Our science team have been lucky enough to have access to data from 3 scientific papers which have studied Viking archeological sites across the UK, Ireland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Ukraine, Poland, and Russia. In total 80 sites were covered by these studies.
This meant they were able to analyse the information from a whopping 446 genetic samples, mostly taken from the teeth and bones of the individuals buried in the 80 sites.
The ancient human remains were processed and DNA was extracted and sequenced in a similar way to the Living DNA sequence.
It’s important to note that most regions where Vikings lived often cremated their dead at the beginning of the Viking period, and only started burying them towards the end of the era, so our samples are skewed to being more recent Vikings.
It’s also important to remember that when ancient people were burying their dead, only the most wealthy or important individuals could afford a burial that would not only be visible to modern-day archaeologists, but also protect their remains for long enough for us to be able to perform these analyses.
The more important or wealthy people in society, even in the Viking era, would have had far wider social networks and been able to travel much further than the average person, which might also skew the data slightly towards our Vikings being social elite from later in the Viking era.