The mass immigration to Orkney in the Bronze Age displaced most of the population. New research shows that a large portion of this migration was led by women.
Experts performed DNA analysis on ancient human remains found on the islands.
The universities of Edinburgh and Huddersfield combined archaeology and the study of ancient human remains dating back to the Bronze Age in this study.
According to them, most European resettlements were led by men when livestock farming increased.
Researchers found the exact opposite in Orkney where Bronze Age newcomers were mainly women.
The original Neolithic population’s male lineages survived at least another 1,000 year – something that is rare elsewhere.
They were largely replaced by Iron Ages, which followed the Bronze Age. Today, they are considered “vanishingly rare”.
Period of integration
Researchers examined human remains found at the Links of the Noltland location on the remote northern island of Westray.
They think Orkney is unique because of the stability of the island’s farmsteads.
They believe the islands were less isolated at this time in their history than previously thought.
Experts believe there was a long period of integration between the newcomers from south and the native males over many generations.
Jim Wilson, a professor of human genetics at Edinburgh’s Usher Institute said that it was “absolutely fascinating to discover the dominant Orcadian Neolithic female genetic lineage survived at least 1,000 years into Bronze Age, despite the fact that 95% of the genome has been replaced by immigrant women.”
“This lineage was then replaced by another and we have yet find it in the current population.”