Saturday, January 5, 2013

Two Kinds of Women in Bronze Age Europe

I just pulled this illustration out of a book I am reading, and I find it fascinating. It shows that high-status female burials of the Middle Bronze Age in Europe had two different kinds of decoration. Some bore their ornaments around their chests, some around their hips. The archaeologist who made this observation, Marie-Louise Sorensen, thought that this distinguished between married and unmarried women, but I can't find her original article to see if there was any other evidence for this (e.g., age of skeletons). At any rate it is quite a striking difference, and certainly means something.

You can also see that some of these women wore elaborate ornaments on their lower legs, which were joined by a short chain. This had nothing to do with slavery -- these were all high status women -- and archaeologists think it was a deliberate restriction on movement, like Chinese foot binding.


Anonymous said...

What's the book? It looks like an interesting read.

John said...