Minoans and Mycenaeans

6 Aug 2017

At http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/summer-2017/article/ancient-dna-rev... ... It seems that DNA confirms that the people of Crete and the Greek mainland, including the Mycenaeans, are all closely related in origin with a strong genetic signal from early farmers in Anatolia. This puts to bed the idea the Minoans arrived in Crete from a more advanced civilisation elsewhere. The article in particular blows the Black Athena hypothesis out of the water (although I don't think it had a lot of traction in any case). There is evidence of a small Levantine signature but this is not surprising as the Minoans had close contact with what is now the Lebanon. The Myceneaeans are genetically very close to the Minoans but there is one difference. At some point between 4000 and 2000BC they had an input of genes from the north, presumably from the steppe zone. Again, this is not surprising as the influx of grey wares in the late third millennium BC suggest a migration event that washed over the Balkans. The dates for the genetic incomers will be more accurately dated with further sampling but the researchers seem quite happy with the results as they stand.

The study is in Nature (August 2017) DOI:10.1038/nature23310