They uncover the mystery of the origin of the Avars, the people who dominated eastern and central Europe in the 6th and 7th centuries AD.

In the 560s AD, the Avars established an empire that lasted more than 200 years, centered in the Carpathian Basin. Despite numerous scholarly debates, their initial homeland and origin are unclear.

They are known mainly from the historical sources of their enemies, the Byzantines, who wondered about the origin of the fearsome Avar warriors after their sudden appearance in Europe.

Did they come from the Rouran Empire in the Mongolian steppe (which had just been destroyed by the Turks), or were the Turks to be believed, who were strongly contending for such a prestigious legacy?

Historians have wondered whether it was a well-organized migratory group or a mixed band of fugitives. Archaeological research has pointed to many parallels between the Carpathian Basin and Eurasian nomadic artifacts (weapons, vessels, horse harnesses), for example a gold pectoral in the shape of a lunula used as a symbol of power.

We also know that the Avars introduced the stirrup into Europe. However, so far we have not been able to trace its origin to the vast Eurasian steppes.

In this study, a multidisciplinary team – including researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, ELTE University and the Institute of Archaeogenomics in Budapest, Harvard Medical School in Boston, the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton – analyzed 66 individuals from the Carpathian Basin.

The study included the eight richest Avar tombs ever discovered, brimming with gold objects, as well as other individuals from the region prior to and during the Avar period. We addressed a question that has been a mystery for more than 1,400 years: who were the Avar elites, mysterious founders of an empire that nearly crushed Constantinople and for more than 200 years ruled the lands of present-day Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Austria, Croatia and Serbia,” explains Johannes Krause, lead author of the study.

The fastest long-distance migration in human history

The Avars left no written records about their history and these first genome data provide solid clues about their origins. Historical contextualization of the archaeogenetic results allowed us to narrow down the timing of the proposed Avar migration. They traveled more than 5,000 kilometers in a few years, from Mongolia to the Caucasus, and after ten more years settled in what is now Hungary. This is the fastest long-distance migration in human history that we can reconstruct so far, explains Choongwon Jeong, co-author of the study.

Guido Gnecchi-Ruscone, lead author of the study, adds: In addition to their clear affinity with Northeast Asia and their probable origin due to the fall of the Rouran Empire, we also see that the elites of the 7th century Avar period show 20 to 30 percent additional non-local ancestry, probably associated with the North Caucasus and the West Asian steppe, which could suggest further migration from the steppe after their arrival in the 6th century.

East Asian ancestry is found in individuals from several sites in the central settlement area between the Danube and Tisza rivers in present-day central Hungary. However, outside this main region we find great variability in the levels of admixture among individuals, especially at the Kölked site in southern Hungary. This suggests the existence of an Avar immigrant elite that ruled a diverse population with the help of a heterogeneous local elite.

These exciting results demonstrate the great potential of the unprecedented collaboration between geneticists, archaeologists, historians and anthropologists for the investigation of the migration period in the first millennium CE.

Ayuso again confronts Sanchez: will include Philosophy and the chronological study of History

In 2nd ESO will delve into topics such as the “Carolingian Empires, Byzantium, the Catholic Monarchs, the Austrians or the Jewish people”.

The Government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso is once again facing the Government of Pedro Sánchez. In a statement sent by the Ministry of Education this Thursday afternoon it is reported that the Community of Madrid will include the subject of Philosophy in 4th of ESO after it has been deleted by the department headed by Pilar Alegria, this elimination approved Tuesday by the Council of Ministers and published today in the BOE.

In this way, the Madrid Executive intends to “correct” the suppression of a subject that it considers essential for the “development of students”. Thus, it will be included among the optional subjects to be taught, specifically, in the 4th year of ESO.

The Minister of Education, on the other hand, after the commotion caused by the elimination of Philosophy, has come out to affirm that the contents of this subject are mandatory in the stage of Compulsory Secondary Education in the subject of Ethical and Civic Values, a subject that until now was an elective in the 4th year of ESO. In addition, he adds that “in Bachillerato, whose curriculum will be approved next week, Philosophy will be recovered as a compulsory subject. Philosophy will be taught in the first year and History of Philosophy in the second year. Now the contents of Philosophy will have more hours than at present,” he stresses.

The truth is that although the PSOE tries to defend this position, even its government partner has criticized this decision, thus adding it to the list of discrepancies it maintains with Pedro Sánchez’s party. The deputy Javier Sánchez Serna (Unidas Podemos) pointed out on Twitter: “We have tried actively and passively that the PSOE fulfilled the commitment to guarantee the presence of Philosophy in the study plans. We got it for Bachillerato, but finally they eliminate Philosophy from ESO, ignoring UP’s requests. They are wrong.

And he added, criticizing the Minister’s statements: “The PSOE pretends to deny what is a fact: that Philosophy does not have its own subject in ESO. In the LOE, Ethics was compulsory in the 4th grade of ESO. In the Lomloe, it was optional. Now it disappears. Civic Values is not going to be a subject linked to the departments of Philosophy”.

Chronological study of history

But this is not the only issue that Ayuso’s government is trying to reverse. The Community of Madrid will also develop the distribution of the contents of each subject by courses, “since the Government has not distributed them, and in the specific case of Geography and History, the chronological study of History and physical and political maps will be maintained.”

For example, in the curriculum designed for 2nd ESO, topics such as the Carolingian Empires, Byzantium, and Islam, feudalism, Al-Andalus, the Catholic Monarchs, the geographical discoveries, the Habsburgs or the origin and characteristics of the Jewish people will be studied in depth, according to Enrique Ossorio’s ministry.

As for foreign languages, the specific contents that students must study in each course of ESO (grammatical structures, vocabulary, linguistic resources, etc.) will be specified for each language.

Puerta del Sol denounces that the entry into force of the ministerial decree, “five months before the beginning of the course in which it should be implemented, and the lack of haste on the part of the Government of Spain to establish the organization and the minimum teachings, force the Community of Madrid to process it as a matter of urgency”.

Thus, it is expected that, “given the need to request the necessary reports, such as that of the General Counsel, before it is taken to the Governing Council for approval, the regional curriculum can not be ratified before the end of June”.