SWTAS 2018-2019 Lecture Series! All lectures are free and open to the general public. Most lectures are hosted by Trinity University, but occasionally we meet at other venues, as listed in the program notes below. Refer to the Find Us! page for location maps. All lectures last approximately one hour, with a reception afterwards. A pre-lecture dinner is available with the speaker at 5:45pm. The lecture series is made possible by the Archaeological Institute of America, the Southwest Texas Archaeological Society, and the Trinity University Department of Classical Studies.

Monday, March 5, 2019

7:30 pm, Trinity University Chapman Auditorium

Lecture by Dr. Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson, Uppsala University (Sweden)

Bj581: The Viking Warrior that was a Woman

In September 2017, Dr. Hedenstierna-Jonson published a paper in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology under the title ‘A female Viking warrior confirmed by genomics’. It presented the results of an extensive DNA analysis, following earlier osteological studies, showing that the body in a richly appointed Viking-Age burial from the town of Birka in Sweden was not biologically male as had always been assumed, but female. This was significant because the grave, which was excavated in 1878, had long been held up as the archetypal high-status warrior burial of the late Viking Age. This lecture presents the scientific research behind the headline and also the further questions addressed by those studies: the various aspects of who this person was during life, the heritage of this evidently important individual, and her geographical movement. An interesting picture is starting to emerge when all the pieces of data are combined. But is the standing interpretation of the grave as that of a high-status warrior still valid?

Dr. Hedenstierna-Jonson currently is co-director of the Viking Phenomenon Project, based at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. Specifically, her charge is exploring the economy and organization of Viking raids and their impact when shaping Scandinavian identities. Key issues relate to how the raids were structured, including comparative studies on piracy, what role women played, and the importance of slave-taking and trafficking. Find more info at