Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Prehistoric women worked so much their arms were stronger than today’s female rowers

Tilling soil, harvesting, and grinding grain by hand
by Alessandra Nov 29, 2017

If you’re a hard-working lady, you probably already suspected what scientists have confirmed today: prehistoric women worked their butts off.

The bones of 94 women who lived in farming communities in Central Europe from 5300 BCE to around 850 AD reveal that prehistoric women had stronger arms than living women, including semi-elite female rowers. That’s likely because these farming women from the past worked incredibly hard — tilling soil, harvesting, and grinding grain by hand. And they probably started at a very young age, according to a study published today in Science Advances.

The findings show that prehistoric ladies didn’t leave the physical labor to the men. In fact, they toiled long hours and were a key “driving force” behind the social and cultural development of agricultural communities over almost 6,000 years, says lead author Alison Macintosh, an anthropologist at Cambridge University. “Now we can kind of see, actually there’s these thousands of years of rigorous manual labor that had been completely underestimated,” she tells The Verge. “It’s really important to be able to understand the contribution of women.”


The leg bones, however, told a different story: some prehistoric women had weaker legs than today’s women, while others had legs as strong as those of runners. “It suggests that women were doing a huge range of things,” Macintosh says. Some might have had very strong leg bones because they walked a lot, tending to grazing cows and fetching water over long distances, for instance, while other women might have been more sedentary, grinding grain all day to make flour.


No comments:

Post a Comment