Study finds evidence of centuries-old brawl over women

June 4th, 2008 - 3:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 4 (IANS) Brawling over women is as old as history, settled with fisticuffs or a verbal spat, but our ferocious ancestors brutally maimed or killed rivals for them. For instance, a mass grave unearthed by a Durham University team indicates that primitive men did their rivals to death to possess their women.

The research focused on 34 skeletons found buried in Talheim, in Germany’s south-west. Genetic evidence from their teeth suggested they were massacred in a tribal clash around 5000 BC.

The researchers noted that although there were adult females among these skeletons, within the local group of skeletons only men and children were found.

They surmised that the absence of local females indicated that they were spared execution and captured instead, which may have indeed been the primary motivation for the attack.

Co-author Alex Bentley from Durham University said: “It seems this community was specifically targeted, as could happen in a cycle of revenge between rival groups.

“Although resources and population were undoubtedly factors in central Europe around that time, women appear to be the immediate reason for the attack.”

The study pointed to the fact that local women were regarded as somehow special and were, therefore, kept alive.

The Durham University-led team came to their conclusions after analysing the strontium, carbon and oxygen isotopes signatures of the skeletons’ teeth. These give vital information about the skeletons’ geological origin and diet.

The archaeological findings from this study for the first time strongly suggest violence took place over mates as early as prehistoric times, according to the scientists.

These findings have been described in the academic journal Antiquity.

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