(Telegraph) Forget the wandering warrior: Bronze Age women travelled the world while men stayed at home
The concept that men stay at home while independent women venture out into the world is considered a rather modern phenomenon.
But a study suggests that in fact, the practice was rooted in ancient times, when Bronze Age men stayed at home while adventurous women were the key to spreading culture and ideas.
The research reveals that over a period of some 800 years, European women travelled between 300km and 500km from their home villages to start families, while men tended to stay near where they were born.
German archaeologists examined the remains of 84 people buried between 2500 and 1650BC, discovering that at the end of the Stone Age and in the early Bronze Age, families were established in a surprising manner.
While the majority of women came from outside the area, the men usually remained in the region of their birth.
The researchers said the so-called “patrilocal” pattern combined with individual female mobility was not a temporary phenomenon, but persisted throughout the transition from the Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age.
The findings, published in the journal PNAS, come from a research project headed by Professor Philipp Stockhammer of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich.
Prof Stockhammer said: “We all know these stories about warrior men out fighting and bringing home food while the women and children stayed at home but it appears things were quite different.
“Our study suggests that almost none of the men had travelled, while two thirds of the women had.”