Sex and Gender in the Mesolithic: Adults and Children from the Strøby Egede Burial, Køge Bugt, Denmark

Kurt J. Gron, Christopher Meiklejohn, Kristoffer B. Pedersen, Nicolas A. Stewart, Verner Alexandersen, Lasse Sørensen, Janet Montgomery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In the summer of 1986 a mass grave was discovered along the bank of the river Tryggevælde Å where it empties into Køge Bugt, the bay south of modern Copenhagen, Denmark. The human remains, dating to the late Mesolithic Ertebølle culture, consisted of eight individuals of multiple ages, ranging c. 35–45 years old to newborn children. Four were arranged on one side of the grave, with four on the other, placed head to foot. How they were related and what befell them is a mystery. Herein, we present a bioarchaeological assessment of these individuals for the first time and apply an acid etch-based analysis of dimorphic sex chromosome-linked tooth enamel peptides to confirm their biological sex. Our results allow a direct connection between engendered grave treatment and biological sex in non-adult individuals as young as c. 4 years of age. We conclude with a discussion of the possible circumstances of their deaths and their possible relationships to one another.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
JournalProceedings of The Prehistoric Society
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2022

Keywords

  • Mesolithic
  • Human remains
  • Sex and gender
  • Denmark
  • Tooth enamel
  • Peptides
  • Bioarchaeology

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