Women Warriors Were the Norm For Scythians

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This female warrior was buried with an elaborately engraved headdress during the fourth century B.C. (Archaeoolog.ru)

Tomb Containing Three Generations of Warrior Women Unearthed in Russia

by Theresa Machemer/Smithsonianmag.com

The Amazon warriors of ancient Greek lore were once considered mythical figures. But in recent years, archaeological work and genetic analysis have identified women buried with weapons, horseback riding equipment and other accoutrements traditionally associated with warriors.

Earlier this month, a team led by archaeologist Valerii Guliaev announced the discovery of a 2,500-year-old tomb in which four such women were buried together. The findings were published in the journal of the Akson Russian Science Communication Association this week.

The women belonged to a nomadic group called the Scythians and were found in one of 19 burial mounds studied during a decade-long survey of the western Russian village of Devitsa, reports Ruth Shuster for Haaretz. The youngest individual in the grave was 12 or 13 years old. Two were in their twenties, and the last was between 45 to 50 years old.

Interestingly, says Guliaev in a statement, women warriors were the norm, not the exception, in Scythian culture.

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