Indeed, the civilisation was recognised primarily to be made up of traders and settlers, with such settlement arguably driven by business opportunities. The Phoenicians were not seen as warlike – and the latest research, led by E. Matisoo-Smith New Zealand’s University of Otago, and Pierre Zalloua from the Lebanese American University in Beirut seems to bear this out.
The scientists focussed their attention on Phoenician settlements in Sardinia in order to investigate how they integrated with the communities already living there when they arrived.
To do this they first sourced mitochondrial genome sequences from 14 ancient islanders – come dating before the arrival of the Phoenicians around 1800 BCE, and others during the settlement period of between 700 and 400 BCE.
They then compared these with two existing databases – the first comprising 87 complete mitogenomes from modern Lebanese, and the other made up of 21 recently published sequences from pre-Phoenician Sardinia.
The results indicated that some pre-Phoenician lineages continued after settlement, indicating that indigenous Sardinians integrated into the new social structure peacefully and permanently.
New unique mitochondrial lineages were also discovered, which the researchers interpret as evidence of the movement of women from the Near East and North Africa into Sardinia. They may also indicate the movement of European women into Lebanon.