Did the Anglo Saxons invade Britain?

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This topic contains 30 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  peterjcharles 5 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #15410

    Chris
    Participant

    Britain BC by Francis Pryor.I know Jamie's got it listed on the BHP website, but no one has mentioned it in here I think.  Its an easy to read overview of the archaeological record of Britian and Ireland 'Before the Romans'.

    What about Britain AD: A Quest for Arthur, England and the Anglo-SaxonsI was looking at this yesterday in Waterstones. As Tim mentions, Jamie has Britain BC in his book recommendations but what about Britain AD? Looked pretty interesting to me but didn't get as I'd thought I'd ask here first.

  • #17038

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    I tend to rather enjoy Pryor's books.  But I'm not a gigantic fan of Britain AD, nor the documentary that was based upon it.  The main reason is his position on the Anglo Saxon invasions.  It seems like it's pretty fashionable right now to claim that Britain wasn't invaded by [insert culture], or at least throw mud at it.  And while we can say “Well, we don't know if there was a Beaker or Celtic invasion because all we have are dig sites, etc.”  I don't think that applies to the Anglo Saxons.  Largely because we have Gildas writing in the 500's.  Was he completely reliable?  No.  But given the sudden cultural shift in areas and Gildas' reports of invasions and atrocities, I really don't know how you get to “Meh, it was probably just cultural bleed.” Of course, I'm simplifying an entire book to a paragraph, and Pryor's writing is excellent as always.  And whenever I read him, I lament the fact that I didn't become an archaeologist.  But I can't say that it would go on my recommended reading list.

  • #17039

    Chris
    Participant

    A fair and honest comment Jamie. I always prefer it when people just say what is on their mind (with a little tact and diplomacy instead of just a rant) because then you know what to expect from that person. I see what you're saying though and I don't understand it when there are trends in scholars' opinions. Surely it's the archeological sites that enlighten us with the facts that Britain was unequivocally invaded by different peoples on many separate occasions.What book would you personally recommend about the Middle Ages specifically as I find this period quite interesting?

  • #17040

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    Off the top of my head, Anglo Saxon England by Stenton is pretty solid but also very dense.Does anyone else have any recommendations?

  • #17041

    Tim the Enchanter
    Participant

    A Brief History Of The Anglo Saxons by Geoffery Hindley is one I've read.  It was pretty good, even had my mother in law reading it for a bit…(!)  It wasnt the most exciting book (as it could have been) but it was a good read.  I haven't read Britain AD yet but its on my list.  I will speak a bit in Pryors defense.  Its easy to say sweeping changes were caused by sweeping invasions but the truth is usually grey area.  Archaeology thought famers 'invaded' Britain from Europe in the Neolithic until science and more archaeology has sort of proved otherwise.  An archaeologist in Britain 2000 years from now might find a lot of Levis and Coke bottles but it doesnt mean Britian was invaded by Americans.... or does it?  And I think if scholars opinions are forming a trend, that's how theories and facts are born, no?  What do you think?

  • #17042

    Tim the Enchanter
    Participant

    … you could also go right to the source and get copies of Bede's Ecclesiastical History and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle… if you want to read some crazy stuff.

  • #17043

    Chris
    Participant

    Thanks for the recommendations, I will check them out  :)I think the subject of archaelology, scholars and trends is quite an interesting debate and one that could see various viewpoints. I agree that facts and theories are born from trends, that's one part of the natural progression of an idea and to prove or disprove that idea based on what is discovered, whether we believe it or not. Something that is believable now may not be in 10 years time so trends develope into something else and something else again, particularly when those trends have change because of an individual's idea or theory. Trends usually start from one thing.But do we ever really settle on one theory and say 'yes, that's it....it definitely happened this way' ?I like the bit about Levis and Coke bottles; archgaelogists in the future will be able to read massive amounts of entire histroies of just about every nation preserved for such future peoples by simply looking it up, probably through a tv, computer or whatever there is going to be around then. There will probably be technology that scans and reproduces a 3D model of the ground underneath so you don't have to dig (but I guess where is the fun in that).

  • #17044

    Tim the Enchanter
    Participant

    You are very right there, after all, even gravity is a theory.  'Facts' can change and the beauty of science and history is that they're always open for opinion and debate.  From an amateur point of view I'm inclined to believe what the PHDs and professionals offer, so if they think invasions happened or didnt, I'll go with them. 

  • #17045

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    Pryor is an excellent archaeologist. My concern about his Anglo Saxon theory is that it is outside of his scope a little and seems to discount Gildas. Not to mention Legend which serves as an oral history. Trusting PhD's is something I do too. But what do you do when they disagree? There seems to be precious little consensus as everyone has their own pet theory. For example, this controversy and the Edward II thing that was mentioned elsewhere. For my part I try to keep an open mind and present credible theories. Though some hit the cutting room floor like Legio IX in China. Now Levi's are one of my favorite arguments and I think I actually used it in the Celtic migration episode. Or maybe McDonald's. But the thing is that an argument like that breaks down when you have written historical record discussion the event.  If we had Crom writing about all these beaker making people invading and killing his friends, we'd have a harder time saying "meh, it was probably just cultural bleed."I absolutely buy the cultural spread of beaker people and Celtic culture. Trade would have allowed for significant cultural changes. I would imagine that there were maybe small migrations and the rest was done by trade. But as for the anglo Saxons? I think they came over in waves and integrated with the native population. I'm not saying that they were all displaced (though Wales would probably have been a refuge) but my guess is that unlike earlier shifts, this one was initiated by invasion and integration. I also believe in the Norman invasion. ;)

  • #17046

    Chris
    Participant

    You are very right there, after all, even gravity is a theory.  'Facts' can change and the beauty of science and history is that they're always open for opinion and debate.  From an amateur point of view I'm inclined to believe what the PHDs and professionals offer, so if they think invasions happened or didnt, I'll go with them.

    Me too, what do I know compared to the minds of those who have studied in their particular fields for years?.....if anyone knows what they are talking about it is the scholars, that's what we bank on really. But then there are very enthusiastic amateurs. They might not have a Phd or spent years around dig sites etc. etc. but I am sure they are capable of piecing together the already known facts and coming up with credible (and probable) theories of their own. Heck, I guess even I could but I don't fancy those odds very much as I mentioned just a moment ago, what do I know? Not a lot  ???Take Jamie, for instance. It's pretty cool when he comes up with his own little theories about what could have happened based on his own research and opinions, makes the listening more interesting. Do we believe him? That is the question. I do  ;)

  • #17047

    Chris
    Participant

    But as for the anglo Saxons? I think they came over in waves and integrated with the native population. I'm not saying that they were all displaced (though Wales would probably have been a refuge) but my guess is that unlike earlier shifts, this one was initiated by invasion and integration.

    I am glad you said that, I couldn't agree with you more. Migration and eventual integration, after a great deal of fighting spread over a long period of time. Displacing an entire peoples just wouldn't happen, although many settled in mainland Europe as well, the Britons had been bullied into submission before by the Romans so they weren't going to let the Anglo-Saxons invade and take over without a good fight. Because this period went on for so long it was inevitable that integration was going to happen eventually and the result is a huge mixing pot of different peoples (inc. the Jutes and I am sure there are a couple of others but can't think off the top of my head which ones) forming what is essentially a new people, whether they liked it or not. I know this is a major oversimplification but I find it fascinating that we (as in peoples) all came from somewhere else  :D

  • #17048

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    This is a conversation that was moved from Book Recommendations, since we're discussing theories more than books at this point.  ;)

  • #17049

    Chris
    Participant

    I think I am going to give Britain AD a chance, both the book and the documentary, which is still available on 4OD here. I will watch part one on my next day off and hopefully get the book this weekend.He might be straying away from his Bronze Age comfort zone and speciality but I like Francis Pryor anyway, especially when I have seen him on Time Team. Even though he has had some  outlandish and wackier theories than the regulars, he does have engaging presence on-screen that is entertaining in its own right  :o ;)

  • #17050

    drewster81
    Participant

    I recently read articles (and I've been struggling to find them, the one below is a bit older) that used DNA to show that the peoples of Great Britain and Ireland have almost the exact same DNA.  They stress that none of the Celtic, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Viking or Norman invasions significantly displaced the population at all.I haven't done near as much reading on this as you guys have though, so by all means, let me know what you think.  It IS interesting to think that the majority of British and Irish peoples (including my ancestors, most of whom come from various areas of Britain) were originally from the Basque region!http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2006/10/mythsofbritishancestry/Here's a salient (and looooong) quote:  "What is more, new evidence from genetic analysis (see note below) indicates that the Anglo-Saxons and Celts, to the extent that they can be defined genetically, were both small immigrant minorities. Neither group had much more impact on the British Isles gene pool than the Vikings, the Normans or, indeed, immigrants of the past 50 years.The genetic evidence shows that three quarters of our ancestors came to this corner of Europe as hunter-gatherers, between 15,000 and 7,500 years ago, after the melting of the ice caps but before the land broke away from the mainland and divided into islands. Our subsequent separation from Europe has preserved a genetic time capsule of southwestern Europe during the ice age, which we share most closely with the former ice-age refuge in the Basque country. The first settlers were unlikely to have spoken a Celtic language but possibly a tongue related to the unique Basque language.Another wave of immigration arrived during the Neolithic period, when farming developed about 6,500 years ago. But the English still derive most of their current gene pool from the same early Basque source as the Irish, Welsh and Scots. These figures are at odds with the modern perceptions of Celtic and Anglo-Saxon ethnicity based on more recent invasions. There were many later invasions, as well as less violent immigrations, and each left a genetic signal, but no individual event contributed much more than 5 per cent to our modern genetic mix."

  • #17051

    Chris
    Participant

    Wow, this is quite freaky. I was reading something similar to this earlier today and then I clicked on the link and found it was the same article, only the one I looked at was a little more recent based on comments from readers of the article. The only reason I was reading this was because I was looking at a book in Waterstones called The Origins of the British: A Genetic Detective Story by the same author of article.I want to understand where the British peoples really came from and how far back that goes. Everyone has come from somewhere and with so many theories it is difficult not to feel dizzy with all the data that is spewed out. It sounds like this author has some intriguing theories but my initial repsonse to the Basque region being the brithplace of our ancestors is totally alien to me and breaks away from the theories I was more familiar with years ago. I was also looking at The Tribes Of Britain by David Miles but I honestly don't know how good either of these will be.I am reading Britain AD at the moment but I will have to get down to the nitty gritty of Britain BC as Jamie's recommendation of this is something I can't ignore.Getting back to the whole Anglo-Saxon thing though, the whole subject is controvertial in different ways because just to use the word 'invade' evokes lots of different responses. Did they invade, encroaching upon the local population by force because they knew the island was fertile with plenty of space for the taking or did they 'migrate' for different reason? Invade and migrate are two very different words and I believe they did both extremely well but I really haven't read enough to form a clear decision as yet. I do believe that it is possible they probably didn't affect the celtic gene pool as much as we might have thought but a mass of migratory peoples are certainly going to have an impact on mixing those genes to some degree.

  • #17052

    drewster81
    Participant

    But widespread integration surely would be backed up by the genetic evidence, no?  Plus, peoples, really anywhere, are going to be a varied mix of immigrants.  As it's been shown, people have been migrating to Britain for thousands of years, with the Celtic, Roman, Anglo Saxon, Viking and Norman invasions happening relatively recently and with, it seems, relatively small numbers.  Now, tell me what books to read with modern scholarship that you're reading.  What were the theories you had read years ago about British origins?  I now feel that I have to read Stenton.I put this up in the book rec section but thought I'd add that Chris Wickham's The Inheritance of Rome has a fascinating break down of Anglo-Saxon political structures in the second half of the millenium.There's more I could say, but eh, I've got a headache.  I wish we could all just sit around, have a drink and discuss this stuff in person. I really miss having these conversations.  :)

  • #17053

    anonymous
    Participant

    I haven't read all of the research around Anglo-Saxons/Indigenous Brits in particular, but I can give you the context of the study of human migration via genetics that my paleoanthropology professors gave me. Generally how these studies are done are by measuring one of two things, either a degree of variance in particular parts of the DNA, or the presence or absence of particular genes or gene sets that are known to be a part of a particular population. Now, I'm not sure which was utilized in the studies that are used in the arguments of degree of gene flow from various migrations into Britain, but both methods are able to give insight only, they cannot be read as definitive proof of the presence or absence of invading populations for several reasons.1.) Mutations are recurring. That is to say that a genetic mutation, a variance in your DNA from others' DNA, is a built in probability. The same mutations can and will spontaneously show up in separate populations. No contact between populations may be needed. 2.) A period of gene flow (one population meeting another and combining) may be later masked by later gene flows, or simply disappear through time. Say the Anglo-Saxons did invade - and big time. But then they hung around by the coasts for a few generations, and no new Anglo-Saxons came in - over time, they're mixing with more and more Northern, non Anglo-Saxon people. The Anglo-Saxon genetic markers may well be swamped out and disappear. That doesn't mean the invasion didn't happen, just that the gene flow wasn't large or long enough to make a lasting genetic impact. 3.) Mutations at the population level take time. Lots of it. We're talking about a period of less than 2,000 years. Using solely genetics to examine this problem is putting a lot of analytic pressure on not very many mutations. It's a bit like trying to study the movement patterns of protozoa using the Hubble telescope. 4.) This science is in its infancy. For one, there is no significant genetic difference between a Swede, an Inuit, and an Australian Aborigine. We have nothing markedly different from each other on a genetic level. Trying to discern discrete genetic populations in humans is like trying to distinguish green from extra-green. We're still trying to figure out how to map out significant genetic markers between Europeans and Indonesians. The idea that you could reliably tell the difference between different ancient European groups is very likely premature. Genetically, there simply wasn't a whole lot of difference between Indigenous Brits and the Anglo-Saxons.  And it's not like we can reliably say these two groups weren't already in some genetic contact before the invasion in question. I love studying human migration - and our DNA is a very helpful tool in mapping out our own history. That said, it is only one tool among many and any good theory will be upheld through the application of diverse methods. In this context, genetic studies should in no way be read as indisputable or definitive proof of anything, they are simply one piece to the puzzle.

  • #17054

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    I love studying human migration - and our DNA is a very helpful tool in mapping out our own history. That said, it is only one tool among many and any good theory will be upheld through the application of diverse methods. In this context, genetic studies should in no way be read as indisputable or definitive proof of anything, they are simply one piece to the puzzle.

    Yes.  That.Also, something that no one has been able to explain to me so far is this.... Why would Gildas have lied and why didn't anyone call him on it if he was making it all up?  And Bede writing 200 years later would have had access to the oral histories, so if it didn't happen why did he write it and why didn't anyone call him a liar?  And if he was recording oral histories about the Anglo Saxon invasion that were actually around, but those histories were made up, why on earth would the Brits invent an myth about getting their asses handed to them by the Anglo Saxons for more than a generation?It just doesn't make any sense to me.

  • #17055

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    Ok, that response might have been a little terse.  I've had a hell of a week and I wrote this while exhausted and stressed.  So I apologize that it came off as… well… rude.So please allow me to rephrase.  The thing that has frustrated me about the Pryor argument on Anglo Saxons is that we have primary sources to rely upon and he doesn't really seem to address them.  We have Gildas writing about the defense of the island in the 500's.  We have Pope Gregory encountering Angles from Northumbria in the 570s.  We have Bede in the 700's recording stories of the Anglo Saxon invasions.  We have dig sites of Anglo Saxon material being found that, at least to me, supports their account of an invasion.  And we have oral histories regarding that invasion.  And I can't, for the life of me, figure out why the Brits would invent a false invasion myth or why Gildas, Bede, or Gregory would be lying.  I really think it's a gaping hole in Pryor's thesis and I wish he would have addressed it.But that being said, I'm not an absolute authority on this material.  And I've seen the arguments you have been making elsewhere so I know you're well read and I bet you have some counter arguments.  So please don't let my grouchy post shut down the thread.  If you're interested, I'd love to read your thoughts on this stuff or on Misanthable's genetic stuff (her arguments, not her genetic structure... though I'm fairly certain she's a genetically engineered cyborg from the future).   

  • #17056

    drewster81
    Participant

    Haha, no worries, I've just been too busy!  I also don't know how to check on when this gets updated, so I tend to just go and look when I've got the opportunity.  (Job apps have kept me pretty busy when I get home from my fake temp job.)  This is also why the internet can be a problem when trying to discuss things as miscommunication occurs.  See, I definitely AGREE that there was an invasion, no doubt, yup.  :)  I've never thought it was a soft, migratory thing since, yeah, the sources all attest to it being pretty violent.  I agree completely that Bede and Gildas wouldn't have been making it up.  What I meant by cultural integration is that you can have those kinds of clashes and still not have a defined intermarriage with the native culture.  Look at how William treated the North after he invaded in 1066.  (Or indeed, the Romans) Huge devastation, but the native population survived.  That being said, I've never read Gildas and so I don't know if he describes the population being wiped out?  I'd love to know.  So yeah, I'm coming into this half blind.  Also, I'd never considered how different the Anglo Saxon invasions were, being that they weren't just one state (Romans or Normans, I'm just leaving the Vikings out as that's a whole other can of worms) but a wave of invasions from various peoples of the region lasting a long while.  So, yeah, that means that the manner in which they conquered could have been different and have involved more sustained integration with the local populace.  I've always used the Roman model of acculturation given how much I've studied that (i.e. co-opt the ruling class only, leave the rest alone and the culture will just trickle down out of necessity) since other great conquerors, such as the Arabs, used a similar model.  You use a carrot on a stick to make people want to convert to your way of life.  Again though, I think you're right that the suddenness of the Anglo Saxon cultures domination could very well mean a more thorough integration.I honestly did not know much about the genetic stuff and I think Misanthable raises fantastic points that I really want to look more deeply into.  Oppenheimer's research was stuff that I was mostly taking on faith, so it's nice to get a more in-depth approach.  So I definitely think she knows more and I think the point that genetics can't be the end-all, be-all is well-founded.    Also, after reading about Stenton now, I REALLY want to read it.On a personal note, I think the reason why I desire a native population's continuity in England is that I like to feel some sort of connection with that Celtic past.  So, I've always been interested (interested without actually investigating, mind you) in figuring out what aspects of Celtic culture (eg music, et al) that did survive the Anglo-Saxon invasion.  So HUGE bias on my part. ;)Look, in the end, I think we all just need to go to the true authority on this subject:  Clive Owen's "King Arthur".  I mean, sure, Lancelot du Lac SOUNDS French, but isn't it more realistic that he was a captive Iranian who was reared by the Romans and ended up in Britain and then got a French-sounding name by accident?  ;)  Sounds like completely firm ground.  And as we know, Hollywood always get's right, right?  Like, why doesn't everybody understand that Edward III was actually Scottish like Mel Gibson's movie tells us?

  • #17057

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    Look, in the end, I think we all just need to go to the true authority on this subject:  Clive Owen's "King Arthur".  I mean, sure, Lancelot du Lac SOUNDS French, but isn't it more realistic that he was a captive Iranian who was reared by the Romans and ended up in Britain and then got a French-sounding name by accident?  ;)  Sounds like completely firm ground.  And as we know, Hollywood always get's right, right?  Like, why doesn't everybody understand that Edward III was actually Scottish like Mel Gibson's movie tells us?

    YES!

  • #17058

    Chris
    Participant

    Wow! There's been some interesting stuff going on here since I looked last. I'll try and say something about about each post.Drew, I totally agree with you that wherever you go people will be a mix of different groups/cultures, and in this particular case, immigrants or invaders and I certainly believe that genetic evidence can in some ways support theories based on gene pools and how the different cultures mixed over a period of generations. I have not looked into this so I cannot form an opinion. Oh, and the stuff I read was years ago, mostly small articles and journals. I can't remember most of it. It was the early 90's and as a student, like many, I spent a lot of time in the pub systematically destroying brain cells with my preferred beer of choice and talking b******t most likely, so I am not surprised I can't remember. Heck, I struggle to remember what I did last week  ??? Shocking, I know!! Stenton does look like an interesting read though.How the numbers of these peoples supposedly coming over in swathes is calculated is debatable to me but when numbers are referred to as relative small, this I find can be misleading. Relatively small by today's standards maybe, especially as populations then were obviously a great deal fewer but these smaller numbers back then would, to me, appear quite substantial. But yes, the trend of peoples migrating to Britain had to start somewhere, continuing for thousands of years. I should imagine that we are talking about more than just a small amount because, I like you, believe the Anglo-Saxons did invade and when you invade you don't just take a few of your family and friends along for the ride and see which bit of land you like most, you take an army (or equivalent in size and fearsome reputation, relatively speaking that is, back then) to get the job done; the invasion I speak of ultimately becomes a migration when the different cultures mixed to a point of becoming a more unified people over a longer period of time.

  • #17059

    Chris
    Participant

    I like the ideas behind studying human migration using genetics as a tool to prove (or disprove) certain theories. I find it a bit too heavy for my liking but I am all for the technology that makes understanding the mystery just that little bit easier. Mistanthable's explanations in points 2 and 4 are intriguing. The gene flow would have be maintained from its original source for the markers to stand out more, otherwise as mentioned, it becomes swamped out and probably disappears althogether. Using this model there is no way of proving that there was an invasion. If there was already some form of minor cultural contact between the different peoples before the invasion (or mass migration if some prefer using this term instead), how could we tell for sure who was who if we can't identify one group of peoples from another if we are fundamentally the same at a genetic level? This is really cool stuff.Do you see this technology developing to the point we can definitely use it to prove or disprove and invasion theory?

  • #17060

    anonymous
    Participant

    At this point it's less of an issue in technology – and just an issue of sample size. Genetic variation is how a species survives – each child born is not just the combined halves of their parents, they're a unique mix of each with some fresh mutations thrown in. So it is a question of getting enough of a picture of the whole to be able to determine which is normal genetic variance “noise” and which is unique at the population level. In order to have any hope of being able to finely map out our migration patterns using genetics (and I actually doubt this is possible at all, we're just too similar) we have to have a massive, massive sample collection from all over the world. Kept in a single database, with a dedicated team chasing down patterns. At the moment that simply doesn't exist. But even if it did, I'm not sure you could get a clear picture of invasions/migrations from two groups as similar and in close contact as the Indigenous Brits and the Anglo-Saxons. Genetically, they're pretty much the same people. What distinguished them was their culture. Does that make sense?

  • #17061

    Chris
    Participant

    In order to have any hope of being able to finely map out our migration patterns using genetics (and I actually doubt this is possible at all, we're just too similar) we have to have a massive, massive sample collection from all over the world. Kept in a single database, with a dedicated team chasing down patterns. At the moment that simply doesn't exist. But even if it did, I'm not sure you could get a clear picture of invasions/migrations from two groups as similar and in close contact as the Indigenous Brits and the Anglo-Saxons. Genetically, they're pretty much the same people. What distinguished them was their culture. Does that make sense?

    Yes, that makes perfect sense, thanks. I see it is one heck of a challenge that may never be solved but an interesting one all the same.

  • #17062

    Chris
    Participant

    Jamie, your comment didn't come off as terse to me. I think your arguments are 100% and I agree with you although I can't form an opinion on Bede and Gildas as I simply haven't read enough of their texts to do so….but hey, I take your word for it. You know more than I do. The thing with Pryor is that I think he actually likes being different from the tried and tested archaeological posse and, to me certainly, he stands out from the crowd with his more radical ideas about what could have happened. This is what I like about him. He is also solid in his knowledge in other areas (and I guess you agree as you like Britain BC) and being an authority on such matters shows that he does know what he's talking about.....most of the time  ??? I've not actually had that much time to read Britain AD but I am working on it and I'll be able to discuss in more length what I think about the book then.So, I believe they invaded, Drew believes they invaded and you believe they invaded......hummm, I think we're getting somewhere  :D

  • #17063

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    Consensus!  ;)And yes, I really like Pryor's work.  Which is why I was disappointed with Britain AD, because it doesn't clear the high bar he has set for himself.  Ultimately, I think it's because he strays too far from his field in that book.  He excels at studying areas where we don't have primary sources and are forced to try to fill in the gaps with educated guesses.  And in those instances, I think he's fantastic and that's partially because I'm reading it going "Well, I know he's making wild guesses but we really just don't know and maybe he's right!"  But with Britain AD, the wild guesses start to fall flat because we have have significantly more data available and so I was left saying "well, that's just incredibly unlikely based on the evidence we have" instead of following him down the rabbit hole of possibilities like I had done with Seahenge, Britain BC, etc.  Now that being said, I have immense sympathy for the man.  Synthesizing history is very difficult, and often it feels like skydiving without a parachute.  I can only imagine how much harder it would be to also put in a new untested theory into the mix.  So I feel for him.As a side note, this is a really fun discussion!

  • #17064

    Chris
    Participant

    On a personal note, I think the reason why I desire a native population's continuity in England is that I like to feel some sort of connection with that Celtic past.  So, I've always been interested (interested without actually investigating, mind you) in figuring out what aspects of Celtic culture (eg music, et al) that did survive the Anglo-Saxon invasion.  So HUGE bias on my part. ;)

    Same here, exactly the same! Feeling that you want to be part of something as significant as the Celtic past is important, probably, to a lot of people. I understand this and there is probably bias on my part as well but I try to remain open minded at the same time to the Anglo-Saxons and how they ultimately changed the majority of the peoples on this isle over time. I look at the is way, without the Anglo-Saxon invasion, where do you think Britain would be politcally, scientifically, culturally today? I think we would be very different people indeed. For starters the language instead of being English (Anglo-Saxon ties) would most likely have much stronger ties to British (Celtic ties) or one of it later dialects anyway: Cornish, Welsh, Cumbric or Breton. Anyway, I know what you mean.Oh, and Clive Owen's 'King Arthur'....you got that right  ???    erm, well, maybe not. Don't you just hate Hollywood sometimes  >:(

  • #17065

    drewster81
    Participant

    I'm with you on the love for the political and social structures that came from the Anglo Saxons.  But since everyone concentrates on the Anglo Saxons, the English are rarely regarded as having any Celtic ties.  And I love Edgar and so many of the 9th and 10th century Anglo Saxon kings and how they created such a wonderfully organized state for the time.  So, in conclusion, haha, I suppose I've always liked Anglo Saxon society and all of that…I just want a bit more Celtic continuity in English history.  That the English are a sum total of every period of British history, you know?  *Tiniest violin in the world plays for Drew*I don't know, it's unanswerable and everyone's gonna have their own opinion...but what I do know for a FACT is that Maximus killed Commodus and restored the Roman Republic.  And no one can ever, ever take that away from me.  *crickets chirping*

  • #17066

    Chris
    Participant

    I've always liked Anglo Saxon society and all of that…I just want a bit more Celtic continuity in English history. 

    Hear hear!! I couldn't have said that better myself (I hear your violin too)  ;)

  • #17067

    peterjcharles
    Participant

    I was recently in Canterbury and there is good evidence that the Roman city was allowed to decay (or was destroyed) and that the site was abandoned for 100-150 years before people started living there again. Even then it was probably only using the remnants of buildings as lodgings and farming the land around. I find it hard to integrate this evidence with a hypothesis that argues for a cultural integration and against invasion. If this was an integration why was the life style so dramatically changed and why did the citizens of Canterbury abandon what would have been structurally superior buildings to live in the countryside.

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