Among the Vikings there were female commanders

A new study showed that women Vikings not only served in the army, but could hold high military posts.

Researchers from the Stockholm and Uppsala universities note that it is not about the mystical heroes of the ancient sagas, but about the real woman-commander. So, they studied one of the most important viking burials: it contains the remains of a warrior, surrounded by weapons – a sword and armor-piercing arrows, and the remains of two horses. The grave was also found full game set, which, according to co-author Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson (Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson), indicates that the woman was a high-ranking officer – “those who engaged in tactics and strategy and could lead troops into battle” . A woman warrior was buried in the middle of the 10th century in Birka (Bjorke Island on Lake Mälaren), one of the largest trade and craft centers of the Swedish Vikings in the years 800-975. Isotope analysis confirmed that the woman led a nomadic way of life – just like the whole military society that dominated in the VIII-X cc. in the northern part of Europe.

To accurately establish that the remains belong to a woman (this was clearly indicated by the structural features of the skeleton), the researchers turned to DNA analysis. Geneticists found that X-chromosomes are present in the sample, but there is no Y-chromosome (available only in men), and thus confirmed the initial guess.

Jan Storå, a leading expert of the study, recalled that the burial was studied in the 1880s and served as a model for a professional Viking warrior for a long time – all these years the female commander was considered a man. This means, continues Sturo, that collections of museums still possess – thanks to new techniques, methods and critical positions of modern science – research value.