Last week a story made the rounds claiming that a new archeological examination of graves showed almost as many female Viking warriors as male Viking warriors.
There’s just one tiny problem with these claims: they’re bunk..
This paper absolutely does not conclude that these women were warriors, or that the army had an even split of male and female fighters:
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.
Note the use of the word “migrants,” not “warriors” or “fighters.”
So this is a case of feminists taking good science and turning it into bad reporting by distorting what the original paper actually said.
An academic reading the actual paper comes to the same conclusion: “Whenever we read second hand information, it is essential that rather than instantly spreading what may be misleading information, that we try to discover if it’s accurate first.”
Eric S. Raymond expands on the theme:
Reality is, at least where pre-gunpowder weapons are involved, viciously sexist….
There is only very scant archeological evidence for female warriors (burials with weapons). There is almost no such evidence from Viking cultures, and what little we have is disputed; the Scythians and earlier Germanics from the Migration period have substantially more burials that might have been warrior women. Tellingly, they are almost always archers….
If a pre-industrial culture has chosen to train more than a tiny fraction of its women as shieldmaidens, it would have lost out to a culture that protected and used their reproductive capacity to birth more male warriors. Brynhilde may be a sexy idea, but she’s a bioenergetic gamble that is near certain to be a net waste.
Firearms changes all this, of course – some of the physiological differences that make them inferior with contact weapons are actual advantages at shooting (again I speak from experience, as I teach women to shoot). So much so that anyone who wants to suppress personal firearams is objectively anti-female and automatically oppressive of women.
(Hat tip Instapundit.)