SOUTHWEST ANATOLIA GENOME PROJECT
The cultural richness of Anatolia has been the subject of many studies until now. Based on many anthropological studies and the information obtained from excavations, we can be sure that the origins of this richness go long way back. Particularly many findings of material culture found in archaeological excavations show us the richness of material and intangible cultural heritage elements developed by human groups, who are our ancestors that lived in Anatolian lands in the past.
These studies have given us a lot of information during the process we are trying to understand the past and present, and also clarified many problematic issues that need to be solved. For example, were the biological affinities of these human groups with each other at the root of the similarities and differences we encountered in the material culture of human communities that lived in Anatolia in various archaeological periods? If so, can we determine the degree of such affinities?
In today's conditions, we can say that such questions can be answered with the possibilities offered by technology and well-designed research, and serious analyzes can be made about the issue. A significant part of these types of studies is conducted independently in several disciplines. These branches of science include anthropology, archeology, biology (molecular genetics and evolution). Essentially, we can add the other sciences (e.g., geosciences) to these disciplines as well as medicine and health sciences, if we include research on the genetic origins of diseases.
This study basically aims at melting the accumulation of different disciplines such as anthropology, archaeology, and genetics in a single pot, and in this sense, it was designed as an interdisciplinary project as a manifestation of modern scientific understanding. In summary, the study focuses on the anthropological, archaeological, and biological examination of human remains obtained from the tombs belonging to three different communities that lived in the Bronze Age in Southwest Anatolia. The main purpose is to conduct bioarchaeological studies on human skeletal remains obtained from the settlements of Çine-Tepecik, Laodikeia-Kandilkırı, Karataş-Semayük belonging to the Southwest Anatolian Bronze Age and to generate data at the genome and mitogenome level by using ancient DNA (aDNA) methodology. First of all, the genetic affinity of these three communities with each other will be evaluated with this data, and then the biological affinities of these communities will be determined by population genetics analysis with samples from the Aegean Region, Greece, and Central Anatolia. In this way, the population relations in the Caria Aegean regions documented inter-regionally in the light of archaeological findings up to now will be examined in a biological standpoint. Besides, the genetic information of the studied communities will
be compared with the genomic data of Europe and the Near East with existing archaeological communities, and the available data will be analyzed together with today's communities.
The comprehensive project funded by Hacettepe University Scientific Research Projects Coordination Unit.