Institute of Archaeology


Ancient DNA and the African Past

05 December 2018, 6:00 pm

Ancient DNA and the African Past

Event Information

Open to



Room 612, UCL Institute of Archaeology

The next seminar in the 2018-19 African Peoples and Pasts Seminar Series will be given by Pontus Skoglund (Ancient Genomics Laboratory, The Francis Crick Institute) at the UCL Institute of Archaeology on 5 December.


Genomic sequencing of archaeological material has revolutionized our understanding of the human past in Eurasia, but ancient DNA sequencing has yet to be comprehensively brought to benefit the study of Africa's past. I will review our current state of understanding of the genomic record of past African populations, how this record can be interpreted together with the archaeological record, and how scholars from diverse disciplines can engage with this source of information in their own research. Example insights from this recent research has included a new understanding of long-distance interconnectivity between early Holocene southern African and eastern African populations, support for an expansion of Cushitic-speakers from eastern to southern Africa, and new models of deep human population structure in Africa around the time of emergence of anatomically modern humans. These initial results highlight the potential for future research in the interphase of archaeology and ancient genomics, and I will present the preliminary design of a new ancient DNA enrichment SNP array specifically geared to capture African genetic diversity.

There will be a wine reception to follow, in the Leventis Gallery. All welcome! Any enquiries about the event may be directed to Pauline Harding.