Forums

 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages 
Etruscan Tomb Find: Gender Roles and Assumptions

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Fortean Times Message Board Forum Index -> Earth Mysteries - historical and classical cases
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
EnolaGaiaOffline
Joined: 19 Jul 2004
Total posts: 1601
Location: USA
Gender: Male
PostPosted: 19-10-2013 23:58    Post subject: Etruscan Tomb Find: Gender Roles and Assumptions Reply with quote

Quote:

Oops! Etruscan Warrior Prince Really a Princess

Last month, archaeologists announced a stunning find: a completely sealed tomb cut into the rock in Tuscany, Italy.

The untouched tomb held what looked like the body of an Etruscan prince holding a spear, along with the ashes of his wife. Several news outlets reported on the discovery of the 2,600-year-old warrior prince.

But the grave held one more surprise.

A bone analysis has revealed the warrior prince was actually a princess, as Judith Weingarten, an alumna of the British School at Athens noted on her blog, Zenobia: Empress of the East. [See Photos of the Unsealed Etruscan Tomb]
Etruscan tomb

Historians know relatively little about the Etruscan culture that flourished in what is now Italy until its absorption into the Roman civilization around 400 B.C. Unlike their better-known counterparts, the ancient Greeks and the Romans, the Etruscans left no historical documents, so their graves provide a unique insight into their culture.

The new tomb, unsealed by archaeologists in Tuscany, was found in the Etruscan necropolis of Tarquinia, a UNESCO World Heritage site where more than 6,000 graves have been cut into the rock.

"The underground chamber dates back to the beginning of the sixth century B.C. Inside, there are two funerary beds carved into the rock," Alessandro Mandolesi, the University of Turin archaeologist who excavated the site, wrote in an email.

When the team removed the sealed slab blocking the tomb, they saw two large platforms. On one platform lay a skeleton bearing a lance. On another lay a partially incinerated skeleton. The team also found several pieces of jewelry and a bronze-plated box, which may have belonged to a woman, according to the researchers.

"On the inner wall, still hanging from a nail, was an aryballos [a type of flask] oil-painted in the Greek-Corinthian style," Mandolesi said.
Initially, the lance suggested the skeleton on the biggest platform was a male warrior, possibly an Etruscan prince. The jewelry likely belonged to the second body, the warrior prince’s wife.

But bone analysis revealed the prince holding the lance was actually a 35- to 40-year-old woman, whereas the second skeleton belonged to a man.
Given that, what do archaeologists make of the spear?

"The spear, most likely, was placed as a symbol of union between the two deceased," Mandolesi told Viterbo News 24 on Sept. 26.

Weingarten doesn't believe the symbol of unity explanation. Instead, she thinks the spear shows the woman's high status.

Their explanation is "highly unlikely," Weingarten told LiveScience. "She was buried with it next to her, not him."

Gendered assumptions

The mix-up highlights just how easily both modern and old biases can color the interpretation of ancient graves.

In this instance, the lifestyles of the ancient Greeks and Romans may have skewed the view of the tomb. Whereas Greek women were cloistered away, Etruscan women, according to Greek historian Theopompus, were more carefree, working out, lounging nude, drinking freely, consorting with many men and raising children who did not know their fathers' identities.

Instead of using objects found in a grave to interpret the sites, archaeologists should first rely on bone analysis or other sophisticated techniques before rushing to conclusions, Weingarten said.

"Until very recently, and sadly still in some countries, sex determination is based on grave goods. And that, in turn, is based almost entirely on our preconceptions. A clear illustration is jewelry: We associate jewelry with women, but that is nonsense in much of the ancient world," Weingarten said. "Guys liked bling, too."

SOURCE: http://news.yahoo.com/oops-etruscan-warrior-prince-really-princess-112810200.html
Back to top
View user's profile 
JamesWhiteheadOffline
Piffle Prospector
Joined: 02 Aug 2001
Total posts: 6207
Location: Manchester, UK
Gender: Male
PostPosted: 20-10-2013 00:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

And then she had to spoil it all by saying something stupid like "guys bling too!" Dead / drunk
Back to top
View user's profile Visit poster's website 
KondoruOffline
Unfeathered Biped
Joined: 05 Dec 2003
Total posts: 6034
Gender: Unknown
PostPosted: 20-10-2013 10:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, so unacademic.

But to find an undisturbed Etruscan tomb is an event in itself; so many have been looted.
Back to top
View user's profile 
UrvogelOffline
Great Old One
Joined: 23 Dec 2012
Total posts: 152
Location: England
Age: 29
Gender: Female
PostPosted: 25-10-2013 21:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bone analysis? Couldn't they have just...looked at the pelvis? That's a pretty big giveaway as to the gender of a skeleton Confused
Back to top
View user's profile 
KondoruOffline
Unfeathered Biped
Joined: 05 Dec 2003
Total posts: 6034
Gender: Unknown
PostPosted: 25-10-2013 21:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

pretty certain but not a dead cert.
Back to top
View user's profile 
MythopoeikaOffline
I am a meat popsicle
Joined: 18 Sep 2001
Total posts: 10445
Location: Not far from Bedford
Gender: Unknown
PostPosted: 26-10-2013 16:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

Urvogel wrote:
Bone analysis? Couldn't they have just...looked at the pelvis? That's a pretty big giveaway as to the gender of a skeleton Confused


That isn't always the final decider. Some men have child-bearing hips and some women are somewhat slim in the hips.
Back to top
View user's profile 
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Fortean Times Message Board Forum Index -> Earth Mysteries - historical and classical cases All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group