Origins of Minoans and Mycenaeans revealed by DNA analysis

Researchers analysing the DNA of members of Europe’s first literate Bronze Age societies of Minoans (c. 2600 to 1100 BC) and Mycenaeans (c. 1700 to 1050 BC), revealed the origins of these populations. It turned out that ancestors of both civilisations were populations from Neolithic Western Anatolia and Greece, and that Minoans had deep roots in the Aegean.

Crop domestication traced with use of synchrotron light

Researchers used Diamond Light Source, United Kingdom’s synchrotron facility, to document for the first time the rate of evolution of seed coat thinning on 4000-year-old samples, which is a major marker of crop domestication, present in archaeological remains of crop seeds. 

Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA samples extracted from sediments

A new technique developed by an international team allowed to trace the remains of groups of hominids in sediments even in caves or in strata which have no skeletal remains. the researchers analysed 85 samples of sediments from the Pleistocene, between 550000 and 14000 years ago, from eight Eurasian caves, including El Sidrón (Spain) and Denisova Cave (Russia).