2009 | 54 | 1 | 121-147
Article title

SLAV ETHNOGENESIS: FROM MYTHS TO FACTS (Etnogeneza Slowian: od mitów ku faktom)

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The text addresses a critical analysis of J. Piontek's and R. Dabrowski's anthropological research on the ethnogenesis of the Slavs published by M. Dulinicz. The discussion would have been more interesting had Dulinicz confronted the determinations of physical anthropology with those of archaeology, Dulinicz's text is almost entirely devoted to a reinterpretation of results presented in the said anthropological studies, the author assuming that his 'own idea' of methods of investigating human biological variability will demonstrate the flaws of the presented approaches and support a 'proper' interpretation of the results of anthropological research. He failed to achieve this objective. Dulinicz acquainted himself with a number of works by J. Piontek and R. Dabrowski, developing in effect the conviction that he has understood in full the determinations of anthropologists in the field of interest to him. It is a wonder why certain archaeologists do not reach for studies referring to Slav ethnogenesis prepared within the framework of different natural science research programs. In Piontek and Dabrowski considerations, they concluded that no anthropological research to date has confirmed the theories of archaeologists about a discontinuity in the settlement of regions in the basins of the Oder and Vistula. This conclusion has not changed with the accretion of new source data. In fact, new analyses have increasingly supported the earlier findings. The anthropological research discussed by Dulinicz in his polemic concerned paleodemographic and morphological issues.In reference to these paleodemographic studies, Dulinicz rejected the arguments presented in J. Piontek's works as irrelevant, stating that they do not refute in any way whatsoever the theory about Slav origins popularized in Poland by a group of archaeologists. The backbone of the theory referred to nowadays as the 'allochthonous idea', has never been proved satisfactorily. Every hypothesis is grounded in a core statement, in this case a theory of demographic transformation. In the case of the allochthonous theory, the core statement admits the possibility of a sudden population growth among the Slavs. Unfortunately, no convincing data on the biological possibility of 'violent expansion' of the Slav population has appeared to date. With regard to morphological research, Dulinicz criticized solely the results of biological distance studies, subjecting the matrices of these distances to a new interpretation. Meanwhile, in the works in question, methods evaluating biological distance (Mahalanobis D2 distance and the Euclidean square distance) were applied in combination with multidimensional scaling of the matrices of biological distance and the principal component analysis (PCA), which seem to have escaped Dulinicz's attention entirely. Concluding, the author of the polemic used in his deliberations only a small part of the results presented by J. Piontek and R. Dabrowski.
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  • J. Piontek, Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza, Wydzial Biologii, Instytut Antropologii, ul. Umultowska 89, 61-614 Poznan, Poland
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