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Department of Archaeology

Friday, 22 January, 2021 - 13:15 to 14:00
Event speaker: 
Dr. Lara Cassidy (Smurfit Institute of Genetics Trinity College Dublin)

This presentation explores ancient genomic data from the Irish Mesolithic and Neolithic periods, including individuals sampled from all the major megalithic funerary traditions. We find evidence for a hereditary elite in Irish passage tomb societies. This includes a web of biological kinship connections across large temporal and spatial distances on the island, as well as a case of first degree incest associated with the righthand recess of the main mound at Newgrange. We also find incidences of diversity among the individuals interred within megalithic tombs. This includes the remains of an infant with Down syndrome at Poulnabrone portal tomb and an individual with ancestry derived from the Irish Mesolithic population at Parknabinnia court tomb. Genomic data from two Irish Mesolithic individuals points to an island isolation, which ended with a seemingly rapid maritime colonisation of the island during the Early Neolithic.

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