Mitochondrial DNA and forensic anthropology has been used to identify the remains long thought to be the mother of Sven Estridsen,apparently the last viking king.
Jorgen Dissing, at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Copenhagen, Denmark, extracted mitochondrial DNA from the pulp of molars from the skeletons. Mitochondrial DNA is useful for analysing ancient remains because there are many copies per cell so DNA breakdown causes fewer problems during analysis than it can in nuclear DNA samples.
If Estrid is Sven’s mother the DNA should be identical because mitochondria are passed exclusively from a mother to her offspring. But they weren’t. Moreover, the condition of the teeth and bones suggest that the woman was around 35 when she died, Dissing told the International Association of Forensic Science meeting in Hong Kong last week. Historical records tell us Sven’s mother died aged around 75.
For more about how anthropologists determine age, gender, stature and ethnicity from a skeleton you can go here
Just for kicks, here is an interesting article on viking hoards.
A replica of a viking ship…
And finally a link to where you can get your own viking helmet
Now if we could only get the church of the FSM to incorporate vikings into it’s services…