February 23, 2017

Radiocarbon dating and DNA show ancient Puebloan leadership in the maternal line

Researchers have found that the Chaco Canyon elite in New Mexico descend from a matrilinear dynasty. Researchers used DNA studies and radio carbon data to investigate the first elite tomb at the Pueblo Bonito structure at Chaco. The initial burial was of a male in his late 40s who died from a blow to his head. He was buried with 1,000 turquoise beads, 3,300 shell beads and other artifacts including abalone shells and a conch shell trumpet originating from the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of California. This is the richest burial ever found in the Southwest. 12 more burials, spanning 300 years, were found on a floor above. All of the buried shared the same mitochrondial DNA, so inheritance was through the mother. So one kinship group controlled Pueblo Bonito for more than 300 years,
Douglas J. Kennett et al, Archaeogenomic evidence reveals prehistoric matrilineal dynasty, Nature Communications (2017).  DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14115

Phys.org  has the report here;
https://phys.org/news/2017-02-radiocarbon-dating-dna-ancient-puebloan.html

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