Prof. Dr. Ben Krause-Kyora, Junior professor

Junior professor | Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology

Prof. Dr. Ben Krause-Kyora (Germany, 1980)

M.A. in Pre- and Protohistory

PhD thesis
Molekulargenetische und archäologische Untersuchungen zur Domestikation und Züchtung des Schweins (Sus scrofa).
The exploration and reconstruction of the interaction between humans, their domestic animals and their sociocultural influences have a long research history. The focus of this work is the domestication and the keeping of the pig (Sus scrofa) in Northern Europe during the Neolithic and early medieval times. This study applied approaches from the humanities and natural sciences to generate a multiplicity of data over different environmental conditions, which offered the possibility to clarify the biological compositions of the examined pig populations and the life strategies and living conditions of past societies. In this study, 348 domestic pigs and 104 wild boars from Mesolithic/Neolithic and early medieval sites were examined. Several fragments of the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) were analyzed and compared with already existing data from databases and a reference collection of 64 modern wild boars and domestic pigs. It was possible to amplify mtDNA for 44 % of the Neolithic/Mesolithic and for 70 % of the early medieval samples. Furthermore, an analysis method utilizing SNPs associated with phenotype was developed and applied for a reliable estimation of the coat color from the smallest quantities of DNA.

It was possible to differentiate the Mesolithic/Neolithic pig populations by time and space, within the analysis of one D-loop-fragment and four cytochrome b (cytb)-fragments of the mtDNA. Four haplogroups could be identified in the results, the European haplogroups (represent by the haplotypes ANC-A and ANC-C) is found in 80% of the domestic pigs and the Near Eastern haplogroups (represent by the haplotypes ANC-Y1-6A and ANC-Y2-5A) in 20% of the domestic pigs. The wild boar populations in Europe are posed the European haplogroups ANC-A and ANC-C. Thus the domestic pigs with the haplotypes ANC-Y1-6A and -Y2-5A in the Neolithic period shows a maternal lineage from the Near East. This indicates that the domestic pigs were introduced into Europe in a similar way as other animals such as cattle, goats and sheep from the Near East. The observed genetic data supports the scenario that the Neolithic transition could be explained by the “leap frog colonization“- model. Higher haplotype diversity was observed in the examined ancient samples than in modern wild and domestic pig populations. The genetic selection of domestic pigs through breeding could have led to a fast disappearance of the haplotypes from the Near East. The strong reduction of the diversity within the wild boars could be due to direct and indirect factors, e.g. the loss of habitat or poor adaptation to the climate and the landscapes of Northern Europe.

It was not possible to differentiate domestic and wild pigs based on the mtDNAdata. Combining the genetic data with the archaeological context allowed some distinction between the two animals. Due to the fact that only the domestic pigs carried the haplotypes ANC-Y1-6A and ANC-Y2-5A in Europe, all European pigs assigned to a haplogroup from the Near East can be considered domestic. The analysis of the MC1R gene shows a clear differentiation between wild and domestic pigs according to coat color. The genotype of three domestic pigs and a wild boar were determined; all of them are reflecting black-spotted phenotypes, which differ from the wild type.

For the first time, the haplotype of three wild pigs from settlements of the Ertebølle culture could be assigned to ANC-Y1. Three possible explanations for this finding are possible. First, the archaeozoological determination of the domestication-status is not sensitive enough and thus domestic pigs have been determined as wild. This is supported by the coat color and isotope analyses of one sample (WG 24). This hypothesis would suggest a direct exchange between the Ertebølle and the LBK culture. Second, feral pigs from LBK settlements have immigrated as wild boars into Ertebølle settlements. Third, this may reflect local wild animals with the haplotype ANC-Y1, which spread until the last ice age into Northern Europe. The result schows that the Near East haplotypes could be regarded as local and European. Furthermore, this can be interpreted as an “idea transfer” and/or an autochthonous domestication of the pigs in Northern Germany.

Samples from the early medieval sites are genetically very homogeneous, which shows a long tradition of breeding and thereby continuous genetic selection. The genetic results did not show an association with the different cultural groups such as Friesian, Saxony, Slavonic and Danish. The results of the MC1R gene corroborate this. The animals showed the allele 501/501, which is the phenotype EP described as black-spotted, and differs from the wild type. The collection of a multiplicity of genetic information in the context of this work contributes to the clarification of the pig phylogeny. Beyond that, the results contribute to the contextualization and reconstruction of the subsistence strategy of the Neolithic of Northern Europe and the early medieval period of Northern Germany.

Research interests aDNA, zooarchaeology, ancient economy, food production, ethnoarchaeology, neolithisation of northern Europe, social practices involving animals, Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, pre- and protohistoric of Sri Lanka, Biochemistry, natural sciences in archaeology.
Post PhD Position Post-doctoral fellow, Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology (IKMB), Kiel University

April 2008 - July 2011
PhD student member of the Graduate School Human Development in Landscapes at Kiel University

Graduated (Magister Artium) Thesis: “A heap of rubble: Lithic aspects of the Neolithic Settlement Hemmingstedt LA2”.

Study of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology, at Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel, Degree: Magister Artium

Since 2001
Study of Biochemistry at Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel.

Training as chemical-technical assistant at the Gymnasium Altona and Berufsschule G13 Bergedorf, Degree: chemical-technical assistant

Work experience

since January 2014
Junior Professor for ancient DNA analyses at the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology and at the Graduate School Human Development in Landscapes at Kiel University

Post-doctoral fellow at the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology and at the Graduate School Human Development in Landscapes at Kiel University

Head of archaeological excavation at Godavaya, Sri Lanka. Dir. Dr. Weisshaar, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut.

Head of archaeological excavations at Wittenborn and Weede, Schleswig-Holstein

Student assistant at the Institute of Biochemistry at the University of Kiel

Student assistant at the Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology at the Univ. of Kiel

Student assistant at five campaigns of archaeological excavations at Tissamaharama and Godavaya, Sri Lanka. Dir. Dr. Weisshaar, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut.

Student assistant at the GKSS Research Center, Hamburg

Employee at archaeological excavation at Leezen, Schleswig-Holstein

Head of archaeological excavation at Scharbeutz, Schleswig-Holstein

Student assistant at archaeological excavation at Berezovka, Russia

2001–2002 and 2007
Student assistant at the Leibniz Laboratory for Radiometric Dating and Isotope Research at the University of Kiel

Student assistant at archaeological excavation at the submarine settlement of Neustadt, Schleswig-Holstein

Selected publications

B. Krause-Kyora, Ein Trümmerhaufen. Steinzeitliches Feuersteinhandwerk und der Feuersteinhandel an der Nordseeküste. Aspekte aus der neolithischen Siedlung Hemmingstedt. Archäologie in Schleswig 12.

B. Krause-Kyora, Ein Trümmerhaufen: Lithische Aspekte aus der neolithischen Siedlung Hemmingstedt LA 2 (Magisterarbeit Univ. Kiel 2007) [UPA-Publikation in Vorbereitung].

In press
Krause-Kyora, B.: Von den Anfängen unserer Haustiere. Archäologie in Deutschland, Heft 5, 2011.

Krause-Kyora, B., Reinhard, J.: Einheimische Schweine und Rinder aus dem Morgenland, Genetische Untersuchungen zur Abstammungsgeschichte der Haustiere der frühen Jungsteinzeit. In: Archäologie in Niedersachsen 13.

Krause-Kyora, B., Weisshaar, H.-J.: Die Freilandsiedlung von Godavaya. Ausgrabungen in Sri Lanka 2008. In: Zeitschrift für Archäologie Außereuropäischer Kulturen, Band 3.

Krause-Kyora, B.: Eine unheilvolle Union – die Sicht eines Archäologen auf die Time-Based Media. In: Katalog zum 9. Internationales Archäologie-Film-Festival Cinarchea.

Renneberg, R., Heinreich, A., Krause-Kyora, B., Röpke, M., Tetens, J., Simeoni, E., Schwark, T., von Wurmb-Schwark, N.,: Sequencing of mitochondrial DNA and the problem of human specificity. Forensic Science International: Genetics Supplement Series, December 2009, Vol. 2, Issue 1: 95-96.

Krause-Kyora, B.: Weisshaar, H.-J., Godavaya (Sri Lanka). In: Deutsches Archäologisches Institut. Jahresbericht 2008, Archäologischer Anzeiger 2009/1 Beiheft: 358-360.

B. Krause-Kyora, Scharbeutz, OH, LA 252. Ein Gräberfeld der vorrömischen Eisenzeit in Schleswig-Holstein. Starigard 8, 2007.

B. Krause-Kyora, Leben und Sterben in der Jungsteinzeit. In: C. von Carnap-Bornheim, M. Segschneider (Hrsg.), Die Schleiregion. Land – Wasser – Geschichte. Führer zu archäologischen Denkmälern in Deutschland 49 (Stuttgart 2007) 23–28.

R. Willumeit, S. Linser, B. Krause-Kyora, S. S. Funari, S. Urban, E. Hildt, H. Sirma, H. Will, Influence of viral peptides on the structure of model membranes. Hasylab Desy, Annual Reports 2005.

B. Krause-Kyora, Das Bordesholmer Kloster und seine Bibliothek im Spiegel der archäologischen Funde; Nr.10 Johannes Busch: Speculum exemplorum. In: H.-W. Stork, Aufgeschlagen – Universitätsbibliothek Kiel öffnet ihre Buchschätze des Bordesholmer Klosters [Ausstellungskat. Kiel 2002] (Kiel 2002) 18–21; 37–38.

B. Krause-Kyora, Eine Bestattung der Einzelgrabkultur Preetz-Wakendorf, Kreis Plön, LA 56. Informationsblatt des Heimatvereins Preetz und Umgebung e.V. sowie des Archivs der Stadt Preetz 11, 2004, 13–30.