A multidisciplinary analysis of the former settlements of the early Hungarians and the first generations of the conquerors in the Carpathian Basin

Planned timeframe of the project: 2015-2026
Project leaders:Anna Szécsényi-Nagy (Institute of Archaeogenomics, HUN-REN RCH), Türk Attila (Early Hungarians Research Team, HUN-REN RCH, Institute of Archaeology;  PPCU Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Institute of Archaeological Sciences)
Host institute: Institute of Archaeogenomics, HUN-REN Research Centre for the Humanities
Participating researchers of the project in Hungary:

  • Balázs Gusztáv Mende, Veronika Csáky, Bea Szeifert, Balázs Gyuris, Dániel Gerber (Institute of Archaeogenomics HUN-REN RCH)
  • Péter Langó (Institute of Archaeology, HUN-REN RCH)
  • Balázs Egyed (Department of Genetics, ELTE Faculty of Science)

One of the most traditional research directions of the Institute is the genetic analysis of potential early Hungarians excavated in present day Russia and Ukraine. Their material culture also shows archaeological parallels with the medieval burials of the Carpathian Basin. Studies on this topic have been ongoing since the mid-2010s and form the backbone of one of the Institute's research strategies.

Our aim is to analyse the former settlements of the early Hungarians, to trace their migration routes and to genetically survey the cemeteries of the Hungarians remaining in the East.

The studies started with the genetic analysis of the Uyelgi cemetery (eastern side of the Ural Mountains) in 2012, and since then more and more human bone remains from cemeteries east of the Carpathian Basin have been analysed.

Both genetic analyses and radiocarbon dating is a major focus of our work. Researchers from PPKE continuously conduct archaeological excavations in pertinent areas, and we maintain ongoing scientific collaborations with foreign colleagues, including Russian, Ukrainian, and Moldavian archaeologists and anthropologists.

After analysing the medieval cemeteries of Western Siberia and the Volga-Urals region, the Hungarian, Pecheneg and Slavic samples have been collected from the South Intermediate settlement area (the Dnieper and Dniester Rivers), and the remains of the earliest conquerors of the Carpathian Basin are analysed in our laboratory. Our aim is not only to discover the relationship between cemeteries directly related to the Hungarians, but also to characterise the genetic composition of the neighbouring groups.

Initially, the maternal and then the paternal lineages were studied by our institute, followed by whole genome analyses, which focus on population and individual level research questions as well. In that way, it is possible to identify closer and more distant biological relatedness between populations of remote regions.

Funding of the project:

  • The eastern relationships of the ancestors of the House of Árpád, Árpád dynasty program (ÁHP VI/2)
  • Our Eastern Heritage PPCUInterdisciplinary Historical and Archaeological Research Group (TUDFO/51757-1/2019/ITM) programme "Archaeological, linguistic and bioarchaeological research on early Hungarian history"
  • Our Eastern Heritage PPKE Interdisciplinary Historical and Archaeological Research Group project (TKP2020-NKA-11)
  • Archaeogenomic research of the Etelköz region, Priority Research Theme proposal of the Eötvös Loránd Research Network

Partner institutions:

  • Institute of Archaeological Sciences, PPCU Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Harvard Medical School

Publications of the research results:

  • Szeifert B; Csákyová V; Stégmár B; Gerber D; Egyed B; Botalov SG; Goldina RD; Danich AV; Türk A; Mende BG; Szécsényi-Nagy A: Maternal genetic composition of early medieval (6th-10th centuries AD) populations lived in the Cis- and Trans-Ural and Volga-Kama Regions. Arkheologiya Evropeiskikh stepei : 6 pp. 202-221. (2018)
  • Veronika Csáky, Dániel Gerber, Bea Szeifert, Attila Türk, Balázs G. Mende, Tivadar Vida, Anna Szécsényi-Nagy: Eastern genetic connections of two nomadic populations in the early medieval Carpathian Basin - IV международного конгресса археологии евразийских степей КОЧЕВЫЕ ИМПЕРИИ ЕВРАЗИИ В СВЕТЕ АРХЕОЛОГИЧЕСКИХ И МЕЖДИСЦИПЛИНАРНЫХ ИССЛЕДОВАНИЙ, ПОСВЯЩЕННОГО 100-ЛЕТИЮ РОССИЙСКОЙ АКАДЕМИЧЕСКОЙ АРХЕОЛОГИИ г. Улан-Удэ, 16–21 сентября 2019 г. Nomadic Empires in Eurasia in Archaeological and Interdisciplinary studies. 16-21. September 2019, Ulan-Ude. pp. 175-179. ISBN 978-5-7925-0567-4
  • Szeifert Bea ‒ Csáky Veronika ‒ Gerber Dániel ‒ Egyed Balázs ‒ Stégmár Balázs ‒ Türk Attila ‒Mende Balázs Gusztáv ‒ Szécsényi-Nagy Anna: Korai magyarsággal kapcsolatba hozható oroszországi lelőhelyek csontanyagának archeogenetikai vizsgálata. Hadak útján. A népvándorláskor fiatal kutatóinak XXIX. konferenciája. Budapest, 2019. november 15–16. (29th Conference of young scholars on the Migration Period. November 15‒16, 2019, Budapest). Absztraktkötet. Szerk.: Sudár B. ‒ Türk A. Studia ad Archaeologiam Pazmaniensia 14. ‒‒ Magyar Őstörténeti Témacsoport Kiadványok 7. Budapest 2019. pp. 100-103. ISBN 978-963-9987-57-9
  • Bea Szeifert, Dániel Gerber, Balázs Egyed, Ayrat G. Sitdikov, Ilgizar R. Gazimzyanov, Elizaveta V. Volkova, Balázs Gusztáv Mende, Attila Türk, Anna Szécsényi-Nagy: Bioarchaeological analysis of Bolshie Tigani cemetery in context of Hungarians’ early history – In:  Халиков, А.Х.: Великая Венгрия между Волгой и Уралом. Oтв. ред.: Ситдиков, А.Г. Археология евразийских степей 27. Казань 2022, 132–141. ISBN 978-5-6049094-1-6
  • Bea Szeifert, Dániel Gerber, Veronika Csáky, Péter Langó, Dmitrii A. Stashenkov, Aleksandr A. Khokhlov,  Ayrat G. Sitdikov, Ilgizar R. Gazimzyanov, Elizaveta V. Volkova, Natalia P. Matveeva, Alexander S. Zelenkov, Olga E. Poshekhonova, Anastasiia V. Sleptsova, Konstantin G. Karacharov, Viktoria V. Ilyushina, Boris A. Konikov, Flarit A. Sungatov, Aleksander G. Kolonskikh, Sergei G. Botalov, Ivan V. Grudochko, Oleksii Komar, Balázs Egyed, Balázs G. Mende, Attila Türk, Anna Szécsényi-Nagy: Tracing genetic connections of ancient Hungarians to the 6th–14th century populations of the Volga-Ural region, Human Molecular Genetics, 2022; ddac106, https://doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddac106
  • Szeifert, B., Türk, A., Gerber, D., Csáky, V., Langó, P., Sztashenkov, D. A., Botalov, S. G., Szitgyikov, A. G., Zelenkov, A. S., Mende, B. G., Szécsényi-Nagy, A.: A korai magyar történelem régészeti és archeogenetikai kutatásának legfrissebb eredményei Nyugat-Szibériától a Középső-Volga vidékig. Archaeologiai Értesítő 2023, 147, 1, 33-74, Available From: AKJournals https://doi.org/10.1556/0208.2022.00031
  • Szeifert Bea, Csáky Veronika, Gerber Dániel, Egyed Balázs, Stégmár Balázs, Türk Attila, Mende Balázs Gusztáv, Szécsényi-Nagy Anna: Betekintés az Urál és a Volga-Káma vidék genetikai összetételébe a korai magyarsággal kapcsolatba hozható lelőhelyek emberi csontanyagának archeogenetikai vizsgálatával. In Hadak útján - A népvándorláskor fiatal kutatóinak XXIX. konferenciája, Budapest, 2019. november 15-16., 2023. kiad., 4:97–112. Budapest: Bölcsészettudományi Kutatóközpont, Magyar Őstörténeti Kutatócsoport; Pázmány Péter Katolikus Egyetem, Régészettudományi Intézet; Martin Opitz Kiadó.

Archaeogenetic and Anthropological Research of Burials at the Benedictine Monastery of Monostorapáti-Almád

Planned timeframe of the project: 2022-2024
Project leader: Balázs Gusztáv Mende (HUN-REN Faculty of Humanities, Institute of Archaeogenomics)
Host institute: HUN-REN Institute for Humanities Research, Institute of Archaeogenomics
Participating researchers of the project:

  • Noémi Borbély, Bea Szeifert (HUN-REN Faculty of Humanities, Institute of Archaeogenomics)
  • István Major (HUN-REN Institute of Nuclear Research)

The Benedictine monastery of Monostorapáti-Almád was founded at the beginning of the 12th century by the Atyusz lineage, traceable back to the time of the Hungarian conquest. The archaeognomic and anthropological investigations of the anthropological material uncovered during the 2021-2023 excavation of the monastery ruins will be carried out in the third phase of the Kings, Saints and Monasteries project.

The aim of the research is to determine the relationships between the remains using archaeogenomic methods, alongside the traditional morphometric analysis of the bones and the absolute chronological classification of individual graves using the radiocarbon method. According to the working hypothesis of the research, after its foundation in 1121, prominent members of the lineage, which branched into several branches from the 13th century onwards, were buried here. This is supported by the authenticated transcript of the founding document of Almád from the time of Sigismund. Several burials are identified by name in the documentary sources, including Atyusz, the founder of the monastery, his brother Miske, their father Bánd, and Gyönyörű, Atyusz's stepmother.


Archaeogenetic and anthropological research of the Paty Malom-dűlő site’s population (10th century AD)

Planned project timeframe: 2022-2024
Project leaders: Tamás Hajdu (Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Science, Eötvös Loránd University), Balázs Gusztáv Mende (Institute of Archaeogenomics, HUN-REN Research Centre for the Humanities), 
Institute hosting the subproject genetics: Institute of Archaeogenomics, HUN-REN Research Centre for the Humanities
Researchers participating in the project:

  • Anna Szécsényi-Nagy, Bea Szeifert, Kristóf Jakab (Institute of Archaeogenomics, HUN-REN Research Centre for the Humanities)
  • Tamás Szeniczey (Department of Biological Anthropology, Faculty of Science, Eötvös Loránd University)
  • Dániel Giedl, András Rajna (Ferenczy Museum Center)
  • Anikó Horváth, István Major (HUN-REN Institute for Nuclear Research)
  • Norbert Berta, Zoltán Farkas, Péter Major (Salisbury Kft.)

In 2022, a 10th-century cemetery with 77 graves and another with 15 graves were excavated at the Páty Malom-dűlő archaeological site in the close proximity of each other in cooperation with the Ferenczy Museum Center and Salisbury Kft. Due to the richness and uniqueness of the burial finds, as well as the historical importance of the region, it has come to the forefront of the archaeological research of the conquest period, consequently becoming central to archaeogenomic studies as well.
The research aims at a multidisciplinary evaluation of cemeteries, characterisation of the population using cemeteries in Páty, reconstruction of the inter- and intra-cemetery relations.
The analysis of the archaeological material is carried out by the Ferenczy Museum Centre and Salisbury Kft., while the classical paleoanthropological analysis of the human remains is performed by the Department of Biological Anthropology, Faculty of Science, Eötvös Loránd University. Laboratory processing and whole genome analysis of suitable samples is carried out at the Institute of Archaeogenomics, HUN-REN Research Centre for the Humanities, and analysis of stable isotopes at the HUN-REN Institute for Nuclear Research in Debrecen.

Interdisciplinary research on Migration Period horses

Planned time frame of the project: 2022-2026
Intended sample size: 150 horse bone samples
Principal Investigator: Anna Szécsényi-Nagy (IAG RCH HUN-REN)
Participating researchers:

  • Péter Csippán (Institute of Archaeology, Eötvös Loránd University), Annamária Bárány (MNM) archaeozoologists
  • István Koncz (Institute of Archaeology, Eötvös Loránd University), Ádám Bollók (IA RCH HUN-REN) archaeologists
  • Dániel Gerber, Kornél Herpai (IAG RCH HUN-REN) bioinformaticians

The aim of the project is to study the relationship between horses and humans in the early medieval Carpathian Basin, with special focus on the Avar Period. In the framework of the project, we sample 4-8th century BC horses from the Carpathian Basin, both in the western Transdanubia and in the eastern Great Hungarian Plain. This sampling strategy provides an opportunity to determine the basal horse population in both the former Roman Empire and neighboring areas under the barbarian rule. In a such way, the further development of horse herds in the two regions becomes comparable to the later periods. The horse population in the Carpathian Basin may have been expanded by several waves from external sources. For detailed observations, we pay special attention not only to cemeteries but also to finds from settlements to see if there are differences in pedigree, genetics, and morphology between equidae used and kept differently. The question is whether a new horse population can be detected in the Carpathian Basin during the period under study (especially during the Avar period), and whether the diversity of the studied horses shows a regional or cultural structure.

Combining the results of the archaeozoological and genetic studies of the horses with the data of archeology and historical sources, the team explores the horses’ breeding, distribution, trade and usage. A key question in the Avar era was whether horses appeared from the same source region in the Carpathian Basin as the different nomadic communities from great distances. Although various partial (including symbolic manifestations) or whole horse burials have been highlighted in archaeological research among animal burials and even among burial customs in general, our knowledge of the age, sex, and physical condition of animals has been incomplete. Through these archaeozoological and paleogenomic studies, we can get further answers about the relationships between horses and humans, as well as about the importance and role of the horse as a representative element in the early Medieval era.

Aim of the project is the comparative analysis of cemeteries and graves included in the ERC Synergy HistoGenes project or in other previous human genomic studies (Amorim et al. 2018, Gnecchi-Ruscone et al. 2021). Thus, not only the horses are in focus, but also the “horse and its rider” associated with previous and ongoing human genetic analyses.

Our team combines skeletal and morphological observations with genetics (the possibilities of the whole genome analyses are constantly evolving), as we can now even study variants of genes that are responsible for coat color, spinal stability (weight bearing, persistent running) or for the temperament of horses (associated with stress tolerance) (Librado et al. 2021).

The team analyzes approximately 150 samples. The result and its interpretability depends on the diversity or homogeneity of the genetic picture of the horse population in the 4-6th centuries, and how successfully the team will manage to retain the DNA from each sample included in the analysis. The answer to these is not even known from an archaeozoological point of view, so the team is about to begin an exploratory type of research.

Metagenomic and palaeopathological studies

Participating researchers:
Dániel Gerber, Melinda Megyes, Anna Szécsényi-Nagy, Botond Heltai, Balázs Gusztáv Mende (IAG RCH HUN-REN), Viktória Kiss (IA RCH HUN-REN), Erika Molnár (Department of Anthropology, SZTE)

Due to the rapid development of archaeogenomic methodology, previously unimaginable experiments can now be performed. Genetic material of microorganisms, such as bacteria, DNA-viruses and single-cell parasites can be preserved within the remnant tissues of host organisms, and even within - classically considered to be - inorganic materials, like dental calculus and soil. We aimed to open new horizons for our institute by acquiring current techniques and maybe even for the international community by developing novel methods. We primarily focus on the oral microbiome via sampling dental calculus, as well as to pathogens via sampling dentine and bony scar tissue, concerning various periods (prehistory, Roman era). The multithreaded projects are funded by Momentum projects of Viktória Kiss and Anna Szécsényi-Nagy.


Archaeogenetic investigation of the Northern Altai in the 4-14th centuries

Duration of the project: 2022-2024
Project Coordination: Anna Szécsényi-Nagy (IAG RCH)
Partner institutes of the project: Institute of Archaeology at HUN-REN Research Centre for the Humanities, Department of Biological Anthropology at Eötvös Loránd University, Altai State University
Participants of the project:

  • Yusuf Can Özdemir (IAG HUN-REN RCH, ELTE),  Balázs Gusztáv Mende (IAG HUN-REN RCH), Balázs Gyuris (IAG HUN-REN RCH, ELTE)
  • Alexey Tishkin, Nikolai Seregin (ASU)
  • Tamás Szeniczey (ELTE)
  • Gergely Csiky (RI RCH)

The Altai region acts as a crossroads between the Eastern and Central Steppes of Asia, and it has an important role in the legends of the peoples of the region. To this day, the population movements in Central Asia prior to the Mongol Empire expansion have mostly been evaluated without genetic records other than minimal sampling.
The main goal of this research project is to shed light on the complex genetic histories of the Medieval groups who are traditionally affiliated to nomadic and semi-nomadic lifestyles, and their possible connections to the modern communities in the Altai region. By acquiring genetic data of approximately 90 ancient individuals from various burial sites including single and clustering burials, we aim to create a better understanding of migration and admixing events as well as the customs and social practices of the groups these individuals belonged. We include archaeological and historical data to the research to a greater extent, creating a comparative approach.

Genetic analysis of Copper Age communities

image 1Source of the image: https://lendulet-innovacio.hu/en/

Our team joined the research group of Zsuzsa Siklósi ’MTA-ELTE Lendület Innovation Research Group’. The program, which will run from 2022-2027, is entitled "Individuals and communities, social networks and innovations in the Carpathian Basin in the Bronze Age" (https://lendulet-innovacio.hu/en/).
In the interdisciplinary research group, our task is to genetically completely process specific cemeteries of the Copper Age, if possible, and to explore the systems of inter- and outward genetic relationships of the community members. This is performed by identity by descent (IBD) chromosome segment sharing analyses at the whole genome level.

Project timeframe
: 2022-2027,
Planned number of samples: ca. 100 human samples
Project leader: Zsuzsa Siklósi (ELTE BTK)
Researchers involved in the project at the Institute: Dániel Gerber, Anna Szécsényi-Nagy, Kristóf Jakab (BTK AGI)

Molecular anthropological research for the Hungarian ethnogenesis

The aim of the molecular anthropological research launched within the framework of the Thematic Excellence Program won in 2019 is to research the history of the Hungarian people with scientific tools by examining both the populations living today and the archaeological human remains.
The research of the history of the Hungarian people is carried out in three complementary areas:

1. Archaeogenetic studies

The prehistory of the Hungarian people took place in a wide geographical environment, but we basically classify the finds to be examined into two large groups. On the one hand, it includes the legacies of populations belonging to all historical eras in the Carpathian Basin - including the times before and after the Hungarian conquest, as they are also considered to be the ancestors of the Hungarians living today - on the other hand, the legacies of the eastern migration of the conquering Hungarian tribes.

The aim of our molecular anthropology research group is to find answers to the basic questions of Hungarian ethnogenesis: to what extent the populations that have appeared, settled or migrated in the Carpathian Basin for centuries have participated in the formation of today's Hungarian people; how we relate to other European and Asian peoples; from which Eurasian areas did the peoples of the Hun, Avar and Hungarian conquest eras come to Hungary, and what ethnogenetic relationship do they have with each other and with other populations.

In the coming years we want to achieve new results in three stages of Hungarian ethnogenesis:

  1. We begin the study of the autochthonous population of the Carpathian Basin with the only cemetery with a large number of graves, which was already open before the Hungarian conquest and was in continuous use for almost three centuries: Halimba-Cseres, 9-12 century.
  2. We would like to continue the characterization of the genetic diversity of the conquering Hungarians by examining a region that has been left out of the research so far: Hungarian Conquering cemeteries of Heves county.
  3. We will start the genetic study of the later joined peoples with the only Árpádian-era Ishmaelite cemetery in the country: Orosháza-Bónum, Faluhely, 11-13 century.

Participants of the project: Fóthi Erzsébet (Institute of Archaeogenomics Research Centre of Humanities), Fóthi Ábel (IAG RCH), Makra Szabolcs (RCH IAG), Krizsik Virág (RCH IAG), Dudás Eszter (Hungarian Institute for Forensic Sciences), Évinger Sándor (Hungarian Natural History Museum), Madaras László (Damjanich János Museum), Szigeti Judit (Castle guardianship), Rózsa Zoltán (Castle guardianship), Balázs János (University Szeged, Department of Anthropology), Dóra Szegő (IAG RCH).

2. Recent population genetics

The aim of recent population genetic research is to compile a population genetic atlas of the Carpathian Basin. By genetic testing of today's populations, we want to create a population genetics database of the Hungarian-inhabited areas of the Carpathian Basin and eastern regions of origin of the conquering Hungarian tribes, which can serve as a reference not only in our own research group but also in other Hungarian and foreign scientific workshops. After the Bodrogköz, Rétköz, Csallóköz and Szeklers of Bukovina, the study of the genetic composition of new regions begins, including Heves county, Őrség and Sárrét.

Participants of the project: Erzsébet Fóthi (Institute of Archaeogenomics, Research Centre of Humanities), Ábel Fóthi (IAG RCH), Szabolcs Makra (IAG RCH), Virág Krizsik (IAG RCH), Pamzsav Horolma (Hungarian Institute for Forensic Sciences), Alexandra Kovács (IAG RCH).

3. Stable isotope analysis

The proportion of stable isotopes (C, N, O, and Sr) incorporated into the human body through nutrition provides an opportunity to study the diet and migration path of people in history.
The focus of the study was on the remains of the conquering Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin. By analyzing the findings of the Great Plain and the Upper Tisza region, we hope to obtain new data on the nutrition of the ancient Hungarians, the route and direction of their movement.

Participants of the project: Erzsébet Fóthi (Institute of Archaeogenomics, Research Centre of Humanities ), Attila Demény, and Ariana Gugora (Institute for Geological and Geochemical Research). 
The Thematic Excellence Program is supported by the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (Commitment ID: ZH690024). The governing body is the National Research, Development, and Innovational Office (1121-1 / 2020).


ERC HistoGenes: European Research Council, Synergy Grant Integrating Genetic, Archaeological and Historical Perspectives on Eastern Central Europe, 400-900 AD 

Project code: HistoGenes 856453

The timeframe of the project: 2020-2026

The aim of the project “Integrating genetic, archaeological and historicalhistogenes perspectives on Eastern Central Europe, 400–900 AD (HistoGenes)” supported by one of the most prestigious research grants (Synergy Grant) of the European Research Council (ERC) is to gain a deeper understanding of the history of population in Eastern Central Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire, in the period of large-scale migrations and early medieval political and cultural changes. One of the principal investigators of this international project is Tivadar Vida, director of the Institute of Archaeological Studies at Eötvös Loránd University.

The IAG RCH is a beneficiary partner in the program, where the project is led by Balázs G. Mende and Anna Szécsényi-Nagy. Participants of the project: Balázs Gyuris, Viktória Bódis, Sára Gábriel, Daniella Pokker, Viktória Oravecz, Koppány Kerestély, Botond Heltai, Melinda Megyes, Yusuf Can Özdemir, Anikó Kecskés.

It is a significant success for Hungarian archaeology archaeogenetics anthropology, and history to launch and work in such an ambitious six-year programme within the framework of international collaboration, which obtained €10 million funding for the integrative research of the Late Antique and early medieval population of Eastern Central Europe, combining palaeogenetic, archaeological, anthropological, and historical approaches. Researchers at the Institute of Archaeological Studies, Eötvös Loránd University and the Institute of Archaeogenomics of the Research Centre for the Humanities, Eötvös Loránd Research Network play a vital role in this international programme implemented through cooperation among Austrian, German, American, and Hungarian scholars. Researchers at the Hungarian National Museum, the University of Szeged, and the Museum of Natural Sciences will also take part in the work in Hungary.hg logo

Webpage of the project:
home | HistoGenes


Árpád dynasty program: The anthropological and genetic composition of the Árpád Age Hungarian population (V.1 subproject)

Leader of the consortium: Dr. Zoltán Korsós (Hungarian Natural History Museum)
Duration of the project: 2018-2023
Collaborating institutions: Hungarian Natural History Museum, Institute of Archaeology RCH, University of Szeged

Objectives of the Institute of Archaeology RCH within the project: genetic investigation of the 7-13th century populations of the Carpathian Basin

ZalavárThe project intends to lay modern tools for a comprehensive anthropological and genetic examination of the population of the Árpád-era Carpathian Basin, including the sampling of 10-13 individuals living in the country of Árpád ages. We planning to analyze these samples with natural science methods and laboratory instruments of the currently known international level. The primary task is the complex osteoarcheological and comparative genetic examination (continuity and discontinuity) between samples spring from 8-13. centuries (avar age, conquest age, and Árpád era). This population has the historically highest importance in this field. Sampling is based on recommendations of anthropologists, archaeologists, historians and aimed at the widest genetic characterization of the groups, which may respond to archaeological-historical contexts. To this end, the project aims to achieve an anthropological database, domestic and international conferences and publications, the implementation of a Hungarian project closing book. Goals of the project in Institute of Archeogenomics: the Carpathian Basin in 7-13. century genetic examination of the populations.

Colleagues working on this project: Elek Benkő (IA RCH), Szabina Merva (IA RCH), Balázs G. Mende (IAG RCH), Anna Szécsényi-Nagy (IAG RCH), Bea Szeifert (IAG RCH, ELTE), Dániel Gerber (IAG RCH, ELTE)


Human population genetics of the present-day Carpathian basin

Carpathian BasinThe fundamental task of this research is collecting approximately 300 human DNA samples from three regions of the Carpathian basin, where Hungarian-speaking communities live relatively isolated (Drávaszög/Baranja in Hungary and Croatia, area of Odorheiu Secuiesc in Romania and Zobor region in Slovakia). Our primary goal is to detect in these datasets old locally preserved maternal and paternal genetic lineages. We will type maternal lineages by sequencing 300 complete mitochondrial genomes, which will be one of the largest projects of this kind in Europe, using state-of-the-art technology. Testing approx. 100 Y chromosomes, we would like to gain insights into the natural diversity of the paternal gene pool of the three regions.

Our next research topic is the study of traits related to genetic origin and heritage on the autosomes, using cost-efficient microarray technology. The obtained genotypes allow statistical determination of genetic similarities or differences between several modern or between modern and ancient populations.

The further research area is the analyses of ancient mitogenomes from 60 medieval graves excavated in the surrounding villages of Odorheiu Secuiesc. We would study, how the maternal gene pool of the local population transformed from the Middle Ages to the present day.
With all of this, we aim to get to know the genetic composition of the populations in the Carpathian basin in geographical and historical context, but we do not wish to define or justify the "Hungarians" on a genetic basis. Project number: FK 127938 (NKFIH)
Project leader: Anna Szécsényi-Nagy

Participants of the project: Balázs Egyed (ELTE), Horolma Pamjav (NSZKK), Balázs G. Mende (AIG RCH), István Máthé (Sapientia), Noémi Borbély (IAG, RCH), Robert Selan (IAG, RCH)

Partner institutes of the project: Genetic Department of the ELTE University, Laboratory of Reference Samples Analysis in the Department of Genetics of the Directorate of Forensic Expertise in the Hungarian Institute for Forensic Sciences (HIFS), Sapienta Hungarian University of Transylvania, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Haáz Rezső Museum

Publications of the project:
High Coverage Mitogenomes and Y-Chromosomal Typing Reveal Ancient Lineages in the Modern-Day Székely Population in Romania

Complex analyses of the Late Copper Age burials in the Carpathian Basin

vorsThe team of the NKFIH K-18/128413 research project is led by Mária Bondár (IA RCH HAS). The Carpathian Basin was often the core territory of major cultural complexes and it also acted as a mediating or transit region in prehistoric periods. The archaeological record thus preserves evidence of contacts with diverse regions, whose vestiges can be found in the grave inventories too. Only a small portion of the customs and rites associated with the mortuary domain can be identified using archaeological methods. When archaeologists uncover a grave, they find human remains in various states of preservation. They can document the location of the burial, the grave pit, and the artifacts, as well as the various dimensions of the burials (the choice of burial location, the imprints of rituals, artifacts articulating status and social prestige), all of which reveal much about the position of the individual in the community and his/her cultural and other contacts (ancestry, place of origin, trade, etc.) as well as about the community's beliefs and attitudes to death. The remains preserve the biological condition of the once-living person (inherited traits, environmental influences, health). The overall goal of the project is a complex assessment of the period's burials combining archaeological and archaeometric analyses, and the integration of the findings in order to identify the differences between individuals interred according to widely differing mortuary practices through an examination of the biological social, and cognitive dimensions of funerary customs. Moreover, the research project is also a useful exercise for determining to what extent the application of these analytical procedures can provide meaningful data about prehistoric communities that left no literary records.

Partner institute: HAS, Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences, Institute for Geological and Geochemical Research

Participants of the project: Zoltán Kern, János Jakucs, Anna Szécsényi-Nagy, Ariana Gugora, Kitti Köhler, Erika Gál, István Hegyi, Krisztián Oross, Attila Demény, Enikő Lajtár, Piroska Rácz, Dániel Gerber, Tibor Marton


What happened to the Avars?

With the aid of the Szilágyi Family Foundation, we launched this project in 2018.
We concentrate on the following research questions:
What is the difference in the genetic composition of the late Avar populations and the 10-11th century population of the North Transdanubian region?
Is the late Avar continuity demonstrable, and if yes, in what form?
If any, was there rather maternal or paternal genetic continuity in North Transdanubia?

Participants of this project: Bea Szeifert (IAG RCH, ELTE), Balázs G. Mende (IAG RCH), Péter Tomka, Szabina Merva (IAG RCH)