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FOLK – From racial types to DNA sequences

Human diversity, race, and racism

How do scholars think about race, racism, and human diversity today? How does DNA research affect our understandings of our origins and identities?

Images from race science

Kristian and Alette Schreiner were central in anthropological research in the early 1900s.  They traveled to Tysfjord to measure and photograph the Sami people. How has this research been experienced by the research subjects – and their descendants?

Reclaim the stories

Kristian and Alette Schreiner studied the Sami population at Tysfjord in the early 1900s. Their perception of the Sami as  racially primitive  affected their research and their encounter with the locals.  How does the local community engage with the Schreiners' research today?

The Schreiners in Setesdal

Anthropologists Kristian and Alette Scheiner went to Setesdal to study the local population in the early 1900s. Based on previous anthropological studies  in that area, they expected to find a nearly pure Nordic racial type in the population.  How is their research seen by the locals today?

Tracing the genomic history of the Vikings

DNA research on human remains is changing the ways we understand human history. How is this research being done? What are its moments of difficulty and uncertainty?

The first results of the study indicate that:

"Our findings also show that Vikings are not simply a direct continuation of the Scandinavian Iron Age groups. Rather than simple continuity, we observe foreign gene flow from the south and east into Scandinavia, starting in the Iron Age, and continuing throughout the duration of the Viking period from an increasing number of sources. Our findings also contradict the myth of the Vikings as peoples of pure local Scandinavian ancestry. In fact, we found many Viking Age individuals with high levels of foreign ancestry, both within and outside Scandinavia, suggesting ongoing gene flow with different peoples across Europe. Indeed, it appears that some foreign peoples contributed more genetic ancestry to Scandinavia during this period than the Vikings contributed to them which could partially be due to smaller effective population size of the VA Scandinavians as opposed to their continental and British neighbors."

Read the full preprint article of the study.

The art and science of facial depictions

How can researchers give a face to a Viking Age skull? Can we know what these people may have looked like?