I normally would not take up an issue that is a political hot potato. That’s not what this blog site is about. However, I saw a very interesting article in the BBC entitled DNA Study Finds London was Ethnically Diverse From Start.
If you’ve traveled to London and Paris and walked around a bit, you might have noticed the difference right away: London isn’t an English city any longer, it is an international one. Yet, Paris on the other hand, remains quite French. The BBC article begins by pointing out London was a cosmopolitan town even 2,000 years ago.
It seems there are more than 20,000 human remains (each in their own cardboard box) located at the Museum of London. These remains are former residents of London dating back almost 5,500 years. Scientists and researchers are using new DNA and chemical processes to analyze, among other things, the origins of these folks (why they don’t just go to Ancestry.com I’ll never know).
The article identifies individual sets of remains for three people: The Lant Street Teenager, The Mansell Street Man, and The Harper Road Woman. The teenager was a 14-year-old girl who grew up in North Africa before coming to London. She had blue eyes and came from a sub-Saharan African ancestry. The Mansell Street man was likely a gladiator based on his skull’s wounds. He was over 45 when he died and his complexion was dark. Mansell Street man probably died of diabetes after moving from Africa (his mother was likely of Eastern European descent). Finally, the Harper Road woman was probably a first generation Londoner who rapidly adopted the Roman culture shortly after their invasion.
Through scientific research, the men and women devoting their time to these studies are proving that London was a melting pot of immigrants going back to Roman days. These immigrants assimilated themselves into the local culture and over the centuries, built one of the world’s greatest cities.
When I get tired of Paris and run out of books to write on that city, I will move on to London. I already have the first walking tour book fleshed out. One of the walks will be about the old Londinium (the first city settled by the Romans).
Sandy and I took a personalized tour based on Londinium several years ago. We walked for three hours inside the old walled city and saw things that most people never experience on their own or in those group tours. I won’t outline some of the spots we stopped at because I’m going to include them in the future book (no spoiler alerts here). So hang in with me and hope I get tired of Paris. Yeah, right.
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What’s New With Sandy and Stew?
We are working with Roy, our book designer, to finalize the construction of the walking tour book of medieval Paris. These two volumes are expected to be published in January or early February 2016.
I am working on creating the walks and individual stops for the next books: Where Did They Put the Gestapo Headquarters?—A Walking Tour of Nazi Occupied Paris (1940–1944). It’s clear that almost every building in Paris has a story associated with the Occupation years. It is a matter of identifying them and then prioritizing the stops for you. This is quite a process considering the tangents and rabbit holes I end up going down. But it is a lot of fun if not quite depressing at times. One of my friends, Mark Vaughan, has suggested a walking tour book based on Napoléon. What do you think?
We have a lot of stories and we’re looking forward to sharing these with you. Please continue to visit our blog site and perhaps you’d like to subscribe so that you don’t miss out on our blog posts, past and current.
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Copyright © 2015 Stew Ross