New paper (behind paywall) Ancient Rome: A genetic crossroads of Europe and the Mediterranean, by Antonio et al. Science (2019).
The paper offers a lot of interesting data concerning the Roman Empire and more recent periods, but I will focus on Italic and Etruscan origins.
NOTE. I have updated prehistoric maps with Y-DNA and mtDNA data, and also the PCA of ancient Eurasian samples by period including the recently published samples, now with added sample names to find them easily by searching the PDFs.
Apennine homeland problem
The traditional question of Italic vs. Etruscan origins from a cultural-historical … Read the rest “R1b-L23-rich Bell Beaker-derived Italic peoples from the West vs. Etruscans from the East”
Interesting recent developments:
Celts and hg. R1b
Recent paper (behind paywall) Multi-scale archaeogenetic study of two French Iron Age communities: From internal social- to broad-scale population dynamics, by Fischer et al. J Archaeol Sci (2019).
In it, Fischer and colleagues update their previous data for the Y-DNA of Gauls from the Urville-Nacqueville necropolis, Normandy (ca. 300-100 BC), with 8 samples of hg. R, at least 5 of them R1b. They also report new data from the Gallic cemetery at Gurgy ‘Les Noisats’, Southern Paris Basin (ca. 120-80 BC), with 19 samples of hg. R, at least 13 of … Read the rest “More Celts of hg. R1b, more Afanasievo ancestry, more maps”
Open access Population genomics of the Viking world, by Margaryan et al. bioRxiv (2019), with a huge new sampling from the Viking Age.
Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine, modified for clarity):
To understand the genetic structure and influence of the Viking expansion, we sequenced the genomes of 442 ancient humans from across Europe and Greenland ranging from the Bronze Age (c. 2400 BC) to the early Modern period (c. 1600 CE), with particular emphasis on the Viking Age. We find that the period preceding the Viking Age was accompanied by foreign gene flow into Scandinavia from the south and east:
… Read the rest “Vikings, Vikings, Vikings! “eastern” ancestry in the whole Baltic Iron Age”
New paper (behind paywall), The genomic history of the Iberian Peninsula over the past 8000 years, by Olalde et al. Science (2019).
NOTE. Access to article from Reich Lab: main paper and supplementary materials.
We assembled genome-wide data from 271 ancient Iberians, of whom 176 are from the largely unsampled period after 2000 BCE, thereby providing a high-resolution time transect of the Iberian Peninsula. We document high genetic substructure between northwestern and southeastern hunter-gatherers before the spread of farming. We reveal sporadic contacts between Iberia and North Africa by ~2500 BCE and, by ~2000 BCE, the replacement
… Read the rest “Iberia: East Bell Beakers spread Indo-European languages; Celts expanded later”
Open access Ancient genome-wide analyses infer kinship structure in an Early Medieval Alemannic graveyard, by O’Sullivan et al., Science (2018) 4(9):eaao1262
The Alemanni were a confederation of Germanic tribes that inhabited the eastern Upper Rhine basin and surrounding region (Fig. 1) (1). Roman ethnographers mentioned the Alemanni, but historical records from the 3rd to the 6th century CE contain no regular description of these tribes (2). The upheaval that occurred during the European Migration Period (Völkerwanderung) partly explains the interchangeability of nomenclature with the contemporaneous Suebi people of the same region and periods of geographic discontinuity
… Read the rest “Early Medieval Alemannic graveyard shows diverse cultural and genetic makeup”
New paper (behind paywall) Origins of equine dentistry, by Taylor et al. PNAS (2018).
Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):
The practice of horse dentistry by contemporary nomadic peoples in Mongolia, coupled with the centrality of horse transport to Mongolian life, both now and in antiquity, raises the possibility that dental care played an important role in the development of nomadic life and domestic horse use in the past. To investigate, we conducted a detailed archaeozoological study of horse remains from tombs and ritual horse inhumations across the Mongolian Steppe, assessing evidence for anthropogenic dental modifications and comparing our findings
… Read the rest “Origins of equine dentistry in Mongolia in the early first millennium BC”
Two papers have been recently published, offering another interesting use of ancient DNA analysis for Archaeology and, potentially, Linguistics.
Open access Ancient DNA reveals the chronology of walrus ivory trade from Norse Greenland, by Star, Barrett, Gondek, & Boessenkool, bioRxiv (2018).
Abstract (emphasis mine):
The search for walruses as a source of ivory -a popular material for making luxury art objects in medieval Europe- played a key role in the historic Scandinavian expansion throughout the Arctic region. Most notably, the colonization, peak and collapse of the medieval Norse colony of Greenland have all been attributed to the proto-globalization of
… Read the rest “Tracking material cultures with ancient DNA: medieval Norse walrus ivory trade, and leather shields from Zanzibar”