Don´t intermingle with your neighbour!

While much of the focus in ancient DNA has been on continental-scale questions, it also has the potential of being a great tool when researching specific archaeological questions. This latest paper is an attempt to do just that. And here it is Magdalena Fraser who has been behind the steering-wheel with Jan Storå as the navigator in the seat beside her. The two of them spent most time on this paper with the rest of us helping out here and there. And this is a good example on when aDNAers get their hands dirty with some proper archaeology. The Baltic island Gotland was hunter-gatherer land during the middle Neolithic, with the Pitted Ware Complex exhibiting a number of Mesolithic life-style markers. And also with the genetics we are used to see in hunter-gatherers. But right in the middle of this area is a Neolithic-style megalith, a dolmen. Out of the some-30 individuals from that dolmen, nine yielded DNA and were confirmed as middle Neolithic with 14C. None of them carried a U haplotype, those that are so common in hunter-gatherers. The dolmen was active as a farmer burial site for several centuries while the island was dominated by hunter-gatherers. They must have seen each other, met, been very real to one another. But yet they did not interact to a degree so that Magdalena could detect it in nine mitochondrias from middle Neolithic farmers. Gotland is a great laboratory for studying the Neolithics, and there is much more to be done on this island.

 

The paper

 

Magdalena Fraser

MF