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Vikings freeze-dried cod for long journeys

Analysis of ancient cod samples has shown that the Vikings would freeze-dry to fish to transport them on their long journeys.

By comparing the ancient DNA with genetic material taken from around 170 modern cod tissues, Star and his colleagues confirmed that four cod samples from Haithabu originated in the north-east Arctic, close to the northernmost tip of the Norwegian coast.

The only explanation is that Viking ships transported the cod – a sea journey of 2000 kilometres that would have taken at least a month. Even then, Vikings – renowned for their maritime prowess – had developed a geographically extensive trade in fish, a perishable resource.

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Story: Andy Coghlan, New Scientist | Photo: Olaf Kruger/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

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