A large DNA study on the people of ancient Britain shows that a wave of migrants known as the Beaker Folk forever changed the genetic makeup of the country.
The Beaker Folk — who originated from central Europe and the Steppes — came to England roughly 4,500 years ago. When they arrived, they brought new customs, burial practices, and unique bell-shaped pottery. However, researchers do not know much about the ancient population.
The distinct clay pots had an elegant flared lip and were among some of the population’s most cherished possessions. Many of the folk were buried with the artifacts, but scientists have never been able to decide if that trend came about as a result of trade, or if was caused by culture diffused through migration.
In the new study, a team of international researchers sheds light on that mystery by analyzing samples of more than 400 prehistoric skeletons from across Europe. This allowed them to figure out that the folk moved westward across Europe and displaced earlier populations in several distinct regions.
This study sheds light on an ancient archaeological question and reveals that the people buried with the beakers did not have the same DNA as those from an earlier period. As a result, migration significantly altered the history of Europe. While this is an interesting discovery, there are many questions that still need to be answered about the Beaker Folk. Nobody is sure where their culture originated from, nor do they know what happened to the pre-Beaker populations. They hope the further study of the ancient group will give them the answers to such questions.