Danish Viking DNA Retrieved

DNAIn May 2008 a team of Danish scientists led by Jørgen Dissing from the University of Copenhagen was able to retrieve the genetic material from the Viking burial site called Galdegil. It is located near Otterup on the island of Funen, Denmark. The remains of 3 males, 4 females and 3 more persons whose sex cannot be determined were unearthed. Carbon-14 method revealed that the burial may be dated to ca. 1000 AD.

The retrieval of DNA from the remains of the ancient humans is important since it gives a possibility to further the study of Viking migration patterns, their tribal and family structure, as well as to discover the origin of some genetic diseases. However the scarcity of intact molecules and a very high risk of contamination by modern DNA makes the retrieval of genetic material from ancient remains a great challenge for the scientists. Attempts to get Cretaceous era dinosaur and Neolithic human remains DNA proved unsuccessful.

Dissing’s team proceeded with extraordinary care: all of them wore sterile full body suites, hairnets, gloves, shoe covers and face masks. As soon as the last layer of soil was removed, two teeth were extracted from a skull, then placed into sealed sterile tubes and transported to the laboratory. In order to screen any possible contamination, the DNA of all team members who participated in the excavation, extraction and sequencing was checked.

As a result, a portion of mtDNA genome called HVR-1 (which stands for hyper-variable region 1) was retrieved from the remains of the Vikings who lived a thousand years ago. Danish Viking DNA showed no evidence of contamination with extraneous genetic material.

16 comments… add one
  • Shane Westburg

    It is my understanding DNA has come along way past 20 years. Is it now possible to have my DNA tested to determine my lineage with regards to Viking age or I’d be thrilled to just have the clarification that I’ve been told my whole life that I am 50% Swede 25% German 25%Ireish. Last question, if this can be done is it a very expensive procedure ? Thanks for any input.

  • Ryan Pomplun

    For everyone asking DNA questions, Eupedia has very good articles on DNA groups, here’s a link – http://www.eupedia.com/ Happy reading!

  • Ed DeMet

    My family lived within 20 miles of that site for at least the last 500 years. I am one of only about a dozen people who have been reported to have the Mt-DNA haplotype K1d1 that is also closely related to Otzi the Iceman. K1d1, however, is almost exclusively found in Denmark but I don’t know where. The rareness of the haplotype has allowed me to put together a rather detailed history. I would be very interested to find if it is restricted to Funen and would appreciate any information that might shed light on this.

  • Chris Buzzard

    Original spelling of my last name as far back as early 1600’s from Dauphiny area of France. Would this be part of Viking territory?

    • Viking Rune

      Hello Chris. Viking Age was log over by the early 17th century.

  • Albert Clifford

    Hi I came across your site My history is my folks came over to England 1066 French origin name Pons my DNA is I-M223 I am told Viking I am a bit to old to understand DNA is there any site to find out my viking ancestors I have been told i have a link with Rollo creater of Normandy it would be great if true Kind Regards John Clifford DNA Albert Clifford

  • Waermund

    Is SNP R-P311 viking or Norse?

    • Sleipnir

      “Norse” is a term for things of, relating to Norway or its people, language, or culture. That also includes Iceland, because it was populated by Norwegians.

      “Viking” is a term for the Norse seafarers and warriors.

  • majbritt nordkvist larsen

    hi, i was born in denmark on 4/6/1969 i have not been able to trace my ancesty as i was raised in austraila and can’t read or write danish can you help me trace my blood line. thanks

  • Bradley Barnett


    My fathers paternal side comes from Llanfoist. My Y chromosome is I1. Is it possible to distinguish whether my relatives were descended from Danish Vikings or Anglo Saxons, or both?


    Bradley G. Barnett

  • Amanda Klinesmith

    My family is from that Island, I wish I could get mine tested!!!

  • Roy Önnerfjord

    Is it possible to get my DNA compared to these findings?

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