Welsh Are the Most Ancient Britons

July 5, 2012

The Welsh (and Cornish) may be the Sardinians of the UK: relatively pure descendants of prehistoric Britons, minimally altered by post-Neolithic gene flow. Interestingly, they and Sardinians are each the darkest and most racially Mediterranean populations in their respective countries, having the highest rates of black hair and brown eyes and the lowest rates of blondism (Coon, 1939: Ch. X, Sec. 3 and Ch. XI, Sec. 16).

Welsh people could lay claim to be the most ancient Britons, according to scientists who have drawn up a genetic map of the British Isles.

Research suggests the Welsh are genetically distinct from the rest of mainland Britain.

Professor Peter Donnelly, of Oxford University, said the Welsh carry DNA which could be traced back to the last Ice Age, 10,000 years ago.

The project surveyed 2,000 people in rural areas across Britain.

Participants, as well as their parents and grandparents, had to be born in those areas to be included in the study.

Prof Donnelly, a professor of statistical science at Oxford University and director of the Wellcome Trust centre for human genetics, said DNA samples were analysed at about 500,000 different points.

After comparing statistics, a map was compiled which showed Wales and Cornwall stood out.

Prof Donnelly said: "People from Wales are genetically relatively distinct, they look different genetically from much of the rest of mainland Britain, and actually people in north Wales look relatively distinct from people in south Wales."

While there were traces of migrant groups across the UK, there were fewer in Wales and Cornwall.

He said people from south and north Wales genetically have "fairly large similarities with the ancestry of people from Ireland on the one hand and France on the other, which we think is most likely to be a combination of remnants of very ancient populations who moved across into Britain after the last Ice Age.

"And potentially also, people travelling up the Atlantic coast of France and Spain and settling in Wales many thousands of years ago".


He said it was possible that people came over from Ireland to north Wales because it was the closest point, and the same for people coming to south Wales from the continent, as it was nearer.

However he added: "We don't really have the historical evidence about what those genetic inputs were."

The geography of Wales made it more likely that ancient DNA would be retained.

Because of its westerly position and mountainous nature, Anglo-Saxons who moved into central and eastern England after the Romans left did not come that far west, and neither did the Vikings who arrived in around 900AD.

The professor said modern people from central and southern England had many genetic similarities to modern people in Denmark and Germany.

The mountains were also the reason why DNA may have remained relatively unchanged, as people would have found it harder to get from north to south Wales or into England compared with people trying to move across the flatter southern English counties, making them more likely to marry locally and conserve more ancient DNA.

"In north Wales, there has been relative isolation because people moved less because of geographical barriers," Prof Donnelly said.

He added that some of these factors also held true for the extreme edges of Scotland, while the Orkney islands showed DNA connections to Norway.

The next stage of the research will looking at physical similarities between different groups, in which the team will use photographs of people and make 3D models to measure quantitative similarities between related groups.

"Welsh people could be most ancient in UK, DNA suggests". BBC News, June 19, 2012.


shenandoah said...

I always thought my father and aunt (his sister) looked Welsh, even long before I finally learned that we do actually have at least some Welsh ancestry (via surname Williams).

Both were shorter than average (shortness was known to run in the family, the Denmans were "little, but very healthy", said one commentator.

Both had very thick, dark hair and brown eyes (my aunt's eyes were nearly black like her curly hair), though fair skinned (Dad's was somewhat ruddy, while my aunt's was very light olive).

I'm mesocephalic, and I'm pretty sure they were, too. We're fairly fine-boned, too -- not very stocky.

Anonymous said...

The darkest is total propaganda! The Welsh and Cornish are as diverse as anywhere else in europe. While most of my family have thick wavy hair, on average most are fair with light eyes. If someone from Wales walked anywhere in europe, nobody would think ) That person looks Welsh :)

Racial Reality said...

^ The darkest in the UK doesn't mean 100% dark with no diversity. Read the link I provided and stop talking nonsense.

User said...

Most Welsh people are not dark (While the majority are brown haired, many are reddish or blond with light eyes.
Just because they are darkest in the UK does not make them look like Sardinians or Italians. You will never give up your pathetic agenda (Anti-British, Anti North European), RR, will you?

Racial Reality said...

^ Your reading comprehension is very poor, and your attitude is even worse. Don't post here again.

justinian said...

This is off topic, but would you happen to know how you get invited to read Hippo Exposed now that it's a private blog?

Anonymous said...

"Your reading comprehension is very poor, and your attitude is even worse"

Indeed and to add to it, in what sense would thinking that the Welsh are "as dark as Sardinians" be "anti-Northern European" or "anti-British"? Mistaken, sure, but agenda-driven?

Racial Reality said...

>>> "This is off topic, but would you happen to know how you get invited to read Hippo Exposed now that it's a private blog?"

I don't think you can. It looks like he closed it and stopped updating it. He does that with everything.

Anonymous said...

If you carry out research into the genetic marker carried by many Welsh males which is R- M269 you will find that this genetic marker is thought to be found in approx 10 million males across Europe, and not just exclusive to areas of Wales.

Also, it has not been fully established weather this R1b1b2 is neolithic or paleolithic in origin.

Anonymous said...

Considering how widespread in the med it is and that the numbers for ALL molecular clocks seem to be greatly skewing in favor underestimation it seems clear it's got to be much older than the neolithic.

And it's more like 200 million.

As for being darker, nope. There's no "nordics" in england whitening it up as you seem to think. No idea on earth where that comes from.

Just look to connacht to see what people looked like BEFORE the r1bs came in, or for that matter basque country itself. They were just the first ones to survive in neanderthal territory and interbreed with them (that still leave a mark at any rate). Which were most likely indo europeans, ie not mediterranean looking at all by what we think of it today.

Unknown said...

I am not sure how height has anything to do with it. For example the Vikings were very short since human beings were quite short in general during the Dark Ages. Height is a very diverse thing. Height averages are in fact very very similar all throughout Europe.

Anonymous said...

Honestly though, I've known people to ask if the Welsh look like Arabs and Spanish because of these claims, that are mostly based on superficial Victorian Propaganda.

Also these new tests make no claim of a link to the modern day Basques. Also, no Neanderthal DNA has ever been found in Wales.

That's if it is true that Neanderthal DNA has been found in modern humans.

Anonymous said...

Speculation has run somewhat wild over the question of the composition of the Early Britons. But out of the clash of rival theories there emerges one--and one only--which may be considered as scientifically established. We have certain proof of two distinct human stocks in the British Islands at the time of the Roman Conquest; and so great an authority as Professor Huxley has given his opinion that there is no evidence of any others. [Thomas Henry Huxley (1825 – 1895) 19:1 Huxley: On Some Fixed Points in British Ethnology. 1871].

The earliest of these two races would seem to have inhabited our islands from the most ancient times, and may, for our purpose, be described as aboriginal. It was the people that built the "long barrows"; and which is variously called by ethnologists the Iberian, Mediterranean, Berber, Basque, Silurian, or Euskarian race. In physique it was short, swarthy, dark-haired, dark-eyed, and long-skulled; its language belonged to the class called "Hamitic", the surviving types of which are found among the Gallas, Abyssinians, Berbers, and other North African tribes; and it seems to have come originally from some part either of Eastern, Northern, or Central Africa.

TL;DR.... Welsh/England, just like most of Europe, was originally inhabited by black people.


Delicious Dinners said...

My nephew's father David Evans was from a Welsh family. My nephew's blood was tested for some rare condition and the doctor said he had Mediterranean components/origins that were found in DNA and blood testing. His father was olive skinned, very dark hair and eyes and my nephew the same black hair and eyes with a lighter honey complexion. They had lived in Wales for generations and were always there as far as they know.

I am what may be called 'black Irish'. Our family have lived in different parts of Ireland for milennia. I am the type that has the black hair, light green eyes and very pale white complexion: my sister sallow skin and dark brown eyes like our Irish grandmother. My given name, like many in Southern Ireland is Spanish with Spanish pronunciation and not the English equivalent. The Irish have always had strong connections with Spain, thought by some to be from the Armada landing there and intermarrying with the existing red-haired people (my mother and my other sister who resembles her- they look like Vikings).

Now it is known that the Basque people, probably mostly from Spain are the origins of at least Southern Ireland, South-West England and South-Western Scotland people and now my family anomalies make some sense. So there is an argument that many Welsh and Irish have Mediterranean roots and their appearance reflects this, but there are many blonde, red blue-eyed Irish ( Viking) and Welsh (Saxon). Sure, there's diversity, but we all carry Basque genes in common according to recent studies in English universities.

I don't know what to make of this given the BBC doc which I haven't seen, but will. Great site.

Markus said...

Interesting article and comments. Thanks!
The connection between Ireland and Spain is especially intriguing, considering the old name of Spain ["(H)Iberia"] and Ireland ["(H)Ibernia"). (H)Iberia = Land of the Hebrews, (H)Ibernia = New land of the Hebrews.
From a linguistic point of view we have here an ancient Hebrew root. "iberi" was the name the "Celts" called themselves who both migrated into Spain and Ireland (and a host of other European regions), meaning: Hebrew.
You still have the liguistic evidence here today. Go to translate.google.com, type in "English: Hebrew". Translate it to Hebrew. Then change languages to read the word in Latin letters. The modern word for Hebrew in Hebrew language is: abrit. Let's take "british", for example. Hebrew "b'rit" = Covenant, "Ish" = People, so "British" literally means "people of the covenant" = Israel. We are descendants of the alleged "10 lost tribes" of the Kingdom of Northern Israel - not to confuse with the Southern Kingdom of Judah who were divided after the death of king Salomon. Israel went into Assyrian captivity in 722 BC, were deported to the Caucasus region between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. (2 Kings 17:6) After the collapse of the Assyrian empire the tribes escaped from their captivity, crossed the sea and the Caucasus Mountains and migrated into Europe. At the same time and region the 10 tribes of Northern Israel seemed to "discappear", the "Celts" enter the stage of history. Herodotus called them "keltoi" (those who are different). They called themselves "iberi". The Romans called them sacae (Saxons), other historians called them the Goths, Germans (ger-man = man of the spear), Cimmerians (Welsh: Cymru, Welsh language: Cymraeg which is very close related to ancient Hebrew). It's also quite obvious with the Danes who derive from the Israelite tribe of Dan, also known as "Vikings" or "Northmen" = Normans. Saxon = Sons of Isaac. Texas = te sas = the Saxons. There is many many more linguistic proof
Union Jack = Union of Jacob (= Jacob = Israel)
If you find this intruguing and want to keep digging, go here: http://israelite.info It's the website of historian Steven M. Collins. Worth reading!

K Troy said...

Hebrew is an Afro-Asiatic language and is not related to Indo-European, the language of The Scandos, Welsh, British, Scottish and Irish!! Genetically, Europeans are descendants of Siberian Steppe Nomads, Near Eastern Farmers. Europeans may have the some of the same ancient ancestors of the Hebrews, but are not descended from them.

Geoffrey. said...

Welsh has similarities to Hebrew and there are words in English too which seem to be of semitic origin. There is a proven Phoenician/Hebrew/Levantine influence in Spain and other places, as they have found evidence of their DNA. The British are a mixture of Siberian steppe nomads and middle eastern farmers. amongst other types. It is not straightforward and the interpretations of the DNA seem to be constantly changing. But I think it would be just as wrong to assume that the British are mostly descended from Hebrews as it would be to say that they have no Hebrew ancestry at all. Before the advent of DNA there were traditions of the original populations being from Spain, Scythia, Greece, the Middle East and Egypt. I think it likely that all those things were true to some extent and of course since then there have been Scandinavian and central European migrations as well.