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Uncovering the Mystery of Female Viking Warrior Clothing

by Uneeb Khan

For centuries, historians have gazed upon Viking Clothing, speculating about the lives of these ancient people. What did they do? How did they live? What were their beliefs? While many aspects of Viking life remain a mystery, we’ve been able to uncover some details about their clothing—particularly the clothing worn by female warriors. So, what did these fierce women wear into battle? Let’s take a look.

Uncovering the Mystery of Female Viking Warrior Clothing

Viking warriors were known for their fearlessness in battle, and their clothing was designed to protect them from their enemies’ weapons as well as the cold weather. male and female warriors alike typically wore long-sleeved tunics made of wool or linen, which provided some warmth and protection against cuts and scrapes. They also wore sturdy pants and leather boots that reached up to their knees. In colder weather, they would don a cloak made of wool or fur to keep warm. 

As for armor, male and female warriors alike typically wore a helmet, a wooden shield, and a breastplate made of either leather or metal. Some accounts also mention armor made of chainmail, though this may have been more common among male warriors than female. In terms of weaponry, female warriors typically carried a spear, a sword, and a dagger. Some also carried an ax for close combat. 

Studying the Clothing of Female Viking Warriors

The first piece of evidence we’ll examine is the Birka female grave Bj581. This grave, dated to the late 9th century, contained the remains of a woman along with numerous weapons and other items. Based on the location of the grave and the presence of both male and female graves nearby, it’s believed that this woman was buried with honors befitting a warrior. So, what does her clothing tell us? 

She was wearing a tunic made of woolen fabric with delicate glass beads sewn onto the neckline. Over this tunic, she wore a sleeveless mantle made of fine linen. The mantle was fastened at her right shoulder with a brooch in the shape ofa snake. She also wore a belt around her waist, though it’s not clear what material it was made from. 

This ensemble is markedly different from what we typically think of when we imaging Viking clothing. It’s clear that this woman had access to wealth and status, as evidenced by the fine fabrics and jeweled embellishments. This leads us to believe that not all female Viking warriors were commoners; some may have been wealthy landowners or even royalty. 

Another piece of evidence comes from the Oseberg ship burial, which contained the remains of two women along with numerous riches. The ship has been dated to 820 AD, making it one of the earliest known examples of Scandinavian shipbuilding. Based on similarities between this ship and other known Viking ships, scholars believe it was used for ceremonial purposes rather than warfare; however, there is no concrete evidence one way or another. 

Conclusion: 

From what we can tell, female Viking warriors dressed much like their male counterparts—though there are some notable differences. It’s clear that practicality was paramount when it came to choosing what to wear into battle. 

These women needed clothing that would protect them from the elements as well as their enemies’ weapons, and they needed armor that would give them an edge in combat without weighing them down. What’s most fascinating is that even though so much time has passed since the Vikings roamed the earth, we’re still able to catch a glimpse into their everyday lives through the clothes they wore.

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