Bronze age women went out while the men stayed at home

Jessica Brown@Jessica_E_Brown
Thursday 21 September 2017 14:45
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Picture:(Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

When we think of our ancestors, we often assume that women tended to the home while men hunted, gathered and generally risked their lives to provide for their family.

I'm probably not the only woman to have used this as an excuse to send a man outside in the rain to get some milk, for example.

But new research suggests that, actually, they had a much more modern set-up indeed.

In fact, men at the end of the Stone Age and early Bronze Age stayed at home, while women travelled up to 500km from home, according to research headed by Professor Philipp Stockhammer of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich.

This was reportedly the way for around 800 years between 2500 and 1650BC.

Archaeologists analysed the remains of 84 people buried around this time in one spot in Germany, and found that women mostly came from outside the area, while the men remained in the area they were born.

Stockhammer explained:

We all know these stories about warrior men out fighting and bringing home food while the women and children stayed at home but it appears things were quite different.

Our study suggests that almost none of the men had travelled, while two thirds of the women had.

It appears that at least part of what was previously believed to be migration by groups is based on an institutionalised form of individual mobility.

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