New research sheds light on Viking DNA

5:18 min

New research looking at samples taken from over 400 graves around Europe in the biggest ever survey of Viking DNA has revealed that previous knowledge about which Vikings travelled where was generally correct.

The new Danish research, published in the journal Nature, analysed DNA from graves from places as widely spread as Italy, Ukraine, Iceland and Greenland, to map the Vikings' journeys and their contacts with those areas.

It shows that the Vikings from modern-day Sweden did generally travel east, the Norwegians went west to Ireland, Iceland and Greenland, and the Danes sailed to England. The researchers also found substantial ancestry from elsewhere in Europe coming in to Scandinavia during the Viking Age.

We speak to archaeologist Eric Östergren at Stockholm's Viking Museum. He says this new kind of research now opens up the chance to discover so much more about Vikings, and he explains how we know that a grave did really belong to a Viking.

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