were able to recover DNA from temporal bones and perform whole-genome sequencing to confirm that the men were Crusaders -- quite a feat considering that the bodies had been burned and buried in a warm, humid climate. Both factors cause DNA to degrade.Quite interesting.
The researchers weren't expecting the diverse origins of the men. Some were from Spain and Sardinia, four were locals who were probably recruited to fight, and two carried mixed genetics indicating that they were the result of relations between Crusaders and locals.
"Our findings give us an unprecedented view of the ancestry of the people who fought in the Crusader army. And it wasn't just Europeans," said Marc Haber, first author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, in a statement. "We see this exceptional genetic diversity in the Near East during medieval times, with Europeans, Near Easterners, and mixed individuals fighting in the Crusades and living and dying side by side."
Thursday, April 25, 2019
DNA from a Mass Grave of Crusaders