Before the Vikings were going on pleasure boat cruises or losing big important football games by blowing it at the very last minute, they were a race of Norsemen who road around on longboats and had enviably badass funerals. While conventional wisdom and archaeology methods initially indicated that they were mostly male, it appears that conventional wisdom was wrong- many of the Viking settlers in what is now Great Britain were actually female, and that Viking society (like the society in Scandinavian countries today) was surprisingly egalitarian.
Researchers had initially mistaken the Viking remains' sex because they were often buried with swords, daggers, and shields, which usually accompanied the burials of male warriors.
The bones were sorted for telltale osteological signs of which gender they belonged to, rather than assuming that burial with a sword or knife denoted a male burial.
Turns out, just about half of the Viking remains that they analyzed in this way turned out to be female- a huge increase in the proportion of men to women that was previously thought.
But before you start imagining that the Lady Vikings were like an old timey roller derby team bashing their way across the hills of England, hold your horses- they were actually probably there because the Vikings themselves weren't as warlike as legend suggests.
Women may have accompanied male Vikings in those early invasions of England, in much greater numbers than scholars earlier supposed, (Researcher) McLeod concludes. Rather than the ravaging rovers of legend, the Vikings arrived as marriage-minded colonists.
So I guess this means that when I'm finally ready to get married, I'll just start wearing my Helga Hat in public.
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