Medieval Radio Blog

Just how Anglo-Saxon are the English? 38%!

Very exciting article published recently:

The topic of just how much the Anglo-Saxon immigration affected modern British genetics has been a hotly contested one, ever since Merlin pegged the Anglo-Saxon ancestry of England at about 90%.

Recent genetic studies looked at the modern population of Britain’s DNA and suggested all kinds of things.  Some researchers argued that basically the Anglo-Saxons were just a little segregated group that didn’t really affect Britain’s genetics at all, while others found just the opposite:  The native Britons were probably wiped out and almost all people in Great Britain descend from the Anglo-Saxon invaders of 1500 years ago.  And the Jutes, of course…  Can’t forget the Jutes….

The problem with all those studies was that they only looked at modern DNA.  This time researchers extracted DNA from ancient British skeletons from different parts of the island.  And the results are in…   (drum roll)

The modern English people are about 38% Anglo-Saxon.  Scottish and Welsh people have less Anglo-Saxon DNA but are still around the 30% mark.

So there you have it, friends.  The Anglo-Saxons wiped out a lot of people but not everyone by a long shot.  It’s not consistent everywhere, but I think you can broadly say that the average British person today has quite a bit of Anglo-Saxon ancestry… but, they are actually more Briton, going by the DNA.  That might explain why they root for King Arthur, when he was (if he existed) a redoubtable foe of the Saxon invaders.

38%, y’all!saxonradiers


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