Monday, 4 February 2013


Kevin Edwards, Professor of Physical Geography, collecting samples for analysis on the Faroe Islands. Image: University of Aberdeen

Over the years, there has been much speculation regarding whether Irish monks may have travelled north across the sea to the Faroe Islands long before the Vikings ever arrived there.
However, despite the best efforts of scientists, researchers and archaeologists, nothing was uncovered that could prove the existence of settlers on the Faroes before the year 800 AD.
Until now!

Cereal pollen indicates early farming

Scientists from Aberdeen University in northeast Scotland have found something exciting in early Faroese pollen samples that gives them a reason to rethink Faroese prehistory: cereal pollen.
Kevin Edwards, a professor of physical geography and archaeology at Aberdeen University, tells ScienceNordic about the work:
”One of the main problems with cereal pollen is that it is produced in tiny quantities. Cereal pollen grains are also very large, and that means they don’t spread far with the wind. That’s why it’s so important to find.”
Now they have found cereal pollen in the early samples from the Islands there is just one problem: the soil where they found it is far from ideal for accurate pollen analysis, so they must try to discover more, but given the rarity it will be difficult.

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