DNA studies disprove Minoan migration theory

A fresco found at the Minoan site of Knossos
A fresco found at the Minoan site of Knossos (via Wikipedia)

Following the discovery of Troy by Heinrich Schliemann, Arthur Evans, a British archaeologist found a older civilization on the island of Crete. The Cretans did not speak Greek, but they had considerable influence on Greek civilization. Later named Minoans, this civilization lasted 1350 years and had its peak following the decline of the Indus-Saraswati civilization. The Minoans were wealthy; they built palace complexes and produced decorated silver vessels, daggers and pottery for local use and export.
Like the case with Vedic speakers, there was considerable dispute over the origins of the Minoans. Arthur Evans suggested that they came from North Egypt when the region was conquered by Narmer. Others proposed Cycladic, Balkan, Anatolian and Middle Eastern origins. Now DNA studies have shown that the Minoans did not migrate from elsewhere, but originated from the Neolithic population that had settled in the region.

Our calculations of genetic distances, haplotype sharing and principal component analysis (PCA) exclude a North African origin of the Minoans. Instead, we find that the highest genetic affinity of the Minoans is with Neolithic and modern European populations. We conclude that the most likely origin of the Minoans is the Neolithic population that migrated to Europe about 9,000 YBP. We propose that the Minoan civilization most likely was developed by the autochthonous population of the Bronze Age Crete.[A European population in Minoan Bronze Age Crete]

With this study, one migration theory bites the dust

  1. Hughey, Jeffery R., Peristera Paschou, Petros Drineas, Donald Mastropaolo, Dimitra M. Lotakis, Patrick A. Navas, Manolis Michalodimitrakis, John A. Stamatoyannopoulos, and George Stamatoyannopoulos. “A European Population in Minoan Bronze Age Crete.” Nature Communications 4 (May 14, 2013): 1861. doi:10.1038/ncomms2871.
  2. Perry, Marvin. Western Civilization: A Brief History, Volume I: To 1789. 10th ed. Cengage Learning, 2012.

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