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Science. 2019 Nov 8;366(6466):731-734. doi: 10.1126/science.aax6219. Epub 2019 Oct 10.

Kinship-based social inequality in Bronze Age Europe.

Author information

1
Department of Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, 07745 Jena, Germany. alissa_mittnik@hms.harvard.edu philipp.stockhammer@lmu.de krause@shh.mpg.de.
2
Institute for Archaeological Sciences, Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, 72070 Tübingen, Germany.
3
Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
4
Institute for Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology and Archaeology of the Roman Provinces, Ludwig-Maximilian University Munich, 80799 Munich, Germany.
5
Curt Engelhorn Center for Archaeometry gGmbH, 68159 Mannheim, Germany.
6
Heidelberg Academy of Sciences, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany.
7
Department of Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, 07745 Jena, Germany.
8
AnthroArch GbR, 82284 Grafrath, Germany.
9
Museumsverein Bad Mergentheim eV, 97980 Bad Mergentheim, Germany.
10
State Collection for Anthropology and Palaeoanatomy, Bavarian Natural History Collections, 80333 Munich, Germany.
11
Private address, 86672 Thierhaupten, Germany.
12
Generaldirektion Kulturelles Erbe Rheinland-Pfalz, Direktion Landesarchäologie-Außenstelle Trier, 54290 Trier, Germany.
13
Private address, 81247 Munich, Germany.
14
State Office for Cultural Heritage Management Badem-Württemberg, 73728 Esslingen, Germany.
15
State Office for Cultural Heritage Management Baden-Württemberg, 78467 Konstanz, Germany.

Abstract

Revealing and understanding the mechanisms behind social inequality in prehistoric societies is a major challenge. By combining genome-wide data, isotopic evidence, and anthropological and archaeological data, we have gone beyond the dominating supraregional approaches in archaeogenetics to shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age. We applied a deep microregional approach and analyzed genome-wide data of 104 human individuals deriving from farmstead-related cemeteries from the Late Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age in southern Germany. Our results reveal individual households, lasting several generations, that consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals; a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy; and the stability of this system over 700 years.

PMID:
31601705
DOI:
10.1126/science.aax6219

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