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By Tom Nuttall  

“Myths of British ancestry,” Stephen Oppenheimer’s controversial article on the genetic ancestry of the British, published in our October 2006 issue, is one of the most popular pieces we’ve ever published, to judge by our website stats. (It’s beaten by Alex Renton’s May 2005 article “Learning the Thai sex trade,” but it’s safe to attribute almost all that piece’s traffic to the fact that it appears top of the Google results list when you type in “Thai sex.”)

Oppenheimer’s article, which argued that most of the received wisdom on the ancestry of the British—from the claim that up until the…

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