The journal Cell published a study with the result analysis from ca. 300 ancient human genomes from Scandinavia spanning 2,000-year, including Viking Age DNA samples.
16,638 genomes from modern humans were compared to 48 new and 249 previously published ancient genomes collected from several archaeological sites, including the recently studied wreckage of the Swedish warship Kronan.
Three gene flows were detected, with different concentrations across time and space:
- British and Irish Isles – present across Scandinavia, originated from Christian missionaries and monks and from enslaved people from these areas.
- Eastern Baltic – a strong female component impacted the genetic make-up of Sweden and Gotland during the Viking Ages, with a peak in the Lake Mälaren area.
- Southern Europe – discovered in remains from southern Scandinavia
The same study constated a lesser percentage of these genetic components in the modern Scandinavian gene-pool.
A genetic line was clearly depicted in modern Scandinavians’ DNA gradually from north to south, especially in regards to the Uralic component, which is found among the Sami of northern Scandinavia, Finland and the Baltic States, and even among Siberian and Native American populations.
This component seems to have diminished during the Early modern Ages. The sample from the 17th century onwards displayed a similar percentage of the Uralic component to modern Scandinavian populations.
Three samples from the Kronan, from 1676, displayed genetic similarity to people from Finland and the Baltic States. At the moment, Finland and Livonia – comprising half of modern-day Latvia and Estonia – were part of the Swedish Empire.
During the following centuries, the Eastern Baltic, Uralic, and Southern European components diminished compared to the Viking Age DNA sample due to the historic changes in Europe.
It should be noticed that the Northern Wars and the Deluge considerably altered the balance of power in Scandinavia, Central, and North-Eastern Europe, with the partition of Poland, the defeat of Sweden, and consequent land-grabbing by Muscovy.
- Lars Einarsson (1990) Kronan—underwater archaeological investigations of a 17th‐century man‐of‐war. The nature, aims and development of a maritime cultural project, International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 19:4, 279-297, DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-9270.1990.tb00276.x
- Ricardo Rodríguez-Varela et al, The genetic history of Scandinavia from the Roman Iron Age to the present, Cell (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2022.11.024
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