VIKING DNA details a genetic survey that has taken place focusing on men from old families from Wirral and West Lancashire. These 'Viking hot spots' in North West England exhibit many archaeological and historical features proving them to have had a clear Viking presence. The survey led by the authors aimed to discover just how deep these Viking roots lay - by tracing the DNA of the local populace back to their Viking ancestors. The book is introduced with a brilliant foreword by UK/BBC historian/broadcaster Michael Wood. It then explains with the help of full colour illustrations what DNA is and how DNA methods can be used to probe both individual and population ancestry - and the limitations - and how information such as Henry VIII s tax rolls can be used to help establish the volunteer base for specific regions of northern England. Using these methods significant Scandinavian ancestry (up to 50% of the mixture of DNA from the old populations) has been shown for Wirral and West Lancashire. One youngster was so impressed with the results for her father she wrote a School project My Viking Dad and his Viking Dog ! The book finishes with a look towards the current testing of other regions of Northern England and the research currently being undertaken to obtain a genetic profile of Scandinavia in the Viking Age. A fascinating insight into history and people, VIKING DNA will captivate anyone interested in DNA ancestry and how their own region's past can be researched.
Steve Harding (b. Wirral, 1955) was educated at Pembroke College, Oxford receiving a DSc, and is now Professor of Applied Biochemistry at the University of Nottingham. His books cover 2 main areas: the physical or hydrodynamic behaviour of the large molecules (macromolecules) of life (proteins, carbohydrate polymers, DNA), and how DNA in conjunction with other methods is being used to understand the extent of the Scandinavian settlements of north west England.
His latest book is an edited volume for the Royal Society of Chemistry, titled "Stability of Complex Carbohydrate Structures: Biofuels, Foods, Vaccines and Shipwrecks". His next book, to be published by CRC Press is an edited volume with David Griffiths and Elizabeth Royles "In Search of Vikings" about the various interdisciplinary approaches being used to find out about Viking settlers from Scandinavia, particularly those who settled in NW England.