AMAZONS IN VIKING AGE


  • O. Ye. Fialko Institute of Archaeology, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Keywords: Amazons, Burials, Weapons, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, the Viking Age, the Early Middle Ages.

Abstract

Amazons are usually associated with the period of the early Iron Age. However, a large number of graves of armed women of the early Middle Ages are known in the territory of Eurasia. In the Scandinavian countries, the period of the 9th — the first half of the 11th centuries was called the «Viking Age». This period is related to the military, commercial and demographic expansion of the Scandinavians. During the archaeological researches, burials of women with weapons were recorded in the cemeteries of Denmark, Norway and Southern Sweden. They constitute a small series of 16 funerary complexes.

Typically, the female warriors were buried in individual graves, and only occasionally they were accompanied by a woman or a child. Only in two cases armed man and woman of equal social level were placed in one grave. In the necropolis, the graves of the Amazons are usually localized among the military graves. On the territory of Western Europe, both rites of burial of warriors — inhumation and cremation are registered.

The age range of female warriors is quite wide — from 10 to 50—60 years, with the domination of young women. The material complex showed that women’s weapons were intended for both remote (bows and arrows, spears) and close combat (swords, knives, axes). And in this period preference was given to axes. Several graves of female warriors were accompanied by a horse or a set of horse ammunition. This means that women could also fight in the equestrian battles.

Based on the range and the number of weapons, the Amazons of the Viking Age mainly were part of the lightly armed units. These women took up arms on a par with men in moments of acute necessity — periods of seizing of new territories or defending their lands from an external enemy.

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Published
2018-03-22
How to Cite
Fialko, O. Y. (2018). AMAZONS IN VIKING AGE. Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, 26(1), 73-84. https://doi.org/10.37445/adiu.2018.01.05