New studies show that the Viking people were a ‘kinder and gentler’ horde of pillaging hooligans.
Recently, scientists smashed the old stereotype of Vikings being, a rough and tumble crowd of pirate nomads, who sailed the seas, only to create chaos and havoc where ever the wind carried them.Through a study of DNA analysis, derived from the current living residents of the North Atlantic islands region, a team of scientists led by Erika Hagelberg, has found evidence that closely ties them to the ancient people, who are considered to be Vikings.
Older studies had suggested that, only Viking men traveled together on expeditions, campaigns and raids on distant lands. It was believed that only after the land had been settled, would the Viking men send for their women and children. Evidence of Viking settlements, found as far away as the North America, supported these claims.
Hagelberg and her team of scientists, from the University of Olso in Norway, collected samples of mitochondria DNA from the ancient specimens of 45 Norse skeletons, who lived between 796 A.D and 1066 A.D. Mitochondria DNA is the segments of DNA the is passed down on the maternal line of inherited genes. By studying the Mitochondria DNA, the researchers can track a straight line of genetic ancestry from a mother to a child.
The DNA samples were then compared to a selection of over 5,000 living people across the entire span of the European continent, along with 68 specimens collected from the remains of ancient North Atlantic Island people.
The ancient ‘Viking’ DNA, matched the mitochondria DNA of the people, currently living in present day Sweden, Scotland and England. The scientists also discovered that the DNA held the most similarities to that of the Scottish People.
This newly amassed data reveals that the previous theories stating that Vikings only spread their race by male dominated pillaging parties, is not entirely correct. Hagelberg believes that this DNA evidence implies that, more often that originally assumed, the Viking people traveled with their families when colonizing new and unknown lands.
If this theory is in fact true, the Viking people were not, simply, a raging horde of bloodthirsty conquerors, that enjoyed hallucinating on mushrooms, but actually a family oriented people who created networks of settlements and agriculture to provide for their families as well as their communities; along with being a raging horde of bloodthirsty conquerors, that enjoyed hallucinating on mushrooms.
The researchers are planning on continuing their studies, they are attempting to collect more samples from living British, Scottish and North Atlantic people, to compare with the ancient Viking DNA, in hopes ascertain how closely related the groups are.
The study was originally published in the December 7, issue of the Journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.