Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Genomic signals of migration and continuity in Britain before the Anglo-Saxons

Martiniano, Rui; Caffell, Anwen; Holst, Malin; Hunter-Mann, Kurt; Montgomery, Janet; Müldner, Gundula; McLaughlin, Russell L.; Teasdale, Matthew D.; van Rheenen, Wouter; Veldink, Jan H.; van den Berg, Leonard H.; Hardiman, Orla; Carroll, Maureen; Roskams, Steve; Oxley, John; Morgan, Colleen; Thomas, Mark G.; Barnes, Ian; McDonnell, Christine; Collins, Matthew J.; Bradley, Daniel G.

Genomic signals of migration and continuity in Britain before the Anglo-Saxons Thumbnail


Rui Martiniano

Anwen Caffell

Malin Holst

Kurt Hunter-Mann

Gundula Müldner

Russell L. McLaughlin

Matthew D. Teasdale

Wouter van Rheenen

Jan H. Veldink

Leonard H. van den Berg

Orla Hardiman

Maureen Carroll

Steve Roskams

John Oxley

Colleen Morgan

Mark G. Thomas

Ian Barnes

Christine McDonnell

Matthew J. Collins

Daniel G. Bradley


The purported migrations that have formed the peoples of Britain have been the focus of generations of scholarly controversy. However, this has not benefited from direct analyses of ancient genomes. Here we report nine ancient genomes (~1 ×) of individuals from northern Britain: seven from a Roman era York cemetery, bookended by earlier Iron-Age and later Anglo-Saxon burials. Six of the Roman genomes show affinity with modern British Celtic populations, particularly Welsh, but significantly diverge from populations from Yorkshire and other eastern English samples. They also show similarity with the earlier Iron-Age genome, suggesting population continuity, but differ from the later Anglo-Saxon genome. This pattern concords with profound impact of migrations in the Anglo-Saxon period. Strikingly, one Roman skeleton shows a clear signal of exogenous origin, with affinities pointing towards the Middle East, confirming the cosmopolitan character of the Empire, even at its northernmost fringes.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 25, 2015
Online Publication Date Jan 19, 2016
Publication Date Jan 19, 2016
Deposit Date Nov 19, 2015
Publicly Available Date Mar 14, 2016
Journal Nature Communications
Publisher Nature Research
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Article Number 10326
Public URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations