The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)


Genetic characterization of the Roman/Parthian Period cemetery at Tall Šēḫ Ḥamad, Syria

JENNIFER G.L. KENNEDY and D. A. MERRIWETHER.

Anthropology, Binghamton University, SUNY

Thursday 4, Park Concourse Add to calendar

The site of Tall Šēḫ Ḥamad presents a unique opportunity to conduct genetic analysis of past populations due to its location at a political boundary and distinct duration of occupations. Tall Šēḫ Ḥamad is hypothesized to be one of many small, but strategically important outposts used to defend the Roman Empire from Persian invasions during the Roman/Parthian period (0-300 CE) (Edwell 2008). However, due to its relatively small size and limited resources, the site was potentially abandoned and occupied multiple times over roughly four hundred years, creating a varied archaeological context played out in mortuary practices and other remains (Edwell 2008; Butcher 2003; Novak et al. 2000). Molecular profiles or ‘molecular biographies’ of an individual’s remains provide a more complete understanding of populations in the past. This study presents forty molecular profiles of individuals from the Roman/Parthian period at Tall Šēḫ Ḥamad, Syria in conjunction with archaeological mortuary evidence to assess their cultural and biological characteristics.

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