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Finding Vikings with Isotope Analysis: The View from Wet and Windy Islands

Montgomery, J.; Grimes, V.; Buckberry, J.; Evans, J.A.; Richards, M.P.; Barrett, J.H.

Finding Vikings with Isotope Analysis: The View from Wet and Windy Islands Thumbnail


V. Grimes

J. Buckberry

J.A. Evans

M.P. Richards

J.H. Barrett


Identifying people of exotic origins with isotopes depends upon finding isotopic attributes that are inconsistent with the indigenous population. This task is seldom straightforward and may vary with physical geography, through time, and with cultural practices. Isotopes and trace elements were measured in four Viking Age (8th to 10th centuries A.D.) skeletons from Dublin, Ireland, and three from Westness, Orkney. These were compared with other data from these locations and contemporaneous skeletons from Britain. We conclude that the male skeletons from Dublin have disparate origins, two originating beyond the shores of Ireland, and that the female and two male skeletons from Westness are not indigenous to Orkney. However, the homeland of the female, in contrast to the males, is unlikely to be in Scandinavia.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 16, 2014
Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Deposit Date Mar 12, 2015
Publicly Available Date Mar 18, 2015
Journal Journal of the North Atlantic
Print ISSN 1935-1933
Electronic ISSN 1935-1984
Publisher Eagle Hill Institute
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume Special Volume 7
Pages 54-70
Public URL
Publisher URL


Published Journal Article (1.5 Mb)

Copyright Statement
Any further replication or distribution of the article, either in whole or in part, except for personal research purposes, is not allowed except with the written permission of the publisher, the Eagle Hill Institute.

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