Migrants introduced farming to Britain
Farming was brought to Britain by migrants from continental Europe, and not adopted by pre-existing hunter-gatherers, indicates a new ancient DNA study led by the Natural History Museum (NHM) and UCL, together with Harvard University.
Scientists investigating the origins of farming in Britain examined DNA from 47 Neolithic farmer skeletons dating from 6,000 to 4,500 years ago and six Mesolithic hunter-gatherer skeletons from the preceding period (11,600-6,000 years ago). NHM’s Dr Tom Booth says: “We looked at the genetic ancestry of human remains from both before and after 6,000 years ago to see if we can characterise any changes, and as soon as these Neolithic cultures start to arrive, we see a big change in the ancestry of the British population. It looks like the development of farming and these Neolithic cultures was mainly driven by the migration of people from mainland Europe.”
The skeletons examined included that of Cheddar Man; the oldest nearcomplete human skeleton found in Britain