Paleogenetic evidence of a Pyrenean Neolithic family: Kinship, physical appearance and biogeography multidisciplinary analysis

Cláudia Gomes, Gerard Remolins, Ana María López-Parra, Juan F. Gibaja, Maria Fondevila, Flavio De Angelis, Virginia Veltre, M. Eulàlia Subirà, Carlos Baeza-Richer, Diana Guerrero, Sara Palomo-Díez, Cristina Martínez-Labarga, Elena Labajo-González, Maria Victoria Lareu, Bernardo Perea-Pérez, Eduardo Arroyo-Pardo

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One of the most important Neolithic necropolises in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula is La Feixa del Moro (3975-3790 cal. BC), located at 1335 mamsl in the Pyrenees (Juberri, Sant Julia de Lòria, Andorra). Within the scarcity of multiple simultaneous Neolithic burials, the main importance of La Feixa del Moro lies in the fact that it is one of the very few cases to suggest a biological family burial, comprising two adults and a newborn baby. Accordingly, the purpose of the present work was the multidisciplinary interpretation of the necropolis in the Neolithic context of the Pyrenees, on a potential route between the Iberian Peninsula and Europe. Therefore, kinship and biogeographic analyses were performed, as well as external visible characteristics phenotyping. Our results suggest the possibility of a traditional nuclear family, pointing to a very probable relation between the newborn and both adults. First, two mitochondrial haplotypes and two lineages were determined: H1, for the presumable mother and newborn, and U5, for the presumed father. Second, regarding their physical appearance, they all had brown eyes, the adult female and the neonate had dark brown hair, while the adult male's hair was dark red-brown. Finally, it was possible to confirm the sex of two of the individuals, as the newborn baby gender was also confirmed by the High Troughoutput Sequencing analysis. The multidisciplinary analysis of the La Feixa del Moro burial place envisions a very probable familial burial. Not only does the genetic evidence point to biological kinship, but also the archaeological record indicates a habitational area surrounding the burial site. The similar artefacts and the care shown during the funerary ritual suggest a probable biological Neolithic family.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • HTS
  • Kinship
  • Neolithic
  • Physical appearance
  • Pyrenees


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