Back in 2018, a group of researchers from the Max-Planck Institute and from the University of Helsinki discovered the origins of the first Finnish people. The findings were based on their analysis of the ancient DNA collected from a water burial site in Finland that was over 1,500 years old, as well as from those gathered from a 3,500 year old burial site in the Kola Peninsula in Russia
Finland used to be a part of Sweden during the years 1150 to 1809, which is why most of the country’s historical records for those years were documented in Swedish. Nonetheless, the researchers were able to unravel the trail left behind by the ancient people from Siberia at the time when they set out on their nomadic travels toward Northwestern Russia and Finland.
The relevance of the evidence collected in the Kola Peninsula dated approximately 4,000 years revealed genetic links to the Siberian travelers who had spread their genetic genealogy with those already inhabiting Finland.
The researchers also found out that the genetic similarity between the ancient Siberians is present in the genetics of the modern Saami people living in the southern parts of Finland.
According to Stephan Schiffels, the co-senior author of the research, the first exploration of the ancient DNA in relation to Finland’s ancestral links was already fascinating . Yet further studies are necessary to better understand whether the patterns are a true representative of Finland’s ancestry .
Additionally, the Saami people represent the largest part of ancient Siberian ancestry out of all modern-day European inhabitants. Thiseas Lamnidis, the study’s co-first author, said the discoveries made by the Max Planck and Helsinki university researchers showed that there was a tight link between ancient Siberian and ancient Finnish populations.
Despite the huge distance between the locations of the two populations, the study proves they share the same languages, cultural behaviours, and survival strategies.
The possible explanation is that ancient Finnish used to live a nomadic life, constantly traveling and ending up in different populations.
The Modern Saami People in Finland
The inhabitants in Levänluhta, Finland are deemed as having the greatest resemblance to the modern-day Saami people of Siberia. In fact, based on a modern linguistic study, the name Levänluhta originated from Saami languages.
The modern Saami population are individuals speaking the Sami language and currently inhabiting the Lapland regions and places near the northern parts of Finland, Sweden and Norway. Previous studies of the Saami people’s origin indicated that they are part of the Paleo-Siberian people; other experts though claim that they came from central Europe.
These people are descendants of ancient people that had a nomadic lifestyle. Around AD 100, Saami communities were scattered and pushed to the northern parts of Finland, Sweden, and Norway at the time when Finnish people emerged in the country.