Ancient skeletal remains are more than just bones–archaeologists use them to determine the gender, sex, and roles of ancient peoples.
Information like the chromosomal results from this skeleton in Sweden can help shine light on the bias scientists can have when evaluating limited evidence. Viking stories included female warriors, so why did the original archaeologists who uncovered this grave assume that the individual was male? What other information tied into modern ideas about femininity and masculinity, sexuality, and gender roles have obscured our ability to understand the diversity of sex, gender, and sexuality in the ancient world? Many questions have arisen since this discovery, but as we will see, interpreting the remains of ancient people needs to be done with care, especially when we explore the past with a modern perspective.