The region around Liverpool was once a major Viking settlement, according to a genetic study of men living in the area.
The research tapped into this Viking ancestry by focusing on people whose surnames were recorded in the area before its population underwent a huge expansion during the industrial revolution. Among men with these “original” surnames, 50% have Norse ancestry.
The find backs up historical evidence from place names and archaeological finds of Viking treasure which suggests significant numbers of Norwegian Vikings settled in the north-west in the 10th century. “[The genetics] is very exciting because it ties in with the other evidence from the area,” said Professor Stephen Harding at the University of Nottingham, who carried out the work with a team at the University of Leicester led by Professor Mark Jobling.
They used historical documents, including a tax register from the time of Henry VIII, to identify surnames common in the region. They then recruited 77 male volunteers with “original” surnames, and looked for a genetic signature of Viking ancestry on the Y chromosome. They report in Molecular Biology and Evolution that a Y chromosome type, R1a, common in Norway, is also very common among men with original surnames.
03 Dec 2007