Archaeogenetics of the Near East


Archaeogenetics of the Near East

The archaeogenetics of the Near East involves the study of aDNA or ancient DNA, identifying haplogroups and haplotypes of ancient skeletal remains from both YDNA and mtDNA for populations of the Ancient Near East (the modern Middle East, i.e. Egypt, Arabia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Anatolia and Persia). To date, isolation of mtDNA has been most successful.

Developments in DNA sequencing in the 1970s and 1980s provided researchers with the tools needed to study human genetic variation and the genetics of human populations to discover founder populations of modern people groups and human migrations. In 2005, National Geographic launched the The Genographic Project, led by 12 prominent scientists and researchers, to study and map historical human migration patterns by collecting and analyzing DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of people from around the world.

Levant

Zalloua and Wells (2004), under the auspices of a grant from National Geographic Magazine examined the origins of the Phoenicians.The debate between Wells and Zalloua was whether haplogroup J2 (M172) should be identified as that of the Phoenicians or that of its "parent" haplogroup M89 on the YDNA phylogenetic tree. [ [http://ycc.biosci.arizona.edu/nomenclature_system/fig1.html C:Documents and SettingsagellonMy DocumentsGATC FilesYCC Web2002_genresFig 1.htm ] ] Initial consensus suggested that J2 be identified with the Canaanite-Phoenician (Northwest Semitic) population, with avenues open for future research. [National Geographic Magazine, October 2004. Available online: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/features/world/asia/lebanon/phoenicians-text/1; and http://www.independent.com.mt/news.asp?newsitemid=57215 [accessed: March 10, 2008] ] As Wells commented, "The Phoenicians were the Canaanites—and the ancestors of today's Lebanese." [ [http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/features/world/asia/lebanon/phoenicians-text/5 Who Were the Phoenicians? - National Geographic Magazine ] ] It was reported in the PBS description of the National Geographic TV Special on this study entitled "Quest for the Phoenicians" that ancient DNA was included in this study as extracted from the tooth of a 2500 year-old Phoenician mummy. [http://www.pbs.org/previews/phoenicians/ [Accessed April 6, 2008] ]

Wells identified the haplogroup of the Canaanites as haplogroup J2. [http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/features/world/asia/lebanon/phoenicians-text/5; and http://www.independent.com.mt/news.asp?newsitemid=57215 [Accessed April 11, 2008] ] The National Geographic Genographic Project linked haplogroup J2 to the site of Jericho, Tel el-Sultan, ca. 8500 BCE and indicated that in modern populations, haplogroup J2 is found in North Africa, Southern Europe, and the Middle East, with especially high distribution among present-day Spanish (20%), Italians (10%), and Jewish populations (30%). [The Atlas of the Human Journey-Genetic Markers-Haplogroup J2 (M172): https://www3.nationalgeographic.com/genographic/atlas.html [Accessed April 11, 2008] ]

In 2004, a team of geneticists from Stanford University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tartu University (Estonia), Barzilai Medical Center (Ashkelon, Israel), and the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center (Zerifin, Israel), studied the modern Samaritan community living in Israel and the Palestinian Terrotories in comparison with modern Israeli populations to explore the ancient genetic history of these people groups. The Samaritans or "Shomronim" (singular: "Shomroni"; Hebrew: שומרוני) trace their origins to the Assyrian province of Shomron (Samaria) in ancient Israel in the period after the Assyrian conquest circa 722 BCE. Shomron was the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel when it was conquered by the Assyrians and gave the name to the ancient province of Samaria and the Samaritan people group. Tradition holds that the Samaritans were a mixed people group of Israelites who were not exiled or were sent back or returned from exile and non-Israelites relocated to the region by the Assyrians. The modern-day Samaritans are believed to be the direct descendants of the ancient Samaritans.

Their findings reported on four family lineages among the Samaritans: the Tsdaka family (tradition: tribe of Menasseh), the Joshua-Marhiv and Danfi families (tradition: tribe of Ephraim), and the Cohen family (tradition: tribe of Levi). All Samaritan families were found in haplogroups J1 and J2, except the Cohen family which was found in haplogroup E3b1a-M78. [cite journal | last = Shen | first = P | coauthors = Lavi T, Kivisild T, Chou V, Sengun D, Gefel D, Shpirer I, Woolf E, Hillel J, Feldman MW, Oefner PJ | year = 2004 | url = http://evolutsioon.ut.ee/publications/Shen2004.pdf | title = Reconstruction of Patrilineages and Matrilineages of Samaritans and Other Israeli Populations From Y-Chromosome and Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Variation | journal = Human Mutation | volume = 24 | pages = 248-260 | id = PMID 15300852] This article predated the E3b1a subclades based on the research of Cruciani, et al. [cite journal | last = Cruciani | first = F. | coauthors = La Fratta, R., Torroni, A., Underhill, P. A., Scozzari, R. | year = 2006 | url = http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/homepages/38515/pdf/916.pdf | title = Molecular Dissection of the Y Chromosome Haplogroup E-M78 (E3b1a): A Posteriori Evaluation of a Microsatellite-Network-Based Approach Through Six New Biallelic Markers | journal = Human Mutation | volume = 916 April 2006 ] The Samaritan Cohen family were Levites until the previous Cohen family died out around 1700, so the fact that they don't share CMH is expected. These findings may offer more proof that E1b1 was one of the founding lineages of the Levites.

Crete

In 2007, a team of researchers from Stanford University (USA), Istanbul University (Turkey), McMaster University (Canada), Aristotle University (Greece), Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia), and University of Crete (Greece) researched the genetics of the Neolithic founder population of Crete, the ancient Minoan inhabitants of Crete, and their Mycenaean neighbors from mainland Greece. [This section is based on the PDF version of this article: cite journal | last = King | first = R. J. | coauthors = Ozcan, S. S., Carter, T., Kalfoglu, E., Atasoy, S., Triantaphyllidis, C., Kouvatsi, A., Lin, A. A., Chow, C-E. T., Zhivotovsky, L. A., Michalodimitrakis, M., Underhill, P. A., | year = 2008 | url = http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1469-1809.2007.00414.x | title = Differential Y-chromosome Anatolian Influences on the Greek and Cretan Neolithic | journal = Annals of Human Genetics | volume = 72 Issue 2 March 2008 | pages = 205-214 ]

Their research was published in the March 2008 issue of the Annals of Human Genetics. While based on modern populations in Crete (193 samples) and Greece (171 samples), and previously published data on Anatolian (Turkish) populations, the researchers projected backwards in time to make conclusions about the ancient origins of these people groups. The most frequent haplogroups among the current population on Crete were: R1b3-M269 (17%), G2-P15 (11%), J2a1-DYS413 (9.0%), and J2a1h-M319 (9.0%). They identified J2a parent haplogroup J2a-M410 (Crete: 25.9%) with the first ancient residents of Crete during the Neolithic (8500 BCE – 4300 BCE) suggesting Crete was founded by a Neolithic population expansion from ancient Turkey/Anatolia. ["Note: Typo in original article, corrected in online abstract: J2a-M140 should be read as J2a-M410"] Specifically, the researchers connected the source population of ancient Crete to well known Neolithic sites of ancient Anatolia: Asıklı Höyük, Çatalhöyük, Hacılar, Mersin/Yumuktepe, and Tarsus. [See p. 211: cite journal | last = King | first = R. J. | coauthors = Ozcan, S. S., Carter, T., Kalfoglu, E., Atasoy, S., Triantaphyllidis, C., Kouvatsi, A., Lin, A. A., Chow, C-E. T., Zhivotovsky, L. A., Michalodimitrakis, M., Underhill, P. A., | year = 2008 | url = http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1469-1809.2007.00414.x | title = Differential Y-chromosome Anatolian Influences on the Greek and Cretan Neolithic | journal = Annals of Human Genetics | volume = 72 Issue 2 March 2008 | pages = 205-214 ] Haplogroup J2b-M12 (Crete: 3.1%; Greece: 5.9%) was associated with Neolithic Greece. Haplogroups J2a1h-M319 (8.8%) and J2a1b1-M92 (2.6%) were associated with the Minoan culture linked to a late Neolithic/ Early Bronze Age migration to Crete ca. 3100 BCE from North-Western/Western Anatolia and Syro-Palestine (ancient Canaan, Levant, and pre-Akkadian Anatolia); Aegean prehistorians link the date 3100 BCE to the origins of the Minoan culture on Crete. Haplogroup E3b1a2-V13 (Crete: 6.7%; Greece: 28%) was suggested to reflect a migration to Crete from the mainland Greece Mycenaean population during the late Bronze Age (1600 BCE - 1100 BCE). [In this article, it was not made clear as to the relationship of the Mycenaeans and the ethnically, and by implication, genetically distinct (from the Greeks) ancient Illyrian people group who are believed to have been the founder population of some Balkan states, i.e. Albania, etc. Archaeologically Illyrians became a people "during the 7th century BC, when bronze was replaced by iron, the Illyrians became an ethnic group with a distinct culture and art form" (quoted from Illyrians). While this article linked E3b1a2-V13 to the Greeks E3b1a2-V13 has been identified as of Balkan origin, and it is in Albania that the highest levels of both Haplogroup E and J are found among the Balkan states. See Y-DNA haplogroups by ethnic groups.] Haplogroup J1 was also reported to be found in both Crete and Greece (Crete: 8.3%; Greece: 5.2%), as well as haplogroups E3b3, I1, I2, I2a, I21b, K2, L, and R1a1. No ancient DNA was included in this study of YDNA from the Mediterranean region. [cite journal | last = King | first = R. J. | coauthors = Ozcan, S. S., Carter, T., Kalfoglu, E., Atasoy, S., Triantaphyllidis, C., Kouvatsi, A., Lin, A. A., Chow, C-E. T., Zhivotovsky, L. A., Michalodimitrakis, M., Underhill, P. A., | year = 2008 | url = http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1469-1809.2007.00414.x | title = Differential Y-chromosome Anatolian Influences on the Greek and Cretan Neolithic | journal = Annals of Human Genetics | volume = 72 Issue 2 March 2008 | pages = 205-214 ]

The ancient populations and haplogroups of Crete are very significant in relation to the ancient people group known from the biblical literature as the Philistines who are thought to have originated from one of the ancient populations of Crete and were believed by ancient ethnographers to be closely related to people groups from North-Western Anatolia (Ludites, Hebrew: לודים), and people groups from other regions, and more distantly, but related to ancient Egyptians. [Anson F. Rainey, "The Sacred Bridge: Carta’s Atlas of the Biblical World", Carta: Jerusalem, 2006, 27; and Yohanan Aharoni, Michael Avi-Yonah, Anson F. Rainey, Ze’ev Safrai, "The Macmillan Bible Atlas", Macmillan Publishing: New York, 1993, p. 21; the text of Genesis 10 in the Hebrew Bible is one of the ancient ethnographic sources used to determine the people groups of the biblical world. The Philistines are listed as descended from the Casluhites (based on the Hebrew text, כסלחים Casluchim and following the JPS English translation) who were one of the "sons" of Mitzraim (Egypt) along with several other people groups including the Ludites whom archaeologists have placed in ancient North-Western Anatolia.] As to the origins of the Philistines archaeologists have proposed two theories of their route of migration as one people group among many associated with the Sea Peoples. The first is that of an Anatolian (ancient Turkey) origin into the Mediterranean region and Levant. The second is an origin from the region of the Mycenaean culture via the Mediterranean to Crete, Cyprus, and various locations in the Levant and North Africa. [For an introductory mapping see: Yohanan Aharoni, Michael Avi-Yonah, Anson F. Rainey, Ze’ev Safrai, "The Macmillan Bible Atlas", Macmillan Publishing: New York, 1993, p. 21, 80. While there has been some debate as to the precise dating of this migration, some archaeologists have identified a link between the Mycenaean culture and the Philistines in ancient Canaan during the 12th Century BCE (Iron Age IA) largely on the basis of Helladic material culture (ca. 2800 BCE – 1060 BCE), specifically MYC.IIIC:1b pottery found on Cyprus and in sites in ancient Canaan, especially the Philistine settlements of Ashdod and Ekron (Tel Miqne). The main criticism is that it is predominantly found at these two Philistine sites in ancient Philistia. See Amihai Mazar, "The Emergence of Philistine Material Culture," "IEJ" 1985 35:95-107; and Israel Finkelstein, "The Philistine Settlement: When, Where and How Many," Pp. 159-180 in E, Oren, (ed). "The Sea People and Their World: A Reassessment". University of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, 2000. A later form of pottery known as Philistine Bichrome ware, which combined features of Mycenaean, Egyptian, and Canaanite pottery, is widely distributed throughout sites in ancient Canaan. See Israel Finkelstein, “A Low Chronology Update: Archaeology, history and bible,” Pp. 31-42 in: T. Levy and T. Higham (eds.), "The Bible and Radiocarbon Dating – Archaeology, Text and Science". Equinox: London, 2005. Available online: http://megiddo.tau.ac.il/info/The_Bible_and_Radiocarbon_Dating_2005_Update.pdf [Accessed: April 5, 2008] ; and Amihai Mazar’s discussion of the same: "The Debate over the Chronology of the Iron Age in the Southern Levant: Its history, the current situation and a suggested resolution". Pp. 15-30 in: T. Levy and T. Higham (eds.), "The Bible and Radiocarbon Dating – Archaeology, Text and Science". Equinox: London, 2005. Available online: http://www.rehov.org/Iron%20Age%20Chronology%20Debate.pdf [Accessed: April 5, 2008] .] The Philistines were not thought to have originated from mainland Greece according to the ancient ethnographers. [For origin of the Philistines from Crete see: Anson F. Rainey, "The Sacred Bridge: Carta’s Atlas of the Biblical World", Carta: Jerusalem, 2006, 27; and Yohanan Aharoni, Michael Avi-Yonah, Anson F. Rainey, Ze’ev Safrai, "The Macmillan Bible Atlas", Macmillan Publishing: New York, 1993, p. 21]

Egypt

Studies have shown that modern Egyptians have genetic affinities primarily with populations of North and Northeast Africa,cite journal
author=Kivisild T, Reidla M, Metspalu E, "et al"
title=Ethiopian mitochondrial DNA heritage: tracking gene flow across and around the gate of tears
journal=Am. J. Hum. Genet.
volume=75
issue=5
pages=752–70
year=2004
pmid=15457403
doi=10.1086/425161
] cite journal
author=Stevanovitch A, Gilles A, Bouzaid E, "et al"
title= [http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/pdf/10.1046/j.1529-8817.2003.00057.x?cookieSet=1 Mitochondrial DNA sequence diversity in a sedentary population from Egypt]
journal=Ann. Hum. Genet.
volume=68
issue=Pt 1
pages=23–39
year=2004
pmid=14748828
doi=
issn=
[cite journal | author=Arredi B, Poloni E, Paracchini S, Zerjal T, Fathallah D, Makrelouf M, Pascali V, Novelletto A, Tyler-Smith C | title=A predominantly neolithic origin for Y-chromosomal DNA variation in North Africa | journal=Am J Hum Genet | volume=75 | issue=2 | pages=338–45 | year=2004 | pmid=15202071 | doi=10.1086/423147] cite journal | author=Manni F, Leonardi P, Barakat A, Rouba H, Heyer E, Klintschar M, McElreavey K, Quintana-Murci L | title=Y-chromosome analysis in Egypt suggests a genetic regional continuity in Northeastern Africa | journal=Hum Biol | volume=74 | issue=5 | pages=645–58 | year=2002 | pmid=12495079 | doi=10.1353/hub.2002.0054] and to a lesser extent Middle Eastern and European populations. [cite book | last = Luca Cavalli-Sforza | first = Luigi | authorlink = | coauthors = Paolo Menozzi, Alberto Piazza | title = The History and Geography of Human Genes | publisher = Princeton University Press |date=1996-08-05 | location = | pages = | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = 978-0691029054 ] Studies done on ancient Egyptians' remains have shown uniformity and homogeneity among the samples, and cranial/limb ratio similarity with populations from North Africa, Somalia, Nubia, Southwest Asia and Europe.cite journal
author = Zakrzewski, S.R.
year = 2003
title = Variation in ancient Egyptian stature and body proportions
journal = American Journal of Physical Anthropology
volume = 121
issue = 3
pages = 219–229
doi = 10.1002/ajpa.10223
] [ [http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/0509801102v1.pdf The questionable contribution of the Neolithic and the Bronze Age] ] cite journal
author = Irish, J.D.
year = 2006
title = Who were the ancient Egyptians? Dental affinities among Neolithic through postdynastic peoples
journal = Am J Phys Anthropol
volume = 129
pages = 529–543
url = http://www.homestead.com/wysinger/who_were_egyptian.pdf
doi = 10.1002/ajpa.20261
] cite journal
author = Keita, S.
year = 1992
title = Further Studies of Crania From Ancient Northern Africa: An Analysis of Crania From First Dynasty Egyptian Tombs, Using Multiple Discriminant Functions
journal = American Journal of Physical Anthropology
volume = 87
pages = 245–54
doi = 10.1002/ajpa.1330870302
] [Brace CL, Tracer DP, Yaroch LA, Robb J, Brandt K, Nelson AR (1993). "Clines and clusters versus "race:" a test in ancient Egypt and the case of a death on the Nile". [http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/110532242/ABSTRACT Yrbk Phys Anthropol 36:1–31] ".] Blood typing and DNA sampling on ancient Egyptian mummies is scant; however, blood typing of dynastic mummies found ABO frequencies to be most similar to modern Egyptians [Borgognini Tarli S.M., Paoli G. 1982. Survey on paleoserological studies. Homo, 33: 69-89] and some also to Northern Haratin populations. ABO blood group distribution shows that the Egyptians form a sister group to North African populations, including Berbers, Nubians and Canary Islanders. [Cavalli-Sforza, L.L., P. Menozzi, and A. Piazza. 1994. "The History and Geography of Human Genes". Princeton: Princeton University Press, 169-174] DNA extraction (namely from the 12th dynasty) indicates multiple lines of descent, including sub-Saharan Africa, while the other lineages were not identified, but may be African in origin as well (according to Keita, 1996). [Keita, S. [http://www.homestead.com/wysinger/keita-1993.pdf Studies and Comments on Ancient Egyptian Biological Relationships] , History in Africa, 20: 129-154 (1993)] [Keita, op. cit. (1996)] Egyptologists generally consider the ancient Egyptians to have been a continuum from the lighter northern population of Lower Egypt to the darker Upper Egyptians. cite web|url=http://homelink.cps-k12.org/teachers/filiopa/files/AC383EB269C648AAAA659593B9FC358C.pdf |title="Were the Ancient Egyptians Black or White?" |accessdate=2007-10-03 |last=Yurco |first=Frank |publisher=BAR magazine ]

Historically there have been differing accounts of the appearance of ancient Egyptians as compared to people of other nations. The Egyptians have alternately been described as lighter than the Moors,Snowden, Frank. Egypt in Africa, (1996), pp. 106-108] similar in appearance to northern Indians, [ [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Strabo/15A1*.html Strabo Book XV, Chapter 1] ] and as having brown and black skin. [Ammianus Marcellinus, Book XXII, para 16 (23)] Modern classical scholars and anthropologists dispute the reliability of ancient accounts asserting that the terms used have different meanings from modern concepts of racial characteristics. [cite book | last=Snowden, Jr. | first=Frank M. | editor=Mary R. Lefkowitz and Guy MacLean Rogers (eds.) | title=Black Athena Revisited | location=Chapel Hill | publisher=University of North Carolina Press | year=1996 | pages=113-14 | quote=....the Afrocentrists are mistaken in assuming that the term "Afri" (Africans) and various color adjectives for dark pigmentation as used by Greeks and Romans are always the classical equivalents of Negroes or blacks in modern usage.... That the pigmentation of the Egyptians was seen as lighter than that of Ethiopians is also attested by the adjective "subfusucli" ("somewhat dark") which Ammianus Marcellinus (22.16.23) chose to describe the Egyptians....] S.O.Y. Keita & A. J. Boyce. Egypt in Africa, (1996), pp. 25-27 "The descriptions and terms of ancient Greek writers have sometimes been used to comment on Egyptian origins. This is problematic since the ancient writers were not doing population biology. However, we can examine one issue. The Greeks called all groups south of Egypt "Ethiopians." Were the Egyptians more related to any of these "Ethiopians" than to the Greeks? As noted, cranial and limb studies have indicated greater similarity to Somalis, Kushites and Nubians, all "Ethiopians" in ancient Greek terms."] Ancient Egyptians generally noted the difference between themselves and other peoples; however, such differences frequently were based on culture or politics opposed to physical characteristics.

Some genetic studies done on modern Egyptians suggest that most do not have close relations to most tropical Africans, [Cavalli-Sforza, L.L., P. Menozzi, and A. Piazza. 1994, The History and Geography of Human Genes. Princeton:Princeton University Press.] and other studies show that they are mostly related to other North Africans, [cite journal | author=Arredi B, Poloni E, Paracchini S, Zerjal T, Fathallah D, Makrelouf M, Pascali V, Novelletto A, Tyler-Smith C | title=A predominantly neolithic origin for Y-chromosomal DNA variation in North Africa | journal=Am J Hum Genet | volume=75 | issue=2 | pages=338–45 | year=2004 | pmid=15202071 | doi=10.1086/423147] and to a lesser extent southern European/Mediterranean and Middle Eastern populations. A 2004 mtDNA study of upper Egyptians from Gurna found a genetic ancestral heritage to modern Northeast Africans, characterized by a high M1 haplotype frequency, and another study links Egyptians in general with people from modern Eritrea and Ethiopia.cite journal
author=Stevanovitch A, Gilles A, Bouzaid E, "et al"th
title=Mitochondrial DNA sequence diversity in a sedentary population from Egypt
journal=Ann. Hum. Genet.
volume=68
issue=Pt 1
pages=23–39
year=2004
pmid=14748828
doi=
issn=
] [Kivisild T, Reidla M, Metspalu E, Rosa A, Brehm A, Pennarun E, Parik J, Geberhiwot T, Usanga E, Villems R (2004). "Ethiopian mitochondrial DNA heritage: tracking gene flow across and around the gate of tears.". Am J Hum Genet 75 (5): 752-70] Though there has been much debate of the origins of haplogroup M1a recent 2007 study had concluded that M1 has West Asia origins not a Sub Saharan African origin [ [http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1945034 Mitochondrial lineage M1 traces an early human backflow to Africa ] ] Origin A 2003 Y chromosome study was performed by Lucotte on modern Egyptians, with haplotypes V, XI, and IV being most common. Haplotype V is common in Berbers and has a low frequency outside Africa. Haplotypes V, XI, and IV are all supra-Saharan/Horn African haplotypes, and they are far more dominant in Egyptians than in Near Eastern or European groups.cite journal
author = Keita, S.O.
year = 2005
title = History in the interpretation of the pattern of p49a, f TaqI RFLP Y-chromosome variation in Egypt: a consideration of multiple lines of evidence
journal = Am J Hum Biol
volume = 17
issue = 5
pages = 559–67
pmid=16136533
url = http://www.homestead.com/wysinger/haplotypes_in_egypt.pdf
accessdate = 2007-10-12
doi = 10.1002/ajhb.20428
]

Craniometric and other characteristics

Studies performed to determine the population characteristics of ancient Egyptians have also used the methods of craniometric pattern and examined the variation of skeletal remains. A 2007 study which examined craniometric variation among ancient Egyptians of the predynastic and early dynastic periods found high levels of diversity but concluded that the formation of the Egyptian state was predominantly indigenous in development, with some, but limited migration from elsewhere.cite journal | author = Zakrzewski, S.R. | year = 2007 | title = Population continuity or population change: Formation of the ancient Egyptian state | journal = American Journal of Physical Anthropology | volume = 132| issue = 4 | pages = 501–509 | url=http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=17295300&dopt=Citation | doi = 10.1002/ajpa.20569] A craniofacial study by C. Loring Brace et al. concluded that; "The Predynastic of Upper Egypt and the Late Dynastic of Lower Egypt are more closely related to each other than to any other population" and that they show ties with North African, Somalian, European, Nubian and, more remotely, Indian populations, but not with Sub-Saharan Africans or populations from other continents. [Brace et al., 'Clines and clusters versus "race"' (1993)] Anthropologist Shomarka Keita and geneticist Rick Kittles have criticized this study, stating: ""Another example of the use of a socially constructed typological paradigm is in studies of the Nile Valley populations in which the concept of a biological African is restricted to those with a particular craniometric pattern (called in the past the 'True Negro' though no 'True White' was ever defined). Early Nubians, Egyptians, and even Somalians are viewed essentially as non-Africans, when in fact numerous lines of evidence and an evolutionary model make them a part of African biocultural/ biogeographical history." [S.O.Y. Keita and Rick A. Kittles,' The Persistence of Racial Thinking and the Myth of Racial Divergence', American Anthropologist (Vol. 99, no. 3, 1997), pp. 534-44; pp. 534, 540.]

In addition, a 2005 study by Keita of Badarian crania in predynastic upper Egypt in comparison to North and Central European and tropical African crania found "a greater affinity to indigenous Africans while not being identical" than with Europeans. [S.O.Y. Keita. "Early Nile Valley Farmers from El-Badari: Aboriginals or "European" Agro-Nostratic Immigrants? Craniometric Affinities Considered With Other Data". Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 191-208 (2005)] According to Keita, "The results are not supportive of European agriculturalists colonizing el-Badari in the early- to mid-Holocene. The Badarian series evinces greater phenetic affinity with the tropical African comparative groups and, notably, the east African Teita. This affinity is relative and not to be taken as indicating identity." He adds that, "The dendrograms of Brace et al. (1993) would seem to illustrate in the main a facet of indigenous African diversity observed elsewhere: a subset of African series evincing similarity to non-African groups not primarily due to gene flow..." [op cit.]

Several anthropologists have identified northern and southern craniometric patterns in the Egyptian population of the early predynastic period, which Keita describes as "northern-Egyptian-Maghreb" and "tropical African variant" (overlapping with Nubia/Kush) respectively. He shows that a progressive change in Upper Egypt toward the northern Egyptian pattern takes place through the predynastic period, though the southern pattern continues to predominate in Abydos in Upper Egypt by the First Dynasty but lower Egyptian, Maghreb and European patterns are also observed thus making for a great diversity. [S.O.Y. Keita, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 87: 245-254 (1992)] A 2006 bioarchaeological study on the dental morphology of ancient Egyptians by Prof. Joel Irish shows that a continuity extends from the dynastic to the post-dynastic periods, and that the Egyptians exhibit dental traits characteristic of indigenous North Africans, and to a lesser extent, Southwest Asians. Also all samples particularly the ones from the dynastic are shown to be significantly divergent from neolithic west saharan sample from lower Nubia.cite journal | author = Irish, J.D. | year = 2006 | title = Who were the ancient Egyptians? Dental affinities among Neolithic through postdynastic peoples | journal = Am J Phys Anthropol | volume = 129 | pages = 529–543 | url = http://www.homestead.com/wysinger/who_were_egyptian.pdf | doi = 10.1002/ajpa.20261] Some studies have also shown that Nile Valley populations possessed more tropical body proportions, suggesting that the Egyptian Nile Valley was not primarily settled by cold-adapted peoples, such as Europeans.S.O.Y. Keita &A. J. Boyce. Egypt in Africa, (1996), pp. 25-27] cite journal
author = Zakrzewski, S.R.
year = 2003
title = Variation in ancient Egyptian stature and body proportions
journal = American Journal of Physical Anthropology
volume = 121
issue = 3
pages = 219–229
doi = 10.1002/ajpa.10223
]

cience and the "race" of ancient Egpytians

In summary, ancient Egypt is thought by many scholars to have been a melting pot of various Nile Valley, North African, Saharan and Levantine peoples since earliest times. Some theories have postulated that the ancient Egyptians received significant demographic influence from the Near East [Redford, Donald B., "Egypt, Israel, and Canaan in Ancient Times" (Princeton: University Press, 1992), p. 13.] while others postulate that the ancient Egyptians belonged to a primarily African descent group, with relatively little significant outside influences from the Near East. [Keita, op. cit.] Recent demographic analysis done by some anthropologists has led to the conclusion that there was an overall population continuity stretching from the Neolithic into dynastic times, with small amounts of foreign admixture. [Frank Yurco, "An Egyptological Review" in Mary R. Lefkowitz and Guy MacLean Rogers, eds. "Black Athena Revisited". Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996. p. 62-100] Jared Diamond states::"local hunter-gatherers simply added Southwest Asian domesticates and farming and herding techniques to their own diet of wild plants and animals, then gradually phased out the wild foods. That is, what arrived to launch food production in Egypt was foreign crops and animals, not foreign peoples" [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=b5Ob9SStce8C&pg=PA9&dq=guns+germ+steel&ei=3KkmR_qwD5f-ogLSqP2KBA&sig=eYjXEWAG-1lAhPNy04xeB5kKjjI#PPA101,M1 Guns Germs and Steel] ] [ [http://www.geog.umd.edu/homepage/courses/639D/HistoryHavesAndHaveNots.pdf Guns Germs and Steel, pages 101-102] ]

Archaeologist Bruce Trigger cites what he saw as a deliberate obfuscation of racial politics, asserting that the early Nile valley populations (including Egyptians) were all Africans and need not be defined by arbitrary constructs of race, devoid of any contextual significance.Bruce Trigger, 'Nubian, Negro, Black, Nilotic?', in Sylvia Hochfield and Elizabeth Riefstahl (eds), Africa in Antiquity: the arts of Nubia and the Sudan, Vol. 1 (New York, Brooklyn Museum, 1978).] Egyptologist Frank Yurco shared a similar sentiment, identifying Egyptian civilization as comprising a mix of North and sub-Saharan African elements that typified Egyptians ever since, and that the Egyptian people were generally coextensive with other Africans in the Nile valley. Many researchers note a wide range of variability in ancient Egypt and the Nile Valley, but assert that many Egyptians, especially southern, would be identified as "black" by American classification standards. [ [http://nubianet.org/about/about_people3.html The People: Ancient and Modern Ethnic Groups of Nubia] -nubianet.org, 1994-2001 Education Development Center, Inc.]

ee also

*Ancient DNA
*Ancient Near East
*Ethnic groups of the Middle East
*Genetic history of Europe
*Origin of Egyptians
*Origins of the Kurds
*Y-chromosomal Aaron
*Origin of the Nilotic peoples

References

Bibliography

*Cruciani, F.; La Fratta, R., Torroni, A., Underhill, P. A., Scozzari, R. (2006). "Molecular Dissection of the Y Chromosome Haplogroup E-M78 (E3b1a): A Posteriori Evaluation of a Microsatellite-Network-Based Approach Through Six New Biallelic Markers." Human Mutation 916 April 2006.
*King, R. J.; Ozcan, S. S., Carter, T., Kalfoglu, E., Atasoy, S., Triantaphyllidis, C., Kouvatsi, A., Lin, A. A., Chow, C-E. T., Zhivotovsky, L. A., Michalodimitrakis, M., Underhill, P. A., (2008). "Differential Y-chromosome Anatolian Influences on the Greek and Cretan Neolithic." Annals of Human Genetics 72 Issue 2 March 2008: 205-214.
*Shen, P; Lavi T, Kivisild T, Chou V, Sengun D, Gefel D, Shpirer I, Woolf E, Hillel J, Feldman MW, Oefner PJ (2004). "Reconstruction of Patrilineages and Matrilineages of Samaritans and Other Israeli Populations From Y-Chromosome and Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Variation." Human Mutation 24: 248-260
*Zalloua, P., Wells, S. (2004) “Who Were the Phoenicians?” National Geographic Magazine, October 2004.


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