female viking warrior
The discovery that a decorated Viking was likely nonbinary has many wondering if ancient cultures were more progressive on gender than we once thought.

When you think of Viking warriors, you likely think of hypermasculine strongmen; shaggy-bearded behemoths with an ax in one hand and a roast turkey leg in the other.

But a highly decorated Viking warrior found buried in Finland is here to challenge those gender assumptions.

A new peer-reviewed study in the European Journal of Archaeology suggests that the exalted Viking may have been nonbinary or genderqueer – that is, outside of the two-gender binary.

Breaking the Binary Barrier

The grave, first discovered in 1968, was long considered to contain both a male and female inside, because of the various items contained within. Inside the tomb lay jewelry and traditionally feminine clothing, but also a sword placed on the left side – which would indicate, at the very least, a masculine figure of some importance within.

But research shows that there is only one person within the tomb, dressed in women's clothing typical of this time period. 

This is far from the only Viking grave to be unearthed, but it is the first of its kind. The unusual discovery is leading researchers to theorize that 1,000 years ago gender nonconforming people were held in high regard within their communities.

Noting that “they were laid in the grave on a soft feather blanket with valuable furs and objects,” study author and archaeologist Ulla Moilanen says that “the buried individual seems to have been a highly respected member of their community.”

A DNA test of the decorated warrior shows that they had Klinefelter Syndrome, a chromosomal disorder in males that gives them an extra X chromosome, which often carries physical side effects like enlarged breasts, broad hips, and less body and facial hair. 

If this individual displayed physical characteristics of their disorder, they “might not have been considered strictly a female or a male in the early middle ages community,” the study authors say. “The abundant collection of objects buried in the grave is proof that the person was not only accepted, but also valued and respected.”

Were Vikings Progressive?

The recent discovery is blowing a hole in the notion that Viking society was as ultramasculine as we once thought. Is it possible that the Vikings were actually even more progressive on gender identity than we are, 1,000 years later?

If what the study’s authors believe to be true – that 1,000 years ago, a nonbinary biological male in feminine clothing would not only be accepted but celebrated – then perhaps we do still have some catching up to do.

Other leading archaeologists championed the team and their findings. "I think it is a well researched study of an interesting burial,” said Leszek Gardeła, a researcher at the National Museum of Denmark. “[It] demonstrates that early medieval societies had very nuanced approaches to and understandings of gender identities."

The discovery also got many people thinking about the fascinating belief systems of medieval Nordic peoples. 

What is your reaction? Were the Vikings more progressive on gender identity than we are today? 

65 comments

  1. Dave J's Avatar Dave J

    Yay for the Vikings! Not all earlier civilizations were as hateful as christianity and islam. Look at Native Americans, and their acceptance of two spirit individuals.

    Lovely!

  1. Parson Quinn's Avatar Parson Quinn

    Many cultures were not binary specific. Some Native Americans recognized up to five separate genders.

    It needs not be a big deal, but sadly it is to some close minded groups.

    1. CB Cuff's Avatar CB Cuff

      There is only two genders, interpretation is a personal choice. Physiology often guides people to make their 'lifestyle' path. Sometime productive, other times they are open to discrimination and ridicule.

      1. Robert Chokonen Anthony Van Fleet's Avatar Robert Chokonen Anthony Van Fleet

        Actually there are three genders, as a medical professional, I have witnessed many births in which the child is born with both male and female traits, and fully functional reproductive organs. Close your eyes and open your minds. The Creator has no limits, and is creator to all.

        1. CB Cuff's Avatar CB Cuff

          So for clarification, what is the name of this third gender? Hermaphrodite is not a gender, but a term which identifies a person with the abnormality what you've suggested....

      2. James C Riggle's Avatar James C Riggle

        Hermaphrodite (where one individual possesses both the male XY and female XX chromosome pairs). The true hermaphrodite has both testicular and ovarian tissues present in either the same or opposite gonads. Both the external genitalia and the internal duct structures display gradations between male and female.

        I guess you're wrong.

  1. robert's Avatar robert

    We have a saying here in Texas, horse manure on the speculation especially to further a social agenda! If you read the article it’s just guessing at best

    1. Ann's Avatar Ann

      They usually do no matter what the topic. Same goes for a lot of documentaries.

    2. John Condron's Avatar John Condron

      Hmmm... qualified archeologists interpreting actual data versus random posters online giving their kneejerk opinions. It's so difficult to figure out who we should credit.

      Oh... no... it really isn't. I think I'll go with the scientists on this one.

    3. Ilmenheru Terikson's Avatar Ilmenheru Terikson

      And the wider world has a saying about folks in texas, that they are basically just animals in human form and the noises they make have less value to the world then the songs of the birds and buzzing of the bees. Like you know your state is one most in the U.S. would happily turn into the nuclear dump of the country as we see so little value in all but the handfuls of educated and progressive minds in the cities right?

      When will you Texasses get it through your egocentric little smooth brains that you dont matter at all, that what you think and feel is always wrong, and you basically are just a blight to the human race. Ranching and drilling for oil does not produce useful humans, just animals with no real value to civilization as a whole. In fact you are more like the mud at the bottom of a swamp trying to suck all down into the quagmire and foul rotting decay you call your life.

      1. robert's Avatar robert

        Gee you sound like a real live A hole, tell me, that spewing sphincter you call a mouth , does it stink only when you spew decal matter in a verbal form or does it just stink all the time?

      2. Shannon Krystelle Shattuck's Avatar Shannon Krystelle Shattuck

        Wow, Terikson. Wth is wrong with YOU? What crawled up your behind and has you bent out of shape? Go ahead and hate on a bunch of people you don’t even know, it just makes you look like a mean, bitter bully.

      3. Ryan R. Shaw's Avatar Ryan R. Shaw

        Wow, not what I would expect from an ordained minister. Disgraceful to be a representative of ULC with such hatred in your heart.

      4. Michael K. Mac Munn's Avatar Michael K. Mac Munn

        Now, now play nice kids.

      5. Lavara Griggs's Avatar Lavara Griggs

        This was a good laugh.. I am a Texan (irish Scottish and Paiute) and you must be uninformed what real Texans are.. i laugh at your ignorance... maybe you were were wronged by some one who said they were from Texas and that's why you have this opinion/view.

    4. Katelynne Shouse's Avatar Katelynne Shouse

      I guess your Number #1 to explode!

    5. David Arthur Lewis's Avatar David Arthur Lewis

      A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest, lala lala lalala.

    6. David Arthur Lewis's Avatar David Arthur Lewis

      Y'know Robert, that's exactly what I say to the christian science deniers.

  1. John Norris Campbell's Avatar John Norris Campbell

    I'd be willing to bet that even the viking toddlers were much "more hyper masculine" than today's millennial generation...and that includes both genders. When my mother buried my father, she put her favorite gift from him to her in the casket, a beautiful mink coat and a matching hat...(it was the 60's)...so I guess in another thousand years, 'they' will dig up his box and declare him to be some kind of cross dressing dude?...sounds legit...

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    Oh PUH-LEAZE... And just how can anyone now try and say what womens clothing looked like back during the viking days. They are assuming just like they are now. Want Proof? Look at the Kiowa or the Paiute Indians of North America. ALL the men wore soft furs and what you would now consider womens clothing, but were some of the most dangerous Indian tribes out there. And they were "notional" meaning that you could walk into their camps and they would treat you like a friend.....and when you tried to leave they would hunt you down and butcher you like a hog or a deer. never listen to NPR as they always taint their reporting with whatever flavor of the month the left comes up with.

    1. Teej Johnson's Avatar Teej Johnson

      Aren't you the pervert who wanted a video of my 4-year-old nephew? Aren't you also the guy who insulted a purple heart veteran? Lol, you're a creep and a loser. Nothing you say matters.

      1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

        no but you are the liar who seemingly expects people to believe a child will do everything you claim like a robot.

        Nice try but you lose yet again as all you can do is make a statement and then not have any proof to back it up and expect people to accept your lies as fact

        1. Teej Johnson's Avatar Teej Johnson

          Lol, still doesn't change the fact that you wanted a picture of a 4-year-old child, you creep. Get some help.

          1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

            Nope I said I wanted video of your claimed child obeying you and not looking. Nice try in trying to imply something else but major fail. you protest way too much because you cant prove what you claimed.

            1. Teej Johnson's Avatar Teej Johnson

              Why would I record a 4-year-old child getting yelled at on a beach? Even if I did, why would I give that recording to you, someone who has shown themselves to be a creep on this forum? People like you are creeps, who get off on seeing little children in these situations, so there wasn't a chance in hell I'm giving you a video of that kid. But nice try, loser.

            2. Teej Johnson's Avatar Teej Johnson

              And you're the one who keeps asking to see it, at least 5 times. Why the hell would you be so interested in watching footage of a 4-year-old if you weren't a creep?

              1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

                YOU made the claim and I told you to prove it. The ONLY way for you to prove it is by a video tape as nobody can believe anything you say since you have been proved wrong more times then Carter has liver spots.

                But please continue embarrassing yourself, its really extremely funny.

              2. Teej Johnson's Avatar Teej Johnson

                Where have I been proven wrong? You know very well that even if I have it, I wouldn't give you any video tape because I don't know who you are and you ARE a creep based on your past comments.

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    To be honest who cares.I wasn't around in Viking times whether they were gay or straight it was the individuals choice no one else's gays don't bother me.I have worked with them so I'm not bothered my cousin came out as gay.no one had turned their backs on him

  1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

    BFD.

  1. Cindy L Edgar's Avatar Cindy L Edgar

    All men and women are warriors it shouldn't matter what everybody thought the history was but I think it's great if there were Viking Warrior women

  1. robert's Avatar robert

    Hey anyone else remember when gender was determined by either a vagina or a penis instead of a idea?

  1. Kenneth E. Salvage Sr's Avatar Kenneth E. Salvage Sr

    Of all the vikings that ever lived, they find one in a grave that might have been "Different", and they base a transgender progressive theory on this, really? If we all can have theory's here is mine. The male warrior was buried by his loving wife and daughters with everything he ever gave them in life and it just appears he was transgender. One dead warrior does not make for a theory of a whole culture! BTW the only living organism that has more than two genders is slime mold and that's not as theory but a fact.

  1. Jennifer Ann Lofton's Avatar Jennifer Ann Lofton

    Bulls**t ! This article is political

  1. Tabitha's Avatar Tabitha

    All this hateful vitriol. There must be christians here

  1. Pastor~HP~Sister Beth's Avatar Pastor~HP~Sister Beth

    Not sure if I’ve said this here before, but here goes… hold on to your clerical collars…

    Before there were “patriarchal religions & societies”, there were actually Matriarchal Religions & Societies. Yes, Lovies, there was a world where WOMEN ruled! FOR MUCH LONGER then 3,500 years even.

    It only takes some research into world religions through an archeological eye to see this truth. This had been a passion if mine for nearly 25 years. History of World Religions is fascinating. ♥️

  1. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher

    I THOUGHT HORSE MANURE WAS A FERTILIZER ??? AND FIVE GENDERs or CHICKEN TENDERs, W T F FOLKs ???

  1. Katelynne Shouse's Avatar Katelynne Shouse

    This is gonna blow the Evangelical Christo-Fascist Dominionist minds, lol........YAY!!!

  1. David Arthur Lewis's Avatar David Arthur Lewis

    Ancient Greek sculpture. Just sayyin'

  1. William Diaz's Avatar William Diaz

    exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis............................William

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      disce ut semper victurus, vive ut cras moriturus……………Lionheart

      🦁❤️

      1. William Diaz's Avatar William Diaz

        bonum consilium..................William

        1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

          🤗❤️……………..Lionheart

  1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

    I plant this flag and claim dominion over all this land for my sovereign lord and liege of all our great host, The Raging Queen.

  1. Ilmenheru Terikson's Avatar Ilmenheru Terikson

    Yeah good luck getting this to even matter to all the alt right modern viking wannabes who somehow blend it into white american nationalism even though they are literally acting in traditions opposed by the christian segment of their community and once actually made war upon one another over their faiths.

    The average thick skull smooth brain who thinks of themselves as a modern viking sputs nonsense that has nothing to do with history in the least. And most of them claim to be direct heirs to the bloodline of figures from the Vikings tv show, having no clue what historical amalgamtions are. Or worse think Harold Fairhair was king of the wikings, rather then a person from the cultures of the vikings who due to royal ties ended up a king of several kingdoms in the region. They dont even fathom there was no centralized viking nation or singular ruler or unified culture.

    And its not at all hard to fathom thos discovery, as anyone who studies human cultures knows that especially for peoples born along the danube thousands of years ago, women had a powerful role, it is were the actual Amazon warrior women came from. We know that the story of her fight with the legendary figure Achilles may well have actually happened. We have found evidence of the very same clothing adn weapons depicted on urns of that battle in burial mounds and genetic ties to blond haired mongolian girls born thousands of miles and years apart from these cultures. Even the famed horse archery of the mongols may well have come from these women, as the descriptions we have of the bows used by them are very akin to the composite bows made the same way centuries later in that country.

  1. William Dusenberry's Avatar William Dusenberry

    Vikings specialized (relied upon) raiding, and plundering, any tribal groups that could be accessed by Viking boats built to raid and plunder,

    And, because many of the tribes, to be raided and plundered, required lengthy boat rides to reach them, any crew members who could easily identify with “any port in a storm” — it’s easy for all the male crew members, to let nature do, what comes naturally, and encourage (as the Greeks did) “bi” or homosexuality.

    After all, it works in our nation’s prisons, doesn’t it?

    And, until we determine otherwise, Jesus never married, nor did he ever have a female disciple, or have a girl friend he was seen with.

    His father (the Christian God) never created a ma ma God to have someone to “fool around with”- so draw your own conclusions.

    Do any of my fellow ministers/bishops, know if the Holy Ghost (what liberal Christians now call the Holy Spirit) — did the Holy Ghost self identify, as a male or a female?

    Therefore, Maybe the HG was bi?

  1. Kenneth E. Salvage Sr's Avatar Kenneth E. Salvage Sr

    Comment removed by user.

  1. Shannon Krystelle Shattuck's Avatar Shannon Krystelle Shattuck

    The god Loki was depicted as non-binary- and it makes sense that they would acknowledge non-binary individuals since one of their gods being non-binary. I think it’s pretty cool. 😊

    1. CB Cuff's Avatar CB Cuff

      Given the strong role distinctions in the 'Viking Days', there was likely no room for femininity in warrior world. Looking androgynous is now a fashion statement.

  1. P. Keith Benefiel's Avatar P. Keith Benefiel

    The norsemen lived for years at a time in small boats and far flung bivouacs exclusively with other men while the womenfolk were alone with each other "back home". Sex happens.

  1. Phil Harold Barberg's Avatar Phil Harold Barberg

    There may be only two genders historically. But exceptions have always existed. What do you call a person with breasts and a penis? At birth they assume they are male but as they reach puberty breasts and feminine characteristics appear. This causes all kinds of problems as the person tries to determine what they really are. Medical tests can determine hormone and physiological gender. Many choose to be female and conceal their penis. Often called "Tranny" trans gender. Some will surgically correct the issue, but it is costly. There is a high suicide rate among Trannys. Fitting in to today's culture and having intimate relationships (like any normal person) are very awkward and difficult. During high school and in sports they face a lot of discrimination due to differences in physical abilities often stronger than birth females. They are real people and deserve respect, understanding and acceptance. Their condition is not bad joke by God. It is a genetic flaw like any handicap. Millions of people have handicaps, often ones we will never observe as they struggle to overcome their limitations. We are all Gods children. We come in many sizes, colors and handicaps.

  1. Mike's Avatar Mike

    Archeologists wondered why medieval huts often had little depressions in front of their entrances. Was it a pagan religious superstition? A contemporary recreation of that kind of live village was created as a tourist site and it was realized that chickens caused the depression. In those times villagers kept their chickens in their huts with them. When the chickens stepped outside they gave themselves a dust bath which over time created the depression.

  1. James C Riggle's Avatar James C Riggle

    Science says...

    Hermaphrodites... hermaphroditism, the condition of having both male and female reproductive organs. ... Affected individuals have sex chromosomes showing male-female mosaicism (where one individual possesses both the male XY and female XX chromosome pairs).

    The true hermaphrodite has both testicular and ovarian tissues present in either the same or opposite gonads. Both the external genitalia and the internal duct structures display gradations between male and female.

  1. Virginia Joiner's Avatar Virginia Joiner

    Anthropology and Archeology findings have shown that Viking Women were equal to the men and even led their own armies. There have even been quite a few that suggest women may have been thought of as superior to men.

    None of this is news,even if you are hearing it for the first time. Such findings have been around and ignored or forgotten about for decades or longer. Someday when the scientific community is no longer male dominated then maybe they will stop being surprised by findings that chafe their manhood.

  1. Mike's Avatar Mike

    Comment removed by user.

  1. Donna Lynn Tullar's Avatar Donna Lynn Tullar

    As a descendant of Viking blood, I find this very refreshing and educational! Thank You for sharing.

  1. Morgan Mumma's Avatar Morgan Mumma

    The "feminine" clothes means it's a woman (which should be able to be verified by the very structure of the skeleton). The sword means she was a warrior, and we already know the Vikings had women warriors. It's not that difficult.

  1. Juanita Mae King's Avatar Juanita Mae King

    Juanita: What makes the difference what type clothes have on? We must not forget,our maker put us all on this earth. He/ or She does not care if you have clothes on or not. Hate is what is tearing our world apart. As a Minister I try to pass on love and compassion. GOD BLESS!

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      I am not sure what you mean when you say “We must not forget, our maker put us all on this earth”. Are you getting that information from a book? If you are, how can you be sure what it says in there is true? How can you be sure that words in other books people class as sacred are not true? In fact, how do we know anything is true that has been written by human beings many decades later after the supposed events when they were not there to witness them?

      🦁❤️

  1. Juanita Mae King's Avatar Juanita Mae King

    Juanita: What makes the difference what type clothes have on? We must not forget,our maker put us all on this earth. He/ or She does not care if you have clothes on or not. Hate is what is tearing our world apart. As a Minister I try to pass on love and compassion. GOD BLESS!

  1. Lord Morgan's Avatar Lord Morgan

    I am Valyrian, Mandala, Valhalla,

    Valyrian supports Aryian, Anglo, Angle, Anglo/Saxon, Anglo/Norman, Norman. Viking Lore.

    Valyrian is a Mercenary Evolutionist Faith and Fate, a Destiny Faith.

    I was a trafficked baby and never knew my true family or faith in many lives, it took a very long, and arduous Spiritual war to reveal truth from false.

    Very few people believed or even understood that Spiritual Trafficking had been occurring for a very long time, let alone the level of Trafficking which occurred in the Racists existence. This is known as Incidence now, a Predicated outcome of Fate. The Spiritual War of 2012 was more than conclusive on that account.

    Racism denies faith. America was to defend the faithful, not the resentful.

    The All Father, the All Lord is precedence, this is Valyria now, part of a reconstruction project.

    I have had to fight false faith and lies all my life and found the following to be very true.

    Rome who invented the word History to replace all the other People's (mens), "words" (deeds), for: Time, Ancestry, Law, Heritage, Entitlement, Divinity, Gnosis, Nativity, Assent, Name, and more, much more.

    Everyone (all other birth rights) became Pre-Historic instantly, and the Romans (The "Holy" Romans) became the writers and stenographers of "History". Like "watching" the "History Channel", for Research and Knowledge and the such. Rome created a false faith and a false fate of existence.

    This Falseness, Wrongness, Lie has been revealed now and the sources have been published in accordance of evolutionary knowledge and intelligence.

    There is a huge difference between Right and Wrong. Duality was False. A Book is a very simple example of a Paradoxical Existence in plain sight. The Law of One is False, these are called parables.

    Valhalla clears this all up very quickly with the Valyrian Language, made coherent via Wikimedia and Open Software efforts. Valhalla, Valyria is all about Truth, Dragon, Dragon Truth, Dragon Energy, Dragon Power, Dragon Destiny. This is also known as Drogon.

  1. Marathuzula's Avatar Marathuzula

    Anyone in the Anthropology fields... not surprised. Many people in modern times living within their own bubble... WHHHHAAAAAAATTTT...

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    still whining because I proved that all your post is, is YOUR OPINION! you have provided nothing to back you up and instead tried making implications and being busted for that. So try again....PROVE your child listens to you wen you tell him something. And I bet that 100% of the parents in this thread are laughing at your pathetic attempt at spin. If your child actually listened to you each and every time as you claimed, then there would be no need for any punishment, and I bet your wife will admit that she has punished your child for not listening thus destroying your claim. Game set and match, you lose again!

  1. Pastor~HP~Sister Beth's Avatar Pastor~HP~Sister Beth

    Not sure if I’ve said this here before, but here goes… hold on to your clerical collars…

    Before there were “patriarchal religions & societies”, there were actually Matriarchal Religions & Societies. Yes, Lovies, there was a world where WOMEN ruled! FOR MUCH LONGER then 3,500 years even.

    It only takes some research into world religions through an archeological eye to see this truth. This had been a passion if mine for nearly 25 years. History of World Religions is fascinating. ♥️

  1. Lord Morgan's Avatar Lord Morgan

    Hi,

    I’m Really Thankful and So Happy to have read this article.

    I am really new to this Forum and getting back On Line.

    I was Disabled for Quite Some Time, and I’m Much Better Now.

    Your Comments allowed me to Confirm that my Army DD214’S Legacy is Valid. The Druid Article, The Valhalla Article, etc. Are Very Faith And Fate Affirming.

    Thank you all so VERY, VERY, MUCH!

    I am Valyrian, which supports Aryian, Anglo, Angle, Saxon, Norman.

    My Faith is Valyrian, Mandala, A Sanskrit Song of Love.

    I am Valhalla by Nature, and Dragon by Light.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:
Don't have an account yet? Create Account