Anja Furtwängler 1 , A. B. Rohrlach 2 , 3 , Thiseas C. Lamnidis 2 , Luka Papac 2 , Gunnar U. Neumann 1 , 2 , Inga Siebke 4 , Ella Reiter 1 , Noah Steuri 5 , Jürgen Hald 6 , Anthony Denaire 7 , Bernadette Schnitzler 8 , Joachim Wahl 9 , 10 , Marianne Ramstein 11 , Verena J. Schuenemann 1 , 12 , 13 , Philipp W. Stockhammer 2 , 14 , Albert Hafner 5 , 15 , Sandra Lösch 4 , Wolfgang Haak 2 , Stephan Schiffels 2 , Johannes Krause , 1 , 2 , 12
20 April 2020
Genetic studies of Neolithic and Bronze Age skeletons from Europe have provided evidence for strong population genetic changes at the beginning and the end of the Neolithic period. To further understand the implications of these in Southern Central Europe, we analyze 96 ancient genomes from Switzerland, Southern Germany, and the Alsace region in France, covering the Middle/Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age. Similar to previously described genetic changes in other parts of Europe from the early 3rd millennium BCE, we detect an arrival of ancestry related to Late Neolithic pastoralists from the Pontic-Caspian steppe in Switzerland as early as 2860–2460 calBCE. Our analyses suggest that this genetic turnover was a complex process lasting almost 1000 years and involved highly genetically structured populations in this region.
European populations underwent strong genetic changes during the Neolithic. Here, Furtwängler et al. provide ancient nuclear and mitochondrial genomic data from the region of Switzerland during the end of the Neolithic and the Early Bronze Age that reveal a complex genetic turnover during the arrival of steppe ancestry.