A mysterious Viking woman whose remains were discovered above the town of Seyðisfjörður 14 years ago was most likely not buried there, according to a new study. Instead, she is thought to have fallen prey to the elements.
The mountain woman, as she’s become known, had over 500 pearls on her, and the shape of her front teeth appears to indicate Mongolian origin, though further evidence is required to verify that.
Rannveig Þórhallsdóttir recently finished a Master’s thesis in archaeology where she collects all the research conducted on the mountain woman—her bones, as well as her pins and pearls. The mountain woman was discovered in a grotto near Seyðisfjörður in 2004.
“She was around 20-30 years old at the time of her death,” said Þórhallsdóttir, speaking with RÚV. The first six years of her life, her nourishment came in the form of game meats and caught fish.”
“Judging by the jewellery, she was alive around [the year] 950, and potentially had shovel-shaped teeth that could indicate a different origin than the traditional Scandinavian one,” continued Þórhallsdóttir.
“Shovel-shaped teeth can hint at a Mongolian genetic origin, but to answer the question of that is indeed her origin you would need to have a whole set of teeth with the jaw and root system intact.”
“That wasn’t the case here, so really this is all speculation at this stage, but [there are] certain hints at a conceivable Mongolian origin, at least not this traditional Scandinavian one that we think of when we think of the Viking Age,” said Þórhallsdóttir.
Þórhallsdóttir enlisted the help of deCode Genetics, a prominent Icelandic biopharmaceutical company and research institute, in discovering the mountain woman’s origin, using DNA from one of her molars. The molar turned out not to have enough DNA for a conclusive result.
Þórhallsdóttir remains hopeful that they’ll get there one day. “We know for sure that she wasn’t born in Iceland, so it would be very interesting to find out where she came from.”