The Bones Tell All

Link to the article on Vintage News

Dug up an older article today which briefly describes some research which was done on Viking “warrior burials” in eastern England. Earlier gender attributions had assigned these individuals as “male” based on their grave goods, which often included a sword and/or knife. Once you do the actual science, however, six of the fourteen “warrior” burials are biologically female, seven are biologically male, and one could not be determined.

Link to the article on

The upshot to this story is the same that you find with the Hunter of Bäckaskog and many other cases in mortuary archaeology. You have to be very careful about applying modern gender stereotypes and prejudices to an ancient burial population. Your job as an archaeologist is to reconstruct the values, social roles and division of labor in the past based on evidence. (This is worth repeating in all caps: EVIDENCE.)

Your job is not to regurgitate your modern view of what is “natural” or even “possible” for men and women, based on your own social training and gender expectations in the 20th and 21st century.

Do. Your. Osteology.

Every. Single. Time.

Link to the article on Jezebel.

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About Arinn

Author, Game Developer, Anthropologist, Feminist, reformed Supervillainess.
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