The concept that men remain at home while independent women go into the world is considered a modern phenomenon.
Yet one research suggests that this practice was, in fact, founded in ancient times when men of the Bronze Age were at home while adventurous women were the key to spreading culture and ideas.
Research reveals that European women in the 800-year-old traveled between 300 and 500 kilometers away from their village to build families while men remained close to where they were born.
German archaeologists analyzed the remains of 84 people buried in the period between 2500 and 1650 BC, revealing that families at the end of the Stone Age and the beginning of the Bronze Age were based on unexpected ways.
Researchers said that the patrilocal form – a life with a male relative – combined with individual female mobility was not a temporary phenomenon, but persevered through the transition from the Neolithic to the early Bronze Age
These findings from a research project led by Professor Philipp Stockhammer of the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich were published in the PNAS magazine
In addition to archaeological excavation, scientists carried out analyzes of stable isotopes and ancient DNA
“We have three types of molars in our mouths and they are mineralized at different times,” Professor Stockhammer said. “Each soil has a different signature like chalk or clay, and the water that is being drunk from different soil has different signature on the tooth, which allows us to know where they are.”
He said that individual mobility is a “major feature” that characterizes the lives of people in Central Europe even in the third and early millennia.
Researchers believe that this has played an important role in the exchange of cultural objects and ideas, which was significantly increased in the Bronze Age, and encouraged the development of new technologies
The study focused on settlements near the Lech River, south of Augsburg in today’s Germany.
“It seems that even a fraction of what it is supposed to be that migration groups are based on the institutionalized form of individual mobility,” Professor Stockhammer said.
Doctor of Science Alissa Mittnik from the Max Planck Institute said: “We see a wide variety of different females, which is possible only if, over time, many women were moved to the Lech Valley somewhere else.”
She said that the woman’s burial is no different than the burial of the original population, meaning that the former “foreign” women were integrated into the local community.