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Roots of the British come under new scrutiny
Date:9/1/2010

What constitutes 'Britishness' is turning out to be more complicated than many people previously believed. An innovative multidisciplinary research programme led by the University of Leicester is set to investigate its many dimensions and components.

The University is to receive a 1.37 million Research Programme Award granted by the Leverhulme Trust, over five years, to carry out a major study on The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain: Evidence, Memories, Inventions.

This wide-ranging project will investigate the impact of the movement of people in the distant past on the cultural, linguistic and population history of the British Isles. It will also examine the influence of ancient diasporas remembered or suppressed, perhaps exaggerated or even invented on the construction of British identities, past and present.

Dr Joanna Story of the School of Historical Studies will direct the programme, alongside experts from Leicester's world-class Department of Genetics, the School of Archaeology and Ancient History, The School of English, The Centre for English Local History, and the School of Management, as well as the Institute for Name-Studies at the University of Nottingham.

The basic population history of Britain, and the cultural and genetic roots of the historical nations of the island the Welsh, Scots and English are contentious subjects. Traditional interpretations have held that different groups of people Celts, Angles, Saxons and Vikings migrated in large numbers to the British Isles before AD1000 and that each migrant group contributed to the 'blood', language and culture of the 'native' communities.

However, many established assumptions are being challenged and re-examined by historians and archaeologists, now in collaboration with geneticists armed with new techniques for DNA analysis. Recent research has begun to suggest more complex origins for the British peoples.

The Impact of Diasp
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Contact: Dr. Joanna Story
js73@le.ac.uk
01-162-522-803
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert

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