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DNA Analysis Reveals Unexpected Ancestry of Ancient Egyptian Population

Who were the true founders of ancient Egypt? New evidence from Adaïma, upper Egypt suggests it may not be who we thought. In 1989, a team of archaeologists led by Eric Crubézy from the university of Toulouse, France made a groundbreaking discovery at the site of Adaïma in Upper Egypt: nearly 1,000 tombs dating back from the predynastic period (ca. 4000 BCE) into the beginning of the 3rd dynasty (ca. 2700 BCE). These tombs contained exceptional furnishings and ornaments, including pectorals made of blue earthenware pearls and amulets made of hard rock. However, the most important discovery was the high quality remains of an ancient Egyptian community, which allowed scientists to analyze their ethnicity and coevolution with diseases.

The Adaïma necropolis is notable for its profusion of well-preserved remains dating from 4000 to 2700 BC, including adults, newborns, and children. As a result, it is a valuable asset for researching funeral rituals, understanding the evolution of human health, and determining who the indigenous residents of Kemet were. Researchers examined factors including the style of burial (main or secondary), the presence of multiple burials, and the presence of “human sacrifices.” They’ve also seen variances in funeral procedures between sections of the cemetery.

French anthropologist Eric Crubézy (In Red) with his Team

The Adaïma necropolis offers a unique and significant insight into the lives of these ancient Egyptians as well as the growth of their culture and civilization. The occupation of the location from the predynastic era until the beginning of the third dynasty also proves the Adaïma people’s indigenous status and their position as part of the founding fathers of the ancient Egyptian civilization. These discoveries have crucial implications for our knowledge of Ancient Egypt’s history and origins and provide a rich supply of information for future research.

Analysis of the mummies found at Adaïma revealed that they belonged to the mitochondrial DNA L0f, which is most commonly found in southern Black African groups like the Sandawe people of Tanzania. Their skulls and teeth were also similar to those of Black Africans, particularly the Khoisan people. This evidence has long been ignored by mainstream media. Instead, they focused on a study published by the Max Planck Institute from 2017 that claimed that a group of individuals buried at the site of Abusir-el-Melek in middle Egypt, and who were genetically closer to the ancient population of the Middle East, represented the blueprint of whom the ancient Egyptians were. The Adaïma necropolis, on the other hand, gives a more thorough knowledge of ancient Egyptian culture and the indigenous status of its inhabitants, and let me explain why.

Adaima Pharaoh Ka hieroglyhic
Hieroglyphic of Pharaoh Ka discovered in Adaïma

The Necropolis of Adaïma in Upper Egypt offers valuable insights into the origins and ethnicity of the ancient Egyptians because it was occupied from the predynastic to the dynastic period. The most essential period of Ancient Egypt if we want to discover who built that ancient civilization. In contrast, the oldest mummy at the site of Abusir-el-Melek dates back to the New Kingdom, a golden age period in Kemet, but that happened after a long period of trouble with foreign invasions and occupation, notably by the Hyksos. Even the location of Abusir is problematic, since it is in an area that was under the influence of all these foreign populations. For the purpose of understanding who built Ancient Egypt, that sample is obviously highly biased.

Mitochondrial DNA

When attempting to identify who were the builders of Ancient Egypt, it is important to consider multiple factors such as historical events, the time period, and location. It is not about identifying people who lived in Egypt, but identifying who built that civilization. Both things are completely different, especially because we know that Kemet has been invaded and occupied multiple times and that numerous foreign groups lived in that country is migrants. They ended up becoming Egyptians by nationality, but their ancestors came from other part of the world. They can’t be used to represent who the ancient Egyptians were.

It is now known that the Ancient Egyptian civilization emerged in the southern part of its territory, particularly around Nubia. So, to answer our question, It makes sense to prioritize that area.

The Necropolis of Adaima is located in Upper Egypt. That’s one positive point. It provides a unique glimpse into the early history of Ancient Egypt and the indigenous status of its people.

With an abundance of tombs spanning from the predynastic to the dynastic period, all scholars have admitted that the site offered a comprehensive understanding of the history of Ancient Egypt that cannot be found anywhere else. The same community occupied the area for centuries, making them the best sample currently available to identify who the ancient Egyptians were.

adaima - map 2
The city of Adaïma is wonderfully positioned in the middle of Upper Egypt, amid some of the oldest and most important ancient Egyptian towns like Naqada, Luxor, Edfu, and Hierakonpolis

Adaïma 2010 VS Abusir-el-Melek 2017

So, when compared to the site of Abusir, which dates back to the New Kingdom and is located further North, in an area heavily influenced by foreign powers, the Necropolis of Adaima stands out as the more reliable source for understanding the genesis of Ancient Egypt.

Regardless of what the Max Planck institute revealed, the mummies discovered at Abusir belonged to haplogroups that are typical in the region. They just choose not to emphasize it. They concentrated on autosomal DNA while ignoring lineage. Furthermore, they discovered that three of the 90 people examined belonged to the E1b1b and J families. So the first one comes from haplogroup E, which is the most common paternal lineage in Africa today. The second is connected with individuals from the Middle East, which is not surprising given that both regions share borders. As a result, the individuals studied were connected to the region. The first was an African. He may have had other ancestries too, but his Y-DNA was still African.

Map-of-continent-specific-mitochondrial-haplogroups-Haplogroups-are-indicated-with-a
L is associated to Mitochondrial Eve

On the other side, the mummies found at Adaima belong to an indigenous and Black African lineage, L0f. Macrogroup L is exclusive to Africans. It is the Mitochondrial Eve line carried by all Black women. This debunks the claim that there was an “increase of Sub-Saharan African ancestry in post-Roman periods,” as L0f was present in Egypt prior to the New Kingdom period. It was there even before the foundation of Kemet and remained there until the 3rd dynasty. It can be considered a foundational Egyptian lineage.

Frequency_maps_based_on_HVS-I_data_for_haplogroups_L0,_L0a,_L0b,_L0d,_L0f_and_L0k
Today, L0f is mainly found among Central and East African populations

As you have noticed, this information about Adaïma has been known since 2010, while the study about Abusir-el-Melek was published in 2017. There are 7 years between both, and you probably only have heard of one of them. I can guarantee you that it is not an accident. This highlights the selective nature of scholars and mainstream media in deciding which information they want the public to know. When it goes against their agenda, they simply ignore it and when they find something that they can twist to detach Kemet from Africa, they spread it all over mainstream media like wildfire. 

It is crucial for Africans to understand this dynamic and become involved in these debates and control the narrative, particularly when it comes to the history of Kemet. Because it is their history. By sharing this information, we bring more balance to the conversation and correct the misinformation that has been spread. We are our own media. No one will do it for us.

References:
Adaima la necropole predynastique

Adaïma settlement burials: Giving the burials context by Jeri L. Bohacv
Le peuplement de la vallée du Nil by Eric Crubézy

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