All the Viking Ladies, Put Your Hands Up

by Jackie Leahy

Good news, fellow warrior princesses! Through osteological sexing of the bones of a group of 14 Viking corpses found in eastern England, scholar Shane McLeod has found evidence that about half of the Viking corpses were female.

The study says that “these results, six female Norse migrants and seven male, should caution against assuming that the great majority of Norse migrants were male, despite the other forms of evidence suggesting the contrary. This result of almost a fifty-fifty ratio of Norse female migrants to Norse males is particularly significant when some of the problems with osteological sexing of skeletons are taken into account.” 

There is still debate over whether the finding shows Viking women were primarily warriors or colonists. Although several female corpses were buried with weapons, many of the Norse women settlers in the study were also found with oval brooches.

Whatever the case, these Viking women are doing their fictional contemporaries, Eowyn, Xena, and especially Lagertha of History Channel’s Vikings, proud. 

Photos courtesy of, and, 

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