The remains of a female huntress show that ancient people valued gender equality.
To say that someone’s views of women are “prehistoric” is now a compliment. A recent discovery from an ancient Peruvian burial ground suggests that prehistoric women were no stranger to bringing prey home and hunted on a par with men.
On Wednesday, scientists began analyzing the remains of a female hunter who lived about 9,000 years ago. This is the oldest find in America, her body was found in excavations at high altitude in the Andes. The woman, aged 17 to 19 at the time of her death, was buried with stone spearheads and improvised skinning and eviscerating tools, indicating her occupation.
“It is now clear that the gender division of labor was fundamentally different — perhaps fairer — in the deep hunter-gatherer past,” said Randy Haas, an anthropologist at the University of California, Davis.
The results are published in Science Advances.