Ground-Breaking DNA Sequencing Study Shows Vikings Weren't Who We Believed Them to Be

By Bo Beard | May 2, 2024

Professor Eske Willerslev

A recent study spanning six years, published in the journal Nature, challenges the contemporary perception of Vikings. 
 

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The research was spearheaded by Professor Eske Willerslev, a member of St John's College at the University of Cambridge and the director of The Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre at the University of Copenhagen.
 

Significant gene flows

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“We have this image of well-connected Vikings mixing with each other, trading and going on raiding parties to fight Kings across Europe because this is what we see on television and read in books – but genetically we have shown for the first time that it wasn’t that kind of world,” said Willerslev, who is also affiliated with Cambridge’s Department of Zoology. “This study changes the perception of who a Viking actually was – no one could have predicted these significant gene flows into Scandinavia from Southern Europe and Asia happened before and during the Viking Age.”