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The Origins of the Anglo-Saxons: Decoding the Ancestry of the English

Jean Manco

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Thames & Hudson
01 October 2019
History; British & Irish history
Who are the English? Their language and culture have had an impact on the modern world out of all proportion to the size of their homeland. But what do we really understand about their ancestry? Traditionally they have been seen as the descendants of those Germanic peoples who poured into Britain after the Roman legions departed, today known as the Anglo-Saxons. Alternative interpretations have questioned this picture, or suggested complications. At last, the astonishing progress made in extracting and analysing ancient DNA means that theories can be tested empirically, shedding new light on the movement and migrations of peoples in the past.

Skilfully and accessibly blending together results from this cutting-edge DNA technology with new research from archaeology and linguistics, Jean Manco reveals a long and adventurous journey before a word of English was spoken. Going beyond a narrow focus on the Anglo-Saxon period, she probes into the deep origins of the Germani and their kin, and extends the story to the language of Shakespeare, taken to the first British colony in America. The result is an exciting new history of the English people, and a ground-breaking analysis of their development. Who are the English? Their language and culture have had an impact on the modern world out of all proportion to the size of their homeland. But what do we really understand about their ancestry? Traditionally they have been seen as the descendants of those Germanic peoples who poured into Britain after the Roman legions departed, today known as the Anglo-Saxons. Alternative interpretations have questioned this picture, or suggested complications. At last, the astonishing progress made in extracting and analysing ancient DNA means that theories can be tested empirically, shedding new light on the movement and migrations of peoples in the past.

Skilfully and accessibly blending together results from this cutting-edge DNA technology with new research from archaeology and linguistics, Jean Manco reveals a long and adventurous journey before a word of English was spoken. Going beyond a narrow focus on the Anglo-Saxon period, she probes into the deep origins of the Germani and their kin, and extends the story to the language of Shakespeare, taken to the first British colony in America. The result is an exciting new history of the English people, and a ground-breaking analysis of their development.
By:   Jean Manco
Imprint:   Thames & Hudson
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm, 
Weight:   260g
ISBN:   9780500295434
ISBN 10:   0500295433
Pages:   240
Publication Date:   01 October 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Jean Manco is a building historian who trained within an archaeological unit and applies an interdisciplinary approach to her work. She is also the author of Blood of the Celts and Ancestral Journeys, both published by Thames & Hudson.

Reviews for The Origins of the Anglo-Saxons: Decoding the Ancestry of the English

'A lot of technical information to convey, but Jean Manco does so with flair' - Current Archaeology 'Admirable ... both authoritative and well written' - David Miles, Minerva


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