In light of a new study of human remains found at Stonehenge in 2008, researchers suggest that prehistoric Woman was able to attain high status, and may even have been considered the equal of men.
14 of the 23 remains exhumed at Stonehenge - which is believed to have been a cemetery for Wiltshire’s antediluvian movers and shakers - belong to women. According to archaeologists such as Mike Pitts (of British Archaeology), the study should be used to revise notions of male-dominated prehistoric societies that are currently prevalent in the media and the arts.
The project, Pitts prates, puts paid to painters’ preponderant portrayals of a prominent prehistoric patriarchy:
“In almost every depiction of Stonehenge by artists and TV re-enactors we see lots of men, a man in charge, and few or no women
“The archaeology now shows that as far as the burials go, women were as prominent there as men. This contrasts with the earlier burial mounds, where men seem to be more prominent.
Other researchers concur that the findings demonstrate a “surprising degree of gender equality” given artists’ depictions of the site as being ruled by men “with barely a woman in sight”.
Christie Willis of the University College London Institute of Archaeology was tasked with identifying the sex of the remains which, collectively, weighed some 45kg and have since been sent off to the universities of Oxford and Glasgow to be radiocarbon-dated.