The Patterns of Historical Population Movements in Europe and Some of Their Genetic Consequences

Robert R. Sokal, Neal L. Oden, Michael S. Rosenberg, Donna Digiovanni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Population movements of 891 ethnic units in Europe over the past 4,200 years, and the correlations of these movements with modern genetic distances were investigated on a one-degree-square grid of the continent. There is significant spatial pattern in movements from sources, to targets, and overall. Patterns change significantly over time. Patterns of sources and targets differ significantly. Modern movements are more numerous than ancient movements. Movements on the periphery of Europe are few in number and are concentrated in direction, while Central European movements are numerous and unconcentrated in direction. Modern genetic distance is negatively correlated with the amount of population exchange between localities. Regional genetic variance is positively correlated with number of movements into, but not out of, areas. The findings are interpreted in the context of European ethnohistory and population biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-404
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Genetics


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