Chad Rohlfsen is heading off to St. Louis tomorrow for the annual American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA) conference, and will be posting updates from the big event in the comments below. Most of you will know Chad from the comments section on this blog. He's yet to finalize his program, but I know he'll be at this talk on the population history of the Aegean.
The origins of the Aegean palatial civilizations from a population genetic perspective
MARTINA UNTERLÄNDER1,2, SUSANNE KREUTZER2 and CHRISTINA PAPAGEORGOPOULOU1. 1 Department of History and Ethnology, Demokritus University of Thrace, 2 Palaeogenetics Group, Institute of Anthropology, Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz.
The present paper investigates the origins of the Aegean pre-palatial civilizations (5th-3rd millennium BC) by applying cutting-edge methods of molecular biology and population genetics. The term Aegean Civilizations refers to the novel human lifeway (agriculture and craft specialization, redistribution systems, intensive trade) that appeared during the end of the Neolithic and the beginning of the Bronze Age in the Aegean. Although many studies exist on archaeological constructions of ethnic and cultural identity on mainland Greece, the Cyclades and Crete, not enough efforts have been made to explore this direction on a population history basis. We have investigated Late, Final Neolithic and Early Bronze Age human skeletons (n=127) from the Aegean using ancient DNA methods, next generation sequencing (NGS) technology and statistical population genetic inferences to i) gather information on diversity, population size, and origin of the pre-palatial Aegean Cultures, ii) to compare them on a genetic basis, in terms of their cultural division (Helladic, Cycladic, Minoan) and iii) to investigate their ancestral/non-ancestral status to the Early and Middle Neolithic farmers from Greece. In addition to mitochondrial DNA genomes, by applying a capture-NGS approach we collected information on functional traits of the early Aegean communities in southeastern Europe. Considering the International Spirit that overwhelms the Aegean during the 3rd millennium BC, seen by the wide distribution of artifacts, this palaeogenetic approach provides valuable new insights on population structure of the groups involved in the Neolithic-Bronze Age transition and the spread of specific alleles in this part of Europe.
Feel free to help Chad plan the rest of his itinerary. The AAPA 2015 website is here. You can download a PDF book with all of the abstracts here.
By the way, Chad is paying for the trip himself. If anyone wants to help him cover the costs, please send contributions via PayPal to c_rohlfsen [at] hotmail [dot] com.