2018 AMI Online Salon

Piecing Together Ancient Migration

Project Details

  • Artist(s):  Cecilia Johnson; Baltimore, Maryland
  • Client: Tim Phelps
  • Copyright: © 2018 Cecilia Johnson
  • Medium / software used: Maxon Cinema4D R18, Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe Illustrator CC
  • Final presentation format: Print
  • Primary audience: Scientists, Researchers

Project Description

This Nature cover was created for a multilayered story on genomics, archaeology, and ancient migration titled, “The Beaker Phenomenon and the Genomic Transformation of Northwest Europe.” Recent advances in analyzing ancient DNA revitalized archeology, revealing human history in a way that artifacts alone cannot. One such history is that of the “Bell-Beaker Phenomenon,” an ancient culture known by its bell-shaped pots that migrated into England 4,500 years ago, transforming the genomic pool.

To highlight the subtle connection between archeology and genomics, the traditional “stick-and-poke” geometric design characteristic of the Bell-Beaker pots was altered to represent DNA strands. The pot is in a museum setting, as if it was recovered from an archeological site and pieced together, the largest piece represented as Britain’s silhouette. It sits in front of a mural, in the color and style of traditional natural history museums, depicting the mass migration of the Bell Beaker people.