In the largest genetic analysis of Viking DNA ever conducted, scientists discovered that Vikings — and their population — are genetically much more diverse than previously believed and that they are not all descended from a common ancestor.
According to a study published in Nature, the people identified as Vikings didn’t perfectly fit traditional stereotypes. Instead, what historians and archaeologists have long suspected, a study dubbed the “world’s largest-ever DNA sequencing of Viking skeletons” confirms what historians and archaeologists have long suspected: the Vikings’ conquest beyond their ancestral Scandinavia transformed their genetic origins, resulting in a culture not inherently united by shared DNA.
Vikings had A Lot of Sex, Like A Lot of Sex…
The genomes of 442 ancestors buried between 2400 B.C. and 1600 A.D. were mapped by an international team of researchers using bones unearthed at more than 80 locations throughout northern Europe, Italy, and Greenland. In Viking DNA dating back before the Viking Age, scientists discovered indications of genetic influence from Southern Europe and Asia (750 – 1050 A.D.).
Overall, the researchers discovered that people living in Scandinavia had a high percentage of non-Scandinavian ancestors, indicating a continuous exchange of genetic material around the European continent. So… Sex. As we mentioned they loved making love.
When they compared the genetic material of these ancient samples to that of 3,855 modern-day individuals from the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Sweden, as well as data from 1,118 historical individuals, they uncovered more intermixing of genetic material than they’d expected, according to Eske Willersle, lead author and director of The Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre at the University of Copenhagen.
“We have this picture of well-connected Vikings mixing with each other, exchanging, and going on raiding parties to battle Kings throughout Europe because that is what we see on television and read in books,” Willerslev says. “But scientifically, we have seen for the first time that it wasn’t that kind of culture.”
“This research alters people’s perceptions of what Vikings were — no one could have expected the massive gene flows into Scandinavia from Southern Europe and Asia that occurred prior to and during the Viking Age.”
Opinion: This research makes sense, but some statements are silly because we all know that they would travel and pillage many places. It is common sense to speculate that they had children in these faraway lands. Some of these articles and studies out there seem to have an agenda to push. What that is we cannot say, but things seem a bit distorted from the facts.Writers opinions do not necessarily reflect that of Geek Impulse
Tangent – Rök Stone, the mysteries behind it
For more than a century, archaeologists have been perplexed by the Rök stone, a five-ton granite slab erected by Vikings in southern Sweden in the 9th century AD. Its etchings are the oldest known examples of written literature in Sweden, but they are sadly highly encrypted. However, codebreakers revealed that they might have actually solved the mystery.
It was a difficult code to decipher: Not only do the engravings appear to be a collection of riddles, but the code is also written in a style of Old Norse poetry known as skaldic poetry, which depicts scenes with artistic imagery and circumlocutions. The writings are partly written in ciphers, runes that stand for multiple letters of the alphabet, which adds to the confusion — and intrigue. It seems that whoever carved this runestone did not intend for it to be read by just anybody.
For years, rune scholars assumed the text alluded to ancient wars and Viking kings, which made sense for a people known for their warrior culture. However, the “battle” referred to by the runes may have little to do with knives, blood, or violence.
Alternatively, the researchers claim that the stone’s text expresses concern about the impending “combat” that mankind will face as they face a potential climate disaster. These concerns seem to have been sparked by a series of climate events in the mid-6th century AD, which coincided with a sharp drop in agricultural production.
The Rok stone, which stands two and a half meters tall and is riddled in more than 700 runes that crisscross each of its five sides (the word “Rok” means “piled stone” in Old Norse). According to the experts, it was built in memory — and as an alert — after the local region was rewilded as a result of volcanic activity on the other side of the planet, in the Americas, in the years 536-47 AD.
The Northern Hemisphere’s skies were blanketed with dust, effectively blocking out the Sun. This resulted in a sudden cooling of the atmosphere in the Northern Hemisphere, disrupting entire habitats, including the region surrounding the Rok stone. According to scholars, the consequences were so severe that the population of Scandinavia shrank by half.
Rune Stone Photo and More on the Original Topic
Photo by © Helge Andersson
This new genetic perspective will help scientists better understand how various traits, such as immunity, pigmentation, and metabolism, are selected for across genetic categories, in addition to offering a more detailed look at this transformative time of history.
The following is a paraphrasing of the original abstract. This was done because we felt it was better than just copy and pasting the original.
During the Viking Age (around ad 750–1050), the maritime expansion of Scandinavian peoples was a far-flung transition of world history. To understand the global impact of this expansion, we sequenced the genomes of 442 humans from archaeological sites across Europe and Greenland (to a median depth of about 1). We discovered that gene flow into Scandinavia from the south and east occurred during the Vikings era.
Within Scandinavia, we detect genetic code, with diversity hotspots in the south and restricted gene flow. Evidence of a large influx of Danish ancestors into England, a Swedish influx into the Baltic, and a Norwegian influx into Ireland, Iceland, and Greenland has been discovered.
During the Vikings Age, we also see a lot of ancestors from other parts of Europe coming to Scandinavia. A Vikings expedition included close family members, according to our ancient DNA study. We find that pigmentation-related loci have experienced strong population differentiation over the past millennium by comparing with modern populations, and we trace positively selected loci in detail, including the lactase-persistence allele of LCT and alleles of ANKA associated with the immune response.
The Vikings diaspora was marked by significant trans-regional interaction, according to our findings: distinct communities affected the genomic composition of various regions of Europe, and Scandinavia witnessed increased contact with the rest of the continent.
Featured image by © Gioele Fazzeri