A new study which analyzed mummy DNA from dozens of such specimens uncovered some surprising information about the ancestry of a local Ancient Egyptian society.
This recent research suggests that this population was more closely related to people living in Western Asia, at least when compared to their modern-day counterparts. Presently, Egyptians have a mostly sub-Saharan Africa genetic influence and traits.
Ancient Mummy DNA Brings To Light New Information
The study team based its research on genetic data collected from dozens of ancient Egyptian mummies. These remains spanned over 1,300 years of this ancient’s civilization history. The youngest mummies are from the Roman period, which began not long before the Common Era via a Roman conquest. In contrast, the oldest mummified remains are from the New Kingdom or about 3,500 to 3,000 years ago.
According to the study paper, an analysis of their genetic data helped shed better light on the lives of this famous ancient population. It also showed that, although well preserved, archaeological artifacts and literature still have their limitations when dealing with genetics.
Still, these sources helped point out the ancient’s population’s strong ties to “cultural areas” in Asia, Africa, and Europe.
“The movement of people, goods, and ideas throughout Egypt’s long history has given rise to an intricate cultural and genetic exchange and entanglement,” says the study team.
The analyzed mummy DNA was associated with the Abusir el-Meleq archeological site specifically. So the study team states that their results may be targeted more towards those living in the area than the whole Ancient Egypt.
Nonetheless, they were surprised to note that these remains presented a closer genetic relation to Asian populations.
Still, the researchers also offered a reason behind their decision of targeting a single specific area. They were trying to determine if the area’s foreign interactions and even conquests by other nations had an effect on their DNA. And if did, how strong it was.
Although the conquest did not have such an effect, the DNA mix must have happened sometime over the studied 1,500 years. The team is now pointing out the need for more genetic studies on the ancient remains found in both Sudan and Africa.
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