1Biology, Middle East Technical University, 2Archaeology, Stockholm University, 3Anthropology, Hacettepe University, 4Computer Science, Bilkent University, 5Anthropology, Stanford University, 6Prehistory, University of Bordeaux, 7Anthropology, Ohio State University, 8Prehistory, Istanbul University, 9Archaeology, University of Liverpool, 10Evolutionary Biology, University of Uppsala
April 16, 2016 10:15, A 602
Sedentism, farming, and herding in West Eurasia first started in the Fertile Crescent around 11,500 BP. From there, Neolithic culture spread into Central Anatolia and the East Mediterranean, and eventually, reached Southwestern Europe. The demographic dynamics behind these processes has long been of interest. Recent archaeogenomics studies showed that the arrival of farming in West Europe happened through migrating Neolithic populations. But where had these migrations themselves initiated? Based on material culture studies, it has been suggested that Neolithic culture first spread from Central Anatolia to the Aegean Sea and the Balkans, by cultural diffusion. But this hypothesis has not yet been tested by genetic data. Here we address this question by screening the genomes of 15 Central Anatolian individuals from different Neolithic sites (10,000-8,000 BP). Four of these were sequenced to >0.1X coverage, and the data was combined with published Neolithic genomes. Our results indicate that Central Anatolian Neolithic individuals genetically resembled the first migrant Neolithic populations found in Europe, rather than modern-day Anatolians. At the same time, Central Anatolian Neolithic individuals appear to cluster together, to the exclusion of other Neolithic populations. Using simulations, we evaluate demographic models that could explain these patterns. Our results suggest that the migration processes that eventually reached Southwestern Europe around 8,000 BP had their demographic roots directly within the Near East, but possibly not in Central Anatolia, in line with the cultural diffusion hypothesis. We discuss our results in the context of material cultural exchange patterns of the Neolithic period.
This study has been supported by a Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) grant (114Z927) to M.S.