A European mitochondrial haplotype identified in ancient Phoenician remains from Carthage, North Africa

Elizabeth A. Matisoo-Smith, Anna L. Gosling, James Boocock, Olga Kardailsky, Yara Kurumilian, Sihem Roudesli-Chebbi, Leila Badre, Jean Paul Morel, Leïla Ladjimi Sebaï, Pierre A. Zalloua

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22 Scopus citations

Abstract

While Phoenician culture and trade networks had a significant impact on Western civilizations, we know little about the Phoenicians themselves. In 1994, a Punic burial crypt was discovered on Byrsa Hill, near the entry to the National Museum of Carthage in Tunisia. Inside this crypt were the remains of a young man along with a range of burial goods, all dating to the late 6th century BCE. Here we describe the complete mitochondrial genome recovered from the Young Man of Byrsa and identify that he carried a rare European haplogroup, likely linking his maternal ancestry to Phoenician influenced locations somewhere on the North Mediterranean coast, the islands of the Mediterranean or the Iberian Peninsula. This result not only provides the first direct ancient DNA evidence of a Phoenician individual but the earliest evidence of a European mitochondrial haplogroup, U5b2c1, in North Africa.

Original languageBritish English
Article numbere0155046
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume11
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2016

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