'Secrets of the Dead: Viking Warrior Queen' Rewrites Our Understanding of History

Rick and Christina Gables
Secrets of the Dead Viking Warrior Queen helmet
Courtesy of Peignoir Prod

In 1878, archaeologist Hjalmar Stolpe uncovered a grave containing a large number of weapons and the skeletal remains of what seemed to be a great Viking warrior.

For a century, people assumed the body was male until the 1970s when Berit Vilkans, a young researcher, observed the bones had female characteristics.

Secrets of the Dead Viking Warrior Queen Katarina Lunblad

Courtesy of Peignoir Prod

Secrets of the Dead: Viking Warrior Queen, premiering Tuesday, July 7 on PBS, details the cultural bias — nobody had an issue with the warrior interpretation of Viking grave #Bj 581 until it was argued that the remains were that of a female.

In 2017, a team of Swedish geneticists proved through a DNA study that the great warrior wasn’t a man, but a woman.

Secrets of the Dead Viking Warrior Queen engraving

Courtesy of Peignoir Prod

Join a team of archaeologists as they examine one of the most significant Viking graves ever found and test the DNA of the remains of the female warrior buried inside, rewriting our understanding of Viking society.

Secrets of the Dead: Viking Warrior Queen, Premiere, Tuesday, July 7, 8/7c, PBS (Check your local listings)