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Department of Archaeology


Publication details for Dr Janet Montgomery

Montgomery, J., Grimes, V., Buckberry, J., Evans, J.A., Richards, M.P. & Barrett, J.H. (2014). Finding Vikings with Isotope Analysis: The View from Wet and Windy Islands. Journal of the North Atlantic Special volume 7: 54-70.

Author(s) from Durham


Identifying people of exotic origins with isotopes depends upon finding isotopic attributes that are inconsistent with the indigenous population. This task is seldom straightforward and may vary with physical geography, through time, and with cultural practices. Isotopes and
trace elements were measured in four Viking Age (8th to 10th centuries A.D.) skeletons from Dublin, Ireland, and three from Westness, Orkney. These were compared with other data from
these locations and contemporaneous skeletons from Britain. We conclude that the male skeletons from Dublin have disparate origins, two originating beyond the shores of Ireland, and
that the female and two male skeletons from Westness are not indigenous to Orkney. However, the homeland of the female, in contrast to the males, is unlikely to be in Scandinavia.