12/23/2021 06:00 . posted to
(Credit: Courtesy of the Corinium Museum, Copyright Cotswold District Council)
Thanks to DNA analysis, a group of international researchers found that one of the best-preserved Neolithic tombs in the UK contained five generations of the same family. Experts evaluated fragments that belonged to individuals buried about 5,700 years ago – about 3700 to 3600 BCE – about 100 years after the start of agriculture in the region. The data were presented in the latest issue of the specialty journal Nature and reveal the oldest family tree in the world.
The mass mausoleum assessed by scientists at Hazleton North in the mountainous region of the Cotswolds-Severn consists of divided areas, built in the shape of an L. Researchers analyzed DNA extracted from the bones and teeth of 35 individuals. Two of these regions and found that 27 of them were close biological relatives.
The majority of the group were descendants of four women who had children from the same man. According to scientists, men were usually buried close to their parents and brothers. No evidence was found that the other eight individuals analyzed were biological relatives of the rest of the group, which may suggest that direct kinship was not the only criterion for inclusion in the old cemetery, the team considers.
“It was hard to imagine, just a few years ago, that we would ever know so much about these Neolithic structures and traditions,” emphasizes Ron Pinhasi, a researcher at the University of Vienna in Austria and a researcher at the University of Vienna, Austria, in a statement. of study authors.
For David Reich, a researcher at Harvard University in the United States and one of the study’s authors, the obtained data opened the door to similar genetic analysis, which helped reveal other details related to ancestor funeral rituals. able to do. People. “This study represents what I think is the future of the study of ancient DNA: what archaeologists manage to assess with quality, archaic genetic structures and be able to answer questions that are really important to them.” are”, he justifies.