Population genomics of Bronze Age Eurasia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The Bronze Age of Eurasia (around 3000-1000 BC) was a period of major cultural changes. However, there is debate about whether these changes resulted from the circulation of ideas or from human migrations, potentially also facilitating the spread of languages and certain phenotypic traits. We investigated this by using new, improved methods to sequence low-coverage genomes from 101 ancient humans from across Eurasia. We show that the Bronze Age was a highly dynamic period involving large-scale population migrations and replacements, responsible for shaping major parts of present-day demographic structure in both Europe and Asia. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesized spread of Indo-European languages during the Early Bronze Age. We also demonstrate that light skin pigmentation in Europeans was already present at high frequency in the Bronze Age, but not lactose tolerance, indicating a more recent onset of positive selection on lactose tolerance than previously thought.


  • Morten E Allentoft
  • Martin Sikora
  • Karl-Göran Sjögren
  • Simon Rasmussen
  • Morten Rasmussen
  • Jesper Stenderup
  • Peter B Damgaard
  • Hannes Schroeder
  • Lasse Vinner
  • Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas
  • Ashot Margaryan
  • Tom Higham
  • David Chivall
  • Niels Lynnerup
  • Lise Harvig
  • Justyna Baron
  • Philippe Della Casa
  • Paweł Dąbrowski
  • Paul R Duffy
  • Alexander V Ebel
  • Andrey Epimakhov
  • Karin Frei
  • Mirosław Furmanek
  • Tomasz Gralak
  • Andrey Gromov
  • Stanisław Gronkiewicz
  • Gisela Grupe
  • Tamás Hajdu
  • Radosław Jarysz
  • Valeri Khartanovich
  • Alexandr Khokhlov
  • Viktória Kiss
  • Jan Kolář
  • Aivar Kriiska
  • Irena Lasak
  • Cristina Longhi
  • George McGlynn
  • Algimantas Merkevicius
  • Inga Merkyte
  • Mait Metspalu
  • Ruzan Mkrtchyan
  • Vyacheslav Moiseyev
  • László Paja
  • György Pálfi
  • Dalia Pokutta
  • Łukasz Pospieszny
  • T Douglas Price
  • Lehti Saag
  • Mikhail Sablin
  • Natalia Shishlina
  • Václav Smrčka
  • Vasilii I Soenov
  • Vajk Szeverényi
  • Gusztáv Tóth
  • Synaru V Trifanova
  • Liivi Varul
  • Magdolna Vicze
  • Levon Yepiskoposyan
  • Vladislav Zhitenev
  • Ludovic Orlando
  • Thomas Sicheritz-Pontén
  • Søren Brunak
  • Rasmus Nielsen
  • Kristian Kristiansen
  • Eske Willerslev
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Archaeology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-172
Issue number7555
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch