In news- Recently, scientists have compiled the world’s oldest family tree from human bones interred at a 5,700-year-old tomb in the Cotswolds, UK.
- Analysis of DNA from the tomb’s occupants revealed the people buried there were from five continuous generations of one extended family.
- Most of those found in the tomb were descended from four women who all had children with the same man.
- But people were buried in different parts of the tomb based on the first-generation matriarch they were descended from.
- This suggests that the first-generation women held a socially significant place in the memories of this community.
- The Neolithic tomb, or “cairn”, at Hazleton North in Gloucestershire has two L-shaped chambers, one facing north and the other south.
- Some Children are kept in the south chamber and some in the north chamber which shows how kinship operated at those tombs.
- There are also indications that “stepsons” were adopted into the family.
- The tomb dates to an important period just after farming was introduced to Britain by people whose ancestors had, several thousand years earlier spread through Europe from Anatolia (modern Turkey) and the Aegean.
- While the tomb reveals evidence of polygyny – men having children with multiple women – it also shows that polyandry was also widespread- women having children with multiple men.
- The work will help researchers understand family dynamics among these Stone Age people and learn more about their culture.