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Thread: Upcoming paper on British ancient dna

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    5 out of 5 members found this post helpful.

    Upcoming paper on British ancient dna

    David Reich has telegraphed they're working on ancient British dna again, this time focusing on a change they see in southeastern England during the Iron Age/Roman era, with an increase of Neolithic like ancestry.


    See:
    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-43712587

    "During the Iron Age or Roman Period, the DNA of people in the south-east diverged somewhat from that of populations in the rest of the Britain.Prof Reich told BBC News: "We are initiating an effort to follow up on this observation - and more generally to provide a fine-grained picture of population structure of Iron Age and Roman Britain - using a study that will be on a scale of 1,000 newly reported British samples.""

    "But at some point after the Bronze Age, groups in the south-east appear to have mixed with a population similar to those Stonehenge builders who inhabited Britain before the Beakers arrived.

    Most people from south-east Britain still trace most of their ancestry to the Beaker people, but the later mixing event had a bigger impact than Medieval Anglo-Saxon migrations - traditionally seen as the foundation point of English history.

    Prof Reich said his team at Harvard currently had three working hypotheses to explain the result. While the Beakers replaced around 90% of the ancestry in Britain, it's possible that a pocket (or pockets) of Neolithic farmers held out in isolation somewhere for hundreds of years.
    During the Iron Age (which began around 3,000 years ago), they mixed back in with the general population, diluting the Beakers' genetic background with a type of ancestry that's now stronger around the Mediterranean than in Northern or Central Europe.

    Alternatively, the genetic data may be hinting at a separate migration from continental Europe during the Iron Age - perhaps one that brought Celtic languages into Britain.


    The third possibility is that scholars have simply underestimated the genetic impact of the Roman occupation, which lasted in Britain from AD 43 until 410. Roman settlers from the Italian peninsula would have traced a large proportion of their ancestry to Neolithic farmers like those that inhabited Britain before the arrival of the Beaker people."

    This is a puzzle. It used to be held that Celtic might have spread relatively late to Britain. Then, people, like the late Jean Manco, argued that Celtic arrived with the Beakers. So, at first glance theory number two doesn't seem so outlandish. However, what Iron Age people on the continent who could have migrated to England at that time bringing Celtic with them would autosomally have been similar to the Neolithic people who built Stonehenge. That doesn't seem plausible to me. The Belgae certainly wouldn't fit the bill imo.

    Likewise, I can buy that the British Neolithic people hid out somewhere, but is there any area in the southeast of England that could have provided a refuge?


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    4 out of 4 members found this post helpful.
    1,000 newly reported British samples from Roman Britain while we have zero samples from Roman Italy, truly remarkable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saetrus View Post
    1,000 newly reported British samples from Roman Britain while we have zero samples from Roman Italy, truly remarkable.
    Truly absurd.
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    ^^Just what I was thinking.

    What, is it too complicated?

    I'm tired of waiting for the paper from the Spanish group, nor am I full of confidence about their ability.

    Why doesn't the Reich Lab get involved with that?

    I mean, I appreciate that to get a paper of the quality of the Lombard one takes time, but come on...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saetrus View Post
    1,000 newly reported British samples from Roman Britain while we have zero samples from Roman Italy, truly remarkable.
    That's like not having the software to do some IT work, wow even Pros make noob like mistakes. Or maybe im saying it wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    ^^Just what I was thinking.

    What, is it too complicated?


    I'm tired of waiting for the paper from the Spanish group, nor am I full of confidence about their ability.


    Why doesn't the Reich Lab get involved with that?


    I mean, I appreciate that to get a paper of the quality of the Lombard one takes time, but come on...
    The Spanish like to do things late Angela what can I say. however creating a article does take time, finding the correct data/resources and possibility the budget too. I would love to see the Lombard paper in my free time if it pops up, i know a guy who is half Lombard

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Roman Britain:



    On another track, could the Weald have provided refuge for the English Neolithic farmers?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weald

    "The entire Weald was originally heavily forested. According to the 9th-century Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the Weald measured 120 miles (193 km) or longer by 30 miles (48 km) in the Saxon era, stretching from Lympne, near Romney Marsh in Kent, to the Forest of Bere or even the New Forest in Hampshire.[8] The area was sparsely inhabited and inhospitable, being used mainly as a resource by people living on its fringes, much as in other places in Britain such as Dartmoor, the Fens and the Forest of Arden.[8] The Weald was used for centuries, possibly since the Iron Age, for transhumance of animals along droveways in the summer months.[8] Over the centuries, deforestation for the shipbuilding, charcoal, forest glass, and brickmaking industries has left the Low Weald with only remnants of that woodland cover.While most of the Weald was used for transhumance by communities at the edge of the Weald, several parts of the forest on the higher ridges in the interior seem to have been used for hunting by the kings of Sussex. The pattern of droveways which occurs across the rest of the Weald is absent from these areas.[8] These areas include St Leonard's Forest, Worth Forest, Ashdown Forest and Dallington Forest.
    The forests of the Weald were often used as a place of refuge and sanctuary. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle relates events during the Anglo-Saxon conquest of Sussex when the native Britons (whom the Anglo-Saxons called Welsh) were driven from the coastal towns into the recesses of the forest for sanctuary,:
    A.D. 477. This year came Ælle to Britain, with his three sons, Cymen, and Wlenking, and Cissa, in three ships; landing at a place that is called Cymenshore. There they slew many of the Welsh; and some in flight they drove into the wood that is called Andred'sley.[9]
    Until the Late Middle Ages the forest was a notorious hiding place for bandits, highwaymen and outlaws.[10]
    Settlements on the Weald are widely scattered. Villages evolved from small settlements in the woods, typically four to five miles (six to eight kilometres) apart; close enough to be an easy walk but not so close as to encourage unnecessary intrusion."

    @Adeof,

    The Lombard paper has already been published and discussed here.
    https://www.eupedia.com/forum/thread...ht=Lombard+dna

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Perhaps the Celts that came from the vicinity of Austria/Bavaria carried significant Mediterranean ancestry in the first place, and didn't mix much with the more northern groups that they encountered before coming to Britain?

    It's absolutely, positively impossible that Bell Beaker brought Celtic languages to Britain. Continental & Insular Celtic languages are extremely similar. The Bell Beaker migration to Britain occurred around 2500 B.C.E. . For the sake of comparison, the phylogenetic model that is compatible with IE from the steppe puts the Western-IE / Indo-Iranian split at ~2500 B.C.E. .
    Last edited by markozd; 12-04-18 at 01:03.

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    I believe people with more Neolithic ancestry could have existed during the Bronze Age in the regions where many Megalithic sites had existed, for example around Cork in SW Ireland, or around Aberdeen and Eastern/N. Eastern Scotland in general.

    But even if that is true, their third scenario seems possible too. Basically, irrespective of what I believe I think that currently all of their scenarios can be supported.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saetrus View Post
    1,000 newly reported British samples from Roman Britain while we have zero samples from Roman Italy, truly remarkable.
    It would be so much more interesting to get a few hundred samples from different parts of the Roman Empire. Actually even 10 samples for Britain, 10 from France, 10 from Spain, 10 from Italy, 10 from Greece would be more interesting than 1000 from Britain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markozd View Post
    Perhaps the Celts that came from the vicinity of Austria/Bavaria carried significant Mediterranean ancestry in the first place, and didn't mix much with the more northern groups that they encountered before coming to Britain?

    It's absolutely, positively impossible that Bell Beaker brought Celtic languages to Britain. Continental & Insular Celtic languages are extremely similar. The Bell Beaker migration to Britain occurred before 2500 B.C.E. . For the sake of comparison, the phylogenetic model that is compatible with IE from the steppe puts the Western-IE / Indo-Iranian split at ~2500 B.C.E. .
    It makes sense, or alternatively the first Celtic wave (Irish-related) would be Central European like, and the second wave, the Gaulish like, more southerner, maybe in a succes linked to the expansion of Gauls to north Italy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by berun View Post
    It makes sense, or alternatively the first Celtic wave (Irish-related) would be Central European like, and the second wave, the Gaulish like, more southerner, maybe in a succes linked to the expansion of Gauls to north Italy.
    It would help if we knew what the pre-Germanic inhabitants of Austria and Bavaria looked like. Who says they weren't autosomally more like, say, modern Iberians? The Hallstatt-La-Tène complex is in any case the perfect correlate for the Celtic expansion. The dates mathc, everything about it looks Celtic.

    If the arrival of Celtic isn't related to this Iron Age genetic turnover, then who brought Celtic to the Isles? It wasn't the Beakers, impossible. If such an early split of Celtic were forced into contemporary phylogenetic models, that would put the initial split of PIE back into the Mesolithic I'm sure. You can't just cherry-pick your preferred dates for expansions within the IE-tree - every adjustment affects the entire tree.

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    Well, we'll have to wait for their paper, but I don't see how people from, say, Bavaria, bearing the Celtic language, could have been as Neolithic like as the builders of Stonehenge. The German Beakers couldn't have been mistaken for MN farmers, unless there was more admixture later, and then the genome changed again after the fall of Rome.

    From the evidence of the Lombard paper, there were still populations in Bavaria and Pannonia that were very "southern" at the time of the Germanic invasions. I just didn't think of it as being so wide-spread. The "northern" Germanic input into these more European farmer now Celtic speaking people must have been quite large to change them into modern Bavarians, larger than I thought.

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    I guess with 1000 samples subtle changes or local differences can be picked up, and that is what is needed for what they want to find out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Well, we'll have to wait for their paper, but I don't see how people from, say, Bavaria, bearing the Celtic language, could have been as Neolithic like as the builders of Stonehenge. The German Beakers couldn't have been mistaken for MN farmers, unless there was more admixture later, and then the genome changed again after the fall of Rome.

    From the evidence of the Lombard paper, there were still populations in Bavaria and Pannonia that were very "southern" at the time of the Germanic invasions. I just didn't think of it as being so wide-spread. The "northern" Germanic input into these more European farmer now Celtic speaking people must have been quite large to change them into modern Bavarians, larger than I thought.
    You're right it would make little sense for them to be completely like LN farmers. Is it really possible to discern whether the admixing population was completely like LN farmers or just predominantly so?

    I think the two Hallstatt samples published thus far belong to G2a-L497 (n=2).

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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by markozd View Post
    You're right it would make little sense for them to be completely like LN farmers. Is it really possible to discern whether the admixing population was completely like LN farmers or just predominantly so?

    I think the two Hallstatt samples published thus far belong to G2a-L497 (n=2).
    That's the question.:) Even predominantly would mean a lot of later resurgence, yes?

    If I were them, I'd also want some Hallstatt samples. As you say, we don't know what they were like. The Beaker graves might not be representative of what the population was like later.

    I'm really agnostic about the three choices. I can see the rationale for all of them.

    My own prediction was Belgae, more, although not MN level farmer, and continuing migration from France all the way through the Middle Ages to explain the "southern" shift from the Hinxton like genomes. If they can already see it in the Roman Era I was wrong about the second.

    Meanwhile, sorry if it sounds like sour grapes, but 1000 samples analyzed to explain minute differences, while we, with our HUGE differences by comparison get: bupkus, or nothing, zilch, nada. Not fair.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    That's the question.:) Even predominantly would mean a lot of later resurgence, yes?

    If I were them, I'd also want some Hallstatt samples. As you say, we don't know what they were like. The Beaker graves might not be representative of what the population was like later.

    I'm really agnostic about the three choices. I can see the rationale for all of them.

    My own prediction was Belgae, more, although not MN level farmer, and continuing migration from France all the way through the Middle Ages to explain the "southern" shift from the Hinxton like genomes. If they can already see it in the Roman Era I was wrong about the second.

    Meanwhile, sorry if it sounds like sour grapes, but 1000 samples analyzed to explain minute differences, while we, with our HUGE differences by comparison get: bupkus, or nothing, zilch, nada. Not fair.
    What confuses me a bit is that David Reich seems to imply the impact of said turnover was more significant than the effect of later Anglo-Saxon invasions? Sounds intriguing.

    But generally I find it pretty difficult to get excited for more samples from Britain ;) I'd also much prefer to see something from Italy or maybe more samples from Greece.

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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by markozd View Post
    What confuses me a bit is that David Reich seems to imply the impact of said turnover was more significant than the effect of later Anglo-Saxon invasions? Sounds intriguing.

    But generally I find it pretty difficult to get excited for more samples from Britain ;) I'd also much prefer to see something from Italy or maybe more samples from Greece.
    that would make the first option pretty unlikely. i can't imagine a refugee especially in south eastern england that survives for hundreds of years and then being big enough to have such impact on the genetics around it.
    Last edited by Ailchu; 12-04-18 at 00:33.

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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    https://www.eupedia.com/forum/threads/34427-R1b-DF27-in-Iberia?p=516587&viewfull=1#post516587

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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Prof Reich said his team at Harvard currently had three working hypotheses to explain the result. While the Beakers replaced around 90% of the ancestry in Britain, it's possible that a pocket (or pockets) of Neolithic farmers held out in isolation somewhere for hundreds of years.
    During the Iron Age (which began around 3,000 years ago), they mixed back in with the general population, diluting the Beakers' genetic background with a type of ancestry that's now stronger around the Mediterranean than in Northern or Central Europe.

    Alternatively, the genetic data may be hinting at a separate migration from continental Europe during the Iron Age - perhaps one that brought Celtic languages into Britain. >>>> That's exactly what I was thinking. Brittonic languages clearly didn't descend from the Bell Beaker people that defined the Bronze Age genetic landscape of Britain even before 2,000 BC. It would be certainly much more divergent from other Celtic languages and especially from Gaulish (the hallmark Celtic linguistic sign of the La Tène expansion, well after Bell Beakers, ~400-300 BC).

    All insular Celtic languages appear to have split not before the end of the Bronze Age, but especially Brittonic - as opposed to Irish - looks more closely related to the continental Celtic branch. So, linguistically it would make sense that, if this genetic transformation was really profound (more so than the Anglo-Saxon invasion!) it could've triggered a linguistic shift, too. That heavily EEF-like people, maybe with just a diluted minority of steppe ancestry like so many Western Europeans, could've brought Brittonic Celtic to Britain, replacing the former, possibly just Para-Celtic language. At least this is for now the best historic explanation for why Britain wasn't speaking a unique language deeply rooted in the Bronze Age just before Romans arrived.

    And, considering that this impact was much more profound in Southeast Britain, this could at least hypothetically explain the status of Pictish, who even now people discuss if it was Celtic, similar to Celtic or even non-IE. What if it was IE, related to Celtic, but different enough to be considered another different people speaking a different language because it had diverged from the southeastern Britains at least 1,000 years earlier during the 1st post-steppe influx continental migrations to the island?


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    Quote Originally Posted by markozd View Post
    You're right it would make little sense for them to be completely like LN farmers. Is it really possible to discern whether the admixing population was completely like LN farmers or just predominantly so?

    I think the two Hallstatt samples published thus far belong to G2a-L497 (n=2).

    I have knowledge only about 1 unique Elite Hallstatt sample. Could you tell me what is the other one?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Well, we'll have to wait for their paper, but I don't see how people from, say, Bavaria, bearing the Celtic language, could have been as Neolithic like as the builders of Stonehenge. The German Beakers couldn't have been mistaken for MN farmers, unless there was more admixture later, and then the genome changed again after the fall of Rome..
    This doubt of mine will be probably answered just when the final paper is released, but I wonder if it is possible to model a scenario where, instead of an overwhelmingly EEF Iron Age population, what happeed is just that the impact of this heavily EEF-enriched population was MUCH bigger than they expect, and in fact they could have been overestimating the Bell Beaker > Present era continuity of people in Britain, because that EEF-enriched population also had a significant Bell-Beaker-like ancestry, just reduced due to resurgence of EEF admixture as they mixed with pockets of mostly EEF Central Europeans or then with Southern Europeans who migrated to Centreal Europe. Is it possible to make such a confusion in the results, thus implying that this foreign Iron Age influx was bigger than expected?

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    Upcoming paper on British ancient dna

    Quote Originally Posted by markozd View Post
    Perhaps the Celts that came from the vicinity of Austria/Bavaria carried significant Mediterranean ancestry in the first place, and didn't mix much with the more northern groups that they encountered before coming to Britain?
    Excellent thought or they could have brought slaves with them that later mixed back in.

    Quote Originally Posted by markozd View Post
    It's absolutely, positively impossible that Bell Beaker brought Celtic languages to Britain. Continental & Insular Celtic languages are extremely similar. The Bell Beaker migration to Britain occurred around 2500 B.C.E. . For the sake of comparison, the phylogenetic model that is compatible with IE from the steppe puts the Western-IE / Indo-Iranian split at ~2500 B.C.E. .
    That could easily be a thousand years off and is only an estimation, Bell Beaker are fact. The wave model of linguistic evolution would allow for stable progressive developments to spread from the islands back to the continent and vice versa. It would be interesting to look at how much actual interaction was going on.

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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ygorcs View Post
    This doubt of mine will be probably answered just when the final paper is released, but I wonder if it is possible to model a scenario where, instead of an overwhelmingly EEF Iron Age population, what happeed is just that the impact of this heavily EEF-enriched population was MUCH bigger than they expect, and in fact they could have been overestimating the Bell Beaker > Present era continuity of people in Britain, because that EEF-enriched population also had a significant Bell-Beaker-like ancestry, just reduced due to resurgence of EEF admixture as they mixed with pockets of mostly EEF Central Europeans or then with Southern Europeans who migrated to Centreal Europe. Is it possible to make such a confusion in the results, thus implying that this foreign Iron Age influx was bigger than expected?


    Fwiw, yes, I think it's possible to have some confusion when you're dealing with groups which share some components. I think that's part of what's going on with the Indian results. I'm not convinced they can really tell which is EHG ancestry from the steppe versus ANE heavy SIberian hunter-gatherer ancestry.

    They seem to be admitting that they were wrong to say that there was uninterrupted continuity in Britain, or at least in England, since the Bronze Age. As someone said, if you don't have lots of samples from lots of different time periods you can miss the swings back and forth. That's one of the reasons I was pretty circumspect in drawing large conclusions from the Lombard dna paper: it was excellent but we need a lot more like that from the same area but different periods.

    Well, we knew there were some changes in England, i.e. the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings, although they might be so similar it wouldn't have made that much difference. What surprises me is how large, apparently, the swing was toward more "southern" ancestry. The Anglo-Saxons etc. might just have swung the pendulum back a little bit.

    I'm still not convinced, though, that a Hallstatt like group will be the answer. Reich is usually very precise with his language, and he said the "new" gene flow was "similar" to that of the people who built Stonehenge. I'd be very surprised to learn that there were people in northern France or Belgium or the Netherlands, or even in Austria who fit that bill.

    If they have Hallstatt and other similar autosomes analyzed, and they're not very steppe heavy, it will have interesting implications for Southern European countries as well, in that as I always suspected the steppe component in some of these waves to hit the south might not have been very large.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    That could easily be a thousand years off and is only an estimation, Bell Beaker are fact. The wave model of linguistic evolution would allow for stable progressive developments to spread from the islands back to the continent and vice versa. It would be interesting to look at how much actual interaction was going on.
    I guess language change is quite erratic so we may never know for sure, but a Celtic split that early in time goes against everything I believe to know. Moreover, I do not find it very difficult to believe that the Iron Age Celts, who by that time were probably advanced enough to field actual armies, would have been capable of imposing their language on a pre-existing majority population.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alpenjager View Post
    I have knowledge only about 1 unique Elite Hallstatt sample. Could you tell me what is the other one?
    I looked it up - you're right it was only 1 elite male that was sampled in that Austrian paper. Sorry!

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