DNA map of Ireland reveals the Irish have Viking and Norman ancestry and are far more genetically diverse than previously thought
- It reveals lasting contributions from British, Scandinavian and French invasions
- Researchers compared genetic data from 1,000 Irish and 2,000 British people
- They found 23 distinct genetic clusters, separated by geographical boundaries
- These are most distinct in western Ireland, but less pronounced in the east
- The findings are significant because they could be used in future studies to identify the underlying genetics of various diseases in specific regions
THE LEGENDARY MONARCH WHO WILL RETURN TO SAVE GREAT BRITAIN
Like Mel Gibson's ferocious warriors in Braveheart, the Picts were known for blue body-paint and a rather hostile attitude to southerners
William Wallace, in his most famous battle (The battle of Stirling Bridge), had about 5,000 men (just 100 of them knights). The English army was 50,000 foot soldiers, 4,000 archers, and 1,000 heavy cavalry knights. But Wallace, was not intimidated by this. He let half the
cross over the Stirling bridge, then signaled his men who were hiding below the bridge to take out the supports. The bridge collapsed and killed many English soldiers. The commanders of the English army did not know what to do except watch in horror as their divided army was split and being massacred. The commanders did know how to do one thing, run, like cowards they ran until they hit the English border.
The Battle of Falkirk, 1298
The English nobility had been on the edge of civil war with Edward I. They were disgruntled over his wars in France and Scotland, however, faced with the humiliating defeat by the Scots at Stirling Bridge, they united behind him in time for the Battle of Falkirk.
According to later tales, Wallace told his men: ‘I hae brocht ye to the ring, now see gif ye can dance’, however, as one historian has called it, ‘it was a dance of death’, as Wallace had seriously misjudged Edward’s battle tactics. His Welsh archers proved to be the decisive weapon: their arrows raining death on the Scots spearmen.
Wallace the Diplomat.
After Falkirk, the Scots nobles reasserted their role as guardians of the kingdom and continued the war with Edward. Wallace was assigned a new role as an envoy for the Scots to the courts of Europe.
Diplomacy was crucial to the Scots war effort and Wallace, by now a renowned figure across Europe, played a high profile role. In 1299 he left Scotland for the court of King Philip IV of France. He was briefly imprisoned for various political motives, but was soon released and given the French king’s safe conduct to the papal court. Wallace returned to Scotland in 1301, with the diplomatic effort seemingly in good stead.
However, the French abandoned Scotland when they needed Edward’s help to suppress a revolt in Flanders. With no prospect of victory, the Scottish leaders capitulated and recognised Edward as overlord in 1304. Only Wallace refused to submit, perhaps signing his own death warrant at this time.
Here was the crucial difference between Wallace and the key players from amongst the Scottish nobles - for Wallace there was no compromise, the English were his enemy and he could not accept their rule in any form. However, the nobles were more pliable and willing to switch sides, or placate the English, when it served their own ends. Wallace had become a nuisance to both his feudal superiors and the English.
The Martyrdom of William Wallace
Wallace was declared an outlaw, which meant his life was forfeit and that anyone could kill him without trial. He continued his resistance, but on August 3rd, 1305, he was captured at Robroyston, near Glasgow. His captor, Sir John Menteith, the ‘false’ Menteith, has gone down in Scottish legend as the betrayer of Wallace, but he acted as many others would have. Menteith was no English lackey, and in 1320 he put his seal to the Declaration of Arbroath.
Wallace was taken to Dumbarton castle, but quickly moved to London for a show trial in Westminster Hall. He was charged with two things - being an outlaw and being a traitor. No trial was required, but, by charging him as a traitor, Edward intended to destroy his reputation. At his trial he had no lawyers and no jury, he even wasn’t allowed to speak, but when he was accused of being a traitor, he denied it, saying he had never been Edward’s subject in the first place. Inevitably he was found guilty and was taken for immediate execution - in a manner designed to symbolise his crimes.
Wrapped in an ox hide to prevent him being ripped apart, thereby shortening the torture, he was dragged by horses four miles through London to Smithfield.
There he was hanged, as a murderer and thief, but cut down while still alive. Then he was mutilated, disembowelled and, being accused of treason, he was probably emasculated. For the crimes of sacrilege to English monasteries, his heart, liver, lungs and entrails were cast upon a fire, and, finally, his head was chopped off. His carcase was then cut up into bits. His head was set on a pole on London Bridge, another part went to Newcastle, a district Wallace had destroyed in 1297-8, the rest went to Berwick, Perth and Stirling (or perhaps Aberdeen), as a warning to the Scots. Edward had destroyed the man, but had enhanced the myth.
Wallace became a martyr, the very symbol of Scotland’s struggle for freedom. He entered the realm of folktale and legend. From Blind Harry's 'Wallace' to Mel Gibson’s ‘Braveheart’, William Wallace continues to haunt the Scottish imagination with a vision of freedom.
Archaeologists are searching the site to solve the 200-year mystery of the Pictish carving.
The stone has baffled historians because Galloway was inhabited by the tribe known as Britons.
The Britons were a Celtic people who occupied much of Britain - but were fragmented after the Anglo-Saxon settlement in the 5th and 6th centuries AD.
Further north were the Scots, with ‘Pictland’ further still, north of the Firth of Forth.
The Pictish stone is one of only three known out of their traditional territory - the others being in known Dark Age capitals.
Ronan Toolis of Guard Archaeology, who is leading the dig, said today/yesterday that the royal link could finally provide an explanation.
He said: ‘It looks increasingly likely that this fortress was built in the Dark Ages, and occupied during the fifth to the seventh centuries AD.
‘The Pictish stone dates from that time, but the big question has always been what it was doing in Galloway.
‘We know of only two other similar carvings outside Pictland - at Dunadd in Argyll and on Edinburgh Castle rock, both of which were capitals of Dark Age kingdoms.
Experts recreate the faces of ancient Brits dating back half a MILLION years to reveal the skin tone, eye and hair colour and true identity of our ancestors
Faces of the earliest British residents have been recreated to show what they may have looked like and tell their story.
For the first time, we can see features in these neanderthals faces such as skin tone and eye and hair colour to show what ancestors looked like dating back up to 500,000 years.
The 3D busts are on show at the Elaine Evans Archaeology Gallery, part of Brighton museum, which has just opened.
Experts used a mix of scientific research, technology and DNA analysis to come up with the physical attributes, and how they lived and died.
The exhibition focuses on seven people, five of whom were early residents of Brighton & Hove, who lived from the Ice Age to the Saxons.
The science behind the facial reconstructions provides an instant understanding of how our ancestors looked over a 500,000 year period.
DNA analysis helped the experts understand the skin, eye and hair colouring. Forensic artist and sculptor, Oscar Nilsson and Richard Le Saux, have worked for fourteen months to build an accurate and realistic picture of the ancient Britonians.
The stories behind the busts include a woman found with a nail in the back of her skull in an unusual grave and a man buried in a shallow grave among shells.
They found that different people from a variety of backgrounds and geographical origins have settled in Sussex through history.
Like Cheddar Man, a bust of a Mesolithic skeleton discovered in 1903 unveiled last year, the exhibition reveals the faces of seven more 'locals' who are believed to have lived and died on the south coast of England.
Britain's oldest complete human skeleton, known as Cheddar Man, was unearthed in 1903 in Gough's Cave in Cheddar Gorge, Somerset.
The prehistoric male lived around 10,000 years ago, and a huge hole in his skull suggests he died a violent death.
The curators wanted to make design the exhibition to appeal to children and move away from the more traditional 'glass cases with pots and flints' set-up.
They wanted to get away from lengthy historical text.
To tie in with the time period, they recreated the atmosphere of the past using sound, film and images set in a woodland.
One of the seven faces is dark-skinned. Experts now say that people living in Britain before the Bronze Age were dark.
But when fair skinned and blue eyed migrants came to our shores, these people were all but wiped out.
Richard Le Saux said that his latest theory is that this was because of 'disease and not war that caused the deaths of people with dark skin.'
Ditchling Road Man from the Bronze Age
Ditchling Road man was buried in a shallow grave in a crouched position, lying on his left side with a decorated ceramic ‘beaker’ on its side by his feet and a barbed and tanged arrow head under his skull.
He lived between 4,287- 4,125 years ago and was between 25 and 35 when he died.
A quantity of snail shells were found opposite his mouth. It seems to have been a basic burial, indicating the man was probably not high status.
Limited DNA results show he probably had light skin, blue eyes, blonde hair. We also know he suffered from loss of teeth and tooth decay.
Patcham woman from the Romano-British era
Patcham woman dates from the years 210 – 356. She was likely to have been 25 - 35 years of age.
Mystery surrounds the death of Patcham woman whose body revealed a gruesome discovery. This petite and slender woman was found lying on her side with a nail impaled in the back of her skull.
She was likely to have light skin, blue eyes and blonde hair and according to historical research had lived a hard physical life.
Her spine shows signs of stress (bending and lifting) and there is joint disease in her right knee and lower spine.
A further mystery is the male skeleton who was also uncovered lying feet to feet with her, looking in the same direction but obviously pointing away from her.
Whitehawk woman from the Neolithic period
She lived between 5650–5520 years ago and lived to age 19-25.
She was small and slender with dark North African or Southern Mediterranean skin.
Her eyes were brown and her hair would have been a light shade of brown.
Her general health was good but the bones of a baby were found nestling in her pelvis which point to the probability that she died in childbirth.
From tests on the isotope and chemical make-up from her teeth, they think she was not brought up locally and may have come from an area as far away as Hereford.
Slonk Hill man from the Iron Age
He is thought to have lived between 2,413 - 2,226 years ago and he is thought to have died around the age of 24 - 31.
Slonk Hill man probably had light skin, black or brown hair and brown eyes. He was buried in a semi-crouched position at the bottom of a large storage pit.
This is not unusual in the Iron Age – pits were often filled in and ritual deposits made whilst filling including depositing animal bones and skulls.
Slonk Hill man’s bones are fully developed showing he was active, strong and healthy.
The only abnormality is some additional bone growth on the right shin bone which shows that he must have suffered a heavy blow or trauma in that area.
Researchers say that it could have been a farming accident or a physical attack.