A DNA analysis conducted by British researchers revealed the origin of the people who built Stonehenge.
The ancestors of those who built Stonehenge traveled West, on the Mediterranean, before reaching the current territory we know today as the United Kingdom.
Researchers from London compared the DNA extracted from Neolithic human remains found in the United Kingdom with DNA of the people who lived during the same period in Europe.
Neolithic people apparently traveled from Anatolia ( Turkey ) towards the Iberic peninsula before reaching North. They arrived in the British islands around the year 4000 b.c.
The migration towards Britania was just part of a wide expansion of people from Anatolia which started in the year 6000 b.c which introduced farming in Europe. Before that, Europe was populated by small nomadic groups who hunted and gathered plants.
One of the pioneer group of farmers followed the course of the Danube upstream, towards Central Europe however another group traveled west on the Mediterranean.
DNA analysis revealed that Neolithic people who lived on the current territory of the United Kingdom were descendants of the people who traveled by sea.
When British researchers analyzed the DNA of farmers they discovered that they were very similar to Neolithic people from the Iberic peninsula ( Spain and Portugal ). The people from the peninsula were descendants of the people who traveled by sea.
Besides farming, those who migrated in Neolithic towards Britania also brought with them the tradition of building monuments using large stones, known as megaliths. Stonehenge from Wiltshire is part of this group of constructions.
The territory was occupied by groups of hunters and when farmers arrived around the year 4000 b.c., DNA analysis show that the two groups didn’t mix almost at all.
The first group was replaced almost entirely by the second group, with the exception of people from Western Scotland. During the study the researchers analyzed DNA of hunters from the British territory. The analysis of a skeleton called Cheddar Man showed that, just like most European hunters of that time, he had a dark skin and blue eyes.
DNA analysis also shows that Neolithic farmers had light skin, brown eyes and brown or dark hair.
Towards the end of the Neolithic area, around the year 2450 b.c, the descendants of the first farmers were also almost entirely replaced by a new population – Bell Beaker – who migrated from Europe.