The unprecedented rise of solo female travel in recent times has become a defining characteristic of the modern world. However, new research has uncovered that it's not a modern phenomenon - European women in the late stone age to bronze age spent their time globetrotting, while the men stayed put.
So no, women weren't built for the kitchen...
The research has come out of Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, where human remains found in an archaeological dig showed that women had drunk water from a range of different places, while the men had mineralised evidence of staying in the same village. Most women came from outside of the area – whereas the male remains showed that they were all local, and had remained local during their life spans.
It was uncovered that women travelled between 300km and 500km from their hometowns, and would start families in new places rather than stay in one place their whole lives.
It gets better. The study further highlighted that women seemed to travel individually, contrary to the belief that people from that age travelled exclusively in groups.
According to Prof. Stockhammer, who led the investigation, this pattern of ‘female mobility’ persisted for 900 years – proving that it wasn’t just a phase; it was an ingrained way of life for ancient European women. This research means that women were pioneering the exchange of languages, cultures and practices that have shaped Europe since, and that Europe was largely a ‘mixed’ community (thanks to women) during ancient times.
What’s more, the foreign women who came into the area would receive the same burial ceremonies and funeral arrangements as the local men – indicating that they were well integrated and accepted into the new societies.
This discovery is nothing short of groundbreaking, and particularly poignant in this day and age. For centuries we’ve believed that a man going off for long periods of time to hunt, gather and meet new people was the norm, whilst women and children stayed at home eating. Yet this new discovery shows that the theory is utterly untrue; women were the original wanderlusters, despite being traditionally made to feel like it wasn’t our place to be nomadic.
So maybe it’s time we all take a leaf out of our badass female ancestors’ books, and continue to de-stigmatise the idea that travelling alone as a woman is difficult, or dangerous. It is, after all, not a ‘millennial trend’ – but a millennia-old tradition.