The Beaker People Project, recently published in 2019, is a multi-isotope study, combined with human osteology, dental microwear analysis and radiocarbon-dating, carried out on 334 burials of the Beaker period and Early Bronze Age (c.2500-1500 cal BC) in Britain, to explore patterns of mobility, migration, diet and health. Its results indicate that at least 40% of these individuals were buried in a region different to where they grew up. Whilst many of these may well have moved relatively long distances in their lifetimes, the famous Amesbury Archer, with his apparently long-distance migration from continental Europe, is atypical of the overall pattern of mobility. Whilst recent studies of aDNA of Beaker people reveal evidence of migration from Europe to Britain, most of the isotope data are likely to relate to shorter movements within Britain of descendant later generations of first-generation cross-Channel immigrants. Thus the isotope evidence provides a different measure of mobility and migration to the aDNA evidence. Much of the isotope-identified mobility may have related to mobile subsistence practices rather than to long-distance marriage exchanges or migration per se.
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