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Thread: Celtic DNA in the British Isles

  1. #1
    Senior Member Imperator X's Avatar
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    Question Celtic DNA in the British Isles

    Some people have claimed that there isn't any Celtic DNA still in the British Isles. My uncle told me about this. Many times he doesn't know what he's talking about.. To the genetic experts on this forum.. How much Celtic DNA is still in the Isles?

    I would bet that there is substantial DNA along the western coast of Ireland, in the Scottish highlands, and Wales of course, but that's my cursory amateur opinion.
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    Senior Member Kreis AnnA's Avatar
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    A barrel full of Celtics from Niall of the Nine Hostages, and as a side comment this makes the Isles an Upper Paleolithic preserve:

    http://www.familytreedna.com/matchnialltest.html

    In the study scientists found an area in northwest Ireland where they claim 21.5% carry Niall’s genetic fingerprint, says Brian McVoy, one of the team at Trinity. The same area of Ireland has previously been the subject of anthropological study…and has shown a strikingly high percentage of men from Haplogroup R1b (98%) versus 90% in southeast Ireland. According to McVoy this area was the main powerbase of the Ui Neill kings, which literally translated means "descendants of Niall".

    McVoy says the Y chromosome appeared to trace back to one person. Following the genealogists' trail McVoy comments: "There are certain surnames that seem to have come from Ui Neill. We studied if there was any association between those surnames and the genetic profile. It is his (Niall's) family."

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    Senior Member Imperator X's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kreis AnnA View Post
    A barrel full of Celtics from Niall of the Nine Hostages, and as a side comment this makes the Isles an Upper Paleolithic preserve:

    http://www.familytreedna.com/matchnialltest.html

    In the study scientists found an area in northwest Ireland where they claim 21.5% carry Niall’s genetic fingerprint, says Brian McVoy, one of the team at Trinity. The same area of Ireland has previously been the subject of anthropological study…and has shown a strikingly high percentage of men from Haplogroup R1b (98%) versus 90% in southeast Ireland. According to McVoy this area was the main powerbase of the Ui Neill kings, which literally translated means "descendants of Niall".

    McVoy says the Y chromosome appeared to trace back to one person. Following the genealogists' trail McVoy comments: "There are certain
    surnames that seem to have come from Ui Neill. We studied if there was any association between those surnames and the genetic profile. It is his (Niall's) family."
    I suspected there were Celtic genes in the west... But are they only in the northwest? Where did all the rest go? To British colonies? Did the Norman, Saxon, and Viking genes kill them off or what?
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    We should be careful with what we call "Celtic". Genetic evidence points not to large scale Celtic migrations into the Isles but instead, to genetic continuity with Paleolithic--long before anyone dreamed of calling people Celts. Certainly the Celtic languages planted themselves in the Isles before the English incursion but the vast bulk of the Celtic speakers before Anglish & Saxon settlement were not Celts from central Europe but instead, the descendents of the the original inhabitants of Doggerland and the Isles from Paleolithic times.

    The same holds true today--especially so in the north and west.

    Some suggested reading:

    http://www.orionbooks.co.uk/HB-27004...of-Britain.htm

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Face-Britain.../dp/0743295293

    http://www.thameshudson.co.uk/en/1/9780500051337.mxs

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Isles-.../dp/0593056523













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    Senior Member Carl's Avatar
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    The thread is very much centred on Britain. It is always too easy - at least in my mind! eyes: - to become mixed up with the huge preRoman Celtic civilizations in (Alpine) central Europe - the La Tene & Hallstatt cultures and so on , generally called Celtic - if not Empire!

    So I agree with Allenson - the languages of the many tribes within Britain were (preRoman) of various Celtic varieties - but the people themselves were surely a mix of the ancient Britons, original inhabitants whose genetic material can still be found in modern populations -- and those people who themselves all finally opted for Britain when the Doggerbank became the NorthSea -- and any peoples who arrived from the continent subsequent to that .... including presumably those who carried with them , through trade or settlement, seeds of the later Celtic culture and methods. This mixed must itself have evolved over thousands of years - rather like the 'nordic bronze age' throughout "greater Scandinavia".

    With the Saxon advent, I do think it reasonable to imagine that the Celtic peoples were ultimately to remain at the strongest culturally -- and genetically (??) in the West -- in the new Eng-land, in Wales and in Western & Northern Scotland. The Vikings , three or four centuries later, added to this (overall) fairly static picture , especially in the coastal areas of Scotland and Northen England, with the Danes of course settling extensively in Saxon Eastern England, in the Anglian regions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Imperator X View Post
    Some people have claimed that there isn't any Celtic DNA still in the British Isles.
    They are clearly ignorant fools. eyes:
    I would bet that there is substantial DNA along the western coast of Ireland, in the Scottish highlands, and Wales of course, but that's my cursory amateur opinion.
    I believe I know you to be fairly well read up on Indian culture, and am utterly gob-smacked to hear you talk like this about your own people. Might I tentatively suggest that all that Hindu stuff might more sensibly have been left till you'd familiarised yourself with your own heritage?

    'Celtic DNA' is about as meaningless a term as they come, but if we understand it in the most obvious way, as genetic characteristics common to the Celtic speaking peoples at their height (just prior to Roman conquest), then the entirety of western Europe is awash with them. Central Europe is not too lacking in this department, and even the territory of the former Eastern Roman Empire is not unworthy of a mention. If you're looking for something relatively 'undiluted', then naturally, the British Isles is not a bad place to look, though the old caveat is valid about 'bringers of Celtic speech (from Central Europe)' and 'most long-term retainers of Celtic speech (out on the western periphery)' being respectively a former adstratum on a preIndoEuropean base and the result of the fusionsubstrate plus adstrate plus several subsequent substrata.

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    Senior Member Boernician's Avatar
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    this is worth looking at
    http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb....haplogroup.htm
    otherwise Oswiu said it all.
    Hurrah!,Hurrah! for Southern Rights
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oswiu View Post
    'Celtic DNA' is about as meaningless a term as they come, but if we understand it in the most obvious way, as genetic characteristics common to the Celtic speaking peoples at their height (just prior to Roman conquest), then the entirety of western Europe is awash with them. Central Europe is not too lacking in this department, and even the territory of the former Eastern Roman Empire is not unworthy of a mention. If you're looking for something relatively 'undiluted', then naturally, the British Isles is not a bad place to look..........
    Well , we know the Celtic peoples on the continent were all over - from Jutland (perhaps?) to Italy and south to Anatolia.The issue always in contention was the extent to which some of the Celts from Gaul or Belgic lands were in Britain as invaders - especially in the south. Nobody seems to believe any more that there was a massive Celtic influx from the Continent - but extensive trade, personal and cultural links there certainly were , together with consequent transmission , with the Celtic tribes in Gaul and the Low countries. There may even have been some migration - but it is not necessary to rely on that. We do have the Belgae (tribe) in the south of England with links across the sea -- but Caesar notes only some cross settlement and not a mass migration. The evidence for that is lacking.

    But why was Britain more 'undiluted' than the preRoman Celtic people in Gaul - or any other western group distant from the east ? eyes:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
    The issue always in contention was the extent to which some of the Celts from Gaul or Belgic lands were in Britain as invaders - especially in the south.
    Several Celtic waves makes sense. It parallels what was seen in Ireland too.
    Nobody seems to believe any more that there was a massive Celtic influx from the Continent - but extensive trade, personal and cultural links there certainly were , together with consequent transmission , with the Celtic tribes in Gaul and the Low countries.
    Nobody? Except me? I am a language teacher. You don't get the linguistic transformation of a huge island merely by selling a few fancy pots and daggers.
    Almost the entire toponymy of the island is Celtic in Ptolemy. That goes for rivers right up at the top of Caledonia even. Some pre-Celtic survives here and there, but only really prominently in the case of the Humber and Solent, and uncertainty must forever reign on this point anyway. Perhaps the best Celtic etymology just hasn't been thought up yet.
    There may even have been some migration - but it is not necessary to rely on that. We do have the Belgae (tribe) in the south of England with links across the sea -- but Caesar notes only some cross settlement and not a mass migration. The evidence for that is lacking.
    Caesar was only talking about the most recent wave.
    Your 'may' and 'some' really are absurdly cautious when Ptolemy presents us with the fait acoompli of Celtic colonisation. There are clear tribal groupings in all corners of the island with clear Celtic names, and whose archaeology shows clear commonalities with their kin elsewhere.
    But why was Britain more 'undiluted' than the preRoman Celtic people in Gaul
    I didn't say/mean 'was', but 'is'.
    Less subsequent waves of migration. Quite simple. Ireland is well acknowledged to be the UP reservoir in the west, and therefore the only major adstrate among acknowledged aboriginals there is the Celtic one. KNs in Coon's terminology.

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    I have always been fascinated by the Celtic question. Who were these people and what was their genetic (linguistic, racial, cultural) relationship to other peoples of Europe, or, indeed to each other? The Celts were once the dominant culture of pagan Europe. Their settlements could be found from the edge of Eurasia to Hibernia in the West; the Balkans, Italy and Spain in the south, and North to the Baltic Sea. Physically the Celts seemed to share no standard phenotype. Look at their descendants today? The physical type of the Celt ranged from the short darkish, curly haired Welshman typified by the cheesy pop crooner Tom Jones; to the tall and robust, pale, classic red head typified by the Irish American late night chat show host: Conan O’Brien.

    And look at the Celtic language- or should I say languages- themselves. With their great division into so-called P or continental dialects which would include not only the legendary Gauls of Caesar’s time, but also the Welsh, Cornishmen, and Breton colonists; and the unique Q or Goidelic dialects of the Irish and Scots. Were Celtic speakers nothing more than a generality if Indo-European speakers much as the Slavonics? Did a minority culture bearing Nordic (celto-teutonic) Noble class lord it over a mongrel majority of celticised Iberians (Vasconians) and other pre-PIE old European speakers? Are the Welsh in fact an indigenous, early wave of post glacial West Iberian colonists who simply learnt an Indo-European tongue from some culturally aggressive, pushy new neighbours? And the relationship between Celtic-particularly P Celtic- and the old Latin dialects has been demonstrated. Were the Latin tribes merely an early incursion of proto-celts into Italy; the later Gauls of the Po valley, simply some cousins coming up late from behind after the great Indo-European migrations of the 2nd millennium BC? The questions relating to these mysterious people are endless and fascinating.

    I think of myself as a German, but I have been told repeatedly I am more a South Eastern Irish type even though I have no known ancestry in Ireland. What’s that adjective? Rub…something or another. Did I acquire some Celtic ancestry through my Paternal South German line? Did my great grandfather 500² help build those lake villages in Hallstatt? Who knows?

    If anyone ever invents a time machine; it would most definitely be a tool best exploited by the historian and anthropologist.



    Tom Jones & Conan O'Brien
    Two Celts?


    .Scear

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