In Warriors and women: the sex ratio of Norse migrants to eastern England up to 900 AD, published in 2011 in Early Medieval Europe 19/3, Medievalists from the University of Western Australia survey the remains of fallen Vikings found in eastern England that had been assumed to be male, partly because some were buried with sword and shield.
An anatomical examination of these remains found that, of the remains with an identifiable gender, half were female, including at least one of the "warrior" skeletons buried with sword and shield.
"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," says the study.
Invasion of the Viking women unearthed [Dan Vergano/USA Today]
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(Image: Illustration from A Parody on Iolanthe by D. Dalziel illustrated by H. W. McVickar, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)
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