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European Scots

23 January 2021

Lateral thinking at the Scotsman media outlet – or is that vertical thinking [see www.scotsman.com/heritage-and-retro/heritage/new-stone-age-immigrants-fr… ]. This is a new look at the onset of the Neolithic in Scotland as a result of some Scottish genetic research. Farmers arrived in Scotland, roughly around 4000BC [but it could have been a bit earlier]. They appear to have replaced or absorbed the former inhabitants, a hunter gatherer society – as is known to have occurred elsewhere across Britain and Ireland. The immigration was remarkable in that farmers managed to spread and occupy almost every region in a very short space of time. What propelled them to migrate such long distances is unknown, although it might be suspected from what is known of some of their rituals. The hunter gatherers appear to live on in mtDNA, the female line, but not apparently, in the male line. One might suspect from the geography of Scotland, that pockets of them survived down through the ages in remote mountain valleys. Genetics has yet to pick this up. We are told early farmers arrived from France and changed the face of Scotland, forever. No mention of the route between France and Scotland is mentioned, although later in the article we are told they arrived by boat – with their cows, sheep and pigs, as well as cereal seeds etc. These boats, we are also told were hide covered. No mention is made of the geography of the North Sea 6000 years ago, or the possibility of island hopping. It seems the Neolithic in Scotland has been traced back to two points located in France. One is near Morbihan in Brittany, and the other is at the Nord Pas de Calais region. Unsurpringly, this fits into previous DNA studies of Britain as a whole, rather than just the northern parts. There is a clear distinction between western and eastern Scotland, much as there is further south in Britain. What the study does emphasize is that migration into Britain and Ireland occurred from two different points. One group migrated through the Mediterranean basin and then up the Atlantic sea board, possibly with an origin in the Levant. The other group arrived from Anatolia, modern Turkey, by way of the Balkans, after 6000BC. The earlier route through the Mediterranean may have been going on somewhat earlier, reaching Brittany somewhat prior to 6000 years ago. This study may well fit in with the  recent claim that the megalithic culture had origins in Brittany and fanned out from there, northwards to Britain and Ireland, and continuing to Scandinavia etc. It also fanned out southwards back down the Atlantic seaboard and into the western Mediterranean, a sort of reverse migration. The main body of farmers into Europe came by way of the Balkans into Romania and eastern Europe, one group moving into what is now Bulgaria and the Ukraine and the other group migrating in jumps along the major rivers such as the Danube into the North European Plain [Poland to France] and at 4000BC, roughly, leap frogged into eastern Britain aned Scandinavia. The geography of the North Sea is unclear at the moment, muddied by the idea the Storegga Shelf collapse off Norway culminated in the drowning of the southern North Sea basin. A tsunami wave rushed up the Forth Valley as far as Stirling and presumably a similar wave ran down the spine of the North Sea – before withdrawing. Did  the wave lead to a permanent drowning of the North Sea. The jury is out at this moment as it appears the Dogger Bank, and possibly other islands with a chalk geology, survived for much longer before succombing to the rise in sea levels. It could well be that farmers arrived by island hopping, or a now lost land bridge. We don't know. It seems a long way to row a coracle, from Calais to Aberdeen, but you never know. 

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