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Nature. 2017 Aug 10;548(7666):214-218. doi: 10.1038/nature23310. Epub 2017 Aug 2.

Genetic origins of the Minoans and Mycenaeans.

Author information

1
Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
2
Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA.
3
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, 07745 Jena, Germany.
4
Institute for Archaeological Sciences, University of Tübingen, 72074 Tübingen, Germany.
5
Radcliffe Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.
6
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
7
Integrative Transcriptomics, Centre for Bioinformatics, University of Tübingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.
8
23rd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, 71202 Herakleion, Crete.
9
British School at Athens, 106 76 Athens, Greece.
10
26th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, Greek Ministry of Culture, 13536 Piraeus, Greece.
11
Department of Archaeology, University of Athens, 17584 Athens, Greece.
12
The Holley Martlew Archaeological Foundation, The Hellenic Archaeological Foundation, Tivoli House, Tivoli Road, Cheltenham GL50 2TD, UK.
13
University of Crete Medical School, 711 13 Herakleion, Crete, Greece.
14
Erenköy, Bayar caddesi, Eser Apt. Number 7, Daire 24, Kadıköy, Istanbul, Turkey.
15
Ephorate of Paleoantropology and Speleology, Greek Ministry of Culture, 11636 Athens, Greece.
16
Department of Archaeology, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6, Canada.
17
Hellenic Archaeological Service, Samara, 27, Paleo Psychico, 15452 Athens, Greece.
18
Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HG, UK.
19
School of Archaeology and Earth Institute, Belfield, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland.
20
CIAS, Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, Coimbra 3000-456, Portugal.
21
Division of Mathematics, Science, and Engineering, Hartnell College, 411 Central Avenue, Salinas, California 93901, USA.
22
Division of Medical Genetics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.
23
Laboratory of Archaeometry, National Center for Scientific Research 'Demokritos', Aghia Paraskevi 153 10, Attiki, Greece.
24
Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.
25
Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.
26
Altius Institute for Biomedical Sciences, Seattle, Washington 98121, USA.
27
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Institut für Vor- und Frühgeschichtliche Archäologie und Provinzialrömische Archäologie, 80799 München, Germany.
28
Department of Anthropology, University of Vienna, Althanstraße 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

Abstract

The origins of the Bronze Age Minoan and Mycenaean cultures have puzzled archaeologists for more than a century. We have assembled genome-wide data from 19 ancient individuals, including Minoans from Crete, Mycenaeans from mainland Greece, and their eastern neighbours from southwestern Anatolia. Here we show that Minoans and Mycenaeans were genetically similar, having at least three-quarters of their ancestry from the first Neolithic farmers of western Anatolia and the Aegean, and most of the remainder from ancient populations related to those of the Caucasus and Iran. However, the Mycenaeans differed from Minoans in deriving additional ancestry from an ultimate source related to the hunter-gatherers of eastern Europe and Siberia, introduced via a proximal source related to the inhabitants of either the Eurasian steppe or Armenia. Modern Greeks resemble the Mycenaeans, but with some additional dilution of the Early Neolithic ancestry. Our results support the idea of continuity but not isolation in the history of populations of the Aegean, before and after the time of its earliest civilizations.

PMID:
28783727
PMCID:
PMC5565772
DOI:
10.1038/nature23310
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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