DNA extracted from skeletal remains has allowed scientists to study the history of past populations as well as provide answers to questions that hitherto puzzled them.
This breakthrough results from a genetic study that researchers from the Department of Genetics, Physical Anthropology and Animal Physiology in the Faculty of Science and Technology at the Leioa campus of the University of the Basque Country carried out in the necropolis at Aldaieta (Araba), a prime archaeological and historical site.
The researchers studied the genetic material of ancient remains, extracted both from bones and teeth, to interpret the biological and social meaning of this necropolis.
They say that the methodology adopted for the research, the precautions exercised, and criteria of authentication undertaken have enabled them to obtained reliable and verifiable results of the population buried at Aldaieta.
According to them, within the great homogeneity of the mitochondrial lines on the European continent, the genetic substrate of the population buried at Aldaieta falls within the variability of that expressed by current populations on the Cantabrian coast and Atlantic axis.
This result, say the researchers, points towards the existence of genic flow between these human groups in ancient times.
The study has also shown the existence of family relationships within the necropolis, given that certain mitochondrial lines have a particular distribution, the grouping of individuals belonging to the same line having been discovered at nearby burial sites.
The researchers said that there was also a significant differentiation gender wise, with men having qualitatively and quantitatively more important funerary artefacts than women.