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DNA Study To Settle Ancient Mystery About Mingling Of Inuit, Vikings
Cnews Canada ^ | 9-2-2003 | Bob Weber

Posted on 09/02/2003 11:38:57 AM PDT by blam

DNA study to settle ancient mystery about mingling of Inuit, Vikings


(CP) - A centuries-old Arctic mystery may be weeks away from resolution as an Icelandic anthropologist prepares to release his findings on the so-called "Blond Eskimos" of the Canadian North.

"It's an old story," says Gisli Palsson of the University of Iceland in Reykjavik. "We want to try to throw new light on the history of the Inuit." Stories about Inuit with distinct European features - blue eyes, fair hair, beards - living in the central Arctic have their roots in ancient tales of Norse settlements and explorations.

"The Icelandic sagas, at several points, mention the Norse in Greenland meeting people who belong to other cultures," Palsson said.

Although those settlements pushed ever westward from Greenland as early as the 9th and 10th century, they had mysteriously disappeared by the 15th. The fate of settlers - did they simply disappear into the local population? - is unknown.

The Inuit tell legends of long-ago meetings with people from a strange culture.

Tantalizing accounts of European-looking Inuit surface in the accounts of some of the earliest western Arctic explorers, including Sir John Franklin, who was later to lead the doomed Franklin Expedition.

In the first decade of the last century, the famed Arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson heard a rumour from a whaling captain about fair-haired people living among the Copper Inuit near what is now Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.

Stefansson, hungry for renown, used the rumour to raise money for an expedition to the area. In 1910, he finally caught up with the Inuit he sought.

A documentary entitled Arctic Dreamer, which premieres Friday at the Montreal Film Festival, quotes Stefansson's journals on the meeting:

"There were three men here whose beard is almost the same colour as mine and who look like typical Scandinavians," he wrote. "One woman has the delicate features one sees on Scandinavian girls."

Stefansson speculated the people he met had descended from the inhabitants of the vanished Norse settlements. His theory thrust him onto the front pages of newspapers across the continents with headlines of a "lost white race."

Palsson, with the help of biological anthropologist Agnar Helgason, has turned the light of DNA testing on Stefansson's speculations. Last year, he and his team took saliva samples from 350 Inuit in Cambridge Bay and Greenland and they have been comparing them with genetic markers known to have been prevalent in medieval Scandinavia.

The present-day Inuit of the area don't look markedly different than other Inuit, Palsson says.

"There has been lots of mixing over the last decades."

As well, Palsson points out that Stefansson had backers to please and lecture halls to fill.

"I'm not convinced that he actually saw Inuit who looked different than other Inuit. He may have exaggerated."


Still, that doesn't mean Stefansson was wrong. Modern archeologists have lately found Norse remains and textiles as far west as Baffin Island.

"Things like that testify to at least economic exchange," says Palsson. "None of this is actual proof, but I think Inuit and Norse must have met, at least in western Greenland."

The last of Palsson's samples, which arrived in Iceland last month, are now being analysed. He expects to release his findings in October.

Although Palsson's results won't be indisputable proof, they will offer a high degree of probability. And a finding that Inuit and Viking blood probably mixed a millennium ago will change our understanding of human mobility, says Palsson.

"We now know the Inuit were not stationary and passive, outside of history," he says. "On the contrary, they were experimenting with travel routes and subsistence resources. And the same with the Norse.

"There's a tendency to undermine the mobility of the species. Archeology and biological anthropology are increasingly demonstrating that regions that people thought were barriers were really migration routes.

"And it may well be that we see the same results in the Arctic."

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ancient; ancienthistory; archaeology; baffinisland; chachapoyas; dna; eskimos; genetics; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; greenland; helixmakemineadouble; history; iceland; inuit; medieval; navigation; norse; norway; qalunaat; qavlunaat; skraelings; study; sweden; thevikings; vikings; vinland
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1 posted on 09/02/2003 11:38:58 AM PDT by blam
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To: blam
Promiscuous Vikings??!!? Say it isn't so.
2 posted on 09/02/2003 11:40:55 AM PDT by Hodar (With Rights, comes Responsibilities. Don't assume one, without assuming the other.)
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To: blam; meowmeow; Constitution Day; 4mycountry; Poohbah; Grampa Dave; an amused spectator; ctlpdad; ..
Hmm, wonder if the study included anything about crossing of felines and vikings?
3 posted on 09/02/2003 11:44:43 AM PDT by VRWCmember
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To: Hodar; farmfriend; shamusotoole; RightWhale
I wonder if we can get them to compare the Inuit/Viking DNA to these folks in Florida?

European DNA Found In 7-8,000 Year Old Skeleton In Florida (Windover)

4 posted on 09/02/2003 11:45:03 AM PDT by blam
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To: blam
5 posted on 09/02/2003 12:01:39 PM PDT by LiteKeeper
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To: blam
blue eyes, fair hair, beards

horns on their parka hoods

6 posted on 09/02/2003 12:36:44 PM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: blam
What about mitochondrial DNA (females)? That stuff is supposed to be traceable down many generations.
7 posted on 09/02/2003 12:40:08 PM PDT by Oatka
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To: blam
Russians also lived with and mingled with the inuits. They are the laplanders who started tke 'Eskimo Kiss'. They had fairer skin and lighter features than the native mongul-looking laps.

Just got back from the Lapland and Artic Museums in Finland.
8 posted on 09/02/2003 12:56:48 PM PDT by IronKros (wake the mokey and show him a dollar)
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To: blam; *Gods, Graves, Glyphs; bd476; carenot; CatoRenasci; ckilmer; curmudgeonII; dorothy; ellery; ..
Gods, Graves, Glyphs
List for articles regarding early civilizations , life of all forms, - dinosaurs - etc.

Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this ping list.

9 posted on 09/02/2003 1:54:36 PM PDT by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: blam
There's no doubt in my mind that some blending between the Greenland Norse and the so-called "skraelings" occured. Especially when the global cooling in the 14th century rendered the Norse lifestyle untenable in Greenland. They either adapted to the Inuit ways, went back to Iceland or died. It makes sense that some probably joined up with Inuit bands and passed along their looks--the Inuit gene pool is not a very large one, so even the recessive traits (fair hair and blue/green eyes)of the Norse could be preserved.
10 posted on 09/02/2003 2:08:26 PM PDT by LN2Campy
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To: LN2Campy
Looks like we'll know for sure shortly. Now, what will be the impact if the come back and say yes, they mixed?
11 posted on 09/02/2003 2:11:27 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam
I had heard similar anecdotal tale about a gray haired, blue eyed strain of "Native American" that inhabited the Martha's Vineyard area when the latter day European explorers came through.
12 posted on 09/02/2003 7:29:44 PM PDT by marsh2
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To: marsh2
"I had heard similar anecdotal tale about a gray haired, blue eyed strain of "Native American" that inhabited the Martha's Vineyard area when the latter day European explorers came through."

Yup. Lewis and Clark reported that the Mandan Indians were speaking Welsh when they passed through that region.

13 posted on 09/02/2003 7:45:04 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam; MeeknMing; Chad Fairbanks; Ragtime Cowgirl; nopardons; jellybean; dixiechick2000; ...

Great thread post!

Check the ancestors of Viking King Harold the Black of Iceland.

Iceland still has the decendants of blue-eyed Vikings living there today.

Also check the bloodlines DNA of the MacLeods of Isle of Skye, Castle Dunvegan.

John MacLeod, 29th Chief of Clan MacLeod, Castle Dunvegan, Isle of Skye is the direct descendant of Leod the Black, or Leod Olafson.

Leod was the son of Olaf the Black.

He was given the Isle of Skye in Scotland as a dowry from his Danish Knight father in law.

He was the first Chief of Clan MacLeod and a direct decendant of King Harold of Iceland who is of Norwegian royalty blood.

King Harold had sons and grandsons that sailed east to Newfoundland and further south.

It would be interesting if the Iceland ancestors of King Harold of Iceland and/or current Clan MacLeod Chief John McLeod had matching DNA to the DNA of Inuits now in Canada.

Just passing down some old family stories from my grandfather Murdick Lemuel McLeod backed up by detailed genealogical records we have and also those on the internet GenWebSite.

Unlike Hillary I do not need ice blue contact lenses.

I read back a bit that the DNA of one schoolteacher in England matched his ancient ancestor's found in a bog.

Keep up these great threads on these subjects.

Time is slice up this great thick antelope steak with my trusty dirk and have a wee bit of scotch!
14 posted on 09/02/2003 10:07:27 PM PDT by autoresponder (PETA TERRORISTS .wav file: BRUCE FRIEDRICH:
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To: LN2Campy; blam; autoresponder
I have a concept for a future novel, the Viking conquest of North America. If they had had the luck of Cortez, and landed among an indian tribe eager to befriend them, history may have had a very different outcome. Imagine iron working, the wheel, horses and domestic cattle etc introduced to America in AD 900. Some day I'd like to right that "history" in a novel.
15 posted on 09/02/2003 10:12:00 PM PDT by Travis McGee (----- -----)
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To: autoresponder
I spent some time living in Iceland in the 1970s. When I studied the early roots of pre-Norman English legal traditions and institutions, I noted the tremendous contribution of the Viking concepts of indvidualism, property, tort, family feud and tribal assembly to the English common law and notion of the "rights of Englishman."

I also studied the Roman contribution and how that was integrated.

The Vikings ruled much of Great Britain for centuries. There was even an area of the eastern part called the Danelaw. Many of the towns in certain parts of England still bear names traced back to Viking traditions.
16 posted on 09/03/2003 1:12:55 AM PDT by marsh2
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To: Travis McGee; MeeknMing; Ragtime Cowgirl; PhilDragoo; nopardons; Chad Fairbanks; dixiechick2000
Sounds like great concept.

It is amazing how they traveled so far in such treacheous seas in those small open ships.

The history of the Vikings was covered in a good PBS-TV series.

They conquered and looted much of Europe, even to the Mediterranean, and actually ended up replacing the useless leaders in what is now Russia and setting up organized commerce and government.

They did lead with their swords; aggression and ruthlessness was the key tactic. It worked well there.

The Vikings that settled Greenland seemed to not follow the native's in fishing and harvesting shellfish.

They brought cattle and pigs and farmed the land and built substantial stone churches.

If they had paid more attention to how the locals lived and survived successfully for countless years they would have done much better.

As the climate cooled rapidly their diets suffered and even their size got smaller.

They ended up keeping their animals inside their homes and eating them with none left to breed for more sustenance.

Finally those that did not leave Greenland for Iceland, Ireland, Scotland's Isles, or Denmark and Norway died.

Based on what I have read they did not get along well with the natives.

Cortez dazzled the Incas with his armor and firesticks and was looked upon as a living God before he looted and wiped out many of the Indians.

The Mayflower pilgrims worked well with the Indians who taught them to survive those first years after half died within 12 months.

But then there is that Roanoke community and those words carved into that tree......

Some say they traveled west into the mountains; there are unusual and different communities of people there that do not meet the area's norms.

But that is another tale for another time.
17 posted on 09/03/2003 1:23:11 AM PDT by autoresponder (PETA TERRORISTS .wav file: BRUCE FRIEDRICH:
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To: marsh2; Travis McGee; MeeknMing; Chad Fairbanks; bash
If you will think about the early mid-eastern (Iraq) bronze short swords, they were copied in bronze and iron by the Greeks and Romans.

The Vikings copied the Roman short sword and eventually the Scots did also as the Vikings conquered and settled Ireland and the Scottish Isles as well as parts of England.

Eventually that ancient straight broad short sword was lengthened and became the Scottish Claymore swords we all see in movies.

I spotted a bronze short sword circa 2200bc that a London antiques auction dealer thought was Greek or Roman but was appreciative when I told him that it was mideastern made in what is now Iraq.

He sent me his elaborate antiques auction catalog and I ended up selling him a London Model Colt Pocket .36 silver-plated percussion cap revolver made in the 1850s with a 3 digit serial number to match one he had in his catalog only 40 SN digits higher.

A pair of matched silver-plated 1850 London Colt Pocket revolvers doubles the value of both, each selling for over $3800, or $7600 the pair to one winning bidder.

Your studies are on the mark; the Vikings quickly established order, laws, and rules to improve life and security.

The conquered local citizens instantly got the point.

Occasionally the same type of Viking short sword is found in a British riverbank, much the same swords were found buried with Scandanavian farmers in their graves.

I recall one instance where a child's size Viking short sword was found buried with a young boy who had died of disease at an age of under ten years.

18 posted on 09/03/2003 2:31:04 AM PDT by autoresponder (PETA TERRORISTS .wav file: BRUCE FRIEDRICH:
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To: autoresponder
The new generation of Vikings ?? :O)
19 posted on 09/03/2003 2:37:24 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP (Check out the Texas Chicken D 'RATS!:
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To: blam
Did Lewis and Clark pass through Martha's Vineyard? I thought the Mandan Indians were in the northern mid-west regions. However, fair-haired Indians were reported in the Martha's Vineyard region... I just didn't think they were the Mandan Indians, but I could be wrong. IIRC, one of the leaders of the Indian tribes in King Phillip's War had the name of Magnuson.

There's stories all over the country of light-skinned and haired Natives. Then there's the Melungeons and the Lumbees... and the, forget their name, the Red Bones, or something like that in Louisiana region. It was reported that several Natives in different areas either spoke or understood Welsh. Thomas Jefferson was very interested in this as his ancestors came from the region of Wales that Prince Maloc (sp?) came from.

20 posted on 09/03/2003 6:32:45 AM PDT by twigs
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