Recent archeological findings appear to present the most detailed evidence yet that the warrior women of Greek myths were more than just the stuff of legend and literature. Russian archaeologists last week announced they’d analyzed remains of four female warriors accompanied by spears, arrowheads and horseback riding gear in a tomb in Russia, where ancient stories about the Amazons played out.
A team from the Institute of Archaeology at the Russian Academy of Sciences says the women were Scythian nomads ranging in age from their teens to their late 40s. They were apparently buried around 2,500 years ago near what’s known today as Devitsa.
While previous excavations have revealed similar findings that the Amazons may have been real, they haven’t always been well preserved, the Washington Post reported. In 2017, researchers found the remains of a woman who died from battle injuries and had an arrowhead in her leg, indicating a relation to Amazon myths.
Researchers say the latest discovery marks the first time several generations of Scythian women were found buried next to each other. The oldest woman was wearing a gold ceremonial headdress known as a calathus, which could be a status symbol. This was also the first time a headdress was found on a warrior woman’s head in such good condition, researchers say.
Evidence that these women may in fact have been real refutes the belief by some historians that the Amazons were a propaganda tool used to control women in Athens, as the Post notes. Ancient lore says the warrior women fought Hercules, cut off their breasts so they could shoot arrows better and lived in lesbian matriarchies.