Geneticists determine Vikings weren't purely Scandinavian in new study

Geneticists determine Vikings weren't purely Scandinavian in new study



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Invaders from the north were genetically diverse, not purely Scandinavian, according to one study.

A new study, which is the most extensive genetic research ever conducted on Vikings, has debunked the myth that the Norse invaders were all blond, as portrayed in popular culture, and has shed light on the contacts of these skilled and navigators warriors within Scandinavia and beyond.

A group of researchers from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) has detected that the identity of the Vikings was not limited to Scandinavian ancestry. Even for a period prior to the Viking age, the influx of genes from the southern Europe and Asia to that region.

Furthermore, the Viking genome hasmany influences from the areas of the world where they traveled to steal, conquer or trade.

'The Vikings had a lot more genes fromsouthern and eastern Europe than expected. They often had children with people from other parts of the world. In fact, they tended to have dark hair rather than blonde, which has been considered an established Viking trait, 'commented Professor Eske Willerslev, one of the authors of the study, published in Nature.

His team scrutinized the bone fragments of442 individuals who lived throughout Europe between 2400 BC. and 1600 AD, mostly from Viking times, which fits between 800 and 1050 AD.

The data obtained was analyzed together with the already published of 3,855 individuals from today and more than 1,000 ancient individuals from non-Viking times.

It was determined that the Vikings, who mainly resided in coastal areas,did not blend in with the Scandinavian continental peasant population.

Genetically, they were completely different fromfarming societies that dwelt inside. The continental inhabitants hadmuch less in common with the Vikings than the peasants who lived in Europe thousands of years earlier, ”says co-author Ashot Margaryan.

The Vikings themselves were not a uniform population, and researchers distinguishthree groups, which did not mix much with each other. They roughly correspond to the current map of Scandinavia.

The results of the study confirmed that “the Danish Vikings went to England, while the Swedish Vikings went to the Baltic and the Norwegians to Ireland, Iceland and Greenland. However, the Vikings of these three 'nations' were only very rarely genetically mixed. Maybe they were enemies or maybe there is some other valid explanation. We just don't know, ”Margaryan said.

The research also found that Viking graves did not always contain genetically Viking remains, although they presented swords, decorations or Viking utensils.

Two skeletons buried as Vikings in Orkney (Scotland) turned out to belong genetically to thepicts, which were Celtic tribes that inhabited the north and east of Scotland until the 10th century.

"It is the example of how Viking culture was adopted in certain places," Willerslev explained.


Video: Viking DNA: What Does It Mean?