Preservation of ancient DNA in sediments

PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES—A study of blocks of resin-impregnated archaeological sediment collected over the past 40 years from prehistoric sites in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America found that the solidified sediments can act as archives of ancient DNA from hominins and other mammals; according to the authors, DNA can remain stably localized in the sediments over long periods, predominantly preserved in small particles of bone and feces, and microsampling of archived sediment blocks can recover DNA of ancient hominins, such as Neanderthals, and link genetic information to archaeological and ecological records at a detailed level.


A researcher samples a block of resin-impregnated archaeological sediment for ancient DNA analysis. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.


Article Source: PNAS news release

*“Microstratigraphic preservation of ancient faunal and hominin DNA in Pleistocene cave sediments,” by Diyendo Massilani et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 27-Dec-2021.



Subscribe to Popular Archaeology Premium. Still the industry's best value at only $9.00 annually.