An ancient HLA type from a Palaeolithic skeleton from Theopetra Cave, Greece

Martin Evison, Nina Kyparissi-Apostolika, E. Stravopodi, Nick Fieller, D. M. Smillie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The site of Theopetra Cave is exceptional, having yielded human remains from the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods. It offers a unique opportunity to apply ancient DNA analysis to skeletal material from well controlled archaeological contexts. Following promising preliminary results from the Palaeolithic skeleton a detailed analysis of the highly variable HLA DR, DQ region was pursued, yielding the same DNA type in duplicate analyses derived from independent bone extracts. Limited contamination with intrusive DNA was experienced in the study, suggesting that the results from the Palaeolithic skeleton are genuine. The DNA types detected are typical of both the postulated “Mesolithic hunter-gatherers” and “Near Eastern farmers” in the wave of advance model of Ammerman and Cavalli-Sforza. The implications of these findings from the Palaeolithic skeleton from Theopetra Cave are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTheopetra Cave: Twelve Years of Excavation and Research 1987-1998
EditorsNina Kyparissi-Apostolika
Place of PublicationAthens
PublisherEphorate of Palaeoanthropology and Speleology
ISBN (Print)960-91523-0-9
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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