The Atlas Project

The Atlas of ancient human genomes in Sweden

The demographic history of Europeans has been a debated topic for centuries. Archaeology has established a chronological and geographical picture of the cultural and social development but the actual demographic development is still unknown. But with the revolution in high-throughput sequencing,ancient DNA becomes useful in detecting and dating demographic events in the history of populations. Evidence of migrations and other types of demographic events may indeed be preserved in ancient human bones and with a sufficient set of ancient human genomes, providing good representation of all chronological periods, our understanding of the demographic development would be very different. We will sample a large number of individuals excavated in present-day Sweden dating from the Mesolithic Stone Age to the late Iron Age/Early Medieval period. Out of these samples, some will be selected for deep-sequence analyses to a 10xcoverage. The program adopts a multidisciplinary approach by combining tools from Molecular and Population Genetics, Archaeology, Bioarchaeology, and Computational Biology in order to bridge the gap between Natural science and Humanities. The multidisciplinary approach is instrumental for selecting and investigating samples, and the execution of the specific research projects on demography during prehistory. The program is financed from The Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences and The Swedish Research Council. The following researchers are active within the ATLAS-program in Stockolm: Anders Götherström, Jan Storå, Torun Zachrisson, Anna Kjellström, Maja Krzewinska, and Natalya Kashuba. He program runs till 2021.