A dental-wear study of 106 individuals buried at the Castellón Alto archaeological site (Granada, Spain) found that only women use their front teeth as tools for making strings and wires.
Between the years 2200 and 1550 BCE (BC), the El Arjar culture developed in southeastern Iberian Peninsula. It is known that this was a complex society that practiced social differentiation based on gender and age and specialized in tasks such as handicraft – that is, working with ceramics, rocks, textiles, and metals. This understanding is now confirmed by a new study published recently in Journal of Archaeological Sciences.
The study, led by Marina Lozano, a researcher at the Catalan Institute of Human Paleobiology and Social Evolution (IPHES) and the University of Rovira e Virgili (URV), was conducted in collaboration with scientists from the University of Granada’s Anthropology Laboratory, including Angel Rubio. Salvador, one of the co-authors of the published study.
Dental erosion analysis of the remains of 106 individuals buried in Castellón Alto Archaeological site In Granada, Spain, it was revealed that early in the Bronze Age (1900-1600 BC), women used their front (front) teeth to perform certain tasks associated with making strings and wires.
Signs of abrasion observed with various types of microscopy included fissures, segmented enamel, and occlusal and interlacing grooves resulting from manipulation of fibers of plant and animal origin. These materials were already known to be associated with textile and basket production, thanks to pre-existing evidence of the material culture of argan, but before this new study it was possible to establish such a direct relationship that would indicate the identity of these craftsmen.
Double division of labor
Thus, one of the most important findings of this study is the evidence that, as early as the end of the Bronze Age – that is, roughly 4,000 years ago – there was a double division of labor: only a small group of people were devoted to handicrafts in yarn making (the basis of textile production). And this group is made exclusively of women who use their teeth as tools
Moreover, given the fact that this behavior has been determined from the remains of individuals of different ages – the older the individual, the more pronounced the erosion – it can be inferred that this specialization began in adolescence and that women continued to perform this task all the time. . their lives.
This study forms part of one of the lines of research in IPHES that aims to determine the use of teeth as tools. In this case, the research also produced data on the division of labor based on age and gender, providing a clearer understanding of the lifestyle and social organization of Lamma culture.
Marina Lozano et al. Argyrian Artisans: A Gender-Based Division of Labor in the Bronze Age Southeastern Iberia, Journal of Archaeological Sciences (2020). DOI: 10.1016 / j.jas.2020.105239
University of Granada
For nearly 4,000 years, some tasks were already allocated by gender (2020, November 3)
Retrieved November 4, 2020
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