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Jean M
01-21-2013, 02:22 PM
A new book is out from J.P.Mallory: The Origins of the Irish (http://www.thamesandhudson.com/The_Origins_of_the_Irish/9780500051757). Here's the blurb from the publisher:

About eighty million people today can trace their descent back to the occupants of Ireland. But where did they come from – and what do we mean by ‘Irish’? The Origins of the Irish is the first major attempt for almost a century to deal with the core issues of how the Irish people came into being.

Written as an engrossing detective story and illustrated with informative drawings and maps, this is essential reading for anyone who is interested in Ireland and the Irish.

Scholars have puzzled over the riddle of Irish origins for over a thousand years, but without any clear resolution. The medieval Irish created an elaborate narrative of their origins that has haunted generations of archaeologists, linguists and even modern geneticists. This authoritative and brilliantly argued book emphasizes that the Irish did not have a single origin, but are a product of multiple influences that can only be tracked by employing archaeology, genetics, geology, linguistics and mythology.

Beginning with the geological collision that fused the two halves of Ireland, the author traces Ireland’s long journey to become an island. He examines the sources of Ireland’s earliest colonists and why they might have sought out one of the most impoverished places of Europe to settle.

The origins of the first farmers and their impact on the island are followed by an exploration of how metallurgists in copper, bronze and iron brought Ireland into wider orbits of European culture. Traditional explanations of Irish prehistory are assessed in the light of the very latest genetic research into the origins of the Irish. The author also tackles the vexed question of the Celts and the sources of the Irish language.

J. P. Mallory is a world expert on the interconnection of archaeology and linguistics and is the author of the standard work In Search of the Indo-Europeans and The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European. He has co-authored The Archaeology of Ulster and The Tarim Mummies and published numerous other works. He is Emeritus Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology at Queen’s University Belfast and a member of the Royal Irish Academy.

You can read extracts on Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Origins-Irish-J-P-Mallory/dp/0500051755/ref=sr_1_1).

Anglecynn
01-21-2013, 07:17 PM
Sounds like a good book. Thanks for alerting us to it's existence. May give it a read. :)

Baltimore1937
01-23-2013, 01:16 AM
I just might buy that book eventually. But the Irish started with Mesolithic hunter-gatherers arriving from the Iberian-Franco Ice Age refugium, didn't they? That may be the origin of the "Black Irish". In any case, I doubt they were blondes.

Humanist
11-03-2013, 07:50 PM
Razib posted a few bits (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/#.UnaoQPkjLN1) about the book.


[E]xpanding beyond single methodological perspectives is probably essential if we really care about truth.

Ian B
11-04-2013, 01:13 AM
I Purchased a copy of Mallorys book, and, IMO, what promised so much delivered so little. The book oozes minutae on every aspect of Ireland, and the Irish people, but dusts very lightly of what most people consider the very essence of 'Irishry", the Celts. He uses Niall Niogholach as his reference point, which I believe is wrong, and centres the chapters around the 5th Century AD. His basic assertion is that the Irish are comprised of English and North European incomers, which has been understood for years but offers no real Irish Homeland. I'm very disappointed in the book, as informative as it was on other matters.

Jean M
11-04-2013, 12:14 PM
.. offers no real Irish Homeland...

Surely the homeland of the Irish is the Emerald Isle, just as the homeland of the English is England, and the homeland of the Welsh is Wales and so on. We know that people came from elsewhere to the British Isles at various times. But the Irish became Irish in Ireland.

England was so dominated by the Germanic incomers in the Post-Roman period that it was actually named after one group of them - the Angles. Yet if you asked an English person whether he or she feels that the English homeland is in Germany, they would most likely look at you as though you were mad. ;)

alan
11-04-2013, 04:24 PM
Mallory was just being honest. Its not possibly to offer a single Irish homeland. If he had to he would have had to say 'Britain'. The Irish are composed of the same waves of hunters, farmers and smaller later groups that settled Britain and NW Europe in general. The only major thing that sets the Irish apart from the British IMO is that the island missed out on the Anglo-Saxons except in an indirect way via Britain in much later times.

I doubt Mallory's book will be popular with those who dwell in the more recent unhappy past of Irish-British relations but IMO he is essentially correct that the isles throughout much of prehistory were a fairly tight unit with continental relationships far less strong. Ireland had tended in particular to resemble northern and western Britain in those relationships which is hardly surprising. Probably almost all prehistoric settlers to Ireland came from or via Britain. The general genetic position of the Irish can be seen in how it clusters with the British and NW Europeans in autosomal studies and it clusters close to much of Britain in yDNA.

What IMO set the Irish apart from a large amount of the British is not what was input into Ireland but what wasnt input. Ireland basically was isolated for a number of centuries from c. 650BC and also missed out on some of the late Iron Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon inputs. So in the 10000 years of human settlement in Ireland it was really just 1000 years of relative isolation after c. 650BC that set Ireland culturally apart by missing out on these inputs except in a very indirect way. That period c. 650BC-500AD set Ireland apart (although probably not much apart from Scotland). IMO it is therefore not really in the remote past or by any special ingredient that made Ireland become distinct, it was actually late prehistory and early history and what Ireland for a long period was isolated that made the Irish appear different.


I Purchased a copy of Mallorys book, and, IMO, what promised so much delivered so little. The book oozes minutae on every aspect of Ireland, and the Irish people, but dusts very lightly of what most people consider the very essence of 'Irishry", the Celts. He uses Niall Niogholach as his reference point, which I believe is wrong, and centres the chapters around the 5th Century AD. His basic assertion is that the Irish are comprised of English and North European incomers, which has been understood for years but offers no real Irish Homeland. I'm very disappointed in the book, as informative as it was on other matters.

alan
11-04-2013, 05:04 PM
Its odd thinking about this. The roots of division between the British and Irish are not deep in prehistoric terms - probably only commencing in any meaningful way in the last few centuries BC when Britain went more 'continental' and adopted the Q-P shift and had an earlier and stronger (in England at least) La Tene phase. However that was the start of a distinction between the islands that had not really existed before and this was compounded by Romanisation of England for centuries followed quickly by the Anglo-Saxons.

That period from 500BC-500AD really caused a major cultural division between the two islands which had previously for thousands of year been far closer to each other than anyone else on the continent. Its odd to think that the seeds of the cultural division between England and Ireland probably were sewn then and by the time. However the long unhappy history between the islands in the last 1000 years should not blur the fact that this was an amazing reversal of their uniquely close similarity for much of prehistory where continental parallels paled compared to the similarity between the two islands.

That is what Mallory is basically saying. It may seem odd given the history of the last 1000 years and hard to swallow for some but the genetics back this. Identity and divisions are often not as deep as people think and should not be back-projected into a time when they did not apply.

AJL
11-04-2013, 05:23 PM
England was so dominated by the Germanic incomers in the Post-Roman period that it was actually named after one group of them - the Angles. Yet if you asked an English person whether he or she feels that the English homeland is in Germany, they would most likely look at you as though you were mad. ;)

Well, everyone knows the English homeland is Blighty. :)

Jean M
11-04-2013, 06:57 PM
So in the 10000 years of human settlement in Ireland it was really just 1000 years of relative isolation after c. 650BC that set Ireland culturally apart by missing out on these inputs except in a very indirect way.

That enabled Celtic culture to survive in Ireland while it was submerged elsewhere. The language, the literature and the laws survived to be written down. The La Tene style continued to be developed. Ireland is a treasure-house for students of Celtic culture.

alan
11-04-2013, 09:00 PM
I think that is about it. Its about historical process rather than deep differences. People always want to back-project differences as deep as possible into the past but in this case they do not really exist in deep time, certainly not until very late in prehistory and really probably not major until the Roman and Anglo-Saxon conquests made a big division. Before that the two islands really were extremely close. Mallory basically tells it how it is even if its not going to be popular with people who seek really deep time evidence of difference or uniqueness. You actually could argue that with the exception of the Romans and Anglo-Saxons Ireland received a virtually identical group of inputs throughout prehistory and even history up to and including the Normans, mainly because Ireland's geographical position almost always meant that they arrived a century or so after moving to Britain. For example the Irish first hunter-gatherers had a technology identical to that known at Cramond in eastern Scotland c. 400 years earlier. The first farmers were extremely similar to those in Britain, especially the west, and arrived about 250 years after they had settled Britain. La Tene probably arrived in Ireland about 100 years or so after it had arrived in Britain. Forward winding the clock a great deal the Normans arrived about 130 years after they had conquered the Anglo-Saxons. This is the general pattern in Ireland where geography has meant delayed arrival of elements that settled Britain first. I think people tended to migrate along contact points and once a small group left and had cousins on the other side of the Irish sea a trickle effect of movement probably happened in both directions. This was the norm of Irish prehistory and is ultimately down to geography IMO as its much easier to establish these kind of links through short distance chains of contacts. Only a major interruption in this from c.500BC-500AD created cultural gulf.



That enabled Celtic culture to survive in Ireland while it was submerged elsewhere. The language, the literature and the laws survived to be written down. The La Tene style continued to be developed. Ireland is a treasure-house for students of Celtic culture.

Jean M
11-04-2013, 09:50 PM
@ Alan

A possible exception to the Britain first pattern might be Bell Beaker, I suspect from the fact that Irish copper and gold was traded into Britain. Ross Island was early.

alan
11-04-2013, 10:27 PM
I agree that it is possible that Irish beaker could be an exception as it is rather different from southern and eastern Britain. It is hard to pin down although I could live with the suggestion of a move from Brittany exploring up the west. However, I have never really understood the idea that Ross Island was especially early. As far as I recall its dates start around 2400BC and it has no especially early beaker. It might be the phenomenon that archaic and early are sometimes two different things.

I think though there are some missing links in the whole mining and ore pattern, perhaps in Brittany where there are some sources but the beaker period role is not understood. It would make some sense if prospectors working in NW France explored up the west side of the isles. There are connections between Breton allignments, Wedge tombs, Clava cairns, recumbent stone circles and allignments in terms of the novel alignments to the SW and this tradition does seem to appear first in the isles in the beaker period as far as I am aware. The Wedge Tombs-Alee Couverte link goes in and out of favour but at least it tracks back to the same basic area of the continent. Brittany also seems to have been a very important node with links both southwards down to Atlantic coast and east through the Paris Basin to the Rhine. So, its the sort of place that a novel combination of traits could combine. Finally NW France is the prime non-isles reciever of Irish metalwork in the beaker period. The Loire is also a well known alternative conduit for west-central European ideas to reach the NW Fringe and the isles.

To me Wedge Tombs must hold the key. Contrary to what is often thought, its the Wedge Tombs that were novel in beaker Ireland as megalithic tomb use had ceased 500 years earlier. The other tradition of token beaker cremations in pits was really just a pre-beaker continuity using new pot.


@ Alan

A possible exception to the Britain first pattern might be Bell Beaker, I suspect from the fact that Irish copper and gold was traded into Britain. Ross Island was early.

Ian B
11-05-2013, 02:03 AM
Jean, I think you're playing semantics with me, or else I'm not using the correct terminology. Yes, certain of the ancient Irish population came from England/Wales, but what I was looking for was the positive links between the Celts and the ancient occupants of Ireland, such as were they Iberian Celts, North East European Celts and so on. Of course they became Irish only after they settled in Ireland, but I think Mallory could have spent more time on the Celtic connection. I also accept that he doesn't explain that which remains in question today. I don't dispute his writings, simply looking for more info.

Jean M
11-05-2013, 11:27 AM
Jean, I think you're playing semantics with me, or else I'm not using the correct terminology.

The Irish homeland is Ireland. That is not just semantics. It is the crux of the matter. All modern national identities arose within the nation concerned. And the notion of nation is relatively modern. The problem is that it is so firmly fixed in our minds that we expect to be able to trace that national identity, which maybe arose less than a thousand years ago, way way back into a time when it would have made no sense to our ancestors. Modern nations are all mixtures of people of different origins. Until they got to the soil in question and did their mixing and unifying, there was no such nation.

It looks as though you want to know how the Celts got to the British Isles. As it happens that was the question in my mind when I began the research that culminated in my book. So I have done my very best to answer it. Even so I cannot be certain I have it right. We need much more ancient DNA. But if you want to know where my best efforts have reached, see chapter 10 in Ancestral Journeys. I differ from Prof. Mallory on this, and indeed from Prof. Cunliffe. So you pays your money and you takes your choice.

alan
11-05-2013, 12:58 PM
Basically it looks to me that Celtic didnt really come from anywhere. A west IE or Celto-Italic dialect slowly broke up to form smaller blocks where interaction brought subsets closer together. Having thought about this, the only way I can explain the emergence of Celtic is if it was caused by interaction in the period 2000-1000BC among the elites whose close interaction can be seen in the constant parallel evolution of metalwork in particular. I think roughly speaking the shift towards Celtic was gradual over that 1000 year period and not due to invasion on the whole. There were probably all sort of shades between west IE and Celtic as it evolved but basically the Celts were a subset of the west IE speakers and not a new wave as it were. I am fairly convinced that the developed beaker phase was responsible for the spread of west IE but after that the dialect really evolved primarily through elite interaction. That sort of model is supported by the archaeology which shows strong interaction in terms of metal and high status goods but strong differences in terms of house types, burial traditions, pottery etc. I personally think that these elites whose interactions led to Celtic were positioned in a triangle of interaction between central Europe-northern France/Belgium and the isles that is a strong feature from 2000BC-650BC. Celtic had to have developed by about 1000BC.

I dont think the idea that Celtic emerged in Iberia is viable at all. Atlantic Iberia was isolated from the rest of the later Celtic speaking zone from at least 2000-1000BC, a pattern more likely to lead to a language like Lusitanian IMO. Also contrary to some of the rubbish you read out there about the Atlantic Bronze Age, the essence of it was when Iberia joined (rather late and briefly) the long standing north Atlantic network and largely received goods from the north. It is sometimes wrongly portrayed as an out of Iberia thing but its actually the opposite and may have taken Celtic TO Iberia.

One thing people fail to understand is that the Bronze Age in the north Atlantic was essentially originally a circle within a circle where ideas coming from the Unetice-Tumulous-Urnfield sequence of central European cultures was funneled to NW France by the Loire or Rhine to the Thames etc to those core areas of the isles and NW France with strong metal traditions and a local spin put on them before trading them along the Atlantic coasts from the Rhine to the Garrone. In other words these areas acted as a go-between between central Europe and the Atlantic, ultimate c. 1000BC this was extended south to Atlantic Iberia - the arrival of Celtic in Iberia IMO.

Ireland of course remained especially closely in contact with Britain from 2000-650BC which must have included the period when Celtic was formed and its possible there was constant traffic and small scale migration between them in a way that was not really likely from further afield. There seem to be indications on Ptolemy's map that this continued right up to the early AD period. I would say up to some point perhaps around 450BC there was no P-Q division between the Irish and British. What is more, these languages other than this unimportant shift are actually vastly close to each other than to any sort of continental Celtic. Mallory notes anyway that there is evidence that there were P Celts in Ireland at the same time as Q Celts but that the archaic form that had probably been there since the Bronze Age was never eclipsed - probably due to the late and weak aspect of the La Tene phase in Ireland.

Do I believe in Book of Invasions type pictures of continental armies invading etc. No. Its clearly based on classical histories of other areas and there is very little evidence of continental invaders in later Irish prehistory. What evidence there is is suggestive of interaction with Britain and perhaps small movements across the very short crossings.


Jean, I think you're playing semantics with me, or else I'm not using the correct terminology. Yes, certain of the ancient Irish population came from England/Wales, but what I was looking for was the positive links between the Celts and the ancient occupants of Ireland, such as were they Iberian Celts, North East European Celts and so on. Of course they became Irish only after they settled in Ireland, but I think Mallory could have spent more time on the Celtic connection. I also accept that he doesn't explain that which remains in question today. I don't dispute his writings, simply looking for more info.

alan
11-05-2013, 01:15 PM
I agree with Jean on the idea of homelands. You could say that the earliest people in Ireland were from Scotland or north England based on the cultural remains - not to mention this being the shortest area to cross. So, there is one 'before Ireland' position for the first settlers. Before they were in Britain I would say its almost certain they crossed by Doggerland on foot. Before that its unclear but northern France and the Low Countries/Denmark were involved in the settling of hunters in Britain and were the only dryland was to Britain. They did not come from a landbridge from the Pyrenness as some ignorant headline writers sometimes suggest. Ireland was not settled until 8000BC and any landbridge from the western side of the continent was long gone by then. Indeed there may not even have been a solid landbridge between Ireland and Britain at the time - although the Irish Sea was much narrower at the time and the isle of Man was connected to Britain.

The first farmers probably were people who had been in Britain for 150 years before going to Ireland. Before Britain they almost certainly came from northern France or the Low Countries. Before that I would say they came up the Danube. Contrary to some web disinformation specialists there is not cardial element in the Neolithic of any part of the isles.

I could go on but you get the basic picture that there is no simple homeland. As Jean says the Irish were formed in Ireland primarily becoming distinct from England due to a period of relative isolation from the outside world that Ireland had c. 650BC-500AD, missing out a stronger La Tene and Belgic input, missing our on the Romanisation that left a big imprint on mainland Europe and missing out on a major Germanic settlement like the Anglo-Saxons. That period set the Irish apart by neither becoming a Latin/Romance type society or a Germanic one or a hybrid of the two. Even the Welsh were part Romanised. The only other area that so much escaped those twin influences to the same degree as the Irish would have been the Picts and Scots. It is therefore of little surprise that so very often the Irish and the Scots share genes.

Ian B
11-06-2013, 01:37 AM
It looks as though you want to know how the Celts got to the British Isles. As it happens that was the question in my mind when I began the research that culminated in my book. So I have done my very best to answer it. Even so I cannot be certain I have it right. We need much more ancient DNA. But if you want to know where my best efforts have reached, see chapter 10 in Ancestral Journeys. I differ from Prof. Mallory on this, and indeed from Prof. Cunliffe. So you pays your money and you takes your choice.

No, what I'm saying is that Mallory brushes so lightly over the Celts and doesn't really show how they arrived in Ireland and from where. Perhaps I should have asked for detail on the Celtic "homeland".

alan
11-06-2013, 10:38 AM
I think what Mallory seems to be saying is that Celtic arrived in Ireland via Britain and he tries to link it to contacts in the late Bronze Age that included the earliest hillforts etc. I agree he is vague. Mallory has been consistent over the years in not really dabbling in the beakers as early west IEs of proto-Celts. I think that is because of his linguistic dating of the proto-Celtic vocab which points to a period not before 1200BC. However, I think the way that temperate Europeans were networking intensely across the whole Bronze Age could easily mean that both the idea of an early beaker west IE dialect and its morphing into Celtic through elite networking rather than invasion are compatible. In fact its really hard to see any other option that fits the archaeology. The problem is elite prestige goods tends to all follow the latest trends but much else remains more localised with no suggestion of invasions. So, its much easier to see Celtic as a kind of dialect that evolved over a very wide area among interacting elites rather than having a spot on the map that you can say Celtic evolved in. As I posted before, I think the only really logical networking zone in which Celtic could have evolved is through the triangle of contacts that included the Central European core linking with northern France and the isles which is seen as a persistent pattern from 2000BC. I think the formation of Celtic through these elite contacts was a process rather than an event. The process probably started with some sort of Italo-Celtic like west IE and there must have been many shades in between before Proto-Celtic was reached. The latter stage appears to have been reached relatively late, perhaps c. 1000BC.

However, some, like the Irish essentially missed the last stages of change like q-p which makes sense as Ireland had several centuries of isolation and systems collapse from c. 650BC. The fact that Ireland did not take on P-Celtic despite La Tene arriving in Ireland may be partly an illusion. Mallory does mention that Ptolemy's map contains a mixture of indications of Q and P Celtic that were probably genuine. He suggests that despite that Q Celtic may have stuck because Ireland c. 300BC-0 was characterised by a rather theocratic looking society with unique huge regional henge-like assembly and ritual sites like Tara, Dun Ailline, Navan Fort etc and this may have been controlled by a class who retained the archaic Q Celtic - think Druids or theocratic kings or a mix of them. There was always a duality of power among the Celts between the sacred class like Druids and the kings and in Ireland it is possible that the druids and related sacred class people remained the biggest unifying force compared to the divisions of tribes of different origins in Iron Age Ireland. Its too simple to say its only about who did and didnt receive La Tene influences because quite a chunk of Ireland did receive La Tene influences but remained Q-celtic while in what became the heartlands of the Picts, there is actually far less La Tene material but yet they spoke P Celtic. So, I think Ireland's uniquely theocratic looking archaeology of the Iron Age period where all the greatest effort was put into these ritual assembly sites with very little else in the way of large monuments is the key to why Q was retained there despite the La Tene material and the indication of some P Celtic elements in Ireland. The power of Druids and poets and their ability to control public opinion and reputation over kings is a theme in early Irish literature and is also mentioned as still a factor among the Gauls. I think simply that in Ireland the balance of power in the Iron Age was even more strongly tilted towards the Druid class. They always had the advantage of being the only class who could cross all tribal borders and were protected by law and tradition. Other secular leaders could not do this.




No, what I'm saying is that Mallory brushes so lightly over the Celts and doesn't really show how they arrived in Ireland and from where. Perhaps I should have asked for detail on the Celtic "homeland".

Jean M
12-06-2013, 11:21 PM
Missed this at the time. From the Thames and Hudson blog: Part 3 of our International Archaeology Day posts, Professor Jim Mallory wonders whether we can really know the origins of any of the world’s peoples

http://www.tandhblog.co.uk/2013/10/international-archaeology-day-part-3/


‘During several public lectures on my book The Origins of the Irish, I have tried to deal with the widespread expectation that the question ‘where do the Irish come from?’ cannot but result in the type of simple answer routinely decorating the headers of the tabloids (‘Queen’s University boffin claims Irish originally came from Spain/Brittany/Switzerland/Uruguay/
Proxima Centauri’).

I try to make use of a crude chemical metaphor by asking what a book on the origins of the Americans would look like. The reader could expect a ream of maps depicting Native Americans crossing from Asia, English settling in Jamestown, Irish migrating to Boston, Swedes to Minnesota, French to Louisiana, Spanish to Florida etc. In other words, the Americans would be represented as an enormous molecular compound composed of many different elements (English, Irish, French, Spanish etc.).

We know enough of the histories of each of these people to know they are not totally ‘pure’, so we often imagine that if we just scrape away the historically known intrusions we will arrive at a single element. In the case of Ireland this means filtering out the historically known settlements of, for example, English and Scots planters, Anglo-Normans and the Norse; before the Viking raids then we should have 100% pure distilled elemental Irish. Except, of course, that this presumes that all the processes that are historically attested and brought immigrants into Ireland did not operate before we had the luxury of written records.

From the perspective of an archaeologist this seems like nonsense and we should entertain the idea of many other immigrations before the Vikings even if we have no ethnic labels to pin on them. There is no reason then to imagine that the Irish, or indeed anyone we know from the historical record, is some primal element with a simple origin: we are all molecular compounds of still earlier peoples whose prehistory is never very simple.’

alan
12-07-2013, 01:29 AM
Totally agree with Jim Mallory. Most Europeans have basically the same ingredients with the only difference being the proportions. We are all just mongrols. I think nationalistic people tend to want to see themselves as a single distinct entity and special and back project that as far as it can go on their soil. However, one thing that archaeologists have long known is that the pattern we see in historic times (basically most migration and influence coming from Britain or Britain being used as a stepping stone to reach Ireland slightly later) is strongly indicated to have pertained in much of the prehistoric period as well. When that pattern has diminished, such as in the late Mesolithic or early Iron Age, it has been down to temporary isolation of Ireland from the entire world rather than a new alignment. So, whether its popular or not the historic picture of migrations including the shadowy late Iron Age ones, the Romano-British influence/christianity, the Vikings, the Normans, Galloglasses, Scots settlers etc in the last 2000 years almost certainly was the sort of pattern that was going on though prehistory. Archaeology constantly shows this pattern of exchange between the 2 islands as well as new things coming to Britain from the continent then from Britain to Ireland a little later. Its basically the pattern of 99% of archaeological contact indicated in prehistoric archaeology and its basically geographically determined. There has been a slightly absurd thing in Ireland whereby anyone who arrived before 790AD is considered native and anyone after was sort of traditionally considered not. However, its an arbitary cut off point and everyone is an immigrant of some period. Its even appears that the largest Irish male line M222 only arrived in Ireland at the very end of the prehistoric or early historic period. The sense of differentness between the Irish and British would appear to have really only have commenced about 650BC when Ireland started to become isolated and only set in hugely in the Roman and later periods. Before that they were culturally twins.

Anglecynn
12-07-2013, 02:35 AM
Missed this at the time. From the Thames and Hudson blog: Part 3 of our International Archaeology Day posts, Professor Jim Mallory wonders whether we can really know the origins of any of the world’s peoples

http://www.tandhblog.co.uk/2013/10/international-archaeology-day-part-3/

That's a very good point he makes. Any one point in the genetic history of a people is pretty much a 'phase' i guess.