In part (I) we review the naming conventions for genetic clusters used in the past five years.
For example individuals associated with the Bell Beaker Complex are not genetically homogeneous across Europe, and thus it is in genetic terms appropriate to use classifications that distinguish subgroups, e.g. Flexibility: The nomenclature needs to be flexible enough to adjust when there are new genetic findings.
An appropriately flexible nomenclature should offer the possibility of both subdividing previously named groups into smaller ones and merging clusters which were at first found to be distinguishable.
Recent methodological advances including the advent of second generation short read sequencing technologies, the application of targeted hybridisation capture, and the recognition of petrous bones as rich sources for preservation of DNA, have transformed ancient DNA analysis into a revolutionary new tool for investigating the past.
The exponential increase in the publication of ancient genomes, however, has not been matched by the development of a theoretical framework for the discussion of ancient DNA results and their contextualisation within the fields of history and archaeology.
In part (III) three possible genetic nomenclatures are being discussed. The study of ancient human DNA was regarded as likely not feasible, due to the fact that modern human contamination was shown to be abundant in ancient remains and could not be distinguished from the DNA of our ancestors.
The advent of next generation sequencing technologies and the establishment of reliable criteria to authenticate ancient DNA, such as DNA damage patterns, however, have made it possible in the last five years to generate and analyse authentic genome-wide ancient DNA data from a large number of individuals.
Effective communication among researchers requires a common vocabulary.
The goal of this paper is to address these issues of terminology and to make some suggestions about naming conventions researchers can choose to use in order to facilitate discussions across fields.
The term Western European hunter-gatherer, originally introduced by Lazaridis et al..
In other cases the authors decided to use names of archaeological cultures that are usually also, but not always, combined with the relative dating.