This study presents the first ancient mitochondrial DNA (amtDNA) results obtained by sampling human bones selected from an Early Bronze Age funerary context with the aim of identifying the haplogroup and starting to build an amtDNA reference database based on samples selected from Eastern Romania. The human bones analysed in this study were part of the Stoicani “Cetățuia” (Galați county) necropolis located in the Covurlui Plateau. The M6 funerary context does not contain any grave goods, his chronological and cultural characteristics being inferred based on its association with similar funerary contexts in the necropolis. The amtDNA obtained by analysing osteological remains attributed to the beginning of the Early Bronze Age in the Eastern Romania region helped us to identify the coexistence of different communities in the timespan characterized by accentuated human group mobility.
Ancestral DNA ― an incontestable source of data for Archaeology
The DNA is present in every cell of a person’s body, not only in the cell’s nucleus but also in its cytoplasm, in mitochondria. Of great importance is the fact that, except for the rare occurrence of a mutation, the DNA in every cell of the person’s body is identical. As a result, DNA can be taken from saliva, sweat, blood, hair, skin or bone cells for individual identification. The many opportunities to obtain DNA evidence can be seen, for example, in the number of places where saliva has been identified: a bite mark, an area licked, bed linens, a mask worn, paper tissue, a washcloth, a cigarette butt, a toothpick, the rim of a bottle or glass, but all of those sources are available just for present DNA. In the case of old DNA, also called ancient DNA (aDNA), the things are different and the possibilities to analyse the substrate of genetic information are limited to bone fragments or teeth. Even in these conditions, the DNA analysis is a very accurate and powerful tool for getting useful information in Archaeology.