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Spread of agriculture in Europe through migration and interbreeding: a gender issue?

Abstract : The spread of agriculture in Europe is an emblematic episode of prehistoric migrations. While the material data from the early Neolithic testify to an "off-ground" culture from exogenous origin, the paleogenetic data record the displacement of Anatolian populations to the western reaches of the European continent. The modalities of this miscegenation between the last hunter-gatherers and the migrant farmers remain an issue of current research. In particular, taking into account local cultural specificities, the uniparental genetic markers (mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome) make it possible to discuss the relative share of men and women in the interbreeding between local population and migrants.We focus in the Cerny culture (5th mill BC, Paris Basin) which evokes on a material and funeral level a late acculturation of hunter-gatherers according to a number of graves exhibiting items linked to the Mesolithic world. Our study is based on a coherent set of 20 individuals through the sequencing of complete mitochondrial (mt) genomes, compared to forty European and transchronological populations derived from paleogenetic literature. On a mitogenetic point of view, our results show that Cerny population is similar to other Neolithic farmers population, with a limited amount of introgression of genetic markers from “Mesolithic” origin. Moreover, at the individual scale, the dead buried with grave goods referring to Mesolithic are not those who present "mesolithic" mt genetic markers, excluding thus any inheritance of such social trait by the biological maternal way. While the female descendent of local Mesolithic populations have apparently made little contribution to the Cerny's genetic heritage, the exacerbation of hunting and the wild world in the funeral world of the group could be linked to the paternal lineage. This hypothesis is supported by a funeral organization extremely codified, putting in the center of the device some men "hunters" and making women an entity quasi-invisible.
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Contributor : Aline Thomas <>
Submitted on : Thursday, April 23, 2020 - 3:47:36 PM
Last modification on : Friday, November 27, 2020 - 3:21:38 AM

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  • HAL Id : mnhn-02552423, version 1

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Solène Delon, Céline Bon, Aline Thomas. Spread of agriculture in Europe through migration and interbreeding: a gender issue?. 24th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists, Session 752 Gender in Movement, 2018, Barcelona, Spain. ⟨mnhn-02552423⟩

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