The warrior woman or shield maiden has long been part of the Viking image, with a pedigree that extends from the Valkyries of Old Norse prose and poetry, through Wagner's operatic Romanticism to today's media entertainment. However, until recently the actual Viking-Age evidence for female fighters, real or mythical, has been sparse and often subject to biased interpretation. This lecture presents a critical re-examination of the existing archaeological material and a review of some new finds, in search of the reality behind the 'female Viking'.
Neil Price is Distinguished Professor of Archaeology at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. A leading specialist in the Viking Age and the pre-Christian religions of the North, with additional interests in the historical archaeology of the Indo-Pacific region, his researches have taken him to more than 40 countries. For the next ten years he is directing one of Sweden's largest archaeological research projects, The Viking Phenomenon, leading an international team to explore the origins of this critical period in world history.