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Studies of genetic diversity in Tuscany, Italy, have recently been used to suggest that ancient accounts of the Etruscan people as migrants to Italy from Lydia, now in south-western Turkey, may be correct. This interpretation of the data runs against the current archaeological consensus that sees the Etruscans as a people indigenous to Italy. This paper explores alternative explanations for the presence in Tuscany of genetic material that is more commonly found in Near Eastern populations. The genetic evidence points towards the exchange of maternal genetic material in the post-Neolithic period between Italy and the Near East. Rather than interpreting this in terms of the movements of peoples, this paper investigates genetic exchange in the context of cultural interaction across the Mediterranean, focussing on the Orientalizing Period (800-600 BCE). In this period there is archaeological evidence for intensive cultural contact and economic exchange between the south-eastern shores of the Mediterranean and Italy leading to a widespread cultural hybridity. The DNA studies may, in this context, be seen as providing evidence for a genetically hybrid population in the central Mediterranean. This interpretation challenges basic assumptions about genetic identity, ethnicity and cultural identity.
|Item Type:||Book Chapter|
|Copyright Holders:||2011 Not known|
|Academic Unit/Department:||Arts > Classical Studies|
|Depositing User:||Phil Perkins|
|Date Deposited:||27 Jan 2012 10:33|
|Last Modified:||06 Nov 2013 03:37|
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