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Visions of continuity now have to give way to a more dynamic view, with one wave of migration following another, from the first human arrivals to the Vikings. The discovery of ancient DNA provides evidence that the European gene pool was stirred vigorously many times. Genetic clues are also enhancing our understanding of European mobility in periods with written records, including the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons, the spread of the Slavs and the adventures of the Vikings.

Ancestral Journeys by Jean Manco | Waterstones

Jean Manco skilfully weaves the multiple strands of the very latest genetic evidence with archaeology, history and linguistics to produce a startling new history of Europe. Her fast-paced narrative is illustrated with specially commissioned maps and diagrams showing the movements of people, the spread of languages and DNA distributions, as well as photographs and drawings. Jean Manco is a building historian with an inter-disciplinary approach, having been trained within an archaeological unit. She has taught at Plymouth and Bristol universities.


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Her previous publications include building, town, parish and charity histories. Anthropologists and archaeologists have long been labouring to shine a light into that forgotten past. They have achieved much.

The Nordic Bronze Age / Ancient History Documentary

Most scholars now accept that our distant forefathers emerged in Africa to people the globe. Only after that crisis had passed did our ancestors begin to take up farming, the first step on the way to civilization.


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Yet trenchant disagreements remain over many of the particulars. Was farming spread into Europe by immigrants or by resident hunter-gatherers taking up agriculture?

Ancestral Journeys - The Peopling of Europe from the First Venturers to the Vikings

Why at the dawn of history were people from India to Ireland speaking languages of remarkable similarity? Did migrating Neolithic farmers bring with them the prototype of the Indo-European languages? Or did later Copper and Bronze Age herders do so?

Or can we explain this pattern without migration? These issues have been debated for decades. Others have more recently emerged.