Ancestral Journeys

Jacket of Ancestral Journeys, paperback 2015


The revised and updated paperback edition of Ancestral Journeys: The Peopling of Europe from the First Venturers to the Vikings was published in September 2015 and also released as an ebook. (The release date in the US is later.) Since the first edition of this book, the flood of exciting results from ancient DNA has continued to reshape our views of the European past. So Thames and Hudson kindly permitted me to revise the text for the paperback edition. The enlarged tables of ancient haplogroups show the leap in knowledge in just two years. It has enabled me to replace conjectures from modern DNA and/or physical anthropology with more reliable evidence. Archaeology has not stood still either. New evidence has rearranged ideas and shuffled the sequence of events in several parts of our story.

A new book, Blood of the Celts, was also released in September 2015 in hardback and as an ebook. (The release date in the US is later.)

Who are the Europeans and where did they come from? In recent years scientific advances have released a mass of data, turning cherished ideas upside down. The idea of migration in prehistory, so long out of favour, is back on the agenda. Visions of continuity have been replaced with a more dynamic view of Europe’s past, with one wave of migration followed by another, from the first human arrivals in Europe to the Vikings.

Ancient DNA links Europe to its nearest neighbours. It is not a new idea that farming was brought from the Near East, but genetics now reveals an unexpectedly complex process in which farmers arrived not in one wave, but several. Even more unexpected is the evidence that the European gene pool was stirred vigorously many times after farming had reached most of Europe. Climate change played a part in this upheaval, but so did new inventions such as the plough and wheeled vehicles. Genetic and linguistic clues also enhance our understanding of the upheavals of the Migration Period, the wanderings of steppe nomads, and the adventures of the Vikings.

Sample pages from Ancestral JourneysJean Manco weaves the multiple strands of genetic evidence with archaeology, history and linguistics to produce a startling new history of Europe.

The books can be purchased via online booksellers if you don't find it in your local bookshop.

Supplementary material is available on this website. For those confused by my many references to haplogroups, phylogenetic trees are maintained online at (mtDNA) and (Y-DNA).