New Research Finds High Ranking Spanish Noble Was a Woman

  • Researchers in Spain discovered the remains of a nobleman were that of a woman. 
  • They determined this through a new process that analyzes teeth for a gene associated with females.
  • Scientists hope this will challenge preconceived notions about women’s roles in ancient societies. 

For over a decade, the lavish tomb of a copper-age noble within an archeological site known as Montelirio tholos in the city of Valencina, Spain, was thought to have been built for a man. 

Archaeologists called the remains of the high-ranking individual discovered in 2008 the “Ivory Man” based on an examination of the poorly preserved pelvis bone dated around 5,000 years ago. 

The “ivory” nickname comes from the luxury items found with the skeleton, which included the full tusk of an African elephant and a blade made of rock crystal and ivory.

A knife with a clear crystal rock blade and a white ivory handle shaped like a row of teeth

This photo provided by the ATLAS research group of the University of Seville in July 2023 shows a rock crystal dagger with an ivory hilt and sheath discovered in a tomb in Valencina, Spain, dated between 3,200 and 2,200 years ago.

Miguel Ángel Blanco de la Rubia/ATLAS – University of Seville via AP

However, the rich person was not a man but an “Ivory Lady,” a new study published Thursday in Scientific Reports found. 

A team of researchers from the University of Seville used a new method of analyzing the sex of ancient remains. Rather than measuring the size of the bones, the scientists analyzed the tooth enamel to determine whether the skeletons contained AMELX genes found on the X chromosomes of humans. After testing two teeth, the scientists were able to detect the gene. 

According to the study, the Ivory Lady probably enjoyed the position of the highest-ranking noble in her region — as evidenced by her large, solitary tomb and pricey gifts. This was “at a time where no male attained a remotely comparable social position,” the study notes.

The paper notes that only women “appear to have enjoyed a similarly high social position” during the Iberian Copper Age.

“There have been other instances in which buried individuals were classified as male or female based on the assumptions of certain grave goods being given to men and women,” Leonardo García Sanjuán, one of the study’s co-authors, told Live Science. “This is a poor scientific practice and a cautionary tale.”

The scientists hoped their discovery would encourage other researchers to reevaluate preconceived notions about women’s roles in ancient societies. 

“During this time period, we were starting to see new forms of leadership in Western European societies,” García Sanjuán told Live Science. “She was a leader who existed before kings and queens, and her status wasn’t inherited, meaning that she was a leader based on her personal achievements, skills, and personality.”

The study’s authors did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Source link

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply
Enable registration in settings - general
Shopping cart