4 thoughts on “Wow

  1. Amazing. I’ll gues we’ll be seeing more and more of these reports changing the way we think about our own history.

  2. I ran this past my co-blogger, Carlos Yu, who is much better informed about such things than I. His response:

    “Oppenheim always pushes his ideas too far. This is about 80% crank.

    “Re Basque: The modern Basque people have a very distinctive Rh-factor distribution, one that, because of the problems of cross-factor pregnancies, is likely to have been there since deep time. Other factors show that they have been genetically isolated as well.

    “Re Celts: in fact, the idea that Celts spread with the spread of agriculture is almost completely discredited. Very few people believe Renfrew’s hypothesis anymore.

    “Re linguistics: note the complete lack of linguistic knowledge exhibited in this piece. For example, onomastics show no German components in Britain at the time; but onomastic evidence is nearly all we have that there were Celtic speakers in Anatolia. He’s picking and choosing when to use the method => circular file.

    “About the only thing I would maybe trust in this article is the level of contribution migration has added to the British gene pool; and I’d want the studies repeated without someone with a known axe to grind.”


    Doug M.

  3. I’m exchanging e-mails with Carlos. Here’s some more.

    “From onomastic evidence, pre-Roman Britons had names analyzable as Celtic. E.g. Caractacus => Caradoc. They are not easily analyzable as Germanic (and goodness knows, nineteenth-century philologists would have been all over that).

    “Oppenheim isn’t talking about Celts moving into central Europe from the south rather than the east _by itself_; he’s referring to Renfrew’s discredited hypothesis that Indo-European languages spread with agriculture from Anatolia. So wrong for so many different reasons.

    “Oppenheimer is actually parrotting critiques of one particular school from the 1980s — mainly British — against any sort of invasion theory before historic time. It was all cultural change, with very little movement of peoples. (Unlike everywhere else in the world.)

    “Also, the link between the Celts and the Hallstadt/La Tene cultures is one of the stronger identifications of an archaeologically defined culture and a linguistic group out there. Too much continuity.

    “And the claim that Celtic place names don’t exist much east of the Rhine… he hasn’t been to Vienna lately, I guess.”

    (Vienna <- Finndobana, Finn’s Fort. There are Celtic place names in Central Europe as far east as Transylvania, though the Romanians hate to admit it.)

    Doug M.

  4. Oppenheim’s argument that the lack of Saxonic mtDNA markers in the female English population (why female only? mtDNA is passed from mothers to all children) indicates the low level of Anglo-Saxon contribution to the British gene pool does not really hold water.

    A likely explanation would be that Anglo-Saxon invaders do not bring their womenfolk along when they go pillaging?

Comments are closed.