Better Identification of Viking Corpses Reveals: Half of the Warriors Were Female


[quote]Shieldmaidens are not a myth! A recent archaeological discovery has shattered the stereotype of exclusively male Viking warriors sailing out to war while their long-suffering wives wait at home with baby Vikings. (We knew it! We always knew it.) Plus, some other findings are challenging that whole “rape and pillage” thing, too.

Researchers at the University of Western Australia decided to revamp the way they studied Viking remains. Previously, researchers had misidentified skeletons as male simply because they were buried with their swords and shields. (Female remains were identified by their oval brooches, and not much else.) By studying osteological signs of gender within the bones themselves, researchers discovered that approximately half of the remains were actually female warriors, given a proper burial with their weapons.

It’s been so difficult for people to envision women’s historical contributions as solely getting married and dying in childbirth, but you can’t argue with numbers—and fifty/fifty is pretty damn good. The presence of female warriors also has researchers now wondering just how accurate the stereotypes of raping and pillaging actually are:[/quote]

Say, any viking females around? I totally need your acoughssistance.


I really like the article but, it says something interesting about why they didn’t think to test for the sex of the skeletons in general. Anthropology is pretty fascinating though.


i was going to say something… but ill let the other commenters on the article say it for me: "The “rape and pillage” story has long been dealt with and is not so secret except perhaps among people who get their history exclusively from SFF. "
“I think perhaps Stubby should read the article again. Nowhere does it say 50% of the warriors. It says 50% of the migrants were women. Actually, it says 46% of the 13 bodies identified were female. Not a very impressive sample TBH.
Plus, some other findings are challenging that whole “rape and pillage” thing, too.
And this has been known for a long time as well. Cetainly they did a lot of reaving, but they did a lot of trade as well.”
"As a historian (by education, though not by vocation) and a historical reenactor focusing on early medieval northern Europe, I’d like to see more evidence supporting the assertion made by the author in his title (though the article is a little more reasonable).

And what’s “hateful,” Temple? The preponderance of evidence - linguistic, archaeological, literary, artistic, forensic - simply doesn’t support this author’s idea that half of “viking” warriors were women."

" I like the idea of badass female warriors, but we don’t want to jump to conclusions based on our own cultural wishful thinking."