Thursday, March 17, 2011

Viking or Gael? Episode 5 of The Scots: A Genetic Journey

The Scots: A Genetic JourneyYesterday's episode of "The Scots: A Genetic Journey" investigates the arrival of the Vikings and the Gaels and their impact on the Picts and Britons. The program opens with Alastair Moffat reading from Simeon of Durham's account of the Viking attack on Lindesfarne in 793.

As usual, Moffat divides his time between on site visits with historians and in the Edinburgh office of his co-presenter, Jim Wilson.  His first visit is to Dumbarton Rock where he and Tim Clarkson discuss the Viking siege of the Rock and their eventual defeat of the Strathclyde Britons in 870.  The Britons then moved to what is today Partick and Govan. Despite this massive defeat, the Vikings seem to have had very little genetic impact in the West of Scotland. Moffat's next journey takes him to Stirling Castle, located in the heart of Pictland, where he and John Harrison discuss the demise of the Picts.

In between site visits Jim Wilson explains his research on the M17 or a Norwegian marker whose distribution in Scotland closely parallels the the Sea Road of the Vikings. This marker is primarily found in Shetland, Orkney, Skye and the Isle of Man. The southern Pictish marker STR43, Wilson explains, is also found in Orkney, but mostly in families who moved there within the past 500 years or so. The next marker mentioned by Wilson is M222, or as it is more commonly known, the marker of Niall of the Nine Hostages, the first High King of Ireland, ca 400-500. This Gaelic marker is found in 40% of the men in Ulster and 7% of the men in Scotland. According to Wilson, the marker's even distribution in Scotland  suggests a migration of Gaels (or Scots) from Ireland into Scotland.

Additionally, there are fun segments on immigrant mice in Orkney and the Spanish Armada.

See the maps of M17 Y and M222 Y here.  There does not appear to be a blog entry dedicated to this episode. Next week's program is the last.


Family Roots Travel said...

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Amanda E. Epperson said...

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