Research Says Ancient Women Had Stronger Arms Than Today’s Fittest Women


Researchers are battling with the hypothesis that ancient women who lived centuries ago had stronger arms due to the laborious daily work they engaged in back then.

Although the modern day athletic women are also full of strength, their power cannot be compared to the early day women who had most of their lives in the farm cultivating crops and milling grains. A new study published recently in one science journal revealed about six millennia ago, the upper arm of an ordinary woman who lived in that farming period was sturdier than any 21st-century female weightlifter or sports icon.

Allison Macintosh, a study author and a postdoctoral anthropology researcher at the University of Cambridge in the UK explained, that the study showed the main point of the research which was the evaluation of the scale of women’s toil, in the agricultural habitats of the pre-modern era and the concealed history of how women labored over many thousands of years on the farm.

The authors of the study reported that research results in the past have attempted to study the strength equality in women’s bones to that of their male counterparts in the same period. It was discovered that the bones in the men react visibly to tension in a certain odd way than the bones in females. This has made scholars and scientists to question the credibility of the report and scale used in measuring the level of physical work carried out by women in the olden day communities, the authors explained.

The tool used in the study was a CT scanner which was meant to scrutinize the arm and leg bones of the present day women and place the results beside the women of Central Europe who existed between 7,400 and 3,500 years ago, an era of the early Neolithic agricultural time which extended into the Middle Ages. The modern day women were chosen to act as a range of physical engagement levels which included soccer players, rowers, and runners, in comparison with idle people.

A woman lifting weights

The authors noted that the female skeletons dated back to roughly 7,400 to 7000 years ago in the Neolithic era had bones in their legs that are almost the same strength level to today’s sportswomen. When more examinations were made, the outcome showed that the arms of the pre-modern women were 11-16% energetic for their size, compared to the female athletes on Cambridge’s championship rowing team. Their arms were also 30% sturdier than the arms of people who are not into sports, as analyzed in the study.

The Bronze Age women who lived around 4,300 to 3,500 years earlier had their arm bones 9-13% stronger than the present day rowers. However, their leg bones lacked as much strength with 12% decrepit bones.

The researchers suspect that the early women derived their extraordinary strong arms from the farm work they did every day, tilling the ground, gathering crops by their hands and grinding grains to produce flour. Macintosh affirmed this guess when she explained that two big stones called a ‘saddle queen’ would have been used to ground the grains during the millennia. She further stated that women spent more than five hours daily using the saddle quern to grind the grains, this was common in the societies that survived the era.

Apart from these laborious activities, women must have been engaged in getting food and water for farm animals, milk and meat processing, and turning animal hides and furs into fabrics. This was obvious in the different behavioral impressions as expressed in their bones. The author says that before the advent of the plow, they also plant manually.

In comparison to living female athletes who work out frequently, the distinction in the bones of these ancient day women also presents a clearer picture of the level of physical hard work they do from time to time. Take, for instance, The Cambridge rowers worked out two times a day and rowed an approximately 75 miles in a week.

Macintosh points out that we can thank the technological innovations for today’s computerized inventions that have made stressful physical work easier to endure. The anthropology researcher believed that the human bone stamina and mobility had been adversely affected because of excessive hard labor. She advised everyone to take exercise and recreational activities serious to develop and sustain healthy bones.

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