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Old 22nd July 2006, 02:47 PM
Txschlib Txschlib is offline
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Teeth unravel Anglo-Saxon legacy

Teeth unravel Anglo-Saxon legacy by Paul Rincon Wed, 17 March 2004
BBC News Online science staff

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3514756.stm

New scientific research adds to growing evidence that the Anglo-Saxons did not replace the native population in England as history books suggest.

The data indicates at least some areas of eastern England absorbed very few Anglo-Saxon invaders, contrary to the view in many historical accounts.

Chemical analysis of human teeth from a Medieval cemetery in Yorkshire found few individuals of continental origin.

Details of the work are described in the scholarly journal Antiquity.

Researchers from the University of Durham and the British Geological Survey looked at different types of the elements strontium and oxygen in the teeth of 24 skeletons from an early Anglo-Saxon cemetery at West Heslerton, North Yorkshire that spans the fith to the seventh centures A. D.

These types, or isotopes, or oxygen in local drinking water vary across Europe and locally within the British Isles.

The differences are influenced by latitude, altitude, distance from the sea and, to a lesser extent, mean annual temperature.

Invasion of ideas

This characteristic isotope composition gets set in people's teeth before they are 12 years of age, and can therefore be used by scientists to pinpoint a person's geographical oriigin.

Of the 24 individuals sampled, a possible four had oxygen isotope values outside the range for the British Isles. Following improvements in callibration, the group now believes only one individual was from continental Europe.

The results support the view of other researchers that the introduction of Anglo-Saxon culture and language into Britain did not occur through large-scale replacement of native populations by invading tribes.

It seems more likely that there was a small-scale immigration from continental Europe and that the existing British population adopted the customs of these outsiders as their own.

"There are practices that are being adopted from continental Europe. To what extent is that a movement of people (into Britain)? Probably not that much," Dr. Paul Budd of the University of Durham told BBC News Online.

But the team did find evidence for migration into the area from other parts of Britain during the period. While the isotopic composition of Bronze Age remains from West Heslerton matched local drinking water isotope compositions, the early Medieval group were more varied.

Of the 20 locals, 13 had oxygen isotope signals consistent with an origin west of the Pennines. Dr. Budd puts this down to upheaval amongst the British population after the Romas withdrew their armies and administrators from the country in the fifth century A. D.

"At the end of the Roman period there was a huge collapse of a centuries-long organisation, in government and in how the landscape was used. The population moves off elsewhere to exploit the landscape for agriculture."

The Anlglo-Saxons supposedly began migrating into Britain en masse from the fifth century. Their culture and language has long formed the basis for English national identity.

Genetic support

The findings broadly agree with a large genetic survey of the British Isles published in 2003. The study, led by Professor David Goldstein of University College London, found that the genetic stamp of the Anglo-Saxons on the British Isles was weaker than expected.

"I don't think there ever was evidence for a massive population replacement. From the genetics, it's pretty clear there was not complete replacement on the paternal side in England," Professor Goldstein told BBC News Online.

"Studies like this suggest that the number of individuals that came over is small and even in burial sites that are Anglo-Saxon culturally, they're actually natives.

However, Dr. Neal Bradman, also of University College London, suggested that, since the teeth of immigrants' descendants would take on the isotopic composition of the local area, it was impossible to know whether the burials were of Britons or not without conducting genetic analysis.
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Old 22nd July 2006, 02:49 PM
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Stevo Stevo is offline
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Give it a rest.

That new study by Dr. Thomas and his colleagues is really bothering you, isn't it? You're flailing about with very dated info to try to counter its findings.

Why?
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Old 22nd July 2006, 03:29 PM
Rick Rick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Txschlib
Teeth unravel Anglo-Saxon legacy by Paul Rincon Wed, 17 March 2004
BBC News Online science staff

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3514756.stm


However, Dr. Neal Bradman, also of University College London, suggested that, since the teeth of immigrants' descendants would take on the isotopic composition of the local area, it was impossible to know whether the burials were of Britons or not without conducting genetic analysis.

I think this last paragraph, almost an afterthought by the author, points to the major flaw in this study (or at least in the author's conclusions). I still haven't chosen a side in this debate, since I haven't seen anything yet to convince me one way or the other. Time may tell...or not.
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Old 22nd July 2006, 03:35 PM
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Stevo Stevo is offline
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It would be nice if we could talk about this in one thread instead of seven of them!

I mean, hell, this fascinating and all, but is it really that fascinating?

Something funky is at work here, and it's not the smell of old, rotten British teeth!

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Old 22nd July 2006, 04:18 PM
vineviz vineviz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevo
Something funky is at work here, and it's not the smell of old, rotten British teeth!
You wouldn't be referring to the possibility that some publisher has hired an ambitious, but clueless, PR intern?
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Old 22nd July 2006, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by vineviz
You wouldn't be referring to the possibility that some publisher has hired an ambitious, but clueless, PR intern?
That hadn't occurred to me, actually.

I just thought it had something to do with Celtomania.
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Old 22nd July 2006, 08:25 PM
lgmayka lgmayka is offline
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If rotting teeth really do mean that the number of invaders was small, then this greatly bolsters the male extermination argument. Even aside from genetic evidence, simple linguistic and cultural evidence clearly indicates that the invaders delivered a fatal blow to Brythonic language and culture. The only way a small number of invaders can possibly do that is either direct extermination of the indigenous males by wholesale slaughter, or indirect but ultimately effective extermination of the indigenous males by taking their womenfolk and economic independence.
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Old 23rd July 2006, 06:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgmayka
If rotting teeth really do mean that the number of invaders was small, then this greatly bolsters the male extermination argument. Even aside from genetic evidence, simple linguistic and cultural evidence clearly indicates that the invaders delivered a fatal blow to Brythonic language and culture. The only way a small number of invaders can possibly do that is either direct extermination of the indigenous males by wholesale slaughter, or indirect but ultimately effective extermination of the indigenous males by taking their womenfolk and economic independence.
True. Taken together with what contemporaneous and near-contemporaneous documentary evidence we have, the indication is that the native Britons hightailed it. They got the heck out of Dodge.

Brittany isn't called Brittany for nothing.
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Old 25th July 2006, 04:01 AM
ragnar ragnar is offline
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24 individuals on which to base the supposed evidence ? Absurdly small ! Sounds like the news article may have botched the whole thing. Or these theorists just took a few cases & then ran wild with this!
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Old 25th July 2006, 05:46 AM
M.O'Connor M.O'Connor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgmayka
If rotting teeth really do mean that the number of invaders was small, then this greatly bolsters the male extermination argument. Even aside from genetic evidence, simple linguistic and cultural evidence clearly indicates that the invaders delivered a fatal blow to Brythonic language and culture. The only way a small number of invaders can possibly do that is either direct extermination of the indigenous males by wholesale slaughter, or indirect but ultimately effective extermination of the indigenous males by taking their womenfolk and economic independence.
There are genetic difference in the Welsh and English populations that can't be ignored. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/2076470.stm

Offa's Dyke
http://www.castlewales.com/offa.html

Last edited by M.O'Connor; 25th July 2006 at 05:53 AM.
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