Ancient DNA analysis sheds light on dark events in medieval Spain

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Credit: PIXTA / CC0 public domain

An international team of researchers, comprising geneticists, archaeologists and archaeologists, led by the Archaeological Research Group at the University of Huddersfield, has published the genome sequence of Al Andals, a unique individual in medieval Islamic Spain . The result has become clear. A brutal event that happened in medieval Spain.

Discovered in the ruins of an 11th-century Islamic cemetery in the town of Segorbe, near Valencia, Spain, the person is known to local archaeologists as the “Giant of Segorbe” due to his extraordinary size.

His skeleton suggested he may have African ancestors. Most of Spain has been gradually conquered by Arabs and Amazighs from Northwest Africa since the 8th century and has become one of the main centers of medieval European civilization.

The ancient DNA analysis was performed by Dr Marina Silva and Dr Gonzalo Oteo-Garcia, who were working on the Dr Leverhulme Trust Fellowship Program at the University of Evolutionary Genomics.

They discovered that the “giant” had a highly specific North African genetic line for its male and female pedigrees (Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA). This suggested that his recent ancestors actually belonged to a new Islamized Amazigh group from medieval Northwest Africa.

However, further investigation revealed a more complex situation. Male and female pedigrees are a small part of all of our ancestors. That is, from the father of the father of the father and the mother of the mother of the mother.

His genome-wide ancestors have shown that he also had a significant amount (perhaps more than half) of local Spanish ancestors on his chromosomes. Additionally, stable isotope analysis suggested that it probably grew locally. In other words, the Amazigh ancestors of the “giants” were in reality immigrants from previous generations. Therefore, he belonged to a sedentary community of a perfect mix of local Spaniards and North African immigrant ancestors.

Particularly striking was the fact that Professor Martin Richards, director of the University’s Center for Evolutionary Genomics, was very different from modern Amazighians, who have little or no genetics. I did it. patrimony..

This can be explained by the evolution of the political situation after the reconquest of Christianity in Spain, as explained by Dr Oteo Garcia, who recently started working at the University of Parma: Muslims who have already converted forcibly to Christianity the region by peoples further north, who had few ancestors in North Africa. ”

Dr Silva, who currently works at the Francis Crick Institute in London, said: “The impact of this drastic population change due to brutal political decisions hundreds of years ago can finally be observed directly using the Ancient DNA, as seen here. The “Giants of Segorbe” and the ancestors of their contemporaries. “


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For more information:
Marina Silva et al., Biomolecular Insights into North African ancestry, mobility and diet in Al-Andalus in the 11th century, Scientific report (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-021-95996-3

Provided by
Huddersfield University

Quote: Analysis of ancient DNA was obtained from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-ancient-dna-analysis-dark-event.html on September 23, 2021 in medieval Spain ( September 23, 2021). Sun) illuminate the dark event

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