More On Article
- Identification and quantification of projectile impact marks on bone: new experimental insights using osseous points
- The 10,000-year biocultural history of fallow deer and its implications for conservation policy
- Stable population structure in Europe since the Iron Age, despite high mobility
- Adopt, Adapt, and Share! FAIR Archeological Data for Studying Roman Rural Landscapes in Northern Noricum.
- HEAS Member Peter Steier publishes paper on dating Austria's Lake Neusiedl
Essel, E., Zavala, E.I., Schulz-Kornas, E., Kozlikin, M.B., Fewlass, H., Vernot, B., Shunkov, M.V., Derevianko, A.P., Douka, K., Barnes, I., Soulier, M.-C., Schmidt, A., Szymanski, M., Tsanova, T., Sirakov, N., Endarova, E., McPherron, S.P., Hublin, J.-J., Kelso, J., Pääbo, S., Hajdinjak, M., Soressi, M., Meyer, M., 2023. Ancient human DNA recovered from a Palaeolithic pendant. Nature.
Artefacts made from stones, bones and teeth are fundamental to our understanding of human subsistence strategies, behaviour and culture in the Pleistocene. Although these resources are plentiful, it is impossible to associate artefacts to specific human individuals1 who can be morphologically or genetically characterized, unless they are found within burials, which are rare in this time period. Thus, our ability to discern the societal roles of Pleistocene individuals based on their biological sex or genetic ancestry is limited2,3,4,5. Here we report the development of a non-destructive method for the gradual release of DNA trapped in ancient bone and tooth artefacts. Application of the method to an Upper Palaeolithic deer tooth pendant from Denisova Cave, Russia, resulted in the recovery of ancient human and deer mitochondrial genomes, which allowed us to estimate the age of the pendant at approximately 19,000–25,000 years. Nuclear DNA analysis identifies the presumed maker or wearer of the pendant as a female individual with strong genetic affinities to a group of Ancient North Eurasian individuals who lived around the same time but were previously found only further east in Siberia. Our work redefines how cultural and genetic records can be linked in prehistoric archaeology.