Ancient DNA Reveals Comprehensive Genomic History of the “Cradle of Civilization”

Genetics DNA Mutation Concept

Newly sequenced ancient DNA from more than 700 individuals reveals  a comprehensive genomic history of the so-called “Southern Arc,” a region spanning southeastern Europe and Western Asia and long considered to be the “cradle of Western civilization.”

A comprehensive genomic history of the so-called “Southern Arc,” a region spanning southeastern Europe and Western Asia and long considered to be the “cradle of Western civilization,” is presented across three new scientific studies by Iosif Lazaridis, David Reich, and colleagues.

In the analysis, which examined newly sequenced ancient DNA from more than 700 individuals across the region, a complex population history is revealed from the earliest farming cultures to post-Medieval times. Until relatively recently, much of the ancient history of the Southern Arc – stories concerning its people and populations – have been told through archaeological data and the thousands of years of historical accounts and texts from the region. However, innovations in sequencing ancient DNA have provided a new source of historical information.

Using ancient DNA from the remains of 777 humans, Lazaridis et al., in three separate studies, build a detailed genomic history of the Southern Arc from the Neolithic (~10,000 BCE) to the Ottoman period (~1700 CE). The findings provide an account of complex migrations and population interactions that have shaped the region for thousands of years. The studies suggest that the earlier reliance on modern population history and ancient writings and art has provided an inaccurate picture of early Indo-European cultures.

Bronze Age Karashamb Necropolis

Main view of the Bronze Age Karashamb Necropolis. The study includes 26 individuals from the Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages of this site. Credit: Pavel Avetsiyan, Varduhi

In the first study, “The genetic history of the Southern Arc: a bridge between West Asia and Europe,” the new dataset is presented. It also offers an analysis that focuses on the Chalcolithic and Bronze Ages (roughly 5000 to 1000 BCE). This analysis revealed large genetic exchanges between the Eurasian Steppe and the Southern Arc and provides new insights into the formation of the Yamnaya steppe pastoralists and the origin of Indo-European language.

“Ancient DNA from Mesopotamia suggests distinct Pre-Pottery and Pottery Neolithic migrations into Anatolia,” the second study, presents the first ancient DNA from Pre-Pottery Neolithic Mesopotamia from the epicenter of the region’s Neolithic Revolution. The findings indicate that the transition between Pre-Pottery and Pottery Neolithic phases of Neolithic Anatolia was associated with two distinct pulses of migration from the Fertile Crescent heartland.

The third study, “A genetic probe into the ancient and medieval history of Southern Europe and West Asia,” focuses on ancient DNA analysis during the period of recorded history in the Southern Arc. It also elucidates the not-well-understood demographics and geographic origins of groups like the Myceneans, Urartians, and Romans.

“The studies by Lazaridis et al. represent an important milestone for ancient genomic research, providing a rich dataset and diverse observations that will drive the next iteration of interpretations of the human history of West Eurasia,” write Benjamin Arbuckle and Zoe Schwandt in a related Perspective. Although the authors note that Lazaridis et al. have produced an “astounding dataset, unimaginable in its scale just a decade ago,” Arbuckle and Schwandt highlight the challenges and limitations of the interpretations, suggesting that many of the narratives explored across the three studies reflect a Eurocentric worldview.

For more on this research, see Vast Genetic Study Reveals Insights Into Migration Patterns and Language Development.


  1. “The genetic history of the Southern Arc: A bridge between West Asia and Europe” by Iosif Lazaridis, Songül Alpaslan-Roodenberg, Ayse Acar, Aysen Açikkol, Anagnostis Agelarakis, Levon Aghikyan, Ugur Akyüz, Desislava Andreeva, Gojko Andrijaševic, Dragana Antonovic, Ian Armit, Alper Atmaca, Pavel Avetisyan, Ahmet Ihsan Aytek, Krum Bacvarov, Ruben Badalyan, Stefan Bakardzhiev, Jacqueline Balen, Lorenc Bejko, Rebecca Bernardos, Andreas Bertsatos, Hanifi Biber, Ahmet Bilir, Mario Bodružic, Michelle Bonogofsky, Clive Bonsall, Dušan Boric, Nikola Borovinic, Guillermo Bravo Morante, Katharina Buttinger, Kim Callan, Francesca Candilio, Mario Caric, Olivia Cheronet, Stefan Chohadzhiev, Maria-Eleni Chovalopoulou, Stella Chryssoulaki, Ion Ciobanu, Natalija Condic, Mihai Constantinescu, Emanuela Cristiani, Brendan J. Culleton, Elizabeth Curtis, Jack Davis, Tatiana I. Demcenco, Valentin Dergachev, Zafer Derin, Sylvia Deskaj, Seda Devejyan, Vojislav Djordjevic, Kellie Sara Duffett Carlson, Laurie R. Eccles, Nedko Elenski, Atilla Engin, Nihat Erdogan, Sabiha Erir-Pazarci, Daniel M. Fernandes, Matthew Ferry, Suzanne Freilich, Alin Frînculeasa, Michael L. Galaty, Beatriz Gamarra, Boris Gasparyan, Bisserka Gaydarska, Elif Genç, Timur Gültekin, Serkan Gündüz, Tamás Hajdu, Volker Heyd, Suren Hobosyan, Nelli Hovhannisyan, Iliya Iliev, Lora Iliev, Stanislav Iliev, Ilkay Ivgin, Ivor Jankovic, Lence Jovanova, Panagiotis Karkanas, Berna Kavaz-Kindigili, Esra Hilal Kaya, Denise Keating, Douglas J. Kennett, Seda Deniz Kesici, Anahit Khudaverdyan, Krisztián Kiss, Sinan Kiliç, Paul Klostermann, Sinem Kostak Boca Negra Valdes, Saša Kovacevic, Marta Krenz-Niedbala, Maja Krznaric Škrivanko, Rovena Kurti, Pasko Kuzman, Ann Marie Lawson, Catalin Lazar, Krassimir Leshtakov, Thomas E. Levy, Ioannis Liritzis, Kirsi O. Lorentz, Sylwia Lukasik, Matthew Mah, Swapan Mallick, Kirsten Mandl, Kristine Martirosyan-Olshansky, Roger Matthews, Wendy Matthews, Kathleen McSweeney, Varduhi Melikyan, Adam Micco, Megan Michel, Lidija Milašinovic, Alissa Mittnik, Janet M. Monge, Georgi Nekhrizov, Rebecca Nicholls, Alexey G. Nikitin, Vassil Nikolov, Mario Novak, Iñigo Olalde, Jonas Oppenheimer, Anna Osterholtz, Celal Özdemir, Kadir Toykan Özdogan, Nurettin Öztürk, Nikos Papadimitriou, Niki Papakonstantinou, Anastasia Papathanasiou, Lujana Paraman, Evgeny G. Paskary, Nick Patterson, Ilian Petrakiev, Levon Petrosyan, Vanya Petrova, Anna Philippa-Touchais, Ashot Piliposyan, Nada Pocuca Kuzman, Hrvoje Potrebica, Bianca Preda-Balanica, Zrinka Premužic, T. Douglas Price, Lijun Qiu, Siniša Radovic, Kamal Raeuf Aziz, Petra Rajic Šikanjic, Kamal Rasheed Raheem, Sergei Razumov, Amy Richardson, Jacob Roodenberg, Rudenc Ruka, Victoria Russeva, Mustafa Sahin, Aysegül Sarbak, Emre Savas, Constanze Schattke, Lynne Schepartz, Tayfun Selçuk, Ayla Sevim-Erol, Michel Shamoon-Pour, Henry M. Shephard, Athanasios Sideris, Angela Simalcsik, Hakob Simonyan, Vitalij Sinika, Kendra Sirak, Ghenadie Sirbu, Mario Šlaus, Andrei Soficaru, Bilal Sögüt, Arkadiusz Soltysiak, Çilem Sönmez-Sözer, Maria Stathi, Martin Steskal, Kristin Stewardson, Sharon Stocker, Fadime Suata-Alpaslan, Alexander Suvorov, Anna Szécsényi-Nagy, Tamás Szeniczey, Nikolai Telnov, Strahil Temov, Nadezhda Todorova, Ulsi Tota, Gilles Touchais, Sevi Triantaphyllou, Atila Türker, Marina Ugarkovic, Todor Valchev, Fanica Veljanovska, Zlatko Videvski, Cristian Virag, Anna Wagner, Sam Walsh, Piotr Wlodarczak, J. Noah Workman, Aram Yardumian, Evgenii Yarovoy, Alper Yener Yavuz, Hakan Yilmaz, Fatma Zalzala, Anna Zettl, Zhao Zhang, Rafet Çavusoglu, Nadin Rohland, Ron Pinhasi and David Reich, 26 August 2022, Science.
    DOI: 10.1126/science.abm4247
  2. “A genetic probe into the ancient and medieval history of Southern Europe and West Asia” by David Reich, et al., 25 August 2022, Science.
    DOI: 10.1126/science.abq0755
  3. “Ancient DNA from Mesopotamia suggests distinct Pre-Pottery and Pottery Neolithic migrations into Anatolia” by David Reich, et al., 25 August 2022, Science.
    DOI: 10.1126/science.abq0762

8 Comments on "Ancient DNA Reveals Comprehensive Genomic History of the “Cradle of Civilization”"

  1. Strongly recommend skepticism, as this research was almost certainly done using the thoroughly discredited (Elhaik, 2022) EIGENSOFT principal component program.

  2. I have serious skepticism about anything and all things in this article. Anyone that knows anything or anything truthful about anthropology knows that in every area mentioned in this article the firs modern humans that lived there were from out of Africa. There were NO people of that nature in Africa or in existence at that time. And these Africans populated these areas for tens of thousands of years before a Caucasian ever existed on the planet. And this is exactly the problem with letting the last group of people to ever come into existence in human history tell us about how civilization existed anywhere!! What arrogance! What nerve!! These are the same type of people that’ll tell you how Egypt is in the Middle East and there is no such place! Middle of where? Egypt is and always has been in Africa. And was populated out of Nubia which they also continually attempt to separate but it’s truly impossible. The first Pharoah’s of Egypt were all from out of Nubia from an area known as Tá-SETI which are the very ancient names of that era and those areas. Today we know it as it’s most recent name Sudan. These people don’t like to discuss that and instead try to convince anyone that’ll listen that Egypt was a white civilization!! What a fantasy. It’s all a bald face lie and always has been and they know it. It’s why you can go to the museums there and all the noses and lips os the sculptures are broken off purposefully so you don’t see the negroid features of them. This was definitely not done by accident. Oh and by the way the pyramids built in Egypt aren’t the oldest ones either. The ones at Tá-SETI in the Sudan are the older and were built more than a millennia before the ones in Egypt. So it was the Nubians that brought pyramid building with them into Egypt after they ascended to the throne. But these folks won’t tell you about that either. Nor will they explain why no one is allowed to take DNA from any of the sarcophagi in Egypt because they know for a fact that it will reveal the obvious true African nature of the original of the Egyptians. Oh and another thing, those pyramids and the sphinx were all built way before any European invaders or other invaders were of any type of influence there.

  3. Jake Switzer Sr. | September 28, 2022 at 9:03 pm | Reply

    Though skepticism with due just sound cite , reputable methods, etc. Is definitely warranted and also what is the general basis of intelligent, mindful, and proper assertation to display and enlighten others of critical known discrepancies within the “study / finding (s) / conclusion etc.” However, and I say this with all due respect and in general agreement of “white washed” in accurate, disproportionate, and ultimately tainted generally history involving all non “Caucasian” ethnicity (s) however making, relative obvious, general, and somewhat misleading statement (s) founded by current educational values of primarily”western civilization” and those In line with it’s ideology, solely for the basis of debating and ultimately refuting scholastic funded studies, makes very little to no valid point and or is opinion based in nature, making it hard to really find verifiable”flaw(s)” with the conclusion. Some of the ideas and general fundamentals stated in your opinion may and/or are valid , known, justified in your opinion and position of such. Wild accusations that the world currently is under the impression that Egypt was, is , or is going to be “white” as far as general demographic make-up is a bit far stretched and honestly believe more so that it’s “history” is more the less stereotyped almost to a racist extent of “brown or Arabic like in nature of stereotypical appearance, including but not limited to , skin tones, hair type, wardrobe -attire etc. Ultimately to make such obvious known statement of white washed attempt (s) throughout modern recorded history and arts, music’s, etc. Is definitely a bit more than known, and acknowledge and discussed/debated . Also fyi your Nubia statement is logical and assume you have reputable cite sources and or educational literature / documentation that somewhat verify your account of migration and or source of earliest population as far as Egypt is concerned, however, be careful in your broad, general, and unintentionally slightly misleading statement in regards to origins of specific “architecture, and monuments ” that are most well known for the general location both on map, and general”typical ” (and again potentially bordering racist, or prejudice and simple minded basic assumptions ” of desert , dry, arid sandy environment, located between northern African continent as well as west of Asia and southeast of Europe, when it’s well known and documented that “pyramids” are found in many prominent civilization (s) ranging from Mayan, to Asian & Pacific Southeast, to Inca Peruvian, and South America, with many known structures utilizing very similar design and in some cases identical technical aspects and designs many of which dwarf the age and complicity, of monuments you’ve outlined and not by a thousand or two years but more often some ten or tens of thousands of years prior, and have recorded, recognizable repetitive “icon, symbol (s) and various deity’s (for lack of better term) but are in areas of less significant (based on general recorded, documented, and poorly written publicized educational literature) in terms of recorded ,documented, written history with massive reach and world renowned for influence of all aspects of civilization from liberal arts, to empirical conquest, science, written language, mathematics, astrology, burial techniques and list goes on. These are more of the same general shortcomings in our current educational values/systems etc. Ultimately history is really nothing more than bias , slanted, heavily disproportionate, and often inaccurate or false altogether in nature due to the fact that it’s all perspective based, and recorded/documented with purpose, most of which is to portray fantasies and cement legacies of elites and societal prominent, wealthy and powerful people,persons, civilization (s) for the purpose of being acknowledged as successful, powerful, influential, relevant, portrayed as “best possible” to been involved with all aspects of recorded history. Science and math are really the only accurate and more often than not irrefutable evidences that are logical, accurate, reliable and effective means for identification of truth and facts assuming unbiased technical sound and methodical representations are input . Just my opinion

    • The Romans never intended to include the Sub Saharans into the name of Africa, to the Romans. AFRICA WAS ONLY NORTH AFRICA… this is for the Afrocentricist spewing ridiculous coping comments full of ignorance and hate.

  4. Jake Switzer, spot on. Stories are what drove the imagination and creativity. With language invention and translations in-between a lot was changed… But mind kept building on it.

    Pyramid structure is really natural selection. And there was inspiration in sand dunes, mountains etc.

    Consider critique of pure mind and reason altogether. Even consensus in spoken/heard… Observable into Subjective intersecting into Objective, yet we agreed on measurable only in few aspects, while language affecting our logical matrix.

    Articles are still just stories of an individual that builds on previous…

    We don’t need to look for conspiracy by Vatican… natural selection, antropology can do so as well X)

    At the beginning was a word, word had a meaning, considered as truth…

  5. Eurasian/ Indo European doesn’t mean black, pink or orange. All that is unknown. What is clear is that original African population are Bantu and the rest are Eurasian populations. Africans know that. Whatever their color is is immaterial.

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