Variable kinship patterns in Neolithic Anatolia revealed by ancient genomes


Reyhan Yaka, Middle East Technical University (METU)
Igor Mapelli, Middle East Technical University (METU)
Damla Kaptan, Middle East Technical University (METU)
Ayça Doğu, Middle East Technical University (METU)
Maciej Chyleński, Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ömür Dilek Erdal, Hacettepe Üniversitesi
Dilek Koptekin, Historic England
Kıvılcım Başak Vural, Middle East Technical University (METU)
Alex Bayliss, Historic England
Camilla Mazzucato, Stanford University
Evrim Fer, The University of Arizona
Sevim Seda Çokoğlu, Middle East Technical University (METU)
Vendela Kempe Lagerholm, Stockholms universitet
Maja Krzewińska, Centre for Palaeogenetics
Cansu Karamurat, Middle East Technical University (METU)
Hasan Can Gemici, Middle East Technical University (METU)
Arda Sevkar, Hacettepe Üniversitesi
Nihan Dilşad Dağtaş, Middle East Technical University (METU)
Gülşah Merve Kılınç, Middle East Technical University (METU)
Donovan Adams, University of Central Florida
Arielle R. Munters, Uppsala Universitet
Ekin Sağlıcan, Middle East Technical University (METU)
Marco Milella, University of Bern
Eline M.J. Schotsmans, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health
Erinç Yurtman, Middle East Technical University (METU)
Mehmet Çetin, Middle East Technical University (METU)
Sevgi Yorulmaz, Middle East Technical University (METU)
N. Ezgi Altınışık, Hacettepe Üniversitesi
Ayshin Ghalichi, Middle East Technical University (METU)
Anna Juras, Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
C. Can Bilgin, Middle East Technical University (METU)

Publication Name

Current Biology


The social organization of the first fully sedentary societies that emerged during the Neolithic period in Southwest Asia remains enigmatic, mainly because material culture studies provide limited insight into this issue. However, because Neolithic Anatolian communities often buried their dead beneath domestic buildings, household composition and social structure can be studied through these human remains. Here, we describe genetic relatedness among co-burials associated with domestic buildings in Neolithic Anatolia using 59 ancient genomes, including 22 new genomes from Aşıklı Höyük and Çatalhöyük. We infer pedigree relationships by simultaneously analyzing multiple types of information, including autosomal and X chromosome kinship coefficients, maternal markers, and radiocarbon dating. In two early Neolithic villages dating to the 9th and 8th millennia BCE, Aşıklı Höyük and Boncuklu, we discover that siblings and parent-offspring pairings were frequent within domestic structures, which provides the first direct indication of close genetic relationships among co-burials. In contrast, in the 7th millennium BCE sites of Çatalhöyük and Barcın, where we study subadults interred within and around houses, we find close genetic relatives to be rare. Hence, genetic relatedness may not have played a major role in the choice of burial location at these latter two sites, at least for subadults. This supports the hypothesis that in Çatalhöyük, and possibly in some other Neolithic communities, domestic structures may have served as burial location for social units incorporating biologically unrelated individuals. Our results underscore the diversity of kin structures in Neolithic communities during this important phase of sociocultural development. 1 2 3–5

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access

Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

National Science Foundation



Link to publisher version (DOI)