Ancient European homes had 'invisible' social complexities, bones reveal
DNA and isotopic analysis of people who lived in Germany some 4,000 years ago show unexpected connections across Bronze Age farmsteads.
The first hints of social inequality in Europe emerged during the Bronze Age, with the appearance of tombs for an elite few packed with luxury goods. It's easy to imagine haves and have-nots spread across a population, but a novel analysis of ancient burials from southern Germany suggests that wealth disparities were even apparent inside individual households, with the rich and poor living under the same roof.
A research team recently turned their attention to prehistoric cemeteries in the Lech Valley in Bavaria. By 4,000 years ago, the valley was full of sprawling Bronze Age farmsteads rather than crowded, fortified villages. Each household occupied an individual hamlet with a few buildings for living and storage and a small graveyard.