Bj 581

Focus-Science and Technology - - Discoveries -

What’s that – BMW’s snazzy new hatch­back?

Miles off. It’s the des­ig­na­tion that’s been given to the grave of a 10th-Cen­tury Vik­ing warrior found in Birka in south- east Swe­den.

Cool. So why are we talk­ing about it?

When the grave was first un­earthed in the 1870s, the shields, swords, axes and rem­nants of horses buried along­side the body led re­searchers to be­lieve it be­longed to a male Vik­ing warrior.

But they were wrong?

Yep. A new DNA anal­y­sis has found the skele­ton only has X chro­mo­somes, and no Y chro­mo­somes. This means it must have be­longed to a woman.

Wow! Does that mean this was the grave of a real-life shield-maiden?

Well, there’s a bit of dis­agree­ment among re­searchers. Some say that there is still no solid proof the Vik­ing woman was a warrior. Oth­ers say that if we au­to­mat­i­cally as­sume men buried in such a man­ner were war­riors, then why would we make dif­fer­ent as­sump­tions when the body is fe­male?

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