A group of researchers from the University of Vienna, Harvard University, and the University of Florence, Italy, came up with the most extensive study to date of the genetic history of ancient populations of Sicily, Sardinia, and the Balearic Islands. They reconstructed the migrations along the Mediterranean Sea through ancient human DNA and discovered that each Mediterranean island has its genetic pattern.
The Mediterranean Sea was the central superhighway of transport, trade, and cultural exchange between diverse peoples encompassing three continents: Western Asia, North Africa, and Southern Europe.
The genetic pattern of each Mediterranean island is different
Ancient populations of Sicily, Sardinia, and the Balearic Islands had DNA traces from populations that migrated there from Africa, Asia, and Europe. During the Middle Bronze Age, a new ancestry is reported by the study for Sicily. This chronologically overlaps with the Greek Mycenaean trade network expansion.
Sardinians descend from Neolithic farmers that arrived in Europe around 8000 years ago. Also, during the second half of the 3rd millennium BC, Sardinia has a large proportion of North African ancestry.
The Neolithic is also known as the “New Stone Age,” the final division of the Stone Age. It began about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of farming appeared in the Epipalaeolithic Near East, and later in other parts of the world.
Ancient human DNA study revealed more about the Mediterranean islands
Mycenaean Greece was the last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece. It represents the first advanced and distinctively Greek civilization in mainland Greece with its palatial states, urban organization, works of art, and writing system.
The most surprising discovery is the arrival of ancestry from the Steppe north of the Black and Caspian Seas in some of the Mediterranean islands, mostly in the Balearic Islands.
Early human migrations are the earliest migrations and expansions of archaic and modern humans across continents. They are believed to have begun approximately 2 million years ago with the first expansions of hominins out of Africa of Homo erectus.