Skeleton ignites debate over whether women were Viking warriors | Science News

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Skeleton ignites debate over whether women were Viking warriors

DNA analysis of bones buried with full battle gear identified as female

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3:49pm, September 13, 2017
Viking raid illustrated

VIKING RETHINK A woman from the Viking Age in Sweden, when raids such as this were launched, may have shattered gender barriers by becoming a warrior who was buried with weapons and horses, researchers report. Their controversial conclusion has stimulated debate over the roles of Viking women.

Viking warriors have a historical reputation as tough guys, with an emphasis on testosterone. But scientists now say that DNA has unveiled a Viking warrior woman who was previously found in a roughly 1,000-year-old grave in Sweden. Until now, many researchers assumed that “she” was a “he” buried with a set of weapons and related paraphernalia worthy of a high-ranking military officer.

If the woman was in fact a warrior, a team led by archaeologist Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson of Uppsala University in Sweden has identified the first female Viking to have participated in what was long considered a male pursuit.

But the new report, published online September 8 in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, has drawn criticism from some researchers. All that’s known for sure, they say, is that the skeleton assessed in the new report belonged to a woman who

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