Abstract: The Late Bronze of the Eastern Mediterranean (1550–1150 BCE) was a period of strong commercial relations and great prosperity, which ended in collapse and migration of groups to the Levant. Here we aim at studying the translocation of cattle and pigs during this period. We sequenced the first ancient mitochondrial and Y chromosome DNA of cattle from Greece and Israel and compared the results with morphometric analysis of the metacarpal in cattle. We also increased previous ancient pig DNA datasets from Israel and extracted the first mitochondrial DNA for samples from Greece. We found that pigs underwent a complex translocation history, with links between Anatolia with southeastern Europe in the Bronze Age, and movement from southeastern Europe to the Levant in the Iron I (ca. 1150–950 BCE). Our genetic data did not indicate movement of cattle between the Aegean region and the southern Levant. We detected the earliest evidence for crossbreeding between taurine and zebu cattle in the Iron IIA (ca. 900 BCE). In light of archaeological and historical evidence on Egyptian imperial domination in the region in the Late Bronze Age, we suggest that Egypt attempted to expand dry farming in the region in a period of severe droughts. ... Haplotype Y2 is considered to have a Near Eastern origin [27, 28]. However, the existence of pig haplotype Y2 in our Greek samples during the Early Helladic II (one radiocarbon determination – 2875–2581 cal BCE) (Fig. 3) together with the findings of Mesolithic wild boar remains in Romania and northeast Italy [33, 35] challenge this conventional wisdom. The absence of haplotype Y2 from Anatolia in the Neolithic (despite a large sample size, n = 38 ) on one hand, and its presence in Romania during this period on the other  suggest a west-to-east translocation, from Greece to Anatolia no later than the Early Bronze Age.Eastern Mediterranean Mobility in the Bronze and Early Iron Ages: Inferences from Ancient DNA of Pigs and Cattle, Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 701 (2017) doi:10.1038/s41598-017-00701-y
Thursday, April 6, 2017
On mobility in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Bronze and Iron Ages
At Scientific Reports Meiri et al. present and analyze an updated dataset of ancient cattle and pig DNA from the Eastern Mediterranean. At the moment, ancient pig DNA is actually one of the best resources for studying human population movements in the region during the tumultuous Bronze and Iron Ages. However, this is likely to change later this year or next year, with the publication of high density ancient human genome-wide DNA data for the Minoans, Mycenaeans, Philistines and other main players in the Bronze and Iron Age Eastern Mediterranean. In any case, interestingly, pig mitochondrial (mtDNA) haplogroup Y2 is found on the Pontic Steppe during the Neolithic-Chalcolithic (7000-3500 BCE). It then appears during the Early Middle Bronze Age (3500-1550 BCE) in Greece and Anatolia. I do wonder if these pigs migrated south with the speakers of Proto-Greek and Proto-Anatolian?