If You Want to Know What Neolithic Europeans Looked Like 9,000 Years Ago, Visit Sardinia

Admixture analysis showing remarkable purity of the modern Sardinian population

IN BOTH GENETIC and craniofacial studies, Sardinians emerge as belonging — at a rate of over 96.2% — to the Southern European genetic component as revealed by contemporary admixture analysis of various European and other populations. Peninsular Italians, like most other Europeans, typically possess to a greater extent what the Sardinians very nearly lack: Northern European, and Southwest and West Asian components — the latter two probably resulting from ancient proto-Europeans from those regions, who were kin to the Sumerians and quite unlike today’s Arabs and other Semites.

The data strongly suggests that this dominating ancestral component corresponds to an ancient southern European population inhabiting the island since Neolithic times, while peninsular Italy (like every other European nation’s population) has deviated to some degree, probably as the result of the settlement of Romano-Celts, Greeks, and all the other historical processes which have affected it through history and which can be detected in the genetic record.

Note also that previous studies have shown that Sardinia is also one of the few locations in the world examined so far where there is clear evidence of mtDNA continuity (continuity in the female line) — adding to the mounting evidence that the island province, like Iceland in its own way, preserves an ancient genetic legacy which is an important component of many European peoples from the Mediterranean to the Arctic Sea.

Sardinians in traditional clothing

From Homo, the Journal of Comparative Human Biology, Volume 61, Issue 6; via ScienceDirect

Craniofacial morphometric variation and the biological history of the peopling of Sardinia.

D’Amore G, Di Marco S, Floris G, Pacciani E, Sanna E.


The aim of this work is to explore the pattern of craniofacial morphometric variation and the relationships among five prehistoric Sardinian groups dated from Late Neolithic to the Nuragic Period (Middle and Late Bronze Age), in order to formulate hypotheses on the peopling history of Sardinia. Biological relationships with coeval populations of central peninsular Italy were also analysed to detect influences from and towards extra-Sardinian sources. Furthermore, comparison with samples of contemporary populations from Sardinia and from continental Italy provided an indication of the trend leading to the final part of the peopling history. Finally, Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic samples were included in the analyses to compare the prehistoric Sardinians with some of their potential continental ancestors. The analysis is based on multivariate techniques including Mahalanobis D(2) distance, non-parametric multidimensional scaling (MDS) and principal component analysis (PCA). The results showed the tendency to progressive differentiation between Sardinian groups and peninsular Italian groups, with the possible exception of a discontinuity showed by the Bonnànaro (Early Bronze Age) Sardinian sample. Several aspects of the morphological results were found to agree with the current genetic evidence available for the present-day Sardinian population and a Nuragic sample: (1) biological divergence between the Sardinian and peninsular Italian populations; (2) similarity/continuity among Neolithic, Bronze Age and recent Sardinians; (3) biological separation between the Nuragic and Etruscan populations; (4) contribution of a Palaeo-Mesolithic gene pool to the genetic structure of current Sardinians.

* * *

Source: Dieneke’s Anthropology Blog and National Vanguard correspondents

Previous post

Hood Lives Matter

Next post

A New Religion for Us, part 3

Notify of
Inline Feedback
View all comments