Scientists reveal first evidence of Viking woman with battle injury

Archaeologists believe that this new finding may shed some light into the gender roles in ancient Scandinavian society

As per the historians, between 800 AD and 11th century, a vast number of Scandinavians left their homelands to seek their fortunes elsewhere and these seafaring warriors are known as Vikings or Norsemen or Northmen. Recently, a researcher examined the remains of a Viking woman, which dates back to more than a thousand years ago who was excavated from a lavish grave in Åsnes, Norway.

The brutal head injury

The National Geographic Explorer and human remains specialist Ella Al-Shamahi was fascinated by a dent on the skull which wasn't investigated before. Later, 3D scans revealed that the dent could have been caused by a slicing impact, like an injury from a sword or similar weapon. In one hand this finding became helpful in terms of shedding light into ancient Scandinavian society, while it disqualified previous belief that all the Viking warriors were men.

Vikings Wikimedia Commons

Birka burial finding

A team of scientists investigated a 10th-century burial, located in Birka, Sweden and it was believed that it belongs to a male warrior. A DNA analysis of the skeleton revealed that the warrior was a woman. Later, this finding showed a possibility of finding more female Viking warrior burials.

Al-Shamahi told Newsweek that there was a massive shift at that moment, even though there are many people who continue to deny the fact. In addition, he mentioned, "Now the thinking is there may well have been quite a few [female warriors.] But the question is how many. None of us are suggesting 50 per cent, but was it really the exception to the rule, or was it something fairly common."

As per the archaeologist, the denial could be a sign of sexism but it should not be overlooked that the woman Viking warrior in the Norwegian grave was buried in a prominent hillside position with a remarkable set of weapons such as arrows, a sword, an axe and a shield. "But if that injury was found on a male skeleton in a grave with those kinds of weapons in that kind of prominent position on the landscape—a telltale sign of an important Viking—the very first theory that would be put forward is that it is a battle injury. Yet there are people doubting she's even a warrior," said Al-Shamakhi.

Life-like reconstruction of the Viking warrior

By using the technology, the researchers created a life-like reconstruction of the woman with her brutal forehead injury. This has revealed for the first time what a Viking female warrior could have looked like. However, Al-Shamahi said that this discovery will overturn the belief that Viking society was dominated by only men.

Related topics : Archaeology