miércoles, 17 de mayo de 2017

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

Famous bell-shaped pots associated with group of immigrants who may have displaced Neolithic farmers.

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 [...] Nature News & Comment

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