Non-Binary Gender Cues Found Buried in a 1000-year-old Grave.
An ancient grave in Finland confirmed that the remains belong to a non-binary person. Here’s all you need to know about the discovery.
Every other day, scientists and archaeologists discover compelling evidence in the ancient artefacts or texts, reinforcing “modern” ideologies and beliefs that many question. This makes us understand that things we believe in today were once a norm back in the day.
Adding to the same, DNA analysis on a 1000-year-old grave in Finland confirmed that it belonged to a non-binary person of a high-status background. The analysis hinted at how medieval society did not believe in gender binaries and stereotypes and was way ahead of its time. Non-binary or genderqueer is an umbrella term used to describe people who don’t identify as either male or female. Their identities are outside the gender binary.
(Illustration: Veronika Paschenko)
A peer-reviewed study published in the European Journal of Archaeology last month noted that “The overall context of the grave indicates that it was a respected person whose gender identity may well have been nonbinary.”
The remains were first found in 1968, dressed in women’s attire and jewellery like oval brooches. There was a sword placed on their left side along with other accessories that were mostly associated with men at the time. Two assumptions were made that either there were two bodies, a man and woman laid to rest side by side, or it was of a female warrior’s. As it turned out, both the assumptions were wrong.
The DNA analysis of the 1000-year-old burial revealed that the occupant suffered from the Klinefelter syndrome, a condition where a person has XXY chromosomes (instead of either XX or XY). The syndrome is also characterized by a small penis, enlarged breasts, and infertility. Through the person’s proper burial and attire, it is safe to say that the person was accepted into society as they were. It also pressed on the idea a person “might not have been considered strictly a female or a male in the early middle ages community,” Ulla Moilanen, one of the researchers, told The Guardian.
It was a way of life for the people in the ancient societies while the contemporary still shuns and refuses to accept non-binaries. Gender and sexuality have existed across spectrums since time immemorial. It is only the “modern society” that, despite so much progress, is having a difficult time letting go of its regressive values. Most countries consider homosexuality/bisexuality against the “laws of nature” and don’t understand the concept of non-binaries.
The discovery found in Finland is a sign of the inclusive culture in the country that has been existent for a long time now. Therefore, there’s no surprise in the fact that the remains were found in Finland as it is by far the most progressive country, not only in Europe but also in the world when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights. Its inclusive values lie in the ancient culture and roots where people used to and still think and accept beyond the gender binaries. We can only hope that things will change soon, and we as a society will embrace a more inclusive culture.
Meanwhile, although Article 370 was abolished in India, people who identify as trans men and trans women still struggle to be treated equally. Read this blog to know about 7 trans-feminists you need to follow right away. You can also check out our other blogs on the website.
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Image credits: The Guardian