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Thread: Cool new Viking DNA Study

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    Cool new Viking DNA Study

    The largest-ever study of Viking DNA has revealed a wealth of information, offering new insights into the Vikings’ genetic diversity and travel habits. The ambitious research analyzed DNA taken from 442 skeletons discovered at more than 80 Viking sites across northern Europe and Greenland.
    The researchers found that just prior to the Viking Age and during its height, between A.D. 800 and 1050, genes flowed into Scandinavia from people arriving there from eastern and southern Europe, and even from western Asia. In contrast to the traditional image of the light-haired, light-eyed Viking, the genetic evidence shows that dark hair and eyes were far more common among Scandinavians of the Viking Age than they are today. “Vikings were not restricted to genetically pure Scandinavians,” says Willerslev, “but were a diverse group of peoples with diverse ancestry.”


    https://www.archaeology.org/issues/4...-genetic-study

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    How do they know the analyzed bodies were vikings and not thralls?

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    The great finding of the study was to show the mixing of DNA in a group we call "Vikings" which clearly indicates that they where not as biologically homogeneous as some my think. Thralls would probably have shown fairly 'pure' DNA from other regions, but even they probably had babies, maybe intermarried at some point. Very little is known about thralls.

    "Even more, the study's analysis shows that this mixed ancestry was taking place even before the so-called Viking Age, explains Martin Sikora, a lead author on the study and associate professor at the Centre for GeoGenetics, University of Copenhagen.

    "We found that Vikings weren't just Scandinavians in their genetic ancestry, as we analyzed genetic influences in their DNA from Southern Europe and Asia which has never been contemplated before," said Sikora. "Many Vikings have high levels of non-Scandinavian ancestry, both within and outside Scandinavia, which suggest ongoing gene flow across Europe."


    DNA from a female skeleton named Kata found at a Viking burial site in Varnhem, Sweden, was sequenced as part of the studyVästergötlands Museum
    And some "Vikings" weren't of genetic Viking descent at all, researchers found when analyzing a Viking burial site in Orkney, Scotland. Despite being put to rest in traditional Viking style (including swords and other Viking memorabilia,) when sequencing the DNA of these remains the authors found that the two individuals buried at this site were in fact of Pictish (or, early-Irish and early-Scottish) decent.

    The researchers write that this discovery suggests that being a Viking was not necessarily about how far back your Nordic roots reached but instead had more to do with one's lived identity."

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