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An investigation carried out by the University of Queens in Belfast, has determined that Vikings come to Ireland when the population was in great decline.
Until now it was thought that the population of Ireland increased gradually over the years. However, the researchers found that population was in serious decline for two centuries before the Vikings migrated towards the territory.
Applying Big Data, experts have published the estimate of the total population in the region. The data shows the importance of migration, as without the Vikings, the population decline could have been much worse.
Principal Investigator Dr Rowan McLaughlin explained that “millions of people lived in Ireland during Prehistory and early Christian times. Around the year 700, the population mysteriously went into decline, perhaps due to war, famine, plague or political unrest. However, there was no single cause or event, as the decline was a gradual process. '
He added that 'the Vikings settled in Ireland in the 10th century, during the phase of decline, and despite being few in number were more successful than the natives in expanding their population. Today, genetic evidence suggests that many Irish have some Viking blood. '
For the study, the researchers used a database of archaeological sites discovered during the years of «Celtic tiger»(From the beginning of 1990 to the year 2002), when there was a boom in the construction of highways and other developments in the country, which allowed the discovery of a large number of ancient sites.
The law requires employers to employ archaeologists to record sites before they are destroyed. This allowed the researchers to access information that was not previously available.
"This large database has opened up a whole new perspective on the past that we simply couldn't get any other way," added McLaughlin.
“Often in archeology, we focus on interpreting the evidence for a single site. Analyzing amounts of data from different places in this way allows us to think long term. Now that we know these general trends, we can better understand the details of everyday life in ancient Ireland, ”added Emma Hannah, lead author of the article.
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