2,000 Years of Viking History in Scandinavia: Unraveling the Ancient Sagas

A new study published in the journal Cell on January 5 provides new insights into the genetic history of Scandinavia over 2,000 years.

The study, led by researchers from Stockholm University and the Swedish genomics company DeCODE Genetics, analyzed the genomes of 48 ancient individuals from multiple archaeological sites to track patterns of gene flow and migration.

The study found that the levels of non-local ancestry in some regions of Scandinavia are lower than those observed in ancient individuals from the Viking to Medieval periods. This suggests that later immigrants contributed less to the current Scandinavian gene pool than expected based on the patterns of gene flow observed in archaeological records.

The study also found that the timing and magnitude of gene flow from three main sources—the eastern Baltic, the British Isles, and southern Europe—varied across Scandinavia. For example, British Isles ancestry was widespread in Scandinavia during the Viking Age, while eastern Baltic ancestry is more localized to Götaland and central Sweden.

The study’s findings provide new insights into the complex history of human migration in Scandinavia. This information can help us to better understand the genetic makeup of modern Scandinavians and the factors that have shaped their genetic history.

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