Elite Figure Found In Tomb 2,000 Years Ago Was A Woman Warrior, Study Reveals – Mystery Science

An Iron Age tomb that had puzzled archaeologists since its discovery in 1999 has finally been fully analyzed, leading to some interesting findings.

More than 2,000 years ago, a very high-ranking person was buried in the Isles of Scillyoff the southwest coast of England, as well as a curious combination of artifacts: a well-worked sword and an elegant bronze mirror.

Iron Age sword and mirror found in 2,000 year old burial. Credit: Historical Archives of England.

For archaeologists, the find was controversial because of its symbolism. It was customary for the warriors of the iron age they were buried next to their weapons, while the burials of wealthy women often included a mirror. However, this tomb has both.

Thanks to the analysis of a fragment of protein from dental enamel – since this tissue is the hardest and most durable in the human body – the researchers were able to conclude that the fallen warrior was not a man as previously believed, but a woman.

“The results showed that the individual had a 96% chance of being female,” said Professor Glendon Parker of the University of California, Davis, one of the study participants.

These results overturn long-held assumptions about gender roles in Iron Age Britain and show that some high-ranking women played roles in the war at this time.

Why were these objects in the burial?

As the researchers explained, not only the sword, but also the mirror, were related to warfare.

Bronze mirror found in the tomb of the ancient warrior. Credit: Historical Archives of England.

In the Iron Age, mirrors they had a variety of practical and symbolic uses. They could be used to report, communicate and coordinate attacks. They also had ritual functions, as a tool to communicate with the supernatural world. They were considered luxury items associated with magic rather than beauty at that time. They are seldom discovered in tombs, and finding one next to a sword in Western Europe is a notable rarity.

Although we never fully know the symbolism of the objects found in the tombs, the combination of a sword and a mirror suggests that this woman had a high status within her community and “may have played a dominant role in local warfare, organizing or leading raids against rival groups,” he said. Sarah StarkHuman Skeleton Biologist of Historic England.

Other items of interest were also found in the tomb, including shield fittings, a ring for a sword belt, a copper brooch and ring, woven fibers and possibly the remains of a skin of sheep or goat.

You may be interested: 2.3 meter long sword found in Japan.

The finding indicates that the women of this time participated much more frequently in the fights than we thought.

The research was published in the Journal of Archaeological Science Reports.

References: Historic England.

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