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Apeksha Bagchi

IWB Blogger

Viking Warriors Were Women, Latest DNA Tests Reveal

  • IWB Post
  •  September 12, 2017

 

Who hasn’t fan worshipped Xena the Warrior Princess? Time to get excited, people! Because researchers seem to have found the real life replica of her! A study of the skeletal remains of an influential Viking military leader ― who was long-assumed to be a man ― revealed that she was actually a woman.

Excavated at the end of the 19th century, the bones were found in the Viking Age town of Birka in Sweden by Swedish archaeologist Hjalmar Stolpe. He wrote them off as being the skeletal remains of a male as along with the bones, warrior equipment, and horses’ remains were found. Many powerful military leaders of the Viking age were buried in this fashion.

“It’s actually a woman, somewhere over the age of 30 and fairly tall, too, measuring around [5 feet 6 inches] tall,” Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson, Uppsala University archeologist and lead author of the study that confirmed the remains were female, as reported.

Describing the archeological site as the world’s “ultimate warrior Viking grave,” Hedenstierna-Jonson remarks upon the fact that the Viking warrior was buried with complete equipment- a sword, an axe, a spear, armor-piercing arrows, a battle knife, shields, and two horses ― she had a board game in her lap, or more of a war-planning game used to try out battle tactics and strategies, which indicates she was a powerful military leader.

The thought that the skeletal may have been of a woman’s never crossed the prior researcher’s mind due to sexism in research methods. “Though some Viking women buried with weapons are known, a female warrior of this importance has never been determined and Viking scholars have been reluctant to acknowledge the agency of women with weapons,” the researchers wrote.

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