The Genomic History of the Bronze Age Southern Levant

Lily Agranat-Tamir, Shamam Waldman, Mario A.S. Martin, David Gokhman, Nadav Mishol, Tzilla Eshel, Olivia Cheronet, Nadin Rohland, Swapan Mallick, Nicole Adamski, Ann Marie Lawson, Matthew Mah, Megan Michel, Jonas Oppenheimer, Kristin Stewardson, Francesca Candilio, Denise Keating, Beatriz Gamarra, Shay Tzur, Mario NovakRachel Kalisher, Shlomit Bechar, Vered Eshed, Douglas J. Kennett, Marina Faerman, Naama Yahalom-Mack, Janet M. Monge, Yehuda Govrin, Yigal Erel, Benjamin Yakir, Ron Pinhasi, Shai Carmi, Israel Finkelstein, Liran Carmel, David Reich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report genome-wide DNA data for 73 individuals from five archaeological sites across the Bronze and Iron Ages Southern Levant. These individuals, who share the “Canaanite” material culture, can be modeled as descending from two sources: (1) earlier local Neolithic populations and (2) populations related to the Chalcolithic Zagros or the Bronze Age Caucasus. The non-local contribution increased over time, as evinced by three outliers who can be modeled as descendants of recent migrants. We show evidence that different “Canaanite” groups genetically resemble each other more than other populations. We find that Levant-related modern populations typically have substantial ancestry coming from populations related to the Chalcolithic Zagros and the Bronze Age Southern Levant. These groups also harbor ancestry from sources we cannot fully model with the available data, highlighting the critical role of post-Bronze-Age migrations into the region over the past 3,000 years. Genome-wide data from Bronze Age individuals across nine sites in the Southern Levant show strong genetic resemblance, including a component from populations related to Chalcolithic Zagros and Early Bronze Age Caucasus introduced by gene flow lasting at least until the late Bronze Age and affecting modern Levantine population architecture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1146-1157.e11
Issue number5
StatePublished - 28 May 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.


  • Abel Beth Maacah
  • Baq‛ah
  • Tel Megiddo
  • Tel Shadud
  • Yehud
  • ancient DNA
  • archaeology
  • demographic inference
  • genetic ancestry
  • population genetics
  • Haplotypes
  • Archaeology/methods
  • DNA, Mitochondrial/genetics
  • Humans
  • Genetic Variation/genetics
  • Gene Flow/genetics
  • Ethnicity/genetics
  • Middle East
  • Genome, Human/genetics
  • Human Migration/history
  • History, Ancient
  • DNA, Ancient/analysis
  • Genomics/methods
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Mediterranean Region
  • Genetics, Population/methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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