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The existence of warrior women from Greek mythology, known as Amazonians, may have some truth to it.

The existence of warrior women from Greek mythology, known as Amazonians, may have some truth to it.


According to Greek mythology, the Amazons were fierce and powerful female warriors who resided on the outskirts of the known world. During one of his 12 challenges, Hercules was tasked with acquiring the enchanted girdle of Queen Hippolyte of the Amazons. Additionally, Achilles ended up slaying another Amazon queen, Penthesilea, but became enamored with her when her stunning face was revealed upon removing her helmet.

These horseback-riding, bow-wielding nomads, who fought and hunted just like men, have long been shrouded in myth, but archaeologists are discovering increasing evidence that they really did exist.

Unearthing tombs in a cemetery from the Bronze Age in Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan uncovered evidence of female burials containing weapons such as sharp arrowheads, a bronze dagger, a mace, and ornamental jewelry.

Archaeologists have determined that 4,000 years ago, there may have been a society of women known as the Amazons. These fierce women were well-known for their decision to live without men and their impressive skills in combat, particularly with archery.

According to Historian Bettany Hughes, there is evidence to support the myths and legends of ancient Greece.

She said this evidence was all the more significant when linked to earlier finds. In 2019, the remains of four female warriors buried with arrowheads and spears were found in Russia and, in 2017, Armenian archaeologists unearthed the remains of a woman who appeared to have died from battle injuries, as an arrowhead was buried in her leg. In the early 1990s, the remains of a woman buried with a dagger were found near the Kazakhstan border.

According to Hughes, a civilization cannot be defined by a single grave. If we consider a culture that spans across the Caucasus and the Steppe, as described by ancient civilizations, it is evident that other artifacts and remains are necessary.

Some of the skeletons indicate that the females had a significant amount of experience using bows and arrows, as noted by Hughes: “Their fingers are curved due to the frequent use of arrows. This change in the finger joints cannot be solely attributed to hunting, suggesting a consistent and extensive practice with the weapon. Additionally, there is evidence of prolonged time spent on horseback, as shown by changes in bone structure. The female pelvises were significantly widened due to horseback riding, and their bones were shaped based on their active lifestyle.”

Penthesilea, an Amazon queen, and Achilles fight to the death.

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She pointed out that the jewelry contains necklaces with cornelian stones: “Cornelian is a type of semi-precious stone often associated with high priestesses or goddesses. As such, it is a symbol of women of high status – much like mace heads.”

New Channel 4 series, called “Bettany Hughes’ Treasures of the World”, will unveil the discoveries in April. An episode, titled “Silk Roads and the Caucasus”, will highlight a region that has seen the rise and fall of various cultures and civilizations for hundreds of years, where trade routes intersected Asia and Europe.

In the documentary, she mentions the discoveries in the Amazon, stating that “gradually, there are these remarkable pieces of evidence emerging from the ground. That seems to be the pattern when it comes to the most compelling stories.”

She travels to the mountain village of Khinalig, located in the Greater Caucasus and known as the highest inhabited place in Europe. According to her, the village is incredibly isolated and seems to be stuck in a different era. She mentions that the local language is unique and not spoken in any other location.

A settlement has existed in that location since the bronze age. Some of its 2,000 inhabitants recount tales passed down through the generations about women disguising themselves as men using scarves in ancient times.

She brought up tales of Amazons from the past, saying, “They told us, ‘our grandmothers all fought. The men were away with the herds. The women always concealed their identities when fighting’, which aligns with what the ancient sources stated, leaving doubt as to whether they were women or men.”

Source: theguardian.com