A study of the DNA of Londoners who died some 5,000 years ago will not please some political parties of the current day. It would appear that, even back then, there was a fair old ethnic mix.
There are some 20,000 sets of human remains to get through but so far they have only looked in depth at four of them but the results are clear. One was a native Briton alright but another came from continental Europe while the other two came from outside Europe.
The first they looked at was a 14-year-old girl found around Lane Street. From her DNA, along with chemicals in her teeth, show that she grew up in North Africa. It seems she had blue eyes but has all the characteristics of someone who had Sub-Saharan African ancestors.
Then they looked at the Mansell Street man. He was over 45 years old and had dark brown hair and brown eyes. His DNA shows he was from North Africa and his remains also appear African. Seems he grew up in London and showed signs of diabetes – even back then!
The third remains are described as the Gladiator. He had suffered several blows to his head during his life which had all healed up. That was until the final one that killed him. Seems he was not born in London and his DNA indicates Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
The final remains belonged to a genuine first generation Londoner. She was found around Harper Road and had been born in Britain. The added little twist is that her chromosomes indicate that genetically she was a he although physically she was a woman.
Like they say, there is nothing new under the sun.