Scientists Will Study Iron Age DNA To Determine If People In Britain's South-East Are Descended From Romans

Scientists are preparing to conduct a major DNA study of 1,000 ancient remains from the Iron Age so that they can determine why those living in the south-east of Britain are so genetically different from other areas.

A recent study has demonstrated that during the Bronze Age 4,500 years ago British DNA was completely changed by the arrival of the Beaker People, who 90 percent of the current population have descended from, as the Inquisitr reported.

However, as Professor David Reich has noted, the mystery still remains of why DNA from individuals living in the south-east of Britain when the Iron Age arrived was so markedly different from other locations, according to the BBC, and why those in this particular locale did not share the same level of Beaker People DNA as others.

In order to figure out just why this could be, scientists will be using fresh samples to look more closely at this mystery.

"We are initiating an effort to follow up on this observation - and more generally to provide a fine-grained picture of population structure of Iron Age and Roman Britain - using a study that will be on a scale of 1,000 newly reported British samples."
The arrival of the Beaker People completely transformed Britain, with this revolutionary group of people introducing metal-working to the country. The farmers who had long been on the island and who had constructed monuments at Avebury and Stonehenge eventually began to dwindle, as the DNA of the Beaker People largely replaced the DNA of the earlier inhabitants of Britain.Professor Reich has explained that there are currently three theories about why DNA from the south-east of Britain is so different today. The first theory is that some of the early Neolithic farmers continued to live quietly and in obscurity in different pockets for centuries.

After the start of the Bronze Age, these farmers may have eventually began to mix again with other members of the population, which would have slightly changed the larger numbers of those who had DNA from the Beaker People.

The second possibility is that there could have been an influx of an unknown group of people from Europe, who would also have had an effect on the south-east of Britain. These could even have been individuals who introduced Celtic languages into the country.

The third theory, which is certainly quite plausible, is that scientists may not have fully taken into account the huge changes that the Roman invasion into Britain would have taken on society. Romans were living in the country from 43 to 410 A.D., and with so many centuries of occupation it is extremely likely that they would have left a lasting marking on Britain when it came to their DNA.

While the new DNA study of the 1,000 ancient remains from the Iron Age may take some time to conduct, it should hopefully finally solve the mystery of why British DNA in the south-east differs from other areas of Britain, and whether Roman occupation is the real reason for this difference.