If we accept that there was no Anglo-Saxon invasion what do we throw out in terms of established his

Maybe not, but at least one of those tribes probably beamed up.

(No I know nothing about history, why do you ask?)

That’s not much of an argument, given that the documentary, which was part of the series Britain A.D., was actually called ‘The Invasion That Never Was’. (It is also not a BBC programme, being instead made for one of their commercial rivals but then sold internationally by BBC Worldwide Ltd.) What’s more, it was presented by Francis Pryor, the most high-profile proponent of the theory.

Presumably in Pryor’s book on the subject, Britain A.D.

My non-specialist impression is that few specialists agree with Pryor, whose real expertise is in any case on pre-Roman Britain, but that his views did make quite a big splash among British archaeologists when he first aired them.

Thank you APB. I didn’t know Pryor’s background. I had my suspicions about the program. Thank you for that feedback. Thank you all.
davidmich

That information was not available to me. It is not what it says on the page at the OP’s link, which is what I was going on.

Academics sometimes do try to make a “splash” by putting out a soundbyte version of their conclusions for the lay media that does not exactly directly misrepresent but is immensely misleading in implying much more extreme and sensational claims than they are really making. This sometimes gets them on TV, but also alienates most of their peers. I am guessing that is what is going on here.

What exactly are Pryor’s real claims? Does he really go much beyond the claim that the Anglo-Saxons did not commit genocide?

I note that the book appears to unavailable at Amazon, and there is no preview at Google books.

OK, it is unavailable at amazon.co.uk - seems to be out of print in Britain, which probably tells you something - but available at US Amazon. One reviewer, despite giving it 4 stars, says that it essentially ignores all the written historical evidence (Bede and others) that talks of invasion and conflict, and, in effect, argues that there was no invasion because no archeological evidence of battles has been found, and the evidence of cultural change suggests it was relatively gradual.

I came across this idea recently in a book called A Book Around the Irish Sea by David Brett. He implies that the Anglo-Saxon invasion as a singular event (Hengist and Horsa) is legendary, and that Germanic tribes settled in Eastern Britain earlier than the putative invasion.

The Oppenheimer reference is end-noted as “S. Oppenheimer (2006) The origins of the British: a genetic detective story, London, Constable, part 1”

When you conquer somebody else’s country, you don’t want to kill everybody. for one thing, who’s going to grow the food? Pay the taxes? Build the castles?

Really, if you’re thinking ahead, you want to kill as few as possible. The more workers, the better you eat.

Unfortunately the youtube listing is misleadingly titled:
History of Britain The Anglo Saxon Invasion BBC Documentary
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EAwokOFjvA

davidmich

That would be because of the Angles, who didn’t do much more than give their name to the country and impress their language on it before fading away.

Um, yes, the takeover of the land by Angles and Saxons was pretty much complete by the time that name was given. Pretty persuasive evidence of a wholesale takeover, domination, or however you want to characterize i - an “invasion”.

Otherwise it would Pictland or Gayland after the picts or Gaelic?

Again, that does not seem like news. It has long been my understanding (and I claim no expertise on the period) that the invasion was a long drawn out process, perhaps over centuries, certainly many decades. Furthermore, anyone with much clue about how history works would suspect that the Hengist & Horsa story was largely legend (i.e., that although there might have been - probably were - real people and events behind the story, they probably were not as neat and did not have the pivotal importance that a chronicler like Gildas would tend to assign to them, in order to be able to tell a pretty story).

I do claim some expertise here, and I agree with you completely.

Some of the posters in this thread seem to have an incorrect image. The fifth century was nothing like the 12th. No medieval castles in Britain at this point, for instance, though there would have been fortresses. The scale of any given battle is likely to be reasonably small, so more difficult to see archaeologically. The English came and quickly established a few small kingdoms, which then expanded and fought with the other small kingdoms on the island until eventually they wound up with two big kingdoms that united in 1707.

That Wiki article seems to agree with the scholars OP cites that there is no firm evidence of “conquest.” Obviously there was much migration.

Alfred the Great claimed paternal descent from Cerdic but Cerdic sounds more like a Brythonic name than Germanic. According to some, after the Anglo-Saxon people became perceived as the prestige group in part of Britain, British Kings may have falsely claimed Anglo-Saxon descent!

As to replacement of genes by invaders, the Y-chromosome offers a different (and “crisper”) perspective than autosomal or mtDNA. It’s an amazing fact that most Western Europeans trace agnatic ancestry to a single male who lived as recently as 4000 BC or so. There was some wholesale replacements (genocide?) of Y-chromosome in the Copper Age or later, with most (not all) English haplogroups arriving no earlier than that.