#haithabu

  • DNA from Viking cod bones suggests 1,000 years of European fish trade | University of Cambridge
    https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/dna-from-viking-cod-bones-suggests-1000-years-of-european-fish-trade

    Norway is famed for its cod. Catches from the Arctic stock that spawn each year off its northern coast are exported across Europe for staple dishes from British fish and chips to Spanish bacalao stew.

    Now, a new study published today in the journal PNAS suggests that some form of this pan-European trade in Norwegian cod may have been taking place for 1,000 years.

    Latest research from the universities of Cambridge and Oslo, and the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology in Schleswig, used ancient DNA extracted from the remnants of Viking-age fish suppers.

    The study analysed five cod bones dating from between 800 and 1066 AD found in the mud of the former wharves of #Haithabu, an early medieval trading port on the Baltic. Haithabu is now a heritage site in modern Germany, but at the time was ruled by the King of the Danes. 

    The DNA from these cod bones contained genetic signatures seen in the Arctic stock that swim off the coast of Lofoten: the northern archipelago still a centre for Norway’s fishing industry. 

    Researchers say the findings show that supplies of ‘stockfish’ – an ancient dried cod dish popular to this day – were transported over a thousand miles from northern Norway to the Baltic Sea during the Viking era.

    Prior to the latest study, there was no archaeological or historical proof of a European stockfish trade before the 12th century.

    #Hedeby Commerce de la #morue #Vikings

    • Ancient DNA reveals the Arctic origin of Viking Age cod from Haithabu, Germany
      http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/08/01/1710186114

      Abstract
      Knowledge of the range and chronology of historic trade and long-distance transport of natural resources is essential for determining the impacts of past human activities on marine environments. However, the specific biological sources of imported fauna are often difficult to identify, in particular if species have a wide spatial distribution and lack clear osteological or isotopic differentiation between populations. Here, we report that ancient fish-bone remains, despite being porous, brittle, and light, provide an excellent source of endogenous DNA (15–46%) of sufficient quality for whole-genome reconstruction. By comparing ancient sequence data to that of modern specimens, we determine the biological origin of 15 Viking Age (800–1066 CE) and subsequent medieval (1066–1280 CE) Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) specimens from excavation sites in Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom. Archaeological context indicates that one of these sites was a fishing settlement for the procurement of local catches, whereas the other localities were centers of trade. Fish from the trade sites show a mixed ancestry and are statistically differentiated from local fish populations. Moreover, Viking Age samples from Haithabu, Germany, are traced back to the North East Arctic Atlantic cod population that has supported the Lofoten fisheries of Norway for centuries. Our results resolve a long-standing controversial hypothesis and indicate that the marine resources of the North Atlantic Ocean were used to sustain an international demand for protein as far back as the Viking Age.