Anglo-Saxons were only 24% British, a study reveals

Anglo-Saxons were only 24% British, a new study has revealed.

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology conducted a genetic study to understand the scale, nature and impact of human migration during the medieval period.

Their findings suggest that mass migration to the UK from Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark during this period may have increased European ancestry by as much as 76%.

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology conducted a genetic study to understand the extent, nature and impact of human migration during the Anglo-Saxon period. In the photo: an early Anglo-Saxon tomb with pottery, pins and a Roman spoon

Their findings suggest that mass migration to the UK from Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark during this period may have increased European ancestry by up to 76%.

Their findings suggest that mass migration to the UK from Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark during this period may have increased European ancestry by up to 76%.

Women of immigrant origin were buried with artifacts

The study also showed that women of immigrant descent were buried with artifacts – such as pins and beads – more often than local counterparts.

On the other hand, it was equally likely that the men with the weapons were native or of immigrant origin.

These differences were locally mediated with prominent burials or rich graves seen across the range of origins.

For example, a woman buried with a complete cow in Cambridgeshire was genetically mixed, with mostly local origins.

In the study, the team analyzed archaeological data and DNA from 460 medieval people dating from between 200 and 1300 AD, including 278 people from England.

Their analysis revealed that 76% of the population in eastern and southern England were made up of migrant families whose ancestors were from the Netherlands, Germany or Denmark.

According to the researchers, these families interbred with the existing English population, although this varied between regions and communities.

Joscha Gretzinger, lead author of the study, said: “With 278 ancient genomes from England and hundreds of others from Europe, we have now gained truly fascinating insights into demographics and individual histories during the post-Roman period.

“Not only do we now have an idea of ​​the extent of migration, but also of how it has developed in communities and families.”

The researchers compared data from medieval individuals with genetic data from more than 4,000 ancient and 10,000 Europeans today.

This revealed subtle genetic differences between closely related groups.

In one case, at the Buckland Anglo-Saxon Cemetery near Dover, the international team made it possible to reconstruct a family tree across at least four generations.

Archaeologists excavate a complicated triple burial while working in Oakington Cambridgeshire.  These three women were unrelated to each other and each had a different proportion of WBI (Western Britain and Ireland) and CNE (Continental Northern Europe) ancestry.

Archaeologists excavate a complicated triple burial while working in Oakington Cambridgeshire. These three women were unrelated to each other and each had a different proportion of WBI (Western Britain and Ireland) and CNE (Continental Northern Europe) ancestry.

Funerary items from burial grave 3532 at Issendorf cemetery.

Women of immigrant origin were buried with artifacts more often than local counterparts

The study also showed that women of immigrant descent were buried with artifacts such as pins and beads more often than their local counterparts.

They identified the moment when migrants and locals got married with each other. This family showed a large degree of interaction between the two gene pools.

Overall, the researchers witnessed notable burials in cemeteries of both local and migratory origin.

The study also showed that women of immigrant descent were buried with artifacts such as pins and beads more often than their local counterparts.

Archaeologists excavated tomb 112 in Oakington Cambridgeshire, which contained an adult male buried with a knife.  He had 99.99% CKD ancestry

Archaeologists excavated tomb 112 in Oakington Cambridgeshire, which contained an adult male buried with a knife. He had 99.99% CKD ancestry

On the other hand, it was equally likely that the men with the weapons were native or of immigrant origin.

These differences were locally mediated with prominent burials or rich graves seen across the range of origins.

For example, a woman buried with a complete cow in Cambridgeshire was genetically mixed, with mostly local origins.

Lead co-author, Professor Duncan Sayer, of the University of Central Lancashire, said, ‘We see dramatic variations in how these migrations have affected communities.

‘In some places we see clear signs of active integration between locals and immigrants, as in the case of Buckland near Dover, or Oakington in Cambridgeshire.

Yet in other cases, such as Apple Down in West Sussex, we see people with immigrant and local origins being buried separately in the cemetery. Perhaps this is evidence of some degree of social separation on this site. ‘

Today’s Brits derive only 40% of their DNA from these historical continental ancestors, while between 20 and 40% probably came from France or Belgium.

This genetic component can be observed in archaeological individuals and in tombs with Frankish objects found in early medieval tombs, particularly in Kent.

Lead senior author Dr Stephan Schiffels, also of the Max Planck Institute, concluded: “It is unclear whether this further ancestry related to Iron Age France is linked to some punctuated migratory events, such as the Norman conquest, or whether it is was the result of secular mobility across the Channel.

“Future work, targeted specifically at the medieval period and thereafter will reveal the nature of this additional genetic signal.”

WHAT WAS GREAT BRITAIN IN THE 14TH CENTURY?

During the 14th century, Britain was deep in the Middle Ages.

Infant mortality was high, with up to one third of all children not surviving beyond the age of five due to illness, disease and poor medical knowledge.

Up to 20 percent of women would die in childbirth or from postpartum infections.

If a person survived a risky childhood and lived in an era without war, the average life expectancy peaked around 40-45 years.

The House of Plantagenet were the royals who watched over the entire century; from Charles III until the deposition of Richard II in 1399.

In the middle of the century, a four-year span between 1347 and 1351 saw one of the worst pandemics of all time: the Black Death.

It has killed around 200 million people, between 30 and 60% of the total European population.

The eastern rat flea was infected with the bacterium Yersinia pestis which spread the plague through the dirty streets and villages that were so popular in this era as hygiene and germs were not understood.

In addition to one of the worst cases of disease in human history that killed millions of people, dozens of people died from lack of food thanks to the Great Famine that lasted from 1315 to 1317.

Bad weather conditions saw a terrible yield of cereals and caused a shortage of food across Europe.

Starvation caused millions of deaths and an increase in crime, cannibalism and infanticide during this period.

If childbirth, disease, plague or starvation did not cause premature death, many people faced their demise more violently as conflicts were the order of the day.

The Hundred Years War (which lasted 116 years from 1337 to 1453) was a series of conflicts waged between the kingdoms of England and France for the “legitimate” succession to the French throne.

In 1381, the working class people reacted to the wealthy rulers during the “Great Revolt” or “Peasant Revolt” in which 1,500 rebels died in protest against poor living conditions and tax increases.