Emerging genetic patterns of the european neolithic: Perspectives from a late neolithic bell beaker burial site in Germany

Authors

  • Esther J. Lee,

    1. Graduate School “Human Development in Landscapes,” Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Olshausenstrasse 40, Kiel 24098, Germany
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  • Cheryl Makarewicz,

    1. Institute of Pre-and Protohistory, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Johanna-Mestorf-Strasse 2-6, Kiel 24098, Germany
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  • Rebecca Renneberg,

    1. Graduate School “Human Development in Landscapes,” Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Olshausenstrasse 40, Kiel 24098, Germany
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  • Melanie Harder,

    1. Graduate School “Human Development in Landscapes,” Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Olshausenstrasse 40, Kiel 24098, Germany
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  • Ben Krause-Kyora,

    1. Graduate School “Human Development in Landscapes,” Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Olshausenstrasse 40, Kiel 24098, Germany
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  • Stephanie Müller,

    1. Institute of Pre-and Protohistory, Johannes-Gutenberg-University of Mainz, Schillerstrasse 11, Mainz 55116, Germany
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  • Sven Ostritz,

    1. Thuringian State Office for Archaeology and the Preservation of Historical Monuments, Humboldtstrasse 11, Weimar 99423, Germany
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  • Lars Fehren-Schmitz,

    1. Department of Zoology and Anthropology, University of Göttingen, Bürgerstrasse 50, Göttingen 37073, Germany
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  • Stefan Schreiber,

    1. Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Schittenhelmstrasse 12, Kiel 24105, Germany
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  • Johannes Müller,

    1. Institute of Pre-and Protohistory, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Johanna-Mestorf-Strasse 2-6, Kiel 24098, Germany
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  • Nicole von Wurmb-Schwark,

    1. Institute of Legal Medicine, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Arnold-Heller-Strasse 12, Kiel 24105, Germany
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    • Nicole von Wurmb-Schwark and Almut Nebel share equal responsibility.

  • Almut Nebel

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Schittenhelmstrasse 12, Kiel 24105, Germany
    • Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Schittenhelmstrasse 12, Kiel 24105, Germany
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    • This article was published online on 3 May 2012. An error was subsequently identified. This notice is included in the online and print versions to indicate that both have been corrected 9 May 2012.


Abstract

The transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture in Europe is associated with demographic changes that may have shifted the human gene pool of the region as a result of an influx of Neolithic farmers from the Near East. However, the genetic composition of populations after the earliest Neolithic, when a diverse mosaic of societies that had been fully engaged in agriculture for some time appeared in central Europe, is poorly known. At this period during the Late Neolithic (ca. 2,800–2,000 BC), regionally distinctive burial patterns associated with two different cultural groups emerge, Bell Beaker and Corded Ware, and may reflect differences in how these societies were organized. Ancient DNA analyses of human remains from the Late Neolithic Bell Beaker site of Kromsdorf, Germany showed distinct mitochondrial haplotypes for six individuals, which were classified under the haplogroups I1, K1, T1, U2, U5, and W5, and two males were identified as belonging to the Y haplogroup R1b. In contrast to other Late Neolithic societies in Europe emphasizing maintenance of biological relatedness in mortuary contexts, the diversity of maternal haplotypes evident at Kromsdorf suggests that burial practices of Bell Beaker communities operated outside of social norms based on shared maternal lineages. Furthermore, our data, along with those from previous studies, indicate that modern U5-lineages may have received little, if any, contribution from the Mesolithic or Neolithic mitochondrial gene pool. Am J Phys Anthropol 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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