Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten

People of the Dolmens and Stone Cists: An archaeogenetic Investigation of Megalithic Graves from the Neolithic Period on Gotland

  • Datum:
  • Plats: Geijersalen, Engelska parken, Thunbergsv. 3P, Uppsala
  • Doktorand: Fraser, Magdalena
  • Om avhandlingen
  • Arrangör: Arkeologi
  • Kontaktperson: Fraser, Magdalena
  • Disputation

In this thesis I explore how genetic analyses, in combination with contextual radiocarbon dating and isotopic analyses for diet and mobility can be used to investigate demographic events on a local and regional level. This is done through the investigation of people buried in five previously excavated megalithic tombs on the Island of Gotland dated to the Neolithic period.

The study of ancient genomics of pre-historic human remains has in recent years offered unprecedented knowledge regarding pre-historic migration and population structure on the European continent which has fundamentally altered the current views in the archaeological community. However, the merging of the two fields, archaeology and genetics, is still in its infancy and much work is still needed in order for these fields to integrate. In this thesis I explore how genetic analyses, in combination with contextual radiocarbon dating and isotopic analyses for diet and mobility can be used to investigate demographic events on a local and regional level. This is done through the investigation of people buried in five previously excavated megalithic tombs on the Island of Gotland dated to the Neolithic period. I present the genomic population structure and archaeological background for the pre-historic European reference data and show how this is used to investigate population continuity, demographic shifts, cultural duality, and admixture for local and regional contexts. I present new data and explore the Strontium-baseline for the Gotland biosphere which is used for the mobility analyses. I show that mitochondrial haplogroup data is especially useful in combination with isotopic data, and radiocarbon dating for investigation of demographic shifts on a larger scale. I also show that genomic data gives unique insights into the individuals’ life history which, together with the established demographic background allows for fine scale investigation of population demographic events within and between different archaeological contexts. Finally I show that the different Neolithic contexts on Gotland to a large extent involves immigration of new groups to the island, and that the contextual breaks seen in the archaeological record during the Neolithic period are connected with cultural and population demographic shifts. This dissertation demonstrates that genomic analyses, in combination with archaeology and isotopic analyses, as well as contextual osteological analyses and radiocarbon dating, present unique insights into the life history of the actual people who lived the lives we try to understand.