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  • 1. Mass migration versus elitedominance in the Anglo- Saxon settlement of Britain

2. Introduction Archaeology Genetics Language & Place Names Ethnicity Conclusion Bibliography 3. Questions to be considered: When I was at school I am sure we were taught that England was inhabited by Angles, Saxons and Jutes who crossed en masse from Germany after the Romans abandoned Britain, and drove the Britons into the far west.?And isnt that why all our place-names are composed in English - except those which come from languages which arrived later with the Vikings or Normans? 4. There is much controversy between historians over the two theories of Anglo-Saxon settlement. Before 1980s, historical and archaeological evidence interpreted in favour of mass migration but more recent interpretations show a preference to the model of elite dominance. 5. Archaeology can be used to support either mass migration or elite dominance.Higham argues that archaeological evidence, such as building types and material culture, demonstrates a small migration of high status people.However, others argue that archaeology, especially material culture, cannot be used to confirm that the settlement was high-status. Difficulties in inferring ethnicity from burial record. 6. Weale et al., examined Y (male) chromosomes. Weale claimed that his evidence showed a mass migratory event and argued that approximately half of the population in England derives from the Anglo-Saxon gene pool.Oppenheimer et al. provide evidence to suggest that the settlement was not the result of mass migration as only 5- 15% of the modern gene pool show links to the Anglo- Saxons.Issues affect the usefulness of genetic anthropology. 7. Thomas et al., suggest a theory of genetic anthropology which indicates that the settlement was one of elite dominance.They suggest that it is unlikely that there was a mass migration due to the relatively large size of the population immediately after the Roman occupation. Status of migrants versus status of Britons. 8. Gelling proposes that language and place-names changes provide the greatest support for mass migration, but not extermination of the British population.The main Brittonic borrowings are topographical suggests same status of migrants and native Britons.However, recently some scholars have disputed the theory that language replacement is proof of mass migration.Problems involved in linguistics and place-name studies. 9. Most sources are anti-elite dominance and support gradual mass migration. Early Medieval beliefs Ethnic boundaries Pride of the Romans. Others support elite dominance To advance socially in the early medieval period one had to join the dominating group As the Anglo Saxons survived in Britain this MUST be them. Others questioned why in other parts of the world for a Millenium after you could not be an emperor without being a Roman Emperor Third Rome in Moscow, Roman Empire of Franks and Germans, but in Britain this was not the case. 5. Problems with evidence Most significantly - early medieval lack of ethnic conciousness, Lies about background to gain power Archaeologists provide no firm supporting evidence either way 10. Controversy between the two opposing models of Anglo-Saxon settlement different interpretations.The study of genetics, archaeology and place-names provide evidence which supports both elite dominance and mass migration.Contradictory argument Popularity of different interpretations filtered down through education = may explain why Mrs. Smith had particular beliefs about her ancestors. 11. In relation to Mrs. Smith and her ancestors... The study of place-names provides the strongest evidence for the theory of mass migration but as Gelling suggests, this does not mean that the migration also involved extermination of the Celts = it is possible for Mrs. Smith to be a distant descendant from the remains found in her garden. Not population extermination even if mass migration occurred. The study of genetics also provides a plausible answer as to why Mrs. Smith is related to the remains in her garden. Mass migration or elite dominance = evidence suggests northern Europeans all share similar genetics. Archaeology 12. C. Hills. Origins of the English (London, 2003). Y-Chromosome Evidence for Anglo Saxon Mass Migration, Michael Weale and others; (Molecular Biology and Evolution 19(7) (2002) 1008-1021 Myths of British Ancestry, Stephen Oppenheimer; Prospect Magazine Issue 127 October 2006 Evidence for an Apartheid-like Structure in early Anglo-Saxon England, Mark Thomas ad others; Proceedings of the Royal Society doi:10.1098/rspb.2006.3627 (2006) S Foot, The Making of Angelcynn: English Identity before the Norman Conquest in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Sixth Series;Voulme 6, 1996 Rosenwein, Debating the Middle Ages: Issues and Readings, Oxford 1998