Bronze Age family go nuclear

2009-05-24

Bronze Age family go nuclear Bronze Age family go nuclear Bronze Age family go nuclear
Germany has a rich history of ancient monuments, burials and delights such as the 4,200 year old skeletal remain of a Bronze Age Lord, in June 2005:
     
     The skeletal remain of a Bronze Age lord, along with his retainers have been discovered in a burial mound at the most celebrated of archeological sites in Germany.
     Archeologist Olaf Schroeder said the 4,200 year-old mound was one of at least eight barrows still intact at the holy site, which, in 1991 yielded the Nebra Celestial Disc, the earliest known depiction of the heavens. After receiving a tip that treasure hunters were digging for gold in the area, Government Archeologists began excavating the area and found the first of the skeletons, a sentry, just inside the burial chamber entrance.
     We kept on digging, Schroeder said, deep in the barrow, we found the Bronze Age burial chamber. It was two meters square with a roof that had sagged to about half-a-meter high. It was fully lined with sandstone slabs.
     Schroeder also commented that the lord was missing his upper body and legs. There was also a precious bronze knife and a needle laying next to him. The remains of his court lie around him continued;
     
     Source: Stone Pages Archaeo News
     
     However the latest find at Eulau in rural Germany is a wonderful addition to archaeological data - particularly Bronze Age civilisation and social behaviour. Researchers in Tuesdays National Academy of Sciences proceedings noted a significant finding of 4,600 burial site, including a nuclear family. What is striking about this finding is the opportunity to discern and confirm what has already been learned of social habits. Analysis of the ancient DNA shows a mother, father and sons of eight/nine or four/five years old. The usual signs of extreme violence, murder and loyalty underscore that evidence indicates a violent attack followed by returning victims to bury the dead.
     
     The researchers studied four multiple burials at Eulau, Saxony-Anhalt, all dated to the same time and containing adults and children carefully buried facing each other.
     
     Several of the skeletons showed evidence of injuries, suggesting a violent attack. There was a stone projectile point in the vertebra of one woman, and another had a skull fracture. Several had forearm and hand injuries, indicating attempts to protect themselves, the researchers said.
     
     From The Irish Times - November, 18; DNA reveals Stone Age family took nuclear option.
     
     In an article published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , lead author Dr Wolfgang Haak of the University of Adelaide said: We have established the presence of the classic nuclear family in a prehistoric context in Central Europe - to our knowledge the oldest authentic molecular genetic evidence so far.
     
     Their unity in death suggests a unity in life.
     
     Dr Haak added: However, this does not establish the elemental family to be a universal model or the most ancient institution of human communities. As well as establishing the biological relationships of the people buried at Eulau, the researchers were also able to shed light on their social organisation using strontium isotope analysis.
     
     Strontium isotopes in the teeth were measured to give an indication of where these people spent their childhood, as strontium from food eaten is incorporated into teeth as they grow. This revealed that females spent their childhoods in a different region from the males and children in the group.
     
     The remains are now on permanent display in the Landesmuseum Sachsen-Anhalt in Germany
     
     DNA reveals Stone Age family took nuclear option
     Scientists have used DNA testing to uncover the earliest evidence that Stone Age man lived in nuclear families.
     
     An international team of researchers dated remains from four burial sites discovered in Germany in 2005.
     
     The 4,600-year-old graves contained groups of adults and children buried facing each other, which was an unusual practice in Neolithic culture. One of the graves contained a female, a male and two children.
     
     Using DNA analysis, the researchers established that the group were a mother, father and their two sons aged around eight or nine and four or five years old. They say this is the oldest molecular genetic evidence of a nuclear family in the world.
     
     The burials, discovered and excavated at Eulau, Saxony-Anhalt, were also unusual for the way in which they were buried.
     
     The remains of 13 individuals were found, and all had been interned simultaneously. Several pairs of individuals were buried face-to-face with arms and hands interlinked, and all the burials contained children ranging from new-borns to 10-year-olds to adults of about 30 or older.
     
     Many showed injuries that indicated they were the victims of a violent raid.
     
     One female had a stone projectile point embedded in one of her vertebra and another had skull fractures. Several bodies also had defence injuries to the forearms and hands.
     
     The researchers used genetics and isotope techniques to reconstruct along with physical anthropology and archaeology.
     
     In an article published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , lead author Dr Wolfgang Haak of the University of Adelaide said: We have established the presence of the classic nuclear family in a prehistoric context in Central Europe - to our knowledge the oldest authentic molecular genetic evidence so far.
     
     Their unity in death suggests a unity in life."
     
     Dr Haak added: "However, this does not establish the elemental family to be a universal model or the most ancient institution of human communities.
     
     As well as establishing the biological relationships of the people buried at Eulau, the researchers were also able to shed light on their social organisation using strontium isotope analysis.
     
     Strontium isotopes in the teeth were measured to give an indication of where these people spent their childhood, as strontium from food eaten is incorporated into teeth as they grow.
     
     This revealed that females spent their childhoods in a different region from the males and children in the group.
     
     The remains are now on permanent display in the Landesmuseum Sachsen-Anhalt in Germany.
     
     PA
     
     
     Evidence continues to build an accurate quality and quantity to various aspects of this find. There is much we can predict of Bronze Age settlements, customs and politics but only steadily growing evidence moves theories into the realms of reliable, reproducible and falsifiable data we can really get our teeth into.
     
     By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent for the Telegraph, UK.
     4:43PM GMT 18 Nov 2008: The Worlds Oldest Nuclear Family.
     
     An international team of researchers, including experts from the University of Bristol, have discovered a burial site containing a number of closely related adults and children that is more than 4,600 years old - making it the oldest example of a family ever found.
     
     The graves contained groups of men, women and children buried facing each other, which was an unusual practice in Neolithic culture. One of the graves contained a female, a male and two children, which the researchers, using DNA analysis, established were a mother, father and their two sons aged around eight or nine and four or five years old.
     
     They say this is the oldest evidence of a nuclear family in the world. The skeletons, discovered and excavated at Eulau, in central Germany, were also unusual for the way in which they were buried. The remains of 13 individuals were found in total and all had been buried simultaneously.
     
     Several pairs of individuals were buried face-to-face with arms and hands interlinked and all the burials contained children ranging from new-borns up to 10 years of age and adults of around 30 years or older. Many showed injuries that indicated they were the victims of a violent raid continued.
     
     Fairfax media offered Cold Case: the worlds oldest family identified. They also add to the emerging story of this family and offer a handy perspective image:
     
     IN A case of prehistoric paternity testing, the worlds oldest known nuclear family has been identified: a mum, dad and two boys who lived 4600 years ago. Although their deaths were violent, they were buried with care in a single grave: arms entwined, children facing their parents.Their unity in death suggests a unity in life, said Wolfgang Haak, of the University of Adelaide, co-leader of an international team that studied ancient DNA from the remains.
     
     The well-preserved family was buried near three other graves containing the skeletons of nine people in a Stone Age cemetery near Eulau in Germany. The mother was 35 to 50 years old and was laid to rest according to custom, on her left side, with her head pointing to the east. Her male partner, aged 40 to 60, was also in a traditional position.
     
     The two boys, aged about four and eight, should also have lain like their father. But it appears that the burial orientation pattern was overruled for each boy to face a parent to express a biological relationship, Dr Haak, whose study is published in the Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences, said Source.
     
     

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