Faroe stamps: everyday life in the viking age

The Faroe Islands, located between Iceland, Norway, and the British Isles, were a stepping stone for Viking exploration across the North Atlantic: the general consensus is that the Norse were the first humans to settle the Faroe Islands in the mid-9th century CE, when the Norse established new settlements on the Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, and beyond to North America. Anyway, despite nearly all archaeological evidence pointing toward the initial Norse occupation of the Faroes in the 9th century, there is indirect evidence that suggests that people may have settled the Faroe Islands before the main phase of Norse settlement: in 825 CE, an Irish monk named Dicuil mentioned in writing that some northern islands had been settled by hermits for at least one hundred years; many place names in the Faroes derive from Celtic words and Celtic grave markings have been identified on the islands; the genetics of the modern population of Faroese people is strongly asymmetric between the paternal and maternal ancestry: while the paternal lineage is primarily Scandinavian, the maternal lineage is primarily from the British Isles. While other regions of the North Atlantic also show this asymmetry, the Faroe Islands have the highest proportion of British Isles maternal ancestry and the highest level of genetic asymmetry, suggesting that there was potentially a pre-existing population of predominately British Isles descent. Almost all of these evidence for early human arrival to the Faroe Islands is inconclusive, and direct physical evidence is lacking: now the analysis of sedimentary DNA gives us unequivocal evidence for human arrival and livestock disturbance in the Faroe Islands centuries before Viking settlement in the 9th century. But, if the first settlers were not Vikings, who were they? That remains a mystery at the moment: as written above, genetic profiles, the etymology of place names, and grave markings point toward a Celtic population. Still, there is no direct DNA evidence to confirm these indications. Read more on Thevikingherald and Norwaytoday