Recent skeletal DNA analysis proves German, Danish & Dutch origins of the English people

New skeletal DNA analysis proves that who first called themselves English had origins in Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
Recent skeletal DNA analysis proves German, Danish & Dutch origins of the English people 1
Exhumed skeletal remains. © Wikimedia Commons

Recently, ancient DNA has been acquired from human remains found in burial grounds throughout England. Through research and analysis of these extractions, archeologists and scientists have developed the understanding that these sites offer information on the origins of the first people to refer to themselves as English.

Recent skeletal DNA analysis proves German, Danish & Dutch origins of the English people 2
Exhumed skeletal remains. © Wikimedia Commons

Originally, it was thought that the forebears of the English people resided in “exclusive, small-scale communities”. However, recent studies demonstrate that a significant amount of migration from the northern Netherlands, Germany, and southern Scandinavia over the past 400 years account for the genetic makeup of many in England today.

Recent skeletal DNA analysis proves German, Danish & Dutch origins of the English people 3
American Anglo-Saxon Ship. © William Gay Yorke

A study published its results which showed that the DNA of 450 medieval northwestern Europeans was studied. It was revealed that there was a significant growth in continental northern European ancestry in early medieval England, which is similar to the early medieval and current inhabitants of Germany and Denmark. This implies that there was a great migration of people across the North Sea into Britain during the Early Middle Ages.

Recent skeletal DNA analysis proves German, Danish & Dutch origins of the English people 4
West Stow Anglo-Saxon village. © Midnightblueown/Wikimedia Commons

Prof. Ian Barnes commented on the importance of the research, noting that “there is not much ancient DNA (aDNA) research done on the Anglo-Saxon period.” The investigators found that the genetic composition of the British population between 400 and 800CE was made up of 76%.

A professor has proposed that this research raises doubts on our current ideas about ancient England. It is said that these findings “facilitate us to investigate community chronicles in novel methods” and demonstrate that there was not simply a colossal migration of the Superior Class.

Within the extensive history of the English, there are several individual stories. It is believed that they originated from Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands. One such anecdote is that of Updown Girl, who was buried in Kent during the early 700s. She is estimated to have been around 10 or 11 years old.

At the burial site of this individual was a knife, comb, and pot. Reports suggest her ancestry was from West Africa. To find out more about the Anglo-Saxons, watch the video below.


More information: Joscha Gretzinger et al., The Anglo-Saxon migration and the formation of the early English gene pool, (Sep. 21, 2022)

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