In ancient Copper Age society on the Iberian Peninsula, a woman held the highest position, and it is a fact. A new study published in the journal Scientific Reports has shattered the notion that the highest-ranking person in this society was a man. Genetic analysis showed that the skeleton found in 2008, known as the “Ivory Lady,” belonged to a woman.
This discovery caused shock and amazement among archaeologists, who for more than a decade thought this person was a man. She was called the “Ivory Merchant” because of the abundance of valuable objects found near her skeleton. An ivory tusk, flint, an ostrich egg shell, amber, and a rock crystal dagger were found in her tomb. This rich inventory indicates the high status and importance of this person in society.
However, thanks to a new method of analyzing the remains, the researchers determined that the Ivory Lady was a woman. They used an analysis of the amelogenin peptide of the skeletal enamel to identify the AMELX gene, which indicates a person’s gender. The analysis showed the AMELX gene located on the X chromosome, which is a sign of female sex.
Professor Leonardo Garcia Sanhuan, one of the authors of the study, notes that the Ivory Lady was the most prominent person of the time in the region. Her status was based on her personal achievements, skills and personality. She was a leader who existed before there were kings and queens.
It is interesting to note that a luxurious tomb with the bodies of no less than 15 women was found near the tomb of the Ivory Lady. This indicates that these people may have been descendants or direct followers of the Ivory Lady. They probably built this tomb in honor of their prominent predecessor.
This discovery underscores that in ancient societies women may have held high positions of leadership. It also indicates that social status was not always determined by the right of primogeniture. The location of the tomb of the Ivory Lady and other burials in southern Spain speaks volumes about what society was like at that time.