Variable kinship patterns in Neolithic Anatolia revealed by ancient genomes

Yaka, Reyhan
Mapelli, Igor
Kaptan, Damla
Doğu, Ayça
Chyleński, Maciej
Erdal, Ömür Dilek
Koptekin, Dilek
Vural, Kıvılcım Başak
Bayliss, Alex
Mazzucato, Camilla
Fer, Evrim
Çokoğlu, Sevim Seda
Lagerholm, Vendela Kempe
Krzewińska, Maja
Karamurat, Cansu
Gemici, Hasan Can
Sevkar, Arda
Dağtaş, Nihan Dilşad
Kılınç, Gülşah Merve
Adams, Donovan
Munters, Arielle R.
Sağlıcan, Ekin
Milella, Marco
Schotsmans, Eline M.J.
Yurtman, Erinç
Çetin, Mehmet
Yorulmaz, Sevgi
Altınışık, Nefize Ezgi
Ghalichi, Ayshin
Juras, Anna
Bilgin, Cemal Can
Günther, Torsten
Storå, Jan
Jakobsson, Mattias
De Kleijn, Maurice
Mustafaoğlu, Gökhan
Fairbairn, Andrew
Pearson, Jessica
Togan, İnci
Kayacan, Nurcan
Marciniak, Arkadiusz
Larsen, Clark Spencer
Hodder, Ian
Atakuman, Çiğdem
Pilloud, Marion
Sürer, Elif
Gerritsen, Fokke
Özbal Gerrıtsen, Rana Deniz
Baird, Douglas
Erdal, Yılmaz Selim
Duru, Güneş
Özbaşaran, Mihriban
Haddow, Scott D.
Knüsel, Christopher J.
Götherström, Anders
Özer, Füsun
Somel, Mehmet
The social organization of the first fully sedentary societies that emerged during the Neolithic period in Southwest Asia remains enigmatic,1 mainly because material culture studies provide limited insight into this issue. However, because Neolithic Anatolian communities often buried their dead beneath domestic buildings,2 household composition and social structure can be studied through these human remains. Here, we describe genetic relatedness among co-burials associated with domestic buildings in Neolithic Anatolia using 59 ancient genomes, including 22 new genomes from Aşıklı Höyük and Çatalhöyük. We infer pedigree relationships by simultaneously analyzing multiple types of information, including autosomal and X chromosome kinship coefficients, maternal markers, and radiocarbon dating. In two early Neolithic villages dating to the 9th and 8th millennia BCE, Aşıklı Höyük and Boncuklu, we discover that siblings and parent-offspring pairings were frequent within domestic structures, which provides the first direct indication of close genetic relationships among co-burials. In contrast, in the 7th millennium BCE sites of Çatalhöyük and Barcın, where we study subadults interred within and around houses, we find close genetic relatives to be rare. Hence, genetic relatedness may not have played a major role in the choice of burial location at these latter two sites, at least for subadults. This supports the hypothesis that in Çatalhöyük,3, 4, 5 and possibly in some other Neolithic communities, domestic structures may have served as burial location for social units incorporating biologically unrelated individuals. Our results underscore the diversity of kin structures in Neolithic communities during this important phase of sociocultural development. Keywords
Current Biology


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The Neolithic Transition to village life and food production first emerged in the Fertile Crescent (c.10th and early 9th millennium BCE) and fundamentally reshaped human history. Although this transition involved major changes in human lifestyle, the social organization and traditions of the earliest sedentary communities is poorly understood. Here, we investigate genetic relatedness patterns among co-buried individuals within domestic structures in Neolithic Anatolia by studying 22 newly generated ancient ...
Citation Formats
R. Yaka et al., “Variable kinship patterns in Neolithic Anatolia revealed by ancient genomes,” Current Biology, pp. 1–14, 2021, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: