2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
Czech anthropologists have reconstructed the appearance of two Bronze Age women on the basis of a comprehensive paleopathological and genetic study. Their remains were found during the study of ancient workings in the Krumlov forest in a flint mine, used since the Middle Paleolithic. Scientists have created reliable volumetric portraits of women and suggested their exploitation in flint quarries. The study and reconstruction is reported by the Moravian County Museum.
In 2002, archaeologists discovered the remains of two women in one of the mines at stone deposits in a forest in the vicinity of Moravsky Krumlov. This region is rich in outcrops of Jurassic flint of not very high quality. In order to find pieces of stone suitable for making tools, it was necessary to extract a huge amount of rock from the mines, which required considerable physical effort.
The first skeleton was found at a depth of 6 meters, it belonged to a woman of 30–35 years old, 149 centimeters tall. The skeleton of the second woman was found at a depth of 7 meters, she was a little older - 35–40 years old, but lower - about 146 centimeters. The older woman was lying on her back with her arms thrown over her head, and on her chest were the remains of a newborn baby. The finds are dated by radiocarbon 4210 ± 90 BC.
Employees of the Center for Anthropological Reconstructions of the Moravian Museum, led by Eva Vaníčková and Martin Oliva, carried out a comprehensive genetic, paleopathological, dental and isotope study of bone remains found at the bottom of a quarry in Czech Moravia. Based on the results, they drew conclusions about the physical condition, heredity and features of the appearance of two women of the Bronze Age and created their three-dimensional reconstructions.
The condition of the bones of an older woman has signs of hypoplasia (underdevelopment) caused by anemia, and deformities from overload are visible on some vertebrae. The younger woman also showed signs of hypoplasia on the teeth and tibia. According to scientists, malnutrition and stress during growth are to blame. At the same time, it was established that in the last years of their lives, both had a normal diet with a sufficient amount of protein and plant foods without a deficiency of minerals and vitamins.
The allelic group identified by DNA sequencing of the older woman is 90 percent likely to guarantee that she had blue eyes and blonde hair. The second has an allelic group that provides brown or green iris and darker hair. Nevertheless, with significant external differences, it turned out that the women were close relatives (mother and daughter or sisters) to each other. At the same time, the relationship with the baby has not been established.
The clothes were reconstructed based on fragmentary archaeological finds from other European monuments. The women were dressed in blouses made of plant-based fabrics; the hairstyle of one was fastened with a rope net, the other was decorated with ribbons from the remnants of the fabric. According to the researchers, the physical condition of both women indicates that they were used in hard work in stone workings. Scientists associate this with a special form of division of labor in the Early Bronze Age in Central Europe. With this division of labor, the most difficult jobs were performed not by the stronger members of the community, as one might suppose, but by the weak, who were easier to coerce. These facts cast doubt on the theory of an increase in the social status of men with an increase in their muscular strength, which was associated with the beginning of arable farming and the construction of defensive structures in the Bronze Age.
talked about the unusual results of genetic studies of the remains found in the past decades. Vikings, who turned out to be close relatives, met at the Danish National Museum. One of them was found in the UK, and the other in Estonia.