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Jyllands-Posten Jyllands-Posten news
Culture 02.09.2005 kl. 10:20

Last Viking buried with wrong woman

By The Copenhagen Post

Svend the Younger, Denmark's last Viking king, was not laid to rest together with his mother Estrid, as historians have presumed

Denmark's last Viking king was buried together with his daughter-in-law instead of his mother, DNA studies reveal.

Svend Estridsen, King of Denmark, is thought to have died in 1074 at the age of 55. He was buried in Roskilde, and his remains can be found in Roskilde Cathedral.

Up until now, national broadcaster DR reported, historians have presumed that King Svend's mother Estrid was buried by his side.

New DNA analyses from the royal Viking teeth, however, reveal that the woman lying by the king's side was not his mother. Instead, she is likely to have been his daughter-in-law, Jørgen Dissing from the Forensic Institute of the University of Copenhagen said.

The study revealed that the two were not related, and that the woman was not older than 35-years-old when she died. Estrid, who was sister of Canute the Great, king of Denmark and England, is said to have been 75-years-old at the time of her death.

Changing the names on the tombstones in Roskilde Cathedral, however, may not prove necessary, as one of King Svend's daughters-in-law was also named Estrid.

Svend Estridsen claimed the Danish throne after King Canute's death in 1042, but did not become king until after the death of Magnus the Mild in 1047. After that he attempted to reclaim England, but did not succeed.

Despite a somewhat belligerent record, Kind Svend is considered the monarch who brought Denmark out of the Viking Age and into the Middle Ages. He was one of Denmark's first kings to have a church built in Roskilde.

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