Archaeology news: Well-preserved skeleton shows how prehistoric women lived

The skeleton of a woman found in northeastern Germany’s Uckermark region is allowing scientists a glimpse of life in the prehistoric era. The woman has been named the Lady of Bietikow, after the village she was found in during excavations for wind tunnels.

Her skeletal remains are so well preserved that scientists are able to reconstruct a part of her life.

According to team from German, the woman was between 30 and 45 years old when she died more than 5,000 years ago.

The researchers added that she was buried in a squatting position, which was common practice in middle Europe at the time.

Included in the discovery were fragments of clothes, while her teeth offered an insight into her diet.

The lack of enamel on her teeth confirmed that people at the time were including grain in their diet for the first time.

Grain was stored more easily and could even be used as a payment, but it had its consequences.

The Lady of Bietikow’s teeth are severely eroded, and some were missing.

Anthropologist Bettina Jungklaus said: “Normally there is enamel on the surface of the teeth. But here it is heavily worn, chewed off.

“This allows us to draw conclusions about her diet: it was probably very rich in fibre, very hard.

“There are certain grains that cause the teeth to wear out easily.”

The researchers compared the discovery of the Lady of Bietikow to that of Oetzi the iceman.

Oetzi was discovered in 1991 in the Alps by hikers. As he was buried in deep snow, his remains had been almost perfectly preserved for 5,300 years, with his skin and organs still in-tact.

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He has given scientists a crucial understanding of how prehistoric people lived, what they wore and even what they ate.

The ancient iceman met a violent death, with an arrow wound found to his back.

Scientists were even able to determine what his last meal was.

Archaeologist Philipp Roskoschinski said: “You can compare Oetzi and the Lady of Bietikow in terms of age.

“The discovery of Oetzi was much more spectacular due to the conditions of preservation.”

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