A recent archaeological discovery challenges the stories of the Old Testament, and proves the ancient population of Canaanites hasn’t been annihilated. Researchers managed to sequence their DNA for the first time, and discovered their descendants are alive to the present day, and live in Lebanon.
Who were the Canaanites?
In ancient times, Canaan covered today’s Israel, Lebanon, and some parts of Jordan and Syria. Its inhabitants were worshippers of the pair of gods Astarte and Baal, and were pretty modern for their times. Women were equal, as they could own land, become priestesses, or decide when they want a divorce.
In Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Old Testament, the Canaanites were condemned by God’s will to be annihilated. This task is supposed to have been carried out by Israelites in the year 1250 BC. However, researchers managed to perform a DNA analysis on several Canaanite remnants, and proved this conviction wrong.
Lebanese people share most of their DNA with the Canaanites
They managed to collect genome samples from five Canaanites who lived 4,000 years ago, during the Bronze Age. Then, they compared their DNA with that of modern people including, of course, those who lived in Palestine, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.
This is how they observed how the Canaanites and Lebanese people shared a significant amount of DNA. Then, they sequenced 99 more genomes of Lebanese people, and discovered 90 percent of their DNA comes from this ancient population, making them their direct ancestors.
This particular area has had quite a rich history over the past few millennia. Therefore, finding out the Lebanese DNA is mostly derived from the Canaanites is quite surprising. Other neighboring populations also shared some of this DNA, but none of them had such a high Canaanite prevalence.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons