Saxon, Vikings and Celts

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Graidh
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Saxon, Vikings and Celts

Postby Graidh » 02 Feb 2007, 20:12

I just finished a new book by Bryan Sykes called Saxons, Vikings and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland. Fascinating stuff!

From the back cover:

"... is the first scientific, DNA-based history of the peoples and tribes of the British Isles. Bryan Sykes, a skilled and accomplished storyteller, gives absorbing accounts of the invasions of the Isles, from the Romans, the Celts, and the Saxons, to the Vikings, the Normans, and the Angles."

The best part of my experience reading this was discovering that although there were wars and conflict amongst the different groups of people living in the isles, most of the people now living there are still very very closely related gentically. The "old blood" was never subsumed by the waves of invaders. The book offers no definitive answers on precisely what happened before the written record, but he does offer a some compelling theories on how people moved into the Isles after the last Ice Age and where the various invaders settled to mingle with the native population. The reading is not too terribly technical and the author runs an interesting company called Oxford Ancestors. Perhaps one of these days I can afford to have my DNA tested and find out a little more about where my ancestors hail from.

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Re: Saxon, Vikings and Celts

Postby DJ Droood » 16 Apr 2010, 13:15

Graidh wrote:I just finished a new book by Bryan Sykes called Saxons, Vikings and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland. Fascinating stuff!

From the back cover:

"... is the first scientific, DNA-based history of the peoples and tribes of the British Isles. Bryan Sykes, a skilled and accomplished storyteller, gives absorbing accounts of the invasions of the Isles, from the Romans, the Celts, and the Saxons, to the Vikings, the Normans, and the Angles."

The best part of my experience reading this was discovering that although there were wars and conflict amongst the different groups of people living in the isles, most of the people now living there are still very very closely related gentically. The "old blood" was never subsumed by the waves of invaders. The book offers no definitive answers on precisely what happened before the written record, but he does offer a some compelling theories on how people moved into the Isles after the last Ice Age and where the various invaders settled to mingle with the native population. The reading is not too terribly technical and the author runs an interesting company called Oxford Ancestors. Perhaps one of these days I can afford to have my DNA tested and find out a little more about where my ancestors hail from.


I have a questiion...how can/do they differentiate between Saxon/Viking/Norman/Angle DNA? I have taken the genographic project DNA test (not really that expensive...it was an Xmas gift one year...and it keeps on giving, as more people are added to the project)...my DNA is "Germanic", which could be any of the above mentioned groups...my understanding is that DNA can't, with any accuracy, tell the Germanic groups apart other than saying "your haplotype is 4% more common in Friesland than Silesia." I wonder how the author/scientists can tell the difference between an Angle and a Saxon, or a later Norman, for that matter, from a modern cheek swab.
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Re: Saxon, Vikings and Celts

Postby Explorer » 16 Apr 2010, 15:28

DJ Droood wrote:
Graidh wrote:I just finished a new book by Bryan Sykes called Saxons, Vikings and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland. Fascinating stuff!

From the back cover:

"... is the first scientific, DNA-based history of the peoples and tribes of the British Isles. Bryan Sykes, a skilled and accomplished storyteller, gives absorbing accounts of the invasions of the Isles, from the Romans, the Celts, and the Saxons, to the Vikings, the Normans, and the Angles."

The best part of my experience reading this was discovering that although there were wars and conflict amongst the different groups of people living in the isles, most of the people now living there are still very very closely related gentically. The "old blood" was never subsumed by the waves of invaders. The book offers no definitive answers on precisely what happened before the written record, but he does offer a some compelling theories on how people moved into the Isles after the last Ice Age and where the various invaders settled to mingle with the native population. The reading is not too terribly technical and the author runs an interesting company called Oxford Ancestors. Perhaps one of these days I can afford to have my DNA tested and find out a little more about where my ancestors hail from.


I have a questiion...how can/do they differentiate between Saxon/Viking/Norman/Angle DNA? I have taken the genographic project DNA test (not really that expensive...it was an Xmas gift one year...and it keeps on giving, as more people are added to the project)...my DNA is "Germanic", which could be any of the above mentioned groups...my understanding is that DNA can't, with any accuracy, tell the Germanic groups apart other than saying "your haplotype is 4% more common in Friesland than Silesia." I wonder how the author/scientists can tell the difference between an Angle and a Saxon, or a later Norman, for that matter, from a modern cheek swab.


I understood that it reflects specific regions where people came from, in correlation with people now living in that region.
Vikings came from what is now Denmark, Norman from what is now Norway, Saxon from what is now northern Germany and The Netherlands, Angle from england.
If you live in the UK, and your dna matches more than average with the (current) Danish population than you have "Viking blood" in you.
And apparently, what Graidh is saying, this is less than what you might expect when whole tribes where invading and chasing off the others.

I'm not surprised, isn't this what also happened with the 'romans'? Roman culture spread, but not the genes. I understood that most 'romans' were locals, instead of italians. Just like what happens with American culture these days. When future archeologists find our MacDonnalds boxes, Coca Cola tins and american movies, then they may conclude that we must have been americans. But genetically I'm probably still as Saxon as my ancestors.
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Re: Saxon, Vikings and Celts

Postby Ailim » 27 Jul 2010, 15:13

I bought this book a few months ago then realised :x that it is the same book as "Blood of the Isles" under a new title and cover which I already bought and read a few years ago! However, I also read his book "The Seven Daughters of Eve" and found it so fascinating that I had my mitochondrial DNA tested and the results indicate that my ancestors came from the Basque region of Spain some 20,000 years ago, moving northwards then across from Europe into Scotland. As my mother was a Scot it seemed to fit.
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Re: Saxon, Vikings and Celts

Postby Corwen » 28 Jul 2010, 13:55

DJ, there are mutations unique to each of those racial groups which occur in a small segment of the population (generally descendants of the single individual in whom the mutation occurred). These mutations are no good for identifying an individual person's origins, as he/she is unlikely to have one, but on a large scale they can be used to plot the movements and settlement patterns of groups, some of whose members have the mutation.
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Re: Saxon, Vikings and Celts

Postby DJ Droood » 28 Jul 2010, 14:52

I've had my DNA done as well, and have read the reports (I am Germanic, I1C, with a concentration of my subclade in Lower Saxony..and a very small sample size indeed, and only something like 3% of that population))....perhaps I haven't been keeping up with the latest research, but my understanding was that it is possible to get a "big picture" view of a haplotype...for instance, you could say that a particular group probably spent the last Ice Age in a certain refugia, then ventured north and spread out, or perhaps came up from the Middle East as early agriculturalists...and you could make broad assumptions, identifying a haplotype as being associated closely with a certain language/culture group..."Germanic", or "Slavic", etc....but the resolution and sample size was not large enough to draw specifics from recent history...for instance, my I1C ancestors could have been Saxon settlers in England, or perhaps Viking settlers in Normandy, who later went to England with the Conqueror, or perhaps part of one of the wanderinig Germanic tribes of early historic times, like the Cimbri....personal family history might lend clues, but not necessarily...my documented family history begins in 1635 when an ancestor came ashore in North America from England, but I don't know if that ancestor was perhaps a Hugenot refugee from the Continent or a Viking marauder, or perhaps even a "Fir Bolg" that had been in Britian for many hundreds of years...my I1c could have been part of any of those groupings...but I haven't read the book and don't keep up with the scientific literature (or even u nderstand most of it!) so perhaps they can be more accurate now.

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Re: Saxon, Vikings and Celts

Postby Journey » 22 Apr 2016, 19:29

What an interesting thread to read, even if the last post was 6 years ago. I am hoping to have my test done to see where I am from, my brothers are even paying for it. Part of the reason is that though our father was in our lives and lived with us, we have learned that most of what we believed of him may or may not have been true/real, including our copy of his birth certificate. We want to know where we come from. We know that my mom's side of the family were mostly German and Irish but really have no idea about my Dad's side. Supposedly Welsh but that remains to be seen. Should in an interesting project.

I am in the US. Can someone recommend the best place to have this type of DNA testing done? I know that now there are many places offering it, I want the most detailed info I can get for the money.
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Re: Saxon, Vikings and Celts

Postby DJ Droood » 23 Apr 2016, 00:35

I used this company: https://www.familytreedna.com/

I can't say of they are the cheapest or best, but I get updates all the time from them on dna matches.
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Re: Saxon, Vikings and Celts

Postby DaRC » 26 Apr 2016, 10:52

You might also want to read this from a leading geneticist...
http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/stephenoppenheimer/origins_of_the_british.php

It will be a bit more upto date than Sykes'
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