Ancient Genomes Reveal Social and Genetic Structure of Late Neolithic Switzerland

Nat Commun. 2020 Apr 20;11(1):1915. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-15560-x.


Genetic studies of Neolithic and Bronze Age skeletons from Europe have provided evidence for strong population genetic changes at the beginning and the end of the Neolithic period. To further understand the implications of these in Southern Central Europe, we analyze 96 ancient genomes from Switzerland, Southern Germany, and the Alsace region in France, covering the Middle/Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age. Similar to previously described genetic changes in other parts of Europe from the early 3rd millennium BCE, we detect an arrival of ancestry related to Late Neolithic pastoralists from the Pontic-Caspian steppe in Switzerland as early as 2860-2460 calBCE. Our analyses suggest that this genetic turnover was a complex process lasting almost 1000 years and involved highly genetically structured populations in this region.