The Afghan ‘Genizah’ and Eastern Persian Jewry
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About The Author

As a member of the Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology, I am at work on a large-scale genomic survey of Georgia (Caucasus), and am currently engaged in collecting human DNA samples from individuals in western Georgia (Samegrelo, Svaneti, Guria, Adjara, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Imereti), which we use for analysis of mtDNA, Y-chromosome, and autosomal variation. My primary interest in this work is to provide a clearer diachronic perspective on the population histories of this complex region, specifically the impact of Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic settlers in the region, as well as the interactions between Caucasus populations and those of Anatolia, Iran, and the Mediterranean region. To date, I have, in collaboration with colleagues from UPenn and Georgian universities, collected nearly 700 samples from the combined region of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti. We have published this data in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology (Yardumian et al. 2017) and in the Penn Museum's in-house magazine, Expedition (59:1, 2017).

                       

The Afghan ‘Genizah’ and Eastern Persian Jewry

Bamiyan, Afghanistan, is hardly the first place that comes to mind when one thinks of Jewish life in the Middle Ages.  If the world has heard of this town in the central Hazar-speaking region at all it is likely because of the Bamiyan Buddhas, which were dynamited by the Taliban in March 2001, on the grounds that they were un-Islamic.  At this time, many were surprised to learn that the territory of Afghanistan had once been a Buddhist kingdom during...

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The Deep History Of The Caucasus Is Beginning To Be Revealed Through Genetic Sequencing

Svaneti, a rugged highland region of northwestern Georgia, lies along one of the few ancient transit routes between the South and North Caucasus and thus links the worlds of the Middle East and the steppe of Eastern Europe. It is also home to speakers of a language not closely related to any other. Svan and Georgian, its southern neighbor, both belong to the Kartvelian family of languages, although one is not mutually intelligible with the other. Although Svans are mentioned...

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