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Warrior Women: An Archaeologist's Search for History's Hidden Heroines Hardcover – February 14, 2002

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books; First Edition edition (February 14, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446525464
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446525466
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Was Herodotus's account of the Amazons fact or fiction? Archaeologist Jeannine Davis-Kimball, in Warrior Women, an account of her digs at burial sites of Eurasian nomads, finds it an embellishment of the former. But, she posits, women's place in that world was generally more exalted than previously thought.

Nearly one-quarter of the women buried in some late Iron Age sites were either warriors or priestesses. Even the remainder, "hearth women," were important players in the tribes' surprisingly egalitarian societies. Further, southern Kazakhstan's famous "gold man" was in fact, a "gold woman." Davis-Kimball also finds solid evidence of "high status" women in graves as far east as China and as far west as Ireland.

Warrior Women is, thankfully, free of lazy sensationalism. But it is frustratingly organized, with little regard to either chronology or geography. Further, Davis-Kimball never places her finds in any sort of context, be it popular or scholarly. --H. O'Billovitch


'Enlightening..a delightful book for armchair adventurers, archaeological enthusiasts, an anyone interested in the way that women have been portrayed.' - SARAH NELSON, author QUEENS IN ARCHAEOLOGY --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Well researched and presented in a very easy to read style.
Kate Holloman
I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in women in military roles and it's history (in ancient times that is).
She's an amazing woman, writing about amazing women, so how can you not want to read this book?
Gayl Sorensen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By "berwynne" on May 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
I must admit that I was delighted to find this book, not just because the title intrigued me, but, more importantly, because I first became familiarized with Davis-Kimball's work when I was teaching a Women's Studies class and this was the first "print" copy of her findings that I came across. Even those who don't know who Jeannine Davis-Kimball is, probably do know something about what she has done. Davis-Kimball was the first person to uncover hard archeological evidence that the Amazons of Greek legend did, in fact, exist. But unlike common misconceptions that attempt to place the Amazons everywhere in the world from Southern Europe to the South American jungles, the "real" Amazons were nomads from the outer reaches of the Russian world; Davis-Kimball's excavations at Pokrovka uncovered female burials with large caches of weapons. Kimball goes on to link the importance of the findings with evidence from the ancient Greeks, and then goes on to trace her work on the larger canvas of world history. Academic, but accessible, this is a highly recommended work from a woman who has led a fascinating life.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Jeannine Davis-Kimball discovers her passion for archaelogy late in life and desires to excavate the Kurgans of the Eurasian people. When fellow archaeologist Leonid Yablonsky invites her to join an American-Russian team working at Pokrovka on the Russian-Kazakstan border, she gets her chance. As the dig progresses, Davis-Kimball, Yablonsky and the rest of the team unearth the remains of male warriors, men buried with children, warrior women, priestesses, warrior-priestesses, and hearth women. The roles of these ancient individuals are assigned based on the grave goods buried with them. Dr. Davis Kimball writes: "It could not have been more fortuitous for me that the Early Nomads believed their possessions had to be included in their graves." This is the focus point of the book. Starting with the finds at Pokrovka, Dr. Davis-Kimball follows every possible thread in time and space, to give us as complete as possible a picture of the Eurasian people in general and the lives of the women in particular--not just the warrior women, but the priestesses and hearth women as well.
Dr. Davis-Kimball states that the Indiana Jones myth of archaeology must be dispelled, and then she goes on a series of travels and adventures (all wonderfully written) that would have daunted even that fictional hero, who I don't think could have faced the KGB with the intelligence and patience she does. Her travels take her from Northern Ireland to western China. She travels in history from about 4000 B.C.E. to the modern day. She visits dozens of museums, many countries, and even lives with a modern day family of nomads.
It seems that Dr.
Read more ›
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Perper on February 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"Women Warriors" is fascinating -- the story of a woman archeologist, Jeannine Davis-Kimball, who, in her sixties, became an archeologist in Central Asia. It's partly autobiographical, with descriptions of her travels in Kazakstan, Mongolia, and Western China, and partly science, with descriptions and photographs of her findings. --- These, all things considered, are startling: burials of women with weapons, arrow heads, elaborate costumes, and devices, like bronze mirrors, for divination. Also gold (sometimes lots of it) as well as bronze castings decorated in the so-called "Animal Style." Davis-Kimball argues (modestly enough, I think) that these finds suggest that at least some women had high rank and status in their nomadic societies, and were probably warriors and priestesses. contrary to long-held assumptions by historians that these steppe societies were ruled by men and by male, horse-riding warriors. --- She also has a bibliography, so that anyone who wants to read the original technical papers can find them. "Women Warriors" is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the history of religions, of gender, and of Central Asia.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Carla M. Dole on April 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
My copy of Warrior Women looks as if I've owned it for years. Its pages are marked with hand written notes and many paragraphs are underlined using a felt tip pen. The book is enjoyable for three reasons.
First, it is filled with intriguing archeological theories and case studies showing how women, living across the land from China to Ireland, were part of ancient history as warriors and priestesses. The topic of massive, elaborately decorated headdresses is particularly fascinating because I learned that headdresses are "one of the oldest cultural elements ever found." Davis-Kimball uses this icon to help reinterpret and discuss women's historical fate over the centuries. The archeological facts and new ideas the author presents flow easily chapter by chapter.
Second, the book is an inspiration for modern women. Many of us have had varied lives and layers of experiences so it's inspiring to read how Davis-Kimball takes on many challenges and finds her "career as an archaeologist rather late in life." It's fun, as a reader, to be able to look over her shoulder and share her field work and sucess.
Third, the layout of the book is appealing. I especially appreciated the sidebars, footnotes and glossary. For example, the sidebar titled "The Nomadic Way" is a like a two page mini story. It defines the term Nomadic and is enjoyable to read on its own merit or return to again and again as a reference point. Words in the glossary are presented in bold, easy to read type. Some words and names, that we may be familiar with, are defined according to their meaning within the text. Such as
"AMAZONS Female warriors in Greek Mythology who aresaid to have orginated in northern Turkey."
After reading Warrior Women I'm ready to hop on an airplane and head for Central Asia and Mongolia!
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