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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bronze Age woman from Terqa was mtDNA K

Just a quick heads up (
via Dienekes) on this aDNA finding, which being an isolated individual from a late period doesn't seem too informative. Terqa was an important Mesopotamian city (in modern NE Syria), north of the better known and also important city of Mari. The area was already Semitic by this time (2650-2450 BCE) and would be conquered by nearby Akkad in the centuries to come.

The burial in a two chambered structure with stone domes (probably tholos-like false domes, no evidence for true domes before Etruscans) included to human skeletons, a sheep skeleton (probably a sacrifice) and luxury goods. One of the skeletons belonged to an extremely strong and large man aged 45-50, showing sighns of healed injuries, the other is from a woman aged 40-44 (his wife, I presume) from which the aDNA was succesfully extracted (haplogroup K apparent from HVR 1 haplotype).

Ref.: J. Tomczyk et al. Anthropological analysis of the osteological material from an ancient tomb (Early Bronze Age) from the middle Euphrates valley, Terqa (Syria). International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 2010. (Paywall).

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