Admixture in Pima Includes Greek and Sardinian: Genetic Signature of the Minoans, Sea People and Other Mediterranean Peoples in the Southwest?

Donald N. Yates Ph.D.

The Pima Indians and their southern cousins the Papago have been studied intensely by ethnologists and others. They are often represented as definitive specimens of the “Amerind” ethnic type. Genetic surveys feature them front and center. Their creation story has been codified in the book titled The Short, Swift Time of Gods on Earth: The Hohokam Chronicles, by Donald Bahr, Juan Smith, William Smith Allison and Julian Hayden, a text widely used in university anthropology courses. During the conquest of the American Southwest, the Pima were regarded as strong, friendly and intelligent, as model candidates for assimilation, highly useful as soldiers, guides and intermediaries with the surrounding tribes. Their ancestors, known as the Hohokam, are believed to be responsible for the first indigenous civilization to develop in the region about 400 C.E., marked by city life, canal systems, sophisticated agriculture and long-distance trade.

This blog post from DNA Consultants ( explores the fine-scale genetic similarities between the Pima, Maya and other populations in terms of admixture and suggests that the Pima may have preserved the signature of Old World colonists, especially the Sea Peoples, Semitic visitors like the Phoenicians, and Greeks and Libyans. It is excerpted from a work-in-progress by Donald N. Yates, The Tucson Artifacts: A Paleographical and Photographic Edition of the Roman Jewish Medieval Latin Inscriptions in the Arizona Historical Society Collection.

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