Experts in genetics at the University Complutense of Madrid, analyzed the mitochondrial DNA of the remains of two individuals located during the archaeological excavation at the Comedy Theater in Cádiz. They have found that both skeletal remains are from Phoenicia. One of the remains was found to be of mixed blood with the indigenous people while the other is of pure Phoenician descent. The result of the interaction of these populations, demonstrated the maternal or paternal ancestry of individuals studied vis-à-vis Phoenicia proper.
Video of the skeletal discovery and study
It is the first time that DNA studies are performed to trace ancestors and Phoenician native of Gádiz. This made it a pioneering study of "international scale," as explained by Don Antonio Castillo, City Councilor for Culture of Cádiz, in a press conference.
The fundamental strategy of philogenetic research is to understand the evolutionary processes of different populations. Thus, there have been, for example, studies to clarify the origin of the Japanese, Native American, Talayotic populations of Mallorca or ancient African populations, but among the studies that have been most important in the field of archeology and anthropology emphasizes the genetic characterization of Neanderthal man.
The skeleton from the sixth century B.C., which is now called "Valentin." Genetically he is son of a Phoenician father and European native mother. He still lies in the same position where he violently died 2,600 years ago.
For this study, two individuals skeletons, which were the oldest, found in the excavation of the Comedy Theater. The first one is dated to around 720 B.C,, in a Phoenician home that was abandoned and the household materials were found in situ. The residents clearly left suddenly in a "quick hasty." They even left cooking utensils in ovens that suggest the abandonment was abrupt.
The said indicators suggest a disaster had happened and the streets had rubble from collapsed building. Skeletal remains that were exhumed in some locations demonstrate that the individuals died as a result of sever trauma and dislocated bones caused by the impact of large objects. The collapsed buildings were reconstructed hastily, and rebuilding was made over rubble remains evident today.
The second skeleton is one on which paleopathological studies were conducted. The CT was three-dimensional. Also, the individual died violently as a result of a major fire in the early sixth century B.C.
Second Phoenician skeleton that was crushed under
rubble after a major catastrophe
Dr. Manolo Calero, Don Antonio Castillo and archaeologist José María Geber presenting their findings in a press conference
In the first individual, several DNA strains were detected (haplogroups HVOa1 y U1A) that are primarily found in Middle Eastern populations where the Phoenician presence was most notable. He or she came from Phoenician origin of the first or second generation whose father and mother settled in Phoenician Gádiz/Gadir.
The second individual is significantly different from the first one. Genetic markers in this individual were detected as linked to geographically overlapping populations with ancient Phoenicia (Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, having haplogroup K y HV1). Further, he/she was found to have haplogroup H, a strain present in Western Europe.
Video of the skeletal discovery and study
President Chamoun of the Phoenician Center's (PIRC) visit to Cádiz and plans for collaboration with the city scholars
The research team suggests the possibility of a European maternal origin in the second. This is most probably due to the establishment of family ties among the settlers of Phoenician origin and women of the Iberian Peninsula. Integration of indigenous women in the colonies is a process well documented in other colonial processes, especially in their early stages, when there were not enough Phoenician women to ensure reproductive viability of the group, in the colonies.
As highlighted by Antonio Castillo, this is the first time DNA studies were performed on the ancestors of Cádiz, and even individual Phoenicians in the Mediterranean [except for the National Geographic Study/IBM study conducted by Dr. Spencer Wells entitled "Who were the Phoenicians"]. Nevertheless, this study, according to Castillo, is unique "making it an internationally pioneering study" because it speaks about the Phoenicians through this legacy material. However, he adds, "we have never come to know with certainty the actual geographical origin and genetic line of these populations."
Furthermore, the research continues work to study a third body, temporarily called "Valentine." It too demonstrates that the individual underwent violent death. Specifically, the face is turned down and the head is separated from the body with large stones fallen on the legs.
This work is coordinated by the Paleopetologist Manuel Calero. In addition, with collaboration from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, there will be a study of the paleodiet of these three individuals, i.e., what were their eating habits. This is a parameter used today to differentiate populations and ancient cultures.
Dr. Chamoun, Reverend Fr. Francisco Dominguez with family and Don Francisco Glicerio Conde and Paleopetologist Manuel Calero
Chamoun family with Archeologist Jose Maria Geber and Paleopetologist Manuel Calero
Chamoun family and Mrs. Esther Calero admiring
a Phoenician site in Cadiz
Phoenician International Research Center Inc. (PIRC) president, Dr. Habib Chamoun-Nicolas summer 2012 visit to Phoenician Port of Cadiz was very productive. He presented a conference about the Phoenician Gifts to Humanity to the Cadiz community, sponsored by Cadiz City Mayor Teófila Martínez. The event was coordinated by Don Enrique P. García-Agulló y Orduña, who was in charge of and coordinated CADIZ 2012 at the Casino Gaditano. He also met with the scientists working on the latest Phoenician findings in Cadiz. Dr. Chamoun met with Dr. Manolo Calero. The latter made breakthrough studies in DNA test of the Phoenician skeletons found in the Comic Theater. One was proven to be genetically of Phoenician descent. Further, the other individual was found to be of a Phoenician father and indigenous European mother -- a Phoenician of mixed blood and heritage. This intermarriage is well documented in areas were many Phoenicians settled and married European indigenous woman. Also, Dr. Chamoun met with Archeologist Jose Maria Geber, who has made some recent discoveries about a Phoenician city below the Comedy Theater in Cadiz.
Dr. Chamoun with Don Enrique P. García-Agulló y Orduña
Dr. Chamoun with Dr. Manolo Calero and Don Francisco Glicerio Conde
PIRC vision is to promote and diffuse knowledge about Phoenician sites and findings around the world. Together with the Center for Phoenician and Punic Studies (CEFYP) of the Complutense University in Madrid, Dr. Chamoun is determine to document, diffuse and promote Phoenician discoveries working with the other officers of the PIRC, Salim G. Khalaf, CEO and Nick Kahwaji, CAO of the center.
Pictures included herewith are of the Major of Cadiz, Teófila Martinez and Dr. Chamoun’s best selling book “Negotiate like a Phoenician.” Also, there are pictures of Dr. Chamoun with Don Enrique Garcia –Agulló y Ordoña. Further, Dr. Chamoun and his family appear with Dr. Manolo Calero, his wife and Archeologist Jose Maria Geber, in addition to Francisco Glicerio Conde, Cadiz historian
Dr. Chamoun mentioned that it was so exciting and fascinating to encounter the Phoenician skeleton specifically the one called “Valentin” in Cadiz. When Dr. Chamoun asked Dr. Calero why Valentin was used to call the skeleton, a funny story surfaced. Dr. Calero was explained that when they went to the hospital to fill up the paperwork to study the skeleton, typically a name and information about the patient is required. However, since the subject is not a living person and the date happen to be on the 14 of February, Valentine day, they called this skeleton Valentin and the last name Phoenician. So, this skeleton became known as a Phoenician Valentin, which happens to be a Spaniard name, as well.
Dr. Chamoun proposed to the scholars of Cadiz city and major officials to promote the discovery to two Spanish speaking ports the Port of Vallarta in Mexico and Port of Cadiz, as two sister ports. Specifically, the promotion aims to have a Phoenician tour exhibition where Phoenician Valentin would go around the world in an exhibition promoting the Phoenician heritage entitled the Phoenician Voyager. Dr. Chamoun is committed to this plan and is planning to meet again, at the end of 2012, with Cadiz officials, as well as Puerto Vallarta decision makers, to make this project a reality.
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