It only needs 9 long-lived people touching hands over time to bridge the gap between ourselves and the Anglo-Saxons. This is how it works:

A woman is born in, say, A.D. 1059. This Anglo-Saxon lady lives to the age of 1001 and takes the hand of a newborn child who in turn lives to be a hundred and links hands with another baby. If all these babies clasp the hand of another when they reach the age of one hundred, the ninth baby would be alive today (49 years old in fact, in 2008), and if an object had been transferred it would only have passed through 8 hands between leaving those of the Anglo-Saxon and reaching those of the baby born in 1959. That’s how close we are to the Anglo-Saxon world.

Return to Getting Started.


100 is easiest to illustrate this unlikely though theoretically possible point; in fact any age over 95 would do. Back to context...