From The Washington Post:
|An 1889 drawing of the Viking warrior grave discovered in Birka, Sweden. For more than 120 years, it was assumed to be the skeleton of a man. (Hjalmar Stolpe)|
The warrior was, in fact, female. And not just any female, but a Viking warrior woman, a shieldmaiden, like the ancient Brienne of Tarth from “Game of Thrones."
The artifacts entombed with the 1,000-year-old bones and unearthed in 1889 in Birka, Sweden, included two shields, a sword, an ax, a spear, armor-piercing arrows and a battle knife — not to mention the remnants of two horses. Such weapons of war among grave goods, archaeologists long assumed, meant the Viking had been male.
Yet modern-day genetics testing on the DNA extracted from a tooth and an arm bone has confirmed otherwise. The skeleton, known as Bj 581, belonged to someone with two X chromosomes.
"We were blinded by the warrior equipment,” one of the researchers, Anders Gotherstrom, said in an email to The Washington Post this week. “The grave-goods shout 'warrior' at you, and nothing else.
|A modern drawing of the same Viking grave, this time depicting the female warrior. (Neil Price)|