Ancient DNA from Punta di Zambrone: Minute Traces of 3000-year-old DNA or ´Much Ado About Nothing`?

Jan Cemper-Kiesslich, Petra Kralj, Reinhard Jung, Fabian Kanz, Walther Parson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding/Legal commentaryChapter in BookResearchpeer-review


In this study we set out to characterise ancient DNA extracted from human bones unearthed during archae- ological excavations in Punta di Zambrone (Calabria, Italy) in the year 2011. Hard tissue remains consisted mainly of animal bones, but also of some human skeletal fragments that were taken for ancient DNA analysis after anthropo- logical investigation: No nuclear DNA was detected but moderate amounts of mitochondrial DNA. Nevertheless, the results enabled allocation of reputed mitochondrial haplotypes and ethno-geographical assignments for each sample analysed. Given that all samples stem from the same individual,6 by merging single sample results we constructed a (hypothetical) merged/consensual haplotype in order to assess the main objective of this study: were the humans living and dying at the ancient site of Punta di Zambrone locals or did they hail from another area? Additionally, we report the planning and realisation of the Punta di Zambrone excavation and archaeometric investigations, which could serve as a procedural model in molecular archaeology.7
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPunta di Zambrone I
Subtitle of host publication1200 BCE - A Time of Breakdown, a Time of Progress in Southern Italy and Greece
EditorsBarbara Horejs
Place of PublicationWien
PublisherVerlag der ÖAW
VolumeOriental and European Archaeology, Volume 17
ISBN (Print)ISBN: 978-3-7001-8615-1
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Fields of Science and Technology Classification 2012

  • 601 History, Archaeology

Cite this