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Neolithic Hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) from the Island of Gotland show early contacts with the Swedish mainland
Gotland University, School of Culture, Energy and Environment.
Gotland University, School of Culture, Energy and Environment.
Department of Ecology and Genetics, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18D, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden.
2012 (English)In: Journal of Archaeological Science, ISSN 0305-4403, E-ISSN 1095-9238, Vol. 39, no 2, 229-233 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Previous research probing early migrations and contacts in the Baltic Sea area is characterized by the analysis of different chronologies and subsistent strategies on all sides of the Sea. Several studies performed on artifact typology, ceramics, grave rituals and physical anthropology ended with varying results. Although the question of human origins remains inconclusive, in this study, we rely on the phylogeography of an animal associated with humans to elucidate findings regarding prehistoric human migration and contacts.

Hedgehogs, along with other fauna on Gotland, were brought over to the island by humans. We examined hedgehog mitochondrial DNA from the Pitted Ware Culture (Middle Neolithic). The genetic signatures of the animals on the island were investigated to determine the animals origin.

From the 23 bones originally examined, twelve bones from all five locations studied yielded reliable results and resembled published extant Erinaceus europaeus sequences from Sweden, Norway and Denmark. We postulate that a western heritage for the Neolithic hedgehogs on Gotland indicates early human contact with the Swedish mainland.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Academic Press, 2012. Vol. 39, no 2, 229-233 p.
Keyword [en]
Phylogeography, ancient DNA, mtDNA, osteology, Erinaceus europaeus, Erinaceus concolor, Neolithic, Sweden
National Category
Genetics Archaeology
URN: urn:nbn:se:hgo:diva-1170DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2011.08.006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hgo-1170DiVA: diva2:460657
Published online Oct 28, 2011Available from: 2011-11-30 Created: 2011-11-30 Last updated: 2013-07-01Bibliographically approved

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Fraser, MagdalenaSten, Sabine
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