Ancient Rome was the capital of an empire of ~70 million inhabitants, but little is known about the genetics of ancient Romans. Here we present 127 genomes from 29 archaeological sites in and around Rome, spanning the past 12,000 years. We observe two major prehistoric ancestry transitions: one with the introduction of farming, and another prior to the Iron Age. By the founding of Rome, the genetic composition of the region approximated modern Mediterranean populations. During the Imperial period, Rome’s population received net immigration from the Near East, followed by an increase in genetic contributions from Europe. These ancestry shifts mirrored the geopolitical affiliations of Rome and were accompanied by striking inter-individual diversity, reflecting gene flow from across the Mediterranean, Europe and North Africa.

Data Availability

Genotype data

The following genotype data is available to download here: AncientRome_Science2019_Genotypes.tar.gz Site and individual data (.txt, tab delimited files) are also contained in the compressed directory

  1. Pseudohaploid genotypes
  • Format: Eigenstrat
  • Pseudohaploid calls based on read data
  1. Called genotypes
  • Format: VCF
  • Genotypes called for 1000 Genomes Project snps with MAF > 0.01 (no filtering)
  • Contains read depths
  1. Imputed genotypes
  • Formats: VCF, Eigenstrat
  • Genotypes imputed using Beagle and the 1000 Genomes Project as a reference panel

Mapped reads (BAM files)

BAM files are available on ENA. Project ID: PRJEB32566 / ERP115266

Shiny app

Please try our shiny app (accessible through the following link) where one can interactively visualize ADMIXTURE and PCA


If you use this resource in your research, please cite:

Antonio, Margaret, Ziyue Gao, Hannah Moots et al. "Ancient Rome: a genetic crossroads of Europe and the Mediterranean." Science (2019)


For questions please contact Margaret Antonio (antmarge@stanford.edu).