The ATLAS ambition

The ATLAS-project, funded by RJ and VR, was what really gave the ancient DNA work in Stockholm and Uppsala the possibility to leave ground and take off. We promised to screen 400 ancient individuals from Sweden, and deep-sequence 25 of them, and also do research based on them. It has been four years since we wrote the application, and a three since we started the project. And now it is time to close the first half, we are to deliver a scientific report to VR by the end of this month, and another to RJ by the end of next. So what have we accomplished so far?

It is easy to quantify the work, we have had a number of people working both in Uppsala and Stockholm on the project, and we have finished screening all the individuals we promised to screen and are well into deep-sequencing the 25 high-coverage individuals. We have gotten two papers accepted (both by Torun Zachrisson), have submitted yet one, and are preparing another three submissions in this very moment (one of them being the Sala Silvermine manuscript we wrote in Lofsdalen). And there are more to come after those. However, I like to think that our most important contribution to the field so far is that the gap between archaeogenetics and classic archaeology is now much smaller. There is a growing curiosity in archaeology for what we can do with population-genetics on ancient human remains, and also judging from how many visitors and applications we are getting for our positions these days, there seems to be a growing interest for prehistory among geneticists. And I like to think that our ATLAS-project has a big part in that.

The ATLAS, the people who are working within the project.