(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of more than 70 scientists led by archaeologists from the University of Central Lancashire found that about 75% of the population of East and South England are descendants of migrants from the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. The study is published in Nature.
Scientists were able to study 278 ancient genomes from post-Roman England and hundreds more from continental Europe.
They found that settlers from countries bordering the North Sea, including the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, mingled with the local population upon arrival on the island.
Using finds at the Anglo-Saxon cemetery in Buckland near Dover, the researchers were able to reconstruct a family tree of at least four generations and determine the point in time when migrants and locals began to intermarry.
Combining this data with archaeological data, the authors also found that women from the continent were more likely to be buried with valuable artifacts than local women.
But men from both groups were equally often buried with weapons. But there were also local differences.
For example, a woman buried with a whole cow in Cambridgeshire was genetically mixed, and most of her ancestors were local.
In West Sussex, scientists have discovered a cemetery where migrants and locals were buried separately from each other.
This allows us to conclude that the relations between the groups differed depending on the region: somewhere they actively mixed, somewhere they avoided each other. Their social status also differed, with migrants most often dominating.
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