Medieval Radio Blog

Your DNA is teaching us about medieval history! Who knew your DNA was such a brainiac?

I don’t know if you know this, but your DNA, Kyle, has been teaching a lot about history lately.  It turns out DNA studies can confirm some of the details about mass migrations recorded in the history books.  For instance, the so-called barbarian invasions and all the resulting admixture show up as a lot of mixing between groups in the early Middle Ages.  About 1000-1300 years ago, we see a lot of Arabic admixture in southern Europe when there were Arabic conquests in the region.

But then there are some surprises for some people.  There was a lot of Mongolian admixture in northeastern Europe before Chinggis Khan was even a twinkle in Mother Hogelun’s eye.  I think this could be related to groups like the Avars, Bulgars, and Centaurs who used to invade Europe and cause all sorts of mischief until Hercules defeated them and built the Great Wall of China, as the most learned chroniclers tell us…

Anyway… its really exciting to see the way science continues to work alongside traditional historians to help widen our picture of the lives of people in the past – and particularly to shed light on the lives of the ordinary drunks and criminals who, for most of us, comprise the majority of our ancestors.


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