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“Viking women were bloodthirsty!”

“Viking women were bloodthirsty!”

Archaeologist Ella El-Shamahi talks new documentary Viking Warrior Women on National Geographic

Prepare to have your mind blown and your knowledge of Viking gender roles shaken to their foundations by this fascinating one-off documentary

Viking Warrior Women, Tuesday 3 December, 8pm, National Geographic/HD (CH 266/268). Also available for 30 days in Catch Up > Channels > National Geographic

Viking warriors were all burly blokes with big beards who looked like they could do with a good wash, right? Not so fast! New discoveries by British scientists are challenging this age-old perception by suggesting women also fought in battle – and were just as bloodthirsty as the men.


In brand new National Geographic documentary Viking Warrior Women, paleoanthropologist Ella Al-Shamahi and her team shed new light on Viking gender roles after taking a closer look at the remains of a woman buried in Norway over one thousand years ago. Although the skeleton was unearthed decades ago, when Al-Shamahi examined the skull she noticed something that, amazingly, nobody else had: a wound.

Ella Al-Shamahi presents Viking Warrior Women on National Geographic

And this wasn’t just any wound. According to a forensic expert, the macabre mark could well have come from a sword, leading Al-Shamahi to put forward the argument that the deceased may have been killed in combat.


“If this was a man and it was found with that cache of weapons – we’re talking spears, swords, axes shields and arrows – and it was buried in a prominent place in the landscape like this, an archaeologist would have seen that and said it was a battle injury,” Al-Shamahi tells Virgin TV Edit.


Now, using cutting-edge technology, Al-Shamahi is ready to dig even deeper to find out more about an amazing discovery that could change everything we know about our Viking ancestors.


Learn even more about this fascinating one-off documentary by checking out our exclusive chat with Al-Shamahi.


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Image credits: Viking Warrior Women © National Geographic