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Bronze-Age Era Women in Europe Held Positions of Power, Finds Study

This undated photo issued by Crown Office Communications shows objects found by metal detectorist Mariusz Stepien in the Scottish Borders. Credits: AP.

This undated photo issued by Crown Office Communications shows objects found by metal detectorist Mariusz Stepien in the Scottish Borders. Credits: AP.

The woman, who was somewhere between the age of 25 to 30 belonged to the Argaric culture, which is named after the archaeological site of El Argar some 50 miles to the south.

In today’s world where slogans like women empowerment and future is female are omnipresent, it might come as a revelation for some that the past was already ruled by women.

In recent research published this week in the Antiquity journal, an international team of scientists have speculated that a woman buried nearly 4,000 years ago in what is modern-day Spain was a ruler of surrounding lands who may have commanded the state.

The team of researchers that consisted of 14 members have been working on this paper since 2013 that talks about one of the most lavish looking burial sites of La Almoloya in the Murcia region of Southern Spain. Scientists found that a man and woman were buried in a ceramic jar in the middle of the 17th century. One of the striking discoveries of this burial site is the number of valuable objects buried next to her.

The woman, who was somewhere between the age of 25 to 30 belonged to the Argaric culture, which is named after the archaeological site of El Argar some 50 miles to the south.

The exquisitely crafted items that were discovered next to her grave were bracelets, rings and a rare type of crown, known as a diadem that was found placed on the female’s skull. A total of 230 grams of silver was found at the burial site, which at that time would have amounted to 938 daily wages. The unique crown called diadem found at the gravesite matched with six other diadems found on wealthy women in Argaric graves.

They all have a distinctive disc-shaped projection usually worn downwards to cover the brow and nose. These findings indicate that women held positions of power during the ancient Bronze age debunking the myth that it was always a male-dominated society.

Argaric culture was one of the flourished cultures in the southeastern Iberian Peninsula that lasted between 2200 to 1500 B.C. People from Argaric culture used bronze long before its neighbouring tribes.

According to National Geographic, Archaeologist Roberto Risch of the Autonomous University of Barcelona says that what exactly the political power of these women was, they do not know. But this burial at La Amoloya questions the role of women in Bronze Age politics and it questions a lot of conventional wisdom at large.