Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Article contents

‘The Farm Beneath the Sand’ – an archaeological case study on ancient ‘dirt’ DNA

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2015

Martin B. Hebsgaard
Affiliation:
Centre for Ancient Genetics, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100, Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
M. Thomas P. Gilbert
Affiliation:
Centre for Ancient Genetics, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100, Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
Jette Arneborg
Affiliation:
Danish Middle Ages & Renaissance, National Museum of Denmark, Frederiksholm Kanal 12, DK-1220 Copenhagen K, Denmark
Patricia Heyn
Affiliation:
Centre for Ancient Genetics, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100, Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
Morten E. Allentoft
Affiliation:
School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand
Michael Bunce
Affiliation:
Ancient DNA Research Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Murdoch University, South Street, Perth 6150 Australia
Kasper Munch
Affiliation:
Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3140, USA
Charles Schweger
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2E9, Canada
Eske Willerslev
Affiliation:
Centre for Ancient Genetics, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100, Copenhagen Ø, Denmark Danish Middle Ages & Renaissance, National Museum of Denmark, Frederiksholm Kanal 12, DK-1220 Copenhagen K, Denmark School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand Ancient DNA Research Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Murdoch University, South Street, Perth 6150 Australia Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3140, USA Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2E9, Canada
Corresponding
E-mail address:
Rights & Permissions[Opens in a new window]

Abstract

It is probable that ‘The Farm Beneath the Sand’ will come to stand for a revolution in archaeological investigation. The authors show that a core of soil from an open field can provide a narrative of grazing animals, human occupation and their departure, just using DNA and AMS dating. In this case the conventional archaeological remains were nearby, and the sequence obtained by the old methods of digging and faunal analysis correlated well with the story from the core of ancient ‘dirt’ DNA. The potential for mapping the human, animal and plant experience of the planet is stupendous.

Type
Method
Copyright
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd 2009

References

Andreasen, C. & Arneborg, J.. 1992a. Gården under Sandet. Undersøgelserne 1991. Tusaat/Forskning i Grønland 1/92: 1018.Google Scholar
Andreasen, C. 1992b. Gården under Sandet: Nye nordboarkæologiske undersøgelser i Vesterbygden 1991. Grønlandsk Kultur og Samfundsforskning 92: 1149.Google Scholar
Arneborg, J. 2004. Det europæiske landnam. Nordboerne i Grønland, in Gulløv, H.C. (ed.) Grønlands forhistorie: 220–22. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.Google Scholar
Arneborg, J., Heinemeier, J., Rud, N. & Sveinbj Örnsdóttir, A.. 1998. AMS dates from the hall (XVII), in Arneborg, J. & Gulløv, H.C. (ed.) Man, culture and environment in ancient Greenland: 2730. Copenhagen: Danish National Museum & Danish Polar Center.Google Scholar
Binladen, J., Wiuf, C., Gilbert, M.T.P., Bunce, M., Larson, G., Barnet, R., Hansen, A.J. & Willerslev, E.. 2006. Assessing the fidelity of ancient DNA sequences amplified from nuclear genes. Genetics 172: 733–73.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bruun, D. 1928. Fortidsminder og nutidshjem paa Island. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.Google Scholar
Bulat, S.A., Lübeck, M., Alekhina, I.A., Jensen, D.F., Knudsen, I.M.B. & Lübeck, P.S.. 2000. Identification of an UP-PCR derived SCAR marker for an antagonistic strain of Clonostachys rosea and development of a strain-specific PCR detection assay. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 66: 4758–47.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bull, I.D., Simpson, I.A., Van Bergen, P.F. & Evershed, R.P.. 1999. Muck n'molecules: organic geochemical methods for detecting ancient manuring. Antiquity 73: 8696.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Crecchio, C. & Stotzky, G.. 1998. Insecticidal activity and biodegradation of the toxin from Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kustuki bound to humic acids from soil. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 30: 463–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Del Pozo, O. & Lam, E.. 1998. Caspases and programmed cell death in the hypersensitive response of plants to pathogens. Current Biology 8: 1129–11.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Enghoff, I.B. 2003. Hunting, fishing and animal husbandry at ‘The Farm Beneath the Sand', western Greenland: an archaezoological analysis of a Norse farm in the Western Settlement (Meddelelser om Grønland, Man & Society 28). Copenhagen: Danish Polar Center.Google Scholar
Gilbert, M.P.T.., Rudbeck, L., Willerslev, E., Hansen, A.J., Smith, C., Penkman, K.E.H., Prangenberg, K., Nielsen-Marsh, C.M., Jans, M.E., Arthur, P., Lynnerup, N., Turner-Walker, G., Biddle, M., Kjølbye-Biddle, B. & Collins, M.. 2005. Biochemical and physical correlates of DNA contamination in archaeological human bones and teeth excavated at Matera, Italy. Journal of Archaeological Science 32: 785–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gilbert, M.T.P., Jenkins, D.L., Gotherstrom, A., Naveran, N., Sanchez, J.J., Hofreiter, M., Thomsen, P.F., Binladen, J., Higham, T.F.G., Yohe, R.M., Parr, R., Cummings, L.S. & Willerslev, E.. 2008. DNA from pre-Clovis human coprolites in Oregon, North America. Science 320: 786–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Haile, J., Holdaway, R., Oliver, K., Bunce, M., Gilbert, M.T.P., Nielsen, R., Munch, K., HO, S.Y.W. & Willerslev, E.. 2007. Ancient DNA chronology within sediment deposits: are paleobiological reconstructions possible and is DNA leaching a factor? Molecular Biology Evolution 24: 982–9.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hansen, A.J., Mitchel, D.L., RØnn, R., Wiuf, C., Paniker, L., Binladen, J., Brand, T.B., Gilichinsky, D.A. & Willerslev, E.. 2006. Crosslinks rather than strand breaks determine access to ancient DNA sequences from frozen sediments. Genetics 2: 1175–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hebsgaard, M.B., Phillips, M.J. & Willerslev, E.. 2005. Geologically ancient DNA: fact or artefact? Trends in Microbiology 13: 212–21.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hofreiter, M., Mead, J.I., Martin, P. & Poinar, H.N.. 2003. Molecular caving. Current Biology 13: R693–5.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Johnson, S.S., Hebsgaard, M.B., Christensen, T., Mastepanov, M., Nielsen, R., Munch, K., Brand, T.B., Gilbert, M.T.P., Zuber, M.T., Bunce, M., Rønn, R., Gilichinsky, D., Froese, D. & Willerslev, E.. 2007. Ancient bacteria show evidence of DNA repair. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 104: 14401–5.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lydolph, M.C., Jacobsen, J., Arctander, P., Gilbert, M.T.P., Gillichinsky, D.A., Hansen, A.J., Willerslev, E. & Lange, L.. 2005. Beringian plaeoecology inferred from permafrost preserved fungi DNA. Applied Environmental Microbiology 71: 1012–10.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Meier, P. & Wackemagel, W.. 2003. Monitoring the spread of recombinant DNA from field plots with transgenic sugar beet plants by PCR and natural transformation of Pseudomonas stutzeri. Transgenic research 12: 293304.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Munch, K., Boomsma, W., Huelsenbeck, J.P., Willerslev, E. & Nielsen, R.. 2008. Statistical assignment of DNA sequences using Bayesian phylogenetics. Systematic Biology 57: 750–7.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Panagiotakopulu, E., Skidmore, P. & Buckland, P.. 2006. Fossil insect evidence for the end of the Western Settlement in Norse Greenland. Naturwissenschaften 94(4): 300–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Poté, J., Rossé, P., Rosselli, W., Van Tran, V. & Wildi, W.. 2005. Kinetics of mass and DNA decomposition in tomato leaves. Chemosphere 61: 677–67.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Schweger, C.E. 1998. Geoarchaeology of the GUS site: a preliminary framework, in Arneborg, J. & Gulløv, H.C. (ed.) Man, culture and environment in ancient Greenland: 1418. Copenhagen: Danish National Museum & Danish Polar Center.Google Scholar
Trevors, J.T. 1996. Bacterial biodiversity in soil with an emphasis on chemically contaminated soils. Water, Air and Soil Pollution 34: 125–12.Google Scholar
Turner, B.L. & Newman, S.. 2005. Soil phosphorus compounds in subtropical wetlands: the importance of phosphate diesters. Journal of Environmental Quality 34: 1921–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Willerslev, E. & Cooper, A.. 2005. Ancient DNA. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences 272: 316.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Willerslev, E., Hansen, A.J., Christensen, B., Steffensen, J.P. & Arctander, P.. 1999. Diversity of Holocene life forms in fossil glacier ice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 96: 8017–80.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Willerslev, E., Hansen, A.J., Brand, T.B., Binladen, J., Gilbert, T.M.P., Shaperio, B., Bunce, M.Wiuf, C., Gilichinsky, D.A. & Cooper, A.. 2003. Diverse plant and animal DNA from Holocene and Pleistocene sedimentary records. Science 300: 792–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Willerslev, E., Hansen, A.J., Brand, T.B., Rønn, R., Barnes, I., Wiuf, C., Gilichinsky, D.A., Mitchell, D. & Cooper, A.. 2004a. Long-term persistence of bacterial DNA. Current Biology 14: R910.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Willerslev, E., Hansen, A.J. & Poinar, H.N.. 2004b. Isolation of nucleic acids and cultures from fossil ice and permafrost. Trends in Ecology an Evolution 19: 141–1.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Willerslev, E., Cappellini, E., Boomsma, W., Nielsen, R., Hebsgaard, M.B., Brand, T.B., Hofreiter, M., Bunce, M., Poinar, H.N., Dahl-Jensen, D., Johnsen, S., Steffensen, J.P., Bennike, O., Funder, S., Schwenninger, J.-L., Nathan, R., Armitage, S., Barker, J., Sharp, M., Penkman, K.E.H., Haile, J., Taberlet, P., Gilbert, M.T.P., Casoli, A., Campani, E. & Collins, M.J.. 2007. Ancient biomolecules from deep ice cores reveal a forested southern Greenland. Science 317: 111–1.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 862 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 26th January 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Access
Hostname: page-component-898fc554b-pkmq7 Total loading time: 0.578 Render date: 2021-01-26T07:00:55.652Z Query parameters: { "hasAccess": "1", "openAccess": "0", "isLogged": "0", "lang": "en" } Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false }

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

‘The Farm Beneath the Sand’ – an archaeological case study on ancient ‘dirt’ DNA
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

‘The Farm Beneath the Sand’ – an archaeological case study on ancient ‘dirt’ DNA
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

‘The Farm Beneath the Sand’ – an archaeological case study on ancient ‘dirt’ DNA
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *