 showed eventual breaks in the sequence of the populations. Knowing that all ———
19 the dominant populations had Asian roots, except for the Gepids of Germanic
origin, we expected a considerable difference between the Gepidic popula-
21 tion and all the other inhabitants. We also assumed that a conquest itself with
a large-scale assimilation was unlikely to leave breaklike traits in anatomical
22 PgEnds: TEX
patterns, except for aggressive conquests. We found that the second princi-
23 pal component (which correlated with cranial breadth and partly with height)
24 showed a remarkable hiatus in both sexes between Gepids and early Avars.
25 Having done a statistical proof (simultaneous tests for general linear hypothe- , (1)
26 ses) of the observed phenomenon, we found that the gap referring to subse-
27 quent populations was signiﬁcant only in males. A possible reason for this
28 result is that the Avar conquest was much more radical than has been thought.
29 In addition, considering that men were more likely to die in wars, women
30 survived and were assimilated into the conquerors’ populations with higher
31 probability, so it is not surprising that the results of multicomparison tests are
32 signiﬁcant only in men.
34 Ancient cultures of a given territory change many times, which is well known from
35 both historical resources and archeological ﬁnds. These kinds of data, however, do
Department of Evolutionary Zoology and Human Biology, University of Debrecen, P.O. Box 3, Debrecen
38 H-4010, Hungary.
39 Department of Anthropology, University of Szeged, P.O. Box 660, Szeged H-6701, Hungary.
40 Human Biology, December 2008, v. 80, no. 6, pp. 655–667.
41 Copyright © 2009 Wayne State University Press, Detroit, Michigan 48201-1309
key words: craniometrics, history of human populations, general-
43 ized linear mix