Swedish Viking Grave Hosts Remains of a Female Warrior

Swedish Viking Grave Hosts Remains of a Female Warrior

Swedish Viking Grave Hosts Remains of a Female Warrior

"This is the first formal and genetic confirmation of a female Viking warrior", Uppsala University Department of Organismal Biology Professor Mattias Jakobsson said to Phys.org.

A viking leader from the mid-10th century, originally believed to be a man, was actually a woman, a new study has revealed.

Not only was the female a warrior, but she was a professional and esteemed one.

Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson, an archaeologist at Uppsala University, said, "Aside from the complete warrior equipment buried along with her...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 lesson: Don't make assumptions when you excavate the body of a Viking.

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While bone experts had long suspected the remains belong to a woman, the idea had previously been dismissed despite other accounts supporting the existence of female Viking warriors.

"This type of reasoning takes away the agency of the buried female", the researchers write.

The latest DNA tests have shown that what has always been held as being the resting place of a male Viking warrior is, in fact, that of a woman.

To quash those doubts, the researchers took a DNA sample from the skeleton's arm and tooth.

There was still sufficient genetic data in them to show that it had a sole X chromosome origin, as it lacked the Y chromosome. The scientists also noted that the skeleton's bones were "thin, slender and gracile" like a woman's, further supporting their conclusions.

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According to The Local , the first person to do something about the fact that the skeleton's morphological features don't coincide with a male body was Anna Kjellström, an osteologist at Stockholm University.

According to the research team, their study points out the need to stop assuming the roles males and females might have played in the ancient societies.

The island Birka, which holds these remains, was a key trading place during the Viking Age. This grave has been the example of what a Viking warrior burial should look like for over a century.

With the help of osteology and DNA testing, archaeologists and historians have revealed that the remains of a "powerful military leader" buried with weapons and horses are that of a woman.

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