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tH 9L What a silver diadem tells about the power of women 4,000 years ago - The Times Hub

What a silver diadem tells about the power of women 4,000 years ago

What a silver diadem tells about the power of women 4,000 years ago

An excavation in the archaeological site of La Almoloya (current Pliego, Murcia) found a double tomb in 2014. The remains of a man between the ages of 35 and 40 and a woman between the ages of 25 and 30 were found in the basement of a building with one of the richest early Bronze Age grave goods in Europe. After an exhaustive analysis of the remains published in the journal Antiquity , researchers from the Autonomous University of Barcelona Cristina Rihuete and Rafael Micó have concluded that the woman belonged to an elite with decision-making power in the region. It stands out not only for its volume (more than a quarter of a kilo of silver distributed in some thirty objects, such as scrunchies or earlobe dilators), but also for a headband associated with women , like most of the elements found. Although funerary treasures with silver pieces are common in the El Argar area, the presence of this diadem is not so common. "These diadems were so exclusive that in more than a century and a half of excavations in the southeast of the Peninsula, only five with this design have been found," says Micó. The researchers believe that these pieces had a meaning beyond their economic value and lean toward political differentiation. "There are a series of objects that we call emblematic and that have nothing to do with the function they currently have," says Rihuete.

Both experts consider that at that time La Almoloya was the "spearhead" for expansion of the Argaric territory and, due to its "strategic location and privileged visibility", the site maintained an important political role some time later. In fact, they consider the building in which the remains were found as “the first palace in Europe”. It is a 250 square meter complex with "residential, economic and political functions", which had a room with benches for 60 people and a hole in the center for a bonfire. "It is a place specialized in political decision-making," says Rihuete. The same researcher points out that it was common to bury the deceased in the basement of buildings: “In this culture there are no cemeteries far from inhabited places, but people were buried under the places where they lived or worked. This certifies that in places with clear political relevance, individuals with clear political ties had been buried. ”

The researchers believe that these pieces had a meaning beyond their economic value and lean toward political differentiation.

Although other diadems have been found in nearby sites previously, this has been the first case in which the context of the burial has also been known. The political situation of the settlement, the large amount of trousseau associated with the woman and the infrastructure under which the remains were found make the researchers opt for the possibility that she had great political importance at the time. The experts do not know how to answer whether this power was real or only symbolic. Micó favors the second option: the men had the effective power while the women presided over the assembly, although it leaves a door open. “We are waiting to receive DNA studies from this same site that will inform us of how the kinship network worked. This study will determine whether power passed from fathers to sons or from mothers to daughters ”, he announces.

The independent experts consulted by this newspaper do not agree on this theory. Luis Benítez de Lugo, archaeologist and professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid, considers that the study opens lines of research that “cannot be ignored”, although he qualifies as “speculative” and “hardly justifiable” that the indicated indications are sufficient to consider that women had that political weight. "To verify it, it will be necessary to work more and find arguments that allow us to understand the real meaning that these personal adornments had," he tells by mail. For her part, Marina Lozano, a researcher at the Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social, shares the interpretation made by the study researchers and considers that if she had found this diadem associated with a male body "it would have been taken for granted" that It was about a king.

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