Europeans’ origins trace back to Anatolia, DNA research suggests
A DNA research carried out in the wake of findings excavated in Çatalhöyük, a Neolithic settlement located in the Central Anatolian province of Konya, has revealed a genetic affinity between the people of Anatolia and Europe.
The research, realized with the support of the Polish National Science Center, has been published in the genetics magazine Genes with the title “Ancient mitochondrial genomes reveal the absence of maternal kinship in the burials of Çatalhöyük people and their genetic affinities.”
“Neolithic Central Anatolian groups, including Çatalhöyük, share the closest affinity with the population from the Marmara region and are, in contrast, set further apart from the Levantine populations. Our findings support the hypothesis about the emergence and the direction of spread of the Neolithic within Anatolian Peninsula and beyond, emphasizing a significant role of Central Anatolia in this process,” the research said.
Professor Mehmet Özdoğan, who argues that the foundation of the European culture lies in Çatalhöyük, said the findings have strengthened the archaeological findings. “We have already confirmed this situation with archaeological studies. It was obvious that there was an interaction with Europe through migrations, cultural influences and marriages. DNA results confirmed archaeological scientific data. The migration wave started in the 7,400s B.C. and continued for thousands of years,” Özdoğan said.
The latest research also refuted earlier suggestions that a matriarchal society was dominant in Çatalhöyük. Many have believed that human societies were matriarchal and worshiped a mother goddess in the Neolithic period, when people started agricultural activities.
A mother goddess sculpture, which was unearthed in Çatalhöyük in 2016, had at the time strengthened the idea that there was some kind of a matriarchal society that worshiped a mother goddess, having been presented as evidence.
The former head of the excavations, Professor Ian Hodder, who revealed that the people of Çatalhöyük buried their dead in a basket in their house, once said: “Skeletons that have survived so far due to the structure of the earth give us information on many issues. DNA tests to be done on the bones will reveal whether or not the society was matriarchal or patriarchal.”
In 10 tombs that were buried in the same house in Çatalhöyük, no kinship could be identified in the DNA survey. According to the teeth and bone phenotypes in the grave, individuals with biological affinity have been found in many separate buildings. With these results, suggestions that a matriarchal society was dominant in Çatalhöyük have been refuted until new investigations are made.
These results come after a recent discovery reported by the BBC that the world-famous Stonehenge was built by migrants from Anatolia.