RESEARCHERS at York University say mass migration over the Channel from Europe is nothing new as immigrants replaced half the ancestry of England and Wales during the Late Bronze Age.

New DNA research has tracked large scale movements into southern Britain 3000 years ago for the first time.

The people included those looking for husbands or wives - changing around 50 percent of the genes of subsequent populations.

The findings are based on an analysis of the DNA of almost 800 ancient individuals - the biggest of its kind.

Lead author Professor Ian Armit, of the University of York, said: “We have long suspected, based on patterns of trade and shared ideologies, that the Middle to Late Bronze Age was a time of intense contacts between communities in Britain and Europe.

“While we may once have thought that long-distance mobility was restricted to a few individuals, such as traders or small bands of warriors, this new DNA evidence shows considerable numbers of people were moving, across the whole spectrum of society.”

Combining genetics and archaeology, researchers found rather than a violent invasion or single event, there was sustained contact between mainland Britain and Europe over several centuries.

Reasons included intermarriage and small scale family groups upping sticks, plus the movement of farmers and traders- during the Bronze Age.