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From: Alan R <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Thoughts on S116, L21 - no more 1st and 2nd class Celts!
Date: Sat, 20 Dec 2008 17:16:21 +0000 (GMT)


There is little doubt in my mind that the vast majority of  continental Celts were S116 and that a considerable chunk of these may have been L21.  S28 seems to have been a marker of the Alpine Celts but not of the Celts as a whole.  People tend to forget that the Alpine Celts lay at the southernmost fringe of the Celtic world albeit close to and more accessible for observation from the classical world but that the greater body of Celts or Gauls lay between the Alps and the British Isles (i.e. most of Gaul) and its likely that the majority of these non-Alpine Gauls were either L21 or S116*. 
 
Genetics has therefore really contributed towards our understanding of the Celts.  It had become common to say that the Irish and British were Celtic speakers but somehow not genetically Celtic or were pre-Celts who had learned the language.  However, S116 and L21 now seem to indicate that the vast majority of the British Isles 'Celtic fringe' people share common ancestry in the not too distant past with a majority of the people residing in primary areas once occupied by the continental Celts.  So, the rather silly pretence that British Isles Celts were somehow less Celtic than the Gauls has to be thrown out.  This idea had its roots in racist Victorian antiquarian thinking and its good to see it now bites the dust.  I am surprised this very important sea change in how we must now view the insular and continental Celts (i.e. they are the same) has not been commented on.  So many papers even recently have tried to offset the Atlantic
Celts from the main body of continental ones but now that we know most are S116 people there seems no basis for this and quite the opposite conclusion should be reached.  There are surely few now who could say that its valid to see the differences within S116 as being significant given the fact that the branches of S116 are so similar that its even impossible to distinguish most by STRs.
 
TMRCA dates suggest that all of the S116 clades diverged at about the same time and that they also diverged from S116-/S21+ about the same time, a clade that has a non-Celtic, more north Germanic, focus today.   That suggests that when they split the common ancestor was probably just west Indo-European rather than specifically Celtic and that the difference  between Celts and Germans only came subsequently or perhaps was just emerging at the split.  Another thing worth noting is that L21 and S116* seem to have been together in mixed populations throughout France and England, a very substantial chunk of the old Celtic core.  There seems to be a large area of mix suggesting early on mixed populations were formed before they migrated northwards in an already mixed state.  The increase in L21 in Scotland and further still in Ireland is likely due to founder effects IMO, likewise the S116* predominance in Iberia. I think that is more about
chance than any sort of cultural or ethnic significance.
 
Debate!
 
Alan     


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