This sixth century great square-headed brooch from UCLan excavations at Oakington encapsulates an early Anglo-Saxon riddle. At the bottom a face stares out, but look closely at the sides of the face and it has two additional faces looking left and right. There are three ways to see it, and it also sees in three directions. There are many ways to see early medieval migrations; with DNA we have identified early settlers, Britons, and their mixed children living side by side. Within the artefacts we can use microfocused XRF analysis to see ways of making that are Anglo-Saxon and Romano-British combined into single objects though techniques like enamelling. So who were the Anglo-Saxons who made these objects, simply invaders, settlers? Or as we have found in our research a mixture of people with different biological heritages who came together to create a new culture in the space left after Roman Britain.
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Stephan Schiffels, Wolfgang Haak, Pirita Paajanen, Bastien Llamas, Elizabeth Popescu, Louise Lou, Rachel Clarke, Alice Lyons, Richard Mortimer, Duncan Sayer, Chris Tyler-Smith, Alan Cooper, Richard Durbin. (2016) Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon genomes from East England reveal British migration history. Nature Communications 7 DOI:10.1038/ncomms10408