Crete’s late Minoan tombs point way to early European migration

Prehistoric Archaeology Blog — Researchers from the University of Huddersfield have have completed their visit  to Crete where they gathered samples from the late Bronze Age Necropolis of Armenoi, 8 kms south of the town of Rethymnon,  one of the world’s finest archaeological sites.

Dr Ceiridwen Edwards and PhD student George Foody were permitted to take bone samples and teeth from over 110 of the more than 600 skeletons discovered in the Necropolis at Armenoi, a burial site from the Late Minoan period dating to more than 4,000 years ago.

DNA analysis of the ancient skeletal remains could provide fresh insights into the origins of European civilisation.

The Huddersfield researchers – part of a team that included colleagues from Oxford University and the Hellenic Archaeological Research Foundation – also took DNA swabs from more than 100 contemporary Cretans. They sought people whose grandmothers were from Crete in order to analyse links to the Minoan period.

When the ancient DNA samples are compared with those of modern Cretans, there is the potential to find solutions to many issues surrounding the ancient migration of people and culture to an island where the Bronze Age Minoans and their successors the Mycenaeans laid foundations for later European civilisation and culture.

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