Ancient DNA in human bones from Neolithic and Bronze Age sites in Greece and Crete

Elizabeth R. Chilvers, Abigail S. Bouwman, Keri A. Brown, Robert G. Arnott, A. John N W Prag, Terence A. Brown

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Attempts were made to detect ancient DNA (aDNA) in samples of 88 human skeletons from eight Neolithic and Bronze Age sites in Greece and Crete. Ancient DNA was absent in specimens from Nea Nikomedia, Lerna, Karaviádena (Zakro), Antron Grave Circle A and Mycenae Grave Circle A. For each of three skeletons from Antron Grave Circle B that were sampled, polymerase chain reactions (PCRs) gave products for nuclear but not mitochondrial DNA, but amplicon yield was low and inconsistent with replicate PCRs failing to give reproducible results. With specimens from Mycenae Grave Circle B, evidence for mitochondrial aDNA was obtained for four of the 22 skeletons that were studied, and at Kouphovouno evidence for mitochondrial and/or nuclear aDNA was obtained with eight of the 20 skeletons that were examined. We conclude that, although aDNA might be present in some Eastern Mediterranean skeletons from later centuries of the Bronze Age, it is not commonly found in material from this period and is likely to be absent from older material. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2707-2714
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008


    • Ancient DNA
    • Bones
    • Bronze Age
    • DNA extraction
    • Greece
    • Mitochondrial DNA
    • Polymerase chain reaction


    Dive into the research topics of 'Ancient DNA in human bones from Neolithic and Bronze Age sites in Greece and Crete'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this