Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version

Spring 4-23-2021

Thesis Advisor

Janet Monge


genetic analysis, mitochondrial DNA, human remains


Genetic testing has become a critical tool for the examination of ancient human remains. Earlier methods relied exclusively on observations and measurements. DNA analysis can date skeletal remains using radiocarbon dating, identify the sex of the individual, and determine the mtDNA and Y-chromosome haplogroups. Mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome haplogroups can be further used to understand kinship, burial practices, and other information about the civilization. For this study, I created a sampling strategy for the genetic analysis of a collection of 397 skeletons excavated during the 1930’s from an Iranian Bronze Age site called Tepe Hissar. DNA analysis can be cost prohibitive and requires samples be extracted and destroyed. A successful sampling strategy mitigates these costs, balancing efficiency and effectiveness to create the smallest sample that remains representative for the entire population. Overall, preservation, location within the site and layers, and their status as an outlier should be considered as major determinants for the representative sample. Preservation is the most important factor followed closely by the status of skeletons as outliers in their respective research studies and the skeletons’ relative geographic location. Although I ranked these factors, all three will be taken into account when determining the final representative sample.



Date Posted: 26 August 2021


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