Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2006-08 > 1156157980

From: Alan R <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Genes and the Mesolithic of the British isles
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2006 11:59:40 +0100 (BST)
In-Reply-To: <003d01c6c4b7$22d4aba0$74129a8e@PeterAKincaid>

The following is a very generalised account and I know
the details of the subject are constantly changing due
to new research.

Doggerland is one and the same thing as the main
British-North European Plain, Early Mesolithic,
land-bridge. Its presence is important as the
Mesolithic is now seen as the period in which the
basic genetic stock of the British Isles was set,
although probably much overlaid later in areas closest
to the continent.

Unlike Atlantis etc, Doggerland is an accepted
academic concept and term. It refers to a verified
former settled land area now under the North sea.
Doggerland was the (large but constantly shrinking)
area of now-lost land dating to the Early Mesolithic
when there were much lower sea levels. This meant
that the shore of the north-European plain between
Britain and Denmark was a few hundred kilometres
further north than today. On archaeological maps, the
Early Mesolithic shore is usually shown roughly
running in a staightish line from about York to just
north of the northern tip of Denmark, although this
was constantly changing as the sea level rose. This
huge and attractive plain was gradually flooded and, a
little later in the Mesolithic, Great Britain became
an island.

I would not underestimate the impact that this would
have had on future movement of people to Britain (and
Ireland via Britain). The severing of the British
Isles was important in that any settlement of any
significance afterwards had to be a planned movement
rather than an unconscious drift. Planned movements
to Britain would have had to have extraordinary push
and pull factors for people to undertake such a
dangerous journey into the unknown (even William the
Conqueror with far superior technology struggled to
get across safely in 1066).

No Early Mesolithic land-bridges between the British
Isles and the continent existed further to the west.
The English channel, except at the extreme east end
opposite Dover, was was only a little less wide than
it is today and was a formidable barrier. I believe
virtually all Mesolithic settlers passed (without
being conscious of it) into what is now the British
Isles by passing gradually (over many
generations)through either the Doggerland area or the
Dover channel crossing (basically part of the same
lost landmass).

Crossing from the continent much further west than the
area opposite Dover seems very unlikely, not because
it was technically impossible, but because the simple
very small-scale nature of Mesolithic society makes
launching a boat towards a land that you cannot see or
even know exists bordering on insane(the world view of
Mesolithic societies was probably very small indeed).

The idea of all crossings into Britain being from the
east is supported by the relative uniformity of the
Mesolithic of the British isles. The latter consisted
of only two main traditions. The slightly earlier
commencing broad blade tradition initially dominated
much of England and had clear parallels in today's
north European plain and it simply must have also
occupied part of Doggerland that lay in between. The
chronologically slightly later (but long overlapping
according to the latest dating) narrow blade tradition
dominated in Scotland, the extreme north of England
and also all of Ireland. It later spread through the
rest of England. The earliest dates for the narrow
blade tradition clearly now point to the north-east
and presumably an entry from an easterly direction
before spreading quickly througout all of Scotland and
Ireland and somewhat later into the rest of England.
This tradition has no clear similarly early
continental parallels but my pet theory is that this
is because its point of origin was possibly on the
north coast of Doggerland, now entirely submerged.


--- "Peter A. Kincaid" <>

> >>From a genetic point of view:
> >
> > 1. Could the differnces in genetics between
> 'middle
> > England' and elsewhere in the British Isles that
> are
> > usually attributed to Anglo-Saxons not actually
> (at
> > least partly) date from the Mesolithic when
> > archaeology indicates that this area was
> particularly
> > well connected to Denmark etc in comparison to
> other
> > parts of the British Isles?
> I agree that we tend to have tunnel vision with our
> DNA analysis. There is too much emphasis on
> post Roman migrations. After all, there was several
> thousand years of history on the British/Irish
> Isles.
> I am torn between this last point and the simple
> fact
> that the early history is somewhat limited by a
> smaller
> population base. Thus, a large influx of later
> migrants
> could have a large impact. However, would not one
> agree that the more remote areas would be less
> impacted
> and thus reflect more of the Mesolithic/Neolithic
> populations.
> In trying to follow your Dogger land (a quasi
> Atlantis
> scenario) origin scenario I get the feeling of a
> contradiction.
> The contradiction being that it is plausible for
> people to
> migrate across the sea from Dogger land to other
> North Sea
> areas but not likely to cross the English Channel at
> points other
> than the Dover area (something alluded to in another
> message). I think an explanation of a time line is
> needed with this. I'm assume that you are thinking
> that Dogger
> land is contemporary with the land bridge.
> I think one thing that should be clear is that by
> the time
> the Romans arrived there had to already be a
> somewhat
> diverse DNA profile for the British/Irish Isles.
> There had
> to be multiple points of origin (Nordic versus
> Belgic/Gaulish
> versus Spanish/Portugese) given the archaelogical
> evidence.
> Best wishes!
> Peter
> P.S. Are you the Allan Reilly of NAC?
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