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Ancestral Journeys: The Peopling of Europe from the First Venturers to the Vikings [Kindle Edition]

Jean Manco

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An interesting account of the peopling of Europe that attempts to integrate archaeology, history, and linguistics with the latest genetic evidence. . . . Recommended.


Ideas about European ancestors are being transformed through archaeology, linguistics and the new genetic revolution. 'Ancestral Journeys' skilfully weaves these multiple strands to produce a startling new history of Europe. It will be of compelling interest to those who want to trace their ancestry through DNA and understand what the results mean. The fast-paced narrative is illustrated with specially commissioned maps and diagrams, as well as photographs and drawings, showing the movements of people, the spread of languages and DNA distributions. Unprecedented in the scope of its research, this paradigm-shifting, highly readable book challenges our established ways of looking at Europe's past and its people. The discovery of ancient DNA provides evidence that the European gene pool was stirred many times. Clues are also enhancing our understanding of European mobility, including the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons, the spread of the Slavs and the adventures of the Vikings.


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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.2 von 5 Sternen  39 Rezensionen
63 von 65 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent Maps, Charts and Illustrations highlight this Remerakbly Comprehensive Look at European Origins 2. Februar 2014
Von K. Wheaton - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
First off this book is not for those looking for a significant treatment of their particular Y DNA or mtDNA. This book will however educate you on the broad movements of Y and mtDNA in Europe. It is also not for someone looking for simplistic answers to very complex questions.

This book is absolutely incredible in the way it takes a multidisciplinary approach to the Peopling of Europe and presents it in a way that is both compelling and understandable to the lay person. It draws heavily on the latest research in linguistics, history, archeology, anthropology and DNA to weave the tale of human migrations and settlement in Europe. Its wonderful maps, charts and illustrations provide excellent illustration for the material presented. I very much appreciate that the author presents different viewpoints and gives us a thorough background of how ideas have changed over time.

Although new research will certainly impact the evidence presented here, unlike another reviewer I do not see that this book will become quickly obsolete. As a genetic genealogist interested in ancient origins this book places genetics into the broader context of history and geography. I am grateful to the author for taking so much information and bringing it together so that those from different perspectives can see what each discipline brings to the table in helping us to understand the migrations of our ancient ancestors.

Perhaps I am influenced by my own belief that anything to do with humans is complicated. I happen to agree with the author that any one single migration is less likely than lots of smaller ones over time and sometimes getting to the same place via very different routes.

The Notes and Bibliography are particularly impressive. This is an exceedingly well researched book presented with all the rigors of an academic textbook but accessible for any one with a keen interest in the subject. Bravo!
40 von 41 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A useful review of a huge subject by an avid non-specialist 7. März 2014
Von PNG - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
First, let me say that I am not an expert in any of the fields relevant to this book - I'm a retired biochemist, so the genetics is quite comprehensible to me, but I have no training in population genetics. It doesn't seem to be mentioned in the book or on amazon, but the author has a website called, which is a supplement to the book. If you are considering buying it, you can get a good idea what the book is like by looking at the site, and it has updated tables of ancient DNA results which are very useful if you are interested in this. As the author makes clear in the book, some hypotheses about ancient Europe that have prevailed for a long time are being overturned by ancient DNA results, and even some population geneticists are still publishing papers arguing for models that are completely inconsistent with ancient DNA typing results.

The author has some training relevant to archaeology, and she has followed this very big topic of the pre-history of Europe for a long time, taking notes on the developments in archaeology, linguistics, population genetics, climate science, etc. that are relevant. I found the book very worthwhile for someone like me who recently got interested in genetic genealogy and past population movements. I have read a number of research papers in the pertinent population genetics, but I needed a broad overview, especially of fields like archaeology, where I know much less. Manco does probably as good a job at this as any non-specialist could. Unlike another reviewer, I thought the book was pretty well written, but there are some shortcomings of organization. It seems that topics are introduced at a point in the narrative that doesn't make sense - the tsunami that inundated Doggerland in ~6100 B.C. is brought up in a late chapter, rather than the early chapter where it logically should go.

There seems to be no end to the number of ancient regional cultures that are known largely from archaeology, mention by classical authors, and the speculations of historical linguists. If you are familiar with West Eurasian archaeology, this may be old hat, but for the rest of us, it would have helped to get a little more background before describing the migrations of a tribe.

Even accounting for the complexity of the topic, the book has a feel of having been rushed to press. There are a number of typos, including figure legends that imply SNP frequencies of <1%, when it is obvious that the correct scale would have been 100x larger. There are numbers in the text that don't correspond to a reference - they seem to be left over from some intermediate stage of processing by software. Some very basic editing was simply not done in the rush to get this in press. I blame this on the publisher.

There are probably major changes in this field yet to come, as more ancient DNA is sequenced and projects like People of the British Isles, DNA of the Netherlands, and the Genographic Project map haplogroup frequencies in larger samples and finer detail. In the future, I think that for this kind of book to be done well, it will have to be a collaboration between specialists in the many fields that impinge on European pre-history. At the moment, though, this book is a remarkable accomplishment for one author and definitely worth the price if this kind of thing interests you. I give the author an A and the publisher a D.
23 von 25 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen What's Your Haplogroup? 8. März 2014
Von Axie Barclay - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
//Ancestral Journeys: The Peopling of Europe from the First Venturers to the Vikings// by Jean Manco is an exciting new book that deals with the most recent data and theory around the peopling of Europe. For a book that came about almost by accident, its content is pretty incredible.

It’s long been held that European populations were mostly static, but the latest genetic, archaeological, and linguistic evidence says otherwise. This paradigm-shifting work reveals the flaws in previous theories, mainly concerning migration, using ancient DNA, genetics, and language to change our understanding of the European gene pool.

What is most likeable about this book is the author’s voice. Science, especially the explanation of genetics and mtDNA versus aDNA, is particularly prone to dry writing. Not so with Jean Manco. Her enthusiasm for the topic is infectious and she has a way of drawing the reader in, or maybe back is the more correct term, sharing the zeal for discovery of the movement of people in ancient times. It just goes to show that people are people, and history can always surprise you.

--Review also provided to
22 von 24 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen a precious volume 25. Dezember 2013
Von pointillistic - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This is an extraordinary book in it's scope and ambition. This is exactly the kind of book I am after, namely a book that changes your understanding about the key markers of our civilization. Perhaps unavoidably there are too many names, cultures and genetic nomenclatures. Yet you come out on the other side of the engaging read with an unexpected view of the human itinerary. This is a heroic achievement for the author. I very much recommend this precious volume.
8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Genetics are the key 15. Juni 2014
Von Bainbridge Booklover - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
If you can master the chapter on DNA and genetic groupings, this will be exciting for you. Linguists will revel in the relationships of languages and the adopting of individual words (not an ancient phenomenon, but probably not thought of as ancient)/ For the general reader the result is to ponder the constant migrations of peoples over hundreds of years and the effect of even one "outsider" on the gene pool. You will never again think of any kind of "ethnic" or "racial" purity.
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