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Archeological discovery

Stone Age farmers in Sweden came from Mediterranean

Published fredag 27 april 2012 kl 14.55
"Ideas are really brought by people"
(1:42 min)
The skeleton of a Stone Age woman in her 20's indicates that early farmers emigrated to Sweden from southern Europe. Photo: Göran Burenhult/Uppsala universitet/Scanpix.

People have been emigrating to Sweden as far back as 4,000 years go, according to a recent archeological study from Uppsala university.

The skeleton of a stone age woman in her 20's, found in Västergötland, has provided the evidence for this conclusion. The woman was identified as belonging to a farming community. But her DNA was very different from the DNA of the native hunter-gatherers in the area.

The new discovery adds a piece to the puzzle about Sweden's early history. Scientists previously believed that farming had developed on its own in Sweden, from the hunter-gatherer communities. But this new discovery shows that it was actually brought here. Matthias Jakobsson from Uppsala university tells Swedish Radio News:

"We have found genetic differences. The hunter-gatherers from Sweden mostly resemble people from northern Europe, for example Finland, Russia or the Orkney Islands. However, the DNA of the farming woman in her 20's, is genetically very different from the hunter-gatherers, and resembles people from the Mediterranean area."

Jakobsson thinks that farming was brought to Sweden from the Mediterranean by this genetically different group of people. He says:

"We now know that ideas are really taken from one place to another by people moving around. We also know that these two groups can exist relatively peacefully alongside one another for a long period of time."

The co-existence of the two groups, the hunter-gatherers and the farmers, would mean that today's Scandinavians can count both groups as their forefathers.

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