Tuesday, June 16, 2015
British researchers have begun collecting the DNA of residents from Normandy in northern France in search of Viking heritage
Around a hundred volunteers from the Cotentin peninsula area are giving DNA samples to academics at the University of Leicester, who are trying to find descendants of the Vikings who invaded what is now Normandy in the 9th century. The aim is to learn more about the intensity of the Scandinavian colonization in the 9th and 10th centuries in the Cotentin Peninsula, said Richard Jones, a senior history lecturer at the University of Leicester. That includes trying to find out whether the colonizers kept to themselves or intermarried with the locals, he added. The French volunteers have been chosen because they have surnames that are of Scandinavian origin or that have been present in France since at least the 11th century. They also qualify if all four of their grandparents lived within a 50-kilometer radius of their current home. French data protection authorities gave their green light to the study, which will be published in 2016. The team are searching for Viking roots among residents in three areas of Britain as well as in Normandy.