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The role of ancient DNA research in archaeology

Downes, Stephen M. (2021) The role of ancient DNA research in archaeology. Topoi, 40. pp. 285-293.

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Abstract

In this paper I briefly introduce work on ancientDNA
(aDNA) and give some examples of the impact this work has had on responses to questions in archaeology. Next, I spell out David Reich’s reasons for his optimism about the contribution aDNA research makes to archaeology. I then use Robert Chapman and Alison Wylie’s framework to offer an alternative to Reich’s view of relations between aDNA research and archaeology. Finally, I develop Steven Mithen’s point about the different questions archaeologists and geneticists ask, arguing that different disciplinary perspectives color researchers’ perceptions of “the most important questions” or the “central topics” in a field. I conclude that evidence from aDNA research cannot solve archaeological disputes without closer, mutually respectful collaboration between aDNA researchers and archaeologists. Ancient DNA data,like radiocarbon data, is not a silver bullet for problems in archaeology.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Downes, Stephen M.s.downes@utah.edu0000-0001-9363-3322
Keywords: ancient DNA, archaeology, genetics
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Archaeology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
Depositing User: Stephen M. Downes
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2021 20:47
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2021 13:09
Item ID: 19332
Journal or Publication Title: Topoi
Publisher: Springer
Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11245-0...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11245-019-09665-2
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Archaeology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
Date: 2021
Page Range: pp. 285-293
Volume: 40
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19332

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