The surprising history of Vikings in Scotland: 10 facts you might not know

The facts about the Vikings in Scotland bear little resemblance to the stereotypes of helmeted warriors pillaging the land at will.

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Here we delve a little deeper to examine ten lesser-known traits of our Nordic forebears.

Scientists studying Scots of Viking ancestry in Shetland and Orkney have discovered that there must have been far more Viking women in the Dark Ages settlements than originally thought.

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More than a thousand years after the first Viking longships landed on British shores, a study has shown the blood of the Norse warriors still flows through the veins of swathes of the population.
Clan names are a visible relic; MacIvors were originally the sons of Ivar, MacSween, the sons of Swein, Macaulay, the sons of Olaf, MacAskill, the sons of Asgeir and so on.
The Scots ceded dominion of the Outer and Inner Hebrides to Hakon Hakonson, King of Norway in a treaty, but the Gaels still regarded the isles as their own.
But archaeological finds show they may also have been vain - caring as much for the pretty decoration of their teeth as for the bite of their swords.
Objects moved over thousands of miles across a great network. Not all of the objects survive but others tell of great adventures. There have even been finds of coins and jewellery from as far as Baghdad, Samarkand and Tashkent.
Be very careful there, it says the natives are dangerous, the language incomprehensible and the weather is awful. This was the advice handed out to 13th-century Norse travellers from stories from Viking raiders.
They were farmers who kept a variety of animals, including sheep, cattle, and pigs, and grew crops such as barley and oats. They also collected plants for medicinal purposes.
The only places the Norse could have expected a safe reception was Orkney and Shetland, where the people were basically the same as them and where they would be greeted as kin.
The Viking influence is so strong and long-lasting that in his novel, The Pirate, Sir Walter Scott named the large Norse settlement near Sumburgh, Jarlshof, although the site was built on an earlier Neolithic settlement.