There is a lot of unknown history, and a lot of legends in obscure parts of the world which suggest very intriguing connections previously unknown. The new tools of science are offering a chance to plumb the truth in some instances. From China, via the UK Telegraph and Telegraph of India , comes the story of DNA investigation aimed to uncovering evidence of a Roman presence in northwestern China, adjacent to the Gobi desert.
Residents of a remote Chinese village are hoping that DNA tests will prove one of history's most unlikely legends - that they are descended from Roman legionaries lost in antiquity.
Scientists have taken blood samples from 93 people living in and around Liqian, a settlement in north-western China on the fringes of the Gobi desert, more than 200 miles from the nearest city.
They are seeking an explanation for the unusual number of local people with western characteristics - green eyes, big noses, and even blonde hair - mixed with traditional Chinese features.
"I really think we are descended from the Romans," said Song Guorong, 48, who with his wavy hair, six-foot frame and strikingly long, hooked nose stands out from his short, round-faced office colleagues. "There are the residents with these special features, and then there are also historical records about the existence of these people long ago," he said.
Locals are taking the news of possible foreign invasion and rapine rather well. There is money to be made, and the local environs have been an isolated backwater so long that the DNA research has chance of actually proving something.
Studies claiming that Liqian has Roman ancestry have greatly excited the impoverished county in which it is situated. A statue at the entrance of the nearby county town, Yongchang, shows a Roman legionary standing next to a Confucian scholar and a Muslim woman, as a symbol of racial harmony.
Perhaps someday we will have DNA testing of Kennewick Man, and know more about the early inhabitants of North America.