Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Did the English kill off the Britons? Part 2

Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon genomes from East England reveal British migration history [Nature Communications]

English DNA 'one-third' Anglo-Saxon [BBC News  19/1/2016]

Were one million or more Britons wiped out by the English in a Dark Ages holocaust?

The research cited (and summarised) above estimates that on average people in modern Eastern England get 38% of their genes from Anglo-Saxon immigrants dating from the 5th century onwards. They also suggest that this 38% has a particularly strong correlation with modern Dutch and Danish populations.

The evidence has been gathered from three burial sites near
Cambridge: Linton for the Late Iron /Early Romano-British period; Oakington for the Late Romano-British/Early Anglo-Saxon period; and Hinxton for the Middle Anglo-Saxon period.

The research contradicts linguistic evidence (and previous DNA research) that the Anglo-Saxons wiped out the indigenous Britons.  Even in the east where the Anglo-Saxon influence could be expected to be at its strongest there is evidence of integration and intermarriage in the genetic record. Further west we would expect to see a much lower Anglo-Saxon contribution.

This suggests a band of immigrants emerging as a cultural, political and military élite and imposing  themselves, their language and their way of life on the indigenous Britons. The result over several generations was a cultural and linguistic takeover with the Anglo-Saxons calling all the shots. 

The burial sites reveal a genetically diverse but culturally integrated population.
So less of a holocaust , more of a shotgun wedding.

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