ARCHAEOLOGY : Amazon legend may be fact

Two-thousand-year-old graves, containing daggers and long swords may be proof that the legendary women warriors, the Amazons, existed in the Russian steppes. An examination of burial mounds left by nomadic tribes which inhabited the steppes of central Asia from 600 to 200 BC has revealed several women's graves containing bronze arrowheads, short daggers and long swords, all of which had been used.

Archaeologist Jeannine Davis-Kimball, of the Centre for the Study of Eurasian Nomads, in Berkeley, California, told New Scientist she believed the graves excavated near the Russian town of Pokrovka were warriors, and may even be the original Amazons depicted in reliefs on the Parthenon in Athens.

The Amazons were given their name by the historian,

Herodotus, who wrote of encountering a tribe of fierce women warriors north of the Black Sea around 450BC. The location and date fit roughly with the archaeologists' finds. Louise Jury