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Thread: The Irish are not Celts, say Experts

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    Post The Irish are not Celts, say Experts

    The Sunday Times - Ireland

    September 05, 2004

    The Irish are not celts, say experts

    Jan Battles

    THE long-held belief that Ireland's population is descended from the
    celts has been disproved by geneticists, who have concluded that they
    never invaded Ireland.

    The research at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) into the origins of
    Ireland's population found no substantial evidence of the celts in
    Irish DNA, and concludes they never settled here en masse.

    The study, part-funded by the National Millennium Committee, has just
    been published in The American Journal of Human Genetics. It was one
    of four projects funded by the government under the Genetic History of
    Ireland programme, which aimed to provide a definitive survey of the
    origins of the ancient peoples of Ireland.

    Part of the project's brief was to "discover whether there was a large
    incursion by Celtic people about 2,500 years ago" as was widely
    believed. After comparing a variety of genetic traits in Irish people
    with those of thousands of European and Near Eastern inhabitants, the
    scientists at TCD say there was not.

    "Some people would go as far as saying there was total replacement of
    the population (of Ireland) 2,500 years ago," said Brian McEvoy, one
    of the authors. "But if that happened we would definitely be more
    related to people in central Europe, because the celts were supposed
    to have come from there. We're just not seeing that. We're seeing
    something earlier. Our legacy is the result of the first people to
    settle in Ireland around 9,000 years ago."

    About 15,000 years ago, ice covered Ireland, Britain and a lot of
    northern Europe so prehistoric man retreated back into Spain, Italy
    and Greece, which were still fairly temperate. When the ice started
    melting again around 12,000 years ago, people followed it northwards
    as areas became habitable again.

    "The primary genetic legacy of Ireland seems to have come from people
    from Spain and Portugal after the last ice age," said McEvoy. "They
    seem to have come up along the coast through western Europe and
    arrived in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It's not due to something that
    happened 2,500 years ago with celts. "We have a very old genetic
    legacy."

    While we may not owe our heritage to the celts, we are still linked to
    other populations considered Celtic, such as Scotland and Wales.
    McEvoy said: "It seems to be more a cultural spread than actual people
    coming in wiping out and replacing everyone else."

    A PhD student in Trinity's department of genetics, McEvoy will present
    the findings tomorrow at the Irish Society of Human Genetics annual
    meeting.

    He and Dan Bradley of TCD took samples of mitochondrial DNA, which is
    inherited from the mother, from 200 volunteers around Ireland using
    cheek swabs. They also compiled a database of more than 8,500
    individuals from around Europe and analysed them for similarities and
    matches in the sequences.

    They found most of the Irish samples matched with those around Britain
    and the Pyrenees in Spain. There were some matches in Scandinavia and
    parts of northern Africa.

    "Of the Celtic regions, by far the strongest correspondence is with
    Scotland," said Bradley. "It corresponds exactly with language." While
    that could be due to the Plantation of Ulster, Bradley said it was
    more likely due to something much older because the matches occur
    throughout the whole of Ireland and not just the north.

    The geneticists produced a map of Europe with contours linking places
    that were genetically similar. One contour goes around the edge of the
    Atlantic, around Wales, Scotland, Ireland and includes Galicia in
    Spain and the Basque region.

    "This isn't consistent with the idea of a large invasion here around
    500BC," said Bradley. "You would expect some more affinity with
    central Europe if we owed the bulk of our ancestry to a movement from
    central Europe but we don't."

    Some archeologists also doubt there was a Celtic invasion because few
    of their artifacts have been found in Ireland.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspap...247765,00.html

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    Post Re: The Irish are not celts, say experts

    so the keltic nordic, may in fact be purely atlantid. That's why the forehead slopes more, even though alpine should be a component, because there isn't any. I always thought this. keltic nordic, a basic white type gracialized, and made depigmented by the northern climate, not nordic at all.

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    Post Re: The Irish are not celts, say experts

    Out of curiousity, why is the Keltic Nordic type called Keltic Nordic? Why the attached Nordic to the end of it?

    I'm not trying to back up or tear anything down... it's just something that's never been clear to me.

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    Post Re: The Irish are not celts, say experts

    What haplotypes do Keltic Nordics tend to be?

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    Post Re: The Irish are not celts, say experts

    Quote Originally Posted by nordic_canadian_male
    so the keltic nordic, may in fact be purely atlantid. That's why the forehead slopes more, even though alpine should be a component, because there isn't any. I always thought this. keltic nordic, a basic white type gracialized, and made depigmented by the northern climate, not nordic at all.
    There may be some truth in that, besides I wouldn't rule out any admixture in the UK that lead to similar phenotypes as in Continental Europe. With Nordic, Borreby or Scottish UPs for example (all that based on Atlantid substrate as you said).

    How did these solely English guys came to their paedomorphic aspects, as well as other Alpinoid features?






    Meg Ryan and Janine Turner have some Alpine in them too, but they're US-Americans despite of that.


    Even Tolkien looked more Central than Atlantic or Nordic. He could be taken for a Dinaric/East Alpine mix with a small Borreby strain.

    Last edited by Gareth; Thursday, September 9th, 2004 at 04:44 PM.

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    Post Re: The Irish are not celts, say experts

    I'm not sure how the researchers tested for "Celtic genes". As far as I'm aware there are no markers which are specifically "Celtic", so that is rather misleading. I suspect that what they have done is test people in central Europeans lands where the Celtic homelands where believed to have been. As they didn't match up very well with Irish genetic survey tests, they've concluded the Irish aren't Celts. However, it must be remembered that loads of different peoples have migrated into those central European lands over the last couple of thousand years - Romans, Germanics, even Huns. It's very unlikely that the genetics of Central Europe are the same as those of the Celtic lands of 2000 years ago and beyond.

    However, it is true that Ireland does seem to be predominantly Paelolithic among it's paternal genetic line.
    It does correspond to genetics in Iberia and western Scandinavia. This relates to the original inhabitants of Europe, before farming and agriculture arrived from the near east with Neolithic people.
    It has been said that along with the Basques, the Irish are descended from the original human inhabiatants known as "Old Europeans", who lived in this continent before the arrival of Indo-Europeans (Aryans) from Eurasia during the Neolithic period.

    I do however, dispute that Celts never settled in Ireland.
    Perhaps in the modern era, culture can spread to other lands via the medium of cinema, television, popular music, etc. But thousands of years ago, it's hard to imagine culture spreading across continents and vast areas of land without people actually bringing that culture with them. In addition, the records and oral histories of the ancient Gaels (as well as classical authors) relate the migrations of their own and previous peoples. Archaelogical and linguistic evidence backs this up.
    If we look at agriculture - that is a monumental advance in human civilisation. and yet even such a profound discovery didn't simply travel by "cultural diffusion", as we find Neolithic genetic markers all over Europe. Obviously, Neolithic peoples took the practice of farming with them as they migrated around the continent. Similarly, I doubt Celtic speech, religion, metal-working, decoration and the rest of their culture just expanded around Europe without the Celts actually taking it with them as they migrated. The idea that other people suddenly discarded their own culture and adopted Celtic culture while the Celts all just sat at home is hard for me to believe.



    I think this is a sneaky way of trying to undermime the Celtic identity of Ireland, possibly in a bid to smooth the way for multiculturalism which is always made easier when a strong ethnic identity is no longer present in the national consciousness

    I'm told that Bradley's principle field before now has been genetics in cattle
    Last edited by Milesian; Thursday, September 9th, 2004 at 04:45 PM.

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    Post Re: The Irish are not celts, say experts

    First, to answer Stribog : the areas where Keltic Nordics are in larger numbers are highly R1b, so much so that R1b seems to occur across 'Paleo/North Atlantids', Brunn, and Keltic Nordic. One can also find Keltic Nordics of R1a or I - so, phenotype comes from more than just paternal Y-chromosome inheritance. However, with the data we have now, I don't see anything to suggest that Keltic Nordics are a 'foreign' element to Atlantids or UPs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gareth
    Even Tolkien looked more Central than Atlantic or Nordic. He could be taken for an Dinaric/East Alpine mix with a small Borreby strain.
    Tolkien should look Central. He came from German ancestry on his paternal line (Saxony to Birmingham, mid-17th c.)

    The Letters of JRR Tolkien - #165 - 1955
    "My name in TOLKIEN (not - kein). It is a German name (from Saxony), an anglicization of Tollkiehn, i.e. tollkuhn. But, except for as a guide to spelling, this fact is a fallacious as all facts in the raw. For I am neither 'foolhardy' nor German, whatever some remote ancestors may have been. They migrated to England more than 200 years ago, and became quickly intensely English (not British), though remaining musical - a talent that unfortunately did not descend to me."
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    Post Re: The Irish are not celts, say experts

    Quote Originally Posted by Milesian
    I do however, dispute that Celts never settled in Ireland.
    ... The idea that other people suddenly discarded their own culture and adopted Celtic culture while the Celts all just sat at home is hard for me to believe. ... I think this is a sneaky way of trying to undermime the Celtic identity of Ireland, possibly in a bid to smooth the way for multiculturalism which is always made easier when a strong ethnic identity is no longer present in the national consciousness.
    That is the point: the 'Celts' never invaded Ireland, we should say. Why? Because the Celts were never part of some 'Aryan invasion from the steppes' that some out-dated ethnological model once supposed. The area of 'Celtic' cultural expansion (the headwaters of the Rhine and Danube) were not that different genetically during the Urnfield or Hallstat period than Ireland, of what is the Netherlands, or the Iberian peninsula. I'm thinking that the Paleolithic Continuity Theory is much more 'workable', and seems to fit in with the evidence we have far more than either the 'Aryan invasion' or 'Pastoral-Agriculturalist dispersion' theories.
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    Post Re: The Irish are not celts, say experts

    Quote Originally Posted by Frontiersman
    Tolkien should look Central. He came from German ancestry on his paternal line (Saxony to Birmingham, mid-17th c.)
    He does (I only checked his recent family before) .
    though remaining musical - a talent that unfortunately did not descend to me."
    Interesting. I have a family line of musicians myself, that were carpenters at the same time.

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    Post Re: The Irish are not celts, say experts

    Quote Originally Posted by Frontiersman
    That is the point: the 'Celts' never invaded Ireland, we should say. Why? Because the Celts were never part of some 'Aryan invasion from the steppes' that some out-dated ethnological model once supposed. The area of 'Celtic' cultural expansion (the headwaters of the Rhine and Danube) were not that different genetically during the Urnfield or Hallstat period than Ireland, of what is the Netherlands, or the Iberian peninsula. I'm thinking that the Paleolithic Continuity Theory is much more 'workable', and seems to fit in with the evidence we have far more than either the 'Aryan invasion' or 'Pastoral-Agriculturalist dispersion' theories.
    Yes, but how can you test they never migrated to Ireland?
    There is no discernable genetic markers for the "Celts" (they likely were not a homogenous group of people anyway). So if even if you found genetic input from the Celts, how could you identify them?
    Certainly we can say there is Paleolithic continuity. If the Celts interbred rather than wiped out the pre-Celtic populations, there is no reason why there should not still be Paleolithic markers after a Celtic migration.

    The Celts moved all over Europe. The Irish texts and tales say so as do Classical Roman and Greek writers.
    I just don't see a basis for saying that Celtic culture, languages and artifacts arrived in Ireland without a single Celt setting foot on Irish soil. That seems extremely unlikely in my opinion. there isn't a precedent I can think of for it before the modern age (basically the 20th century and even then disputable)

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