A genomic Neolithic time transect of hunter-farmer admixture in central Poland

DM Fernandes, D Strapagiel, P Borówka, B Marciniak, E Żądzińska, K Sirak, V Siska, R Grygiel, J Carlsson, Andrea Manica, W Lorkiewicz, R Pinhasi (+2 others)
Ancient DNA genome-wide analyses of Neolithic individuals from central and southern Europe indicate an overall population turnover pattern in which migrating farmers from Anatolia and the Near East largely replaced autochthonous Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. However, the genetic history of the Neolithic transition in areas lying north of the European Neolithic core region involved different levels of admixture with hunter-gatherers. Here we analyse genome-wide data of 17 individuals spanning
more » ... iduals spanning from the Middle Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age (4300-1900 BCE) in order to assess the Neolithic transition in north-central Poland, and the local impacts of hunter-farmer contacts and Late Neolithic steppe migrations. We evaluate the influence of these on local populations and assess if and how they change through time, reporting evidence of recurrent hunter-farmer admixture over three millennia, and the co-existence of unadmixed hunter-gatherers as late as 4300 BCE. During the Late Neolithic we report the appearance of steppe ancestry, but on a lesser scale than previously described for other central European regions, with evidence of stronger affinities to hunter-gatherers than to steppe pastoralists. These results help understand the Neolithic palaeogenomics of another central European area, Kuyavia, and highlight the complexity of population interactions during those times. The knowledge about the genetic history of prehistoric Europeans has increased substantially during the past three years following a series of studies that have provided new insights about the ancestry and affinities of Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Bronze Age populations from various parts of Europe 1-19 . Recent ancient DNA (aDNA) genome-wide studies have particularly addressed the extent of genetic admixture between Neolithic farmers and hunter-gatherers (HG) and found evidence of regional variability in the level and nature of the admixture in Iberia 5, 9, 19, 20 , 10, 13, 16 , central 1, 2, 7, 15 , 6, 14 , and northwestern Europe 5, 8 . In regions such as the Baltic, however, genomic data has shown that hunter-gatherer populations adopted farming without a significant genetic input from farming populations 14 . In light of these results, north-central Europe is particularly important to understand the genetic history of prehistoric Europeans. Here, the line of maximum north and north-eastern reach of settlement of Neolithic farmers of Linear Pottery culture (LBK) and post-Linear Pottery cultures (post-LBK) ran through the North European Plain. These farmers represented the first stage of neolithization of this part of Europe and they were allochthonous populations whose ancestry can be traced back to Anatolian early farmers, with only minor admixture of European hunter-gatherers obtained in south-eastern Europe and the Carpathian Basin 1,12,16 . In the territories like north-central Poland these farmers came into contact with well established hunter-gatherers communities of the Baltic region, which in turn occupied habitats not attractive for the agricultural lifestyle of LBK and post-LBK cultures. As a consequence, a borderland between the
doi:10.17863/cam.36227 fatcat:tvrr7c2l4fapfncinaay6k2dly