Society for the Study of Human Biology Symposium edition:51 location:Rome date:18-20 June 2009
The archaeological site of Sagalassos is located in South-West Turkey in the western Taurus mountain range. Human settlements are attested in that area since the 14th century B.C. Sagalassos experienced its most flourishing period under the Roman Imperial rule. The final decline was triggered by an earthquake in 518 A.D. and the plague of 541-542 A.D.. In the 7th century A.D. the town was finally abandoned.
Human bone and tooth samples from 57 individuals dating back to the mid-byzantine period and belonging to the same low social status population group have been so far genetically analyzed. Extraction of DNA and amplification of the two hypervariable segments (HVS-I and HVS-II) of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region were successful and reproducible in 28 out the 57 individuals. The sample as a whole is characterized by a typical West-Eurasian mtDNA variation, with the haplogroup H being the most represented (25%). Comparative analyses with more than 4,300 sequences from Eurasian populations points to a high genetic affinity with Southeastern Mediterranean populations. More particularly an affinity is observed at the genealogical level with mtDNA lineages from the Balkan area. This might represent a genetic signature of the settlements installed by the Seleucides (330-150 B.P.) from Macedonia in Northern Pisidia. No contribution of Central Asian mtDNA pool has been so far observed.
Future efforts will be addressed to investigate more human and animal samples, and to improve classification of the human lineages through the analysis of SNPs in the coding region of mtDNA.