The Dark Sub-Roman Ages

I am fascinated by the enigmatic, transitional period between the end of the Roman occupation of Britain and the ascendancy of the Anglo-Saxons in the late sixth century. This period, sometimes called the Dark Ages, sometimes the Sub-Roman, extends approximately from AD 400 to 600.The term Sub-Roman arose from archaeologists’ classification for pottery from sites of the 5th and 6th centuries, suggesting a degeneration from the high standard wares of the Roman Empire to localised products. It is now used to allude to a phase of history, often, I’ve noticed, with a similar inference.This period has attracted a great amount of debate, partly as a result of the paucity of historical and archaeological data, but also because from these dark ages later national identities claim their origins.I had a hope that the genetic analysis of present day peoples might supply some indication of population movements during the sub-Roman period and have been keeping up-to-date with recent developments. University College London studies seem to show considerably less Anglo-Saxon migration than the sweeping hoards of invaders, as previously assumed. Also, Brian Sykes and Stephen Oppenheimer, in their books, have the same opinions about the limited contribution of Anglo-Saxons and other later invaders to the British gene pool. Oppenheimer refers to certain genetic evidence as signifying, a much earlier, Mesolithic migration, rather than an Anglo-Saxon colonisation as has been formerly believed.


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