Scientists raid DNA to explore Vikings’ genetic roots

While our modern ideas of these ancient seafarers paint a very homogenous picture, their reality was decidedly diverse.

In popular imagination, Vikings were robust, flaxen-haired Scandinavian warriors who plundered the coastlines of northern Europe in sleek wooden battleships. But despite ancient sagas that celebrate seafaring adventurers with complex lineages, there remains a persistent, and pernicious, modern myth that Vikings were a distinctive ethnic or regional group of people with a “pure” genetic bloodline. Like the iconic “Viking” helmet, it’s a fiction that arose in the simmering nationalist movements of late 19th-century Europe. Yet it remains celebrated today among various white supremacist groups that use the supposed superiority of the Vikings as a way to justify hate, perpetuating the stereotype along the way.

Now, a sprawling ancient DNA study published today in the journal Nature is revealing the

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