A team of researchers has sequenced the first mitochondrial genome of 2,500-year-old Phoenician. The study has found that the man had European ancestry. The man has been dubbed as the ‘Young Man of Byrsa’ or ‘Archie’.
His remains were found in the ancient city of Carthage, outside Tunis, the Tunisian capital. From the analysis, it has been found that the man belonged to a rare European haplogroup, a genetic group with a common ancestor. The finding provides an evidence of the earliest evidence of the European mitochondrial haplogroup U5b2c1 in North Africa.
Study researcher Matisoo-Smith said about haplo-group from which the man belonged, “It is remarkably rare in modern populations today, found in Europe at levels of less than one per cent. Interestingly, our analysis showed that Ariche’s mitochondrial genetic make-up most closely matches that of the sequence of a particular modern day individual from Portugal”.
In the study, the researchers have assessed the mitochondrial DNA of 47 modern Lebanese people. They did not find anyone to be belonging from the U5b2c1 lineage. In a study carried out in the past, U5b2cl was found in two ancient hunter-gatherers who were found in Northwestern Spain.
The research paper published in the journal PlosOne has unveiled that Phoenicians are believed to originate from what is known as Lebanon. They have passed on their influence from the Mediterranean to the Iberian Peninsula.
It is vital to know about the Phoenicians, as they have shaped the Western civilization. Also, they were responsible for the first alphabetic writing system. Matisoo-Smith said that the findings may help unveil the Phoenicians contribution to the modern world.