The Maglemosian skeleton from Koelbjerg, Denmark revisited

identifying sex and provenance


  • Jesper Hansen
  • Hans Christian Petersen
  • Karin Margarita Frei
  • Patrice Courtaud
  • Anne-marie Tillier
  • Anders Fischer
  • Morten E. Allentoft



Koelbjerg, skeleton, Maglemosian, Mesolithic, aDNA, haplogroup, osteology, strontium isotopes, sex identification


The Koelbjerg individual, dated c. 8500 cal BC, represents the earliest human skeletal remains described from Scandinavia. Based on ancient DNA, strontium isotope and statistical anthropological analyses the individual’s sex, haplogroup and geographical provenance are here analysed and discussed. In contrast to previous claims, our genetic and anthropological analyses show that this individual was a male. Additionally, the strontium isotope ratio of one of his first molars indicates that he most likely grew up locally.

Author Biographies

Jesper Hansen

Archaeological Department, Odense City Museums, Odense C, Denmark

Hans Christian Petersen

IMADA, University of Southern Denmark, Odense M, Denmark

Karin Margarita Frei

Environmental Archaeology and Materials Science, National Museum of Denmark, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark

Patrice Courtaud

UMR 5199 PACEA - Anthropologie des Populations Passées et Présentes, Université de Bordeaux, Pessac Cedex, France

Anne-marie Tillier

UMR 5199 PACEA - Anthropologie des Populations Passées et Présentes, Université de Bordeaux, Pessac Cedex, France

Anders Fischer

SeaLand Archaeology, Kalundborg, Denmark

Morten E. Allentoft

Centre for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen K, Denmark


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