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

  title={Finding Vikings with Isotope Analysis: The View from Wet and Windy Islands},
  author={Janet Montgomery and Vaughan Grimes and Jo Buckberry and Jane Evans and Michael P. Richards and James H. Barrett},
Abstract 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… 

Isotopic Baselines in the North Atlantic Region

Abstract The isotopic proveniencing of human remains, using ratios of strontium, oxygen, and/or lead isotopes, has been employed in archaeology for more than two decades. The basic principles are

Diversity aboard a Tudor warship: investigating the origins of the Mary Rose crew using multi-isotope analysis

A multi-isotope approach and the nature of the archaeological context has allowed the reconstruction of the biographies of eight Tudor individuals to a higher resolution than is usually possible.

Crossing the Maelstrom: New Departures in Viking Archaeology

This paper reviews the achievements and challenges of archaeological research on Viking Age northern Europe and explores potential avenues for future research. We identify the reemergence of

Finding radiogenic Sr-isotope biospheres: can a home in Britain be found for people with high 87Sr/86Sr?

With increasing regularity archaeological humans with 87Sr/86Sr >0.714 are being excavated in Britain and are difficult to explain or identify possible places of origin. The main aim of this thesis

Isotopic Evidence for Human Movement into Central England during the Early Neolithic

Isotope ratios of tooth enamel from ten Early Neolithic individuals buried in a long cairn at Whitwell in central England were measured to determine where they sourced their childhood diet. Five

Assembling places and persons: a tenth-century Viking boat burial from Swordle Bay on the Ardnamurchan peninsula, western Scotland

Abstract A rare, intact Viking boat burial in western Scotland contained a rich assemblage of grave goods, providing clues to the identity and origins of both the interred individual and the people

Isotope values of the bioavailable strontium in inland southwestern Sweden—A baseline for mobility studies

A strontium isotope baseline of southwestern Sweden is constructed with considerably greater coverage and higher resolution than previously published data, allowing for more nuanced and detailed interpretations of human and animal mobility in the region, in particular by identification of subregions with differing strontum isotope ratios within the Precambrian province.

A nursery for seamen: life histories from the St. John's Royal Naval Hospital Cemetery, Newfoundland

A cemetery associated with the St. John’s Royal Naval Hospital, NL (~1725-1825) was partially excavated in 1979, uncovering the skeletal remains of at least 21 individuals. Isotopic analyses

Population genomics of the Viking world

The Viking diaspora was characterized by substantial foreign engagement: distinct Viking populations influenced the genomic makeup of different regions of Europe, while Scandinavia also experienced increased contact with the rest of the continent.



Sr isotope evidence for population movement within the Hebridean Norse community of NW Scotland

The excavation at Cnip, Isle of Lewis, Scotland, of the largest, and only known family cemetery from the early Norse period in the Hebrides, provided a unique opportunity to use Sr isotope analysis

British Iron Age chariot burials of the Arras culture: a multi-isotope approach to investigating mobility levels and subsistence practices

Iron Age chariot burials in the UK are rare and restricted in their distribution. Historically it has been suggested that their Arras culture affinities with Continental Europe, particularly with the

The first settlers of Iceland: an isotopic approach to colonisation

The colonisation of the North Atlantic from the eighth century AD was the earliest expansion of European populations to the west. Norse and Celtic voyagers are recorded as reaching and settling in

‘Impious Easterners': Can Oxygen and Strontium Isotopes Serve as Indicators of Provenance in Early Medieval European Cemetery Populations?

Considerable debate persists concerning the origins of those involved in the adventus Saxonum: the arrival of Germanic peoples in Britain during the fifth century AD. This question was investigated

Spatial variations in biosphere 87Sr/86Sr in Britain

Abstract: Strontium isotopes are a powerful tool for investigating the geographical origins of people and animals but assignment of provenance requires reference maps and databases. This paper

Passports from the past: Investigating human dispersals using strontium isotope analysis of tooth enamel

Several models of land-use choices by humans are presented to highlight the subtleties inherent in the isotope data and these are used to interpret archaeological human isotope ratios from three studies.

Strontium Isotopes from the Earth to the Archaeological Skeleton: A Review

Strontium isotope analysis of archaeological skeletons has provided useful and exciting results in archaeology in the last 20 years, particularly by characterizing past human migration and mobility.

Finding Vikings in the Danelaw

Historical, artefactual and place-name evidence indicates that Scandinavian migrants moved to eastern England in the ninth century AD, settling in the Danelaw. However, only a handful of