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The case of Yakutia
 
Archaeology often defines the social and cultural characteristics of a society on the basis of specific artefacts or the tendencies in the architecture of graves or funerary practices (memes). In past societies however, the modes of transmission of those memes remain largely unknown (ref gene and meme). Palaeogenetic studies allow us to construct palaeogenealogies (Keyser-Tracqui 2003) and therefore confront biological and cultural data. This allows us to evaluate the transmission of memes through generations of individuals whose parental links are known (ref memes). This is a way to identify the value of these memes as cultural indicators, the way they are transmitted and the speed at which they evolve. This work also aims at contributing to a new typology of burial grounds, based either on families, clans or other distinctions (Lacan 2011). This is a new way of conceptualising past cultures, closer to ethnological reality. Moreover, this palaeogenealogical approach informs on the constitution of the sampling of burial grounds and on the possibility that it could be representative or not of an ancient human population (Keyser 2009). These analyses are therefore the preliminary to the study of population history. Yakutia, with its frozen graves and their preserved artefacts and bodies, is a laboratory (KEVSER 2013) in which we test the relevance of palaeogenealogy in understanding human population dynamics and past human cultures.