The success of ancient DNA (aDNA) studies rests on the preservation of DNA through time, and can be limited by the availability of skeletal samples from particular times and locations. To help overcome this limitation, we sought to extract, amplify, and type human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) preserved within 1000- to 2000+-year-old artifacts from the American Southwest. In this study, we successfully typed mtDNA from 21 quids and aprons from Basketmaker II and Mimbres contexts. Recovery and analysis of human DNA from such artifacts will be helpful in confirming and extending genetic characterization of ancient populations for which human remains are scarce or unavailable. To illustrate the potential of these techniques, we tested them as a preliminary and independent line of evidence, relevant to the hypothesis that Western Basketmaker populations in the U. S. Southwest were descendants of migrant farmers from central Mexico.
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