The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

*PRESENTATION WITHDRAWN* Ancient DNA from the Angel Mounds Archaeological Site


Anthropology, Indiana University

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Angel Mounds is a Middle Mississippian archaeological site (ca. A.D. 1050-1400) on the Ohio River in southwestern Indiana. Beginning in the WPA era and continuing through the mid-1970s, the remains of over 200 individuals were excavated from Angel Mounds. These remains are now curated at the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology at Indiana University in Bloomington, where they are utilized in bioarchaeological research. The current report summarizes the results of the Angel Mounds ancient DNA project in which 100 individuals were tested for the presence of mitochondrial DNA using standard ancient DNA methods. Unfortunately, many individuals in the Angel Mounds skeletal series were affected by poor DNA preservation, which can be attributed to the sun drying of human bones during excavation. Standard protocol in ancient DNA research requires the confirmation of genotypic data through two independent DNA extractions; however, due to the DNA degradation of the Angel Mounds skeletal series, confirmation was not always possible. Given this issue, the results presented in this report must be considered with caution. Mitochondrial haplogroups were assigned to 25 individuals at the following frequencies: A2 – 52%, B2 – 4%, C1 – 20%, C4c – 8%, D1 – 12%. These haplogroup frequencies were not significantly different from what was reported in similar studies of Midwestern archaeological samples. This project reinforces the fact that ancient DNA research may be adversely affected by excavation methods and/or long periods of curation.

This research was funded by the Indiana Academy of Science.

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