The Viking Age man from Galgedil, Denmark. About 1 000 AD
The first time I heard this story it almost sounded like a saga. But it is all true. Some 1 100 years ago there were two half- brothers living in Denmark, in the era we call the Viking period. Violent times; and the two brothers both took part in this.
One brother went over to England. He was buried in a mass grave in Oxford, together with a huge number of his Viking friends.
The other brother surely might have been abroad taking part in Viking raids; he was a quite heavy set man with a number of marks from violence/battle on his skeleton. But he died in Galgedil, Denmark, where his bones were found some 20 years ago.
His DNA was registered in the Atlas database, as was the DNA from his brother buried in Oxford.
A database with ancient DNA can produce great surprises…like a DNA match.
The skeleton in Oxford, England, had a DNA match with the skeleton in Galgedil, Denmark!!!
The family relationship between them, according to DNA, is half brothers, or uncle and nephew.
So, after 1 100 years apart the two brothers lie side by side at the National Museum in Copenhagen.
Science, saga and family joined together. Moving.
I had the honour to reconstruct one of them, the man found in Galgedil. Unfortunately the facial skeleton of the man found in Oxford was not complete, and therefore not suitable for making a reconstruction.
But this guy from Galgedil was a delight to work with. And many thanks to my superb colleague Cathrine Abrahamsson, helping me in this project.
National Museum of Denmark.