GOTHENBURG, Sweden, May 25 (UPI) -- New isotopic analysis suggests women in Corded Ware Culture were highly mobile and possibly married outside their social groups.
Researchers from Gothenburg University in Sweden studied bone and teeth remains from seven Corded Ware Culture dig sites in southern Germany. The majority of the analyzed remains were sourced from two large burial sites.
Corded Ware Culture is the archaeological definition for people of ancient Europe who buried their dead under large burial mounds, called barrows or tumuli, and marked their pottery with corded textures. Evidence of Corded Ware Culture is found throughout Europe, dated between 2800 and 2200 B.C.
Göteborg researchers used carbon dating and isotope analysis to determine the diets and movements of these early Europeans. The results revealed wide dietary variation within isolated locations, suggesting a high degree of mobility.
At one burial site, 42 percent of the remains were identified as non-local. The findings, detailed in the journal PLOS ONE, suggest women were highly mobile -- moving from the village of their birth to another, and perhaps taking their dietary preferences with them.
Though most people of the Corded Ware Culture likely consumed a combination of meats and plants, some locations relied more heavily on farming and dairy.
"Our results suggest that Corded Ware groups in southern Germany were highly mobile, especially the women," the researchers, led by Karl-Göran Sjögren, wrote in their paper. "We interpret this as indicating a pattern of female exogamy, involving different groups with differing economic strategies, and suggesting a complex pattern of social exchange and economic diversity in Late Neolithic Europe."