With that said, there is clearly interest at a political level, as stated by the author of this article. There's tons of research in the world which has been funded by political interests, however, and it's still valuable once you discount biases as this author has done.
While I'm also a little dubious as to this article's relevance to HN, nothing in the linked article strikes me as "pedantry".
That's, like, the textbook definition of "pedantry".
1. It's not clear whether the skeleton goes with the grave -- The excavation was in the 19th century and there are various methodological concerns.
2. It's not clear that the graveyard was for "warriors" -- The number of bodies with serious injuries is low.
3. It's not clear that the grave was for someone of "high rank", particularly in as much as "high rank" modifies "warrior".
4. The paper gives short shrift to the work of language/text specialists. Notable in light of (2) and (3) above.
How much each of these things is a problem is going to depend on deep factual information, but they are not indicative of "excessive concern with minor details and rules".
There seems to be the idea that paper is making the claims that the person in the grave was a) female and b) a warrior.
However, they are actually only making claim A, that the person was female. The claim that the person was a warrior was made earlier by the archaeological team.
So, if you think the paper is making both claims, then the professors criticisms seem valid, as they are unconvincing in establishing this was a warrior. However, if you know that they're only making one claim, the attacks on the window-dressing of this being a viking warrior appear totally pedantic (as it ignores the main claim entirely).
What the Professor is arguing, as I understand it, is that those previous studies do not necessarily warrant the assumption of b), and thus the paper's title "A female Viking warrior confirmed by genomics" is misleading -- there has been a confirmation of "female", but not of "warrior". Something like "Skeleton, that some evidence points to being that of a warrior, was confirmed to be female"; but that's not as pithy or sensationalist.
Those not reading the paper sufficiently carefully (or at all -- only limiting themselves to the title and the abstract) will end up drawing conclusions unjustified by the paper. Which, given the political implications, may be undesirable.
I don't know what the "political implications" means. I think I've missed something. Did Trump tweet about it or something? I don't know why this would have any political implications at all.
She does. Most of the criticism in the blog post is directed towards the findings in the previous studies. The professor explicitly disqualifies herself from discussing the findings of the current study, as they are outside her area of expertise. The criticism of this paper is that it fails to distinguish sufficiently clearly its a priori assumptions from the conclusions drawn from the present findings.
> I don't know what the "political implications" means. I think I've missed something. Did Trump tweet about it or something? I don't know why this would have any political implications at all.
I meant gender politics, rather than the US national politics.
A title of "A female Viking warrior confirmed by genomics" goes way too far if the individual question is not, in fact, a warrior.
If that's not what you're saying, could you please just say what you mean rather than suggesting it?
No -- Her being a female makes her classification as a warrior interesting (i.e. worthy of publication in American Journal of Physical Anthropology).
Let's say someone went through and did genetic analysis on e.g. 10,000 Viking bodies each of which was considered to belong to a warrior with 95% likelihood. Finding that one of those bodies was female would not justify a conclusion of "A female Viking warrior confirmed by genomics".
The above, however, are just some random thoughts in answer to your question; it is not "what I'm saying". I'm merely defending the author of the linked post against claims that she is being pedantic: Taking issue with an article titled "A female Viking warrior confirmed by genomics" is not pedantic if the individual was not a warrior. Note that I take absolutely no position on whether she's right about there being legitimate doubt as to whether or not the individual was a warrior, I merely note that while the objection may be foolish, but it is absolutely not pedantic.
But that's her point. She, the author, doesn't have an issue with the DNA evidence that the body is female.
What she has an issue with is the paper stepping beyond its bounds of expertise (in her view) and claiming the body is of a high ranking warrior. In making that claim it makes use of context that, as a professor of Viking studies, happens to be within her professional purview.
TBH as a criticism of an academic paper by an academic, it being technically pedantic strikes me as a positive thing. Also, it's quite nice that she explicitly excludes herself from commentary on the DNA evidence due to lack of expertise. Not something you see a lot of.
The DNA evidence that the body whose bones were examined is female. Apparently, it's not entirely beyond dispute what bones were found in which grave.
The article could do without the (almost) personal attacks, but it (also) discredits the results and the logic in the paper that leads to the results. I don't think the details it focuses on (most importantly that the skeletons may have been mixed up and that we don't know what burial items mean) to do the discrediting are minor, nor do I think the concern with it is excessive.
If this were about dinosaurs, I'm pretty sure we'd all be okay with reexamining the interpretations, so why care here?
If we learn something great. At least DNA is still considered useful in determining gender, which in some areas of academia seems up for debate.
Occam's razor would suggest that we're looking at the grave of a high status Dungeon Master.
Prettier ones -
As a reader (not the submitter), I found at least two interesting ideas in the article:
(1) the fact that the correspondence between bones and graves is less than fully documented. An interesting factoid about past archeological practice.
(2) the argument that burial accessories don't necessarily prove life occupation: Could it be that some "warrior graves" (of either sex/gender) were really "warrior cosplay graves"; that in a society where warriors have high status, other high status individuals could also be buried with the accoutrements of warriors? Will future archeologists digging up US graves conclude that there were millions and millions of people playing for the New York Yankees, because of all the baseball caps they'll find?
So I'd argue this article qualifies.