“We can trace almost all the disasters of English history to the influence of Wales.” (Evelyn Waugh, English novelist)
Wales is a whimsical country with a powerful, complex, myth-filled, and oft disputed history. In 2004, geneticists working with geographers and archaeological colleagues undertook a “People of the British Isle” study. They sought out thousands of volunteers, all four of whose grandparents had been born in the same place, and they analyzed their genetic make-up. “Modern genetic analysis can read the patterns of variation in our complete set of DNA…that change subtly over time,” producing a genetic signature that reveals geographical origins. This provides a window into history and helps explain why Wales is so singular and self contained. (“Settlers: Genetics, geography, and the peopling of Britain.” ND). The results of this project confirmed that the Welsh are unique, despite the common belief that the term “Celtic” is an homogenous concept that can be used as an overall term that includes the Irish, the Welsh, the Scottish clans, and Cornwellians. “Celtic” is much more nuanced.
The study revealed that there are 17 distinct genetic clusters of people in the modern United Kingdom: Tthe dominant clusters are in Central and Southern England; nine smaller clusters are identified in England and Wales; Western Scotland and Northern Ireland share a great deal of genetic material; and Cornish, Welsh, Irish, and Scottish, normally thought of as “Celtic”, are significantly genetically diverse. The real kicker is that the present Welsh are much more closely related to the original Britons than the rest of the inhabitants of the United Kingdom. The “settlers” project concludes that “the Welsh are the true, pure Britons, according to the research that has produced the first genetic map of the UK” (“Settlers: Genetics, geography, and the peopling of Britain.” ND).
By the time Doggerland had disappeared under the seas, the people who remained, the first Britons, were from the European continent and the Atlantic seaboard, maybe even Northern Africa. There was a sudden influx of people from Gaul to Britainn across the channel around 24000 BCE. They were metal workers and perhaps attracted to the newly discovered copper mine in Northern Wales at Great Orme. A complete shoulder cape, dated as having been made in 1500 BCE, was discovered in a burial mound in a field called Bryn yr Ellyllon (“Fairies’ Hill”) in Mold in Flintshire in Wales in 1833. It had been fashioned from a single gold nugget, weighed 650 grams, and was covered with intricate designs. It had obviously been worn by an important person of slight stature during some kind of ritual practice. However, it seems these people did not stay in Wales very long, or at least not long enough to leave much of a genetic mark.
From these origins, tales of an ancient sunken kingdom began to spread, and they have persisted over the centuries, leading many to search for the place called Cantre’r Gwaelod. Cantre’r Gwaelod: The Mysterious Legend of the Ancient Sunken Kingdom Known as the Welsh Atlantis chronicles the origins of the story, the way it spread as it became more popular, and its impact on history. With important people, places, and events, you will learn about Cantre’r Gwaelod like never before.