Grave goods demand gender roles in Viking history to be rewritten. Or do they?

Liberal thoughts questioned by hard science

Norwegian archaeologist, Marianne Moen, is making the big claim ‘the past’ is incorrectly interpreted and that Viking Norway men’s and women’s cultural roles were similar. But not everyone agrees.

Marianne Moen’s Doctoral thesis at the Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo , is entitled “ Challenging Gender. A reconsideration of gender in the Viking Age using the mortuary landscape .” According to an article about her paper in Science Nordic she claims gender roles during Viking times weren’t as differentiated as thought, and she told reporters, “I think we need to move away from distinguishing between men’s and women’s roles during the Viking times”.

Having studied the contents of 218 Viking graves in Vestfold, a county on the southwest side of Oslo Fjord, and finding items from “cups, plates to horses and other livestock” in the graves of “Not just housewives”, Moen claims “upper-class men and women generally were buried with the same types of items – including cooking gear”. And from this type of ‘thinking’ the paper suggests Viking gender roles need readdressing.

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