Ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis was employed to obtain information on the population relationships of the two Thulamela individuals (AD 1400-1700) and six other skeletons from various archaeological sites of the southern African Iron Age – Tuli (Botswana), Nwanetsi, Makgope, Happy Rest and Stayt. Although sequences were short, it seems that the Thulamela female aligns somewhat more with eastern populations as opposed to the male who aligns more with western groups. This result is not surprising given that the two individuals were buried at the same site but their burials were hundreds of years apart. It was also possible to identify genetic links between the Iron Age individuals and modern southern African populations (e.g. some of the skeletons assessed showed maternal genetic similarities to present-day Sotho/Tswana groups) and to separate the samples into at least two genetic groups. Poor quality and quantity of DNA meant that only haplogroups, not subhaplogroups, of the individuals could be traced.
A recently discovered inscription on an ancient Egyptian ointment jar mentions the heliacal rising of Sirius. In the time of the early Pharaohs, this specific astronomical event marked the beginning of the Egyptian New Year and originally the annual return of the Nile flood, making it of great ritual importance. Since the Egyptian civil calendar of 365 days permanently shifted one day in four years in comparison to the stars due to the lack of intercalation, the connection of a date from the Egyptian civil calendar with the heliacal rising of Sothis is vitally important for the reconstruction of chronology. The new Sothis date from the Old Kingdom (3rd–6th Dynasties) in combination with other astronomical data and radiocarbon dating re-calibrates the chronology of ancient Egypt and consequently the dating of the Pyramids. A chronological model for Dynasties 3 to 6 constructed on the basis of calculated astronomical data and contemporaneously documented year dates of Pharaohs is presented.