Do you share DNA with any of the four ancient Irish samples on GEDmatch? You can compare your DNA to Neolithic and Bronze Age remains uncovered in Northern Ireland. Here’s how to go about it.
How To Research Ancient Irish DNA Samples on GEDmatch
We have another article on using GEDmatch to research Neanderthal and other Archaic DNA samples. GEDmatch has a dedicated tool called “Archaic DNA Matches” to compare your DNA against a collection of specific samples.
However, the ancient Irish samples are not part of the Archaic DNA collection.
The Irish samples were pepared by Matt Kitching using the same techniques and uploaded as individual DNA kits to GEDmatch.
So, you will use the standard one-to-one comparison tool on GEDmatch to compare your DNA with each kit. There is a step-by-step tutorial in this article that takes you through the process. And we have a video walkthrough.
If you already know how to use GEDmatch tools, then here are the kit numbers:
|F999805||Ballynahatty Neolithic Female|
|F999800||Rathlin Bronze Age Male 1|
|F999802||Rathlin Bronze Age Male 2|
|F999801||Rathlin Bronze Age Male 3|
The Ballynahatty Neolithic Female
The oldest sample is a Neolithic female found in the townland of Ballynahatty, on the southern side of Belfast, Northern Ireland. The remains are dated to about 5,200 years old.
I’ve pinned the location in this map to show where we’re talking about.
Researchers say that this woman had brown eyes and black hair. When comparing her genetic makeup to modern humans, she is most akin to people of Spain and Sardinia. But her DNA also points to ancestors from the Middle East.
There’s a photo of a reconstruction of the woman’s head in this article from the BBC.
The Rathlin Island Bronze Age Males
Rathlin Island is further north, off the coast of Antrim, Northern Ireland. People still live there, which makes it the most northern inhabited island off the coast of the island of Ireland.
These three male specimens date back to the Bronze age. They are dated from three to four thousand years old.
Unlike the Ballynahatty female, these men had genetic variants for blue eyes. They also have the most common Y type found in the modern Irish population. The DNA point to ancestors from the Pontic Steppes.
Evidence for Mass Migration Into Ireland
Dr Lara Cassidy of Trinity College Dublin says that modern Celts are closer to the Rathlin Island men than the Ballynahatty woman.
Genetic affinity is strongest between the Bronze Age genomes and modern Irish, Scottish and Welsh.
Professor Dan Bradley of Trinity points out that these genomes show evidence of a wave of migration into the island of Ireland.
There was a great wave of genome change that swept into Europe from above the Black Sea into Bronze Age Europe and we now know it washed all the way to the shores of its most westerly island.
Just in case you’re puzzled by Professor Bradley’s Irish fondness for verbal flair – the “most westerly island of Europe” is, indeed, Ireland.
Ready To Compare Your DNA To These Ancient Irish?
Now that you have a bit of background, here is how to compare your own DNA to these four samples. You will need to have tested with one of the main consumer DNA testing companies. These include:
- Living DNA
Upload Your DNA to GEDmatch
Or watch this video walkthrough on uploading your DNA to GEDmatch.
And always review the privacy and security policies of any site you intend to place your DNA with. If you’re satisfied and have uploaded your DNA to GEDmatch, then follow along with the next step-by-step tutorial on comparing your DNA to the ancient Irish kits.
A Video Walkthrough Of Comparing DNA With Ancient Irish Matches
If you prefer video, then here you go. Read further for an illustrated guide.
A Step-By-Step Guide To Comparing Your DNA To Ancient Irish Matches
1. Launch The One-To-One Autosomal Comparison Report
2. Enter Your Kit Number And One Of the Ancient Samples
3. Set The Minimum Threshold To 3 cM
If you don’t set a threshold, the default 7 cM will be used. You will probably not get any shared DNA at that level.
4. Compare Your DNA!
Hit the Compare button and scroll down the display to find any shared DNA.
How Do You Compare With Me?
I share 3.3 cM with the Ballynahatty female on chromosome #15.
I share 4.8 cM with Rathlin Man 1 on chromosome #18.
There is no shared DNA above 3 cM between myself and the other two Rathlin Island specimens.
Feel free to post a comment below with your own results.
Be Cautious With Small Segments Of DNA
It’s important not to draw conclusions or make too much out of such small segments of DNA. At these low levels, the reason for matching segments could be due to chance.
Our article on matching archaic DNA matches has a section on low thresholds of shared DNA. I discuss inheritance by chance, by common ancestor, and by population. It’s worth a read if you’re not familiar with these terms.
I’ll repeat here that examining these ancient DNA samples is for pure curiosity and fascination. I simply marvel at the fact that I can compare DNA to people born on the same island as me – thousands of years ago.