London: When farming spread throughout Europe some 8,000 years ago, Anatolia, in present day Turkey, functioned as a hub, spreading genes and the new ideas westward, says a new study.
The finding is based on analysis of human remains excavated in 1994 from Kumtepe in northwestern Anatolia.
"I could use the DNA from the Kumtepe material to trace the European farmers back to Anatolia,” said doctoral student Ayca Omrak from Archaeological Research Laboratory, Stockholm University in Sweden.
The human material used in the study was heavily degraded, but yielded enough DNA for the researchers to address questions concerning the demography connected to the spread of farming.
"It is also fun to have worked with this material from the site Kumtepe, as this is the precursor to Troy," Omrak said.
Because of its location at the point where the continents of Asia and Europe meet, Anatolia, also called Asia Minor, was a crossroads for people migrating or conquering from either continent.
The results of the new study confirm Anatolias importance to Europe's cultural history.
"It is complicated to work with material from this region, it is hot and the DNA is degraded. But if we want to understand how the process that led from a hunter-gatherer society proceeded to a farming society, it is this material we need to exhaust,” study co-author Jan Stora, associate professor in osteoarchaeology at Stockholm University, noted in an official statement.