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Overview of Our Research

The Evosheep is a research project funded by the National Agency of Research, France. The project started in 2018 with a focus on understanding the patterns and underlying mechanisms behind sheep breeds.

EVOSHEEP project documents how Near Eastern and Middle Eastern societies developed sheep farming and how this influenced their history using a multidisciplinary approach drawing on evidence from different sources: archaeozoology, philology, iconography and paleogenetics from a wide temporal (6000- 1000 BC) and geographic scale (Near East and Middle East, the Caucasus). This approach is conducted on ancient breeds and completed by work on modern breeds (sheep with hairy fleece or hair from Lebanon, Iran, Turkey, and Ethiopia ) to provide new biometric and genetic reference records more adequate than European races for further scientific research. The originality of EVOSHEEP is to combine morphometric and genetic data from ancient and modern breeds to document the pace of the emergence of sheep breeds in the course of the complexification of Near and Middle Eastern societies.