Are modern Scandinavian descendants of the Vikings

DNA study on the roots of the Vikings: Neither blonde nor Scandinavian

"We even have people buried in Scotland with Viking swords and equipment, but genetically not genetically Scandinavian at all," he adds.

According to Willerslev, the results prove that the Viking phenomenon was not purely Scandinavian. "It originated in Scandinavia, but it spread and came into contact with other peoples around the world."

Early cosmopolitans

The research subjects also don't have as much in common with modern Scandinavians as one might think. Only 15 to 30 percent of today's Swedes have a common ancestry with the people studied who lived in the same region 1,300 years ago. This points to an even stronger migration and genetic mix after the Viking Age. The inhabitants of the region during the Viking Age also did not correspond to the stereotypical Scandinavian appearance: the examined individuals, for example, had darker hair and eyes on average than a randomly selected group of present-day Danes.

The genetic data paints a picture of the Vikings as a diverse group that was not tied to any nation or ethnicity. "It's a wonderful study," says archaeologist Jesse Byock, a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles. He led the Mosfell archaeological project in Iceland but was not involved in genetic research. "It provides new information, but confirms almost everything we know about the Viking Age."

Gallery: Researchers identify the mass grave of a huge Viking army