The Cimbri

The Cimbri, at least as far back as the latter part of the 2nd Century BC,
but with persuasive evidence for a much earlier date (6th Century), resided in what is
today Himmerland County, Jutland, Denmark. Some ultimately settled in the Vestfold
area of Southeast Norway and perhaps Hordaland. The writings of Classical Greek and
Roman authors make it clear despite their location in the Germanic north, they spoke a
Celtic language related to Gaulish P-Celt, originated in the Celtic lands between Gaul and
Moravia with prongs in Jutland as well as both sides of the Alps, and had a culture that
was overwhelmingly Celtic. Their Celtic affiliation lasted until some time between the
3rd and 6th Centuries AD when they lost their tribal identity subsequent to merging with
the Danes. Archaeological data confirms that their culture was Celtic, with some of the
most impressive Celtic finds in Europe coming from Himmerland. Genetic data points to
a prototypic La Tene Central European Y-chromosome DNA marker (S28-R1b1c10) as
being one key component of the genetic mix of the Cimbri. This marker links them to
their Central European kinfolk (e.g., in Switzerland and Northern Italy), and their Danish
and Norse Viking descendants in Eastern England, the Orkney Islands and elsewhere.

S28 is a novel SNP that has been little studied to date that defines a subgroup of R1b1c. Although caution is required due to biased reporting of SNP testing it appears to be a reasonably frequent SNP within R1b its age suggests it occurred in the hunter-gatherer period after the last ice age. Its distribution strongly suggests it originated in Europe, the moderate frequency in England is consistent with perhaps one third of the Y chromosomes in the region having a post hunter-gatherer European origin.


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