Bronze Age culture may have had female leaders in the Iberian Peninsula, according to a new Spanish study published in Antiquity on Thursday. La Almoloya in southern Spain was home to the Argar culture, which was one of the first societies to use bronze. Archaeologists have said that the burial site excavated there is one of the most impressive Bronze Age tombs to be found in Europe of this period.
An examination of the remains unearthed in the excavations led to the conclusion that women may also have been among the leaders of a prosperous society in the Iberian Peninsula until 1550 BC. Other findings attest to the leadership role of women in society: crowns were found in cemeteries guarding female remains, and elite warriors were later buried in women’s graves, proving that cemeteries have a privileged position. It is particularly exciting to discover recent discoveries during the excavation of a Bronze Age palace, and since the building may serve political purposes, this may also indicate that women’s power came from politics.
The arrangement of burial sites and villages of culture revealed a very hierarchical society. The people who lived here formed one of the first state-like societies, our powerful elites lived in fortified settlements built on rocks. They had stock, warehouses, and general buildings to administer.
The most important discovery is a cemetery in which a man and a woman were buried in a large earthenware vessel, which is assumed to have died in the mid-seventeenth century BC, presumably at the same time. In addition to the remains of the two men, 29 precious items were buried, most of them owned by the woman who died at the age of 25-30.
Men may have been warriors in society, as evidenced by the fact that many men had swords in their graves. Researchers say the wealthy elite was supported by some kind of tax system. There was no example of this in Western Europe at that time.
Argar culture settlements became depopulated by the 16th century, presumably caused by internal revolts.