I've seen this paper's pre-print two months ago and have been discussing it since then. It has now officially been released, and a lot of nonsense about it has appeared in the media. Either way, I'm sure you people are well aware that population genetics has been a personal hobby of mine for over a decade now and that I'm active in the world of personal genomics. After talking about this on two different forums primarily concerned with population genetics, I figured this forum out of all places certainly deserves to know about this paper without going through the media's unsurprisingly low quality articles.

So here's the paper, emphasis is mine:

Continuity and Admixture in the Last Five Millennia of Levantine History from Ancient Canaanite and Present-Day Lebanese Genome Sequences

"The Canaanites inhabited the Levant region during the Bronze Age and established a culture which became influential in the Near East and beyond. However, the Canaanites, unlike most other ancient Near Easterners of this period, left few surviving textual records and thus their origin and relationship to ancient and present-day populations remain unclear. In this study, we sequenced five wholegenomes from ~3,700-year-old individuals from the city of Sidon, a major Canaanite city-state on the Eastern Mediterranean coast. We also sequenced the genomes of 99 individuals from present-day Lebanon to catalogue modern Levantine genetic diversity. We find that a Bronze Age Canaan-related ancestry was widespread in the region, shared among urban populations inhabiting the coast (Sidon) and inland populations (Jordan) who likely lived in farming societies or were pastoral nomads.

This Canaanite-related ancestry derived from mixture between local Neolithic populations and eastern migrants genetically related to Chalcolithic Iranians. We estimate, using linkage-disequilibrium decay patterns, that admixture occurred 6,600-3,550 years ago, coinciding with massive population movements in the mid-Holocene triggered by aridification ~4,200 years ago. We show that presentday Lebanese derive most of their ancestry from a Canaanite-related population, which therefore implies substantial genetic continuity in the Levant since at least the Bronze Age. In addition, we find Eurasian ancestry in the Lebanese not present in Bronze Age or earlier Levantines. We estimate this Eurasian ancestry arrived in the Levant around 3,750-2,170 years ago during a period of successive conquests by distant populations such as the Persians and Macedonians.


The PCA shows that Sidon_BA clusters with three individuals from Early Bronze Age Jordan (Jordan_BA) found in a cave above the Neolithic site of ‘Ain Ghazal and probably associated with an Early Bronze Age village close to the site.13 This suggests that people from the highly differentiated urban culture on the Levant coast and inland people with different modes of subsistence were nevertheless genetically similar, supporting previous reports that the different cultural groups who inhabited the Levant during the Bronze Age, such as the Ammonites, Moabites, Israelites and Phoenicians, each achieved their own cultural identities but all shared a common genetic and ethnic root with Canaanites.15 Lazaridis et al.13 reported that Jordan_BA can be modelled as mixture of Neolithic Levant (Levant_N) and Chalcolithic Iran (Iran_ChL). We computed the statistic f4(Levant_N, Sidon_BA; Ancient Eurasian, Chimpanzee) and found populations from the Caucasus and Iran shared more alleles with Sidon_BA than with Neolithic Levant (Figure 2A). We then used qpAdm8 (with parameter allsnps: YES) to test if Sidon_BA can be modelled as mixture of Levant_N and any other ancient population in the dataset and found good support for the model of Sidon_BA being a mixture of Levant_N (48.4± 4.2%) and Iran_ChL (51.6± 4.2%) (Figure 2B; Table S3).

In addition, the two Sidon_BA males carried the Y-chromosome haplogroups39 J-P58 (J1a2b) and JM12 (J2b) (Table 1 and S4; Figure S9), both common male lineages in the Near East today. We compiled frequencies of Y-chromosomal haplogroups in this geographical area and their changes over time in a dataset of ancient and modern Levantine populations (Figure S10), and note, similarly to Lazaridis et al.,13 that haplogroup J was absent in all Natufian and Neolithic Levant male individuals examined thus far, but emerged during the Bronze Age in Lebanon and Jordan along with ancestry related to Iran. All five Sidon_BA individuals had different mitochondrial DNA haplotypes40 (Table 1), belonging to paragroups common in present-day Lebanon and nearby regions (Table S5) but with additional derived variants not observed in our present-day Lebanese dataset. We next sought to estimate the time when the Iranian ancestry penetrated the Levant.


We found that the Lebanese can be best modeled as Sidon_BA 93% ± 1.6% and a Steppe Bronze Age population 7% ± 1.6% (Figure 3C; Table S6)."