Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 370 (1660), 20130378

Identification of Kinship and Occupant Status in Mongolian Noble Burials of the Yuan Dynasty Through a Multidisciplinary Approach

Affiliations

Identification of Kinship and Occupant Status in Mongolian Noble Burials of the Yuan Dynasty Through a Multidisciplinary Approach

Yinqiu Cui et al. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci.

Abstract

The Yuan Dynasty (AD 1271-1368) was the first dynasty in Chinese history where a minority ethnic group (Mongols) ruled. Few cemeteries containing Mongolian nobles have been found owing to their tradition of keeping burial grounds secret and their lack of historical records. Archaeological excavations at the Shuzhuanglou site in the Hebei province of China led to the discovery of 13 skeletons in six separate tombs. The style of the artefacts and burials indicate the cemetery occupants were Mongol nobles. However, the origin, relationships and status of the chief occupant (M1m) are unclear. To shed light on the identity of the principal occupant and resolve the kin relationships between individuals, a multidisciplinary approach was adopted, combining archaeological information, stable isotope data and molecular genetic data. Analysis of autosomal, mitochondrial and Y-chromosomal DNA show that some of the occupants were related. The available evidence strongly suggests that the principal occupant may have been the Mongol noble Korguz. Our study demonstrates the power of a multidisciplinary approach in elucidating information about the inhabitants of ancient historical sites.

Keywords: ancient DNA; archaeology; kinship; mitochondrial DNA; stable isotopes.

Figures

Figure 1.
Figure 1.
(a) The location of the Shuzhuanglou site; (b) top: the building above ground, and the tomb (M1) under the building, bottom: map of the cemetery; (c) some of the artefacts recovered from the Shuzhuanglou site. (Online version in colour.)
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
Phylogeny of the complete mitochondrial genome of M1m, which was sequenced in this study. (Online version in colour.)
Figure 3.
Figure 3.
Scatter plot of H and O isotope values of samples from the Shuzhuanglou site.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 3 PubMed Central articles

Publication types

MeSH terms

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback