Politicization of Ancient DNA

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Excavation of the Philistine cemetery at Ashkelon. (Melissa Aja / Courtesy Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon)

When Ancient DNA Gets Politicized

by Megan Gannon Smithsonian.com

With a string of three tweets, ten ancient skeletons became geopolitical pawns.

Last weekend, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, or whoever in his administration operates his Twitter account, tweeted about a new study that had been published in the journal Science Advances and covered widely in the media, including in Smithsonian.

The study analyzed DNA from ten individuals who had been buried at Ashkelon, a coastal city in Israel, between the Bronze Age and Iron Age. The results suggested that the appearance of new genetic signatures in four of the individuals coincided with changes in the archaeological record that have been associated with the arrival of the Philistines more than 3,000 years ago. These genetic traits resembled those of ancient people who lived in what is now Greece, Italy and Spain. The authors asserted that these findings supported the idea that the Philistines, a group of people made infamous in the Hebrew Bible as the enemies of the Israelites, originally migrated to the Levant from somewhere in southern Europe, but quickly mixed with local populations.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Not only politicization but falsification too, in which BBC today is very good at. Just lately saw a documentary focusing on the ancient British inhabitants and Cheddar Man. They made a conclusion, that Cheddar Man was dark black skinned. I have no problem with black skin but with tiny white lies. What is known about CM, he had mother gene U5. They say that gene has gradually diminished in Europe, but forget to mention that in Lappland it still has density well over 50%, in north Finnmark about 85%. Lapps are visibly much closer to albinos than africans, but my interest on the case is, that was Scandinavian shores inhabitated from British Islands or other way around after ice ages.

  2. Palace tine…and Fill List Tine…indicate that these tribes are the property of Enki/Poseidon..and act as a foil to En-Lil’s landholders…tine being a prong on a trident…I imagine the resource being fought over is a trade route and ocean front property…

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