Friday, May 27, 2016

Genetic analysis of an ancient Carthaginian

PUNIC WATCH: DNA Captured From 2,500-Year-Old Phoenician. Analysis of the ancient man's DNA reveal he had European ancestry (Rossella Lorenzi, Seeker).
Researchers have sequenced the complete mitochondrial genome of a 2,500-year-old Phoenician, showing the ancient man had European ancestry.

This is the first ancient DNA to be obtained from Phoenician remains.

Known as “Ariche,” the young man came from Byrsa, a walled citadel above the harbor of ancient Carthage. Byrsa was attacked by the Roman general Scipio Aemilianus “Africanus” in the Third Punic War. It was destroyed by Rome in 146 B.C.

2,700-Year-Old Phoenician Shipwreck Discovered

Ariche’s remains were discovered in 1994 on the southern flank of Bursa hill when a man planting trees fell into the ancient grave.

Analysis of the skeleton revealed the man died between the age of 19 and 24, had a rather robust physique and was 1.7 meters (5’6″) tall. He may have belonged to the Carthaginian elite, as he was buried with gems, scarabs, amulets and other artifacts.

Technically, he was a Carthaginian, not a Phoenician. (Hence, Punic Watch rather than Phoenician Watch.) The Phoenicians founded the city-state of Carthage in North Africa, but in this case Ariche's genetic profile is anomalous. Read the whole article for details. Past posts on Phoenician genetics (which, perhaps not surprisingly, seem to have some overlap with Jewish genetics) are here, here, and here. And there is lots more on Jewish genetics here and links. Cross-file under Technology Watch.