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DNA of ancient Phonecian boy suggests a new model of human migration

Ian Harvey

The findings of a recent study backed by DNA evidence is shedding new light on the genetic origins of perhaps the most celebrated civilization that once thrived in the Middle East. The researchers have successfully sequenced the first complete genome of 2500 years old remains of a young man discovered in Carthage. The Sequencing revealed that the ancient boy’s genome contains a rare European hunter gatherer genes; the finding has the potential to trigger the rewrite of the migration pattern of ancient Europeans into the North African region.


Location of Phoenicia
Location of Phoenicia.Source

Researchers claim that the finding is significant as it could shed light on the scope and tendency of ancient people’s movement across continents.

The young man whose remains were discovered in cartage belonged to a civilization known as Phoenicians. Major contributors to the rise of mankind to the glory it enjoys today; Phoenicians were the genius civilization who created the first organized system of alphabets, effectively paving the way for the rise of knowledge and science in the coming millennium. Phoenicians lived in a chain of coastal city states of Tyre, Sidon, Byblos and Arad; constituting modern day regions of Lebanon and southern Syria.

According to historians the very first Phoenician city started forming sometime in 3200 BCE; and by 2750 BCE Phoenicians had developed into a thriving civilization comprised of many city states. Mainly peaceful folks, Phoenicians pride themselves in maritime trading and manufacturing all kinds of everyday items. With the trade stretching as far as Britain and Greece, Phoenicians were able to invest in the business of making ships, glass items, and a variety of other luxury goods such as dye, used for dying clothes and sometimes human hair?

Phoenician man.Source
Phoenician man.Source:University of Otago

The demise of the Phoenicians started in the year 334 BCE, when Alexander the Great swept through the region conquering Sidon and Byblos and then arriving in Tyre. After witnessing the obliteration of other city states, the elders of Tyre decided to peacefully surrender to Alexander; however this did not stop the carnage that devastated once thriving and peaceful civilization. Historical figures differ but it is safe to say that Alexander’s Army brutally massacred some 30,000 Phoenicians including skilled designers and a number of great Phoenicians; those who somehow survived the ordeal were enslaved, soon after that Phoenician civilization slowly died out.

The researchers from the University of Otago, New Zealand claimed that the DNA sequencing of the Phoenician boy known in the scientific community as ‘Young man of Byrsa’ or ‘Archie’; resembles to a modern day Portuguese. A study was carried out in Lebanese region to find the resembling sequence, however, no confirmed match was reported hence the European origins of Phoenicians became a plausible theory.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News