Insights into Punic genetic signatures in the southern necropolis of Tharros (Sardinia)
Sarno, S.; Cilli, E.; Serventi, P.; De Fanti, S.; Corona, A.; Fontani, F.; Traversari, M.; Ferri, G.; Fariselli, A.Chiara.; Luiselli, D.
Annals of Human Biology 48(3): 247-259
Phoenician and Punic expansions have been protagonists of intense trade networks and settlements in the Mediterranean Sea. The maternal genetic variability of ancient Punic samples from the Sardinian necropolis of Tharros was analysed, with the aim to explore genetic interactions and signatures of past population events. The mtDNA HVS-I and coding region SNPs were analysed in 14 Punic samples and 74 modern individuals from Cabras and Belvì (for which the HVS-II region was also analysed). The results were compared with 5,590 modern Euro-Mediterranean sequences and 127 ancient samples. While contemporary groups fall within the genetic variability of other modern Sardinians, our Punic samples reveal proximity to present-day North-African and Iberian populations. Furthermore, Cabras and Belvì cluster mainly with pre-Phoenician groups, while samples from Tharros project with other Punic Sardinian individuals. This study provides the first preliminary insights into the population dynamics of the Punic site of Tharros. While the number of currently available samples does not allow definitive investigation of the connection with indigenous Sardinian groups, our results seem to confirm internal migratory phenomena in the central-western Mediterranean and female participation in the Punic mobility.