A study argues that the rights and privileges of the Campaniform culture also included women

A study argues that the rights and privileges of the Campaniform culture also included women


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The fight for real equality between men and women has gained more attention in the public and political debate since the massive demonstrations that on March 8, 2018, crowded many cities in demand for a greater commitment of the powers and society against sexist behaviors, gender violence and discrimination faced by women in areas such as employment.

This demand for more tangible advances in the practical equality between men and women has been a growing demand throughout recent times, with its reflection in various areas of society, such as scientific research.

In this context is framed the study entitled "Women in the bell-shaped funeral record and their social recognition", a research published in 2015 in the digital magazine Prehistoric works and signed by the researchers Corina Liesau Y Concepcion Blasco from the Department of Prehistory and Archeology of the Autonomous University of Madrid, Patricia Rios from the Prehistory area of ​​the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the archaeologist Raul Flores.

This study focuses on "the phenomenon" of the bell-shaped culture, developed during the Copper Age and the early period of the Bronze Age with a special presence in the Iberian Peninsula, and the role of women in such human groups through female burials connected with these prehistoric societies.

Thus, the authors of this research try to "characterize the invisible half" of the population indicated by Claudine Cohen in a 2011 study entitled "The woman in the origins. Images of women in Western Prehistory ”.

Singular female graves

When it comes to “addressing the possible role of women in campaniform groups”, this study draws mainly on the “unique female graves” of three sites from the Copper Age located in the community of Madrid, specifically those of Camino de las Yeseras (San Fernando de Henares), Humanejos (Parla) and The Magdalena (Alcalá de Henares), which contain both burials directly associated with the bell-shaped culture and lacking its features.

In this regard, Corina Liesau, Concepción Blasco, Patricia Ríos and Raúl Flores detail that in the case of the Camino de las Yeseras site, "At least four of the 20 individuals" buried in the burials of this enclave with bell-shaped trousseau they correspond to women, which is "20 percent" compared to 45 percent of men (8) and the remaining 35 percent of "children" (3) and adults (4) "without specified sexual assignment".

"If the last two categories are eliminated, it is surprising that male campaniform individuals (buried in this enclave) only duplicate buried females", the authors of this research highlight.

Regarding the Humanejos deposit, the study details that of the 15 individuals located in six burials, "children account for about 25 percent, males almost 53 percent and women 22 percent", that is to say a similar proportion.

"At the opposite extreme, the proportion of women from the La Magdalena site stands out," the authors of this study continue to recount, specifying that in the latter prehistoric necropolis of Alcalá de Henares, women are the "main" component among the eleven skeletons that housed the five tombs excavated at that site.

Of course, when analyzing the typology of the burials, these researchers warn that “none of these women was worthy of being deposited (individually) in monumental tomb structures such as the hypogea, which due to their magnitudes and expensive closure systems mark clear differences with the other tombs grouped in the bell-shaped funerary areas ”.

Thus, in this study it is specified that women associated with groups of the Campaniform culture examined in this research, "when they are buried individually or with an infant, they are found in small caves and to a lesser extent in collective grave graves", as is especially highlighted in the archaeological sites of Humanejos and La Magdalena.

Signs of "quality of life"

But these researchers pay special attention to characteristics of some of the female burials located in these sites associated with the bell-shaped culture, pointing out for example the case of a woman buried in a cave with a baby and a trousseau of just a few bowls in the enclave of Camino de las Yeseras.

And it is that among other aspects, as his skeletal remains lack “strong muscular insertions in the arms, repeatedly present in women without bell-shaped trousseau”, it is to be assumed that “his social condition could provide him with a quality of life free of harsh tasks carried out habitually by a good part of the women without bell-shaped contemporary of the same settlement ”.

Likewise, the authors of this work look at another female burial in a cave at the Camino de las Yeseras site, in this case fully “individual”. According to Liesau, Blasco, Ríos and Raúl Flores, although their bell-shaped trousseau “is not extraordinary”, it highlights “the fact that they have been buried individually and that they hold a glass in their arms or hands, a common detail in male depositional positions. ”.

And, above all, the researchers place special emphasis on two "exceptional female tombs" from the Humanejos site, by including "the most outstanding trousseau from among the women".

"Even without the characteristic bell-shaped crockery, both (women) were subjected to a ritual typical of bell-shaped groups," the authors of this work specify, explaining that the bodies of these women were placed in a lateral decubitus position with their legs bent. and they were accompanied by "ornaments with green stones" like those used in various necropolises in the bell-shaped area.

More in detail, one of these two tombs it housed the skeleton of a young woman in her 20s who was individually interred "In a wide grave" and whose corpse was "adorned with a necklace of green beads, a foliaceous copper dagger, two copper punches, a sharpening stone, a large pot or jar and other containers", while the other burial It corresponded to a young woman between 18 and 20 years old and the remains of "three young infant individuals", in a "large circular grave".

This second young woman, according to the text, "held in her hands an awl and a copper dagger" like the first, Also appearing among his trousseau several containers.

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In addition, the investigation of these two graves would have revealed that these women were buried with “possible shrouds with garments impregnated with cinnabar”, a dye that also would have been used to “sprinkle” their corpses.

Materials reserved for leaders

These two young women, in short, they were buried with "donations found in the most outstanding bell-shaped tombs", including his grave goods "elements and raw materials reserved for leaders."

These and other aspects of the female burials of the Bell Beaker culture examined in this research lead the authors to consider “it has been proven that women were an integral part of the Bell Beaker groups with certain rights and that, at least some of them, enjoyed certain conditions of privileged life ”.

In this regard, Corina Liesau, Concepción Blasco, Patricia Ríos and Raúl Flores point out that, in the tombs of the sites investigated in this study, “men were the object of greater recognition, manifested through extensive and valuable donations”, although the analysis of female graves has reflected that "some women also played a prominent role, becoming deserving of objects of a certain value (in their funerary furnishings) such as punches".

At this specific point, the researchers indicate that “funerary trousseau of campaniform women”Studied in this work "Stand out from other female graves" not associated with the bell-shaped culture.

Thus, the authors of this study glimpse a “substantial transformation of the traditional view” regarding women from the Bell-shaped culture groups. "We are facing a differentiated treatment based on gender and there could also be women who reached the social peak? ¿We are facing a different consideration of women among the Beaker groups compared to the non-Bevel groups.? ", State the authors of this research, stating that" this approach of enormous interest requires greater attention "to better" define "the role of women in these societies.

Europa Press journalist, collaborator of "Sevillanos de Guardia" in Onda Cero Radio and collaborator writer in MRN Aljarafe.


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