It’s My Swamp – Anglo-Saxon DF95 Follow Up

I didn’t have to wait long to follow up on my previous post. The paper on The Anglo-Saxon migration and the formation of the early English gene pool is published along with supplementary data. The DF95/CTS12023 men in the samples were identified by the study itself. The work by citizen scientists has identified other SNPs found in the samples and set up a google sheet. The U106 group, with the work of Ray Wing, has a U106 breakdown in their online sheet.

It should be noted that there are other R-Z18 haplogroups represented in these results (at least 12 R-Z18 men total) and many other R-U106 haplogroups (at least 66 men out of 464 tested). This is just the first time I’ve seen any R-DF95/CTS12023 men in ancient DNA so I’m most excited to see some closer relatives.

Our Relatives in the Fens

Map of the fens in England including Skegness, Lincoln, Boston, Spalding, Peterborough, Ely, King's Lynn and Cambridge
By Rcsprinter123 – Own work, CC BY 3.0,

HAD005 is in Hatherdene Close in Cambridge. He’s 26-44 years old. He’s part of the South Gyrwas, allied to East Anglia. His grave is SK 640 (also listed as ECB4258) to the North in the image below, colored red. The study identifies him as R-DF95 on the Y. Citizen scientists place him in R-ZP121. His MTDNA is T2b13. Buried between 400 and 600 CE.

He’s listed as ENG_EMA_CNE (England, Early Middle Ages, Continental Northern European). Basically, autosomal DNA shows he’s Continental Northern European, likely either a migrant from the continent or 1st generation with no admixture with local WBI (Welsh, British and Irish). He’s part of family A. He has a 2nd or 3rd degree genetic relative; HAD014 in grave SK1116 also continental European, grave colored red in the map below. She is 5-12 years old. Her MTDNA haplogroup is K1a4a1a2b.

HAD005 has these grave goods: spear head, sheild boss, knife, 5 arrowheads, buckle. HAD014 has these grave goods: Two Roman coins, two small long brooches, buckle, knife, beads.

Because I had to look it up: A second-degree relative is an aunt, uncle, grandparent, grandchild, niece, nephew, or half-sibling of an individual. A third-degree relative is a first cousin, great-grandparent, great-aunt, great-uncle, great-niece, great-nephew, great-grandchild, half-aunt, or half-uncle of an individual.

site plan of Hatherdene close Grave SK640 belonging to HAD005 highlighted in the north of the site. SK1116 belonging to HAD014  highlighted to the south.
map taken from the notes from the paper

The notes from the paper are really informative. I recommend reading them. I’ve got some excerpts here that are particular to Hatherdene close. From the notes:

Local populations have a variety of lineages. The paper shows that local men are just as likely to have grave goods and status symbols as CNE men, generally. Although there is generally a mix, different sites show different percentages of populations:

“…we observe a much higher presence of local lineages at Oakington (50% Loc. vs 31% Cont. – 19% Un.) and Sedgeford (41% Loc. vs 29% Cont. – 29% Un.)….. Hatherdene Close on the other hand shows a completely opposite pattern, with a higher presence of non-local lineages (24% Loc. vs 47% Cont. – 29% Un.).”

The paper makes a differentiation between Continental Northern Europeans and Peninsular Scandinavians. CNE includes portions of Southern Sweden, Denmark, Lower Saxony, and Netherlands as a continuum of related people. Different sites show different levels of Scandinavian ancestry Levels are higher than in earlier grave sites from the Iron age, but the levels are lower than later viking age samples.

“We then averaged the computed components and calculated the mean Scandinavian Peninsula ancestry per site (Supp. Fig. 6.2b). Excluding the low-coverage individual from Folkestone, Kent, we find that Scandinavian Peninsula ancestry does not exceed 16% in early medieval England (15.8% in Bude and 12.5% in Lincoln) and is absent in Wolverton, Linton, Hartlepool, and Rookery Hill, and low in Eastry (0.6%) and Worth Matravers (0.1%). Higher proportions between 5% and 10% were found in Ely, West Heslerton, Hatherdene Close, and Dover Buckland. Overall, the Anglo-Saxon Period population of England harbours 5.4% Scandinavian Peninsula ancestry. In contrast, for the preceding Iron Age, we estimate only 0.4% Scandinavian Peninsula ancestry.”

Based on the data set, it looks like HAD014 is one of the people who had a bit of Scandinavian Peninsula ancestry.

Overall, grave goods were bestowed on men equally and seemed to be bestowed on women unequally. The paper generally shows that ancestry wasn’t a factor in male standing, but that women with CNE ancestry had more grave goods. From the notes it seems like Hatherdene close may have been a slight exception to the rule.

“At Hatherdene Close, graves with grave goods have more CNE ancestry than graves without grave goods.”

“At Hatherdene Close, female graves with grave goods have more CNE ancestry than female graves without grave goods.”

Our Relatives in Buckland Cemetery, Dover

By Hel-hama – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Buckland has the most DF95 samples. Two of them are fairly closely related…but maybe not in the way you’d think.

BUK009 grave goods: Buckle. Male age 30-40. Grave 252. Buried between 400 and 800 CE. YDNA identified by the study as DF95, citizen scientists found evidence for R-PH1163. R-PH1163 modern testers are from Denmark and Norway. His MTDNA is J1b1a1b. BUK009 is listed as ENG_EMA_CNE, again basically a continental northern European. BUK009 shows about 11% Continental Western European ancestry (CWE). More on that later.

graves in buckland cemetery showing genetic affinity and grave goods.

BUK042 is in grave 346 buried between 400 and 800 CE. Male age 40 plus. He is identified as R-DF95 by the study. Citizen scientists haven’t pushed that any farther. MTDNA is H5a1c1a. He is listed as ENG_EMA_CNE and has a very small amount of CWE ancestry. He is buried with a spear, sword, knife, rod, axehead, and buckle. BUK042 is a member of a family group. No one in the family group appears to be closely related to BUK009. It would be interesting if there were a couple of branches of DF95 in Dover. BUK042 is a father in this family group.

BUK014 is a mother in this family group. She is in grave 266. Her MTDNA is T2b. She’s listed as England_EMA. She has 85% Continental Northern European ancestry and about 15% Continental Western European ancestry. BUK014 is age 30-35. She’s buried with a rod, buckle, ring, knife, and radiate-headed brooches. According to the Ashmolean museum, this style of brooch originated with the Franks.

BUK043 is the daughter in this family group. She’s in grave 347. Her MTDNA is T2b (as expected from mom above). She’s listed as England_EMA, but apparently didn’t inherit any CWE DNA from her parents. She’s aged 14-16 and was buried with beads.

Here is a family chart to help with the next bit.

Buckland family group showing father BUK042, mother BUK014, daughter BUK043 and two 2nd degree relatives BUK044 and BUK048
men are squares, women circles, father mother and daughter on the left. 2nd degree relatives on the right.

BUK044 is a 2nd degree relative of BUK014. So aunt, grandparent, grandchild, niece, or half-sibling of BUK014. So she’s related to mom. She’s in grave 349 between 400 and 800 CE. MTDNA haplogroup T2b. She’s listed as England_EMA_CNE so again, basically a Continental Northern European. She’s at 76% CNE and 24% CWE, which is the highest CWE in the family group so far. She is 50+ years old and is buried with beads, a ring, and tweezers.

BUK048 is the other identified R-DF95 man. He is a 2nd degree relative of BUK043. So he’s related to the daughter. He’s an uncle, grandparent, grandchild, nephew, or half-sibling of BUK043. Of interest he’s not listed as a child or parent of BUK042 or BUK014 or shown to have any relation to them. Just BUK043, which makes me wonder about the relationship. BUK043 is pretty young when she dies. His burial date is different and much more specific. He’s buried in grave 375 in 540-615 CE. His MTDNA is H1a5. Different than the women in the family group. He’s ENG_EMA_CNE. He has a small amount of CWE DNA, 5%. He shows about 10% WBI (Welsh, British and Irish) ancestry. He’s 25-30 years old and buried with a spear, shield, sword, and buckle.

From the notes on Buckland Dover:

Many of the southern sites show some heritage from Iron Age France. These people matched favorably with modern genomes from France and Belgium.

“PCA implies that several sites, especially from southern England (namely Apple Down, Buckland, Eastry, and Rookery Hill) exhibit remarkable diversity in terms of their ancestry. Besides England Iron Age and early medieval Lower Saxony-like ancestries, we also find individuals that cluster with present-day southern and western Europeans, especially with Belgians and French.”

“As indicated by PCA, supervised ADMIXTURE identifies sizable proportions of modern French/Belgian-like ancestry in our ancient samples, reaching as much as 100% in some individuals (Supp. Fig. 5.6a, Supp. Table 5.5). Calculating the average for each site, we find, congruently with our qpAdm approach, the highest proportions of French/Belgian-like ancestry in Lincoln (59.9%), Rookery Hill (43.3%), Apple Down (27.8%), Eastry (25.6%), and Dover Buckland (22.5%) (Supp. Fig. 5.6b). In the remaining sites, French/Belgian-like ancestry accounts for less than 10% of the total ancestry. In summary, additional western and/or southern European related ancestry appears to be the main cause for the remarkable genetic diversity observed especially in southern English early medieval sites.”

map showing angles, jutes, saxons frisians and franks, along with english angles, english jutes and english saxons.

I mean, the Franks are right there across the channel from Dover. It seems reasonable to have Frankish grave goods and genetic influence.

Here is a summary from the notes:

“We therefore suggest that early medieval admixture patterns were heterogeneous across Britain, with ancestry from Lower Saxony being dominant in central and northern England (e.g. Oakington, Hatherdene, Lakenheath, and West Heslerton), while ancestry from western and southern Europe is observed in southern England, especially Sussex and Kent (Eastry, Rookery Hill, and Apple Down).”

Where Did They Come From?

The study took a look at probable origins for the migration. I think the general idea is that there is a broad CNE ancestry group that may have had different tribal names within it, but were fairly closely related to each other. They identified lower Saxony as the most likely common ground for most of the burials based on the autosomal DNA of samples there. The anglo-saxons in the study matched particularly well with samples from people between the Weser and Elbe (the little blue Saxons bit on the map up there between Frisia and the Angles above. A cluster of triangles below). The map they generated of probable origins is pretty broad though leaving plenty of room for variation among like people. The little triangles are the predicted locations for the genomes. The red dashed line marks the 95% similar boundary.

This image taken from the study shows continental sites that are indistinguishable from the english CNE. It's a swath running from the Northern Netherlands up through denmark and into southern sweden.
Shown are (1) continental sites that are genetically indistinguishable from the more than 95% CNE EMA English (England EMA CNE) population using qpWave and provide fitting P values as source in a two-way qpAdm model of England EMA, as well as (2) the predicted locations for 72 England EMA CNE genomes using LOCATOR52. The red dashed line marks where 95% of the qpAdm and qpWave data are located.

Today’s conclusion

Please do pick up the actual paper. It’s not very long and contains a lot of good information. I’m not an unbiased source, so my writing is going to be slanted.

The autosomal analysis is really where all the information is at and our Y and MTDNA is along for the ride.

The data shows definite settlement patterns and an influx of CNE DNA in the early middle ages. That influx of people changes the genetic makeup of what would later become England.

The data also show that the movement really happened…which has been questioned. It really happened from these places (which has also been questioned), and it really happened in this timeframe. It was a big shift. CNE ancestry, which was negligible in bronze and iron age Britain, became the majority in Anglo-Saxon England.

From the paper: “Previous hypotheses about the social mechanisms in this migration have included partial social segregation62, elite migration18,61, substantial population replacement34 or no migration at all1,22. Our combined genetic and archaeological analysis point to a complex, regionally contingent migration with partial integration that was probably dependent on the fortunes of specific families and their individual members.”

You can see the population shift in the graphic below.

bronze age, iron age and early middle ages CNE vs WBI ancestry in burials.

Another take-away that I mentioned earlier, we may be making too much of the various tribes because analysis of continental DNA from the early middle ages shows a continuity of relatedness.

“However, we also note the strong genetic homogeneity among most analysed sites in the northern Netherlands, northern Germany and Denmark (Supplementary Note 4), implying that, during the Early Middle Ages, the continental North Sea and adjacent western Baltic Sea area was a genetic continuum spanning most of the western North European plain without major geographical substructure”

For R-DF95, we can put a pin…or a regional blob on the map for a period of time. Around 400 CE CTS12023 was somewhere in that swath from the Netherlands to southern Sweden and the Baltic and had made its way to Britain.

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