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A mysterious group of people may have inhabited the Faroe Islands before the Vikings

A lake on Esturoi where centuries-old sheep's DNA was found.

A lake on Esturoi where centuries-old sheep’s DNA was found. found
Photo: Jostein Bakke / University of Bergen

Centuries-old DNA collected from the bottom of the lake on Faroe Islands turned back the time of human occupation archipelago. The Vikings arrived here around 850 AD, but the team of researchers concluded that some unknown group of people must have arrived on this island in the North Atlantic.s a few hundred years ago, around 500 A.D. Team i researchs published by today in “Earth-Environment Connection”.

“Our results indicate that humans settled in the Faroe Islands and brought in livestock at least 300 years before the normal settlement time for Norwegians,” said William D’Andrea, a paleoclimatologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, in an email. at Gizmodo. “Of course, it’s also possible that people have been there before.”

“There is still some uncertainty about the history of exploration in the North Atlantic, in part due to the fragmented nature of the archaeological site,” added D’Andrea. “Our research shows that for the Faroe Islands, this story begins at least three centuries before the Scandinavian Landnam, or the period of colonization.”

The Faroe Islands is a remote archipelago about 200 miles northwest of Scotland. They are rocky and windy, which means that archeology has remained intact at surface. So that the researchers turned to a less altered part of the islands: relict sediments at the bottom of the lake, on a large the island of Esturoy.

Getting to the Faroe Islands is not easy, especially with 6th century technology. But a group – the team does not know exactly who, since they did not analyze the human DNA found in their samples – made it to the Vikings with a whole bunch of sheep in tow. They know the sheep arrived with these people due to the large amount of sheep DNA and fecal biomarkers in the sediment.

V bottom of the lake has acted as a drainage basin for centuries as surrounding material such as the soil is washed away by water. Everything in this soil, including the DNA of the islanders and things like lipids from their guts.– stuck at the bottom of the lake.


Sheep DNA and biomarkers indicate a probable date of arrival between 492 and 512 AD, but it could have been as early as 370 AD. (For reference, this is only 50 years after Constantine divided the Roman Empire.) These dates were determined based on the depth of the sediment layers – a layer of ash from A volcanic eruption that occurred in 877 CE provided a distinctive time stamp.

Past research turned up another keys to the history of mankind on the islands. In the 1980s, researchers discovered that a weed commonly associated with the movement of people appeared in the Faroe Islands around 2200 BC. But this weed could be blown away by the wind, as many plant seeds do. But in 2013, a study found charred grains of barley under a Viking home on Sandoy Island. This indicated the arrival of the pre-Norwegians on the islands. but there was only one proof… Lorelei Curtin, co-author of the new paper and a land surveyor from the University of Wyoming said the newesearch confirms that the Vikings weren’t the first to come here.

Who are these early explorers we, Tthe team said they could have been Celts, but it is not exactly. They did find Human DNA in the sediment, but it could be modern infection and was no longer explored.

“We are still in the process of collecting data on past climate and human activities from additional sites around the Faroe Islands,” D’Andrea said. “What is great about lake sediments is that they contain information not only about human activities, but also about natural changes in the climate and the environment in the past.”

D’Andrea and his colleagues are working on projects in According to him, the North Atlantic and the Arctic, so that new discoveries about human travel in ancient times may still be ahead.

Read more: Climate change is erasing human history

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