September 2018
Vol 4, Issue 9

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

COVER The Alemanni are a group of Germanic tribes that occupied a region spanning parts of present-day Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria. However, little is known about the tribes' household makeup. To glean insight, O'Sullivan et al. used ancient genome-wide analyses techniques to analyze bones from a 7th century AD Alemannic burial site at Niederstotzingen in southern Germany, where, decades ago, 13 skeletal remains, as well as collections of goods, were uncovered from 12 graves. At least 11 of the individuals were likely male, suggesting that burial rites were sex-biased. Strontium and oxygen isotope content of the individuals’ dental enamel revealed that five of the individuals were second-degree relatives born in the region, whereas three other individuals were not detectably related. These findings suggest that other social processes, such as personal fealty to powerful families, might have also influenced the composition of these cemeteries. [CREDIT: NIALL O'SULLIVAN]