9th International Symposium on Biomolecular Archaeology (ISBA9), 1 - 04 June 2021, pp.110-111
The Neolithic Transition to village life and food production first emerged in the Fertile Crescent (c.10th and early 9th millennium BCE) and fundamentally reshaped human history. Although this transition involved major changes in human lifestyle, the social organization and traditions of the earliest sedentary communities is poorly understood. Here, we investigate genetic relatedness patterns among co-buried individuals within domestic structures in Neolithic Anatolia by studying 22 newly generated ancient genomes from Aşıklı Höyük and Çatalhöyük and combining these with published genomes from other Anatolian Neolithic sites. We focus on the sites that span the early (Aşıklı Höyük and Boncuklu) and late Neolithic (Çatalhöyük and Barcın) to understand temporal variation in genetic relatedness patterns in association with burial location. During the early Neolithic period (late 9th and early 8th millennium BCE), represented by Aşıklı Höyük and Boncuklu, siblings and parent-offspring pairs are at relatively high frequency among co-burials. This suggests the existence of close genetic kinship components within the social organization of these settlements. In other settlements, such as the late Neolithic period (7th millennium BCE) Çatalhöyük and Barcın, the frequency of genetically close relatives among coburials is much lower. Despite the shortcomings of the small sample size, our results provide the first insights into the genetic kinship patterns between co-buried individuals, and how burial traditions of Neolithic societies in Anatolia varied among settlements, and may possibly have changed over time in conjunction with changing architecture, growing settlement size and cultural traditions.