EAA2021: Abstract

Abstract is part of session #511:

Title & Content

Insights into admixture history and social practices in the prehistoric Aegean from ancient DNA
European genetic history went through major transformations during the Neolithic and Bronze Age. Despite the significance of the Aegean for European prehistory, preservation challenges have hindered a comprehensive understanding of human mobility and population dynamics in this region through time. In this paper, we present insights from ancient DNA (genome-wide) analyses on Early Neolithic and Bronze Age individuals from Mainland Greece, Crete and the Aegean islands. Our results indicate multi-phased genetic shifts in the Aegean populations since the early Neolithic that can be traced to populations related to Anatolia and then, during the Late Bronze Age, to Central-Eastern Europe. Besides the long-lasting biological connections with these adjacent regions, we also found that Bronze Age Aegeans exhibited endogamy in high frequencies so far unobserved in the rest of the ancient West Eurasia. These close-kin marital practices, likely equivalent to first-cousins unions, were substantially higher in Crete and other Aegean islands than in Mainland Greece. Our study highlights the potential of novel biomolecular methods to unravel the interplay of genetic admixture and cultural entanglements in the Aegean and beyond.
ancient DNA, Aegean prehistory, marital practices, human mobility


Main authors:
Eirini Skourtanioti1
Guido Alberto Gnecchi Ruscone1
Harald Ringbauer1,2
Johannes Krause1
Choongwon Jeong3
Philipp W. Stockhammer1,4
1 Department of Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
2 Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School
3 School of Biological Sciences, Seoul National University
4 Institute for Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology and Archaeology of the Roman Provinces, Ludwig Maximilian University