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The Laboratory of Anthropology of the UGR analyses the differences between men and women of five populations of the Iberian Peninsula

The study includes 342 skeletons of five populations, three from the south and two from the north of Spain, deposited in the Laboratory of Anthropology of the University of Granada. The results show the differences in certain bone markers that reflect men and women´s musculature, with the exception of the village of Villanueva, in the north of Castilla León. There, women worked the land more than in other areas, and present a high muscular development in arms. But, in general, they do the housework, while men are the defenders, work the land and tend animals. As regards legs, statistical analysis separate farmers of flat areas from mountain shepherds.

“Skeletons reflect people´s activities. There is a series of markers, where muscles and tendons are inserted, which can be more or less developed. When there is a strong development of the insertion point of such tendon, there is a bone proliferation called spur”. This is the opinion of Sylvia Jiménez Brobeil, teacher of the University of Granada and author, together with Ihab al-Oumaoui and Philippe du Souich, of the article Activity model markers in populations of the Iberian Peninsula, which is going to be published in October by the scientific journal International Journal of Osteoarchaeology.

Spurs in the plantar of the heel bone are very common in people who live in places with considerable slopes. In Granada, they are very common among the inhabitants of the Albaicín. Researchers have considered a total of 14 markers, parts of the body where there can be spurs. “The idea is to see such marks in men and women from different old settlements of the Iberian Peninsula from which we know their environment and the activities they did”.

Huéscar and Galera
Three of the settlements are placed in the province of Granada. Two of them are very significant. The inhabitants of Huéscar, at the foot of the Sierra de La Sagra, a flat land, present signs of poor development of their lower musculature. Quite the reverse of the settlement of El Castellón Alto (Galera), in the north of the province. There, women present more markers in bones than the majority, but not as many as men. Women worked going down to the river to take water, while men carried out stock and defensive activities.

According to Du Souich, “the innovation lies in analysing the available data of the habitat and connecting them with these spurs, to check and confirm them”. Definitely, with this study, the historical and archeological available data in these settlements of different ages have been confirmed.

Reference: Sylvia Jiménez Brobeil.
Laboratory of Anthropology of the University of Granada.
Phone number: 958 24 35 33.