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    Ancient Baltic Pagan Tribes Sacrificed Imported Scandinavian Horses

    Recent international research involving Polish and Welsh scientists has revealed that ancient Baltic pagan tribes sacrificed horses imported from Christianized Scandinavia. The study, published in “Science Advances,” highlights the religious practices of the last pagans in early medieval Europe.

    Analysis and Findings

    Scientists from the University of Białystok and Cardiff University examined 74 horse remains from burial sites in Masuria, the Sambian Peninsula, and Lithuania. Strontium isotope analysis indicated these horses were transported up to 1500 km by sea from present-day Sweden or Finland. This practice underscores the importance of these animals in funerary rituals.

    Further DNA analysis, initiated by Dr. Maciej Karczewski and conducted with the National Research Institute of Animal Production in Balice, revealed that both male and female horses were sacrificed. Contrary to earlier beliefs, mares comprised 40% of the sacrificial horses, suggesting that the prestige of foreign origin outweighed the animal’s gender.

    Historical and Cultural Impact

    These findings shift the understanding of religious practices and interactions between pagan Baltic tribes and Christianized Scandinavians. Dr. Katherine McCullough French and Dr. Richard Madgwick emphasized that these tribes traded with Christian neighbors but resisted religious conversion, highlighting complex socio-cultural dynamics.

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