Abstract

The excavation at Cnip, Isle of Lewis, Scotland, of the largest, and only known family cemetery from the early Norse period in the Hebrides, provided a unique opportunity to use Sr isotope analysis to examine the origins of people who may have been Norwegian Vikings. Sr isotope analysis permits direct investigation of a person's place of origin rather than indirectly through acquired cultural and artefactual affiliations. Sr isotope data suggest that the Norse group at Cnip was of mixed origins. The majority were consistent with indigenous origins but two individuals, of middle-age and different sex, were immigrants. They were, however, not from Norway but were raised separately, most probably on Tertiary volcanic rocks (e.g. the Inner Hebrides or NE Ireland) or, for the female, on marine carbonate rocks.

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