Behold, they were women!

hand print

Hand print

Imagine the Stone Age. What do you see? Well, the usual picture is men as hunters, inventors, protectors and artists. Because most of the scenes in the cave paintings show animals and hunting, it was thought that the artists were men, as well.

Of course.

And all those handprints found on the walls were made by men, too. And the small ones among them must have belonged to boys being introduced to the art. Makes sense, right? You can probably even see them in your imagination, sitting or standing in the flickering torch light, mixing paint, drawing those animals, being creative. Male heads, shaggy beards, possibly even chanting hunting magic in low, deep voices.

Guess what? Wrong image.

Finally, someone got around to measuring the handprints and discovered that a whopping 75% of the handprints were made … by women! Only 10% were from adult males and 15% were from adolescent males.

Woah! What if most of the paintings were made by women, too? I do hope this is totally shifting the image in your mind. Maybe now you see women in those caves, with a couple of boys and the occasional man, whispering charms about the animals and the hunt.

Well, what if women also hunted? What if they held their own status as artists and creators?

What if that old, old belief that firmly gives the role of the dominant, strong hunter and provider to men, and the meek, subserviant housekeeper and childbearer to women is simply that? An old belief created a couple of hundred years ago to “naturally” put men and women into their place?

Let’s be open and use our fantastic imagination to create different versions of early life – or life in fantasy worlds. The only limits are our own, old, ingrained beliefs about what is possible and what is not.

Read the science article here: Women Leave Their Handprints On the Cave Wall (Science Daily)

So which old belief are you ditching today? Let me know in the comments.

Image source: Erik Wannee, Wikimedia

About Hannah Steenbock

Hannah Steenbock is an author, dreamer, and coach. She has published several short stories in English and German, as well as one novel in German. In 2013 she started self-publishing her work. In 2014, she has won two awards for her short story "Sequoia".
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2 Responses to Behold, they were women!

  1. Devin de Gruyl says:

    I don’t think it was necessarily a conscious decision on the part of anthropologists — I suspect it was more of an assumption that eventually took hold and became virtually dogmatic, driven (knowingly or otherwise) by a certain sexism of the times. Don’t forget, it’s only been within the last 125 years or so — an eyeblink in terms of human history — that the female of the species has finally started to be accepted as more than just male property, despite continued efforts by certain highly-conservative corners of civilization to “keep women in their place.” I think the people who discovered the cave paintings did so just assuming that they were done by men, and given the nature of the times they lived in, didn’t even bother to consider the alternative, and it just ballooned from there.

    • hannahsteenbock says:

      Oh, I agree. But I enjoy having scientific proof for a different version of history. 🙂

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