Science Podcasts

Question of the Week episode

Tue, 8th Oct 2013

Who's your Bronze Age Ancestor?

Mycenaean warrior on a Bronze Age krater vase  (c) Angelos Popadopoulos

This week we dig into our pasts and uncover how related we are to Bronze Age locals.

Listen Now    Download as mp3

In this edition of Question of the Week

 

  • Mycenaean warrior on a Bronze Age krater vase  (c) Angelos Popadopoulos

    Am I a relative of a Bronze Age local?

    Whatís the chance, percentage wise of me being a relative of someone living in this area, Belgium, in about 1000 or 2000 BC? Ras, from Belgium

 

Multimedia

Subscribe Free

Related Content

Comments

Make a comment

Lots of factors to take into account... I dont know if you could calculate the probability to a fixed value.. (calling statiticians)

Your family history and the history of your locality would play MASSIVE parts to figuring out a probability.

In Scotland say, (the only place in the world I know where redheads are very prevalent) having red hair would increase the liklihood that you were descended from the native population there (guessing that a redheaded population didn't drive out the native non redhead population)

Everywhere else.. it is mind bogglingly difficult to even quantify who the native populations were in the bronze age, no matter trace their movements, whether they always stayed there or were wiped out in a plague or battle, whether the bloodline steadily declined by not having enough descendants.

My fiancee is Pontian, which is now turkey, from a town that is considered armenian, that they are considered greek.. now it is impossible to know if the greeks came from pontus, or went to pontus, they were forgotten about in alexander the greats time and he was surprised to find people speaking his language there.. and they CAN trace their bloodline to the bronze age settlements due to them preserving their language (very close to ancient Greek).

As you see, unless you can find enough data in history to support people living there continuously from the bronze age, history is VERY clouded and any probability would be arbitrary numbers plucked from the air, based upon fluff and gambits.  SimpleEngineer, Wed, 2nd Oct 2013

I recall a story from 15 years ago about archaeologists who unearthed prehistoric human bones in the UK and discovered some useable DNA inside.
After the lab analyzed the prehistoric sample, they compared those results to the local population and found one man, a school teacher, who was a descendant of that prehistoric resident.
I don't have the original article, only these bare facts. Does anyone out there recall this story? diverjohn, Sat, 5th Oct 2013

n 1903 the grave was discovered of "Cheddar Man" in Gough's Cave, Cheddar Gorge. It has been carbon dated to approx 7150 BC and is Britain's oldest complete skeleton.
In 1996 samples of its mitochondrial DNA were compared with samples from 20 volunteers among the villagers in the present-day Cheddar district. There were two exact matches and one match with a single mutation. The two exact matches were schoolchildren and their names were not released. The close match was Mr Adrian Targett, a 42-year old history teacher at the Kings of Wessex Community School in Cheddar village.
This proved that a man living in the late 20th Century was a direct descendant through the maternal line of a person living in the same locality in the Middle Stone Age. It also suggests that a substantial proportion of people in modern Britain form part of kinship groups which have had continuous existence for three or four hundred generations.
Reference: "The Isles: a History" by Norman Davies Dave Dee, Sun, 13th Oct 2013

See the whole discussion | Make a comment

Not working please enable javascript
Wellcome Trust
EPSRC
STFC
Genetics Society
ipDTL