A genetic history of continuity and mobility in the Iron Age central Mediterranean

Hannah M. Moots, Margaret Antonio, Susanna Sawyer, Jeffrey P. Spence, Victoria Oberreiter, Clemens L. Weiß, Michaela Lucci, Yahia Mehdi Seddik Cherifi, Francesco La Pastina, Francesco Genchi, Elisa Praxmeier, Brina Zagorc, Olivia Cheronet, Kadir T. Özdoğan, Lea Demetz, Selma Amrani, Francesca Candilio, Daniela De Angelis, Gabriella Gasperetti, Daniel FernandesZiyue Gao, Mounir Fantar, Alfredo Coppa, Jonathan K. Pritchard*, Ron Pinhasi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The Iron Age was a dynamic period in central Mediterranean history, with the expansion of Greek and Phoenician colonies and the growth of Carthage into the dominant maritime power of the Mediterranean. These events were facilitated by the ease of long-distance travel following major advances in seafaring. We know from the archaeological record that trade goods and materials were moving across great distances in unprecedented quantities, but it is unclear how these patterns correlate with human mobility. Here, to investigate population mobility and interactions directly, we sequenced the genomes of 30 ancient individuals from coastal cities around the central Mediterranean, in Tunisia, Sardinia and central Italy. We observe a meaningful contribution of autochthonous populations, as well as highly heterogeneous ancestry including many individuals with non-local ancestries from other parts of the Mediterranean region. These results highlight both the role of local populations and the extreme interconnectedness of populations in the Iron Age Mediterranean. By studying these trans-Mediterranean neighbours together, we explore the complex interplay between local continuity and mobility that shaped the Iron Age societies of the central Mediterranean.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1515-1524
Number of pages10
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023
Externally publishedYes

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© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.


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