Thor Heyerdahl led excavations in Azov (Russia) in 2001, to find similarities with Scandinavian culture. The same year he published the book Jakten på Odin – “The Search for Odin”.
Now this book has awakened a new interest in finding out more about our roots specifically related to the Caucasus and Eastern Europe.
An established joint project based on studies of DNA samples from both living people and skeleton parts is set to find out more about possible contact between the peoples of the Caucasus and Scandinavia even before the Viking era, so Snorri Sturluson tells in the Icelandic sagas: the origin of the Norse royal dynasties, and the pre-Christian Norse gods, describing the Norse god Odin, the Æsir, as having been real , humans, people who escaped from Central Europe at the time of the Roman expansion into their old homeland and coming in Scandinavia where the locals are so impressed by them to end worshiping them as gods.
Heyerdahl sought the origins of the Æsir, following Snorri’s route in the Ynglinga saga, from the Black Sea, the river Tanais , Saxony northern Germany, Odense on Fyn, Denmark to Old Sigtuna, ancient Sweden.
Azov is believed by Heyerdahl to have derived its name from as-hof – which means the temple of the Æsir.
The excavations performed in Tanais, near the entry of the Don into the Black Sea, have shown that Tanais had a city there at that time. Heyerdahl also claimed that findings and Russian written sources from the Caucasus area verify the existence of the Æsir or the Iranian Ossetians; whom he described as “the Odin people of today”.
Similarities between the word Æsir , the word Azeri and Ossetian peoples of the Caucasus, between Odin and the Caucasian language group Udi , between the god Tyr and Turkey, between the Vanir (a group of Norse Gods) and the word Vannic, name used for the Urartian language, spoken in ancient times in the area around Lake Van. These similarities aren’t coincidences if we think that the word Wōdanaz changed through centuries to W(ōden), W(ōdan), Wuotan , Wōtan, same pattern leading to Óðinn – Wōden, Wuotan – *w(ōđan)az, wōđaz, woþs , óðr, wōd.
The swedish Professor Åke Daun say that the Turkic Huns were the ruling elite of the Goths and started to worship them.
When Heyerdahl died in 2002 the second season of excavations had just been finished.
Work is still in progress in these years (2015-2016).
The project started with research on field in Azerbaijan, but has gradually been extended, including : Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine and , as mentioned, Azov in Russia.