A new stuhttps://phys.org/news/2023-01-marriage-minoan-crete-revealed-ancient.htmldy found that marriage partners in Bronze-Age Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Greece were determined by kinship. The researchers were able to genetically reconstruct an ancient family tree for the first time in the Mediterranean region, as prior attempts failed due to the region’s climate causing poor preservation.
They found that the sons still lived in their parents’ hamlet when they grew up, and their children, along with one wife’s sister’s child, were buried together under the courtyard of the estate. This indicates that family ties were strong and people stuck around. They also found that it was common to marry a first cousin.
According to Eirini Skourtanioti, “More than a thousand ancient genomes from different regions of the world have now been published, but it seems that such a strict system of kin marriage did not exist anywhere else in the ancient world. This came as a complete surprise to all of us and raises many questions." The researchers speculate that the reason for such marriages might have been to prevent inherited farmland from being divided.