We thought we knew everything about the Vikings. But some new research suggests that we are doing wrong.
In the largest study of its kind published in the journal Nature, the researchers found that many Vikings actually had brown hair. And they were not just from Scandinavia.
In a six-year study, archaeologists and academics used DNA technology to analyze more than 400 Viking skeletons from sites in Scandinavia, Greenland and the UK.
They came to know that the Vikings did not just descend from Scandinavia – their blood contained genes from both Asia and southern Europe.
Studies by academics at the University of Cambridge in Britain and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark found that Viking burial sites in Scotland included locals who may have taken on a “Viking identity”.
Researchers say their findings shatter many earlier assumptions surrounding the Vikings.
Eske Vilslev, a fellow at St. John’s College, Cambridge, said, “The results change the perception of who exactly the Viking was. History books will need to be updated.”
“We didn’t know genetically what they really looked like until now,” Wilslev said.
He said that new research showed “Vikands” as the traditional image of blond Vikings, “many had brown hair and were influenced by genetic flow from outside Scandinavia.”
The study also revealed genetic differences between different Viking populations within Scandinavia, suggesting that the different groups were more isolated than previously thought.
And research also indicated that the Viking identity itself was nothing special to the Vikings.
Two skeletons found on Orakeni off the north-eastern coast of Scotland, with DNA similar to those of modern Irish and Scottish people, were buried in Viking-style tombs. This suggests they may have gone on Viking identity, the researchers say.
The word “Viking” came from the Scandinavian word “Vikinger”, meaning “pirate”, and the Viking era refers to the period from the middle ages to 800 to 1050, the researchers explained.
The Vikings are known to travel all over Europe and out to sea. Many of these expeditions raided monasteries, but the Vikings also traded goods such as fur, tusks and seal fat.
Researchers found that all of these male raiding teams were made up of friends, family members, and neighbors.
The data collected will also be useful in the study of natural selection in the past, according to lead author Fernando Rachimo, assistant professor at the University of Copenhagen.
He added that the data “allows us to find out how the selection unfolded before, during and after the Viking movements across Europe,” to explore the physical presence of the ancient Vikings and to compare them to the Scandinavians today With ability.
The genetic heritage of Vikings still exists today, researchers said, with an estimated 6% in the UK and 10% in Sweden possessing Viking DNA in their genes.