Who were the ancient Egyptians? Mummy DNA reveals surprising clues

Who were the ancient Egyptians? Mummy DNA reveals surprising clues, by Bianca Nogrady. Only surprising if you haven’t been paying attention to history.

Researchers used modern genetic analysis techniques to study the genomes of 93 mummies that lived between 1300 BC — the late New Kingdom Period — and around 30 BC during the time of the Romans. …

They then compared the genomes of these ancient Egyptians with data from the genome of modern Egyptians. …

Instead of finding that ancient Egyptians were more African, we actually found them to be almost zero or much less sub-Saharan African than the population that live in Egypt today,” he said.

“They have these closest genetic links to the fertile crescent and the eastern populations of what’s now Israel, but if they came from there or if they just evolved with gene flow all the time in this region, we cannot really say.” …

They also saw a clear genetic continuity right across the 1300-year time period of the studied mummies, despite the fact that over that time course Egypt was invaded by the Greeks, the Romans and Nubians. …

And yet, at some point in the past 1,500 years, there has been a major addition of sub-Saharan genetic material — largely West-African Yoruba — into Egypt’s population. …

But there is evidence of an active slave trade that reached its peak in the 19th century, and which was responsible for the transportation of millions of slaves from sub-Saharan Africa to Northern Africa and Egypt.

The Arab invasion with the Muslim conquest in the seventh century has a lot to do with it.

See also What Race Were the Greeks and Romans?, which points out that the ancient Greeks and Romans were whites, and largely Nordic. Ancient Egyptians, such as Cleopatra, were also white.

hat-tip Philip Barton