The 22nd of May 2018 was a day that collected most of the people interested in archaeogenetics in Lake Mälaren Valley. Magdalena Fraser defended her thesis “People of the dolmens and stone cists”, and Per Persson was the faculty opponent. Magdalena and Per are two researchers who are as in the middle between Genetics and Archaeology as one can be. And this is also what made the thesis and the defense so interesting. This is perhaps the first time, at least in Scandinavia, that we have seen a research product and an event where archaeology and genetics have been completely married together.
Both Magdalena and Per have their backgrounds in archaeology. As a matter of fact, Per was once my supervisor who trained me in the techniques of ancient DNA, actually in the previous millennium. But both have also made an effort to explore how genetics can be used to address archaeology. In her thesis Magdalena presents results from a number of Neolithic and Bronze Age individuals from the Baltic island Gotland, and also interpret the data within an archaeological framework. And during the opposition Per made his way through the thesis looking at both archaeology and technical aspects. It was an interesting day that produced a new Ph.D. in archaeology. And for those that are interested in archaeogenetics and northern European demographics, there is now an excellent piece of work in Magdalena’s thesis to explore.