Deep History of I2b1a1
About 60,000 years ago a man lived in Africa. Other men lived at the same time when he did,
but their lines of Y DNA have died out.
Only one man's Y chromosome left descendants that have come down to
people who are now living on Earth.
We know that this man lived in Africa, because all other
existing Y chromosomes are descended from his, and because Y chromosomes have
the greatest variety in their genetic code in Africa. Y chromosomes in other parts of the world
haven't had as much time to develop variety.
Of course, the work of physical anthropologists supports the notion that
our species came from Africa. The oldest human remains are found in Africa. Also in Africa are the remains of ancestral species leading up to
Here is the history of I2b1a from Genetic Adam, who lived in
Africa 60,000 years ago. Notice that the path includes many founder
effects, where a long list of SNP’s that everyone with any of the SNP’s
carries, defines the clade. Many clades
have two or three names, and one often sees the names in the list separated by
Genetic Adam is not Adam of the Bible, but an
anthropological construct. Many other
men lived at the same time as genetic Adam, though shortly before his time a
catastrophic volcano followed by an ice age brought the human race nearly to
extinction, so there weren’t that many of them. However only this one man has descendants
who are living today.
Genetic Adam has a counterpart, Genetic Eve, ten thousand or
so years earlier than Genetic Adam, whose mitochondrial DNA is ancestral to
that of everyone now living.
haplogroup A M91, P97 represents the oldest branching of the human
Y chromosome tree, thought to have begun about 60,000 years ago. Like Y-DNA
haplogroup B, the A lineage is seen only in Africa
and is scattered widely, but thinly across the continent. These haplogroups
have higher frequencies among hunter-gather groups in Ethiopia and Sudan, and are also seen among
click language-speaking populations. Their patchy, widespread distribution may
mean that these haplogroups are remnants of ancient lineages that once had a
much wider range but have been largely displaced by more recent population
The most commonly seen sub-groups of haplogroup A are A2
(A-M6), A3b1 (A-M51), and A3b2 (A-M13). Sub-groups A2 and A3b1 are seen in South Africa,
with A3b1 seen exclusively among the Khoisan. The range of A3b2 is restricted
to Eastern Africa and at lower frequencies
among Cameroonians. About 1.1% of African-Americans belong to the sub-group
BT SRY1532.1/SRY10831.1, M42,
M94, M139, M299 (This category is also referred to as YxA.) The BT haplogroup split off
from haplogroup A 55,000 years before present (bp). It probably appeared in
North East Africa.
CF M168, M294, P9.
C, F P143 The C,F
haplogroup was the common ancestor of all people who migrated outside of Africa until recent times. The defining mutation occurred
31-55,000 years bp in North East Africa and is still most common in Africa
today in Ethiopia and Sudan
F M89, M213/P137, M235, P14, P133, P134, P135, P136, P138,
P139, P140, P141, P142, P145, P146, P148, P149, P151, P157, P158, P159, P160,
P161, P163, P166, P187
It is controversial if F evolved from C-F in southeast Asia,
evidence of mankind’s original trek around the seacoast after leaving Africa,
or if it represents a second, independent group that left Africa. Genographic takes the position that there
was a second movement out of Africa. This argument goes that haplogroup F
appeared in North Africa and moved through the Middle East. The trail of mutations seems to indicate that
it arose from the original group that left Africa
and followed the seacoast to southeast Asia.
Haplogroup F has the most diversification in modern India. Downstream IJK arose in central Asia and
some descendants moved toward the Middle East.
IJK lived in Western Asia 40,000 to
45,000 years ago. One of the daughter
clades, K, actually went to Southeast Asia. IJ went to the Middle
IJK (L15/S137, L16/S138,
ancestral to haplogroup R. The great
majority of people of Europe today belong to haplogroup R, as do many people in
southern and central Asia, and northern and central Africa.
one time it was thought that since R1b comprises most of the men of western
Europe, it spent the last ice age there.
However, R1b did not appear until the middle of the last ice age, its
diaspora, like haplogroup R, is from central to southwestern Asia, and R1b1b2
only dates to the around 6,000 BCE.
R1b evolved on the steppes of central and southwestern Asia,
during the height of the last ice age.
Eventually it gave rise to R1b1b2, which evolved in southeastern Europe
and southwestern Asia. R1 or R1b may have spent the last ice age in a refugium in the Caucasus Mountain region, where the people had learned to weave flax by 30,000 BC, or they may already have moved into the fertile crescent and the Middle East. R1b1b2 came off the western steppes and the
Black Sea region into Europe during the
Neolithic migration, and also during subsequent mass migrations. Archeological finds as well as genetics
makes it clear that the Neolithic spread of agriculture across the river
valleys of central Europe was carried out by moving people, who moved about 30
miles a generation and took 500 years, from 6,000 BCE to 5500 BCE, to cross
Europe. Early farmers had a tremendous
demographic advantage over hunters and gatherers; a given piece of land could
support more farmers than hunter-gatherers.
Over time the farmers began to hold real wealth, and also gained a
military advantage. This gave them
superior access to resources, a better chance to survive and to raise young, and
superior access to wives. Anthropologists think that hunters and
gatherers married their daughters to the farmers, but the hunters and gatherers
did not pass on their own Y chromosomes.
The farther west R1b1b2 went, the
less competition it met from other farmers who belonged to other
haplogroups. Today 80% of the people of
western Europe are R1b1b2, and three quarters of those are close to a single
amounts of E3b, J, and other eastern clades also were carried across Europe by the early farmers.
R1a is a classic Indo-European marker; it evolved in the Black
Sea region after 4400 BCE.
R1a seems to have spread with some branches of the Indo-European
people. Today large proportions of
people in a broad swathe across east central and northern Europe
These Indo-Europeans were actually a
particular stage in the culture and language of the steppe peoples of southwest
Asia, that contributed to some of the modern ethnic and linguistic divisions of
central Asia through central and northern Europe. Neolithic peoples migrating through Europe
may well have been very similar to them and spoken similar languages, and this
was probably true of the shaft hole battle axe people, who swept across most of
Europe in successive waves between 3500 and
1500 BC. After 1500 BC western steppe
peoples are called Indo-European. After
2400 BC the more southern of them are called proto-Indo-European.
other great ancestor of haplogroup IJK, haplogroup N, predominates in the far
north of Europe and western Asia, around the Arctic circle.
means that haplogroup I is in fact the main Paleolithic clade in Europe, as
well as the oldest existing clade present in Europe
in any numbers. It wasn’t the only
clade of its time, but it was evidently the main clade that survived the last
ice age. This illustrates what a
profound advantage the Gravettian adaptation gave the members of that
culture. Some parts of haplogroup I,
such as I1, and I2b1, probably also had an advantage because they were so far
north and west. The Neolithic was slow
and late to become established there. The farmers of Jutland and coastal Scandinavia were still confined to the river valleys of
their territory when the shaft hole battle axe peoples from the steppes invaded
that region in 2500 BC. What is more,
though their ancestors were farmers, the shaft hole battle axe people were not
themselves farmers, but herdsmen, hunters and warriors.
Haplogroup IJ (M429, P123, P124, P125, P126, P127, P129,
P130, S2, S22)
in southwest Asia, and went to the Middle East,
35,000 to 40,000 years ago. They are
likely to have lived in the Caucasus, Anatolia, and southwest Asia – as well as
the Middle East. They lived in the Middle
East during the last ice age, where people were beginning to sow
grain seeds so that grain would be there when they returned to that spot on
their annual migration. People had to
be very inventive during the last ice age, in order to have food to eat. Haplogroup J remained in the Middle East,
and haplogroup I ended up in the Balkans and east central Europe. Haplogroup I also had a concentration west
of the Black Sea, and could have played
a role later in the spread of agriculture up the river valleys of Europe toward
Germany. Researchers do not think that is when
haplogroup I first spread toward Germany.
The IJ haplogroup spread from the Middle East 45,000 years
before the present, and defines two branches I and J that emigrated northwards
and eastwards into Europe. The J branch
subsequently split again and contributed to the current North African
The ancestors of haplogroup I appear to have contributed
aspects of Middle Eastern weapon making technology to the later
Haplogroup I M170, M258, P19,
P38, P212, U179
may have originated in the Near
East, 20,000 to 30,000 years ago.
Its distribution suggests it developed during the last ice age, as if it
had developed any earlier it should have been more widespread instead of
confined to certain parts of Europe.
the last ice age, people in Europe came to the
brink of extinction. Ice ages were hard
on everyone, because even where it was warm, it was very dry, since the ice
sheets held much of the world’s water.
The people who left Africa, for
instance, did so during an ice age and were barely clinging to life. In Europe, during the last ice age, people
only survived in a few places in southern and eastern (and east central) Europe that are called refugia. This diagram shows where people in Europe lived during the last ice age. Haplogroup I people lived in the Balkans and
in east central Europe, and could have spread toward the Black
Refugia of the last ice age
(places where people lived)
(There was another refugium in the Caucasus region where modern Georgia is, occupied by haplogroup R1 people who had by 30,000 BC learned to weave flax; they may also have been in the Middle East or the Fertile Crescent by this date.)
I corresponds to the Gravettian culture of what shows above as the Balkan
region, and possibly to its forerunner the Aurignacian culture. Both crossedEurope
and had eastern and western branches. The most advanced part of haplogroup I
was in centralEurope, where Czechoslavakia
and Moravia now are.
This culture wasvery technologically and culturally advanced for its time. In their efforts to meet the challenges of
living in the Ice Age, people of the Gravettian culture formed the first
sizeable settled villages inEurope. Most people at that time lived in small
hunting and gathering bands of about 30 people each. These bands migrated constantly, and lived
in tee-pee-like structures. When the
climate deteriorated, these bands desperately fought each other and defended
territory. Conditions were so difficult that humans inEurope were pushed to the brink of extinction. Such a severe population bottleneck gave a
strong genetic advantage to the few people who managed to survive.
TheGravettians thought they had a better chance if they formed large settled
groups where everyone worked together. This was a brand new idea in human history. People
specialized in particular tasks. This
meant that people developed true expertise at crafts, such as making weapons
and making clothing. Over time their
technology dramatically improved..
People also had time on their hands for the first time in history, and
this encouraged creativity. The
Gravettians made decorated ceramic statuettes from clay, and hardened them by
baking them in fire. Some of the
statuettes appear to be figures of the Great Mother goddess, who was later
associated with fertility and the ancient Near East. Houses were very distinctive looking; they
were built of huge mammoth bones held together by mud plaster, and covered with
hides. The new social organization was
such an advantage that most Europeans living today are descended from the
Gravettians (not necessarily through their direct paternal line).
Here are maps of the Gravettian culture.
These maps are a bit deceptive, since the most advanced Gravettians consistently lived between the Ukraine and the Moravian Basin northwest of Italy and immediatley north of the Alps. This was the location of the ancestors of today's haplogroup I. It is possible that haplogroup I migrated into France earlier, but if so their descendants were numerically overwhelmed by Neolithic migration from the east.
See my section on the Gravettians for much more on the Gravettian culture and haplogroup I.
The range of haplogroup R1b was immediately to the east of the Black Sea region, and possibly the two groups interacted. R1b people were not dummies; they were, for instance, weaving flax in 30,000 BC. However they lived where the climate was kinder and were not otherwise as advanced as haplogroup I people.
The Story of I1 is a new web site on the history of haplogroup I, that among other things has a logical theory of why haplogroup I1 is so recent. Haplogroup I1 is less than 5000 years old. Geographically it appears to be some kind of older outlier in Europe. Yet the notion that it descends from post-ice age hunters and gatherers who went north fails to perfectly explain why only one genetic line of what became I1 survives. The author of this web site argues that instead of heading north immediately after the ice age, ancestors of I1 stayed in southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia, along with the rest of haplogroup I. I1 benefitted from the Neolithic, but in a different way. The ancestors of I1 were hunters and gatherers who happened to live in a place where hunters and gatherers thrived to a greater degree than usual, and they also adopted aspects of Neolithic technology that happened to suit them, such as pottery. They lived on the outskirts of Neolithic culture and interacted with it. Neolithic peoples also adopted some aspects of their culture, such as a Neolithic style of house. The fisher-folk of Lepenski Vir on the banks of the Danube in the Iron Gates gorge, were an example of such a group. They built a permanentt village. They were not overwhelmved by the farmers. Instead they contributed their ideas of house-building to the dairy farmers moving up the Danube into Central Europe. He doesn't think that haplogroup I1 popped out of nowhere in Jutland. He thinks that the hunter-gatherers of the Ertebolle culture of Denmark arrived along river routes from south-eastern Europe. They brought pottery first made in the samara rgeion of southeastern Russia about 7000 BC; an East Asian traidtion of ceramic making foragers. This pottery was very distinctive; it had pointed bases and flared rims. It spread up the Volga to the Baltic and appears in the Ertebelle and as far west as the Low Countries, where it is called Swifterbant, about 5000 BC. These hunters of the far north had territory that was not attractive to farmers until after about 4000 BC. Subsequently much of Scandinavia was abandoned by farmers during a climate downturn in the decades around 700 BC. (Actually I think that climate downturn began closer to 1100 BC and pushed the sea peoples southward into the Near East and Greece, and it looks more as if I1 first came south with the sea level rise that I thought occurred around 500 BC.) Hunters and fishermen were able to survive. Around 650 BC Kjelmoy ceramics spread west into Scandinavia, probably with Saami speakers. The Saami may have melded with hardy, hunting descendants of the Eretboole who had never given up that way of life. This might explain why I1 is the second most common among the Saami.
Here is a map of the spread of thiis southeast Asian brand of pottery in Europe.
Uralic languages (Wikipedia) The article on Saami suggests that these people are and always have been equivalent to Eskimoes or Lapps of the eastern hemisphere, but the article on Uralic languages tells a much more complex and fascinating story. In fact it comes across that speakers of Uralic languages could have brought southeast Asian pottery across Europe. Also, many Saami do not look at all like Eskimos. In fact some are Slavic looking, and others are Germanic looking and blond.
Encyclopedia Brittanica article on the Uralic languages is highly consistent.
An alternative eexplanation, consistent with the older notion of post ice age hunters following game north, suggested by the same author is that I1 is the male companion to the Mesolithic movement northwards from the southwestern Ice Age refuge that can be detected in mtDNA U5b1b1a in the Saami.
The I1/ Uralic route of migration is paralleled by some mitochondrial haplogroups, such as H1g, which is found among the Lebanese (Druze), Saami (of Norway), and a southern indigenous Japanese coastal people. My own mitochondrial lineage H1am1 on the phylotree, may possibly have followed this route as well. H1am is from Sweden. All that had to happen for them to become my maternal line ancestors was to follow one of the northwestern I1 routes.
is a map of the major haplogroup I clades in Europe.
is I1, and M223 is I2b1. M284 is the
British clade I2b1a. M423 is I2a2, and
it played a substantial role in the spread of the Mediterranean wave of the
Neolithic (agriculture) from its home near the Black Sea.
Haplogroup I2 M438/P215/S31 Today most concentrated in Bosnia and Herzegovina – the
Balkans. A map of its distribution at
Wikipedia shows its range is essentially eastern Europe including the Ukraine, and western Anatolia. This puts it in an ideal position to have
spread agriculture, except that it either didn’t spread through Europe or was subsequently outcompeted by later clades. It does have a secondary area of
concentration in the northeast corner of the Black Sea,
part of the Indo-European homeland.
that the range of I2 is in and immediately east of the area where haplogroup I
is believed to have originated.
I2b L35, L37, M436/P214/S33, P216/S30, P217/S23,
P218/S32 Haplogroup I2b (formerly known as I1C) is
found primarily in northern Germany,
the Benelux, northern France,
the British Isles and Scandinavia. Many
subclades have been identified recently, but few people have been tested so
Although most people who haven't taken a deep
clade test yet are categorised as I2b*, it is doubtful that anybody is still
merely I2b* nowadays. Almost everybody should belong at least to I2b1 or I2b2.
pre-Celto-Germanic. (I’d say northwestern
Nordvedt says there is no extant I2b, which makes the following most likely a
composite of I2b subclades. It looks
like a map of I2b1, which may be centered just west of its center.
comparison, here is a map of the haplogroup I1.
Notice that its place of greatest concentration is immediately north of
that of I2b1.
map is probably deceptive. In fact it’s
a map of I2b1. An I2b2
researcher reports that “The Upper Rhine region clearly played a prominent role
in the history of I2b*. This region has the highest frequency of I2b*s and the
greatest STR-diversity.” Since I2b has
the greatest genetic diversity in the Upper Rhine (Switzerland
and southern Germany, east of
it originated there. He dates I2b* to
4500 years ago, or, 5850 to 4800 years ago, in the transition from Neolithic to
the Bronze Age. He states that a number
of the farmers of Lichenstein Cave were I2b* - and they had already migrated down
the Rhine River from their homeland. They
traveled along the Rhine River toward the Netherlands
His map then shows I2b2 centered to the south of I2b1’s
center in the German Rhineland, in west central Europe and east central France.
His study also shows direct migration from southern and far
eastern Germany to the far reaches of Great Britain, mostly Ireland and
Scotland. He thinks this migration took
place at a very early date, in Neolithic times. I
show the first major migration to Britain
from the German Rhineland as occurring at the
beginning of the Bronze Age.
Distribution of haplogroup I1
believed to have originated in Denmark,
approximately with the Nordic Bronze Age, and spread with Germanic waves of
migration after 500 BC. All of its
current distribution can be explained by known Germanic and Norse
(old I1c) L34, L36, L59, M223, P219/S24, P220/S119, P221/S120,
I2b1 dates to 8000 or 9000 BC. It appears to have originated in the German
Rhineland. Today it is much more common
in the German Rhineland and in the Netherlands than anyone else. The notion that M284 developed in Britain
around 2000 BC, but possibly not long after I2b1 itself developed, supports
thinking that the direct ancestors of M284 may have reached Great Britain not
long after the last ice age.
The Oxford Ancestors group, which includes Oppenheimer who
has written several books, estimated the age of I1 at about twice its true age,
and wrote that they entered Britain
after the last ice age.
Until 8000 BC to 6000 BC low sea levels left the English Channel as dry land, and this was part of the
great plain covered by forest. A great
river, which consisted of the Rhine and Thames
rivers, ran through this forested plain.
Probably it was one of the population centers of Europe.
Here is a reconstruction of what a satellite view of
Doggerland would have looked like.
Here is modern Europe. England is on the left. Denmark is to the right. The
English Channel separates southern England
from the Netherlands, modern
Belgium, and France.
The North Sea opened mainly
from north to south. In 10,000 BCE
people could walk in a straight line from Denmark to England, but toward the
end of the period they could only walk into England from Belgium or northern
France, so people carrying a mutation that appeared in any numbers after, say
8000 BCE, in the German Rhineland, might have found it harder to walk to
England than someone living in France or northern Spain.
I1 cannot have
at this time because it had not yet evolved.
However I2b1 is dated to around 9000 or 8000 BC, and could have entered Britain for the
first time during this period. Most
researchers think that I2b1 first entered Britain during this time. It is also possible that later haplogroups
have completely supplanted whoever did enter Britain immediately after the last
ice age. It is clear that since I2b1 is
at high levels in Germany
and the Netherlands, it
probably entered England
every time there was a mass migration to England. M284 is on its own track of evolution from
I2b1. It is not continental or roots,
so it is not descended from these subgroups of I2b1. Over time those groups also entered and
spread within Great Britain.
I2b1a M284 M284 is very rare outside of England. It is most often dated to around 2000 BCE;
but has been dated to as early as 8000 BCE.
researchers believe that M284 or its I2b1 ancestor entered England via
Doggerland. If this happened before
8000 BCE it is possible. 8000 BCE is
the earliest date given for the M284 mutation, and 2000 BCE is a more common
estimate. Most of the same researchers
also think that haplogroup I1 entered Great Britain via Doggerland. I1’s ancestors could have done that, but if
so they no more have living descendants in Great Britain than anywhere
else. I1 originated between 3500 BCE
and 2000 BCE, and its distribution in Great Britain reflects having
gotten there no longer ago than 500 BCE.
Norse I1 is selectively found in Great Britain only where Vikings
settled. I1 actually seems to have been
localized in Scandinavia and Denmark
until pretty recently, while its southern cousin I2b1 had ready access to England.
most important method of dating mutations is by the variability in the STR
markers of people who carry the mutations.
The rate at which STR haplotypes change is determined partly by how fast
the numbers of people who carry it increase.
Therefore the apparent age of a haplotype may be closer to the date when
the numbers of people carrying it began to increase than the date when the SNP
mutation actually first appeared. For
example, SNP mutations that are older can appear to date to times during the
Neolithic or Bronze age when numbers of people in an area increased rapidly, or
to a time when people carrying a mutation had a chance to establish the
mutation because a small group of people, some of whom carried the mutation,
had migrated to a new place, and they lived in small villages isolated from
other people for a time. That would
allow the new mutation to become much more common, and numbers of people who
carried it to increase much faster, than was true in the place where it came
recently M284 was thought to be indigenous to Britain;
that is, this mutation first appeared in Britain
and people who carry it have always lived in Britain. It was thought that this meant that anyone
carrying the M284 mutation could safely figure that their ancestors have been
for a very long time.
must understand that knowledge about SNP mutations is advanced mostly by people
voluntarily paying large quantities of money to learn what SNP mutations they
carry. They are often initially found
by people paying nearly a thousand dollars to have their entire Y chromosomes
sequenced. Sometimes they are found by
scientists who have managed to get a lot of money to sequence Y
chromosomes. Once a new mutation is
found, learning how and where the mutation is distributed in the population
depends mostly on people paying good money to learn what their SNP’s are. There are enough people deeply interested in
genetic genealogy and genetic anthropology for good amounts of data to appear
pretty quickly. However, for one thing
most people who get Y DNA testing live in North America and Great Britain. For another, if a mutation exists in low
levels in some areas, this method of data collection can miss it. That is particularly true if a mutation
exists at low levels in mainland Europe.
M284 has been found sporadically all over western Europe. It has been found a number of times in Germany and the Netherlands. It has been found sporadically in Scandinavia
and France. It seems to be relatively common in some
parts of Spain
and in the former Spanish colonies.
of this may have occurred by back migration from Britain. History has been full of groups of people
leaving Britain or being
exported from Britain. A very large number of people left Britain in the first centuries AD and settled in
Brittany, which is a large chunk of eastern France. Tens of thousands of people fled from England and Scotland
to the Netherlands during
periods of the Reformation when Catholic monarchs ruled England and
persecuted Protestants. I am directly
descended from a member of the Scrooby migration (which included the Plymouth
Pilgrims), who left England
for Holland. My ancestors had descendants three
generations later living in the German Rhineland, and these then went to Pennsylvania. In that time, Protestants ran around Europe in circles as the rulers of different countries
changed their religious policies. Economic
crises also drove people from England;
for instance, large numbers of people migrated from Scotland
and eastern Europe, looking for work. I
have a large number of distant cousins turning up in Russia, at 23andMe. At times, England
and Ireland exported
variously Catholics and Protestants to such places as Spain. Such ideas weren’t very successful and only
moved small numbers of people.
Sometimes groups of people left Ireland,
and maybe other parts of Britain,
to serve in foreign armies, especially in Spain. Large numbers of people from Great Britain took part in both medieval
pilgrimages to religious shrines, and the Crusades, both of which took large
numbers of people to Spain. Not all of these people ever returned to
in early medieval times, the Germanic peoples were migrating around Europe and
western Asia in circles. They transformed the genetics of some
regions, such as southwestern Asia, and parts of Spain. Four or five Germanic peoples settled in Spain. Most of them were Norse in origin and came
through southwestern Asia, crossing southern Europe and northern Africa to Spain. If M284 existed outside of Britain it
should have been found primarily in the German Rhineland where I2b1 originated
and remains by far the most common.
However, one large sized group of Germanic people migrated into the
German Rhineland, lived there for ahile, and then settled in what is now Portugal and northwestern Spain.
all leaves it unclear if M284 originated in England. Maybe it originated there and got to the
continent by back migration, or maybe it came to England from the continent. If it did not originate in England, then anyone who carries this mutation
cannot assume his ancestors lived in England before M284 got there.
means we have to look at major migrations from the German Rhineland (and the
modern Netherlands and Belgium) to Great Britain, for where the ancestors of
people who carry the M284 mutation may have lived and when they got to
Britain. Keep in mind that the M284
mutation is believed to have originated in or before 2000 BCE.
clearly reached Britain
before 600 BCE, because it is common throughout Ireland,
Scotland, and England, and because genetic variation of M284
in Great Britain supports
thinking it has been in Great
Britain longer than that. Actually, genetic variation of M284, and
also of its L126/ L137 subclade, are about the same to just a little greater on
the continent than in Great Britain. The
estimated age of a clade is often as much a function of when its numbers began
to increase as its actual age, and if it did originate on the continental
mainland, it remained rare there. The
latest it got to England
is with the proto-Celtic Urnfield migration around 1700 BCE. Iron age Celts after 1200 BCE is possible,
I’m just not aware of a mass migration to England in that period. But if M284 developed in Britain it got
there before 2000 BCE. This begs the
question of where M284 originated.
continental Celtic migrations from 600 BCE until 43 AD to England followed the same settlement pattern as
that of the Anglo-Saxons, except that it concentrated in southern and eastern England. The
Celts were a culturally very sophisticated people, who had a fascinating
culture, beautiful artwork, beautiful statues and cauldrons, and beautiful
music, and told fanciful stories some of which are among our fairy tales today,
and everyone wants to be descended from them.
They transformed the languages of all of modern England and Scotland,
but never reached Ireland,
which rather tellingly had a much older Celtic culture. The Celtic migrations did come to England primarily from Belgium and northern France. The Celtic region extended through Germany and included Denmark. Northward movement of the growing population
from the Celtic heartland, which included the German Rhineland, may have helped
make I2b1 common in Denmark. Actually, some of the most aggressive and
military successful Celts ever invaded in two lines southward across Europe
from Denmark. Celts coming to England could easily have carried
M284, but it happened to late to account for it.
have to look more toward who was migrating to Britain around 2000 BCE. Actually a lot of people were migrating to Britain around
2000 BCE, before 2000 BCE, and just after 2000 BCE, including probably the
older wave of “Celts” who shaped Irish language and culture. Many
of these people came straight from the German Rhineland, where I2b1 originated
and was common, and where I2b1 should have its greatest genetic variation. If M284 originated outside of England,
it most likely originated in the German Rhineland.
start with the Neolithic. The Neolithic
is the new stone age, and it was characterized by the development of
agriculture, and of clay pottery. Neolithic
peoples characteristically lived in brick houses or adobe style villages (in
the Near East and Palestine),
and in huts built of logs or walls woven of twigs and then plastered with mud
or clay, and then covered with thatch roofs.
These houses were characteristically very solid and were typical of
European peasants until the late middle ages.
Agriculture actually had its roots in the Near East and Middle East
during the last ice ages, when people who moved in a pattern through a range
through the seasons in search of food, began to sow grain, so that it would be
grown and ready to harvest and eat when they got back. People were inventive during the last ice
age because food was often hard to find, even in warm regions where food could
grow. The climate was cold and icy in
the north, but much of Earth’s water was locked up in the ice, and much less
rain fell worldwide. Agriculture as we
know it existed from 12,000 BCE, and walled adobe style villages were built in
the Middle East and Near East by 8000 BC. It was primitive agriculture; people used
wooden plows, and could work loose, well watered soil found near rivers. Agriculture spread into the Black Sea region.
Though the first farmers worked extremely hard and their lives were
generally difficult, the land could support more farmers than it could hunters
and gatherers. The population grew
great wave of migration around 6000 BC, migrating people carried agriculture
across mainland Europe, within about 500
years, migrating at about 30 miles a generation. We know they were migrating people because
they took their entire ways of life with them, and one style of building houses
moved with them. We also know this
because they took Near Eastern, Middle Eastern and southwest Asian Y DNA
mutations with them. R1b1b2 was one of these, and I2a2 was another. They had a huge demographic advantage over
the hunters and gatherers whose land they moved into, and they transformed the
Y DNA of Europe. They transformed the
female line mitochondrial DNA to a much lesser extent because the hunterers and
gatherers were happily trading them their daughters. They moved across Europe in two waves; one
across the great river valleys into central and northwestern Europe, and the
other along the Mediterranean coast and islands to Spain,
France and Great Britain.
are some photos of Neolithic huts.
Notice that they were also made of stone if that was the most available
Lake dwellers lived in
central Europe and were ancestral to the Celts and northern Italians, and built
their houses very near water so that their kind of wheat, that grew in marshy
areas, could grow in fields nearby. They
built their houses on stilts to keep them dry.
They were genetically characterized by a very large clade of
Middle Eastern Neolithic
village, with adobe-like construction.
They appeared by 8500 BCE.
This style was very common
across northernEurope, and Anglo-Saxon houses
were pretty similar in 700 AD. The
construction is wattle and daub, of woven twigs covered with mud or clay
plaster, on a frame of sturdy poles, with a thatched roof. The tree branches used to make the walls were
carefully chosen and trimmed to size and shape; this was no rough method of
construction, and it took a lot of work.
The length of such buildings
could vary, and some groups in some climates kept their livestock in a separate
partition at one end. Sometimes multiple
families lived in these houses, sometimes just one.
Saxons lived in similar houses in Britain in early medieval times.
During the Neolithic, Great Britain belonged to a sophisticated culture
found through Spain, western
France, and Great Britain. It eventually extended along the Atlantic
coast to Denmark, but it
reached Great Britain via
people sailing from Spain
between the facing coasts of Ireland
and Great Britain. The people who carried this culture were
genetically distinct; they included the clade I2a2. They had carried the Neolithic along the
Mediterranean coast to France
and Spain. They reached brought agriculture to Great Britain
about 6000 BC.
culture was called the Megalith culture, because it was characterized by huge
tombs and great circles of standing stones, like that at Stonehenge in England. These big tombs and circles of standing
stones are found all over southwestern and coastal northern Europe, and all
over Great Britain, usually
along the coasts and river valleys, especially in Scotland. One of these monuments exists only a few
miles from where the McKinstry family appears to have originated on the Cree River
in southwestern Scotland.
Megalith culture was very advanced, probably organized at something atleast
resembling the state level. It could
concentrate sufficient wealth to build huge monuments to bury its kings and for
its religious rituals. The circles of
standing stones reveal that they had fairly advanced knowledge of astronomy.
are maps showing the spread of the Megalith culture.
Megalithic Culture – spread through Mediterranean, around the coast ofSpain, north betweenIreland
andGreat Britain. The ancestors of the megalith people were
At the end of their period, the powerful and sophisticated Megalith and Beaker people of western France successfully held of the militarily advanced, also sophisticated, proto-Indo-European shaft hole battle axe/ corded ware people who poured across Europe in successive waves from the Steppes. ( Superior shaft hole battle axes were modelled after metal axes, which remained scarce, and they may also have ridden horses.) The point where the two
people merged in central and northern Europe gave rise to the Urnfield and then the Celtic cultures.
Here are a photo of s circle of standing stones, and a
megalithic tomb. These were only found
where the megalithic culture was located, not in the German Rhineland or
central Europe. They also aren’t found in the
east where that wave of Neolithic migration originated. In fact, they may have actually existed in Great Britain
before they were found in the mainland.
The pyramids of Egypt
were a similar idea but an independent cultural development. If something drove such ideas, it was the
existence of advanced agricultural societies with enough centralized wealth and
centralized political power to build such monuments. Today
we still build large monuments, they just make more sense to us.
The insides of these tombs were well constructed out
and complex, with atleast a hall and a chamber.
Monuments of standing stones were oriented so that
particular stones lined up with the sun at particular times of the day on
particular days of the year, such as sunrise on the winter solstice. It required a lot of knowledge of how the sun
moves to do this. Their purpose is
unclear but it strongly appears to have been religious ritual. Megalithic structures were public in function, and big.
Megalith culture probably did not bring M284 to England. It skirted most of the German Rhineland,
managing to hop from Belgium
directly to Denmark. It entered the wrong parts of Great Britain
from the wrong direction. The Megalith
culture spread to Scotland
from Ireland, and from there
southward into England.
the other hand, it is not necessarily true that noone from the German Rhineland
during this time. Finds at the remains
of a substantial house on the Scottish coast that dates to 3500 BCE, have their
closest resemblance to the German Rhineland.
The Bronze Age was brought to England
around 2000 BC, by a sizeable migration of people from the German Rhineland,
and apparently also by a smaller group of people from Spain. Their culture was the beaker culture. It was born in northern Spain. Analysis of aspects of chemistry of skeletons
from the beginning of this period show that except in northern Spain,
people were born far from where they died, and genetic traits also moved
around. They brought their complete
lives with them, as distinct from spreading a few new ideas through trade. Spanish and German groups each took their
distinct cultural styles to Britain..
distribution of the Beaker (early bronze age) culture
The Beaker culture reached Britain around 2000 BCE. The eastern boundary of the Beaker culture
in central Europe is consistently a short distance east of the Rhine River.
Its southern limit in central Europe was apparently defined by the Danube River,
and its other boundaries by two other major European rivers. Boundary in Britain is debated; Davies thinks
northern and western range could be Urnfield.
Jars of the bell beaker people.
The Beaker people were expert boatmen, and they
navigated the major rivers of Europe. The English Channel
would have been just another major river to them.
A later Bronze Age culture, the Urnfield, was brought to Britain by a larger migration from the German
Rhineland and central Europe. While previous people buried their wealthier
dead with extensive grave goods under hills or in half buried huts, the
urnfield people cremated their dead and buried them in nice urns in fields. The first sign of them found in Europe was their fields full of burial urns. Their large region of central Europe included
the Celtic homeland, and they began very near the Celtic homeland in Austria. Their culture was extremely sophisticated. In fact, the Celts differed from them mostly
by the introduction of iron, and by political organization. The Celts proper were a confederation of
tribes governed by kings who were closely related to each other, and who may
have come from the eastern steppes.
Some think that this
later migration is more likely to have spread to Scotland
and Ireland than the earlier
migration that never spread beyond southeastern England.. Davies says that the beaker migration was a
southern British phonemonon, while the Urnfield culture spread through Great Britain,
and that their methods of agriculture actually favored the colder northern
highlands. However it isn’t true that
the beaker people didn’t also grow barley and brew beer. Maps of this culture also give one to
believe that. Others say that varied
groups of them primarily from the Netherlands but also from Spain, hit the
entire Eastern coast of England and Scotland, and maybe the coast of Ireland as
well, which means they weren’t confined to southeastern England. Their culture certainly spread throughout Great Britain. It is clear that they were a mass movement
of people, because they brought entire lifestyles, not merely a few new good
ideas. Cultural maps actually suggest
that both groups spread through Great
Culture second Bronze Age emigration to Britain
An Urnfield bronze statuette of a wagon.
Davies argues that what he thinks of the smaller of the two
migrations, the Beaker people, “only” changed the genetics of Britain by a few percentage
points. A large enough migration to
change the genetic structure of the population of Britain by a few percentage points
was quite large. The migration was
driven partly by a population explosion in central Europe,
that resulted from the wealthy, very sophisticated culture that developed when
the Beaker culture merged with another sophisticated culture from the Eurasian
steppes. Central Europe had a great advantage, because
it was the heartland of Europe, located at the juncture of the great rivers,
like the Rhine and the Danube, and
others. The Neolithic first spread
through central Europe. People farmed continuously there for a very
long time, and the land was very fertile.
Central Europe was a trade
crossroads. This meant that its people
were traders, which made them rich, and led to centralized wealth and a
powerful military aristocracy, and it meant that they always had the very
latest of everything, including art, metalworking, and military
technology. During the Bronze age and
Celtic times, central Europeans were more culturally sophisticated than the
peoples of the Middle East, Greece,
though they didn’t write and built of wood instead of from stone.
Over the next thousand years Celtic culture evolved. The population of central Europe grew
steadily and continued to migrate across Europe. By 600 BC great waves of central European
Celts were moving into much of Europe in all
directions, sweeping in front of them whatever they could, and taking power almost
everywhere. They almost destroyed both Greece and Rome. One of the most aggressive branches of them
took control of Denmark, and
swept southward in long waves across Europe. All of I2b1 in Great Britain in this day is only
4%. M284 is now at 1% to 2%, and since
it is present at much lower levels elsewhere in western Europe, if it did
originate outside of Britain,
it was not present at that level among the people who brought it to Britain. It is very possible that a substantial
proportion of modern I2b1 in Britain,
possibly including M284, entered Britain during the Bronze Age.
The last wave of LaTene Celts sent large numbers of people
to England, seemingly from Belgium, the Netherlands,
and northern France, but they
are believed to have genetically influenced mostly southern, central and
southeastern England. Nevertheless, by Roman times, the culture
and language of all of England
was that of the LaTene Celts. Rome found England
firmly divided into Celtic-style tribes ruled by kings. They didn’t spread to Ireland, but significant numbers of them must
have spread over England and
Some point out that the structure of Celtic languages in Great Britain
requires two waves of people from the region where Celtic languages developed,
some distance in time apart. The Celtic
proper migration to Britain
after 600 BC brought the second group of Celtic languages, and that group of
Celtic languages spread throughout England
and Scotland, leaving Ireland
speaking the older group of languages.
The older group of Celtic languages couldn’t pronounce the “p” sound,
and neither could continental Celts until they suddenly figured it out in 600
Others think that Celtic languages reached Great Britain immediately after the last ice
age, along with England’s
modern Y DNA haplogroups. It is more
likely that the Indo-European family of languages first spread through Europe
from the Black Sea region, along with
agriculture. The people of central
Europe are likely to have spoken Celtic-like languages for a long time, just as
the people of the Black Sea region are likely
to have spoken Indo-European-like languages for a long time. It makes sense to think that the Urnfielders,
who were not yet Celtic but were the Celts’ direct ancestors and most likely
spoke ancestors of their languages, brought the earlier group of Celtic
languages to Great Britain. That these bronze age peoples should have
set the languages of Great
Britain for such a long period of time,
supports thinking they also had a major impact on their genetics.
One tends to think that the Urnfielders would have spoken
Celtic languages, and Beaker folk in the German Rhineland did not, but this may
not have been true. First of all, whether they were Beaker people
or Urnfielders, it was people of the German Rhineland who went to England. Second,
much of what we know of as German culture, including their language, spread out
after 750 BC. Before 750 BC, the people
of the German Rhineland were German only in the sense of modern geography. The people who lived there were haplogroup
I2b1, but they were not yet German. Germans carried the I1 haplogroup, which was
confined to Denmark and Scandinavia until they began to spread. The
people who lived in modern Germany
probably didn’t speak German languages.
They seem to have been culturally united with people who spoke Celtic
The Celto-Italic languages are one of the great westward
branches of the Indo-European language family. These languages may have been initially
spread through Europe by the Neolithic, or by the corded ware/ shaft hole
battle axe people, with or without a later overlayer of more recent migrations
off of the eastern steppes (European term for a sort of sparsely wooded
grassland that in North America is called the Great Plains). The Germanic, Slavic and Baltic migrations
were simply a northern arm of migration of the same languages. Their westernmost extension, the Germanic
langages, were limited to Scandinavia and Jutland (modern Denmark).
Some scientists think that Celtic languages have been in Britain since
the end of the last ice age. Their
distribution in Europe does not support such
an idea. Indo-European languages were
notably missing from Spain. Indo-European languages actually should
have been spread out of the Near East and along the Mediterranean coast to Spain, and then to Britain, if the ancient Near East
was a source of the Indo-European languages.
It is possible that the ancestors of Indo-European languages were spoken
in the Black Sea region and the migration around the Mediterranean
came from too far south to carry those languages.
All Indo-European peoples spread by mixture of migration and
invasion. They moved into some places
by mass migration. Even in those
places, they typically dominated a much larger the population as a ruling
aristocracy. The Norman invasion of England, which
was a military invasion and not a mass migration, was characteristic of
them. The Norman invasion of England and its subsequent migrations of the
Flemish into England,
changed the genetic structure of England, by two percentage
points. This is according to some
researchers; one must remember that it’s nearly impossible to genetically distinguish
a Fleming from a Saxon (and in Glastonbury,
have a Saxon R1b1b2 ancestral line that we can’t be sure wasn’t Celtic.) Even more remarkably, the Normans
actually ruled a great European empire that was not based in England, and consisted of separate
kingdoms ruled by people who were very closely related to each other. There were even satellite kingdoms like Denmark,
that intermarried with it and were part of its sphere of influence. Even Poland
and Transvylania, interacted with this empire. The Normans
had so much power that quasi-independent institutions like the Church did
things their way, and the Crusades were more about Norman empire building than
anything else. Celtic society was ruled
exactly the same way. Despite their small numbers, the Normans completely transformed both the culture and the
language of England. Today, more English words are of Norman and Norman French
origin than Saxon. The Indo-Aryan
invaders of India
ruled a much larger population who were forbidden by law to intermarry with
them, and imposed the Hindustani language on them. Laws that forced people to attend or be
baptized and married in the Church were as much about imposing Norman culture
on the people, as about anything else.
Go fifteen hundred years further back in time, and the
people who were acting this way were the Celts.
The La Tene Celts spread as much by mass migration as by military
invasion, in great waves, in all directions across Europe. England was on the edge of their territory,
and they probably actually dominated the society with relatively small numbers
of people who may not have spread in great numbers as far through England and
Scotland as their language and culture did.
It’s doubtful that great numbers of them ever lived in Scotland, but by Roman times, Scotland was
thoroughly La Tene Celtic, and the longer the Romans were there, the more true
that became. In those very disordered
times maybe somewhat fundamentalist, “back to whatever” Celtic groups gained
control. The 4th century “Picts” were far
more like the La Tene Celts than the Celtic tribes that preceded them in
In all of central , western and southeastern Europe, only Greece and Rome
successfully held off the Celts, and they were nearly overcome. What is more, atleast Rome
was specifically nearly overcome by a particularly aggressive Celtic tribe from
This map shows that before 1000 BC, the Germanic
peoples had not yet made it to the German Rhineland;
that was Celtic (or proto-Celtic) territory.
The Beaker people and the Urnfield people were only
separated by a few hundred years in time, and both came to Britain via the German Rhineland, so it may not
be greatly material which group brought more I2b1 to England. It’s not unlikely that both movements brought
I2b1 to England.
all this emphasis on the history of haplogroup I, it is probably a good idea to
point out that the dominant Y DNA haplogroup in western Europe isn’t haplogroup
I, but R1b1b2. Haplogroup I is
overrepresented among the descendants of Calvinists who migrated from Great Britain
during the 17th and 18th centuries, along with Germanic
clades of R1b1b2. Therefore their
descendants are likely to be disproportionately interested in this clade. Nevertheless there are actual Germanic and
northwest Germanic subclades of R1b1b2.
My Raymond ancestors, who followed early and moderate Puritans to New England in search of new economic opportunity, carry
one of these mutations. The following image illustrates the
percentages in the population of R1b1b2 throughout Europe, and its origin in
eastern Europe, and illustrates part of the reasoning to suspect that even
though its concentration today is consistent with the fact that the western place
of refuge of people during the last ice age was in France and northern Spain,
R1b1b2 may have been spread by the Neolithic.
If so, it somehow ended up most concentrated in places the Neolithic
reached late. The fact that the most
variability in R1b1b2 is found in the Black Sea
region supports thinking it originated there.
When it originated; before or after the last ice age, is less
certain. In western Europe, there is so
little variation that 60% of the men are close to a single haplotype.
can clearly see that 80% of the people of coastal western Europe are R1b1b2,
while in places where that is true, I1 does not exceed 15%.
Distribution of Haplogroup
R1b in Europe
is most common in western Europe, but it has the greatest variation in eastern
Europe around the Black Sea, where it
originated. R1a, which also originated
near the Black Sea at a later date and is a
distinctively Indo-European marker, is not shown.
no formal studies have been done, experts such as Ken Nordvedt, and others who
work on the statistics of I1 clades, are telling me that M284 is found in Great Britain
at 1% to 2% of the population. This is
not large. It is consistent with the
mutation having been introduced, in Britain
(from its distribution, in England)
and become locally established before spreading, but never becoming very
common. M284 is much more rare elsewhere
in western Europe. If it originated
there it never had a chance to become common.
L137/S166 This is a subclade of M284. It is found mostly in England and Scotland,
and in northern Ireland
by migration. This mutation is also
found sporadically in other parts of western Europe. It is concentrated in southwestern Scotland. The majority of people who carry this
mutation appear to carry a distinctive Scottish haplotype. However, people who carry this mutation
have a good deal more variation in their STR haplotypes than that within the
Scottish haplotype, and people with the more varied haplotypes are found thinly
scattered throughout England
and Scotland. The Scottish haplotype, which is dated by
computing the amount of time it took to reach the variation of STR markers
within this haplotype, is estimated at 1700 years. This means that at about 300 AD, people
carrying this haplotype were living in Scotland and beginning to increase
their numbers. Since TheophilusMcKinstry
strongly appears to belong to this haplotype, this may be most of what we need
to know. However, the SNP’s are a good
deal older. When I pointed out to Ken
Nordtvedt that people in the I2b1 DNA project (which he nominally
co-administers) are saying on their forum that the non-Scottish people do not
vary from the Scottish haplotype in one direction but in every direction except
having the values that define the Scottish haplotype at key markers, and I also
pointed out that one can plainly see that by looking at the confirmed L126+
people in the project who don’t belong to the Scottish haplotype, he said he’d
have to recalculate the age of the wider clade. I have seen L126/ L137 dated to 4000
BCE. Conceivably it is nearly as old as
its parent clade M284.
names of these clades are I2b1a for M284, and I2b1a1 for L126/ L137. However, the Scottish haplotype was
recognized before L126/ L137 was found, and the distinctive STR haplotype of
M284 was noticed before the SNP M284 was found.
Therefore this clade is most commonly called I2b1 Isles-Scottish, or I2b1
looked at the pattern of variation in the I2b1 project results spreadsheet
online. The tables are divided rather
artificially into a small and probably older group of I2b1 M284 called Isles
Scottish, a huge group of I2b1 Isles-Scottish M284+ L126+, many of which are
not Scotish, a good sized group of M284+ L126-, and the very small “Limbo”
group of M284+ L126+. I strongly suspect
that the placement of people in these groups is scrambled, partly because of
the confusion about who really goes in what clade. William McKinstry b 1723 in Carrickfergus, Ireland is in the L126+ group
though his L126 results are not yet back.
I don’t know how many people were categorized on the basis of their STR
markers, and how many actually have been tested for the SNP L126.
noticed a few things. Each category in
the results table begins with the minimum, maximum, and modal value for each
marker. Each STR marker value that
differes from the mode for that category for that marker, is colored. People who can clearly be identified by
surname or by place of origin as of Scottish descent, have only half or less as
many colored cells as people who can clearly be identified as having ancestry
in England or in other parts
with the same name and very similar haplotypes of STR markers typically differ
from each other by a marker or two. They
should also typically be three or four hundred years apart since their nearest
common ancestor, though some could have their common ancestor living farther
back. In haplogroup I1, one commonly
sees 0 to 1 points of difference between two related males with common ancestry
in the same time period. In haplogroup
R1b1b2 one is more likely to see three to six differences.
looks to me like the age of the L126+/ L137+ halogroup in Scotland is only half
as old as it is anywhere else. The age
of a clade is reflected in the variation of its STR markers. If the clade is older its markers are farther
apart from each other. I consider that possibly this clade tends to
develop four differences in STR haplotypes over a thousand years. (That may or may not be true). If that is true, than the Isles-Scottish
haplotype has been in Scotland
for roughly 1700 years, which is what Ken Nordtvedt came up with.
the same clade is twice as old in England – dating to more like 3400
years ago. It is just a little younger
in England than its parent
M284 clade, if that clade really got to England 4000 years ago.
L126+ (allegedly), with origins outside of Great
Britain, with those from England,
it looks to me like this clade could possibly be a thousand years older outside
of Great Britain than within
Great Britain. The general pattern is for people to have
the English amount of variation from the modes, which is consistent with the
idea that they back migrated from England, but a few people have more
variation. M284+ L126- also has just a
little more variation than L126+, which suggests that L126+/ L137+ may not be
much younger than M284. It may have
evolved only a thousand years or so later.
McKinstry falls within the typically Scottish amount of variation from the mode
for his allegedly L126+ group. So we’re
left with evidence that William McKinstry’s direct male ancestors got to Scotland around
300 AD. They most likely came from England,
where they may have lived for far longer, maybe since the bronze age.
McKinstry’s variation from the mode is also pretty typical; five or six at 37
markers. A very young clade is not going
to have much variation, so three off and four off and especially five-off
matches may not mean a whole lot. This
means it would be hard, for instance, to conclude that the distant Gordon match
could mean that the McKinstry family and a Gordon family were from the same
area. A Gordon family were major
landlords, bishops, and other officials in the Penninghame parish.
the other hand, William McKinstry has only three three off and four off matches
in the Family Tree DNA and Y Search databases, and they are from Glasgow, to
which place most people in southwestern Scotland migrated during the industrial
revolution, so this does help to place William McKinstry’s ancestors in
southwestern Scotland. People most
closely related to him should have lived in his part of Scotland.
explained earlier, the Isles-Scottish clade is concentrated in southwestern Scotland in the
data, but it is unclear if the data shows a true picture of where the
Isles-Scottish clade is concentrated.
Historical factors would have tended to push older I2b1 clades toward
the west. The population in Scotland is not
as dense to the north, so fewer of anything should be found there. Since the L126/ L137 clade is found in England and has more variation there than in Scotland, it appears to have migrated to Scotland from England. Probably people carrying this mutation
settled in a sparsely populated area by themselves, and the mutation was
eventually able to become more common in this area than in England.
appearance that the I2b1 Isles-Scottish appears to be strongly concentrated in
southwestern Scotland and
unusual in southeastern Scotland,
supports thinking that Theophilus McKinstry’s ancestors came from Galloway and not
Edinburgh, but not enough is known about the true distribution of this mutation
to make that conclusion.
comes explaining how the people who carried the Isles-Scottish mutation came to
Scotland. They were there and multiplying when the
Romans occupied Britain
would tend to expect that for a rare mutation to get to be common in Scotland,
people carrying it must have lived in an isolated area by themselves. I tend to think that the Scottish border was
a fairly crowded place in Roman times.
Many people were trying to get away from Roman domination, while many
others were coming to the border specifically to do battle with the
Romans. The history of the Roman lines
in Scotland, which includes an imperial wall north of Galloway, as well as the
main Roman wall where the Scottish border now is, suggests that at times what
is now the Scottish border region was outright disputed territory. Population movement should certainly have
been very dynamic in this area. I do
not yet know enough about it. I
speculate that possibly the ancestor of the Isles-Scottish haplotype did settle
in southwestern Scotland because
there were fewer people there than in southeastern or south central Scotland. I do not know for a fact that there were
fewer people in that part of Scotland
in Roman times. It is a very rural
location today. It was a local cultural
center in Megalith times. Brythonic
Celts seem to have been attracted to the area by something before the Scotti
invaded from Ireland around
500 AD, the people of Galloway spoke a dialect nearly identical to that of Wales.
was a very sizeable Roman presence in southern Scotland for nearly four centuries,
characterized by long marches and by large and small fortresses. They
kept southern Scotland more
or less subdued, to a degree that varied over time, and focused on northern Scotland, which
they never quite conquered. In the southwest these fortresses were
arranged more to separate the Novantae, the Celtic tribe of Galloway,
from its neighbors who its hill people tended to unite with in fighting the
Romans. At the same time, the Novantae
traded with the Romans. Roman soldiers
did sometimes retire and settle on land near the fortresses. One of the fortresses was twenty miles or so
east of Minnigaff. A good number of the
Roman soldiers who fought in Scotland
were from the German Rhineland, so it is not impossible that they introduced
the Isles-Scottish haplotype to Scotland. It is far more likely, however, that it came
from England, maybe brought
by people who were trying to minimize the role of Romans in their lives, or
even escape from them, if they came to Scotland before the mid 1st
century. Romans and Romanized Scottish
aristrocracy did form a Romanized culture along parts of the coast and near the
fortresses. St. Patrick grew up near
such a Romanized town on the Solway Firth, and
he was Gallo-Roman. Galloway
was not particularly a place where much fighting went on with the Romans. Their western marching and battle line was
far to the east. Galloway
was probably well settled and well farmed but generally a backwater. It might have been a good place to settle if
one wanted minimum of Romans in ones life, since the entire rest of the border
region was quite alive with Roman activity.
The records of the time make little mention of the place and not much is
known about its culture in that time. One
consequence of the Roman presence in Scotland was the heavy presence of
Christianity there. Christian shrines
and burials were everywhere. St. Ninian, a Saxon whose activities
concentrated on southern Galloway, was not the
first successful missionary there. However it is likely that along the Galloway coast, Christianity was confined to the upper
social classes, such as they were, and farmers and craftsman practiced the old
pagan religion. The Roman presence in
Galloway encouraged the development of industry and mining in Scotland, and
the troops were typically supported by nearby farmers.
don’t really want to see the new movie on the Ninth Legion’s adventures in Scotland,
because the one thing we can be absolutely sure the Picts were NOT, is seal
hunters on the northern coast of Scotland. In fact, their military equipment and style
strongly suggests they were Celts. They
were evidently a new configuration of the Celtic tribes of northern Scotland than
existed before 297 AD when they are first mentioned. They are not who Roman troops fought with in
the first century AD. Whatever mainland
Celtic ancestors of after 600 BC the northern Scots had, would have tended to
be culturally similar to their ancestors rather than to mainland Celtic people
of 297 AD. At one time, continental
Celts preferred to fight naked and made up to look scary. It is very doubtful that any group still
lived in Scotland
whose way of life was based on hunting and gathering.