‘Unexpected’ marriage practices, slavery, social inequality revealed in analysis of Bronze Age remains

bhm pfahlbauer austauschhandel bunterhund illustration
Image: Bernisches Historisches Museum

A fascinating new study chronicles the family histories of European Bronze Age households, revealing the presence of surprising marital practices, patterns of inheritance, and the unexpected early emergence of social inequality within these homestead farms—including the possible use of slaves or servants.

[Alissa] Mittnik and her colleagues, including co-authors Johannes Krause, also from the Max Planck Institute and the University of Tübingen, and Philipp Stockhammer from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet, reached these conclusions by studying the remains of over 100 individuals who lived in Germany’s Lech Valley, located south of Augsburg, during the Late Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age—a timespan lasting from around 4,750 to 3,320 years ago.

Related article:  FDA approves 23andMe's direct-to-consumer DNA test assessing patient's ability to respond to antidepressants

The nature of this unexpected social structure and apparent social inequality is not fully understood, but the researchers speculate cautiously that this is an early example of slavery or servitude. As the authors point out in the study, some households in ancient Greece and Rome included slaves. If the same arrangement existed among these Bronze Age Europeans—a big if—it would push back the origin of this social disparity back in time by around 1,500 years.

Read full, original post: Social Inequality, Marriage Habits, and Other Clues to Bronze Age Life Revealed in New Study

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend