Archaeology

Britain's Anglo-Saxons were local

Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
506,
Pages:
8–9
Date published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/506008d
Published online

Anglo-Saxons succeeded the Romans in Britain during the early fifth century, probably through cultural adoption by local individuals rather than through invasion by Germanic people.

Susan Hughes at the US Navy in Silverdale, Washington, and her team analysed the tooth enamel of 19 individuals from an early Anglo-Saxon cemetery in southern England, and measured the levels of oxygen and strontium isotopes in the teeth. These levels are determined by the water and food consumed by the individual. The researchers found that the isotope ratios matched those of the surrounding water and soil, suggesting that most of the people were local to that area. One individual seemed to be an immigrant from the European continent.

The team says that its findings support the idea that Britain's first Anglo-Saxons were locals who rapidly shifted cultures after the fall of Roman Britain.

J. Arch. Sci. 42, 8192 (2014)

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