Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bremen : Lower Saxony (Germany)

In 150 AD the geographer Ptolemy described Fabiranum or Phabiranum, known today as Bremen. At that time the Chauci lived in the area now called northwestern Germany or Lower Saxony. By the end of the 3rd century, they had merged with the Saxons. During the Saxon Wars (772-804) the Saxons, led by Widukind, fought against the West Germanic Franks, the founders of the Carolingian Empire and lost the war.

  • Sample :

Full scale

  • Brief anthropological analysis :

- Type 1 : Light complexion (from medium brown to blonde hair with rufosity, blue eyes, ...), leptomorphic, general robust features, high forehead, long face, straight and rather wavy nose, large jaw, close-set eyes
~ Nordid

This type, hesitating inbetween classical Trønder and Halstatt types as identified by many authors, is quite typical from North Germany. A darker variant can be found which is maybe more pan-Germanic (similar types are found as far south as Austria).

Eventually, more brachymorphic individuals are found fitting in a rather large Subnordid category that links Nordoid types with the second type. Rufosity is abundant and noses are generally convex.

- Type 2 : Light complexion (medium light hair with possible reddish undertones, light eyes, ...), brachymorphic, general robust features, squared-box face, high and broad forehead, little and broad nose that can get concave, strongly drawn lines around the oral cavity, rather full lips deep jaw, wide-set eyes
~ Borreby

This type is quite widespread in Northern Europe. It is very prevailing amongst women. This very type might be a great source of differenciation between Northern Germany and Southern Germany.

  • Final morphotypes :


  1. Bremen is not technically Lower Saxony but a different Land, made up of Bremen city and Bremerhaven. However it's inded totally surrounded by Lower Saxony.

    What more called my attention is that noses appear to be relatively broad at the bottom. This is surely more common in the second type, but their noses also seem smaller overall.

    Mostly they give me a Dutch vibe with tendencies towards Britain and North France.

  2. You're right about Bremen being its own State. Still, I've tried to respect the borders of the former Duchy of Bremen - which did not include the city of Bremen - more or less on the right bank of the Weser river. Excluding Bremen appeared to me to be a bit artificial as the town had always been attached to Saxon lands from a religious point of view.

    A Dutch vibe is also my feeling about this sample.

  3. I could imagine you had the bishopric (later duchy) in mind because you drew its borders on Lower Saxony. But, well, when I or anyone reads Bremen, we think in modern administrative divisions.

    So I still don't know if this sample is from Bremen city or from an area East and NE of it. It may not be too important but your introduction is anything but clarifying.

  4. I did not select people living in Bremen, only people from the countryside, essentially from Rotenburg as far as I remember, even though I noticed that autochtonous surnames were rather shared in the whole former Duchy.

    Surnames in Germany are either shared throughout the whole country or very localized. Note that it's true for most European countries.

  5. This project is great! I've conlcuded that my boyfriend's ancestors were almost certainly Saxons, as it fits his phenotype to a T. I am almost all Scottish, and have fairly typical lowland Scot features. (We're Americans.)

    I can accept the French calling him an "Anglo-Saxon," but it raises my hackles somewhat! ;) (My major was French in college. It helps me understand your idioms, I think.)

    It will be interesting to see which features will prevail should we have kids. My phenotype is shorter, paler, with freckles and wider, larger eyes and thin lips.


I've chosen to let people comment freely on my posts. Nevertheless, you'll lose your time taunting me and calling me a fascist (which I'm really not) : I pray you to read my introduction which will reassure that my intentions genuinely aim at achieving amateurish knowledge. I understand that you may not share my passion for the history of the peopling of the World, just don't let me know as clear conscience gained by bashing a humble documentary work is useless.