Blood tests taken over the past year show that part of northwest England is still a Viking stronghold, just as it was 1,200 years ago. Geneticists have discovered clear evidence of Norwegian genetic influences in the area. The study also confirms that Vikings settled in large numbers in the Shetland and Orkneys and the far north of the Scottish mainland.

In the first large-scale genetics survey of its kind, led by Professor David Goldstein, a geneticist from the University College London, scientists studied the DNA of 2,000 people. The study shows that the genetic pattern of the Vikings remains in some parts of the UK population and confirms that the Norwegian Vikings did not just raid and then retreat to Scandinavia, but actually settled in Britain.

Scientists took mouth swabs from 2,000 people from 25 different locations across Britain. They only tested men because information they were interested in is contained on the Y chromosome, which women do not have. The genetic material in the samples was compared with DNA taken from people in Scandinavia where people are thought to be most similar to the Vikings.

Goldstein says, ?Modern genetics has opened up a powerful window on the past. We can now trace past movements of peoples and address questions that have proved difficult to answer through history and archaeology alone.?

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