How the female Viking warrior was written out of history

Hedenstierna-Jonson et al. do not equivocate in their statements that, for over a century, this individual was mis-identified as male because archaeologists, acculturated in a western society with strictly defined gender roles, view men alone as warriors, or soldiers, or wielders of violence. A warrior, like warfare itself, is a cultural construct, practices and professions created by human societies to fulfill specific desires. To assume uncritically that men alone are warriors leads to a cascade of other assumptions about human behaviors that renders our attempt to understand those behaviors somewhat moot.

…Assumptions regarding gender roles dilute our understanding of past societies and the enormous complexity of human achievements and activities.

…The genomics is fairly certain- these are the remains of a woman who genetically was part of the Viking world, and who was interred in a Viking tomb with Viking material culture, specifically material culture associated with combat and warfare. It continues to be a challenge for some people to reconcile those variables. But those same people are missing the larger implications of the genomics study. The real questions, the interesting questions: what does it mean that Bj 581 was a female? What does this tell us about how Viking society was structured? Was Bj 581 unique, or did she represent a category of women that has been largely relegated to mythology? And what can this tell us about how violent conflict was viewed and experienced? 

How the female Viking warrior was written out of history | Science | The Guardian


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