Stonehenge mystery solved! DNA analysis tells us where builders came from

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Image: English Heritage

The ancestors of the people who built Stonehenge travelled west across the Mediterranean before reaching Britain, a study has shown.

Researchers compared DNA extracted from Neolithic human remains found across Britain with that of people alive at the same time in Europe.

The Neolithic inhabitants were descended from populations originating in Anatolia (modern Turkey) that moved to Iberia before heading north.

They reached Britain in about 4,000BC.

Details have been published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

DNA reveals that Neolithic Britons were largely descended from groups who took the Mediterranean route, either hugging the coast or hopping from island-to-island on boats. Some British groups had a minor amount of ancestry from groups that followed the Danube route.

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When the researchers analysed the DNA of early British farmers, they found they most closely resembled Neolithic people from Iberia (modern Spain and Portugal). These Iberian farmers were descended from people who had journeyed across the Mediterranean.

In addition to farming, the Neolithic migrants to Britain appear to have introduced the tradition of building monuments using large stones known as megaliths. Stonehenge in Wiltshire was part of this tradition.

Read full, original post: Stonehenge: DNA reveals origin of builders

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