Who do you think you were? The world’s most detailed genetic map is of the British Isles.

What do we know about the diversity and ancestry of British regions?


2 thoughts on “Who do you think you were? The world’s most detailed genetic map is of the British Isles.

  1. Hi – I’m contacting you cos I much enjoyed your piece in The Conversation today. My interest is in “Celtic” and what this might mean – and your very slight usage as a grouping within inverted commas… I have been looking at “Celtic” ancestral (and linguistic?) claims from south-west Hungary (as was) and also what today is North East Italy – from Carnia over the Julian Alps to the Danube basin… is there good clear English writing like yours about this and its relationship (esp in first half of 1st millennium) with the “Celtic” British Isles? There’s sure a lot of myths. Thanks a lot for your help – and for your fascinating work.


    • My use of quotes, is based on the fact that the use of the word Celt to describe pre-Roman people in Britain was a retrospective one. I’m not an expert, but my understanding is this:
      There were a people/s in southern Europe who were called Celts by the Greeks and Romans (and maybe by themselves?), but that the oldest surviving use of the word to describe anyone in Britain was not until ~1700AD. Celtic languages were then categorised as such based on them being spoken by ancient Britons. In what ways the various European tribal groups were or were not connected seems very complex, and how you choose to categorise people is always a little subjective. People make the case for Britons as Celts based on the geographical ranges of various cultural factors, but my (limited) understanding is that these arguments are not very convincing. Hope that helps. I’m sure you’ll find people more knowledgeable than me, to explain it more reliably, but whether they’ll agree with each other, I can’t tell you!


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