In DepthArchaeology

Bronze Age inequality and family life revealed in powerful study

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Science  11 Oct 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6462, pp. 168
DOI: 10.1126/science.366.6462.168

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Summary

In southern Germany 4000 years ago, several generations of high-ranking families were buried in cemeteries on their farmsteads, with husbands alongside wives, sons, children who died young, and poor, unrelated helpers. But one type of family member was absent from every household plot: adult daughters. Some high-ranking women were present in these Bronze Age graves in the Lech River Valley, south of Augsburg, Germany. But they were all born and reared far from their burial sites. Now, a detailed picture of their social structure has emerged from a remarkable new study. By combining evidence from DNA, artifacts, and chemical clues in teeth, an interdisciplinary team unraveled relationships and inheritance patterns in several generations of high-ranking families buried in cemeteries on their farmstead.

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