Research directors: E. Crubézy, A. Alexeev
Directors of paleogenetic analyses: Ch. Keyser, B. Ludes
Co-directors of fieldwork: S. Duchesne, P. Gérard
The French Archaeological Missions in Eastern Siberia were created in 2004 by the MAE (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), following two missions conducted by E. Crubézy in Yakutia (Sakha Republic, eastern Siberia). The initial objective of these missions, initiated by E. Crubézy and B. Ludes in collaboration with the Rector A. Alexeev of the Yakutsk University, was to study population settlement in Yakutia by comparing past and present populations with the same genetic markers: mitochondrial, Y-chromosome and autosomal STRs. For this, one hundred frozen bodies dating from the 15th-18th centuries were excavated and autopsied in 2004 and 2009, originating from central Yakutia and the Vilyuy region, an important region involved in the settlement of Yakutia. Subsequently, the mission took into consideration the factors of co-evolution, such as infectious diseases - those resulting from contact with the Europeans from the 17th century, including tuberculosis (research of C. Bouakaze) and those linked to past and current environmental modifications (research directed by J-F. Magnaval).
In addition to the development of innovative techniques used to study settlement history related to the conservation of bodies and in situ autopsies, the missions have obtained important results on the interactions between genes and culture, due to the unique comparisons of historical, ethnographic, archaeological and biological data. This research is a between MAFSO and the ANR project ‘Siberia’, developed on contemporary populations in eastern Siberia.
Two publications are available, synthesising the results of the missions. The first, ‘Shaman’ discusses all the data from central Yakutia, and the second explores the settlement of Yakutia (Crubézy et al., 2010). Currently, MAFSO concentrates on studying settlement history: (i) by comparing genetic and cultural elements in past populations in order to assess tribal variation in central Yakutia; (ii) in Vilyuy populations, through analysing contemporary (research by M. Gibert) and ancient genetic data; and (iii) through the study of bacteria which potentially caused deaths in past populations. Concerning the study of culture, Michel Petit and Dariya Nikolaïeva study grave artefacts, in their Siberian context and within the context of world trade during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Crubézy E. et Alexeev A. (2007) –dir- Chamane, Kyss, jeune fille des glaces. Editions Errance, Paris. 167 p
Crubézy E., Amory S., Keyser C, Bouakaze C, Bodmer M., Gibert M., Röck A., Parson W., Alexeev A., Ludes B. 2010, Human evolution in Siberia; from frozen bodies to Ancient DNA, BMC evolutionary biology accepté
Crubézy E., Duchesne S., Gérard P., Keyser C., Amory S., Cannet C., Géraut A., Alexeev A., Ludes B., Petit C. 2009. Tombes gelées de Sibérie. In « Sépultures et sociétés ». Sous la direction de J. Guilaine Edts Errance, p 313-333
Amory S, Keyser C, Crubézy E, Ludes B. STR typing of ancient DNA extracted from hair shafts of Siberian mummies. Forensic Sci Int. 2007 Mar 2;166(2-3):218-29. Epub 2006 Jul 12.