First genetic proof that women were Viking warriors
8 September 2017
New DNA evidence uncovered by researchers at Uppsala University and Stockholm University shows that there were in fact female Viking warriors. The remains of an iconic Swedish Viking Age grave now reveal that war was not an activity exclusive to males – women could be found in the higher ranks at the battlefield.
The study was conducted on one of the most well-known graves from the Viking Age, a mid-10th century grave in Swedish Viking town Birka. The burial was excavated in the 1880s, revealing remains of a warrior surrounded by weapons, including a sword, armour-piercing arrows, and two horses. There was also a full set of gaming pieces and a gaming board.
The morphology of some skeletal traits have long suggested that she was a woman, but since this grave has been the type specimen for a Viking warrior for over a century, it has always been assumed to have belonged to a male Viking. Now, geneticists, archaeogeneticists and archaeologists have worked together and solved the mystery. DNA retrieved from the skeleton demonstrates that the individual carried two X chromosomes and no Y chromosome.
“This is the first formal and genetic confirmation of a female Viking warrior,” says Professor Mattias Jakobsson at Uppsala University’s Department of Organismal Biology.
Isotope analyses confirm a travelling life style, well in tune with the martial society that dominated 8th to 10th century Northern Europe.
“The gaming set indicates that she was an officer, someone who worked with tactics and strategy and could lead troops in battle. What we have studied was not a Valkyrie from the sagas but a real life military leader, that happens to have been a woman,” says Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson, Stockholm University, who led the study.
“Written sources mention female warriors occasionally, but this is the first time that we’ve really found convincing archaeological evidence for their existence,” says Neil Price, Professor at Uppsala University’s Department of Archaeology and Ancient History.
The study is part of the ongoing ATLAS project, which is a joint effort by Stockholm University and Uppsala University supported by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and Vetenskapsrådet, to investigate the genetic history of Scandinavia. The research also involves members of The Viking Phenomenon project at Uppsala, funded by Vetenskapsrådet. The study is published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
Full article: A female Viking warrior confirmed by genomics
New Oscar Prize winners announced
21 December 2017
Uppsala University’s Oscar Prize for young researchers has been awarded to Eric Cullhed, Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Linguistics and Philology and Oskar Karlsson, Doctor of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences.
New thesis on 21st-century Swedish crime fiction: A Market of Murders
20 December 2017
Why have Swedish detective stories become so immensely popular in our century? What murder motives and weapons are most common in the genre, and why? And is it true that Swedish crime fiction is characterised by social criticism? A new thesis from...
Collaboration for new knowledge in culture and society
9 December 2017
Uppsala University is aiming to develop new research collaborations spanning different research subjects. The newly created Centre for Integrated Research on Culture and Society at the Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences will fac...
Ola Larsmo and Quentin Skinner new honorary doctors
16 October 2017
Author Ola Larsmo and Professor Quentin Skinner, University of London, have been appointed new honorary doctors at Uppsala University’s Faculty of Arts.
Equal Opportunities Award goes to Anita Hussénius
12 October 2017
Anita Hussénius, head of the Centre for Gender Research, has received the 2016 Equal Opportunities Award for her gender-equal and inclusive leadership.
Exhibition: Viking Age patterns may be Kufic script
3 October 2017
What was previously thought to be typical Viking Age, silver patterns on woven silk bands, could in fact be geometric Kufic characters. As part of an exhibition at the Enköping Museum, ongoing research is presented where a textile archaeological a...
First genetic proof that women were Viking warriors
8 September 2017
New DNA evidence uncovered by researchers at Uppsala University and Stockholm University shows that there were in fact female Viking warriors. The remains of an iconic Swedish Viking Age grave now reveal that war was not an activity exclusive to m...
Gustavian style – a Swedish style?
5 June 2017
Why has the neoclassical Gustavian style become so prominent in the Swedish self-image? A new dissertation from Uppsala University shows how researchers in art history, along with museums, commercial enterprises and the monarchy, have contributed ...
Mandelgren Prize to Michael Neiß
13 April 2017
Svenska fornminnesföreningen (the Antiquarian Society of Sweden) has decided to award PhD student and archaeologist Michael Neiß the 2017 Mandelgren Prize for his research on Scandinavian animal art.
Archaeologists at the vanguard of environmental and climate research
26 February 2017
The history of people and landscapes, whether natural or cultural, is fundamentally connected. Answering key historical questions about this relation will allow us to approach our most important environmental issues in novel ways. Today in the ope...
New database of Swedish archaeological research in Greece
9 January 2017
In a recently completed project at the Swedish Institute in Athens, materials from more than a hundred years of Swedish archaeological research in Greece has been made available through the database PRAGMATA. The database includes, among other thi...
Bokrelease - Vicke Lindstrand On The Periphery
18 November 2016
Den australiensiske designhistorikern Mark Ian Jones lanserar sin nya bok Vicke Lindstrand On The Periphery. Detta är den första engelskspråkiga publikationen som beskriver Vicke Lindstrands liv och verk.
Digitisation of cultural heritage discussed at AIMday
3 November 2016
Cultural heritage has become a field of great importance for the development of modern society. Modern technology creates new opportunities for communicating and presenting cultural heritage, as well as making it accessible. The potential and chal...
Archaeologist appointed new honorary doctor
5 October 2016
Archaeologist Jeremy B. Rutter, Professor Emeritus at Dartmouth College, USA, has been appointed a new honorary doctor at the Faculty of Arts.
SEK 5 million grant to art project
27 September 2016
The Swedish Research Council has selected seven art research projects to receive grants, out of a total of 51 applications. One of the grants is awarded to Katarina Pirak Sikku and the Uppsala University Centre for Gender Studies.
Augmented reality app presents Old Uppsala in a new way
24 August 2016
In Old Uppsala lie the remains of one of Scandinavia’s most fascinating royal estates from the Iron Age. Once there were numerous houses and other buildings here, which visitors up until now have had to imagine from sketches. A new app called ‘Aug...
Innovative games win prizes at the Swedish Game Awards
20 June 2016
Game Design students from Uppsala University Campus Gotland won half of the prizes at the Swedish Game Awards on 11 June.
Major international meeting on cultural heritage held
16 April 2016
Uppsala University’s Vice-Chancellor Eva Åkesson and Professor of Building Conservation Tor Broström at Campus Gotland participated in a large international conference on cultural heritage and cultural preservation at Yale University in mid-April....
New book documents terrorism from Shakespeare's time
2 December 2015
There was no word for terrorism in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but outbreaks of terrorist violence were frequent. In his new book on terrorism in history and literature, Uppsala University Professor of English Literature, Robert Appel...
Heléne Lööw to be awarded the Martin H:son Holmdahl Scholarship
10 November 2015
The Martin H:son Holmdahl Scholarship is Uppsala University’s most prestigious award for the furthering of human rights and liberty. This year, the award is being given to docent Heléne Lööw at the Department of History for her important contribut...