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Thread: Finding Mycenaeans in Minoan Crete? Isotope And DNA analysis of human mobility in Bro

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    Finding Mycenaeans in Minoan Crete? Isotope And DNA analysis of human mobility in Bro

    Finding Mycenaeans in Minoan Crete? Isotope And DNA analysis of human mobility in Bronze Age Crete

    Michael Richards, Colin Smith, Olaf Nehlich, Vaughan Grimes, Darlene Weston, Alissa Mittnik, Johannes Krause, Keith Dobney, Yannis Tzedakis, Holley Martlew

    Plos One
    Published: August 10, 2022

    https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0272144

    Abstract

    We undertook a large-scale study of Neolithic and Bronze Age human mobility on Crete using biomolecular methods (isotope analysis, DNA), with a particular focus on sites dating to the Late Bronze Age (‘Late Minoan’) period. We measured the strontium and sulphur isotope values of animal remains from archaeological sites around the island of Crete to determine the local baseline values. We then measured the strontium and sulphur values of humans from Late Neolithic and Bronze Age sites. Our results indicate that most of the humans have sulphur and strontium isotope values consistent with being local to Crete, showing no evidence for a wide-scale movement of people from the Greek mainland or other areas away from Crete in these time periods. However, we found four individuals from the late Bronze Age (Late Minoan III) cemetery of Armenoi with sulphur isotope values not typically found in Crete and are instead consistent with an origin elsewhere. This cemetery at Armenoi also has one of only a few examples of the newly adopted Mycenaean Linear B script on Crete found outside of the palace sites, pointing to an influence (trade and possible migration) from the mainland, which may then be the place of origin of these four individuals. DNA (mtDNA) studies of eight Late Bronze Age individuals from Armenoi have results consistent with people living in Aegean region at this time and cannot be used to distinguish between individuals from Crete (‘Minoans’) and the Greek mainland [‘Mycenaeans’]).

    Conclusions

    The archaeology of Neolithic and Bronze Age Crete is among the longest and most studied regions and time periods in the world. This is particularly the case for the Late Bronze Age-Late Minoan periods. The end of the Bronze Age and the associated first appearance of Mycenaean material culture and architectural styles on Crete is particularly intriguing. Here we sought to add to the body of evidence for human mobility in these important time periods using biomolecular isotope and DNA methods. Our results point to a largely insular Neolithic and Bronze Age Crete, with little evidence of the movement of people to the island. We did find the exciting possibility of identifying newcomers to Crete at the end of the Minoan period, perhaps from mainland Mycenean Greece, at the LMIII necropolis/cemetery site of Armenoi, a site which also has evidence of Mycenaean Linear B script on a pottery vessel from this site at this time. Of course, this could have been an adoption of the written language and material culture from the mainland, or part of a trade network with Mycenaeans, rather than a movement of people. However, if our isotope evidence does indeed show that there were some individuals buried at Armenoi at this transition period at the end of the Minoan era that did not originate from Crete, we may then have evidence that this new writing style was brought to Crete by people moving from mainland Mycenaean Greece who were then buried at the cemetery in Armenoi.






    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/ar...l.pone.0272144

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    DNA analysis

    We processed 16 samples from 12 individuals from the sites Armenoi and Gerani for DNA analyses (Table 6). Pre-PCR steps took place in the clean room facilities of the Institute for Archaeological Sciences at the University of Tübingen, Germany. After surface irradiation with ultraviolet light, the tooth was sawn apart transversally at the border of crown and root, and dentine powder from the inside the crown was sampled using a sterile dentistry drill. Bone surface at the sample area was removed with a dental drill, before extracting bone powder using a new drill bit. DNA extraction was carried out on around 100 mg of dentine powder per sample according to Dabney et al. [50]. DNA libraries were prepared from 10 or 20μl of extract each [51, 52], and enriched for human mitochondrial DNA using a bead-based hybridization protocol [53]. Negative controls were included in the extraction and library preparation and taken along for all further processing steps.


    Table 6. mtDNA results (haplogroup, coverage, contamination estimation) from 12 Bronze Age humans from the site of Armenoi, and two Neolithic humans from the site of Gerani.

    Direct paternal line : mizrahi from damascus
    Ftdna path
    E-M96>CTS9083>P147>P177>M215>M35>Z827>CTS10298>PF196 2>M123>M34>L795>S11835>S12033>S11956>S11168>S10483 >BY96055

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    thanks, kingjohn

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    Finally some people are doing isotope analysis.

    I thought perhaps they might find evidence of movement from Asia Minor to Crete, but no such luck.


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    From the paper:

    "
    previously published nuclear DNA data from Armenoi specimen 503 showed that this individual was genetically distinct from preceding Cretans, and in her genetic profile more similar to contemporaneous Myceneans from the mainland in that she also harbored ancestry derived from Bronze Age steppe pastoralists that Minoans pre-LMIII lacked"

    Armenoi 503: mtDNA U5a1e



    This is the sample from Lazaridis 2017 which had a lot of steppe or EHG ancestry. I can't find any other ancient samples with mtDNA U5a1e. There only appear to be 4 modern samples with U5a1e and they're from Poland, Denmark, Russia and England.

    https://www.yfull.com/mtree/U5a1e/
    https://www.geni.com/projects/U5a1e-Mitochondrial-DNA/38268






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    Quote Originally Posted by Philjames100 View Post
    From the paper:

    "
    previously published nuclear DNA data from Armenoi specimen 503 showed that this individual was genetically distinct from preceding Cretans, and in her genetic profile more similar to contemporaneous Myceneans from the mainland in that she also harbored ancestry derived from Bronze Age steppe pastoralists that Minoans pre-LMIII lacked"

    Armenoi 503: mtDNA U5a1e



    This is the sample from Lazaridis 2017 which had a lot of steppe or EHG ancestry. I can't find any other ancient samples with mtDNA U5a1e. There only appear to be 4 modern samples with U5a1e and they're from Poland, Denmark, Russia and England.

    https://www.yfull.com/mtree/U5a1e/
    https://www.geni.com/projects/U5a1e-Mitochondrial-DNA/38268


    Interesting. Not exactly the same, but the Etruscan sample R473 (700 - 600 BCE) from Civitavecchia, La Mattonara, was mtDNA U5a1 according to the 2019 paper.

    Unfortunately, it does not appear to be on Y-full, and we cannot know whether it actually belonged to some even more downstream clade.

    Oldest U5a1 found in Mesolithic Scandinavia (SF11, Stora Förvar, Stora Karlsö, Sweden)

    https://www.yfull.com/mtree/U5a1/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Finally some people are doing isotope analysis.

    I thought perhaps they might find evidence of movement from Asia Minor to Crete, but no such luck.
    Out of curiosity, do you have a particular time period in mind or did you mean the original arrival of Anatolians in Crete?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kuivamaa View Post
    Out of curiosity, do you have a particular time period in mind or did you mean the original arrival of Anatolians in Crete?
    Well, we know the dates for the arrival of the first farmers to Crete and then there would have been continual streams from the early Neolithic to the Bronze Age.

    However, the precise place of origin for those streams isn't settled, to my knowledge. Was it Cyprus, or the Cyclades? Where did the stream originate which brought about the jump in CHG during the Bronze Age?

    By focusing only on the later period, those questions didn't get answered.

    I think it's a great idea to supplement the ancient dna data with isotope analysis, but the only recent paper I can recall which did that was the paper on the Langobards. The next best thing is papers like this, but perhaps covering more time periods.

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