Friday, 5 October 2012

Lady Metallurgist in Bronze Age Austria

A new archaeological find from Austria suggests that women may have worked metal in the Bronze Age.  There seems to be a single Associated Press report going around all the papers with very minor variations.  The Daily Mail provided a sexist headline, and was the only paper to urge caution about the significance of the find.  Caution is probably a good thing, but I find it hard to believe that the Daily Mail was inspired by a desire for scientific accuracy.  Especially after having seen some of the readers' comments.

Could women have worked metal in prehistoric times?  Well, there are some examples from the present day, so I don't see why not.  If something is physically possible, and if it has occurred at some point in human history, then it can always be a plausible interpretation of the archaeological data.  Caution is probably right - there are certainly other possible interpretations of the find - but it's not exactly shocking to discover that women may have worked as smiths in ancient times.  In any case, if you think women aren't strong enough to do manly things, go and tell that to the Rani of Jhansi.  Or any of these crazy badasses.

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