The biological affinities of the Eastern Mediterranean in the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age : a regional dental non-metric approach
This study investigated biological population affinities amongst Eastern Mediterranean Chalcolithic and Bronze Age human skeletal samples. Seven hundred and eighty-six human remains from eight different sites in Cyprus, Greece and Syria were studied. The sites range in age from the Cypriot Chalco lithic (SouskiouVathyrkakas, Lemba-Lakkous and Kissonerga-Mosphilia) to Cypriot Late Bronze Age (Enkomi and Ayios Iakovos), Syrian Early Bronze (Jerablus-Tahtani) and Greek Middle Bronze Ages (Lema and Asine). Age, sex and non-metric traits from the dentition, crania and post-crania were recorded. Using the non-metric dental data the biological affinities of these sites were determined. Two statistics were utilised with the non-metric traits to determine biological affinities, the Mean Measure of Divergence (MMD) and the Coefficient of e (D.e). The comparisons bet\veen the sites from southwest Cyprus show all three sites, which are in close spatial proximity, to be statistically biologically similar. Also they appeared to show some relation to the Syrian Early Bronze age site of Jerablus-Tahtani. These findings are in contrast to the different material cultures of these two regions, which may suggest the biological relation may be based on the ancestral contact between Cyprus and the mainland. The Cypriot Late Bronze sites show a mixed relation with the Chalco lithic samples with some relations with the Middle Bronze Age Greek samples and Syria. Where geographical distance is usually a factor in these types of comparisons, this study suggests time may also be a factor.