Page last updated at 12:42 GMT, Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Life of Vikings seen through soil

Norse settlement in Greenland
The soil samples were taken from ancient settlements in Greenland

A scientist and a composer are working together to explore a thousand years of human history through soil samples.

The pair have built an installation in Dundee which tells the story of Viking settlers in Greenland going back to the year 900.

Images of soil samples gathered by Dr Paul Adderley have been set to audio by Dr Michael Young.

Dr Young said: "Hidden in the soil is this story about people and the environment. We explore that."

The audio-video presentation is generated live by a specially built computer program.

The presentation takes about 30 minutes to explore more than 1,000 years of human history.

Stirling University's Dr Adderley said: "We combine visual information gained from a forensic examination of soils from old settlements, with an understanding of how Greenland's environment has changed.

"The everyday farm-life of the Viking settlers is used to create the synthesis of the sounds heard.

"Michael and I hope that the work will cause the audience to reflect on the nature of these past communities and the extremes of environment which were faced by Viking settlers."

Dr Young, from Goldsmiths, University of London, said he had used audio from a variety of sources to create the science-art collaboration.

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