Cod DNA has helped scientists uncover one of the secrets of the success of the Vikings
MOSCOW, 8 Aug — RIA Novosti. Analysis of DNA extracted from medieval cod bones, have helped scientists figure out that the Vikings traded fish in fact, throughout Europe over a thousand years ago, according to a paper published in the journal PNAS.
“The fish trade was one of those things that began to tie together the different parts of Europe in the middle ages. Hedeby was one of the most important trading centres in the early middle ages. It was a place where the North met the South, the Christian with the pagan, and civilized peoples with barbarians, not accept money,” says James Barrett (James Barrett) from the University of Cambridge (UK).
In recent years, scientists have learned much about life in Europe and other parts of the world in the prehistoric era, when writing was not yet invented, thanks to the discovery of methods of extracting DNA from the remains of humans and animals and is a “fusion” of chemistry and archaeology.
Due to this, geneticists, archaeologists and chemists have learned, when people learned to drink milk and started to keep livestock, when the first Europeans began to cook and store food in pots, invented cheese, beer and other products, and found that the first Vikings appeared in Scandinavia at least 10 thousand years ago.
Barrett and his colleagues have uncovered another secret of ancient history, concerning the first appearance of the Vikings and confirming popular today, the theory that the Scandinavians were originally traders, and only then try on the role of conquerors and pirates
They came to this conclusion after studying the DNA of cod, whose remains have been found in Hedeby, the largest center of trade in Northern Europe, located in the South of the medieval Kingdom of the Danes, the state of the Vikings in modern Denmark and Northern Germany.
Due to cold climate and other favorable conditions, DNA remains of fish remained quite good, which helped scientists to recover mitochondrial DNA allowing us to trace the pedigree of its owner, but the rest of the genome of cod. This allowed historians to find out where was this fish caught and to what “tribe” she was.