Ancient-genome study finds Bronze Age ‘Beaker culture’ invaded Britain

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Ancient-genome study finds Bronze Age ‘Beaker culture’ invaded Britain

Post by Guest on Thu May 18, 2017 6:55 pm

Around 4,500 years ago, a mysterious craze for bell-shaped pottery swept across prehistoric Europe. Archaeologists have debated the significance of the pots — artefacts that define the ‘Bell Beaker’ culture — for more than a century. Some argue that they were the Bronze Age’s hottest fashion, shared across different groups of people. But others see them as evidence for an immense migration of ‘Beaker folk’ across the continent.


Now, one of the biggest ever ancient-genome studies suggests both ideas are true. The study, posted on bioRxiv on 9 May1, analysed the genomes of 170 ancient Europeans and compared them to hundreds of other ancient and modern genomes. In Iberia and central Europe, skeletons found near Bell Beaker artefacts share few genetic ties — suggesting that they were not one migrating population. But in Britain, individuals connected to Beaker pots seem to be a distinct, genetically related group that almost wholly replaced the island’s earlier inhabitants (see ‘Bell Beaker fashion’).


If true, this suggests that Britain’s Neolithic farmers (who left behind massive rock relics, including Stonehenge) were elbowed out by Beaker invaders. “To me, that’s definitely surprising,” says Pontus Skoglund, a population geneticist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, who was not involved in the research. “The people who built Stonehenge probably didn’t contribute any ancestry to later people, or if they did, it was very little.”




http://www.nature.com/news/ancient-genome-study-finds-bronze-age-beaker-culture-invaded-britain-1.21996

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Re: Ancient-genome study finds Bronze Age ‘Beaker culture’ invaded Britain

Post by Ben Reilly on Thu May 18, 2017 10:27 pm


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