Category Archives: Ancient DNA

DNA tests begin on bones of ‘King Canute’

King CanuteDNA analysis of the oldest royal bones in England has begun at Winchester Cathedral.
Experts could finally be on the verge of resolving an internationally-significant mystery that has perplexed historians for centuries.

Rare sarcophagus, Egyptian scarab found in Israel

Sarcophagus at Tel ShadudJERUSALEM (AP) – Israeli archaeologists have unearthed a rare sarcophagus featuring a slender face and a scarab ring inscribed with the name of an Egyptian pharaoh, Israel’s Antiquities Authority said Wednesday.
The mystery man whose skeleton was found inside the sarcophagus was most likely a local Canaanite official in the service of ancient Egypt, Israeli archaeologists believe, shining a light on a period when pharaohs governed the region.

Black Death skeletons unearthed by Crossrail project

CarverSkeletons unearthed in London Crossrail excavations are Black Death victims from the great pandemic of the 14th Century, forensic tests indicate.
Their teeth contain DNA from the plague bacterium Yersinia pestis and their graves have been dated to 1348-50

500- Year-Old Inca Mummy was Probably Sacrificed, Researchers Say

IncaMummyThe mummy was earlier considered to be a German bog body. But, latest study that included radiocarbon dating, DNA analysis and forensic reconstruction has shown that the mummy was actually a woman belonging to the Inca people and was probably sacrificed around 500 years ago. Researchers also found that she suffered from chronic Chagas disease.

Richard III DNA test sparks controversy

tdy_King_Richard_130204_vembedlarge456King Richard III has been dead for more than 500 years, but his bones continue to ignite fresh controversy.
The medieval king, unearthed from a Leicester parking lot in 2012, has been the center of debate over where and how his body should be reburied. Now, a plan to sequence the full genome of Richard III has brought new strife.

Tracing Ancestry, Researchers Produce a Genetic Atlas of Human Mixing Events

ChromosomeResearchers have found genetic evidence for hundreds of examples of the large-scale mixing of human populations in the past 4,000 years.

Richard III’s DNA decoded: Scientists to sequence King in car park’s genome

Richard 3London (CNN) — Scientists are to sequence the entire genome of Richard III — the King found buried beneath an English car parking lot — in an attempt to discover once and for all what the long-missing monarch really looked like.
Experts hope the project will reveal the color of Richard’s hair and eyes, and uncover the genetic markers for any health conditions he suffered, or might have been at risk of, had he not been killed, aged just 32, at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

Ancient Skeletons Dug Up at Florence’s Uffizi

Fort Unburied SkeletonsWork to expand the Uffizi Gallery’s exhibit space has unearthed an ancient cemetery with dozens of skeletons archaeologists say might have been victims of the plague or some other epidemic that swept through Florence during the 4th or 5th century.

Oldest Burial Yields DNA Evidence of First Americans

Clovis eraDNA harvested from the remains of an infant buried 13,000 years ago confirms that the earliest widespread culture in North America was descended from humans who crossed over to the New World from Asia, scientists say.

DNA of 7000-Year-Old Spanish Skeleton Reveals Details About Appearance

7000 yr old SkeletonScientists have just done something that would have been unimaginable even a few years ago—they have sequenced the entire set of DNA from a 7000-year-old Spaniard. And this isn’t all. They have also managed to learn that he was most likely a dark-skinned, blue or green-eyed man who had trouble digesting milk as an adult.

Richard III: a year since we found him

Richard IIIOn 4 February 2013, researchers at the University of Leicester announced that the twisted spine found in a car park was that of Richard III. We hear from some of those involved in the dig to find out what it has been like over the past year.

Which parts of us are Neanderthal? Our genes point to skin and hair

Neanderthal characteristicsA double-barreled comparison of ancient Neanderthal DNA with hundreds of modern-day genomes suggests that many of us have Neanderthal skin and hair traits — but other parts of the Neanderthal genome appear to have been bred out of us along the way.

New method rescues DNA from contaminated Neandertal bones

paleolithic-human-man-lgRetrieval of ancient DNA molecules is usually performed with special precautions to prevent DNA from researchers or the environment to get mixed in with the DNA from the fossil. However, many ancient fossils have been lying in museum collection for decades, and are contaminated with present-day human DNA before they enter the DNA-laboratory.

DNA from ancient plague points to modern peril

helix 7…Using DNA teased from 1,500-year-old teeth of plague victims buried in Germany, scientists have reconstructed the genetic profile of the killer and say its ability to mutate is a warning for people today…

Bone fragment ‘could be King Alfred or son Edward’

Alfred A fragment of pelvis bone unearthed in Winchester in 1999 may belong to King Alfred the Great or his son Edward the Elder, academics have said.