Archaeology and genetics: Analysing DNA from skeletal remains

Martin Richards, Kate Smalley, Bryan Sykes, Robert Hedges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


We review some of our recent work on the analysis of DNA extracted from skeletal remains up to four thousand years old, which is made possible by the exquisite sensitivity of the polymerase chain reaction. To do this, we consider in some detail our approach to a particular archaeological problem, the question of the scale and nature of the settlements which took place in post‐Roman Britain. This involves the analysis of the mitochondrial DNA control region surviving in bone material from early Anglo‐Saxon cemeteries, and from likely modern descendents of the British and Germanic populations. We discuss the potential value and limitations of such an approach, and in so doing give some indication of the present state of the art.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-28
Number of pages11
JournalWorld Archaeology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


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