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Viking Queens & Shieldmaidens

How did I do all that reading about Viking ships just now, and not realise that the beautiful Oseberg ship that you see photos of everywhere when you look for Viking ships, was not just a ship-burial, but a queen-burial? "The skeletons of two women were found in the grave with the ship. One, probably aged 60–70, suffered badly from arthritis and other maladies. The second was initially believed to be aged 25–30, but analysis of tooth-root translucency suggests she was older (aged 50–55)."

And also, here is a little Viking person I've just stumbled upon; the Harby Valkyrie, thought to date to around 800AD.  I love her hairstyle and Big Sword and patterned dress. (I'm not sure why valkyrie rather than shieldmaiden? Maybe it's the hair.).  I may see if I can carve a version of her.

harby valkyrie
Lots more really good photos of her here : http://www.finefynskefund.dk/valkyrien/


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
15th Jun, 2014 17:04 (UTC)
We are fortunate enough to have seen the Oseberg ship in real life. It is stunningly well-preserved.

I didn't know about the Harby Valkyrie, though! Oddly enough, I grew up a few miles away from Harby - although the one in the English midlands, not this one.
15th Jun, 2014 18:36 (UTC)
The "Valkyrie figures" I have seen are usually carrying drinking horns rather than being armed, but the style of clothing is about the same.
16th Jun, 2014 17:47 (UTC)
That little figure is in the Vikings exhibition. On the Vikings Live programme, the expert (Judith Jesch) said that Valkyrie are usually shown carrying a spear, but this woman is carrying a sword... But her general argument seemed to be that images of armed women were probably 'mythological', ie Valkyries, and that if a woman was powerful in real life, is was through magic/sorcery.
16th Jun, 2014 18:53 (UTC)
I have followed JJ on Twitter, and will have to do some more reading, I think.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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