A Comparative Analysis of Chinese Historical Sources and y-dna Studies with Regard to the Early and Medieval Turkic Peoples

In: Inner Asia

Abstract

In the past 10 years, geneticists have investigated the genetic variation of modern Turkic populations as well as ancient dna of the Xiongnu and others. The accumulated findings of these surveys, however, have not been adequately noted by specialists in Inner Asian history. In order to fill this gap, we conducted a comparative analysis of textual information and genetic survey data on the early and medieval Turkic peoples. First, we examined the information on the origins, identity, and physiognomy of the early and medieval Turkic peoples contained in the Chinese Standard Histories (zhengshi 正史). We then discussed how the findings of genetic surveys complement the textual information. Both Chinese histories and modern dna studies indicate that the early and medieval Turkic peoples were made up of heterogeneous populations. The Turkicisation of central and western Eurasia was not the product of migrations involving a homogeneous entity, but that of language diffusion.

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