These two 1000-year-old Viking skeletons were found 100s of miles apart only to be reunited in Denmark after DNA analysis showed that the pair were actually related.
The two Vikings were reunited at the Danish National Museum in Copenhagen yesterday (9th June).
One of the Vikings, a male who is estimated to have died in his early 20’s sometime in the 11th century, was found in a mass grave in the United Kingdom near Oxford.
The second Viking is believed to have died in his 50s and was found in Denmark with several marks on his skeleton suggesting he had been injured in battles.
Using DNA mapping archaeologists were able to determine that the two Vikings were related.
Jeanette Varberg, an archaeologist at the Danish National Museum, said in a statement: ” “This is a big discovery because now you can trace movements across space and time through a family.”
The archaeologists were not able to confirm the exact relationship between the two skeletons although they are sure that they are from the same family.
They think that they could be half-brothers, a grandfather and grandson, or possibly an uncle and a nephew.
Varberg added: “The younger one, may have been cut down in a Viking raid, but there is also a theory that they (the skeletons in the mass grave) were victims of a royal decree by English King Ethelred the Second.”
King Ethelred gave a command in 1002 that all Danes residing in England should be killed.
Varberg added: “It’s very difficult to tell if they lived in the same age or they differ maybe by a generation because you have no material in the grave that can give a precise dating.”
As a result, Varberg believes that there is a margin of error of about 50 years plus or minus.
The skeleton of the Viking found in Oxford has been lent to the Danish museum for three years by the Oxfordshire Museum and it is unclear if the two relatives will be separated again when the lease ends.
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