Israeli research finds genetic, cultural similarities in Canaanite people

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An Israeli genetic research has found that the Canaanite people, albeit living in different city-states, were culturally and genetically similar, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) said on Thursday.

The Canaanites lived in the Southern Levant area, which is now recognized as Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and parts of Syria, during the Bronze Age (about 3,300-1,200 BC).

In a study published in the journal Cell, HU researchers provided new insight into the Canaanites' history based on a new genome-wide analysis of ancient DNA collected from 93 Middle-to-Late Bronze Age individuals.

The genomic analysis showed that the Canaanites do represent a clear group.

"Individuals from all sites are highly genetically similar, albeit with subtle differences, showing that the archaeologically and historically defined 'Canaanites' correspond to a demographically coherent group," the researchers explained.

The researchers also found that a broader Near Eastern component, including populations from the Caucasus and the Zagros Mountains, likely accounts for more than 50 percent of the ancestry of many Arabic-speaking and Jewish groups living in the region today. 

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