Ancient Scythian Warrior Found to be a Girl

  • Archeologists found several other Scythian warrior women in 2019.
  • Many archaeologists initially believed that a young man was buried in the sarcophagus found in 1988.
  • This is a very important finding for women worldwide.

In 1988, a wooden sarcophagus was found in Siberia. It was discovered to be a mummy of a young warrior that was buried with high honors. However, only recently, the confirmation came that the body belonged to a female. There have been debates for centuries pertaining to the importance of women in combat.

Devitsa is a rural locality (a selo) and the administrative center of Devitskoye Rural Settlement, Ostrogozhsky District, Voronezh Oblast, Russia. The population was 822 as of 2010.

Many men believe that the image of the ancient female warrior is a myth. This finding can further disprove that belief and further empower women today. It can also show the importance of women in the military and on the battlefield.

Additionally, in 2019, archeologists discovered the burial of the two girls who are believed to have belonged to the nomadic Scythians, who about 2,500 years ago set up a camp on the territory where the village of Devitsa now stands. Fragments of horse harnesses and weapons were found in the graves, including iron knives and 30 arrowheads.

The Scythians  were a group of ancient tribes of nomadic warriors who originally lived in what is now southern Siberia, including Tuva. They lived between 900 BC to 200 BC. The ruled over over Central Asia.  Tuva is a remote, biodiverse Russian republic in southern Siberia, populated by traditionally nomadic, yurt-dwelling tribes.

Scythia was a region of Central Eurasia in classical antiquity, occupied by the Eastern Iranian Scythians, encompassing Central Asia, parts of Eastern Europe east of the Vistula River with the eastern edges of the region vaguely defined by the Greeks.

“It is safe to say that these two women were horsewomen,” said archaeologist Valery Gulyaev from the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. According to the scientist, over the past decade, the expedition has found about eleven graves of young armed women. Separate mounds were laid out for them, arranged according to the same rules as for male warriors.

However, many archaeologists believed that a young man was buried in the sarcophagus found in 1988. However, fresh genetic analysis has shown that the bones actually belong to a girl. An axe, a birch bow and a quiver with 10 arrows — attributes of a real warrior— were also found in her burial.

Due to the fact that the larch sarcophagus remained virtually sealed for over 2,600 years, the remains were mummified and preserved very well. The young warrior was found to have died before she reached 14 years old. The body was dressed in a long coat made from the skin of some rodent, a shirt, and skirt. Perhaps, in the future, the results of computer tomography will tell researchers the cause of death of the young warrior.

Often, when archeologists find ancient bodies, they assume it is of a male. Unless new technology is utilized, the bodies are automatically labeled as males.  This can perpetuate beliefs that women are undervalued in societies across the globe.

This, however, is very important finding for women worldwide. It shows that even in ancient times, women were warriors, fighting alongside men. Additionally, it shows how women can truly be tough, as well as successful leaders.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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