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Mendisco F.,University of Bordeaux 1 | Pemonge M.H.,University of Bordeaux 1 | Leblay E.,University of Bordeaux 1 | Romon T.,Institute National Of Recherches Archeologiques Preventives Guadeloupe | And 3 more authors.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

The identity and history of the indigenous groups who occupied the Lesser Antilles during the ceramic periods remain highly controversial. Although recent archaeological evidence has challenged hypotheses concerning the organization of human groups in this region, more biological data are needed to fully inform the discussion. Our study provides, to our knowledge, the first palaeogenetic data for Late Ceramic groups of the Guadeloupe archipelago, yielding crucial information concerning the identities of these groups. Despite the generally poor DNA preservation in the tested remains, we were able to retrieve Hypervariable Region 1 sequences from 11 individuals and mitochondrial single-nucleotide polymorphisms from 13 individuals. These novel data provide interesting preliminary results in favour of a common origin for all Saladoid Caribbean communities, i.e. the first ceramic groups of the region, as well as for a local continuity between the Saladoid and post-Saladoid groups. A combination of the genetic data obtained and several pieces of cultural evidence allows us to propose that two different groups inhabited the Guadeloupe archipelago during the Late Ceramic period, with the possible occupation of the La Désirade and Marie-Galante islands by groups affiliated with the Taíno communities. The working hypotheses proposed here appear consistent with recent archaeological evidence. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved. Source

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