Holy Blood, Phoenician Sails?

by Dennis on April 2, 2010

When I was investigating the material for what would become my book, “The Missing Years of Jesus“, it made sense to explore as many avenues of this baffling subject as I possibly could. However, the notion that the most famous person who has ever lived could have visited Britain “in ancient time” was not one that many academics were eager to be involved with, as I learned from the frosty and frequently non-existent responses to some of my queries. This meant that some intriguing material failed to make it into my book, simply because I was unable to investigate and evaluate it properly.

There were however exceptions to the general attitude of disdain that I encountered, while one person in particular could not have been more helpful. The various legends spoke of Jesus arriving in the West of England by boat, so I assumed that he’d journeyed by sea from one of the major ports in the eastern Mediterranean.

This region was the homeland of the Phoenicians, arguably the greatest seafarers in human history, so I asked my friend Salim if he could assist me in any way. Salim runs A Bequest Unearthed, a website that comprises the largest amount of information on the ancient Phoenicians on the internet and he pointed me towards numerous items of interest, most of which eventually appeared in “The Missing Years of Jesus”.

The book was published last year, but as anyone who visits this site will be aware, I continue to look into the subject of “Jesus in Britain”, partly out of continued curiosity, but also because new material continues to come in with surprising regularity. A few weeks ago, Salim wrote to me to pass on details of someone who had contacted him, and so it is that I’m now publishing extracts of a truly fascinating letter that I was sent by a gentleman named Keith Wilce-Davies.

There are compelling reasons for Jesus to have thought it a good idea to leave his homeland around the age of 12, while those around him doubtless thought along identical lines. There are many compelling reasons for thinking that Britain, the Island to the North, would have been the sole destination of choice for Jesus, while there are detailed and credible legends of him living and working with the ancient Britons in the west of the island.

Not only that, but there are hints of this visit in ecclesiastical records and there are also the enigmatic Tunic Crosses in Cornwall. Instead of the figure of a crucified adult male as an obligatory adornment to a wooden cross, these strange structures show instead what appears to be a youth with his arms raised, as if preaching, while there are many other curiosities to be found in the west of England.

When Jesus reappears in the gospels aged 30 or thereabouts, he displays certain notable characteristics, any one of which he could have individually acquired in a number of locations. To my mind, however, the only place where he could have acquired them all over a period of time was in Britain, which is precisely where so many detailed legends and other evidence place him. All that is lacking is some kind of genetic proof that Phoenicians and Jews travelled to Britain “in ancient time”, but it appears that cold science has now provided further evidence of this. So, I’ll let Keith tell his story in his own words and you can make of it what you will.

“My motivation for testing my DNA came from my interest in tracing my family and constructing my Family Tree. I have been tracing my family for a few years and after reading about DNA testing and watching TV programs, one in particular that caught my attention was about the National Geographic Genographic Project. It appealed to me to let them do the testing, because it not only gave me the information I was looking for, but it also added to our greater knowledge of the movement of human beings around the planet.”

Keith then goes on to say that when he first decided to try to trace his family, he did so out of curiosity and because of medical reasons. He describes two inherited ailments that haven’t really bothered him, but he’s certain that one of them was passed down to him by females on one side of his family.

“I had a feeling it had been passed to me by my mother but I had no proof of this, so tracing my Wilce family and later testing my DNA would give me a clue. My mother was born a Wilce and the family are from the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, but her mother was Mary Morgan who came from Ross-On-Wye. The Wilce family are from Walford, Hope Mansel, Ruardean, and the Mitcheldean area of Gloucester.

My Father was born in Milford Haven and the Davies family are from the Marloes, Dale and Herbrandston Villages. I was born in Shepherd’s Bush in London, but I regard Marloes as my actual home; I moved from London when I was 14 years old and I never returned, whereas Marloes has always been a constant in my life.”

Keith goes on to describe a curious nautical tale that he came across: “During my investigations into my family history, I found that there was a story from my Wilce side that had been handed down about two brothers from Heliogoland that had been shipwrecked in the West Country, early in the 17th century. Up until recently, the furthest back I’d managed to trace a Wilce family member was in 1615, but I have now found traces of the Wilce name before this in London. Who knows whether there is any partial truth in this story, but it’s interesting none the less.”

He goes on to explain some thoughts and misgivings he’d had about the idea of DNA testing: “My Grandmother on my father’s side was born a Folland; this name is actually a Norwegian ‘Farm’ name and they came from an area called Folland on the Island of Averoy, off the coast of Norway. The sad fact is I can’t test for either of these DNAs, so I was left with the Morgan and Davies testing.

My Mitochondrial DNA from the Morgan lineage appeared to be uninteresting, in the sense that it would probably show some English/Welsh European, possibly Scandinavian Ancestry, along, I felt, with most of the English/Welsh population. I thought that my Y Chromosome Davies Lineage would probably be the same, so I was a bit unenthusiastic doing the tests, but I did them anyway, with low expectations.”

I don’t know what Keith anticipated by way of results, but I’m assuming that his low expectations were of an unremarkable lineage with no foreign or otherwise “exotic” elements…

“Imagine my surprise when my MT DNA came back as possible Ashkenazi Jewish Ancestry, Haplogroup K, semi refined to K2b, and my Y Chromosome DNA as Haplogroup T-M70 with possible Phoenician Ancestry! Shocked wasn’t the word for it. My MT Haplogroup K DNA, through Family Tree DNA, yielded a total of 2780 Matches worldwide, with 900 close matches. My Y DNA yielded only 2 matches!

Of course, these are only matches against those that have tested their DNA, but even so I was staggered by the rarity of my Male DNA lineage. In Wales the percentage of the population with the T-M70 DNA is only half a percent around 2,000 people. The percentages are very small in Europe; 0.5% in England and Scotland, it’s a bit higher in southern Spain and the South of France, and it’s very high in Ibiza and Sicily. Of course, it’s found in Turkey, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt and other parts of the Middle East.”

I can understand Keith’s reaction upon learning that he had Phoenician and Jewish ancestry, so it didn’t surprise me when I read his next thoughts on the possible implications of this.

“2,000 people in Wales could mean one common ancestor 80 generations, 2,000 years ago? It’s not beyond the bounds of probability.” Indeed not.

“National Geographic say that it is believed the Phoenicians carried the DNA around the Mediterranean. I’ve read a bit recently and it appears the Sidonians spread around the eastern to central Mediterranean and when the Tyrians became dominant, it was these people that ventured further afield and had ties with the West Country.

The two matches I have at the moment are brothers that live in America, Walter & Claude Mitchell, but they know very little of their Ancestry because they were adopted; all they know is that a grandfather of theirs moved from Canada to the United States in the late 1800′s. There is the American connection with Milford being constructed by American Whalers just over 200 years ago. The other connections are of course the Flemish Mercenaries that William the Conqueror paid by giving them a ‘little bit of England’ which turned out to be Pembrokeshire and it was a Flemish Marcher Lord that built the Castle at Haverfordwest.”

Keith then wrote about the difficulties of gleaning information on his forebears: “The earliest Davies male Ancestor I have found so far is James Davies, born in Herbrandston in 1799. It’s not easy tracing family in Wales because there isn’t a site like the Forest of Dean website where all the info from that area is readily accessible. Ancestry.co are getting better with Welsh information so I’m hopeful in finding out more in the future. The last time I checked, the family history society for the area is run by a Reverend somebody or other and you have to make individual requests to him and he charges you for the privilege. Me and the Church are not on speaking terms, so to speak, so I’m reluctant to add to their coffers!”

This last part by Keith amused me greatly, because I always remember that when my Dad wished to convey a sensation of speed to me, he would tell me that such-and-such travelled “faster than a parson’s soul to Hell!” That aside, Keith had some intriguing information to tell me about his own father and about the affinity for water possessed by other members of his family:

“My father was a Diesel Engineer and he learnt his trade on fishing boats in the docks at Milford Haven. He joined the Army in the 1930′s and was in REME and never went back to live there. My father was mad about the sea and ships; when I was a child in London, we would go down to the Docks in London and just sit and watch the boats coming and going. My brother, who was 9 years older than me, went to Nautical School in Kent and was an officer in the Merchant Navy for a lot of years, then after he left the Navy, he joined the RAF and was stationed at Holyhead in the Air Sea Rescue centre on the high speed rescue boats.”

Keith then told me about how he wanted to join the Royal Navy when he left school at 16, but was unable to because of illness. However, he added “My wife and I are making plans to return to Milford Haven in the next couple of years, as both my wife and myself like to be near the sea. My youngest daughter did a degree in Cardiff University and worked for P&O as a Finance Officer on their cruise ships. She left to help us with our family business, but every now and again she says she’s going back to sea!”

Of course, it was strange to read of a man with genetic links to the Phoenicians, the greatest mariners in history, having such an affinity with the sea, so it was again no surprise when Keith wondered out loud “Is it in our blood?”

Keith then supplied me with his details for the National Geographic site so that I could check everything for myself, but it was hardly necessary to verify what he had to say. He’s planning to have further tests done so as to be more precise in the Haplogroup designation and he generously added:

“I hope that this helps; if there is anything else you want, please let me know. Actually, I have to say that this DNA information has changed the way I feel about myself and my family, and I’m extremely proud to be the offspring of Phoenician and possible Jewish Ancestry”.


Nearly 30 years ago, I came across the book The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail, which contained much talk of ‘bloodlines’, while there’s another link dealing with supposed Jesus bloodlines that shows just how much interest there’s been in this subject over the last 30 years or so. There’s also the vexed question of the Turin Shroud, where it seems that no one can agree on whether or not there are human blood stains present – if there were, and if they proved to be from a male who lived in the Middle East about 2,000 years ago, then the implications are astonishing, as can be instantly seen by entering ‘Turin Shroud DNA’ or some variant into a search engine.

However, despite the length of time that these investigations have been going on for and despite the intense interest in the subject, I’m simply not aware that anyone looking into any of these ‘Jesus bloodlines’ has ever come up with any scientific proof whatsoever to back up their assertions.

By way of complete contrast, less than a year after my book was published and without me even going in search of such material, a gentleman has now written to me giving details of DNA tests carried out by such a respected institution as the National Geographic Genographic Project. Of course, everyone will have their own opinion on this matter and I’m assuming that each person will read into it what they wish or do not wish to see.

To try to prevent any misunderstandings about the nature of this post, it’s worth spelling out precisely what information it contains in its simplest possible form, which is this: A man whose family are from south-west Wales has had his DNA tested by a reputable foundation and as a result, he’s discovered that somewhere along the line, he has Phoenician and Jewish ancestry.

All the evidence that I’ve seen, most of which is presented in the pages of my book, tells me that early in the first century AD, Jesus and Joseph of Arimathea came to Britain aboard a Phoenician galley, just as the folklore and legends maintain. So, I would simply ask this – do the results of the DNA tests detailed above, as carried out by the National Geographic Genographic Project, make this scenario more likely, or less likely?

My grateful thanks to Keith Wilce-Davies for taking the time and trouble to write to me with his fascinating story, while I’m also further indebted to my friend Salim from A Bequest Unearthed. My warm thanks also to Angie Lake for the photographs of the painting of Phoenicians coming ashore “in ancient time” and to Juris Ozols & MOJO for the maps showing Phoenicia, the Mediterranean, the West of England and South Wales.

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Angie Lake April 2, 2010 at 2:40 pm

An interesting tale, Dennis. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many more folk in the SW, esp Cornwall and Wales, with Phoenician blood-lines, given the sea-going trade that existed all those years ago. Long voyages would make the sailors seek out some female company when reaching port, don’t you think?

Just a few musings on the subject:
Having lived in Cornwall for 4 years during the early 70s, I’ve noticed several that have extremely dark eyes and often dark hair to match. (Though I note Keith is not quite as dark as those.) In the 60s I worked with a Cornish lady who had very dark hair and almost black eyes. A friend of mine is quite dark-skinned and tans easily, and her father was from a family that lived on the south coast of Cornwall.

If the siting of megalithic monuments along the western coasts of Europe and Britain was created by an ‘Atlantic-sailing’ people who may have originated in Portugal or Spain, those could also be a source, but that’s not to say Phoenicians’ blood-lines didn’t also affect the original Iberian races.

I used to live next door to a woman who was born a Morgan, and she was very attractive in a dark, Mediterranean way, and went very brown in summer. Her father is quite dark too.
(Can’t help thinking of ‘Morgan the Pirate’!)

Dennis April 2, 2010 at 3:51 pm

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before somewhere on Eternal Idol, but when my daughter Tanith (yes, it’s a Phoenician name) was born, she had an extremely dark colour for about two weeks. She was thoroughly checked by midwives, doctors, nurses and health visitors, of course, but there was absolutely nothing wrong with her and the dark colour to her skin gradually faded.

I’m from south Wales and my wife’s family have many Welsh ancestors, so the only explanation that made any sense for Tanith’s colour was that it was some kind of temporary throwback to the days of the Silures, who possessed noticeably dark complexions. I don’t have the faintest idea if this has anything to do with Iberian forebears or Phoenician genes, so I just mention it for what it’s worth, but it is fascinating that so many people in the West Country and South Wales seem to share these characteristics.


(The photo above shows Tanith a few years ago with her trilithon T-shirt!)

Hugo Jenks April 3, 2010 at 6:52 am

Genetic tracing of ancestry is a fascinating topic.

The quantity of DNA within the mitochondria is small compared to the nuclear DNA (16569 base pairs vs approx 220 million in chromosome 1 alone).

There can be thousands of mitochondria within a cell.

Of interesting relevance here is that the mitochondria are almost exclusively inherited along the maternal line. Any paternal mitochondria that make it into the egg at fertilization are marked and destroyed.

The implication of course is that a woman would have brought this mitochondrial DNA to Britain. It would be difficult to say precisely at what date.

Regarding the missing years, I noticed this:


Gilbert Rattenbury April 3, 2010 at 1:01 pm

If I am understanding this correctly, Mr Wilce-Davies had two tests. One showed a maternal lineage from Ashkenazi Jews, who lived in the Rhineland area of Germany.

The second, which is the bonanza, showed a paternal lineage with possible Phoenician ancestry. A feature of cold science is repeatability. Do it again and you should get the same result. For someone who has already established a male lineage back to Wales, 1799 – long before today’s mass mixing, Mr Wilce-Davies has a very unusual result.

The best thing to do next would be to repeat the test to verify. As the characteristic is only passed on in the male line, ideally his father or a brother should take the test. Next best would be for Mr Wilce-Davies himself to the repeat the test. Given the reputable background of the organizers, we can expect the first test to be say 99% certain. A second test that confirms raises confidence in the theory and the test to say 99.98%. But if different, Mr Wilce-Davies, knowing he is not adopted, should ask for his money back.

Assuming no flaws in the test, what does the result mean? It doesn’t mean more than an ancestor from the Eastern Mediterranean. There is no date and no migratory route.

The rarity in England and Wales is 0.5%, which means one man in two hundred. Considering the distance involved, is that more or less than expected or is the genetic research still too recent to have expectations?.

Direct or indirect?. It is possible that the initial contact in Britain was with a Phoenician, directly, 2000 years ago. It is unfortunately also possible that it was a migrant from continental Europe at any time before 1799 and that the connection was indirect; for example, via someone from the Mediterranean Basin where 6% of the men today have this characteristic.

Final tease – the name Davies is not entirely irrelevant. It means son of David, is derived from the Hebrew name “David” – and who is the Patron Saint of Wales – St David.

Dennis April 3, 2010 at 2:36 pm

I don’t claim to have anything other than a passing acquaintance with the science of DNA testing, but what Keith had to tell me was of course of great interest to me. Sadly, I doubt that either of use are in a position to pay for continued or repeated tests, so for now at least, this testimony will stand alone, with all the implications and caveats that go along with it.

However, I would simply repeat my question, especially if any supreme masters of logic from the Catholic Herald might happen to be reading this – do these results make it more likely or less likely that the stories of Jesus and Joseph of Arimathea visiting Britain are true?

Hugo Jenks April 4, 2010 at 10:04 am

There have been many periods in history during which the Jewish peoples have sadly suffered persecution and consequent dispersal from their homeland. It should not be too much surprise that their DNA has spread far from their origin.

It is an interesting possibility that some of them made it as far as Japan. There appear to be a number of remarkable similarities of custom. It would be interesting to see if there are DNA markers to confirm an ancient linkage. The Jewish population in modern Japan is very small.
It is of course possible that the apparent similarities of customs are purely coincidental. A brief Google search does uncover some discussion regarding Jews in ancient Japan, but I could not find anything really definitive regarding DNA from a brief look.

And Jewish DNA is also found in Zimbabwe:

I do not myself have time to pursue this topic further, but these look like useful resources:

Toby Hall April 5, 2010 at 8:23 am

In mid May my wife’s book ‘Art Through the Eyes of the Soul’ will be available,
on the cover is St Sara, (daughter of Mary Magdalene with Pheonician galley at Glastonbury and also paintings by her of Jesus in Glastonbury Abbey and on Tunic cross in Cornwall and lot’s of interesting material around this subject, to see book cover and some paintings visit http://www.cherylrose.com

genetic drift April 6, 2010 at 1:39 pm

The spread of Phoenician/Caananite culture from the middle East to Britain was likely something that occurred in stages rather than as a deliberated one-shot migration. Initially stemming from the Assyrian captivity,and the forcible relocation to Harran to be the first line of defence of the borders of the Assyrian empire. (Ironic,as this is where Abraham supposedly set off from!) Following the murder of Sennacherib by one of his two sons, they departed amid the ensuing chaos and relocated to the Peleponnese and founded the city of Troy. After Troy eventually fell, two groups of survivors went on respectively to Southern Italy and a group led by Brutus then departed for Britain.

Strong linguistic connections between the Welsh language and certain Mediterranean forms display this connection quite visibly.

Linguistic similarities;

Anafu To wound, to cut Anaf
Aeth He went, he is gone, Athah
hence death, he is
Ami Plentiful, ample Hamale
Ydom The earth Adamah
Annos To drive Anas
Annog To incite Anac
Achles Succour Achales
Annyn An abyss Annan
Alaf Treasure Aluph
Awye Air, sky Auor
All Other, another Aul
Awydd Earnest desire Anuath
Afange The beaver Aphang
Bara Bread Barah
Bu It came to pass Bou
Botten Belly Betten
(or Potten)
Bedd The grave, our quasi Beth
our last bed
Brawd Brother Berith
(pl. Broder)
Breg Breaking Berek
Ber (or Ysber) A spear Beriach
Bwth Booth Buth
Brith Bright Barudh
Cesio To seek, to catch Kashah
Cas Hatred Cass
Catt A little bit Kat
Ceg The throat Chec
Cal lach A funeral feast, an old Celach
man doubled by age
Cell A cellar Cele (prison)
Colar A collar Kolar
Coron A crown Keren
Cwtta Curtail Kutain (tail)
Chroniel Chronicle Diecron
Chwyno To accuse, ‘quoere Kun
Cyhoeddi To publish Hodhiang
Cusannu To kiss Nashak
Dagr A dagger Daker
Dawn A gift Tanah
Dinas A town Medinah
Dafnu To drop, or distill Nataph
by drops
Diffygio To be tired Phug
Dalen A leaf Daltih (branch)
Darfod To finish Avod (perish)

But it is not in single isolated words that this resemblance
strikes us; the conformity is equally remarkable in the
idiomatic phrases of both languages, and in the formation
of entire sentences, ass can be seen. (Taken from ‘Hanes
y Fydd.’ Charles Edwards, a Welsh writer of the 16th
century, printed in 1675)


38.9% of Y-chromosome lineages in the North Welsh town of Abergele were found to belong to North African-specific haplogroup 21. This frequency may have been somewhat inflated by genetic drift and sampling error, but it nevertheless shows clearly the presence of a non-European Mediterranean element in the aboriginal populations of Britain. The study in question also found North Wales to have been much less affected by Anglo-Saxon and Celtic invasions than surrounding areas, which would make the people there representative of Ancient Britons as a whole.
(Weale et al. 2002)

And all the rest is ancient and yet recorded British history….

71 AD: Joseph “Ha-Rama-Theo”, the desposynic prince, one of Jesus’ so-called “brothers”, was given an estate in Britain by the British King Arviragus that comprised 160 acres of land [160 acres= "one hide"] surrounding an old hill-fort as his residence, which estate was raised in status to a kingdom, Garthmadrun, by the Pretender Roman Emperor Magnus Maximus in AD 383. His descendants represented one of the three holy families in Britain according to the Welsh Triads.
His line became extinct in the male-line in AD 481, and his family was replaced in official Welsh records by the descent-line of Joseph of Arimathea.
519 AD: the remaining descendants of ‘Joseph of Arimathea’, were relocated to Britain for their safety under The then ruling King’s patronage, and were given the old iron age hill-fort at Castell Dinas Bran, at Llangollen, in Clwyd, Wales, as their estate.
The ensuing descendants became the Ancient British and Welsh kings.
Something of an acute embarrassment to the successive English/Saxon/Norman/Hanoverian throne to have descendants of the holy family walking around, even unto present day, who have more right to the claim of kingship within Britain than they could ever possess!

The Glastonbury connection was a 11th century Saxon prefabrication (Yes!-Just like the thrown-together ‘Saxon Chronicles’!)and perpetrated by the monks of Glastonbury abbey in order to invisiblise the significance of an Ancient British/Welsh connection with the Caananite/Hebrew/Phoenician cultures – There is nothing to support the link between the Desposyni line and the then Saxon-occupied Somerset. Even the noted William of Malmesbury,who only lived thirty or so miles down the road from Glastonbury,was reluctant to lend weight to this apparent policitised assertion .

Dennis April 6, 2010 at 3:01 pm

All very interesting and others may think so as well. However, as there’s no name, no meaningful email address and no discernible identity, I don’t intend to discuss this matter and this principle of course applies to all other such contributions and contributors.

doug April 6, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Look up and read the Orea Linda book; why o why do people not know of it? Politically correct it is not, another good book to think about is the Alban Quest.

genetic drift April 6, 2010 at 11:22 pm

All very interesting and others may think so as well. However, as there’s no name, no meaningful email address and no discernible identity, I don’t intend to discuss this matter and this principle of course applies to all other such contributions and contributors.

Your loss I’m afraid.
Sorry you feel this way.
I don’t think signing one’s name to this kind of material is really too clever at the moment, you know.

Dennis April 6, 2010 at 11:35 pm

No apology is necessary and no offence was meant. It’s just that I can’t and won’t take part in a discussion with someone whose identity is unknown to me; it’s a matter of principle for a start, while I’ve made the mistake before now of indulging idiots (not yourself) who go in for this kind of thing as a matter of course, not to protect themselves in any way.

I’m grateful to you for taking the time & trouble to write in with all this information and I’m sure I won’t be the only one pondering what you have to say.

genetic drift April 6, 2010 at 11:51 pm

You are very welcome – I feel in this case that maybe ascertaining the truth is far more desirable than the identity of the messenger.
BTW. Great work you have done here!

Keith April 16, 2010 at 10:35 am

I really appreciate the comments made about my story and I would like to just say a few things in response to your emails.

My hair was very dark as a younger person, I’m 63 now and the few grey hairs I have have sought to lighten the look of it. I would say that it was a very dark brown, not quite black. My eyes were extremely dark but due to Cholesterol damage are lighter in appearance these days. When I was a younger lad in infant school a teacher used to call me ‘chocolate drop eyes’ because they were so dark.

I do tan very easily when the sun is stronger, but not to any great extent, in my opinion, but that might be due to the strength of the sun in the UK rather then to do with me. I do visit Italy occasionally and I do seem to get a darker tan when I’ve been there.

As far as the Y-DNA testing is concerned, my father and my brother are both dead. I am waiting for the full genome test to be completed, this will give me a more complete picture and also set the Haplogroup more positively.

I have been making more enquiries about my Great Great Grandfather James Davies who appeared was in Herbrandston Pembrokeshire in the 1790′s early and 1800′s with no success so far. There is no record of him anywhere, I am trying to get hold of Birth/Death/Marriage Church and Parish records from that period at the moment. The strange thing is when I do a search on any of the online Ancestry websites there appears to be no possible matches, in fact the Davies name in Wales is extremely scarce. This maybe due the fact that not a lot of Welsh Information has been collated and uploaded to the Internet.

Because of the American whaling connection with Milford Haven dating from the 1750′s until the 1850′s I have been searching American records. The whalers were Quakers from Nantucket Island, there has been no definite connection here either, but there has been a few Davis & Davies families listed in Nantucket in the 1700′s. There have also been some Davies’ from Bristol and the West Country but I will investigate this more when I have the Church and Parish records to look at.

Keep those comments coming!


Dennis April 16, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Hi Keith,

I’m sorry I’ve not got back to you recently, but as you probably saw from a recent post, I’ve been up to my eyes in it. Nonetheless, I’m once again very grateful to you for sharing your story with the world and I’m pleased you like the response. As soon as time allows, I have another major post to write up/complete/publish here and I’m certain it will interest you greatly.

Keith April 16, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Hi Dennis,

I know you’re a busy man and, as you know, I’m grateful that you took time out to publish my story. The fact that it’s out in the real world allows people to add their comments and add information to the debate.

I was impressed with the mail from Genetic Drift; it was extremely enlightening. It’s a shame he wishes to stay anonymous, but I understand his reasons for doing this.

A new major update? You’ve whetted my appetite now, I can’t wait to see what new information you have!



Keith October 18, 2010 at 10:05 am

Hi Dennis,

Any news on the ‘major’ post yet?

Dennis October 18, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Hi Keith,

It’s on its way in a day or two, but I’ve got to get it 100% right. After that, it’s business as usual and I’ll drop you a line about developments as far as your very interesting contribution was concerned.

Ron February 6, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Hi Dennis,

Very interesting article, especially to me as I am a Phoenician Lebanese and married to a Welsh. Amazingly enough her family has dark hair and mine are all blond with blue or green eyes.

If you remember some years back lady Thatcher discovered that she has Middle eastern DNA, I think it was Phoenician, as it was the dominant in the region.

All the best

Dennis February 6, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Hi Ron,

Thank you very much for writing in and I’m glad you thought the post was interesting. If you ever come across anything else pertaining to the Phoenicians that you think might be of interest, please feel free to send it in. I’m not an expert, but I’m enormously interested in the Phoenicians and there are other posts on this site dealing with these people, with one called “Islands and Crosses”, from memory, but I’m sure there are others as well. There’s also a link here to a wonderful site called “A Bequest Unearthed” run by my friend Salim, where you’ll find all manner of information about the Phoenicians, if you’ve not come across it before now.

Other than that, the greatest general in antiquity was Hannibal, as far as I’m concerned, while I named my daughter after a Phoenician goddess.

Ron February 8, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Hi Dennis,

In Lebanon the Phoenician subject is much of a Taboo, knowing that the most glamorous hotel is called Phoenicia and the most important petrol company is also called Phoenicia. Christians are proud to be their descendants while Muslims want to be Arab. In downtown Beirut, a superb and amazing place to visit, you can have lunch in one of the restaurants 2 feet away from one of the Phoenician pillars dating more than 6 thousand years.

Amazingly enough with all this, we still have people who deny this great heritage. After all, the Phoenicians invented the Alphabet, glass and were the first to build boats and thus came trading.

A Lebanese writer who writes only in French “Alexandre Najjar” has recently written a book called” Phoenicia” but other than that, the only information you and I and other Phoenician enthusiasts can only get our info from the net.

PS: There are 4 universities in the world that teach the Phoenician language, one of them is Harvard.

Dennis April 18, 2012 at 3:11 pm

For those of you who are curious about such matters, here’s an interesting BBC feature on the subject of scientifically determining one’s remote ancestry.

Tony Newman June 1, 2013 at 4:10 pm

I would like convincing evidence to surface proving the lingering belief in a long-term Phoenician trading connection with Cornwall (in particular). It is easy to seize on ‘evidence’, both artifacts and apparent genetic evidence, when either could have arrived via any number of intermediate steps, none having anything to do with direct Cornish-Phoenician trade.
It seems likely the future will bring an eventual authoritative resolution of many currently insurmountable mysteries like this. Just an opinion of course.

Dennis June 1, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Well, I suppose it all depends on what you’re prepared to be convinced by. In addition to the DNA, there’s Richard Coates’ paper [which is on here somewhere] dealing with British island names like Thanet. Then there’s the recently-discovered boat on a sherd of Bronze Age pottery from the Scilly Isles and there are inland names as well, not to mention the various oral traditions of Phoenician traders. All this and more is convincing enough for me, while I also read recently – can’t find the link – about the man who built a full size replica Phoenician galley and he’s planning to sail to America with it. He believes that ancient Phoenicians travelled to the New World and I’m inclined to agree with him, so to my mind, this makes their stop-offs at Cornwall a certainty. Still, that’s just my opinion and I’ll continue to post material on this subject as and when I become aware of it.

Robin Melrose June 2, 2013 at 5:28 am

Another possible Phoenician connection is the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age midden at Potterne in Wiltshire, dated to between 800BC and 600BC. Glass beads were discovered there during excavations in the 1980s, and the glass was analysed and found to come from the Near East. The most likely source is the Phoenicians, who are known to have established colonies in southern Italy and the Mediterranean coast of Spain.

JohnWitts June 2, 2013 at 6:31 am

The need for tin to make bronze and its scarcity can be used to support an argument as well. The logic would follow the line that if they was not a tin trade in Cornwall then there should have been.

JohnWitts June 2, 2013 at 7:31 am
Jonathan June 3, 2013 at 7:10 am

From “The Early British Tin Industry” by Sandy Gerrard:

Detailed electron probe micro-analysis of European Bronzes has led [Prof] Northover to suggest that ‘the number of metal sources used at one time was very limited, and there was often only one’. Consequently, trading of metals was on a large scale and this phenomenon he termed the “metal circulation zone”. For the Early Bronze Age, Northover has noted that tin bronzes were probably exclusively produced in Britain from South Western cassiterite.”

Dennis June 3, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Thank you very much for that, Jonathan – that’s fascinating. When you consider all the evidence available, I can’t see that there can be any reasonable doubt that the Phoenicians traded with Cornwall and the Scilly Isles. They may well have gone to South America, they may well have gone to North America, they certainly sailed all the way around Africa and they certainly sailed into the North Sea as well, so why Cornwall with its tin should have been a no-go area, especially when you bear in mind all the evidence, I can’t imagine.

It strikes me as being almost identical to the argument about the Druid link(s) with Stonehenge. Whether one warms to the idea or not, there’s a mountain of evidence in favour of it, so making a judgement seems to be down to politics or personal preference. A bit like JC in the West of England…

JohnWitts June 4, 2013 at 4:42 am

It does appear that the legend of Christ in Britain did not transport with Cornish settlers to Armorica (Brittany) from Cornwall from the fourth century AD onwards. However on reflection does this mean: the legend had later origins in Cornwall so was not known; or, it was considered inappropriate (sacrilegious) to adapt it to a new location or, it was a known fact – or accepted as such which is essentially the same thing – so could not be convincingly altered. However an aspect that does puzzle me is that there seems to be no reference at all (?) to the legend in the lives of the various early saints. Does this indeed hint at a later origin to the legend?

As such the evidence only takes you so far and as Dennis says it becomes a matter of personal preference. Whilst there is no reason to prevent Christ visiting Britain and circumstantial evidence is suggestive and supportive it falls a long way short of proof.

If one excepts the basis that Jesus came to Cornwall then it become possible to link all manner of things: http://www.forteantimes.com/features/articles/3271/jesus_in_britain.html

Jonathan June 4, 2013 at 7:27 am

Hi Dennis.

It’s difficult to see the circumstances under which British tin could not have found its way into a major trading supply chain at that time: Especially as there also appears to be evidence that the British were mining tin prior to building Stonehenge (the reference to this is somewhere else on the site). I guess the only thing in doubt is whether or not tin was traded directly or via an intermediary.

It’s also difficult to see circumstances under which the Druids would not inherit some of the practices and stories of the past, but there seems to be little direct evidence.

JC having some sort of connection to the Druids would provide a strong motive for the early church to censor those parts of His story that were not politically suitable to Rome. In other words, if it were true, there is a whole new set of conspiracy theories for Dan Brown to explore. Is that the way you would read it or do you see the unrecorded segment of His life as being missing and nothing more?

Jonathan June 4, 2013 at 8:09 am

I’ve just noticed John’s link to the wiki page. In that it says “It should be noted that the idea that the Phoenicians went to Cornwall for its tin and supplied it to the whole of the Mediterranean has no archaeological basis and is largely considered a myth (Penhellurick 1986, p. 123).”

I’ll send you a scan of the page referred to by email: See what you make of it?

Dennis June 4, 2013 at 2:05 pm

With regard to the Phoenician trade in tin or links with Cornwall being “largely considered a myth”, I will just quote Michael Crichton once more:

“I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.

Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What are relevant are reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”

So, either there’s evidence in some way, shape or form that the Phoenicians regularly came here ‘in ancient time’, or there is no evidence whatsoever to support this idea. They demonstrably had the means and the motive, while there’s also written evidence to say they sailed into the North Sea in the first millennium BC at least. Are we saying that all this and more does not constitute evidence for these people having regularly visited these shores? What degree of proof does the opposition require? A signed statement in the form of an engraving on a stone? I’d say that we’ve come pretty close when we consider the possible origins of the place names of British islands, as explored by Richard Coates elsewhere on this site, but again, I’d like to know by what criteria others can say the Phoenicians didn’t come here? It strikes me as being essentially the same argument as with the Druids and Stonehenge, JC in Cornwall etc.

Karim El Koussa November 4, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Hi Dennis,

I’m very pleased that you talked about this subject.

I’m an Award-Winning Lebanese author of 3 books. Two of them Pythagoras the Mathemagician and The Phoenician Code-Unveiling the Secrets of the Holy Grail are Novels in the literary genre of Historical/fiction and Religious Mystery. The latest book, Jesus the Phoenician — just released — is purely an academic work of History/Religious History/Christianity that is sure to challenge conventional thinking about the origins of Jesus Christ.

My correspondence with you shall take the following path, of course, briefly:

1st) Yes. The connection between Phoenicia and Britain is proven. In fact, the word Britannica comes from the Phoenician-Aramaic word of Bar-Tanakh (Land of Tin). The Phoenicians had a secret reservoir there, precisely in Cornwall. The tin trade between Britain and Phoenicia and all around the Mediterranean is supported by lots of evidence.

Others suggest that the name Britain is deriving from Barati, the Phoenician Guardian Goddess of the Sea. Barati gave its name to Beirut, the Lebanese Capital.

2nd) Phoenicians and Jews are two different stocks of humanity. In fact, historical records and archeological excavations fail to prove the existence of the Biblical Israel (as told by the Bible) before the 1st Millennium BC. I believe that Hebrews emerged from Ur and Babylon (ancient Mesopotamia) at the time of the Persian king Cyrus II. They were transferred to the Land of Canaan-Phoenicia as part of the Persian empire expansion. Not before.

The Phoenicians, on the other hand, goes back thousands of years before the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Gebel (land of El) could be the most ancient coastal city in Phoenicia dating back to 5000 BC. Both Sidon (Saydoun) and Tyre (Sur) followed suit.

3rd) Yes, Jesus (Yawshu in Phoenician) and his Grand uncle Joseph of Arimathea (Yawsep of Ramah in Phoenician) could well have travelled to Britain from any Phoenician port (Sur, Saydoun, or Gebel). Simply because the connection between Phoenicia and Britain is deeply rooted on both Historical and Religious levels in a manner no one have ever imagined.

This recent documentary produced by H2 shows some connection, and I would like you and others to watch it: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0k0QOuOViw8

Thank you for your time,

Karim El Koussa
Lebanese Author

JohnWitts November 4, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Very interesting and not the least: “In fact, the word Britannica comes from the Phoenician-Aramaic word of Bar-Tanakh (Land of Tin)”.

Am I completely wrong or does this makes a lot of sense? I think the indigenous people of Britain would have had names referencing localities but not a general national one. So what visitors – and important ones at that – called the land would eventually be taken on as reference to the national identity?

El Koussa, Karim November 25, 2013 at 1:43 am

Hi John,

Sorry for not responding earlier to your question.

I was on a book tour in the US. My latest book, Jesus the Phoenician, was released almost a month ago. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jesus-the-Phoenician/485838824845927?ref=hl

Yes, we believe the Phoenicians gave the name to the land they have just discovered and used its mines for the tin trade around the world. Did you know that Europe (the continent) took its name from Europa the sister of Kadmus? She was the daughter of king Agenor of Tyre and legend has it that she was kidnapped by Zeus into Greece, and Kadmus was sent by his father to search for her, and it was then when he introduced the Phonetic Alphabet to the Greeks.


Dennis December 11, 2013 at 2:53 am

The late Michael Crichton took a dim view of scientific consensus – see above – and here it is again in a less than flattering light and in the context of ‘peer review’, one of my favourite topics.

A Nobel Prize winner, no less, boycotting scientific journals – what is the world of academia coming to?

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