Shieldmaidens – the controversy continues…


A couple of things flew by me in the ether this week, reminding me that we haven’t discussed women and war for a while.

The first thing was a paper from the archaeologists at the centre of the debate about the formerly assigned male, now definitively identified as female, warrior grave remains from Birka.

The other was the ridiculous assertion by the author Andrew Klavan: that women – ALL women, apparently – were incapable of using swords. The reaction from the Twitterverse was pretty predictable, and funny, starting with (although certainly not limited to) pictures of the USA women’s Olympic fencing team.

Now, the Birka osteological study and discussion is erudite and conclusive, neatly demolishing the arguments against its critics. It securely and pretty conclusively shows that the provenance of the remains as beyond reasonable doubt, and equally conclusively shows that the biological sex of the remains is no longer in question, although I suspect that many will continue to fight a rearguard action against the results of the findings.

The Klavan stuff, on the face of it, is just an ignorant, angry old white man, screaming because he might have to change his mind about his own inherent superiority over the rest of the world. One could simply dismiss him as part of the dinosaur class, soon to be dead and forgotten.

But in truth, both Klavan and the scientists arguing from these increasingly fragile positions are part of the same group. Just because one of them makes unfounded, unsupported general statements devoid of known facts, and the other couches their disdain in endless requests for more and more impossible “proofs” not required of similar findings that don’t disturb their worldview, doesn’t mean they aren’t part and parcel of the desperate need of some people to not have to alter their thinking.

But don’t take my word for it.

You can access the finding about Bj. 581 here

and view, if you haven’t already, Klavan’s spittle-laced outrage, it’s here

If we can just survive till these guys all die off, we just might change the world.


NOTE: I’ve written about this stuff before, and if you are interested:

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