The remains of a Viking warrior chief turned out to be female. The anonymous warrior was buried along with her weapons, horses, and a strategy board game.
For more than a century, archaeologists and historians have assumed that the remains of a person found buried along with arms and horses in one of the most spectacular graves discovered in the Viking Age town of Birka, in Sweden, belonged to a man.
Turns out they were wrong. Osteology- and DNA tests now show that that he has always been a she, and she was most likely a powerful military leader.
“It’s actually a woman, somewhere over the age of 30 and fairly tall too, measuring around 170 centimetres,” Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson, an archeologist at Uppsala University, told The Local of the findings that were published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology on Friday.
“Aside from the complete warrior equipment buried along with her – a sword, an axe, a spear, armour-piercing arrows, a battle knife, shields, and two horses – she had a board game in her lap, or more of a war-planning game used to try out battle tactics and strategies, which indicates she was a powerful military leader. She’s most likely planned, led and taken part in battles,” she said.