State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony Anhalt and State Museum of Prehistory

Halle (Saale), Germany

State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony Anhalt and State Museum of Prehistory

Halle (Saale), Germany
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PubMed | Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Tübingen, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences and 17 more.
Type: Historical Article | Journal: Nature | Year: 2015

We generated genome-wide data from 69 Europeans who lived between 8,000-3,000 years ago by enriching ancient DNA libraries for a target set of almost 400,000 polymorphisms. Enrichment of these positions decreases the sequencing required for genome-wide ancient DNA analysis by a median of around 250-fold, allowing us to study an order of magnitude more individuals than previous studies and to obtain new insights about the past. We show that the populations of Western and Far Eastern Europe followed opposite trajectories between 8,000-5,000 years ago. At the beginning of the Neolithic period in Europe, 8,000-7,000 years ago, closely related groups of early farmers appeared in Germany, Hungary and Spain, different from indigenous hunter-gatherers, whereas Russia was inhabited by a distinctive population of hunter-gatherers with high affinity to a 24,000-year-old Siberian. By 6,000-5,000 years ago, farmers throughout much of Europe had more hunter-gatherer ancestry than their predecessors, but in Russia, the Yamnaya steppe herders of this time were descended not only from the preceding eastern European hunter-gatherers, but also from a population of Near Eastern ancestry. Western and Eastern Europe came into contact 4,500 years ago, as the Late Neolithic Corded Ware people from Germany traced 75% of their ancestry to the Yamnaya, documenting a massive migration into the heartland of Europe from its eastern periphery. This steppe ancestry persisted in all sampled central Europeans until at least 3,000 years ago, and is ubiquitous in present-day Europeans. These results provide support for a steppe origin of at least some of the Indo-European languages of Europe.


PubMed | Complutense University of Madrid, Independent researcher, Netherlands Institute in Turkey, University Pompeu Fabra and 14 more.
Type: Historical Article | Journal: Nature | Year: 2015

Ancient DNA makes it possible to observe natural selection directly by analysing samples from populations before, during and after adaptation events. Here we report a genome-wide scan for selection using ancient DNA, capitalizing on the largest ancient DNA data set yet assembled: 230 West Eurasians who lived between 6500 and 300 bc, including 163 with newly reported data. The new samples include, to our knowledge, the first genome-wide ancient DNA from Anatolian Neolithic farmers, whose genetic material we obtained by extracting from petrous bones, and who we show were members of the population that was the source of Europes first farmers. We also report a transect of the steppe region in Samara between 5600 and 300 bc, which allows us to identify admixture into the steppe from at least two external sources. We detect selection at loci associated with diet, pigmentation and immunity, and two independent episodes of selection on height.


PubMed | Curt Engelhorn Center Archaeometry gGmbH, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony Anhalt and State Museum of Prehistory, University of Mainz and 7 more.
Type: Historical Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2014

In 2005 to 2007 45 skeletons of adults and subadults were excavated at the Lombard period cemetery at Szld (6th century A.D.), Hungary. Embedded into the well-recorded historical context, the article presents the results obtained by an integrative investigation including anthropological, molecular genetic and isotopic ((15)N, (13)C, (87)Sr/(86)Sr) analyses. Skeletal stress markers as well as traces of interpersonal violence were found to occur frequently. The mitochondrial DNA profiles revealed a heterogeneous spectrum of lineages that belong to the haplogroups H, U, J, HV, T2, I, and K, which are common in present-day Europe and in the Near East, while N1a and N1b are today quite rare. Evidence of possible direct maternal kinship was identified in only three pairs of individuals. According to enamel strontium isotope ratios, at least 31% of the individuals died at a location other than their birthplace and/or had moved during childhood. Based on the peculiar 87 Sr/86 Sr ratio distribution between females, males, and subadults in comparison to local vegetation and soil samples, we propose a three-phase model of group movement. An initial patrilocal group with narrower male but wider female Sr isotope distribution settled at Szld, whilst the majority of subadults represented in the cemetery yielded a distinct Sr isotope signature. Owing to the virtual absence of Szld-born adults in the cemetery, we may conclude that the settlement was abandoned after approx. one generation. Population heterogeneity is furthermore supported by the carbon and nitrogen isotope data. They indicate that a group of high-ranking men had access to larger shares of animal-derived food whilst a few individuals consumed remarkable amounts of millet. The inferred dynamics of the burial community are in agreement with hypotheses of a highly mobile lifestyle during the Migration Period and a short-term occupation of Pannonia by Lombard settlers as conveyed by written sources.


Knipper C.,Curt Engelhorn Center Archaeometry mbH | Fragata M.,SI Analytics GmbH | Nicklisch N.,State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony Anhalt and State Museum of Prehistory | Nicklisch N.,Danube University Krems | And 8 more authors.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology | Year: 2016

Objectives Inhumations in so-called settlement pits and multiple interments are subordinate burial practices of the Early Bronze Age Únětice culture in central Germany (2200-1700/1650 BC). The majority of the Únětice population was entombed as single inhumations in rectangular grave pits with a normative position of the body. The goal of the study was to test archaeological hypotheses that the deviant burials may represent socially distinct or nonlocal individuals. Materials and Methods The study comprised up to two teeth and one bone each of 74 human individuals from eight sites and faunal comparative samples. The inhumations included regular, deviant burials in so-called settlement or storage pits, and multiple burials. We investigated radiogenic strontium isotope compositions of tooth enamel (87Sr/86Sr) and light stable isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen of bone collagen (δ13C, δ15N) aiming at the disclosure of residential changes and dietary patterns. Results Site-specific strontium isotope data ranges mirror different geological properties including calcareous bedrock, loess, and glacial till. Independent from burial types, they disclose low portions of nonlocal individuals of up to some 20% at the individual sites. The light stable isotope ratios of burials in settlement pits and rectangular graves overlap widely and indicate highly similar dietary habits. Discussion The analytical results let to conclude that inhumations in settlement pits and multiple burials were two of the manifold burial practices of the Early Bronze Age. The selection criteria of the individuals for the different forms of inhumation remained undisclosed. Am J Phys Anthropol 159:496-516, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


PubMed | Curt Engelhorn Center Archaeometry gGmbH, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, State Office for Archaeology Saxony, State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony Anhalt and State Museum of Prehistory and 3 more.
Type: Historical Article | Journal: American journal of physical anthropology | Year: 2016

Inhumations in so-called settlement pits and multiple interments are subordinate burial practices of the Early Bronze Age ntice culture in central Germany (2200-1700/1650 BC). The majority of the ntice population was entombed as single inhumations in rectangular grave pits with a normative position of the body. The goal of the study was to test archaeological hypotheses that the deviant burials may represent socially distinct or nonlocal individuals.The study comprised up to two teeth and one bone each of 74 human individuals from eight sites and faunal comparative samples. The inhumations included regular, deviant burials in so-called settlement or storage pits, and multiple burials. We investigated radiogenic strontium isotope compositions of tooth enamel ((87) Sr/(86) Sr) and light stable isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen of bone collagen ((13) C, (15) N) aiming at the disclosure of residential changes and dietary patterns.Site-specific strontium isotope data ranges mirror different geological properties including calcareous bedrock, loess, and glacial till. Independent from burial types, they disclose low portions of nonlocal individuals of up to some 20% at the individual sites. The light stable isotope ratios of burials in settlement pits and rectangular graves overlap widely and indicate highly similar dietary habits.The analytical results let to conclude that inhumations in settlement pits and multiple burials were two of the manifold burial practices of the Early Bronze Age. The selection criteria of the individuals for the different forms of inhumation remained undisclosed.


Nicklisch N.,State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony Anhalt and State Museum of Prehistory | Nicklisch N.,Danube University Krems | Ganslmeier R.,State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony Anhalt and State Museum of Prehistory | Siebert A.,Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz | And 4 more authors.
Annals of Anatomy | Year: 2015

This study provides diachronic insight into the epidemiology of carious defects in teeth of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age populations in Central Germany over a period of 4000 years. The data were retrieved from skeletal remains uncovered at 21 sites throughout the Middle Elbe-Saale region (MES), comprising a total of 494 individuals with preserved teeth. The data generated were examined for age- and sex-related differences in order to gain information about the dietary habits and socio-economic structures of the period with the goal of identifying potential diachronic changes. The results indicated that dietary habits changed over the course of the Neolithic period: the prevalence of caries significantly decreased between the Early and Late Neolithic. The adults from the Early Neolithic sample, particularly those from the LBK bore the highest rate of caries. This highlights the essential importance of cereals in the diet of the early farmers in the Middle Elbe-Saale region. As time went on, meat and dairy products became more and more important, which had a positive impact on dental health. The data also show sex-specific differences: women were more often affected by caries than men and female jaws also generally exhibited greater numbers of carious teeth than their male counterparts. Dental health is a reflection of both biological factors and of economic and sociocultural structures. © 2015 Elsevier GmbH.


PubMed | Danube University Krems, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony Anhalt and State Museum of Prehistory
Type: | Journal: Annals of anatomy = Anatomischer Anzeiger : official organ of the Anatomische Gesellschaft | Year: 2015

This study provides diachronic insight into the epidemiology of carious defects in teeth of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age populations in Central Germany over a period of 4000 years. The data were retrieved from skeletal remains uncovered at 21 sites throughout the Middle Elbe-Saale region (MES), comprising a total of 494 individuals with preserved teeth. The data generated were examined for age- and sex-related differences in order to gain information about the dietary habits and socio-economic structures of the period with the goal of identifying potential diachronic changes. The results indicated that dietary habits changed over the course of the Neolithic period: the prevalence of caries significantly decreased between the Early and Late Neolithic. The adults from the Early Neolithic sample, particularly those from the LBK bore the highest rate of caries. This highlights the essential importance of cereals in the diet of the early farmers in the Middle Elbe-Saale region. As time went on, meat and dairy products became more and more important, which had a positive impact on dental health. The data also show sex-specific differences: women were more often affected by caries than men and female jaws also generally exhibited greater numbers of carious teeth than their male counterparts. Dental health is a reflection of both biological factors and of economic and sociocultural structures.

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