Almost all pre-Hispanic societies from Quebrada de Humahuaca (north-western Argentina) buried their defuncts in domestic areas, demonstrating the importance of death and its daily presence among the living. Presumably, the collective graves contained related individuals, a hypothesis that can be tested through the study of ancient DNA. This study analyzes autosomal and uniparental genetic markers in individuals from two archaeological sites in Quebrada de Humahuaca occupied during the Late Formative (1450–1050 BP) and Regional Developments I (1050–700 BP) periods. Mitochondrial and Y-chromosome haplotypes were compared in order to establish possible maternal and paternal relatedness. Genotypes for 15 autosomal STRs were used to calculate pairwise relatedness coefficients and pedigree probabilities. High kinship levels among individuals buried in the same graves were found in both sites. Although only two particular cases were analyzed, these results represent an important contribution to the study of mortuary practices in the region by means of ancient DNA.
- Russo, M. G., Mendisco, F., Avena, S. A., Dejean, C. B., & Seldes, V. (2016). Pre-Hispanic Mortuary Practices in Quebrada de Humahuaca (North-Western Argentina): Genetic Relatedness among Individuals Buried in the Same Grave. Annals of Human Genetics, 80(4), 210–220.
Peoples: Native Americans | Places: Argentina | Topics: Late Formative period, Quebrada de Humahuaca, and Regional Developments I | DNA Type: Ancient DNA, Autosomal DNA, mtDNA, and Y-DNA