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Posts Tagged ‘Phoenicians’

The Phoenicians were an ancient sea-faring culture that dominated the ancient world at one time. They were known for their impressive ships, purple cloth and developing an alphabet. The Phoenicians are not a modern culture, but there is no doubt that they left quite a legacy. This legacy has become the driving force behind the research of Spencer Wells (a National Geographic emerging explorer) and Pierre Zalloua (a geneticist at the American University of Beirut). Their collective goal is to learn whether the modern fishermen in Tyre, Lebanon are the descendents of the Phoenicians.

They plan to collect blood samples from the fishermen in Lebanon, in addition to men in other places that the Phoenicians used to occupy and visit. Certain mutations arose on the Y chromosome of Phoenicians. These mutations were passed generation to generation of males, and still exist today.  They traveled to Tunisia, North Africa, which used to be the ancient city of Carthage. It was a place that Phoenicians were known to be traders.  

Based on their DNA analysis, it was discovered that the Phoenicians were the same people as the Canaanites. They were the ancestors of today’s Lebanese population. Additionally, it was found that there was a small impact on Tunisia, due to the fact that they probably did not mix with the people of Carthage.

This research was funded by the National Geographic Society.

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