My early ancestors
If you look at the map, my Autosomal results indicate that my very early ancestors lived in geographic lands later occupied by Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Frisians, Danes, Vikings, Scandinavians and Normans. If you read on you will see that my Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroups probably reconfirm these findings.
My paternal cousins (people you can trace to with only this male line) were probably among the first (re)settlers of Britain, Ireland, and Scandinavia as the ice sheets receded.
The result of my Autosomal DNA analysis shows that my origins are 100% Western Europe.
England, Wales, and Scotland 56%
Central Europe 23%
The most up-to-date research into ancient migrations on the European Continent suggests that there were three major groups of people that have had a lasting effect on present day peoples of European descent: Metal Age Invader 13% – Farmer 39% – Hunter-Gatherer 48% – non-European 0%.
From about 44,000 years ago, humans intermittently lived in the northwestern region of Europe between periods of glaciation due to the Ice Age. Around 13,000 BCE, they returned to the northwestern region of Europe including the British Isles via a land bridge connecting them.
Towards the end of the 4th millennium BCE, Hunter-Gatherers cultivated crops, domesticated animals, and made tools such as hand axes and pottery. The construction of large stone monuments, such as those found at Stonehenge, began by 3000 BCE.
The Anglo-Saxon period in Britain spans approximately the six centuries from 410-1066 AD. The period used to be known as the Dark Ages, mainly because written sources for the early years of Saxon invasion are scarce. However, most historians now prefer the terms ‘early middle ages’ or ‘early medieval period’.
It is speculated that Celtic languages arrived in Britain with the influx of the Bell Beaker culture from Central Europe, which was defined by bell-shaped vessels.Anglo-Saxons is the collective name for the various Germanic tribes that settled in England after the departure of the Romans in 407, in the course of the 5th century and later.
The later invading tribes came from northwestern Germany and the Netherlands (the Angles and the Saxons and also the Frisians) and from Denmark (the Jutes).
Climate change had an influence on the movement of the Anglo-Saxon invaders to Britain: in the centuries after 400 AD Europe’s average temperature was 1°C warmer than we have today, and in Britain grapes could be grown as far north as Tyneside. Warmer summers meant better crops and a rise in population in the countries of northern Europe.
At the same time melting polar ice caused more flooding in low areas, particularly in what is now Denmark, Holland and Belgium. These people eventually began looking for lands to settle in that were not so likely to flood. After the departure of the Roman legions, Britain was a defenceless and inviting prospect.
The Saxons settled in the south of the country, the Jutes in the southeast (Kent), the Angles occupied the largest area: the center and north. Around 840 the invasions of the Danes (also called Vikings or Normans) started and at the time of King Alfred the Great they controlled a large part of the country.
The attacks of the Normans ceased and the populations intermingled. At the end of the 10th century, the Danes resumed their attacks. Later Norman influence increased, culminating in the Norman conquest of England by William the Conqueror in 1066.
Low Countries and Vikings
Before the Netherlands was the Netherlands or even Holland, it was known as Frisia. According to historians, Vikings came to Friesland in the 9th century. They established control over all of Friesland.
During the last years of Charlemagne’s reign (768-814) the emperor took measures against the danger of Viking raids. He stationed fleets in the major rivers and organized coastal defenses. After 820, the defense system in the northern part of the Carolingian state collapsed. Between 834 and 837 the city of Dorestad (near present-day Wijk bij Duurstede, about 70 km from where I live, Dordrecht) was destroyed four times. Without much opposition, Walcheren in Zeeland (where the Kloosterman Family originated) was taken in 837.
Already before 840 the Danish Vikings Harald and Rorik became vassals of Lothar (grandson of Charlemagne) and received Walcheren and Dorestad as fiefs. This tactical move did not bring peace.
Until 873 there are regular reports of Viking attacks and in 863 Dorestad was again destroyed. This time the city was not rebuilt, also because the river became sandy. Bishop Hunger of Utrecht fled in 858 to Roermond and later to Deventer. In 873, the Normans in Oostergoo, Friesland (Friesland) were defeated by an army led by an immigrant Viking.
In Flanders, the Vikings regularly sailed up the Scheldt from 851 to 864 and attacked the cities of Ghent and the districts of Mempiscus and Terwaan. countries from Denmark) turned their attention to England.
The impact of the raids on everyday life must have been great, but perhaps not as great as ecclesiastical sources suggest. Churches and monasteries were almost always visited, for the simple reason that they had valuable property. Of course, the clergy described the Vikings as fierce pagans who turned the coastal areas into ruins. Politically, the Vikings stimulated the further disintegration of the Carolingian Empire. Because they encountered little resistance, they preferred robbers to traders. As vassals they played a role in the conflicts between Lotharius and Charles the Bald (ca. 840) and later (ca. 870) between Charles the Bold and Louis the German.
After the victory of Alfred the Great of Wessex (878) the Vikings returned to the lowlands. This time they also fought as land soldiers and were equipped with horses. Flanders was particularly hard hit (Ghent, Terwaan, Atrecht, Kamerijk). Louis III defeated the Vikings in 881 at Saucourt on the River Somme.
This battle was described in Ludwig’s Lied (Ludwigslied). According to the Fulda Annals, Louis’ army killed 9,000 Danes. As a result, the Vikings returned to Flanders and Dutch Limburg. From Asselt (north of Roermond) they attacked cities in Germany (Cologne, Bonn) and Limburg (Liège, Tongeren). In their attack on Trier they were opposed by the bishops Wala and Bertulf of Trier and by Count Adelhard of Metz. Following the example of Trier, other cities began to defend themselves effectively.
The new emperor Charles the Fat sent an army to Asselt. The two Viking leaders, Godfried and Siegfried, were forced to negotiate. Godfrey chose to stay. He became a vassal of the emperor and, after being baptized, married Gisela, daughter of Lothair II, the first king of Lorraine. Siegfried was paid off with 2,000 pounds of silver and gold and set out for the north with 200 ships. Emperor Charles felt threatened by Godfried and his (Godfried’s) brother-in-law Hugo (Gisela’s brother).
In June 885 Godfried was invited for talks in Spijk, near Lobith. This turned out to be a conspiracy and Godfrey was murdered. Hugo was blinded and transferred to the monastery of Prüm for the rest of his life. Here the monk Regino wrote the story of his downfall. In September 891 the Vikings lost a battle at the river Dyle, near Leuven against King Arnulf of Carinthia.
The Fulda Annals tell us that the bodies of dead Vikings blocked the flow of the river. The poor harvest of 892 and the threat of famine caused the Vikings to move north again. After 892 their role in the low countries was limited to occasional raids (particularly in Nijmegen, Groningen, Stavoren, Tiel and Utrecht). After 1010 the raids came to an end.
Vikings disease (hand)
Dupuytren’s contracture (also called Dupuytren’s disease, Morbus Dupuytren, Viking hand and Celtic hand) is a condition in which one or more fingers become permanently bent in a flexed position. Dupuytren’s disease is currently called a Viking disease on the assumption that the disease was spread to Europe and the British Isles during the Viking Age of the 9th to the 13th centuries. From a literature search, it is proposed that Dupuytren’s disease existed in Europe earlier than the Viking Age and originated much earlier in prehistory.
There is a strong genetic component, certain HLA haplotypes also appear to be associated with the disease. It is strongly associated with northern European ancestry, and could have arisen from a genetic mutation in the Viking population originally.
- Well I have Dupuytren’s contracture and my father and grandfather, so this genetic mutation certainly runs in my family.
So were some of my early ancestors Pre-Viking?
The ubiquity of the term “Viking” masks a wide variety of constructions of Vikingism: the old northmen are merchant adventurers, mercenary soldiers, pioneering colonists, pitiless raiders, self-sufficient farmers, cutting-edge naval technologists, primitive democrats, psychopathic berserks, ardent lovers and complicated poets.
- Wow … that sounds just like me, so do I have some Viking in my DNA?
Well, considering that 56 % of my Autosomal DNA origins are from England, Wales and Scotland, 23 % from Scandinavia and that my main Y-DNA I-FGC151505 haplogroup is most commonly found in England and Denmark makes it an interesting idea and certainly not a far-fetched possibility. But there’s plenty of reason to take those results with a grain of salt, myancestors’ actual history is probably more complicated — and more diverse — than it looks on paper.
Doggerland during the Anglian glaciation
Until the middle Pleistocene Great Britain was a peninsula of Europe, connected by the massive chalk Weald–Artois Anticline across the Straits of Dover. During the Anglian glaciation, about 450,000 years ago, an ice sheet filled much of the North Sea, with a large proglacial lake in the southern part fed by the Rhine, the Scheldt and the Thames.
Doggerland was an area of land, now submerged beneath the southern North Sea, that connected Great Britain to continental Europe. It was flooded by rising sea levels around 6500–6200 BCE. Geological surveys have suggested that it stretched from what is now the east coast of Great Britain to what are now the Netherlands, the western coast of Germany and the peninsula of Jutland. It was probably a rich habitat with human habitation in the Mesolithic period.
Around 7000 BC the Ice Age had ended and Mesolithic European hunter-gatherers had migrated from their refuges to recolonize the continent, including Doggerland which later submerged beneath the rising North Sea.
When scientists from Imperial College released a simulation of a tsunami, triggered by a vast undersea landslide at Storrega off the coast of Norway around 6000 BC, it probably came as a surprise to many in north-west Europe that their reassuringly safe part of the world had been subject to such a cataclysmic event.
The researchers suggest that this succession of destructive waves up to 14 metres high may have depopulated an area that is now in the middle of the North Sea, known as Doggerland. However, melting ice at the end of the last ice age around 18,000 years ago led to rising sea levels that inundated vast areas of continental shelves around the world. These landscapes, which had been home to populations of hunter gatherers for thousands of years were gradually overwhelmed by millions of tonnes of meltwater swelling the ocean. Doggerland, essentially an entire prehistoric European country, disappeared beneath the North Sea, its physical remains preserved beneath the marine silts but lost to memory.
The majority of western European males belonged to Y-haplogroup I and northeast Europeans to haplogroup R1a. Other minor male lineages such as R1b, G, J, T and E would also have been present in Europe, having migrated from the Asian Steppe, the Middle East and North Africa.