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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ancient DNA from late Neolithic Corded Ware remains from southwest Poland

Admittedly, I was expecting most Corded Ware samples to belong to haplogroup R1a, just like those from the Eulau site in Germany (see here), but here we have what looks like a G and possibly an I or J. The G might represent the persistence of early Neolithic LBK farmer ancestry, while the I (if indeed it is an I) could be of local Mesolithic origin. The burial ground where the two remains were dug up is located in Jagodno, southwestern Poland, and dates back to 2830-2489 BC. Apparently, it's very similar in character to a Corded Ware site about 500kms away in Lubaczów, southeastern Poland (see page 133 here).

Two teeth coming from fossil human skeletons were examined in the Molecular Technology Institute of Forensic Medicine Department, Wroclaw Medical University. It was stated that both teeth came from two men on the basis of the gene of amelogenin variants study. Determining polymorphisms of SNP type from chromosome Y resulted in categorizing skeleton from grave no. 1 with very high probability into haplogroup G, whereas skeleton from grave no. 2 with very high probability into one of three haplogroups J, I or E*. Detailed results of determinations are included in the attached table 2. On the basis of the above mentioned expertise one can state that the skeletons are male individuals with no relationship between each other.


An analysis of polymorphism of single nucleotide (SNP) of chromosome Y from genetic material derived from both burials has brought in different results than in the case of so far analyzed aDNA materials of burials of the Corded Ware culture or partly contemporary Beaker culture which revealed the presence of haplogroups R1a1 and R1b among them (Haak et al., 2008; Lee et al., 2012). In case of the dead from Wrocław-Jagodno genetic diversity of both individuals was observed. One of them does not have clearly determined haplogroup. We should reject his affiliation to paragroup E* characteristic mainly for Africa and identified among population of Bantu (Karafet et al., 2008). On the other hand, haplogroup J was probably formed about 30000 years ago in Arabian Peninsula and it is often identified as a indicator of the Neolithic demic diffusion associated with spreading agriculture (Semino et al., 2004, 1996). Its contemporary distribution covers mainly the area of Middle East and the Mediterranean Sea basin; it sporadically occurs in Central Europe. Latest analyses show that its spreading might be a marker of later migrations (Giacomo et al., 2004). Hence the most probable is acceptance of haplogroup I as a proper one for the examined individual. It is considered that it was developed between 15000 and 30000 years ago (Karafet et al., 2008) and its spreading is associated with the expansion of the Paleolithic Gravettian culture (Semino, 2000) or population from the beginning of Holocene (Rootsi et al., 2004). Thus we should think that this individual is most probably descendant of native hunting and gathering community. Haplogroup G, identified in the second individual, belongs to widespread multiethnic groups of Europe, Asia and northern Africa. This haplogroup is largely identified among analyzed aDNA materials from Europe including the early Neolithic in Spain and Germany and the late Neolithic in France. It is a serious factor supporting a conception of spreading of Neolithic from the area of Middle East (Haak et al., 2010; Lacan et al., 2011; Rootsi et al., 2012). It may indicate very complicated development processes of communities of the Corded Ware culture in which diverse populations participated – autochtonous deriving from hunting and gathering ancestors as well as Neolithic populations, genetically deriving from the Middle East areas but already living there since the beginning of Neolithic.

Gworys et al., Assessment of late Neolithic pastoralist's life conditions from the Wroclaw-Jagodno site (SW Poland) on the basis of physiological stress markers, Journal of Archaeological Science, In Pres - Accepted Manuscript, Available online 13 February 2013,