Un estudio revela que los británicos descienden de pescadores ibéricos
Los ingleses, «hijos» de los españoles
Si se lo hubieran contado al Almirante Nelson, no se lo habría creído jamás: los soldados españoles a los que derrotó hace ya dos siglos en la batalla de Trafalgar eran primos lejanos suyos. Al menos, esta es la principal conclusión de un reciente estudio elaborado por la Universidad de Oxford, que asegura que gran parte de la población del Reino Unido desciende directamente de un grupo de pescadores ibéricos que viajó por mar hasta las Islas Británicas hace aproximadamente 6.000 años.
«La mayoría de los actuales habitantes del Reino Unido son herederos directos de los españoles», confirmó al diario «The Independent» el profesor Bryan Sykes, autor de una investigación que supuestamente desmonta la teoría de que los celtas provienen de tribus de Centroeuropa.
El equipo de investigadores llegó a esta inesperada conclusión mediante el análisis de material genético de personas de origen celta y de habitantes de la costa cantábrica. Tras comprobar que el ADN de ambos grupos era prácticamente idéntico, lanzaron la teoría de que los ingleses provienen de un grupo de pescadores que salió de la Península Ibérica hace unos 6.000 ó 7.000 años.
Esta oleada migratoria se convirtió en la base de la población británica, cuyo mapa genético ha sido analizado por el profesor Sykes para un libro que se publica esta misma semana en el Reino Unido, titulado «Blood of the Isles» (en castellano, «La sangre de las Islas»). Al parecer, hace unos seis milenios el territorio inglés estaba poblado por varios miles de seres humanos, antes de la llegada de distintos grupos étnicos. Entre ellos, asegura el profesor de Oxford, destacó la presencia de seres humanos provenientes de Iberia que sabían cómo construir embarcaciones capaces de navegar en aguas agitadas como las del Canal de la Mancha, antes de llegar a las Islas. «Con posterioridad, la población indígena se subsumió en una tribu celta de mayores dimensiones, lo que implica que la mayoría de los habitantes de las islas británicas descienden de españoles», señaló el autor del estudio, famoso por el libro «Las Siete Hijas de Eva», en el que asegura que gran parte de los europeos desciende de las mismas siete mujeres.
Análisis de ADN
En su esfuerzo por completar el mapa genético del país, el genetista de Oxford analizó muestras de ADN de 10.000 de habitantes del Reino Unido y de Irlanda.
Centrándose en el cromosoma «Y», pudo diseccionar su origen paterno y determinar que la inmensa mayoría de ellos desciende de una de las seis tribus que llegaron a las Islas Británicas antes de la invasión normanda. Los más comunes son los provenientes de un grupo celta que bautizó «Oisin», seguido de los vikingos daneses y después los noruegos, mientras que también se encontraron diversos rastros de otras poblaciones distintas provenientes del norte de África, de Oriente Medio y de Roma.
Fuente: Gonzalo Suárez / La Razón.es, 21 de septiembre de 2006
(2) Celts descended from Spanish fishermen, study finds
Dont tell the locals, but the hordes of British holidaymakers who visited Spain this summer were, in fact, returning to their ancestral home.
A team from Oxford University has discovered that the Celts, Britains indigenous people, are descended from a tribe of Iberian fishermen who crossed the Bay of Biscay 6,000 years ago. DNA analysis reveals they have an almost identical genetic "fingerprint" to the inhabitants of coastal regions of Spain, whose own ancestors migrated north between 4,000 and 5,000BC.
The discovery, by Bryan Sykes, professor of human genetics at Oxford University, will herald a change in scientific understanding of Britishness.
People of Celtic ancestry were thought to have descended from tribes of central Europe. Professor Sykes, who is soon to publish the first DNA map of the British Isles, said: "About 6,000 years ago Iberians developed ocean-going boats that enabled them to push up the Channel. Before they arrived, there were some human inhabitants of Britain but only a few thousand in number. These people were later subsumed into a larger Celtic tribe... The majority of people in the British Isles are actually descended from the Spanish."
Professor Sykes spent five years taking DNA samples from 10,000 volunteers in Britain and Ireland, in an effort to produce a map of our genetic roots.
Research on their "Y" chromosome, which subjects inherit from their fathers, revealed that all but a tiny percentage of the volunteers were originally descended from one of six clans who arrived in the UK in several waves of immigration prior to the Norman conquest.
The most common genetic fingerprint belongs to the Celtic clan, which Professor Sykes has called "Oisin". After that, the next most widespread originally belonged to tribes of Danish and Norse Vikings. Small numbers of todays Britons are also descended from north African, Middle Eastern and Roman clans.
These DNA "fingerprints" have enabled Professor Sykes to create the first genetic maps of the British Isles, which are analysed in Blood of the Isles, a book published this week. The maps show that Celts are most dominant in areas of Ireland, Scotland and Wales. But, contrary to popular myth, the Celtic clan is also strongly represented elsewhere in the British Isles.
"Although Celtic countries have previously thought of themselves as being genetically different from the English, this is emphatically not the case," Professor Sykes said.
"This is significant, because the idea of a separate Celtic race is deeply ingrained in our political structure, and has historically been very divisive. Culturally, the view of a separate race holds water. But from a genetic point of view, Britain is emphatically not a divided nation."
Origins of Britons
Descended from Iberian fishermen who migrated to Britain between 4,000 and 5,000BC and now considered the UKs indigenous inhabitants.
Second most common clan arrived from Denmark during Viking invasions in the 9th century.
Descended from Viking invaders who settled in the British Isles from AD 793. One of the most common clans in the Shetland Isles, and areas of north and west Scotland.
The wave of Oisin immigration was joined by the Eshu clan, which has roots in Africa. Eshu descendants are primarily found in coastal areas.
A second wave of arrivals which came from the Middle East. The Re were farmers who spread westwards across Europe.
Although the Romans ruled from AD 43 until 410, they left a tiny genetic footprint. For the first 200 years occupying forces were forbidden from marrying locally.
Fuente: Guy Adams / The Independent, 20 de septiembre de 2006
(3) Myths of British ancestry
Everything you know about British and Irish ancestry is wrong. Our ancestors were Basques, not Celts. The Celts were not wiped out by the Anglo-Saxons, in fact neither had much impact on the genetic stock of these islands
The fact that the British and the Irish both live on islands gives them a misleading sense of security about their unique historical identities. But do we really know who we are, where we come from and what defines the nature of our genetic and cultural heritage? Who are and were the Scots, the Welsh, the Irish and the English? And did the English really crush a glorious Celtic heritage?
Everyone has heard of Celts, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings. And most of us are familiar with the idea that the English are descended from Anglo-Saxons, who invaded eastern England after the Romans left, while most of the people in the rest of the British Isles derive from indigenous Celtic ancestors with a sprinkling of Viking blood around the fringes.
Yet there is no agreement among historians or archaeologists on the meaning of the words "Celtic" or "Anglo-Saxon." What is more, new evidence from genetic analysis (see note below) indicates that the Anglo-Saxons and Celts, to the extent that they can be defined genetically, were both small immigrant minorities. Neither group had much more impact on the British Isles gene pool than the Vikings, the Normans or, indeed, immigrants of the past 50 years.
The genetic evidence shows that three quarters of our ancestors came to this corner of Europe as hunter-gatherers, between 15,000 and 7,500 years ago, after the melting of the ice caps but before the land broke away from the mainland and divided into islands. Our subsequent separation from Europe has preserved a genetic time capsule of southwestern Europe during the ice age, which we share most closely with the former ice-age refuge in the Basque country. The first settlers were unlikely to have spoken a Celtic language but possibly a tongue related to the unique Basque language.
Another wave of immigration arrived during the Neolithic period, when farming developed about 6,500 years ago. But the English still derive most of their current gene pool from the same early Basque source as the Irish, Welsh and Scots. These figures are at odds with the modern perceptions of Celtic and Anglo-Saxon ethnicity based on more recent invasions. There were many later invasions, as well as less violent immigrations, and each left a genetic signal, but no individual event contributed much more than 5 per cent to our modern genetic mix.
Many myths about the Celts
Celtic languages and the people who brought them probably first arrived during the Neolithic period. The regions we now regard as Celtic heartlands actually had less immigration from the continent during this time than England. Ireland, being to the west, has changed least since the hunter-gatherer period and received fewer subsequent migrants (about 12 per cent of the population) than anywhere else. Wales and Cornwall have received about 20 per cent, Scotland and its associated islands 30 per cent, while eastern and southern England, being nearer the continent, has received one third of its population from outside over the past 6,500 years. These estimates, set out in my book The Origins of the British, come from tracing individual male gene lines from continental Europe to the British Isles and dating each one (see box at bottom of page).
If the Celts were not our main aboriginal stock, how do we explain the wide historical distribution and influence of Celtic languages? There are many examples of language change without significant population replacement; even so, some people must have brought Celtic languages to our isles. So where did they come from, and when?
The orthodox view of the origins of the Celts turns out to be an archaeological myth left over from the 19th century. Over the past 200 years, a myth has grown up of the Celts as a vast, culturally sophisticated but warlike people from central Europe, north of the Alps and the Danube, who invaded most of Europe, including the British Isles, during the iron age, around 300 BC.
Central Europe during the last millennium BC certainly was the time and place of the exotic and fierce Hallstatt culture and, later, the La Tène culture, with their prestigious, iron-age metal jewellery wrought with intricately woven swirls. Hoards of such jewellery and weapons, some fashioned in gold, have been dug up in Ireland, seeming to confirm central Europe as the source of migration. The swirling style of decoration is immortalised in such cultural icons as the Book of Kells, the illuminated Irish manuscript (Trinity College, Dublin), and the bronze Battersea shield (British Museum), evoking the western British Isles as a surviving remnant of past Celtic glory. But unfortunately for this orthodoxy, these artistic styles spread generally in Europe as cultural fashions, often made locally. There is no evidence they came to Britain and Ireland as part of an invasion.
Many archaeologists still hold this view of a grand iron-age Celtic culture in the centre of the continent, which shrank to a western rump after Roman times. It is also the basis of a strong sense of ethnic identity that millions of members of the so-called Celtic diaspora hold. But there is absolutely no evidence, linguistic, archaeological or genetic, that identifies the Hallstatt or La Tène regions or cultures as Celtic homelands. The notion derives from a mistake made by the historian Herodotus 2,500 years ago when, in a passing remark about the "Keltoi," he placed them at the source of the Danube, which he thought was near the Pyrenees. Everything else about his description located the Keltoi in the region of Iberia.
The late 19th-century French historian Marie Henri dArbois de Jubainville decided that Herodotus had meant to place the Celtic homeland in southern Germany. His idea has remained in the books ever since, despite a mountain of other evidence that Celts derived from southwestern Europe. For the idea of the south German "Empire of the Celts" to survive as the orthodoxy for so long has required determined misreading of texts by Caesar, Strabo, Livy and others. And the well-recorded Celtic invasions of Italy across the French Alps from the west in the 1st millennium BC have been systematically reinterpreted as coming from Germany, across the Austrian Alps.
De Jubainvilles Celtic myth has been deconstructed in two recent sceptical publications: The Atlantic Celts: Ancient People or Modern Invention by Simon James (1999), and The Celts: Origins, Myths and Inventions by John Collis (2003). Nevertheless, the story lingers on in standard texts and notably in The Celts, a Channel 4 documentary broadcast in February. "Celt" is now a term that sceptics consider so corrupted in the archaeological and popular literature that it is worthless.
This is too drastic a view. It is only the central European homeland theory that is false. The connection between modern Celtic languages and those spoken in southwest Europe during Roman times is clear and valid. Caesar wrote that the Gauls living south of the Seine called themselves Celts. That region, in particular Normandy, has the highest density of ancient Celtic place-names and Celtic inscriptions in Europe. They are common in the rest of southern France (excluding the formerly Basque region of Gascony), Spain, Portugal and the British Isles. Conversely, Celtic place-names are hard to find east of the Rhine in central Europe.
Given the distribution of Celtic languages in southwest Europe, it is most likely that they were spread by a wave of agriculturalists who dispersed 7,000 years ago from Anatolia, travelling along the north coast of the Mediterranean to Italy, France, Spain and then up the Atlantic coast to the British Isles. There is a dated archaeological trail for this. My genetic analysis shows exact counterparts for this trail both in the male Y chromosome and the maternally transmitted mitochondrial DNA right up to Cornwall, Wales, Ireland and the English south coast.
Further evidence for the Mediterranean origins of Celtic invaders is preserved in medieval Gaelic literature. According to the orthodox academic view of "iron-age Celtic invasions" from central Europe, Celtic cultural history should start in the British Isles no earlier than 300 BC. Yet Irish legend tells us that all six of the cycles of invasion came from the Mediterranean via Spain, during the late Neolithic to bronze age, and were completed 3,700 years ago.
Anglo-Saxon ethnic cleansing?
The other myth I was taught at school, one which persists to this day, is that the English are almost all descended from 5th-century invaders, the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, from the Danish peninsula, who wiped out the indigenous Celtic population of England.
The story originates with the clerical historians of the early dark ages. Gildas (6th century AD) and Bede (7th century) tell of Saxons and Angles invading over the 5th and 6th centuries. Gildas, in particular, sprinkles his tale with "rivers of blood" descriptions of Saxon massacres. And then there is the well-documented history of Anglian and Saxon kingdoms covering England for 500 years before the Norman invasion.
But who were those Ancient Britons left in England to be slaughtered when the legions left? The idea that the Celts were eradicatedculturally, linguistically and geneticallyby invading Angles and Saxons derives from the idea of a previously uniformly Celtic English landscape. But the presence in Roman England of some Celtic personal and place-names doesnt mean that all ancient Britons were Celts or Celtic-speaking.
The genocidal view was generated, like the Celtic myth, by historians and archaeologists over the last 200 years. With the swing in academic fashion against "migrationism" (seeing the spread of cultural influence as dependent on significant migrations) over the past couple of decades, archaeologists are now downplaying this story, although it remains a strong underlying perspective in history books.
Some geneticists still cling to the genocide story. Research by several genetics teams associated with University College London has concentrated in recent years on proving the wipeout view on the basis of similarities of male Y chromosome gene group frequency between Frisia/north Germany and England. One of the London groups attracted press attention in July by claiming that the close similarities were the result of genocide followed by a social-sexual apartheid that enhanced Anglo-Saxon reproductive success over Celtic.
The problem is that the English resemble in this way all the other countries of northwest Europe as well as the Frisians and Germans. Using the same method (principal components analysis, see note below), I have found greater similarities of this kind between the southern English and Belgians than the supposedly Anglo-Saxon homelands at the base of the Danish peninsula. These different regions could not all have been waiting their turn to commit genocide on the former Celtic population of England. The most likely reason for the genetic similarities between these neighbouring countries and England is that they all had similar prehistoric settlement histories.
When I looked at exact gene type matches between the British Isles and the continent, there were indeed specific matches between the continental Anglo-Saxon homelands and England, but these amounted to only 5 per cent of modern English male lines, rising to 15 per cent in parts of Norfolk where the Angles first settled. There were no such matches with Frisia, which tends to confirm a specific Anglo-Saxon event since Frisia is closer to England, so would be expected to have more matches.
When I examined dates of intrusive male gene lines to look for those coming in from northwest Europe during the past 3,000 years, there was a similarly low rate of immigration, by far the majority arriving in the Neolithic period. The English maternal genetic record (mtDNA) is consistent with this and contradicts the Anglo-Saxon wipeout story. English females almost completely lack the characteristic Saxon mtDNA marker type still found in the homeland of the Angles and Saxons. The conclusion is that there was an Anglo-Saxon invasion, but of a minority elite type, with no evidence of subsequent "sexual apartheid."
The orthodox view is that the entire population of the British Isles, including England, was Celtic-speaking when Caesar invaded. But if that were the case, a modest Anglo-Saxon invasion is unlikely to have swept away all traces of Celtic language from the pre-existing population of England. Yet there are only half a dozen Celtic words in English, the rest being mainly Germanic, Norman or medieval Latin. One explanation is that England was not mainly Celtic-speaking before the Anglo-Saxons. Consider, for example, the near-total absence of Celtic inscriptions in England (outside Cornwall), although they are abundant in Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Brittany.
Who was here when the Romans came?
So who were the Britons inhabiting England at the time of the Roman invasion? The history of pre-Roman coins in southern Britain reveals an influence from Belgic Gaul. The tribes of England south of the Thames and along the south coast during Caesars time all had Belgic names or affiliations. Caesar tells us that these large intrusive settlements had replaced an earlier British population, which had retreated to the hinterland of southeast England. The latter may have been the large Celtic tribe, the Catuvellauni, situated in the home counties north of the Thames. Tacitus reported that between Britain and Gaul "the language differs but little."
The common language referred to by Tacitus was probably not Celtic, but was similar to that spoken by the Belgae, who may have been a Germanic people, as implied by Caesar. In other words, a Germanic-type language could already have been indigenous to England at the time of the Roman invasion. In support of this inference, there is some recent lexical (vocabulary) evidence analysed by Cambridge geneticist Peter Forster and continental colleagues. They found that the date of the split between old English and continental Germanic languages goes much further back than the dark ages, and that English may have been a separate, fourth branch of the Germanic language before the Roman invasion.
Apart from the Belgian connection in the south, my analysis of the genetic evidence also shows that there were major Scandinavian incursions into northern and eastern Britain, from Shetland to Anglia, during the Neolithic period and before the Romans. These are consistent with the intense cultural interchanges across the North sea during the Neolithic and bronze age. Early Anglian dialects, such as found in the old English saga Beowulf, owe much of their vocabulary to Scandinavian languages. This is consistent with the fact that Beowulf was set in Denmark and Sweden and that the cultural affiliations of the early Anglian kingdoms, such as found in the Sutton Hoo boat burial, derive from Scandinavia.
A picture thus emerges of the dark-ages invasions of England and northeastern Britain as less like replacements than minority elite additions, akin to earlier and larger Neolithic intrusions from the same places. There were battles for dominance between chieftains, all of Germanic origin, each invader sharing much culturally with their newly conquered indigenous subjects.
So, based on the overall genetic perspective of the British, it seems that Celts, Belgians, Angles, Jutes, Saxons, Vikings and Normans were all immigrant minorities compared with the Basque pioneers, who first ventured into the empty, chilly lands so recently vacated by the great ice sheets.
Note: How does genetic tracking work?
The greatest advances in genetic tracing and measuring migrations over the past two decades have used samples from living populations to reconstruct the past. Such research goes back to the discovery of blood groups, but our Y-chromosomes and mitochondrial DNA are the most fruitful markers to study since they do not get mixed up at each generation. Study of mitochondrial DNA in the British goes back over a decade, and from 2000 to 2003 London-based researchers established a database of the geographically informative Y-chromosomes by systematic sampling throughout the British Isles. Most of these samples were collected from people living in small, long-established towns, whose grandparents had also lived there.
Two alternative methods of analysis are used. In the British Y-chromosome studies, the traditional approach of principal components analysis was used to compare similarities between whole sample populations. This method reduces complexity of genetic analysis by averaging the variation in frequencies of numerous genetic markers into a smaller number of parcelsthe principal componentsof decreasing statistical importance. The newer approach that I use, the phylogeographic method, follows individual genes rather than whole populations. The geographical distribution of individual gene lines is analysed with respect to their position on a gene tree, to reconstruct their origins, dates and routes of movement.
Fuente: Stephen Oppenheimer / Prospect Magazine, 21 de septiembre de 2006
(4) El estudio valida la teoría de una base genética común en el oeste europeo
El profesor del departamento de Antropología Biológica de la Universidad de Santiago José Luis Blázquez Caeiro, que dirige un proyecto para establecer el mapa genético poblacional de los gallegos con el fin de reconstruir su historia evolutiva, considera «muy interesantes» las conclusiones a las que ha llegado su colega Bryan Sykes, aunque difiere de la interpretación de los datos realizados.
Por un lado, Caeiro asegura que la investigación del británico viene a corroborar la suya, en el sentido de que confirma que las poblaciones del Occidente de Europa (desde Bretaña a Galicia, Irlanda o Gran Bretaña) guardan una base genética similar que han sabido mantener a lo largo de los años y que se corresponde con la herencia dejada por los primeros pobladores europeos. Las poblaciones de Homo sapiens sapiens , en su expansión por el continente a partir del Cáucaso, tomaron dos direcciones, una hacia el Mediterráneo y otra hacia el norte de Europa, y fue en este proceso evolutivo donde se marcaron las diferencias genéticas.
Economía de esfuerzos
En el caso de la migración por la ruta norte europea, la memoria genética de los primeros pobladores quedó más profundamente marcada en la periferia, de ahí que, por ejemplo, las poblaciones de Galicia o el Occidente francés conserven una base genética similar. Y en este punto es, precisamente, donde difiere la interpretación realizada por Caeiro respecto a la de Sykes. «El Finisterre europeo tiene una memoria genética compartida, por lo que, si la que se encontró en Gran Bretaña es la misma, lo lógico sería, por una simple cuestión de economía de esfuerzos, que las poblaciones que hicieron ese aporte genético fueran las francesas, más cercanas, y no las del norte de España». En este sentido subraya que «no es lo mismo hacer un viaje por mar de 1.000 kilómetros que otro de 50».
En cualquier caso, Caeiro admite que «puede ser válida la hipótesis de Sykes. Sólo que hay que probarla».
Fuente: La Voz de Galicia, 22 de septiembre de 2006
Los celtas que colonizaron Gran Bretaña procedían de Galicia. Las tribus del noroeste español cruzaron el mar hace 6.000 años y se establecieron en las islas.
La ciencia genética ha venido a verificar la leyenda de Ith. Que el hijo de Breogán entrevió Irlanda desde la torre de Hércules y dio lugar a su posterior colonización podría ser algo más que un mito, según los resultados de un estudio que ha analizado el ADN de 10.000 británicos y que apunta a que los celtas que se convirtieron en la tribu dominante en las islas procedían de la península Ibérica. Bryan Sykes, profesor de genética humana en la Universidad de Oxford, ha dirigido el estudio y publica esta semana sus conclusiones en el libro Blood of the isles. Su teoría es que hace 6.000 años estos habitantes de la península desarrollaron embarcaciones capaces de cruzar el océano y llegaron a las islas británicas. El territorio ya estaba habitado, pero estas personas fueron asimiladas en una tribu celta mayor.
Sykes explicó ayer a este diario que los celtas llegados desde las costas peninsulares provendrían del noroeste y el norte, «mucho más probable que del Mediterráneo». La huella genética más común en los británicos lleva la marca de aquellos migradores; a continuación, las más extendidas son las de tribus escandinavas. Esto significa que, al contrario de lo que se pensaba, el origen de los celtas británicos no se halla en Europa central, sino en el noroeste de la península Ibérica.
Las investigaciones de Sykes apuntan, además, a que los ingleses comparten la huella celta en la misma medida que irlandeses y escoceses, algo que seguramente sorprenderá en Inglaterra, que siempre se ha visto como un pueblo sajón. Sykes es consciente de que ahora existe un resurgir de lo celta como «opuesto a inglés», pero también advierte de que «Irlanda y Escocia no pueden ejercer el monopolio sobre esta cuestión». Los datos obtenidos por el estudio constatan la presencia de la huella celta «en toda Gran Bretaña».
«Las leyendas de tradición celta tienen sus raíces en la realidad»
Entrevista a Bryan Sykes
Bryan Sykes, conocido por investigaciones anteriores como Las siete hijas de Eva, ha retratado gracias a la genética el origen de los celtas británicos, que sitúa en las costas norteñas de la península Ibérica. Aunque su investigación tiene una base científica, el profesor oxoniense también conoce las leyendas que vinculan Galicia con las islas británicas: «Países como Irlanda cuentan con una sólida tradición celta con vínculos a España, como la historia de Mil Espane, y que seguramente tiene sus raíces en la realidad».
-De hecho, Mil Espane viajó a Irlanda para vengarse de la muerte de Ith, quien avistó Irlanda desde A Coruña.
-Sí, conozco esa historia y que desde la torre de Hércules era posible divisar Irlanda en una clara tarde de invierno. Obviamente, es imposible que desde España se vea Irlanda, pero los hechos de hace muchos años, como las migraciones, se han ido transformando por la tradición popular hasta originar mitos y leyendas.
-¿Por qué los ingleses como pueblo no se reconocían en un origen celta?
-Los ingleses también comparten un importante componente celta, pese a que se ha sostenido su origen sajón con raíces germánicas, que los diferenciaba de escoceses e irlandeses. Esto se debe a un mito del siglo XIX que incluso se puede rastrear hasta la Edad Media cuando había un interés, generado por Enrique VIII, de alejar a Inglaterra del catolicismo. Antes de eso siempre se creyó que los habitantes de las islas eran «viejos británicos», es decir, los que ya se encontraban aquí antes de la llegada de los romanos.
-¿Por qué no se investigó hasta ahora?
-Hemos realizado la primera prueba exhaustiva de ADN, que antes no habría sido posible por falta de medios, que nos indica que la huella genética de los celtas británicos es mucho más similar a la de los españoles de lo que se pensaba, y no tanto a la de Europa central.
-Sí, he visitado Compostela, aunque no A Coruña. También he recorrido la costa norte desde Bilbao a Santander y recuerdo que al ver a todas esas personas rubias y de ojos azules pensaba que bien podría haber estado en Dublín.
-Tampoco existen muchas diferencias geográficas entre ambos lugares.
-Son paisajes muy similares. Estoy seguro de que se sintieron muy cómodos cuando llegaron a las islas británicas.
Fuente: Xesús Fraga / La Voz de Galicia, 22 de septiembre de 2006
*** Blood of the Isles
Oxford Ancestors are pleased to announce the launch of Professor Bryan Sykes' latest book out on 11th September.
Professor Bryan Sykes, the world's first genetic archaeologist, takes us on a journey around the family tree of Britain and Ireland, to reveal how our tribal history still colours the country today. In 54BC, Julius Caesar launched the first Roman invasion of Britain. His was the first detailed account of the Celtic tribes that inhabited the Isles. But where had they come from and how long had they been there? When the Roman eventually left five hundred years later, they were succeeded by invasions of Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and Normans. Did these successive invasions obliterate the genetic legacy of the Celts, or have very little effect? After two decades tracing the genetic origins of people from all over the world, Bryan Sykes has now turned the spotlight on his own back yard. In a major research programme, the first of its kind, he and his team at Oxford University set out to test the DNA of over 10,000 volunteers from across Britain and Ireland with the specific aim of answering this very question: what is our modern genetic make-up and what does it tell us of our tribal past? Where are today's Celtic genes? Did Vikings only rape and pillage, or settle with their families? And what of the genetic legacy of the Saxons and the Normans? Are the modern people of the Isles a delicious genetic cocktail? Or did the invaders keep mostly to themselves forming separate genetic layers within the Isles? And where do you fit in? As his findings came in, Bryan Sykes discovered that the genetic evidence revealed often very different stories to the conventional accounts coming from history and archaeology. "Blood of the Isles" reveals the nature of our genetic make-up as never before and what this says about our attitudes to ourselves, each other, and to our past. It is a gripping story that will fascinate and surprise with its conclusions.