Human history has always been filled with myths and prejudices, and one of them is the notion that women in ancient societies were only gatherers, not hunters. However, recent research shows that this is far from being the case. In most societies studied by scholars, women were active hunters and their participation in hunting was equal to that of men.
Seattle Pacific University researchers analyzed data from 63 different gatherer societies around the world over 100 years and found that in 50 of them (79%) women were active hunters. This opens a new chapter in understanding the role of women in ancient societies and shatters stereotypes about their solely gathering function.
The study also confirmed archaeological discoveries that suggest that women from different cultures participated in hunting. For example, traces of hunting large animals were found in one of the caves discovered in Spain, researchers are certain that it was the work of women.
It turned out that the choice of game was divided between the sexes. In societies with game size data, 33% of women hunted big game, 15% hunted medium game, and 4% stalked all game. These numbers outnumbered the percentage of small game hunting, which was 46%.
It is interesting to note that preference for weapons varied. In some societies women used a variety of tools, while in others preferences were more uniform. This suggests that women had a wider range of tools and hunting strategies.
However, not all women hunters hunted consistently. Of the 41 groups where there was evidence of female hunting, only in 36 societies (87%) was it a deliberate activity. In societies where hunting was the main source of livelihood, women actively hunted 100% of the time.
“Evidence from around the world shows that women participate in subsistence hunting in most cultures,” the study authors note.
In addition, the data indicate that women actively passed on their hunting skills to younger members of society. This suggests that hunting was an important part of the culture and tradition of these societies.
A study published in the journal PLOS One challenges stereotypes about the role of women in ancient societies and shows that they were not only gatherers, but also skilled hunters. This opens up new possibilities for studying the history of mankind and understanding the role of women in it.