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Scientists find evidence women did metalwork in Bronze Age

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Researchers are confident that the skeleton found in Geitzendorf, north-west Vienna, Austria belongs to a woman despite the fact that the pelvic bones are missing.

The woman was buried with an anvil, hammers, flint chisels and some small pieces of dress jewellery.

The choice of funeral artifacts hints at her being a metal worker - the first indication that women did such work thousands of years ago, the Daily Mail reported.

She was between the ages of 45 and 60 when she died, researchers said.

She would have lived in the Bronze Age, which began more than 5,000 years ago and marked the first time metals were regularly used in the manufacture of tools and weapons.

"It was normal in those days for a person to be buried with the items that were part of their daily working lives," Ernst Lauermann, director of the prehistory department at Austria's Museum of Ancient History, said.

He added that the tools found would have most likely been used in the making of jewellery.

Metal working across all ages and cultures has traditionally been seen as a male occupation and, in some cases, female participation has even been taboo, Mike Pitts, editor of British Archaeology magazine, said.

"Sometimes the objects could relate to the individual's profession but they could equally be there because they looked good or were put into the grave by relatives and didn't belong to the individual," he said.

First Published: Thu, October 04 2012. 14:56 IST