My Genealogy Research

My research, genealogy tips and anecdotes

My Genealogy Research

Genetic Tie To Celtic Dobunni Tribe

A view of Battlesbury Hillfort in Wiltshire, England
credit: Photo © Martin Addison (cc-by-sa/2.0)

I used to say that although I’m technically half English / Half Irish, I’m 99% Celtic. I based this on fact that a chunk of my English was Cornish and Welsh. I can now add more Celtic blood through my Wiltshire families.

Celtic Connection

I have my raw DNA uploaded to MyTrueAncestry and have been fascinated with all results I’ve received. Recently they had a new archealogical site to link DNA to. It’s a Celtic Hillfort near Warminster, Wiltshire. It’s called Battlesbury Camp. Archealogists have recovered a few different remains and I have a fairly high match with two of them.

The closer of the two matches is with remains from the Iron Age (180 BC). My match was a Genetic Distance of 6.4219. (the lower the number, the closer the match). My other match of 9.3450 is with remains from the Roman Era (300 AD).

The Battlesbury Hillfort is believed to have been built in the Iron Age by the Dobunni Celtic tribe. The Dobunni were one of the Iron Age tribes living in the British Isles prior to the Roman conquest of Britain. (wikipedia)

In one of the maps below, you can see where the Dobunni were located. In the other map, the yellow star is where my late 17th century to mid 19th century families of Keen, Bryant and Brown lived. The orange star is the location of Battlesbury Camp.

Map showing Dobunni and other Celtic Tribe locations in Britain

Map showing location of Battlebury Hillfort and my ancestors locations in Wiltshire, England
Yellow star is location of my Keen, Bryant and Brown families. The orange star is location of Battlebury Hillfort

Battlesbury Hillfort

An article in states that digs at the location have uncovered “fortifications , late Iron Age pottery, the hub of a chariot wheel, an iron carpenter’s saw, a latch-lifter for a hut door, querns, whetstones, sling stones, and animal bones. These all indicate a permanent occupation and date from the 1st century BC.”

The author believes that the finding of the remains of men, women and children near an entrance to the fort points to a “violent end” for the occupants of the fort. DNA from these remains are the ones that MyTrueAncestry uses to link to current individuals.

The History of Hillforts

According to wikipedia, “Hill forts developed in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age, roughly the start of the first millennium BC. The reason for their emergence in Britain, and their purpose, has been a subject of debate. It has been argued that they could have been military sites constructed in response to invasion from continental Europe, sites built by invaders, or a military reaction to social tensions caused by an increasing population and consequent pressure on agriculture.”

The Dobunni

Iron Age Dobunni Tribe were a large group of farmers and craftsmen, living in small villages concentrated in fertile valleys. The Dobunni were one of the Celtic tribes that issued coins prior to the Roman’s arrival.

At the time the Battlebury Hillfort was built, ““The Celts, or Britons, were people gathered in many different tribe groups. At that time, Britain was a territory of villages and farmers. No roads existed, and the common way of transportation would be by horse on land, or by sailing small boats in rivers.” source: How The Romans Conquered Britain

My Link to Prehistoric Celts

My Wiltshire family is one that I’ve only recently been researching and until these DNA findings, I never expected to be able to connect them to a prominent Celtic Tribe. Now I just need to connect to Celts in Lincolnshire and Cheshire and I’ll be able to say I’m 100% Celtic!

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