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Help realize a large Migration Period DNA study, involving migrations, climate change and 1000 warriors in early medieval Europe.
23 backers pledged NOK 103,358 to help bring this project to life.
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NOK 103,358

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This DNA project is all about some of the greatest warriors in history. It is a new and large research project on one of the most troubling times in European history.  

The 6th and 7th centuries were years of turmoil for the people of Europe, with huge climate changes starting in the years 536-537 and the Justinian Plague, which broke out in 541-542 and was one of the deadliest plagues in history with millions dead. These two events affected Europe in tremendous ways up to about the year 750 and created a discontinuity in European history which essentially made people in the Renaissance label these times as the Dark Ages of Europe. There aren't that many historical sources from this period, but many legends and myths about kings and warriors. It has therefore been considered by many as mythical times in European history. But this can all change with your support.

Now, using DNA, archeology and history research combined, our team will for the World famous Danish DNA-laboratory Centre for GeoGenetics collect DNA from 1000 of the greatest warriors to have fought in Europe from the 3rd to 8th centuries, meaning mainly from the Migration Period, but also later on. There are many hidden secrets in the skeletons of these warriors, which now are possible to reveal using the newest technologies available. 

These warriors were in the upper classes of society, they intermarried between clans and tribes and they also travelled much around in Europe. They are the perfect group to study in order to uncover new information about this mythical past of Europe. And this has never before been done on such a large scale. Our goal is to learn more about these warriors, both male and female who mostly belonged to Germanic tribes, and their connection to people of other historical time periods, such as the Vikings. 

And there will be a chance to compare your DNA with 1000 warriors. See the rewards section for more on this.  

Map of the "barbarian" invasions of the Roman Empire showing the major incursions from 100 to 500 CE (Wikipedia, User:MapMaster)
Map of the "barbarian" invasions of the Roman Empire showing the major incursions from 100 to 500 CE (Wikipedia, User:MapMaster)

This large scale scientific project will hopefully result in a Ph.D., books and papers being published. I have been given the opportunity to work alongside two of the most accomplished scholars working in their field, Professor Eske Willerslev at The Centre for GeoGenetics, which is part of the Natural History Museum of Denmark, and Professor in Archaeology Lotte Hedeager at the University of Oslo, Norway. In addition to deep DNA analysis we will do Isotope, C13 and C14 analysis, and use Big Data research methods. Almost all of these warriors are excavated and located in museums and institutions all across Europe. We will measure their position, status and wealth by grave findings, reports and published papers. The results will help shed new light on migration, climate change and ultimately uncover new research about some of the least know time periods in European history.

We would like to offer some exciting rewards for all participants, which you can see to the right. This includes: 

  • Follow this project and gain exclusive access to our research work while in progress. 
  • "Adopting" your own warrior.  
  • Receive an offer to join us on our research expeditions to collect skeleton material around Europe. We'll start off in the Balkans, Italy and Spain. 
  • Comparing your own DNA with that of a 1000 warriors. 
  • And of course supporting exciting new research!
  • for more, look to your right ->

In January 2018 we did a similar Kickstarter project titled Opening a tomb of four great warriors in Southern Italy. This was a great success for us and the DNA is now in the lab for analysing. We are very excited for these results, but this has also inspired us to take this larger DNA project onto Kickstarter. 

Battle of Adrianople, year 378 (https://about-history.com/battle-of-adrianople-378-c-e-the-beginning-of-the-collapse/)
Battle of Adrianople, year 378 (https://about-history.com/battle-of-adrianople-378-c-e-the-beginning-of-the-collapse/)

Why Kickstarter: The funding has already been secured for the most expensive part of the project: The lab work with extensive DNA analyzing, but we now lack the last 10-20% to get started, or about $250.000. With funding through Kickstarter we can get started right away and not late 2019 or early 2020.

We are doing much planning at the moment, but we really need help to really get this up and going! So a big thanks thanks to you who are considering this Kickstarter project. We hope you will come aboard and join us one way or another.

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Why we want YOU on our team

We can't do this without being a part of something bigger, and our wish is to expand the project by doing the research in a more open source manner, with more people involved, creating more insight and making it into a great European history collaboration. So this is our invitation to join and be a part of our team. 

Feel free to check out our rewards to your right in order to see how you can best join us. And if you know anyone who needs to know about this project, we will be very grateful if you can share in emails, on facebook and social media groups! 

To share this project, go to the top of the page and click on the links right below "Back this project". Thank you! 

Sturla Ellingvåg is available for any questions at: sturlae@gmail.com.

Artwork by Johnny Shumate (Pinterest)
Artwork by Johnny Shumate (Pinterest)

Risks and challenges

This project is planned to last 3-4 years and will involve many countries in Europe. We are depending on establishing good collaborations with several universities, institutions and museum around in Europe, and even though this can seem like a lot we've got good experience in doing projects this way from before. And with some of the world's top scientists involved and also with the possibility of being credited as co-authors, we find that many really want to take part and help realize projects like this.

There are a lot of skeleton material around in Europe, so it shouldn't be a big challenge to find the best samples of the best warriors around. We have started mapping this out, and some DNA and skeleton material is already in our possession.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge NOK 500 or more About US$ 56

    Project supporter

    Thank you for your contribution. This will help us making good progress!

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge NOK 1,000 or more About US$ 112

    Project supporter with insight

    Be a part of the team, follow our progress and learn about the DNA results when they become official.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge NOK 2,000 or more About US$ 224

    Expedition Team Member

    This option enables you to join us on our trips when we travel in teams around in Europe to collect skeleton material and more.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge NOK 3,000 or more About US$ 336

    Compare your own DNA with 1000 Warriors

    DNA test included! When our DNA results are ready, you will gain exclusive access for yourself and friends/family members for comparrison (Nb. additional payment). The DNA test is apr. $100, but there are options for deeper DNA analysis at an extra cost.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge NOK 5,000 or more About US$ 559

    Adopt your own Warrior

    We will collect DNA from Kings and Queens, dukes and chieftains, and other excavated warrior corpses from all around Europe, some which already have been collected. For adoption purposes we will number these from 1 to 1000, and each supporter will receive a diploma with some info about "their" warrior, including DNA results when they are ready.

    In some cases there might even exist portraits in later depictions of the warriors, which will be sent home to an address of your choosing. You will also be invited to take part in telling the history of this individual.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge NOK 10,000 or more About US$ 1,118

    VIP Research Team Member

    Gain exclusive access to parts of our research work while in progress, and help us face challenges and problems underway. A non-disclosure agreement will also be necessary.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge NOK 10,000 or more About US$ 1,118

    Project Sponsor

    Become one of our major sponsors. Support our work and get recognition along the way. The "Compare your own DNA with 1000 Warriors"-reward is also included in this reward.

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    Pledge NOK 50,000 or more About US$ 5,586

    VIP Project Sponsor

    Become one of our main sponsor and collaborators. This reward includes all the rewards above!

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    1 backer
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge NOK 80,000 About US$ 8,938

    Corporate Sponsor

    This is a Business Reward similar to the VIP Project Sponsor above, which also puts the name of your business out there for marketing purposes.

    This reward includes all the rewards above for ONE person. Also included is an exclusive travel offer to selected destinations important in this project, with talks/lectures, adapted to your business.

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    Pledge NOK 80,000 About US$ 8,938

    VIP Corporate Sponsor

    Become one of our four VIP Corporate Sponsors!

    This reward is similar to the Corporate Sponsor reward above. However, all the rewards above will be included for five persons instead of one!

    The entry fee is NOK 80.000, but the total price of the reward is 250.000 NOK, about €26.500 (which cannot be offered here because of Kickstarter restrictions).

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge NOK 80,000 About US$ 8,938

    Title Sponsor

    We welcome ONE corporation/business to become our Title Sponsor!

    Currently the project is titled: "The 1000 Warrior DNA Project", but this is a temporary title and we are open to adapting the title appropriately.

    The entry fee is NOK 80.000, but the total price of the reward is 1.000.000 NOK, about €106.000, which is 25% of the total budget for this research project (excluding lab work!). The reward price cannot be set higher than 80.000 NOK because of Kickstarter restrictions.

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Funding period

- (45 days)