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Viking Era Broa Stone

Viking Era Broa Stone

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Imagine a scene in North Yorkshire a thousand years ago. The autumn sun crawls lazily across the horizon, flooding a small coastal valley with the early morning light. Svensholm is a small Viking homestead, comprising a large hall and a few outbuildings. The longhouse has thick walls which keep it cool in summer and stop it freezing in winter. The family sleep in the main hall around the fire pit along with some of the farm stock. On the top of an outbuilding a cockerel crows rousing the farm to life. With little thought to the daily chores ahead the immediate care is to breakfast! No breakfast cereals, bagels or scrambled eggs for these farmers though.

The stew itself . looks rather scary .

Whilst Ingrid, the farmer's wife, coaxes the embers of yesterday's fire back to life, Sven the farmer helps himself to some of yesterday's left-over stew. It has been left in an iron cauldron, rather like something you'd imagine Halloween witches to sit around. The stew itself also looks rather scary a thin crust of fat has formed over a brown liquid which is made up of boiled lamb bones, beans, peas, carrots and turnips. Sven breaks off a hunk of bread to dip into the stew. A rather stale crusty flat loaf, this bread was baked last week.

The children of the household will spend the day helping their parents. Fortified with a breakfast of bread and buttermilk (similar to skimmed milk), Tostig will help his father in the fields. The remainder of the harvest has to be gathered in and a lamb needs to be slaughtered. Sven uses an iron sickle to cut the corn, whilst Tostig uses a wooden rake to gather the cut corn into sheaths. Later these will be threshed to release the grains of wheat, rye and barley.

It’s a shame that there are people out there on this planet who don’t believe former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss is the greatest deep threat in NFL history.

This silly little debate about the top deep threats in league history was had the other day after someone with a Twitter account suggested that current Kansas City Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill might already be the best deep threat ever.

Vikings fans everywhere did their best to contain their laughter as no one comes even close to matching the ability to stretch the field that Moss displayed during his NFL career.

If you’re already assuming that Moss is at the top of the list of players we’re about to discuss, then you would be what some people refer to as the opposite of left.

Aside from Moss, Minnesota has had its share of deep threats suit up for them during their existence as a franchise. Who are some of these guys that deserve to be regarded as the best deep threats in Vikings history?

Vikings may not be who we thought they were, DNA study finds

History books typically depict Vikings as blue-eyed, blonde-haired, burly men sailing the North Atlantic coast to pillage wherever they set foot on land. While some of that may be true, a new genetic study of Viking DNA is flipping much of this history on its head.

In the largest genetic study of Viking DNA ever, scientists have found that Vikings — and their diaspora — are actually much more genetically diverse than we may have thought and were not necessarily all part of a homogenous background.

Sequencing the genomes of over 400 Viking men, women, and children from ancient burial sites, researchers found evidence of genetic influence from Southern Europe and Asia in Viking DNA dating back to before the Viking Age (750 - 1050 A.D.).

The authors also note that individuals not related to Vikings genetically, such as native Pictish people of Scotland and Ireland, sometimes received traditional Viking burials — suggesting that being a Viking was not so much about specific family roots but about a sense of internal identity.

In the study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, an international team of researchers reports findings from their six-year-long study of 442 human remains from burial sites that date back between the Bronze Age (2400 B.C.) to the Early Modern period (1600 A.D.)

When comparing the genetic material of these ancient samples with 3,855 present-day individuals from regions like the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Sweden, and data from 1,118 ancient individuals, they discovered more intermixing of genetic material than they'd originally imagined, lead author and director of The Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre at the University of Copenhagen, Eske Willerslev, said in a statement.

"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," explains Willerslev.

"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."

Based on these results, Willerslev says that even well-known imagery of Vikings being blonde and blue-eyed (like Chris Hemsworth's depiction of Thor) may not be totally true, especially for Vikings with Southern European roots. The authors write that their analysis also confirmed some long-held theories and hunches about the movement of Vikings during this time.

What'd they find — One of the first hunches that the study was able to confirm was the final destination of different threads of Viking migration from modern-day Scandinavia.

The DNA of ancient Danish Vikings cropped up in England while Norwegian Viking DNA was found in Ireland, Iceland, and Greenland. Unexpectedly though, they also found evidence of DNA similar to present-day Swedish populations in the western edge of Europe and DNA similar to modern Danish populations further east.

The researchers write that this unexpected discovery suggests that complex settling, trading, and raiding networks during these times resulted in communities of mixed ancestry.

Even more, the study's analysis shows that this mixed ancestry was taking place even before the so-called Viking Age, explains Martin Sikora, a lead author on the study and associate professor at the Centre for GeoGenetics, University of Copenhagen.

"We found that Vikings weren't just Scandinavians in their genetic ancestry, as we analyzed genetic influences in their DNA from Southern Europe and Asia which has never been contemplated before," said Sikora. "Many Vikings have high levels of non-Scandinavian ancestry, both within and outside Scandinavia, which suggest ongoing gene flow across Europe."

And some "Vikings" weren't of genetic Viking descent at all, researchers found when analyzing a Viking burial site in Orkney, Scotland. Despite being put to rest in traditional Viking style (including swords and other Viking memorabilia,) when sequencing the DNA of these remains the authors found that the two individuals buried at this site were in fact of Pictish (or, early-Irish and early-Scottish) decent.

The researchers write that this discovery suggests that being a Viking was not necessarily about how far back your Nordic roots reached but instead had more to do with one's lived identity.

"The results change the perception of who a Viking actually was," said Willerev. "The history books will need to be updated."

In addition to providing a more nuanced look at this transformational period of history, this new genetic insight can also help scientists better understand how different traits, like immunity, pigmentation, and metabolism, are selected for across genetic groups.

The Vikings Were More Complicated Than You Might Think

One of the biggest surveys ever of ancient DNA offers new evidence of who the Vikings were and where they went raiding and trading.

Public fascination with the Vikings runs high these days, with several current television series available for bloody binge-watching. But the Vikings have never really gone out of fashion, whether as pure entertainment or because of their real historical importance.

Periodically, scholars remind the public that the people we call Vikings did not think of themselves as a group and were largely, but not universally, from the geographic area we now call Scandinavia. The Viking Age, from roughly 750 to 1050, included brutal raids, extensive trading and commerce and probably a majority of people who stayed home on the farm.

Now, one of the most sweeping genetic surveys of ancient DNA ever done has broadly reinforced the current historical and archaeological understanding of the Vikings, but also offers some surprises about their travels and uncovers some poignant personal stories. Ninety researchers, led by Eske Willerslev, an ancient DNA specialist from the University of Copenhagen, reported Wednesday in the journal Nature on their analysis of the genomes of 443 ancient humans from Europe and Greenland.

Based on DNA analysis and comparison to modern populations, they found that people genetically similar to modern Danes and Norwegians generally headed West in their raids and trading, while “Swedish-like” people mostly headed East. The findings are based on graves of raiders or traders in England, Ireland, Estonia and elsewhere.

However, they found that this was only a general pattern. Sometimes Swedish-like groups headed West, and the others headed East.

They also found considerable genetic variety in the ancient remains, indicating migration of Southern Europeans, before the Viking Age, to the area of Denmark, which undermines any idea of a single Nordic genetic identity. Some of the earliest inhabitants of Britain, the Picts, were buried as Vikings, for example.

The researchers also found people of mixed Sami and European ancestry. The Sami are reindeer herders with some Asian genetic background who have lived throughout Scandinavia and in other countries for thousands of years. They have been thought to be in conflict with the Scandinavians of European heritage during the Viking age.

Dr. Willerslev said the common view was that the two groups were hostile. But perhaps, he said, there were nonhostile interactions between them leading to offspring that were of mixed heritage and part of Viking groups.

David Reich of Harvard University, a specialist in population studies based on ancient DNA who was not involved in the research, said that the survey was one of the largest ever undertaken of ancient DNA. One result of that, he said, was that not only broad patterns emerged, but also specific findings that show the relationships between people. “You get to ask detailed questions about how people are related to each other within a site,” he said.

For instance, the earliest evidence of a Viking expedition comes from a burial site dated to around 750 in Salme, Estonia, where two Viking ships were buried seven men in one, 34 in another, with weapons, provisions, dogs and birds of prey. No one knows whether this was a raid, or a diplomatic or trading expedition gone wrong, but the men appear to have been killed violently and buried as warriors.

The DNA analysis showed that four of the men were brothers and they were related to a fifth man, perhaps an uncle. One of the report’s authors, Neil Price, an archaeologist at Uppsala University in Sweden and the author of the just published “Children of Ash And Elm: A History of the Vikings,” said: “We kind of suspected that you go raiding with your family, but it shows that they really did.”

“There’s a story behind that,” he said, “‘Saving Private Ryan’ or something.”

7 Black Butler

Black Butler is a manga written and illustrated by Yana Toboso. It received an anime adaptions in 2007, and from then on has received various anime adaptions and a movie. It follows eleven-year-old Ciel Phantomhive and his demonic butler Sebastian as well as his search for the people who kidnapped him and murdered his family.

The setting in London and features some historical figures as well as literary figures. Together with the action and mystery, Vikings fans should eat this series up.

The Viking economic pattern was a combination of pastoralism, long-distance trade, and piracy. The type of pastoralism used by the Vikings was called landnám, and although it was a successful strategy in the Faroe Islands, it failed miserably in Greenland and Ireland, where the thin soils and climate change led to desperate circumstances.

The Viking trade system, supplemented by piracy, on the other hand, was extremely successful. While conducting raids on various peoples throughout Europe and western Asia, the Vikings obtained untold amounts of silver ingots, personal items, and ​other booty, and buried them in hoards.

Legitimate trade in items such as cod, coins, ceramics, glass, walrus ivory, polar bear skins and, of course, enslaved people were conducted by the Vikings as early as the mid 9th century, in what must have been uneasy relationships between the Abbasid dynasty in Persia, and Charlemagne's empire in Europe.

Sweeping DNA Survey Highlights Vikings’ Surprising Genetic Diversity

The term “Viking” tends to conjure up images of fierce, blonde men who donned horned helmets and sailed the seas in longboats, earning a fearsome reputation through their violent conquests and plunder.

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But a new study published in the journal Nature suggests the people known as Vikings didn’t exactly fit these modern stereotypes. Instead, a survey deemed the “world’s largest-ever DNA sequencing of Viking skeletons” reinforces what historians and archaeologists have long speculated: that Vikings’ expansion to lands outside of their native Scandinavia diversified their genetic backgrounds, creating a community not necessarily unified by shared DNA.

As Erin Blakemore reports for National Geographic, an international team of researchers drew on remains unearthed at more than 80 sites across northern Europe, Italy and Greenland to map the genomes of 442 humans buried between roughly 2400 B.C. and 1600 A.D.

The results showed that Viking identity didn’t always equate to Scandinavian ancestry. Just before the Viking Age (around 750 to 1050 A.D.), for instance, people from Southern and Eastern Europe migrated to what is now Denmark, introducing DNA more commonly associated with the Anatolia region. In other words, writes Kiona N. Smith for Ars Technica, Viking-era residents of Denmark and Sweden shared more ancestry with ancient Anatolians than their immediate Scandinavian predecessors did.

Other individuals included in the study exhibited both Sami and European ancestry, according to the New York Times’ James Gorman. Previously, researchers had thought the Sami, a group of reindeer herders with Asiatic roots, were hostile toward Scandinavians.

“These identities aren’t genetic or ethnic, they’re social,” Cat Jarman, an archaeologist at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo who wasn’t involved in the new research, tells Science magazine’s Andrew Curry. “To have backup for that from DNA is powerful.”

Overall, the scientists found that people who lived in Scandinavia exhibited high levels of non-Scandinavian ancestry, pointing to a continuous exchange of genetic information across the broader European continent.

Contrary to popular belief, Vikings weren't simply blonde, seafaring Scandinavians. (Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

In addition to comparing samples collected at different archaeological sites, the team drew comparisons between historical humans and present-day Danish people. They found that Viking Age individuals had a higher frequency of genes linked to dark-colored hair, subverting the image of the typical light-haired Viking.

“It’s pretty clear from the genetic analysis that Vikings are not a homogenous group of people,” lead author Eske Willerslev, director of the University of Copenhagen’s Center of Excellence GeoGenetics, tells National Geographic. “A lot of the Vikings are mixed individuals.”

He adds, “We even see people buried in Scotland with Viking swords and equipment that are genetically not Scandinavian at all.”

The ongoing exchange of goods, people and ideas encouraged Vikings to interact with populations across Europe—a trend evidenced by the new survey, which found relatively homogenous genetic information in Scandinavian locations like mid-Norway and Jutland but high amounts of genetic heterogeneity in trade hubs such as the Swedish islands of Gotland and Öland.

Per the Times, the researchers report that Vikings genetically similar to modern Danes and Norwegians tended to head west on their travels, while those more closely linked to modern Swedes preferred to journey eastward. Still, exceptions to this pattern exist: As Ars Technica notes, Willerslev and his colleagues identified an individual with Danish ancestry in Russia and a group of unlucky Norwegians executed in England.

The study also shed light on the nature of Viking raids. In one Estonian burial, the team found four brothers who’d died on the same day and were interred alongside another relative—perhaps an uncle, reports the Times. Two sets of second-degree kin buried in a Danish Viking cemetery and a site in Oxford, England, further support the idea that Viking Age individuals (including families) traveled extensively, according to National Geographic.

“These findings have important implications for social life in the Viking world, but we would've remained ignorant of them without ancient DNA,” says co-author Mark Collard, an archaeologist at Canada’s Simon Fraser University, in a statement. “They really underscore the power of the approach for understanding history."

About Tara Wu

Tara Wu is an editorial intern with Smithsonian magazine. She is a senior at Northwestern University, where she will major in journalism and environmental science.

How It Worked

Modern scholars debate how Vikings performed this ritual torture and whether they even performed the gruesome method at all. The process of the blood eagle is indeed so cruel and grisly that it would be difficult to believe that it could actually be carried out. Regardless of whether it is merely a work of literary fiction, there is no denying the fact that the ritual was stomach-churning.

The victim’s hands and legs were tied to prevent escape or sudden movements. Then, the person seeking vengeance stabbed the victim by his tailbone and up towards the rib cage. Each rib was then meticulously separated from the backbone with an ax, which left the victim’s internal organs on full display.

The victim is said to have remained alive throughout the entire procedure. What’s worse, the Vikings would then literally rub salt into the gaping wound in the form of a saline stimulant.

As if this wasn’t enough, after having all of the person’s ribs cut away and spread out like giant fingers, the torturer then pulled out the lungs of the victim to make it appear as if the person had a pair of wings spread out on his back.

Thus, the blood eagle was manifested in all its gory glory. The victim had become a slimy, bloody bird.

What Did Vikings Really Look Like? New DNA Study Reveals Most Weren't Blond or Blue-Eyed

Nature's study sequencing the genomes of 442 Viking remains from Viking-inhabited areas like northern Europe, Italy, and Greenland -- human remains dated between 2400 B.C. to 1600 A.D. and which were buried with a variety of Viking artifacts -- reveals far more genetic diversity than previously thought about the people who came from the land of the ice and snow. The Vikings, after all, were a scattered group whose sea-faring for trade, exploration, and conquest saw them settle far and wide during the Viking Age that lasted from roughly 700 A.D. to 1100 A.D.

Not only did many of the studied Vikings turn out to not be blond or blue-eyed, their genetic admixture shows they weren't a distinct ethnic group but rather a mix of various other groups, "with ancestry from hunter-gatherers, farmers, and populations from the Eurasian steppe."

The study revealed which Scandinavian countries influenced outside regions the most. "The Danish Vikings went to England, while the Swedish Vikings went to the Baltic and the Norwegian Vikings went to Ireland, Iceland, and Greenland," according to the University of Copenhagen's Ashot Margaryan. Three particularly genetically diverse areas -- one in modern Denmark, and one apiece on the Swedish islands of Gotland and Öland -- were likely key trading centers.

The conclusions of this genetic analysis suggest the very idea of being a Viking was likely more a way of life or job. As Science Alert puts it:

"(The) results also reveal that during the Viking Age, being a Viking was as much a concept and a culture as it was question of genetic inheritance, with the team finding that two Viking skeletons buried in the Northern Isles of Scotland had what looks to be relatively pure Scottish and Irish heritage, with no Scandinavian influence, at least not genetically speaking, that is."

“These identities aren’t genetic or ethnic, they’re social,” archaeologist Cat Jarman informed Science magazine. “To have backup for that from DNA is powerful.”

And as Science magazine also highlights, "several individuals in Norway were buried as Vikings, but their genes identified them as Saami, an Indigenous group genetically closer to East Asians and Siberians than to Europeans."

Fascinatingly, the DNA study also revealed that two of the remains found hundreds of miles apart -- one in the U.K. and one in Denmark -- turned out to be a pair of cousins.

For more Vikings coverage, discover what showrunner Michael Hirst recently revealed to us about what's in store for Vikings' final season and why the sequel series, Valhalla, will be on Netflix instead of the History Channel.

Watch the video: ΜΟΝΩΣΗ ΜΕ ΠΕΤΡΑ (January 2022).