Dr. rer. nat. Zuzana Hofmanová: Current Approaches in Archaeogenetics: Case Studies through Ages from the Bronze Age Tollense Battlefield to Elongated Skulls of ca 500 AD Bavaria


As an archaeogeneticist, one often feels the responsibility for the destructive work that brings exciting, yet sometimes hard-to-contextualize results. The rapid development in ancient DNA analysis results in more and more genomes and genomic data from various periods being produced. Top-to-bottom research, in many ways inherent to population genetics, overinterpretation and/or misunderstanding of the studies enhance the often discussed communication divide between archaeology and genetics. Yet, less visibly compared to sample numbers, ideological standpoints in archaeogenetics develop very rapidly as well. I will present current and future directions of ancient DNA research demonstrated on several case studies. Especially, I will showcase the power of a well chosen context that allows for information input to both genetics and archaeology as in the case of Tollense battlefield where ancient DNA helped to interpret the site as well as shed light on human evolution in general. I will also focus on interplay of culture and genetics and various approaches that allow for a synergic approach and surprising results as was the case for a different ancestry of individuals with elongated skulls from the 6th century in Central Europe. 

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