Velda, or at least her imagined person, is my favorite of the seven daughters. Sykes describes a strong woman who defied expectations when she chose to not mate with another “man” after her previous mate’s tragic death, instead working harder herself to support her three children and the rest of her band. Indeed, the most imaginative, the picture of Velda is ultimately unclear. However, what we can be certain of is that, today, approximately 5 percent of Europeans are direct maternal descendents of Velda.

Time Period: 17,000 years ago

Band Type: Hunter-Gatherer

Climate: Warmer than at the peak of the Ice Age (20,000 years ago), but still very cold

Ancient Location: Northern Spain

Modern Location: Modern descendents of Velda are found throughout western Europe, with a few descendents in Finland and northern Norway.