In Anglo-Saxon times, more than three-quarters of the ancestry of people in parts of England came from recent migrants from Northern Europe.
The traditional view, based on written records and archaeological finds, holds that there was an influx of Europeans into Britain during Anglo-Saxon times – listed since the end of the Roman Empire. ending, around 400 AD, until 1066
But recently there has been a debate about how many have emigrated. There may have been only a small number of migrants who subsequently spread aspects of their culture, such as their buildings and pottery styles “There are many respected historians who argue that there were very few migrations,” says Robin Fleming of Boston University in Massachusetts. To find out more, Sayer’s team sequenced the DNA of 460 people buried in tombs between AD 200 and 1300, 278 of whom were from England. This suggests that by the 7th century AD, people buried in eastern England could trace 76% of their ancestry to recent migrations from Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.
“It puts the idea of migration back on the table,” says Sayer