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Study Explores the Puzzle of Ancient Look-Alike Ceramics across the World

A team of researchers at The Academy of DNA Genealogy (USA),1 undertook a study of the intriguing connection evident between four ancient cultures spread across the world, based on ceramic artifacts bearing nearly identical motifs.2 Remarkably, these motifs largely included symbols of the ancient Religion of the Sun.

china sun cross

Pottery from China featuring solar crosses, c. 2400 BC to 2000 BC. Photo by By BabelStone [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Anatole A. Klyosov,3 and Elena A. Mironova, the researchers in this study, published their findings in 2013 in a paper titled “A DNA Genealogy Solution to the Puzzle of Ancient Look-Alike Ceramics across the World.” 4

The ceramics examined in this study were from:

  • The Yangshao culture in China (Yellow River basin), c. 8000 – 4000 years before present.
  • The Ban-Chiang culture in Thailand (near Laos border), c. 7400 – 3800 ybp.
  • The Anasazi-Mogollon culture in North America (modern day parts of Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado), c. 7500 – present.
  • The Trypillian or Cucuteni-Trypillian culture in Europe (parts of present day Ukraine, Moldova, and Romania), c. 6500 – 5500 ybp.

Map created with public domain image found here.

These four ancient agricultural cultures left behind an abundance of ornately-decorated ceramics. When compared, in total the study identified distinct similarities in 45% of the ceramics examined (mostly by way of common symbols and patterns), indicating a strong connection.5

The researchers concluded that it is unlikely that these similarities are mere coincidence, and they believe there is an ancient common connection between these four cultures. They proposed that:

“A possible explanation is that an ancient culture initiated certain ceramic designs and patterns, and that cultures in Eastern Europe, China, Thailand, America are “derivative” or “descended” from the designs of that ancient culture. This connection could be the result of physical migrations, or demic diffusion.”6

Interestingly, the study also postulates a likely DNA connection between these four cultures, with the hypothesis that all four are connected to the Indo-European migrations that took place between 5500 and 3000 ybp via the presence of R1a DNA throughout Eurasia. And while there isn’t an officially confirmed link between R1a migrations and the Americas yet, according to the study the consideration of R1a haplotypes in the pre-Columbian Americas doesn’t conflict with this hypothesis.7

Trypillian-Cucuteni Sun Cross

Cucuteni-Trypillian pottery c. 5200 to 3500 BC with a solar cross symbol. Photo by Bogdan29roman [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Cropped.

While the mainstream historical narrative largely dismisses evidence of ancient cross-oceanic migration, finding artifacts bearing the same symbols and nearly identical artistic expressions on continents separated by vast distances and oceans is just another piece in the puzzle pointing to the contrary.

Many of the ceramics from these four cultures include symbols such as spirals, double spirals, triskeles, swastikas, solar crosses, and depictions of “the Great Goddess.”8 These symbols, which encapsulate various universal and spiritual principles, were widely used and diffused throughout the world by the lost civilization of the sun.

the full study can be read here

  1. More information about the academy can be found here via Google Translate. 

  2. Klyosov, Anatole A., and Elena A. Mironova. “A DNA Genealogy Solution to the Puzzle of Ancient Look-Alike Ceramics across the World.” Advances in Anthropology. July 12, 2013. Accessed September 13, 2017.

  3. Anatole Klyosov’s Web Page. Accessed September 13, 2017.

  4. The full study can be read here

  5. Klyosov, Anatole A., and Elena A. Mironova. “A DNA Genealogy Solution to the Puzzle of Ancient Look-Alike Ceramics across the World.” 

  6. Ibid. 

  7. Ibid. 

  8. Ibid. 

About the author

Jenny Belikov

Jenny Belikov is a researcher and practitioner of the ancient religion of the sun and the Managing Editor for The Spiritual Sun, where she also researches and writes about ancient sacred sites; spiritual texts and practices; the latest discoveries in archeology, archeoastronomy, and related sciences; as well as the exploration of various facets of the lost civilization of the sun.


  • Wow, what a fascinating study. It’s really great that these researchers had the insight to connect these four geographically separated cultures through observations of similarities in the symbols on their pottery, and then go even further with backing up the hypothesis with the available DNA data. The photos published in this study are quite compelling. When you see for yourself just how common the shared motifs are it clearly does not seem like they all accidentally came up with the same symbolism!

    It would be really amazing if someone could test any ancient skeletal material in North America near where those shared symbols were found for that common haplogroup in order to shed more light on the potential genetic connections of the North American portion of the migration. Just seems like digging into this part of the puzzle would be especially marginalized by those who wish to uphold the current official history of North America, so not sure how likely it is for that to happen.

    • I think some DNA sampling in the Americas would definitely complete the picture a lot more here… Would be a difficult thing to arrange though, I imagine, given the non-mainstream angle of such a study. Would require a lot of open mindedness, that’s for sure.

  • It’s hard to ignore the similarities in these artistic elements across the globe!

    I see in their study they are linking the R1a haplogroup to the swastika. I find DNA studies intriguing – while very much a relatively new field I expect many more discoveries to come forth in the near future.

    • Yes, isn’t it interesting? That’s the first I’ve heard of that link. It’s interesting to see the map in the study of just how widely this symbol was used across the world.

  • It just really hit me today, thinking of this blog post and reading some archaeological books on the Minoans, how incredibly widespread some of these symbols are.

    I mean is nicely compiling some of these symbols, which is great.

    But the similarities and connections of these symbols that exist between cultures and time periods are so numerous that surely someone in the recent past (i.e. last 100 years) must’ve already thought to carry out a grand comparative study of these most prominent symbols? I mean the DNA page is very nice to see, but I’m thinking more ‘life’s work’ of a good scholar or and a full publication about it sort of thing. Must be out there, does anyone know of such a work?

    But maybe there’s not (or only comparing a limited number of cultures.) As the spiritually connecting knowledge of the Religion of the Sun and the viewpoint that comes from it is quite specific and unique. And explains how it is possible for these connections of ancient cultures to be possible. So someone might need that to properly consider comparing all these different cultures all over the globe.

    For example today I saw some nearly identical Minoan symbols to some “Celtic” ones, and also to ones used later by the Picts in Scotland. I also saw Minoan clothing pins basically identical to some “Celtic” ones and the same were also used by Vikings. Also the Minoan connection to Egypt (whose contact is well known of course), but the links to Sumeria are also very obvious.

    Once you look into it the abundance of connections really just becomes overwhelming.

    • I’m surprised not to have come across anything comprehensive like this as well. I’ve seen researchers work with piecing together symbols in Europe / Eurasia like this, but nothing global. I feel like the internet is making such research and connections easier to make. Many modern researchers are noticing the similarities. But yes, the angle of exploration seems important for understanding the origin and purpose of these common symbols. Hopefully the puzzle can get more and more filled in with more awareness of these similarities.

  • Very nice study, and somehow not surprising that it has been done by Russians. 🙂

    What caught my attention in the study was the Triskelle/Triglav symbol. I found the fact that it seems to be sometimes called Triglav quite interesting, especially as I now live in Triglav National Park in Slovenia, which has Mt. Triglav as their highest and most famous peak, and which supposedly used to be sacred in the ancient times. So it seems like the word ‘triglav’ was probably quite meaningful in the past, literally meaning ‘three heads’ in Slovene.

    • Same meaning in Russian too 🙂

      I was actually surprised by the triskelle — I always thought it was a Celtic/Viking symbol somehow.

  • Most images look too similar to pass unnoticed. Especially the swastika and the “Great Goddess” which are very specific symbols and their similarity can’t be random. I can’t imagine two cultures that seemingly have no connections whatsoever with each other coming up with these elaborate resemblances.

    The fact that these symbols are related to the ancient religion of the sun makes it intriguing. It is really amazing how widespread it was.

    • I thought the “Great Goddess” was probably the most interesting one — it’s so specific and detailed it’s difficult to dismiss as coincidence.

  • The motifs painted and carved into these various forms of pottery are stunning. I find myself drawn to this ancient art form for both its practicality and beauty.

    It’s amazing to think that this is yet another component that ties ancient people workdwide together by a common thread of a shared spiritual knowledge and culture. I can’t help but notice that some of the artifacts depicted in the study look remarkably similar to the ones I recently saw at the National Museum of Archaeology in Malta, especially the numerous well-rounded mother goddess figures/figurines found in many different Maltese temple complexes:–goddess-art-the-goddess.jpg

    and the Tausen-like pottery uncovered from the Tarxien temple complex:

    I wonder if perhaps they were passed down from one of the four cultures mentioned in this study or if they were possibly part of the same culture (according to current archaeological evidence the oldest prehistoric phase in Malta dates back to 5000 – 4300 BC)?

    • Hi Patricia,

      Yeah, I’ve seen the Tausen symbol used a lot in Neolithic / Bronze Age Mediterranean cultures. Seems it was very prolific.

      With the goddess figurines, the ones you mentioned came to mind as well, and also the corded ware culture and the dogu figurines of Japan. Seems like it was something common in that time period. I like the more delicate detailing on some of these figurines from the Trypillian culture (like the replicas in the bottom of this photo, for example).

  • Another piece to the puzzle!

    I had a look at the study and some of those pictures of the pieces are pretty much identical to each other. It’s great to see more hard evidence of the lost civilization of the sun like this.

    • Agreed. Some just look so incredibly similar!

      In my opinion it really goes well beyond coincidence that both those cultures arrived at that exact art/patterns/symbolism. I mean it’s possible to find these universal patterns in nature and supernatural investigation and two different cultures could start to make use of them without being in touch. However some of these, and others I’ve seen, are just so precisely similar that it seems to clearly indicate contact between cultures.

      Really nice selection of symbols they chose to investigate btw. Just my kind of symbols! What I’ve noticed is that if you take one of these ancient cultures that used these symbols (such as the swastika), within that one culture they appear not only occasionally (as I would’ve thought), but often they appear very prolifically and prominently.

  • Excellent, great to learn about this study where researchers are willing to examine cross-continental cultural connections that fall outside the established historical narrative. It seems pretty clear these cultures are connected: not only are the same symbols used, but the designs and artistic expression on the pottery is strikingly similar too.

    Nevertheless, I would expect many mainstream archeologists would be unwilling to entertain the possibilities of a connection despite the evidence, just because it doesn’t fit preconceived ideas about ancient history.

    Mr Klyosov seems to be a highly qualified credible scientist and researcher. Perhaps Russian scientists and researchers are a bit more open minded than their Western counterparts. I would imagine being a Russian-born person who has worked in the USA, Anatole A. Klyosov would have been astounded to see similarities between an ancient eastern European Slavic culture and the pre-colombian Anasazi culture of North America. Good to see the The Academy of DNA Genealogy takes an open-minded approach.

    • As a Russian living in North America, I’m totally surprised too, to be honest ????. I knew ancient travels and migrations happened, but I’ve never heard of the connection between Eurasian and American pottery until I started digging into Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures. To me it’s really interesting that so many symbols I thought were from such and such a culture turn out to have been previously in use in China… and Thailand, etc.

      On that note, I’ve recently been looking into traditional clothing a lot and found that surprisingly many of the clothes in Thailand have symbols of the sun on them. I wasn’t sure what the connection is, but it seemed pretty clear — tons of spirals, double spirals, lozenges, sun symbols, etc. This study is the first time I’ve really paused to consider the Ban-Chiang culture. I’ve seen their pottery before as well, which also has many symbols of the sun. I imagine that culture is probably an inspiration for the use of those symbols today.

  • Intriguing that those researchers would think to do a cross-cultural comparative study in that way, and even more interesting that they would conclude that all the cultures are descendants of a common ancestor. It is amazing how the symbols of the religion of the sun became part of the “cultural DNA” of these different groups and are found literally right across the world

    I’m no pottery expert, but for some reason the picture of those bowls immediately reminded me of this bowl found at the ancient Mesopotamian city of Samarra and dated to around 4,000 BC:

    Incidentally, I find it interesting to consider how pottery is such a big part of archaeology, to the extent that different cultural layers are often distinguished by evolutions in the style of ceramics they made.

    Pottery seems much less common these days (since plastic/metal/glass containers are so ubiquitous) but I suppose the importance of pottery was much greater in the past – for serving containers, drinking vessels, storage containers, etc.. Also because it is relatively easy to produce out of a plentiful natural resource and then becomes very durable, it also makes sense that it is so commonly found.

    I visited an archaeological dig at Cahokia in southern Illinois recently, and it was interesting to see how these mounds are filled with hundreds of shards of broken pottery (among other things). It really hit home for me when I saw these pieces just coming out of the ground just how common it was.

    • Interesting insight Justin. How pottery was a bigger part of people’s everyday life then than it is now, which is something a modern person (me) wouldn’t think about much.

      Reminds me of how in the new testament for example where, even though a lot of it is a universal teaching, when it filters down it is still often expressed in the culture according to its time. The lamb, sheep, shepherds, the vine, wine, dates, vinegar etc. Or for example ancient Pagan traditions using trees, rivers, the sky, animals etc. to describe things. Or even with Gilgamesh and Enkidu and how they go on a mission to cut down great cedars, which to me seemed quite random when first reading it, but when hearing about the cultural context it made sense. So then symbolic references to things in their everyday life might seem even more elusive to us now, when not knowing the cultural context.

      Went a bit off track with that point 🙂 But the main point is that everyday life for people was different in the past, and as a modern person that might slip being considered. Some objects for example that we would consider ‘rubbish’ nowadays, such as those found in votive hoards, were actually extremely valuable objects at the time.

      • I know what you mean, Karim 🙂 Pottery isn’t exactly so important in our culture, especially since most things are machine-made, plastic, etc. And the designs tend to be more focused on popular themes, or abstract stuff. The use of spiritual symbols is not so prevalent.

        One thing I saw in passing (while looking at the Trypillian culture) as well while looking into pottery is that apparently it is believed there’s a link between cultures that have beautiful pottery with lots of symbolic imagery and textiles. It is believed that the clothing and tapestry these cultures produced would have been equally ornate, elaborate, and filled with lots of beautiful symbols. The trouble is textiles rarely survive time and typically fully disintegrate, while pottery keeps its shape for many thousands of years. I’ve seen some artists’ visualizations of clothing based on pottery, and I can see how it could have actually been quite beautiful. Makes sense to me that if these people put so much meaning into the pottery they created, that the same would have happened with their clothing, furnishings, tools, etc.

    • Yes, Justin, I noticed the similarity with that bowl as well — in particular with one of the bowls with a swastika shown in the study paper. I’ve recently been sifting through tons of Neolithic and Bronze Age pottery and have seen many of these symbols, especially what they call the “Tausen” symbol in this study throughout so many cultures that you might as well call them “global.” Just looking at the map of the swastika symbol they included in the study alone is incredible — looks like a big band tying the earth together 🙂

      I’m not sure why the study focused only on these four cultures specifically — perhaps the number of similar instances is higher between them? Or perhaps they are spread apart quite widely and provided enough of a sample to make a case? Or maybe contained some unique symbols exclusive to them? For example, while one could argue (weakly!) that the Tausen symbol is just a coincidence or “a natural pattern” to draw, the depiction of “the Great Goddess” are so particular in all these cultures, it’s hard to dismiss.

      One thing I noticed as well, even before reading this study, was that while looking at the Trypillian culture pottery in Europe I spotted so many symbols which I always associated with other cultures. For example the triskele (which I always thought was Celtic), the swirly swastikas they use (which until this year I thought were from America), etc. I’m not saying they came from the Trypillian culture (and the Trypillian culture came later than for example the other cultures considered in this study) but nonetheless it just dawned on me how incredibly wide-spread the use of these symbols was in the ancient world, and that these symbols are not specifically “Celtic” or “Slavic” or whatnot (although of course each culture has their own expressions of these symbols), but stem from something much more ancient and clearly have a common origin.

      • That’s a really interesting point Jenny, about how certain symbols have become associated with certain cultures but have actually been found in many other ones across the world, just in their own style/expression.

        When I was researching Chaco Canyon, I was looking at some of the pottery styles, rock art and statues/figurines that were found in the Americas, and I often thought, “This really reminds me of something I’ve seen in a totally different part of the world!”

        Then, just out of curiosity I would check to see if there were any and sure enough I would often find incredible similarities (or downright identical depictions) of the same symbols/figures/designs etc.

        So I second you on that feeling of amazement seeing how widespread these symbols were!

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