(Chapter IX, section 4)


Scandinavia; Norway

The northern zone of Europe which we have chosen as the subject of our first regional chapter is in reality two zones; besides the northernmost, which runs closely around the Arctic rim, is a second, that of Scandinavia and the lands to the east of the Baltic. Here food production is possible, and the effect of environment does not necessarily take the form of infantilism and stunting. In contrast to the first, this second zone is occupied by large, typically European groups of people.

Norway occupies the poorer and more rugged half of the Scandinavian Peninsula. The mountain crest which separates it from Sweden runs to the west of a central line, and swings to the northeast in such a way as to give to Norway the northernmost part; so that much of Norway, and relatively little of Sweden, lies within the Arctic circle. Deep fjords along most of the Norwegian coast cut far into the land, in some cases nearly bisecting the kingdom. A large proportion of the country is mountainous, but aside from the central spine, only one range deserves mention here - that of the Dovre Mountains, which separates Møre and Trøndelagen on the north from Opland and Hedmark on the south. Only in the long, eastern valleys such as Østerdal and Gudbrandsdal, and on the plain of Oslofjord, are large unbroken stretches of reasonably flat farm lands to be found.

The topography of Norway, as outlined above, is important in its effect upon the present distribution of its peoples. While Sweden, a lakestudded plain sloping gently from the western mountain barrier to the Baltic, is inhabited by a regionally uniform population, Norway, with its rugged fjords and deeply folded valleys, provides shelter and differentiation room to a number of local types. Norway's geography, in combination with her climatic and cultural history, makes her one of the most marginal areas, in a racial sense, in Europe. Yet, despite her marginal character, Norway has played an important part in European racial history, since this nation has been a source of emigration to Iceland, to Normandy, and to the British Isles. Hence it has had much to do with the modern settlement of the New World, which Norwegians discovered. The physical types of many British and Americans may be traced directly to a Norwegian origin.

The racial history of Norway has been covered, insofar as we know it, in the preceding chapters. The northern coastal regions had a very late age of chipped stone, and an even later Neolithic. Food-producing peoples were few in Norway before the Middle and Late Bronze Ages, and not until the Iron Age and the full Viking period was this country fully inhabited. The greatest pre-Iron Age concentration was along the southwestern coast. Nordland, Troms, and Finnmark were explored during the pre-Christian Viking period; Troms and Finnmark were abandoned during the Middle Ages and only resettled from the sixteenth century onward. Our skeletal material, wholly Iron Age in date, shows a medley of normal Iron Age Nordic crania with Borreby brachycephals and other skulls which could be fitted without difficulty into a dolichocephalic Upper Palaeolithic category. That the Norwegian climate has not exerted a size-reducing tendency such as that which somewhere modified the ancestors of Lapps, is therefore shown by the survival of what appear to be full-sized Ice-Age cranial types into the present millennium.

The study of living Norwegians has been carried on with exceptional competence by three modern investigators-Halfdan Bryn, K. E. Schreiner, and Mme. Alette Schreiner. The monumental Somatologie der Norweger30, by the first two named, supplemented by the regional studies of the first and third,31 continue the earlier work of Arbo, Helland, Larsen, and the Daaes,32 and present us with a body of accurate and objectively interpreted anthropometric data unsurpassed elsewhere. The Norwegians, as a whole, are tall by absolute standards, and blond, with moderate body proportions which include relatively long legs and short arms Most of them are mesocephalic, with meso- to leptoprosopic faces, and their noses. are usually leptorrhine. Regional variations in Norway are relatively great for Scandinavia, but are no greater than those found in many European countries. Except for the far North, local stature means run from about 168 to 175 cm., while the cephalic index varies by parishes between the extreme means of 76 and 84. In hair and eye color, blonds and mixed forms are everywhere more numerous than brunets; dark eyes, for example, never reach the figure of 20 per cent.

Within these relatively restricted ranges there is a definite pattern of regional distribution, and there are four definite areas, each of which has its own racial peculiarities. These four areas are, 1. Eastern Norway, 2. Western Norway, 3. North-central Norway, 4. the Far North.33

Eastern Norway consists of the seven following provinces: Hedmark, Akershus, Østfold, Vestfold, Opland, Buskerud, and Oslo. This section of the country, which includes the Oslofjord region and the long valleys which run towards the Dovre Mountains, forms a definite ethnic unit, within which much internal movement takes place between valleys and provinces, and much migration from the country districts to the city of Oslo. It has, however, but little to do with other parts of Norway, which are isolated from it by a number of barriers. The population of this eastern section is relatively uniform, both locally and as a whole.

Although there seems to be an almost completely submerged brachycephalic element along the coast, this is not very much in evidence, for the main racial type of eastern Norway is a regular Halstatt Iron Age Nordic. This type, although predominant throughout the region, seems to be especially concentrated in the five valleys of Østerdal, Gudbrandsdal, Valders, Hallingdal, and Numendal, forming parts of the three provinces of Hedmark, Opland, and Buskerud. Here, in a region almost unoccupied before the Iron Age, Bryn34 believes to have found a refuge area of the classic Nordic race, with less admixture of other stocks than is the case elsewhere in Norway, or for that matter, in Europe. Hence his specifications, both metrical and morphological, may serve as a standard of future comparison for use in the study of less typically Nordic populations.

Army recruits from this region serve as a basis of study, while a series of farmers of old, indigenous ancestry forms a check series which represents the original Iron Age population with a minimum of more recent admixture. These people must be considered tall, since the men attain in adult life the mean height of 172 cm., but from the Norwegian standpoint this stature is not unusual. In bodily proportions this type is relatively long legged and short bodied, moderately broad shouldered, and relatively short armed. The bones are typically small and fine, and the general musculature tends to leanness, while corpulence is very rare. On the whole the impression is given that the muscles lie dose under the skin, and stand out in clear relief. A predominantly leptosome constitutional type seems to be characteristic.

The mean vault dimensions of the recruits from these valleys are: length, 195 mm., breadth, 149 mm., and auricular height, 126 mm., with a cephalic index of 76.8. The native farmers are even longer headed, with a mean index of 75.5. Since these indices reflect figures of 73-75 on skull, it may be readily seen that the original Iron Age Nordic vault form has been transferred to eastern Norway with little or no modification. Frontal and bigonial diameters average 105 mm., while the bizygomatic mean is 135 mm. The face height, given by Bryn as 122 mm.,35 is only moderately long. The nasal dimensions, of 55 or 56 mm. by 33.8, produce an index of 60 or 61.36

Ash-blond hair is typical of one-half of the native farmers, the rest having light brown and brown shades; only four per cent have hair that is black or dark brown. The rufous tinges of hair color are especially rare. Among the recruits, unselected as to provenience of ancestry, dark hair is twice as common, and the ash-blond shades are found in only one-third of the group. Thus we may, from this material, specify that the typical hair color of the living examples of the Iron Age Nordic race ranges from a medium brown to an ash-blond, with a minimum of rufosity, and a small brunet minority.

The hair form most prevalent in Norway is a low waviness. Although low waves are characteristic of the southeastern valley country as well as of other regions, there is, nevertheless, a higher ratio of straight hair among this long-headed population than in other parts of Norway. Although low ratio is only 30 per cent, as against 66 per cent for the low-waved variety, yet these figures are so at variance with those for the rest of the kingdom that one may specify the hair form of this type as low-waved to straight. The beard is of but moderate abundance, although it increases considerably with age, and the body not especially hairy.

In eye color as in hair color, the native farmers are lighter than the recruits, with 86.5 per cent of light and light-mixed eyes (Martin #12-16) as against 76 per cent. Of the recruits, 38.5 per cent have pure light eyes (Martin #15-16). This is by no means the Lightest-eyed region in Norway. This material shows us what had been previously suspected, that the Nordic eye must be considered light mixed in typical form, rather than pure light. According to Bryn the commonest form of unpigmented eye found in this region is a light blue one, with large meshes and iris fibers set quite far apart, so that the iris pattern appears open.

The skin color in this area, as in most of Norway, is almost invariably a pinkish white (von Luschan #3) This skin is of a fine texture; according to Bryn it is soft and easily punctured by a hypodermic needle. Owing to this thinness and the delicate quality of the skin, the cartilaginous and osseous structure of the face is often clearly discernible beneath it.

The forehead of this type is for the most part sloping, forming a profile line parallel to that of the nose. It is medium to narrow in breadth, and, in comparison to other Norwegian types, relatively flat in both planes. The browridges are usually present, but are weakly developed, and the depression of the nasal root moderate. The nose may be described as thin, steep-walled, and high-bridged. In profile, it is for the most part straight or slightly convex, with a high incidence of wavy forms, and there is usually a noticeable transition between the bony and cartilaginous portions. Owing to the thinness of the skin, the line of suture between the two nasal bones may frequently be observed. The tip of the nose is thin, and for the most part raised slightly above the horizontal plane. The nasal wings are compressed, and the nostrils form long ovals, set at a very acute angle from one another. These nostrils are visible from the side, and slightly visible from in front.

The bony orbit of the eye is rather high, and the eye normally quite wide open, with the upper lid reaching down over the upper quadrant of the iris, and the lower lid touching its rim. The eye slits themselves are horizontal, and are often partially covered, especially in old age, by a fold which hangs from the outer corner of the upper orbit.

The eyebrows are thin, somewhat bowed, and seldom concurrent over the nasal bridge. The malars, small in size, are typically flattened in front. The zygomatic arches, however, are often bowed outward enough to give the face a pentagonoid appearance. This appearance is due to the flatness of the temples and the thinness of the soft parts of the arches, rather than to their skeletal prominence.

The cheeks are in most cases thin, and the lower jaw long and deep, curving in front to a well-developed chin, with the gonial angles compressed and usually not visible. One of the outstanding features of this type, and of the Nordic race as a whole, is the great distance between the borders of the lower teeth and the point of the chin. The total impression of the face is that of a long, narrowish oval, often slightly rhomboid, with prominent bony portions when seen in profile. The lips are usually thin, the mouth rather small, and the nasal sills well developed.

The cranium itself is a long oval when seen from above, with almost parallel sides, and a marked transition from the frontal to the temporal bones. The greatest breadth is located as often in front of the center as behind it. Seen from the front, the cranium looks steep or parallel sided and arched or vaulted on top. From the side, the contour of the head sweeps flatly back from a somewhat retreating forehead to a curved or projecting occiput. The highest point of the head is over the ears, and there is no pronounced tendency for either the forward or rear portion of the head to be higher than the other. Judging by gross bulk measurements the heads of individuals of this type may not be classed as large, nor high, their principal character is narrowness, a feature which continues down to the face, and also to the nose.

Although this distinctive type is today most concentrated in the long valleys of southeastern Norway, it is by no means confined to that region. It is found all over Norway in greater or lesser solution, as is to be expected, since it is the racial type of the invaders who brought Iron Age civilization to Scandinavia. Besides this clearly differentiated Nordic type, there seem, however, to be various submerged minority elements in the eastern Norwegian population which are not limited to any one dis trict, but are diffuse throughout. One is a shorter, somewhat darker and less dolichocephalic element which may in part represent an aboriginal coastal population, but which may, to a greater extent, consist rather of racial elements brought from central Europe in solution by the Iron Age Nordic invaders. Some of it, again, is undoubtedly descended from the thrall population brought from many parts of western Europe by the Vikings. The fact that it is shorter, darker, and less dolichocephalic than the more clearly designated Nordic type does not mean that it is very short, very round headed, or very dark.

Besides this submerged element, or medley of elements, which is extremely difficult to isolate, there is a third type, characterized especially by a broad face and a broad mandible, which may be attributed without question to recent Finnish influence. Finns settled here in low Grue district of Hedmark some 300 years ago, and have since been largely assimilated to Norwegian nationality and absorbed into the Norwegian population. Very few members of this colony still speak Finnish, or identify themselves as Finns.

On the whole, despite these influences, the eastern provinces of Norway form, apart perhaps from Sweden, the most characteristic concentration area of low central Nordic racial form in the world. This residual enclave is directly descended from the Iron Age Nordic population which once occupied an immense area on the plains of central and eastern Europe and western Siberia, and which elsewhere has been replaced, altered, or absorbed.

Western Norway, low next section under consideration, includes the provinces Telemark, Aust-Agder, Vest-Agder, Rogaland, Hordaland, Sogn og Fjordane, Bergen, and Møre. Within these provinces there are, in contrast to those farther cast, considerable local differences; as a rule, many round-headed peoples live along low coast, while mesocephals predominate in the inland valleys.

In the province of Rogaland low brachycephalic element reaches its maximum and here, in fact, is located its center of greatest concentration in all Norway. The inner nucleus of this brachycephalic area is Jæren,37 a flat coastal plain, locally uniform in race, but regionally distinct. Here alone, in all of Norway, occur natural deposits of flint, and for this reason Jæren must have been an important source of implement material for both Mesolithic and Neolithic peoples. On low plain the pre-Iron Age population must have been particularly dense.

In Jæren, Arbo found 82 per cent of brachycephals,38 a ratio as high as that usual in southern Germany, and a mean cephalic index of 83.2. The three other districts of Rogaland, by comparison, have mean indices of 81-82. The Jæren people form, as a whole, a very definite and easily observed type which has been most fully described by Larsen.39 This type is most concentrated in low parishes of Haaland, Høiland, Klepp, and Time. It has a large cranial vault of medium height, very broad, and of considerable length. Individual cephalic indices go as high as 90 or more, but the mode for the type as a whole is 84. The occiput, nearly vertical, often shows a slight degree of flattening. The temporal bones are weakly curved, but the parietal tuberosities are strong. The forehead is broad, only slightly curved, and quite high, and usually of but little slope. The browridges are, on the whole, of moderate size. The head exhibits from above a roundish, oval form; it is not an evolved planoccipital skull, although individual crania have a tendency in this direction. The face is notable for its breadth, both between the zygomata and in the mandible, which is frequently heavy and deep. The nasal profile is usually straight, but in one case out of six it is concave. The chin is pronounced, and sometimes pointed. Together, the face and head give an impression of square ness, owing to the prominence of frontal and parietal tuberosities, and to the breadth of the face and jaw.

In pigmentation, these brachycephals are slightly less fair than the few dolichocephals found in the same region, but they are still predom inantly blond. Eighty-one per cent have blue eyes, and only 3 per cent brown. Most of the hair is either light or medium brown; only 30 per cent have dark brown hair, and less than 2 per cent black.

Correlations within the Rogaland population prove little. The few dolichocephals are very little taller than the brachycephals, who are as tall as the eastern Norwegian Nordics, with a mean of 172 cm. Red hair and brown hair are associated with the highest cephalic index level, and the roundheads tend to have longer and heavier bodies, and broader and heavier faces, than the long heads. That the brachycephalic type in Jaeren is basically of light-mixed pigmentation is made especially clear by the fact that what few brunets there are in Rogaland run taller, longerheaded, and finer-nosed than the population as a whole. The Jaeren brachycephals, therefore, are not short and dark as often stated,40 but are tall and predominantly light-mixed people with large heads. There is no question here of a short, dark, brachycephalic population having been absorbed into a Nordic body, since the brachycephalic group in Jaeren is numerically the principal one.

In Hordaland, north of Rogaland, one finds a continuation of the same contrast between coast and inland valleys which occurs farther south. The brachycephaly of Jaeren, which extends southwards into the two Agders, also stretches northward in an attenuated form into Mid-Hordaland, where it is gradually submerged in the mesocephalic population. Secondary nuclei of brachycephaly occur sporadically farther north, notably in Sunnfjord on the northern bank of the great Sogn fjord, and in the coastal districts and islands of Møre.

So great has been the interest in the coastal brachycephals of western Norway that the equal importance of the mesocephalic population living more typically in the inland valleys and mountains of this part of the country has been somewhat obscured. On the basis of the cephalic index alone, it would be easy to dismiss them as a transitional form between the Iron Age Nordics of the east and the Borreby type brachycephals of the coast, but a number of considerations make this disposal impossible. The western Norwegian mesocephals are taller, blonder, and larger headed than either of the two types mentioned. In these and in other respects, they form a special population of their own.

In many districts of these provinces mean recruit statures of 175 cm. have been recorded, with a record mean of 178 cm. in the Voss district of Hordaland. The cephalic index of 78 or 79, which is so constant here, is not a composite of dolichocephals and brachycephals, but represents a truly mesocephalic condition.

Mme. Schreiner, in order to study this special group in greater detail than the recruit material permits, selected the high mountain district of Valle in Setesdal, in the northern part of Aust-Agder; and also two isolated districts of Hordaland, Hålandsdal and Eidfjord.41 Of these three, Valle yielded the largest series, and the most extreme local form of the population under consideration. This site was especially chosen because it is probably the most secluded, most conservative place in all Norway; its inhabitants are still living in many respects in the saga period, and mingle little with outsiders.

Valle was first settled in the second and third centuries of the present era, while a second wave of colonists arrived in the ninth. Since the dialect spoken in Valle is purely west Norwegian, we may assume that the present inhabitants represent a survival of that segment of the coastal population which, during the first millennium, forsook the shore for the mountains behind it.

In body measurements the Valle people are large, although the mean stature of 174.7 cm. for one hundred adult males is not the greatest in this region. The women, with a mean of 160.0 cm., are much smaller. The sex difference in height, as in many other features, is particularly great here, and much greater than in Norway as a whole; it totals 14.1 cm. in Valle, as against 10.0 cm. in the entire country. The Valle people are, as a rule, heavy boned, and like the rest of the population of which they are a part, longer and heavier bodied than members of the eastern Nordic type.

The mean head Length of the Valle males reaches the extreme figure of 198 mm., considerably longer than that of the dolichocephalic eastern Norwegian Nordics; the breadth, 154.9 mm., is as great as that among many brachycephals, although in this case, in view of the exceptional head size, the resultant cephalic index mean is only 78.9. A mean head height of 125 mm. is, however, moderate. The face is large, with a mean nasion-menton height of 128.3 mm., and a bizygomatic breadth of 142.9 mm. The forehead and jaw are broader, likewise, than in most of Norway, with means of 106.6 and 109.2 mm.

By and large, the morphological observations bear out the impression of robusticity shown by the measurements; the forehead is often quite sloping, the browridges frequently heavy, the faces angular, the jaws firm and deep In keeping with the cultural recessiveness of Valle, the palate and dental regions are large and primitive, in a mediaeval or Iron Age sense. The pigmentation is exclusively light or light mixed, for in Mme. Schreiner's sample which included onefourth of the total population, not a single brown eye nor head of black or dark brown hair was discovered. Among the men, 90 per cent of pure and nearly pure light eyes were found, with but 3 per cent dark mixed; among the women, as is frequently the case elsewhere, the light-eyed category is smaller than that of the men by a full 10 per cent. In hair color the Valle males show 40 per cent of ashblond, an equal number of various shades of brown, and the remaining 20 per cent of light golden blonds.

Mme. Schreiner, as well as Arbo thirty years earlier, considered that the Valle people represent a retarded sample of the Viking population which lived in western Norway a thousand years ago, and this concusion is based on geographical and ethnological as much as on racial grounds. If this be true, and there seems little reason to dispute it, then we may at last have found the living counterparts of the Iron Age crania which might, in many respects, have been those of Upper Palaeolithic men. Historically we know that from the Neolithic onward no racial types could have entered this region except for a pre-Iron Age Borreby-Megalithic-Corded blend, and, later, the Iron Age Nordic race which we have already seen in the provinces to the cast Both Arbo and Mme. Schreiner detected a minor element in the Valle population which was smaller and finer boned, and which was presumably Nordic in the Iron Age sense.

The third section of Norway, usually designated as a racial center, is the north central group of three provinces, Møre, South Trøndelag, and North Trøndelag, with especial emphasis upon the two latter. The two Trøndelags include several great valleys: Namdal, Orkdal, Meldal Galdal, and Tydal, and a number of large islands as well. To the south cast, this region is effectively blocked from contact with eastern Norway by the Dovre Mountains. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, this was the most populous and most important part of Norway, in which was located Nidaros, the capital of the Norse kings. This region was a center of Norwegian aristocracy, and a base for extensive Viking expedi tions. As a result of these voyages, the whole Trondheim region must have received a relatively large influx of foreign slaves and thralls, while in some of the valleys, Saxons and Bohemians were especially imported as skilled laborers. Tyrker, the famous Rhineland German who discovered the grapes on Vinland and made the New World's first wine, was probably one of these immigrants.

The modern population of the Trøndelag region is notable in that it exceeds the rest of Norway in a number of important features. One is in stature, for the tallest provincial means are found here; another is in the height of the cranial vault, which reaches a mean of 128 mm.; a third is in the percentage of blue eyes, for this is the lightest-eyed region of Norway. The hair, by contrast, is by no means the blondest, but there are significant deficiencies of ash-blond, and excesses of golden and of brown. This type is also characterized by a considerable face length, with narrower bizygomatic and bigonial diameters than are found in Norway as a whole. The type which possesses the characters enumerated above is especially concentrated in South Trøndelag, and most strongly in the valley of Orkdal. The other districts of the two Trøndelags show a tendency for this special Nordic type to blend into the mesocephalic western form which reaches its culmination in Valle.

Bryn has compared the Trøndelagen people in observations with the eastern Norwegian Nordics, and his contrast here is as valid in most respeets for the western Norwegian mesocephals as for the Trøndelagen people themselves, since the latter two are morphologically much alike.

The Trøndelagen population has the same proportion of dark hair as is found in the eastern Norwegian valleys; but differs from the classit Nordic type in a low ratio of ash-blond (26 per cent) and a correspondingly high proportion of golden and brown. The hair form in Trøndelagen is usually wavy; it is coarser, and more abundant on beard and body.

Although the Trøndelagens are the two lightest-eyed provinces in Norway, their commonest iris type is very Iight mixed (Martin 13-14) rather than pure blue. According to Bryn, the typical Trønder iris is close grained and opaque, for the fibers are dense and closely imbricated. Bryn contrasts this iris type with that of eastern Norway. The skin, while as light in color as that of the eastern Nordics, is coarser in texture and much tougher. As a result of this density of the integument, the bony and cartilaginous parts of the face do not stand out in fine relief.

The forehead of the special Trønder type is higher, broader, and much less sloping, and the profiles of the forehead and nose are not parallell, but form a distinct broken angle. Frontal bosses, which do not appear in the Eastern Valley type, are frequently found, and the temporal region is fuller. The transitions from frontal to temporal and frontal to parietal regions are smooth and difficult to find, whereas with the eastern type they are clearly marked. The nose of the Trønder type, while equally high or higher, is typically straight or convex, with many wavy or undulating profile fornis. The side walls are less steep, and the transition from bone to cartilage difficult to find without palpation. The tip is somewhat thicker, especially in old age, and the wings less compressed.

On the other hand, the zygomatic arches are less prominent than those of the eastern type. Not only are they somewhat more compressed, but, at the same time, the temporal region above them is broader and fuller, so that the lateral profile of the face falls usually in an unbroken sweep from the side of the head to the lower jaw line. As with the Eastern Valley type, the gonial angles are not noticeable. The cranium as a whole is shorter, higher, and more rounded, and the occiput less prominently curved. On the whole, the impression is given of a better filled, more rounded, and less angular head and face. If one leaves in the description of hair and integument, and adds a prominence of zygomata and of mandible, this description will apply to the other end type of the tall, mesocephalic population of western and central Norway, that of Valle.

In reviewing the data on the coastal and mountain population ofwestern and north central Norway, from Aust-Agder to North Trøndelagen, we find ample evidence of the major survival of a pre-Iron Age population. Within this population at least three elements are seen.

(a) A tall, heavily built, large-headed type, with a stature of about 170-172 cm.; the cephalic index is about 84, which would correspond to 82 on the dry cranium; the face is broad, the jaw broad and heavy, the occiput often flattish, the skull square in appearance more frequently than round; the pigmentation is partly but not extremely blond, with lightmixed eyes, and hair which is medium brown to Iight brown on the golden side in the majority of cases.

(b) An extremely tall, somewhat slenderer type, with a stature of 174 cm.; mesocephalic, with a more moderate head size in length and breadth diameters, but with a vault attaining 128-130 mm. in auricular height, which is very great for living races; a long face, narrower in bizygomatic and bigonial widths than (a), and as narrow in these respects as that of Iron Age Nordics; heavier, with craggier facial features and thicker, coarser soft part anatomy than the Iron Age Nordics, in this respect approximating type (a); characterized in pigmentation by almost a totality of very light-mixed eyes, especially of the blue variety with a minimum of yellow and brown spotting; and by a brown or golden-brown to golden hair color range.

(c) A type which in reference to (b) is equally tall, equally mesocephalic, but lower-vaulted and larger in length and breadth dimensions of the vault; equally longfaced, but wide in both malar and gonial diameters, heavy-jawed, large faced; similar in pigment characters to (b), but not, in all regions, equally blond; large-bodied, rugged, and large-boned, with a great sex difference in stature.
In all three of these, the later Iron Age Nordic element has blended. Despite this influence, type (a) in its concentrated form, as at Jaeren, seems to have reëmerged as what appears to be a faithful replica of the Borreby race in its various forms, while (b), a blend of Corded with (a) and with elements of glacial age, forms a special and very characteristic and historically important Nordic sub-type. In both (a) and (b) the Borreby element, which entered Norway from Denmark during the Neolithic, is probably more important than the local post-glacial race of Palaeolithic tradition, remnants of which are probably masked in both, but appear in strongest solution in (c). Individuals of type (c) may well recapitulate, in most essential features, Upper Palaeolithic Western European man.

In any case, the deviation of the western and north-central Norwegians from the standard eastern Norwegian form is indicative of the absorption of the latter by pre-food-producing Scandinavian strains, as well as by pre-Iron Age Corded blood. The oft-stated and overemphasized resemblance between the western Norwegians and central European Alpines reflects merely the common origin in the glacial period of Borreby and Alpine ancestors. The Alpines, however, have undergone modifications involving size reduction below the earlier form, while the Norwegian survivors have retained their ancestral dimensions.

For the purposes of classification, I propose to lump the types (b) and (c) together, using Bryn's name of Trønder type, to designate all tall, coarsely built, mesocephalic blonds who show a predominance of Corded and Upper Palacolithic elements, in contrast to the classic, finer Nordic type. This lumping may be justified by the supposition that (b) and (c) form but local end types of a larger population in which both are present but less distinct.

The fourth Norwegian area which merits separate consideration is the Far North, including the provinces of Nordland, Troms, and Finnmark. In this region it is not the description and identification of a special type, but the interactions of several different ethnic element; and their reactions to a rigorous environment, which are important. These elements are the Lapps, whom we have already discussed; the Kvaens, who are Finlanders of late arrival and who will be discussed in a later section of this chapter; and the Norwegians, most of whom are recent immigrants from other parts of the kingdom.

At the beginning of the Norwegian historical period, Hålogaland, which included Nordland and the southern part of Troms up to Malangenfjord, was thickly settled with Norwegians who lived along the coast and especially on the islands, and whose ancestors had come up in open boats in order to carry on fishing. These prehistoric settlers came from Trøndelag, Møre, and also from more southerly parts of the country. In the ninth century, at the latest, Norwegians from Hålogaland sailed farther north to hunt walrus and to exchange goods with the Lapps. A number of them settled, and in the thirteenth century the whole coast of Finnmark had a scattered Norwegian population. In the sixteenth century, Finnmark contained at least 6000 Norwegians.

For the next three hundred years the Bergen merchants held a trade monopoly which prevented private enterprise, and destroyed the incentivt for northward migration. Many of the earlier settlers returned southward, leaving a shortage of workers. In consequence of this, King Christian V sent a mixed company of thieves, prostitutes, and other undesirables to the north country from southern Norway and from Denmark, in order to reënforce the population of the fishing villages. In 1815, however, Norwegians began coming north in large numbers, most of them from the southern part of the kingdom. Up until the eighteenth century, fishing and trade were almost the only occupations, but about that time agriculture was begun in the broad valleys of Nordland and Troms, and, under the infiuence of the newer settlers from the south, it became an important economic factor.

During the fifty years which elapsed between 1869 and 1920, the population of the north country grew from fifty to ninety-eight thousand. That of Nordland increased 88 per cent, of Troms 92 per cent, and of Finnmark 102 per cent. The bulk of this increase was caused by the influx of Norwegians. In 1920 Norwegians or people who considered themselves Norwegians constituted 99 per cent of the population in Nordland, 89 per cent in Troms, and 61 per cent in Finnmark. Since these figures include, especially in Troms and Finnmark, a number of mixtures between Norwegians and Lapps, Kvaens, and both, the Norwegian population of these provinces deviates from the means of the kingdom in several respects, especially in a lowering of stature and a heightening of the cephalic index. Kvaen influence may be detected most clearly in an excessive breadth of face and mandible.

Norwegians of pure descent from immigrants born in the south-eastern provinces have retained their original stature and head form, as well as their high incidence of ash-blond hair, but they have been modified through an increased bigonial breadth and a decreased minimum frontal diameter. Mme. Schreiner, who has studied with great diligence a large series of North Norwegians of all ancestries, suggests that this condition may be a result of environmental influences which have caused a thickening of the tympanic plate and the development of a palatal torus among most circumpolar peoples, including such varied groups as Eskimos, Lapps, and Icelanders.42

In studying the racial characters of the Norwegian people we have made use of a body of well-documented material, unique in Europe. By means of it we have been able to reconstruct a probable scheme of Norwegian racial history. There is one further source, however, which should not be overlooked, and that is the large corpus of Norse mythology and oral history. This source should not, as is commonly the case with folklore, be relegated to the ash-heap of what the scientist is wont to call mere literature, since a careful study of the social attitudes, descriptions, and events so well recorded in the saga material shows that these documents agree with and supplement the findings of archaeology and of physical anthropology. Two sources which, in this regard are of especial value are the Rigsthula lay of the Poetic Edda,43 and the historical work of Snorre Sturlason,44 a prominent political and scholastic figure in twelfth century Iceland.45

According to the Rigsthula, the social classes of the Norse people were begotten in a mythical and rather simple way. The early god Heimdal travelled about his domain in disguise, making use of the assumed name Rig. In this capacity he had sexual relations with three women, each of whom bore him children. The first woman gave birth to a brood of short, dark, and ugly offspring, who became thralls, and were relegated to agricultural toil and unskilled manual labor. The second produced the carls, large, healthy, red-faced, red-haired men, with big muscles, who became smiths and craftsmen, who performed skilled tasks, and who were also, in many cases, small land owners. The third woman was delivered of the jarls, the aristocrats, tall, lean men with blond hair and hard, cold, snakelike eyes, who fought and practiced the use of weapons, hunted, played games, and did no work.

The poet who described so vividly these three classes in the Norse population has given us a priceless picture of the people of Scandinavia during the pre-Christian Iron Age, as he saw them. The thralls, landless seffs, were, in part, prisoners brought to Scandinavia by the Norse seafarers, but this explanation cannot apply to the thrall class as a whole. A three class system was an old Nordic institution, common to most Indo-European speaking peoples, and it is unlikely that the Iron Age invaders from central Europe had entered Scandinavia without their henchmen. Part, at least, of the thrall class must be considered the descendants of Danubians, Dinarics, and Alpines who were imported by their more aristocratic overlords, and who formed, in solution with Nordic, the lower class of the original population.

The carls find no ready counterpart in central Europe, and were probably largely indigenous, the Bronze Age prototypes of the peoples of Jaeren, Trøndelag, and Valle. The physical attributes of these carls are clearly contrasted with the more purely Nordic description of the jarls, who formed obviously the upper class of the Iron Age invading group, including many of the bondi, or free land owners without title, and who were apparently a numerous body.

Let us turn for a moment to consider the historical work of Snorre Sturlason. This erudite scholar deals with the gods as if they were men, and treats their mythical actions as history. His rationalization seems to have been uncannily accurate. In the first place, Asgard, the home of the gods, was a town on the northern shore of the Black Sea. These gods fought a people called the vanir, with whom they eventually agreed to exchange hostages. Odin, the king of the gods, agreed to take Frey and Freya, two of the vanir, and these were soon deified along with their hosts. The gods then left Asgard; and moved northwestward; they sojourned in Denmark, and passed without much ado into Sweden. This country became their main home, and Uppsala their chief center. Odin worship, which arose among their descendants, the kings and jarls, was centered especially in this neighborhood, and the worship of Frey and Freya as well.

Thor, who was a rough-and-tumble bucolic god, is little mentioned in this Asgardian history; he was apparently an earlier god and the especial deity of the coastal people of Norway. Odin was a sophisticated personage, wearing a finely woven blue cape and carrying an iron spear; Thor who clothed himself in skins, carried a hammer as his weapon, and drove about in a goat-drawn chariot. If we grant that Odin was the chief god brought in by the Iron Age invaders, and surrounded with their classically-inspired trappings of luxury, then Thor was apparently the god of the older people, of the carl class, and he represents in his person and attributes a blend between the robust Mesolithic hunters and fishermen, and the Megalithic and Corded people. His association with the last named is clearly shown by his devotion to the doubleheaded hammer, which was probably nothing more nor less than the boat-axe.

The worshippers of Odin and Frey were especially interested in the horse; horse sacrifices were made to these gods, and to Frey was dedicated the cult of the embalmed horse's penis. In Norway the horse was replaced to a certain extent as a funeral object by the ship; and the ships were made by the carls, who had learned their craft from their Megalithic predecessors and ancestors. With the introduction of iron, ship-building flourished, and the Viking was nothing more nor less than a sea-going central European Nordic, who had exchanged his horse for a steed suited to a new environment, with the coöperation of a vigorous body of indigenous craftsmen and warriors, into whose racial body his own group was soon blended.


30. Bryn, H., and Schreiner, K.E. Somatologie der Norweger

31. Bryn, H., Homo Caesius; Bryn H. AAnz, vol.9, 1932, #2, pp. 141-164, and earlier works.
Schreiner, Alette, Die Nord-Norweger; Anthropologische Lokaluntersuchungen in Norge; Valle, Hålandsdal und Eidfjord.

32. For bibliography of these authors, see Bryn and Schreiner, pp. 607-608.

33. Unless otherwise designated, the following pages are based upon Bryn and Schreiner.

34. Bryn, H., AAnz, 1932; also Homo Caesius.

35. It seems likely that Bryn located the nasion a little lower than did A. Schreiner, judging by the comparisons elsewhere. It is also likely that this mean should be nearer 125 or 126 mm.

36. Here again I feel that Bryn´s mean nose height of 54.7 mm. is a little too low, and that his nasal index of 61.8 somewhat high.

37. Bryn and Schreiner, pp. 431-449. Arbo´s and other previous studies are covered in this section.

38. Arbo, using the Broca system of partitionment, included all indicies of 80.1 and over, pooling Broca´s sub-brachycephalic and brachycephalic classes.

39. Larsen, C.F., Om jædertypen.

40. Arbo, to whom this statement has often been attributed, stated merely that the Jaeren brachycephals were shorter and more brunet than their long-headed brethren. The differnces are actually very slight.

41. Schreiner, A., Valle, Håland und Eidsfjord.

42. Hooton, E. A., AJPA, vol.1, 1918, pp. 53-76.
Schreiner, A., Die Nord-Norweger.
Schreiner, K. E., Zur Osteologie der Lappen, vol. 1, pp. 161-177.

43. Bellows, H. A., Poetic Edda (translation), pp. 201-216.

44. Sturlason, Snorre, Heimskringla, edited by Erling Mousen, see esp. pp. 1-12.

45. See also in this respect, Shetelig, Falk, and Gordon, Scandinavian Archaeology.