As of late, the entertainment industry has taken a liking to Viking stories. With the critical success of Vikings on the History Channel, as well as the animated series based on the book How to Train Your Dragon being an overall success, it is evident people will take more interest in their history. It can also be assumed that the most popular animated Disney movie Frozen might have added to the popularity pool since it is set in Norway (which is considered historic Viking territory).
Now, there are new reports about Vikings that we didn’t know before. Thanks to improved identification methods and technologies, it is revealed that half of the ancient warriors were female.
According to an article by USA Today, Shane McLeod of the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of Western Australia stated that burials of female Norse immigrants have started to turn up in Eastern England. The evidence utilized for this study is the discovery of more Norse-style jewelry within the last two decades. This has caused some scholars to suggest a larger number of female settlers. It should also be noted that more Norse female dress items were found compared to those for men.
It should also be reported this study isn’t just based on identification of one set of Viking corpses in one specific location. Fourteen different Viking burials from the era, definable by the Norse grave goods found with them and isotopes found in their bones that reveal their birthplace were used. Bones were also sorted for evident osteological signs of which gender they belonged to rather than just assuming that burial with a sword or knife denotes a male burial. Overall, six of the fourteen sites were women, seven were men, and one was indeterminable. Maybe before, the warlike grave goods may have misled researchers into thinking the graves were of men.
The above news is surely great for those who have a liking towards warrior women (such as Xena), but there might be something that we all missed. In a post by Stuff You Missed In History Class, Tracy V. Wilson reports that upon further reading of the source article above, it specifically states “Viking settlers” and not “Viking warriors” pertaining to the studies on the graves. The semantics doesn’t mean the females were not warriors, but it doesn’t mean they were either. Honestly, there probably is no way to know if the females were warriors or not unless some sort of dated historic recording is discovered.
We want to know what you think about this discovery? Do you believe that the female half of Vikings were warriors or just settlers? More importantly, does it even matter that they are warriors or not and that the real story is that our misconceptions of all-male Viking explorers is false? Please let us know in the comments below.
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