“The modern people of Basque Country, in northern Spain, are genetically similar to the Iberian Iron Age people with ancestry from the Russian steppe. While people around them mixed with different groups and changed, the Basques held on to their heritage.”
Ancient DNA is uncovering the secrets of the unique populations of what are now Portugal and Spain. Two studies published this week include unexpected findings from the DNA of people who lived thousands of years ago on the Iberian Peninsula.
The rugged peninsula is positioned between North Africa, Europe and the Mediterranean on the westernmost edge of the continent, so the DNA of its ancient population shows how it was affected by migration over time.
Iberia was also relatively warm during the last Ice Age, between 18,000 and 24,000 years ago, presenting a more welcoming climate for animals and people who retreated from the rest of Europe.