The farmers who lived in the early Bronze age didn’t have chronicles that documented their stories, but a new study paints an interesting portrait of their social structure.
A team of researchers employed information obtained from DNA analysis, relics, and chemical substances found in teeth to uncover the relationships and inheritance traditions of several generations of important families who were buried in cemeteries located near their farmsteads.
One of the most interesting details was the absence of adult daughters from the cemeteries while sons remained on the land of their parents and carried their name onwards. This means that all the daughters left the household at that point. It is interesting discovery since it offers a glimpse at how life was in another era.
Many of the remains and relics were collected almost two decades ago when an area along the Lech River, southern Augsburg, was excavated to build a residential area. Radiocarbon analysis revealed that the farers lived between 4750 and 3300 years ago. The DNA of 104 people was explored at a genome level, conveying valuable information about the sex of the farmers and the relationships between them.
After refining the research methods, four to five generations have been identified. Some of them were linked to the Neolithic Bell Beaker culture, named after the specific shape of the pots which were discovered. The tombs of later generations of men who retained Bell Beaker DNA featured a large number of goods, among which we can count axes, daggers, and chisels. A variant of the Y chromosome carried by those men can be found in Europe even today.
A third of the women were also buried with wealth, but DNA data reveals that they were outsiders from different regions, according to the minerals which were found in their teeth. There were no bodies of adult daughters, which infers that they were also sent away for marriage.
More data can be found in the study, which was published in a scientific journal.