The reconstructed face of a wealthy Bronze Age woman

Researchers have reconstructed the face of a woman who lived more than 3,800 years ago in what is now the Czech Republic. According to artifacts found in her tomb, she was probably among the wealthiest inhabitants of Bronze Age Bohemia.

High-ranking woman?

The cemetery is located near the village of Mikulovice in the north of the Czech Republic, near the Polish border. Among the twenty-seven burials, there was a woman buried with five bracelets, three bronze sewing needles, two gold earrings and a three-row necklace displaying more than 400 amber beads.

This woman will be dead between 1880 BC. AD and 1750 BC. c- c.According to radiocarbon dating of the cemetery in which his bones were found. At that time, it has incorporated the Únětice culture. The peoples of Central Europe in the early Bronze Age were known for their metalwork, such as ax heads, daggers, bracelets and other hard knots called “torcs”.

If it is not yet known who this woman is, it is likely that she was to be very rich. Evidenced by the large proportion of amber artifacts found in his tomb, but also in those of others. ” There is more amber in this cemetery alone than there are in all cemeteries in Germany‘, details archaeologist Michel Erne, of the Institute of Archeology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. We have two neighboring regions of the same archaeological culture, but the social systems may not have been the sameThis amber probably came from the Baltic Sea, which indicates that the not-so-nice people were part of a large trading network at that time.

The bones of the women participating in this study. Credits: Jarmila Švedová

bust reconstructed

Among the skeletal remains of this woman, the skull was the best preserved. Most importantly, his bones were well preserved enough to contain some DNA. Analysis of these genetic sequences allowed the researchers to find out His eyes and hair were brown And the Her complexion was fair.

Anthropologist Eva Vanishkova of the Moravian Museum in Brno and sculptor Ondij Belek have teamed up to reconstruct the upper body of this Bronze Age woman. As part of this project, Ludmila Barčáková of the Institute of Archeology of the Academy of Sciences was responsible for making the amber necklace and gold earrings, while metallurgist Radek Lukovka focused on the bronze bracelets and hands. Finally, Kristina Urbanova, an archaeologist specializing in textiles, designed the clothes.

This is what she likely looked like, based on her DNA and what we know about these ancient people:

Bronze Age Reconstruction of a Woman's Face
Credits: MZM Archive

Other DNA sequences from other bones were found in the tomb. The researchers plan to analyze it soon in order to evaluate Possible family ties among the buried individuals.

This work could also provide new clues about religious difference At the beginning of the Bronze Age in central Europe. Indeed, we know that the richest cemeteries in the neighboring regions of Bohemia are those of exclusively men, while women are often buried without decoration. So it is possible that women in this particular region have a different situation.

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