search
Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

archaeology
subscribe
Special Introductory Offer!

Genomes Offer Clues to Population History of Iberia

Friday, March 15, 2019

Spain ancient genomesCAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS—BBC News reports that a new genetic study conducted by an international team of scientists led by researchers from Harvard Medical School and Barcelona’s Institute of Evolutionary Biology analyzed the genomes of 403 people who were buried on the Iberian Peninsula between 6000 B.C. and A.D. 1600, nearly 1,000 people who lived elsewhere in antiquity, and some 2,900 living people. One of the study’s conclusions suggests that hunter-gatherers in the region were a mix of people from Iberia, North Africa, and the Mediterranean. In the Bronze Age, migrants from central Europe replaced male lineages in Spain over a span of about 400 years, but no clear evidence of a burst of violence in this period has been found in the archaeological record, according to Iñigo Olalde of Harvard Medical School. The migrants, who were members of the Bell Beaker culture, had ancestors who had been farmers throughout Europe and nomadic herders from Asia and eastern Europe. They probably carried bronze weapons and may have traveled on horseback. These innovations may have given them greater status and reproductive success when they arrived in Spain, Olalde explained. “Their male descendants would have inherited the wealth and social status, and themselves also had much higher reproductive success,” he said. For more on archaeology in Spain, go to “The Red Lady of El Mirón.”

Advertisement

Advertisement


Advertisement