I saw an interesting TV programme about the Vikings recently, leading up to the British Museum’s forthcoming exhibition of Vikings – Life and Legend. The Vikings have been in and out of fashion more than skin-tight jeans. One year they are cold-blooded plunderers, destroying the jewels of Anglo-Saxon and Celtic Christian civilisation. The next they provide a vibrant culture of poetry, exploration and crafts. Under explanation 1, they kill the locals, under explanation 2, they integrate and combine a diverse population.
We can now find out which is true by DNA analysis. Scientists have studied the genetic make-up of the inhabitants of the Scottish isles, and find that – here’s a surprise – the Viking strain is dominant, and there isn’t much of the original blood line left at all. The Daily Telegraph tells us that “The work backs archeological, place name and linguistic evidence that suggests complete Norse cultural dominance of Shetland and Orkney during the Viking period”.
So, how can we put this, it seems they weren’t very big on celebrating diversity.