The genomic history of the Aegean palatial civilizations

Florian Clemente, Martina Unterländer, Olga Dolgova, Carlos Eduardo G. Amorim, Francisco Coroado-Santos, Samuel Neuenschwander, Elissavet Ganiatsou, Diana I. Cruz Dávalos, Lucas Anchieri, Frédéric Michaud, Laura Winkelbach, Jens Blöcher, Yami Ommar Arizmendi Cárdenas, Bárbara Sousa da Mota, Eleni Kalliga, Angelos Souleles, Ioannis Kontopoulos, Georgia Karamitrou-Mentessidi, Olga Philaniotou, Adamantios SampsonDimitra Theodorou, Metaxia Tsipopoulou, Ioannis Akamatis, Paul Halstead, Kostas Kotsakis, Dushka Urem-Kotsou, Diamantis Panagiotopoulos, Christina Ziota, Sevasti Triantaphyllou, Olivier Delaneau, Jeffrey D. Jensen, J. Víctor Moreno-Mayar, Joachim Burger, Vitor C. Sousa, Oscar Lao, Anna Sapfo Malaspinas, Christina Papageorgopoulou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The Cycladic, the Minoan, and the Helladic (Mycenaean) cultures define the Bronze Age (BA) of Greece. Urbanism, complex social structures, craft and agricultural specialization, and the earliest forms of writing characterize this iconic period. We sequenced six Early to Middle BA whole genomes, along with 11 mitochondrial genomes, sampled from the three BA cultures of the Aegean Sea. The Early BA (EBA) genomes are homogeneous and derive most of their ancestry from Neolithic Aegeans, contrary to earlier hypotheses that the Neolithic-EBA cultural transition was due to massive population turnover. EBA Aegeans were shaped by relatively small-scale migration from East of the Aegean, as evidenced by the Caucasus-related ancestry also detected in Anatolians. In contrast, Middle BA (MBA) individuals of northern Greece differ from EBA populations in showing ∼50% Pontic-Caspian Steppe-related ancestry, dated at ca. 2,600-2,000 BCE. Such gene flow events during the MBA contributed toward shaping present-day Greek genomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2565-2586.e21
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 13 2021


  • Anatolia
  • Bronze Age
  • Cycladic civilization
  • Greece
  • Helladic civilization
  • Minoan civilization
  • Mycenean civilization
  • ancient DNA
  • paleogenomics
  • population genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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