GENEALOGY-DNA-L Archives

Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2006-12 > 1165599714


From: "Steven Bird" <>
Subject: [DNA] Neolithics, burials, Angles and E3b
Date: Fri, 08 Dec 2006 12:41:54 -0500
In-Reply-To: <515917.76287.qm@web86609.mail.ird.yahoo.com>


Alan,


I have a theory that the early Neolithic
>burials tested for mtDNA may represent intrusive
>lineages that were rather different than the average
>member of the surrounding population.
The idea that
>the Neolithic incomers were minority pioneers that
>subsequently were swamped by the locals copying them
>and taking up farming is popular among archaeologists
>at present.

In terms of modern genealogy, your hypothesis would suggest that the early
Neolithic settlers in Britain (if found and tested) would be irrelevant
largely to modern populations. This raises some interesting questions.

I am struck, however, by discussions concerning the recent excavation of a
10th century male skeleton, unearthed in Norwich (discussed earlier this
week on the list) that has the unusual "X2e" (189A) designation for its
mtDNA subclade. This profile is very specific in the modern population to a
small group of Roma (gypsies) found in the Balkan mountains. Most were
identified by the study as formerly from Wallachia (Vlach), having moved to
Bulgaria during the 17th or 18th centuries. The rest were ethnic Turks who
lived in the same village on the northern slope of the eastern Stara Planina
(Balkan) mountains. This profile is absolutely unique among the known mtDNA
haplotypes in the world presently.

The news media made a big deal out of the alleged "Roma" ancestry of this
tenth-century man, buried in an Anglo-Saxon, Christian grave. This is an
obvious and somewhat silly anachronism, since the Roma didn't show up in
Britain until the 16th c. The authors indicated that this person is
believed to have shared a maternal ancestry with the 5.5% of the Roma tested
in this study who were X2e; even among the Roma, this haplotype was unusual.

I think, rather, that what we may have is the first physical evidence of an
ingress of this X2 maternal line earlier than the 10th century into the
British gene pool from the Balkan mountains, and that the modern Roma
descendants simply reflect some local inbreeding in the Balkans with the
same female ancestral line. What this find really seems to suggest is that
some Balkan maternal lines found their way to England well before 1000 A.D.

It also seems to suggest that there may have been some Balkan ancestry (E3b,
J2., etc.) that found its way to Britain with the Anglians. That assumption
would fit well with the Sykes E3b hole or gap in the middle Saxon and
Mercian regions of England. They weren't populated by the Angles. (Of
course, this theory still leaves Essex to be explained.)

If the technology advances far enough to test the autosomal DNA of this 1000
year old skeleton, it will be fascinating to see how this ancient young man
relates to the modern genetic landscape. He may be the genetic equivalent
of a Rosetta stone.

Steve Bird

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