Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Pix and Mix Race

The last ice age ended relatively very quickly and by 9,000BC and possibly even earlier, the ice had gone. Between  8,500BC and 4,500BC, it was possible to walk to Scotland across the lost sub-continent of Doggerland, now submerged under the North Sea, and it looks as though that was when family bands of men, women and children reached the farthest north-west of Europe. Lying at the farthest north-western point of the vast Eurasian landmass, a place on the edge of beyond, Scotland had to be the end of many journeys, the narrowing or point of a huge funnel. Until the 16th century, it was not possible to go any further.

Tiny variations in our DNA can tell geneticists a great deal about our ancestry. These markers or lineages can be both dated and located in the part of the world where they arose. There are no fewer than 100 different male and female lineages present in the modern population. Scotland turns out to be a tremendously diverse nation. There is no Scots pedegree, just another mongrel people .

Every Scot is an immigrant. For example, we have tested men whose male lineage originated in the ancient kingdom of Thrace on the Black Sea, the home of the gladiator-hero, Spartacus. We have men from the Roman province of Illyria on the Adriatic. Further afield, there are men and women from Siberia whose ancestors lived on the banks of the Yenesei River that flows into the Arctic. There are Scots with an ancient lineage from Anatolia, and also one man whose marker came from the medieval West African kingdom of Denanke. We have Saracens from the Near East and women from the biblical kingdom of Sheba on either side of the Red Sea. Germanic, Teutonic, Alpine and Saxon Y chromosome DNA make up about a third of all male ancestry in Scotland, and there exists a very colourful fringe of smaller lineages such as Berber, Arabian, Kurgan and Balkan. Significant Irish lineages came to Scotland after c450AD, and by the end of the 8th century, Vikings were sailing the North Sea first to raid and then to settle.

It also looks as though most female lineages arrived earlier and that the ancestors of Scottish women have been here longer than the ancestors of most Scottish men. It strongly suggests that later migrations to Scotland were largely male affairs, what one historian has described as waves of small groups of men in small boats.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wha's like us?!
eh,...everybody else?
Brian G