Iles Féroé

The Faroe Islands were colonized before the arrival of the Vikings

The Faroe Islands, located between Norway, Iceland and the British Isles, were the starting point of the Vikings exploring the North Atlantic. For a long time, ample archaeological evidence suggested that these lands were first occupied by the Scandinavians between AD 800 and 900. However, a study by scientists from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory comes to contradict everything with a new theory.

Indeed, circumstantial evidence of an older colonization prompted researchers to proceed with a combination of biomarkers and sedimentary DNA old. Research results showed that humans introduced cattle to the Faroe Islands before the period of the Nordic occupation.

This discovery completely called into question the history of the occupation of this world-famous sector. In addition, the various results from scientific research are published in the Communications Earth & Environment journal.

Sheep DNA found at the scene

Since these islands were colonized by the Vikings, researchers at Lamont-Doherty thought they must have been a attractive place for the first inhabitants. They therefore focused on certain parts of the territory. “The Faroe Islands contain very few sites suitable for colonization, mainly flat areas at the bottom of protected bays where the Scandinavians would have built on previous dwellings. “

After examining layers of lake sediment, they found tiny fragments of sheep DNA and biomarkers present in sheep droppings. They had been trapped for centuries in these “Archives” terrestrial. With the advent of new DNA sequencing techniques, DNA sequencing has been dated to the end of the 5th century and the beginning of the 6th century.

The first settlers could come from the North

On the one hand, the genetics of the modern Faroes have shown a significant asymmetry between paternal and maternal origins. The paternal ancestry is predominantly Scandinavian, while the maternal one is from the British Isles. This asymmetry is observed in parts of the North Atlantic, but it is more pronounced in the Faroe Islands. This suggests that populations of predominantly British ancestry may have existed earlier.

“Other parts of the North Atlantic show this asymmetry – it is believed that male Viking settlers brought Celtic wives with them – but the Faroe Islands have the highest level of maternal Celtic ancestry, suggesting an extant Celtic population who predated the Vikings. “

On the other hand, the researchers found ancient Celtic inscriptions on the islands, although they are not dated.

SOURCE: SCI-NEWS

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