Resolving the matrilineal relationship of seven Late Bronze Age individuals from Stillfried, Austria

Forensic Sci Int Genet. 2018 Sep;36:148-151. doi: 10.1016/j.fsigen.2018.07.005. Epub 2018 Jul 10.

Abstract

In 1976 human remains of seven individuals were discovered in a storage pit located within the Late Bronze Age (9th century B.C.) settlement Stillfried an der March, Austria. In contrast to the common funeral rite of cremation typical for the Urnfield culture (1300-800 B.C.) the individuals' skeletal remains were found outstandingly preserved (Figure S1). As a result, the burial was subject to various investigations, including two conflicting genealogical pedigree reconstructions, one of which was favoured by later geological fingerprinting. We performed mitochondrial (mt)DNA testing in order to genetically characterize the remains and shed light into the matrilineal relationship of the seven individuals that were earlier anthropologically identified as three adults (two women and a man) and four subadults (one female and three males). MtDNA was analysed using Primer Extension Capture and Massively Parallel Sequencing. The results were by and large in conflict with both pedigree models but confirmed some of the details that were elaborated in previous studies. Whereas both pedigree models suggested that all children were related to one or both females, mtDNA analyses revealed that only one subadult male resulted in the same mitotype as one adult female. All other children yielded different mitotypes indicating that they were maternally unrelated to the two females and between each other.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Austria
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA Fingerprinting
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • History, Ancient
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pedigree*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Tooth / chemistry

Substances

  • DNA, Mitochondrial