It is not many years since radioactive dating showed that Stonehenge is as old as the older pyramids. Prior to this application of science British archaeologists and historians had enthusiastically declared Stonehenge to have been built almost two thousand years later and mocked anyone who disagreed. British historians have several other beliefs that should be re-assessed in the light of modern science and recent discoveries.The Anglo-Saxon/Viking Wipeout TheoryBritish historians have tried to explain the lack of any clear transitional culture between the Romans and the Anglo-Saxons in the south east and east of England with a theory that the invading Saxons (and Vikings) killed everyone and destroyed everything: the "Wipeout Theory". Modern genetic evidence shows that this was not the
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The Anglo-Saxon/Viking Wipeout Theory
British historians have tried to explain the lack of any clear transitional culture between the Romans and the Anglo-Saxons in the south east and east of England with a theory that the invading Saxons (and Vikings) killed everyone and destroyed everything: the "Wipeout Theory". Modern genetic evidence shows that this was not the case and suggests that most of the population survived the Anglo-Saxon invasion, as Stephen Oppenheimer wrote "75% of British and Irish ancestors arrive[d] between 15,000 and 7,500 years ago". The Wipeout Theory is almost certainly false.
Supporters of the Wipeout Theory have had a remarkably easy ride, even before the genetic evidence it was clear that when the Anglo-Saxons invaded Cumbria they did not wipe out the local inhabitants. The Cumbrians continued to speak Cumbric for centuries after being invaded so could not have been eradicated. The same is true of Cornwall. Given that the wipeout did not occur in Cumbria or Cornwall the Wipeout Theory is left with a belief that the Saxons wiped out all the people from the South East and East of the country.
Sadly for the historians, the genetics of people from towns such as Midhurst in Sussex clearly shows that the people were not annihilated. As Capelli et al (2003) put it "Perhaps the most surprising conclusion is the limited continental input in southern England, which appears to be predominantly indigenous..". In other words the Saxons scarcely killed anyone or even took up residence in precisely those areas where the "wipeout" should have been most extreme.
The archaeological evidence is also consistent with gradual change rather than Wipeout: "Recent studies of the Essex landscape and the relationship between Roman and Saxon sites suggest that the structure of the Roman countryside largely survived and that any changes in rural settlement were a gradual response to changing economic and political circumstances." (Kings and Kingdoms of Early Anglo-Saxon England By Dr Barbara Yorke).
The lack of Saxon input to the genetics of the South Eastern English population utterly refutes the Wipeout Theory and may even suggest that the people in the South East were allies of the Saxons.
The failure of the Wipeout Theory should not surprise anyone. The Saxons did not wipe out everyone from the other places they invaded. Slaves are too valuable, in fact in those days you invaded to get slaves. The last thing you wanted as an invader was to defeat an enemy so completely that it left you tilling the fields, reaping the crops and doing the cooking.
The English Language
The failure of the Wipeout Theory leads us to another problem. The main reason for the Wipeout Theory was undoubtedly linguistic, how could a million or more people just stop speaking their native tongue and adopt Anglo-Saxon before the days of formal education? Why did Welsh, Cornish and Cumbric survive when the "British" of the South East of England has disappeared without any trace? If most of the people living in England in 600 AD were descendants of the people who had lived in England in 200 AD what happened to their language? Why did they cease speaking their native tongue and adopt "Anglo-Saxon" before schools existed? The answer that is still supported by 99% of British historians is that the native population was wiped out. Given that the population was not wiped out and that Cumbric survived the Saxon conquest even though Cumbria was thinly populated and an easy prey for genocide, the most obvious answer is that the people who lived in South East and Eastern England spoke a language very similar to Anglo-Saxon before the Saxons invaded.
Observers at the time of the Roman invasion of Britain noted that the tribes on both sides of the Straits of Dover were related and in close contact. Caesar, in his book, The Conquest of Gaul, describes the Channel as a place where there was considerable trade carried by large and rugged vessels:
"if the worst came to the worst, those born sailors knew that they could take to the stout ships which had weathered so many storms"
The people on both sides of the channel had advanced sea faring cargo ships - see note (1) below. When Caesar attacked Northern Gaul the British came to help their "fair haired" friends across the Channel and Caesar's invasion of Britain was to "to punish the southern tribes, who had helped their kinsmen in Gaul to resist him" (Chapter 6).
Despite these contemporary accounts of Southern England having a close affinity with the Germanic tribes of Northern France and Belgium British historians cannot bring themselves to propose that the Southern and Eastern English may have for centuries been invading and trading with Northern France, Belgium, Holland and Friesland and vice versa. Would it really be so surprising to find that these South Easterners were culturally Anglo-Saxon and already spoke Anglo-Saxon before the Anglo-Saxons invaded? Would it be so shocking if the South Eastern English always spoke English?
The best argument for an Anglo-Saxon dialect being spoken in the South East of England is the place names or "toponymy" of the area. There are almost no Ancient Briton place names but there are survivals of Roman place names such as Porchester, Chichester etc. The historians are going to have us believe that every single village and hamlet in South East England completely changed name in the 500 years after the Romans left even though there is almost no evidence of Anglo-Saxon population replacement in the South East and few people could write! This is obvious nonsense, the people of the South East of England always spoke with an Anglo-Saxon dialect, even before Hengist and Horsa arrived.
The Norman Apocalypse - The Cause of the "Dark Ages"
British historians like to portray the Anglo-Saxons as primitives who lived in wooden huts. According to the myth these primitives were extremely lucky because the Normans came and within 100-200 years had built a church or cathedral in every town and village. The Saxons left almost no trace of civilisation, being primitive folk. It is only recently, since metal detectorists and excavations have found various hordes of jewellery that this view appears simplistic.
|Saxon art: The Winchester Cathedral glass bowl from the 10th century and the Sutton Hoo Shoulder Clasp from the 6th-7th century|
The Winchester Cathedral glass bowl from the 10th century and the Sutton Hoo Shoulder Clasp from the 6th-7th century show just how primitive Saxon culture could be (click on the pictures to show finer detail). Notice that these objects were found in graves. Only goods that were buried or hidden survived.
Saxon architecture is incredibly rare in Britain. Two examples are shown below:
|Saxon architecture: St Laurence's Church, Bradford Upon Avon and St Peter's Barton upon Humber.|
These were not city churches or even large town churches. What happened to the Saxon churches that must have existed in every larger English town? What happened to all the Saxon artefacts and books? British historians call the results of this apocalyptic destruction of Saxon culture the "Dark Ages", "dark" because almost no record of Saxon culture has been left.
Not only was almost every Saxon church demolished and replaced in the first century or so after the Norman conquest, all the houses disappeared as well. It is time to reassess the Norman conquest, it has the characteristics of an apocalypse, or Maoist style Cultural Revolution, rather than a simple conquest, with everything relating to the previous regime utterly destroyed.
Note 1: A contemporary description of Channel shipping.
The countries that bordered the Channel in 50BC used large, ocean going sailing ships to cross the seas. This is clear in Caesar's account of a naval battle at that time:
"The rams of the light galleys would fail to make any impression on those huge hulls. The deck-turrets were run up: but even then the Romans were overtopped by the lofty poops, and could not throw their javelins with effect But the Roman engineers had prepared an ingenious contrivance. Two or more galleys rowed up close to one of the enemies' ships. Then, with sharp hooks fixed to the ends of long poles, the Romans caught hold of the halyards, and pulled them tight the rowers pulled their oars with might and main ; and the sudden strain snapped the ropes. Down fell the yards : the troops clambered on to the helpless hulk; and the struggle was soon ended by the short sword. When several ships had been thus captured, the rest prepared to escape. But they had hardly been put before the wind when there was a dead calm ; and, as they had no oars, they could not stir."
From Caesar's Conquest of Gaul http://archive.org/stream/caesarsconquest00holmgoog/caesarsconquest00holmgoog_djvu.txt