• AD

Anglo-Saxon community was based on language and culture

Context:

The settlement of German-speaking people to the British islands has long been considered a significant event. Settlement to forming an ethnic group known as Anglo-Saxons and eventually the rise of English culture. Primarily, two historical texts have been the source of knowledge about all this. Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum (731 CE) was written by the Venerable Bede and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (late 9th century CE). Archaeologists and researchers have been contradicting these text since several studies have been conducted.

Let's Deep Dive:


The study:

An archaeological study on the population was funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions program of EU, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Canada Research Chairs Program, the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund.

Dr Kimberly A. Plomp, Prof. Keith Dobney from the University of Sydney, Prof. Mark Collard from Simon Fraser University at Vancouver did the study in collaboration.


What were subjected to study:

Suitably dated collection of skulls from Britain (from the Early Medieval period) and Denmark (from Iron Age).


What the study finds:

The population in western Europe, known as Anglo-Saxons, were not some homogeneous local group. Instead, the population was a mixture of both some migrating groups and some local cultural groups. A study on early Anglo-Saxon skeleton shows that two-thirds to three-quarters of early Anglo-Saxons were of continental European ancestry. A quarter to one-third was of local indigenous ancestry. After a change in the period, the middle Anglo-Saxon era skeletons show that 50% to 70% of the population were of local ancestry and 30% to 50% were of continental ancestry of northwestern Europe. The culture and language made them Anglo-Saxons, not genes. Contradicting some historical texts, the study finds that Anglo-Saxons, a mixture o