Stonehenge: DNA reveals origin of builders

The ancestors of the individuals who constructed Stonehenge travelled west throughout the Mediterranean earlier than reaching Britain, a examine has proven.

Researchers in contrast DNA extracted from Neolithic human stays discovered throughout Britain with that of folks alive on the identical time in Europe.

The Neolithic inhabitants had been descended from populations originating in Anatolia (trendy Turkey) that moved to Iberia earlier than heading north.

They reached Britain in about 4,000BC.

Details have been published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

The migration to Britain was only one half of a basic, huge enlargement of folks out of Anatolia in 6,000BC that launched farming to Europe.

Before that, Europe was populated by small, travelling teams which hunted animals and gathered wild crops and shellfish.

One group of early farmers adopted the river Danube up into Central Europe, however one other group travelled west throughout the Mediterranean.

DNA reveals that Neolithic Britons had been largely descended from teams who took the Mediterranean route, both hugging the coast or hopping from island-to-island on boats. Some British teams had a minor quantity of ancestry from teams that adopted the Danube route.

When the researchers analysed the DNA of early British farmers, they discovered they most intently resembled Neolithic folks from Iberia (trendy Spain and Portugal). These Iberian farmers had been descended from folks who had journeyed throughout the Mediterranean.

From Iberia, or someplace shut, the Mediterranean farmers travelled north by France. They may need entered Britain from the west, by Wales or south-west England. Indeed, radiocarbon dates counsel that Neolithic folks arrived marginally earlier within the west, however this stays a subject for future work.

In addition to farming, the Neolithic migrants to Britain seem to have launched the custom of constructing monuments utilizing giant stones referred to as megaliths. Stonehenge in Wiltshire was half of this custom.

Although Britain was inhabited by teams of “western hunter-gatherers” when the farmers arrived in about 4,000BC, DNA reveals that the 2 teams didn’t combine very a lot in any respect.

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