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Life and death in early colonial Campeche: new insights from ancient DNA

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 July 2022

Vera Tiesler*
Affiliation:
Facultad de Ciencias Antropológicas, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mérida, Mexico
Jakob Sedig
Affiliation:
Harvard Medical School, Department of Genetics, USA
Nathan Nakatsuka
Affiliation:
Harvard Medical School, Department of Genetics, USA
Swapan Mallick
Affiliation:
Harvard Medical School, Department of Genetics, USA Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, USA Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, USA
Iosif Lazaridis
Affiliation:
Harvard Medical School, Department of Genetics, USA
Rebecca Bernardos
Affiliation:
Harvard Medical School, Department of Genetics, USA
Nasreen Broomandkhoshbacht
Affiliation:
Harvard Medical School, Department of Genetics, USA Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, USA
Jonas Oppenheimer
Affiliation:
Harvard Medical School, Department of Genetics, USA Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, USA
Ann Marie Lawson
Affiliation:
Harvard Medical School, Department of Genetics, USA Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, USA
Kristin Stewardson
Affiliation:
Harvard Medical School, Department of Genetics, USA Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, USA
Nadin Rohland
Affiliation:
Harvard Medical School, Department of Genetics, USA
Douglas J. Kennett
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
T. Douglas Price
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin, USA
David Reich
Affiliation:
Harvard Medical School, Department of Genetics, USA Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, USA Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, USA
*
*Author for correspondence ✉ vtiesler@yahoo.com

Abstract

Campeche, one of the Spanish Empire's main Mexican ports, was a place where previously distinct cultures and populations intermingled during the colonial era (AD 1540–1680). Investigation of the town's central plaza revealed a Hispanic cemetery of multi-ethnic burials. The authors combine previous analyses with newly generated genome-wide data from 10 individuals to trace detailed life histories of the mostly young, local Indigenous Americans and first-generation European and African immigrants, none of whom show evidence of genetic admixture. These results provide insights into the individual lives and social divides of the town's founder communities and demonstrate how ancient DNA analyses can contribute to understanding early colonial encounters.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Antiquity Publications Ltd.

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Footnotes

Jakob Sedig and Vera Tiesler contributed equally to this article

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