The studied genetic samples were taken from human bones found in the tombs of the Kola Peninsula 3,500 years ago and in the Levanlucht region in southern Finland. This is one of the oldest known graves in the country. All samples found contained identical Siberian genes.
The results of a study published in the journal Nature Communications suggest that the customs, languages, and culture of the ancient inhabitants of Siberia and the communities that inhabited Finland in the Bronze and Iron Ages were in active contact with each other, despite the distance. A part of the population probably traveled a lot, traded and moved from one settlement to another depending on the time of year.
“Of all the ancient representatives of Europe, modern Saami are closest to the Siberian genome. The name of this people with the largest Siberian genetic component is associated with the Nganasan people living in Northern Siberia, ”says Päivi Onkamo, project manager for SUGRIGE at the universities of Helsinki and Turku.
The project depicts the entire genome obtained from the remains of 11 people: on the Kola Peninsula, scientists managed to get the bones of six people, which are 3500 years old, the remains of two were found elsewhere in the XVIII and XIX centuries, and finally the bones of three people discovered in an area called Levänluhta, in Southern Ostrobothnia, their age is 1,500 years, and scientists explain the good condition of the remains by the fact that a lake was formed in that time.
“The population that is genetically more similar to the modern Sámi than the Finns once inhabited Finland much more to the south than the place where the modern Sámi settlements are located,” the researchers add.
The Sami are the Finno-Ugric people, who now live mainly on the territory of modern Norway, Russia, Finland. The inhabitants of Scandinavia called them lappar or lapper, and the Russians called “lapps” or “shovels”: this is where the name “Lapland” comes from. Modern Saami have their own national attributes – the flag and anthem, there are also Saami parliaments representing their rights.