The team of the paleogeneticists from CeNT UW (D. Popović. M. Molak-Tomsia and M. Baca) together with archaeologists from the Centre of the Andean Studies UW and international collaborators published a paleogenomic study about the inhabitants of the Tiwanaku in Science Advances.

Tiwanaku civilization flourished in the Lake Titicaca Basin between 500 and 1000 CE and at its apogee influenced wide areas across the Southern Andes. Despite a considerable amount of archaeological data concerning the culture, little is known about the Tiwanaku population and its dynamics. We analyzed 17 low-coverage genomes from individuals dated between 300 and 1500 CE and demonstrated genetic continuity in the Lake Titicaca Basin throughout this period, which indicates that the significant cultural and political changes in the region were not accompanied by large-scale population movements. In contrast, the ritual center of Tiwanaku revealed high diversity, including individuals with primarily local genetic ancestry and those with foreign admixture or provenance from as far away as the Amazon. Nonetheless, most human offerings associated with the Akapana Platform exhibited pure Titicaca Basin ancestry and dated to ca. 950 CE – the onset of Tiwanaku’s decline as a sociopolitical center. Our results strengthen Tiwanaku’s view as complex and far-reaching polity.

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