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Speaker Series: Archaeogenetics and the African Past

7:00 PM
Calgary Central Public Library

Speaker: Scott Maceachern

There has been less archaeology done in Africa than on any other continent, and the prehistory of much of this vast area remains more or less unknown.  Archaeogenetics provides us with a new and extremely powerful way of looking at population movements and contacts in the past, and the comparison of archaeological and genetic data offers the prospect of great advances in our understanding of African prehistory. In particular, the extraction of ancient DNA from human remains and archaeological samples throw light upon a world that has been transformed over the centuries. At the same time, interdisciplinary research involves challenges: archaeological and genetic data inform us on different aspects of human history, and each approach has its own strengths and weaknesses. This lecture will offer a discussion of these issues, with examples drawn from different parts of Africa and with comparisons to historical reconstructions from other areas of the world.