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Viking ‘Warrior’ Presumed to Be a Man Is Actually a Woman

Illustration by Evald Hansen based on the original plan of grave Bj 581 by excavator Hjalmar Stolpe; published in 1889 (Stolpe, 1889) CREDIT: Evald Hansen/American Journal of Physical Anthropology

‘Then the high-born lady saw them play the wounding game, she resolved on a hard course and flung off her cloak; she took a naked sword and fought for her kinsmen’s lives, she was handy at fighting, wherever she aimed her blows.’ — The Greenlandic Poem of Atli

By Tia Ghose | 14 September 2017

LIVE SCIENCE — A high-status Viking warrior who was thought to be a man turns out to be a woman, a new DNA analysis finds.

The remains of the warrior were buried with an array of warlike accessories, including arrows, swords and warhorses.

The findings raise questions about the role of women in Viking society, which has historically been thought of as a testosterone-fueled, patriarchal culture, the researchers say. [In Photos: Viking Voyage Discovered]

“The identification of a female Viking warrior provides a unique insight into the Viking society, social constructions and exceptions to the norm in the Viking time-period. The results call for caution against generalizations regarding social orders in past societies,” the researchers wrote in their paper, published online Sept. 8 in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology[…]

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