Colloquium: Population Genetics of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Period in Greece

  • Date:       Thursday 8 March 2018
  • Time:      16:00 - 17:00
  • Venue:    The Cyprus Institute – Guy Ourisson Building, Seminar Room, 1st Floor, Athalassa Campus
  • Speaker: Dr Christina Papageorgopoulou, Associate Professor, Physical Anthropology at the Department of History and Ethnology at the Democritus University of Thrace

* The colloquium will be in English, the event is open to the public, light refreshments will be served after the talk.
 

Abstract 

Recent palaeogenomic data indicate that migration played a major role in the spread of farming into central Europe. However, conspicuous uncertainties remained about the relative roles of migration, cultural diffusion and admixture in the early Neolithisation of southeastern Europe. 

The talk will focus on palaeogenomic data for Neolithic individuals from northwestern Turkey and northern Greece – spanning the time and region of the earliest spread of farming into Europe. We observe striking genetic similarity between early farmers in both regions, and with Early Neolithic genomes from Hungary, Germany, and Spain, supporting demic colonisation from northwestern Anatolia and northern Greece to the rest of Europe. 

These data also indicate low but significant admixture with in-situ hunter-gatherers during this early phase of farming spread, prior to its arrival in central Europe.

Our study demonstrates a direct genetic link between both Mediterranean and Central European early farmers and those of Greece and Anatolia, extending the European Neolithic migratory chain all the way back to southwestern Asia (Hofmanova et al., 2016, PNAS). I will also present preliminary palaeogenomic data from Early Early Bronze Age sites of Greek mainland, Cyclades and Crete will add novel insights to the early genomic history of prehistoric Aegeans.

About the Speaker
Dr. Christina Papageorgopoulou is an Associate Professor of Physical Anthropology at the Department of History and Ethnology at the Democritus University of Thrace. She holds a Master from the University of Florence (2002) and a PhD from the University of Basel (2008). She worked as a lecturer at the University of Basel, as a research assistant at the University of Zurich's Institute of Anatomy and in various archaeological institutes both in Greece and in Switzerland (2003-2010). In 2010, as a post-doctoral fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt foundation, she conducted a post-doctoral research for two years on palaeogenetics of the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in SE Europe, at the University of Mainz in Germany.

She has been the principal investigator of several research projects in Switzerland, Germany and Greece. Her main publications and research interests concern new methods in palaeopathology, variability in human growth and development, and Aegean prehistory from a population genetic perspective. She is currently working on palaeogenomics of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Aegean and demography, diet and genomics of classical Antiquity and especially of the Greek Colonial expansion (8th-5th c. AD).