Family ties in an Early Bronze Age society on the Iberian Peninsula

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Villalba-Mouco V., et al, “Kinship practices in the early state El Argar society from Bronze Age Iberia”, Scientific reports (2022) 12:22415, Nature, Published 27 December 2022.


The Bronze Age in Europe was characterized by social and genetic transformations that began as early as the 3rd millennium BCE (Before Common Era). New funerary structures, political hierarchies and advances in metallurgy are emerging and playing an important role in the socio-economic mutations of these societies. New trade and exchange networks were set up. At the same time, paleogenetics revealed transformations in the ancestral gene pool that accompanied the profound socio-economic changes in the region. These transformations were linked to the expansion of pastoralist societies from Eastern Europe. The El Argar complex in the south of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain) bears witness to this genetic turnover in south-western Europe around 2200 BC. This article studies the genome of 68 individuals from the La Almoloya site. The results show that El Argar was a patrilineal society (type of filiation based on paternal descent) practicing exogamy (matrimonial rule imposing the search for a spouse outside one’s social group). The women who join El Argar reflect socio-political alliances.

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