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Novak, Mario; Ingman, Tara ORCID: 0000-0002-0338-0489; Eisenmann, Stefanie ORCID: 0000-0002-6301-5889; Skourtanioti, Eirini; Akar, Murat; Ilgner, Jana; Gnecchi Ruscone, Guido Alberto; le Roux, Petrus ORCID: 0000-0002-5930-4995; Shafiq, Rula; Neumann, Gunnar U.; Keller, Marcel ORCID: 0000-0001-9668-6817; Freund, Cäcilia; Marzo, Sara; Lucas, Mary; Krause, Johannes; Roberts, Patrick; Yener, K. Aslıhan; Stockhammer, Philipp W. ORCID: 0000-0003-4702-9372 (2021): Human mobility at Tell Atchana (Alalakh), Hatay, Turkey during the 2nd millennium BC: Integration of isotopic and genomic evidence.
In: PLOS ONE (6), e0241883
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Abstract

The Middle and Late Bronze Age, a period roughly spanning the 2nd millennium BC (ca. 2000–1200 BC) in the Near East, is frequently referred to as the first ‘international age’, characterized by intense and far-reaching contacts between different entities from the eastern Mediterranean to the Near East and beyond. In a large-scale tandem study of stable isotopes and ancient DNA of individuals excavated at Tell Atchana (Alalakh, located in Hatay, Turkey), we explored the role of mobility at the capital of a regional kingdom, named Mukish during the Late Bronze Age, which spanned the Amuq Valley and some areas beyond. We generated strontium and oxygen isotope data from dental enamel for 53 individuals and 77 individuals, respectively, and added ancient DNA data of 10 newly sequenced individuals to a dataset of 27 individuals published in 2020. Additionally, we improved the DNA coverage of one individual from this 2020 dataset. The DNA data revealed a very homogeneous gene pool. This picture of an overwhelmingly local ancestry was consistent with the evidence of local upbringing in most of the individuals indicated by the isotopic data, where only five were found to be non-local. High levels of contact, trade, and exchange of ideas and goods in the Middle and Late Bronze Ages, therefore, seem not to have translated into high levels of individual mobility detectable at Tell Atchana.