DNA increases our understanding of contact between Stone Age cultures


Picture: The guy in grave fifty four from the Ajvide Pitted Ware burial floor on Gotland is buried flat on his back again, which is common of Pitted Ware graves.
view more 

Credit history: Göran Burenhult

What form of interactions did the a variety of Stone Age cultures have with a person another? In a new interdisciplinary examine, scientists have combined archaeological and genetic information and facts to better realize Fight Axe cultural influences discovered in graves of the Pitted Ware lifestyle. The results are released in the American Journal of Actual physical Anthropology.

Archaeological remains have demonstrated that in the middle part the Stone Age, there have been at minimum a few diverse but partially contemporary cultural groups in Sweden. The groups are usually identified as: Funnel Beaker lifestyle, which is associated with Scandinavia’s first farmers Pitted Ware lifestyle, which is generally connected to fishing and searching and Fight Axe lifestyle, which represents a blended lifestyle of herding and farming.

In addition to sustaining themselves in diverse ways, the a few groups had diverse burial rituals and diverse varieties of objects. The study staff driving the new examine has earlier been able to display that persons in the a few cultural groups also differed genetically.

The genetic mapping the scientists did at that time was a must have as they investigated why some Pitted Ware graves appeared to be motivated by the Fight Axe lifestyle, even even though the two cultures lived reasonably in different ways all through their hundreds of years of co-existence.

Gotland has a number of massive, nicely-preserved cemeteries with common Pitted Ware lifestyle graves. The lifeless have been generally buried lying on their backs and with items, this kind of as searching resources and bones from seals, amongst other points. Neither massive stone blocks nor mounds have been put on the graves.

“In addition to the common Pitted Ware graves, there have been also a number of atypical graves with obvious influences from Fight Axe lifestyle. For illustration, some people have been buried lying on their sides with their legs pulled up, and some had struggle axes as burial items, which is generally associated with Fight Axe lifestyle,” suggests Professor Jan Storå, archaeologist at Stockholm College and a person of the authors of the examine.

The scientists have analysed DNA from twenty five Stone Age people from 4 Pitted Ware lifestyle burial grounds on Gotland. About 50 {0841e0d75c8d746db04d650b1305ad3fcafc778b501ea82c6d7687ee4903b11a} of the people have been buried in common Pitted Ware lifestyle graves and the other 50 {0841e0d75c8d746db04d650b1305ad3fcafc778b501ea82c6d7687ee4903b11a} of the graves showed influences from Fight Axe lifestyle.

To their shock, the scientists found that none of the people have been genetically related to persons from Fight Axe lifestyle. On the contrary, everybody appeared to belong to a quite homogeneous group that shown the most genetic similarity to the hunter-gatherer groups of previously periods.

“This is a unique examine that contributes to our knowing of the interactions concerning the cultural groups of the Stone Age. We can conclude that persons in Pitted Ware lifestyle have been motivated by, amongst some others, Fight Axe lifestyle, but for the reason that we found no genetic relationship concerning the groups, make contact with was probably in the sort of trade and other usually means, fairly than by means of migration,” suggests Helena Malmström, archaeogeneticist at Uppsala College and a person of the authors of the examine.


The examine is a part of the interdisciplinary Atlas Task, exactly where scientists are learning prehistoric population styles in Scandinavia and Eurasia by means of genetic knowledge from prehistoric people.

Additional about:

Funnel Beaker lifestyle:
Scandinavia’s first farming lifestyle, which sustained by itself with farming and livestock.
Existed concerning four,800 and 6,000 many years ago.
Located in southern and central Sweden and in northern parts of continental Europe.
Experienced attribute ceramics with funnel-shaped necks.
Used so-identified as megalithic graves, stone monuments in which a massive variety of persons have been buried.
Megalithic graves have been most common in Scania, alongside the west coast and in Falbygden in Västergötland.
Persons buried in Funnel Beaker graves have been most genetically equivalent to early farmers from Anatolia and continental Europe.
They vary genetically from previously Stone Age hunter-gatherers.

Fight Axe lifestyle:
Named immediately after their attribute axes.
Arrived immediately after Funnel Beaker lifestyle and have been contemporaries of the later on phase of Pitted Ware lifestyle.
Usually described as a blended herding and farming lifestyle.
Existed concerning four,three hundred and four,800 many years ago.
Located largely in southern and central Sweden.
Joined to continental European Corded Ware lifestyle.
Primarily had single or double graves in which the lifeless have been put lying on their sides, with their legs pulled up.
Persons found in Fight Axe lifestyle graves display a new genetic component that is not existing in the persons of the Funnel Beaker or Pitted Ware cultures. This makes them a new group of migrating persons in the location with connections to Japanese Steppe herders.

Pitted Ware lifestyle:
Named immediately after the attribute pitted ornamentation of their ceramics.
Existed concerning four,400 and five,400 many years ago.
Partly contemporaries first with Funnel Beaker lifestyle and then with Fight Axe lifestyle.
Primarily lived in coastal regions and on Gotland, Öland and Åland.
Lived on fishing and searching, including seal.
Usually buried their lifeless lying on their backs in single or double graves.
Persons buried in Pitted Ware lifestyle graves have been genetically equivalent to previously Scandinavian hunter-gatherers.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not accountable for the accuracy of information releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information and facts by means of the EurekAlert technique.