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

Population interaction during the Hungarian Early to Middle Copper Age: A biological distance study using dental metric and nonmetric traits


Southeast Archeological Center, National Park Service, Department of Anthropology, Florida State University

Friday 10:30-10:45, 200ABC Add to calendar

This study examined population interactions on the Hungarian Plain using frequencies of dental non-metric traits and dental measurements. Archaeological evidence had indicated intensified interaction, trade, and settlement dispersals during the Early to Middle Copper Age, but it was not understood how these cultural shifts affected gene flow between populations across the Hungarian Plain. Genetic variability can be used to infer the possible nature of interactions between populations. It was hypothesized that intensified population interaction resulted in increased gene flow and limited phenotypic variability between populations.

Seven cemeteries were sampled for comparison using biological distance statistics. Phenotypic differences in the dentition were used to examine genetic variability between and within cemeteries. Dental metrics were compared using Relethford-Blangero analysis, and frequencies of dental non-metric traits were compared using Smith’s Mean Measure of Divergence. Phenotypic differences between males and females within cemeteries were also examined to infer possible post-martial residence patterns using comparisons of variance in dental metrics.

Phenotypic analyses revealed overall genetic homogeneity across the Plain, but there were subtle genetic differences between the cemetery samples. Only one cemetery exhibited higher than expected phenotypic variance. These data support a model of increased gene flow between populations during a period of intensified trade and interaction. The genetic differences between males and females within cemeteries were limited suggesting relatively equivalent amounts of gene flow among both sexes. No post-marital residence model could be proposed for these data. These data will provide valuable insight into Copper Age social relations taken in conjunction with archaeological data.

This work was made possible through support provided by the National Science Foundation and Florida State University

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