Article | Neolithic genomic data from southern France showcase intensified interactions with hunter-gatherer communities

Arzelier A., Rivollat M., De Belvalet H., Pemonge M-H., Binder D., Convertini F., Duday H., Gandelin M., Guilaine J., Haak W., Deguilloux M-F., Pruvost M., Science, Volume 25, Issue 11, 18 November 2022

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Archaeological research shows that the dispersal of the Neolithic took a more complex turn when reaching western Europe, painting a contrasted picture of interactions between autochthonous hunter-gatherers (HGs) and incoming farmers. In order to clarify the mode, the intensity, and the regional variability of biological exchanges implied in these processes, we report new palaeogenomic data from Occitanie, a key region in Southern France. Genomic data from 28 individuals originating from six sites spanning from c. 5,500 to c. 2,500 BCE allow us to characterize regional patterns of ancestries throughout the Neolithic period. Results highlight major differences between the Mediterranean and Continental Neolithic expansion routes regarding both migration and interaction processes. High proportions of HG ancestry in both Early and Late Neolithic groups in Southern France support multiple pulses of inter-group gene flow throughout time and space and confirm the need for regional studies to address the complexity of the processes involved.