Research: Genetic evidence of European Viking expeditions

Research: Genetic evidence of European Viking expeditions

According to extensive DNA analysis, during the Viking period between 750 and 1050, Scandinavian genomes appeared in many parts of Europe, especially in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Iceland and Greenland. An article on this point was published in the journal Nature.

The most common definition of a Viking is a Scandinavian who carried out plundering expeditions in the early Middle Ages. However, some people emphasize that the term “bargaining” should be associated with action rather than origin. The “bargaining” is for robbery, which is just piracy. This has not changed the fact that at the end of the first millennium, Scandinavians risked leaving their seats and significantly shaped the political situation in Europe at that time. They not only looted, but also established new settlements and traded.

You can know the Viking Adventure from written information. However, geneticists decided to support historians. As part of an extensive project, they analyzed the genomes of hundreds of people who died at archaeological sites throughout Europe (including Poland) and other regions (from Greenland). The results were published in the journal Nature. The main author of the publication is Dr. Ashot Margaryan of the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), who performed the analysis here.

Scientists have determined that the warlike Vikings of Scandinavia influenced the genetic map across Europe. According to genome analysis, a large number of Viking activities during the Viking period were confirmed-those living in present-day Denmark, England, and present-day Sweden eastward to the Baltic countries. In turn, the residents of Norway sailed to Ireland, Iceland and Greenland.

“At that time, not only from Scandinavia, but also from Europe to the whole of Europe, there was an interesting discovery that captured the gene.”-In an interview with PAP, it was emphasized that Dr. Martyna Molak of the New Technology Center of the University of Warsaw was One of the co-authors of “Nature” magazine. The researchers pointed out that this influx mainly comes from the south and east. Dr. Morak suggested that perhaps they were slaves acquired during the expedition, or women accompanying the Vikings.

The analysis also includes samples taken from deceased persons who lived earlier (in the Bronze Age in 2400 BC). Because of this, it can be determined that the southern and eastern people have entered Scandinavia since the Iron Age. The population migration from these directions continued into the Viking Age.

For research purposes, 10 samples from Polish archaeological sites were also analyzed. They all come from the Viking period. They were killed in the tombs of the deceased. The tombs of the deceased were located in Sandomierz, Cedegna, Chersk, Krakow-Zakzuvik, and most of them were in Bodz. . The last place is the necropolis from the 10th to the end of the 15th century. In the eleventh century, it consisted of dozens of elite tombs.

“Unfortunately, the samples from Poland are not in good condition, so we cannot analyze all the samples in detail”-Dr. Ashot Margaryan told PAP. He emphasized that the most information was obtained from Bodzi’s three samples (each sample was from one of the deceased). He believes that the deceased may be descended from Scandinavians, but the result is not clear and can be explained in other ways.

Dr. Dariusz Błaszczyk from the Department of Archaeology at the University of Warsaw was a co-author of the article, adding that two of these samples were taken from the bones of the dead. One of them is placed in a coffin with iron fittings. With him, two knives were placed in the grave, a long single-edged combat sword, and a few coins were placed in the mouth of the dead. The second man and the woman were buried. The belt accessory he was wearing was decorated with two teeth-a symbol of the Rurkowicz family (the founder of this Ruthenian dynasty came from Scandinavia). He also owns knives and swords decorated in Scandinavian Mammen style. The third sample tested was from a woman folded into the embryo position. There is an iron knife and a bucket in her grave.

Dr. Błaszczyk emphasized that previous studies of strontium isotopes obtained from these dead people indicated that these people were born in different places. This means that they are new immigrants to Bodzi-Kujawy. Isotopes are different forms of chemical element atoms. Their proportions, such as those in bones, are the source of much information about diet, environment, or origin.

In the doctor’s opinion. Błaszczyk (Błaszczyk), due to the small number of DNA samples from the Viking period from Poland, the presence of Scandinavians in the Piast state is somewhat distorted. They may be more than the latest analysis published in the journal Nature. For example, Błaszczyk pointed to other early studies on the remains of people buried in the cemetery of Ciepło (Pomorskie). It turns out that the four soldiers buried with rich funeral gifts came from Scandinavia, which was revealed through special strontium isotope and DNA analysis, which was released to the public in January 2020. However, “Nature” magazine did not include them.

In order to determine whether the buried person is really from Scandinavia, it is necessary to use several methods. In addition to genetic testing, it is also worth using isotope analysis to determine the origin of the deceased and even his diet. It is also important to analyze the funeral and relics of the dead. Only in this way can we determine the origin of the deceased with a high probability. “-Dr. Blaskachik said. Scientists believe that this type of analysis is very important because the scientific community has been discussing the significance and influence of Scandinavians on the formation of the Polish state for many years.

Among the co-authors of the article “Nature” are several other employees of Polish institutions and companies. They are: Monika Bajka from Trzy Epoki Archaeological Laboratory, Dr. Marek Florek from the Institute of Archaeology of Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin. Wiesław Bogdanowicz of the Zoological Museum and Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

The article is located here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2688-8. (PAP)

Author: Szymon Zdziebijowski

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