The remains of a 17-19 year-old female warrior and hunter have been found in a grave at the high-altitude archeological site of Wilamaya Patjxa, in today’s Peru. The remains in the Andes are thought to be more than 9,000 years old, and they also contain projectile points and butchery tools.
The warrior was found with tools such as stone projectile points for large animals and a knife.
Although historians have assumed for centuries that it was only the men that did the hunting and fighting while the women were taking care of the children, it turns out that women were hunters as well. The find overturns the long-held ‘man-the-hunter’ hypothesis, according to the US researchers that found the remains.
As reported, it’s possible that the hunters hunted vicuna, animals alike today’s llamas, and camels.
After the team came to an unexpected discovery that one of the hunters’ graves belonged to a woman, the team started investigating whether this was a one-off case or whether women warriors were actually more common than we used to think.
The researchers found 429 individuals that had been laid to rest across 107 different grave sites across North and South America, and 27 of them had been buried alongside big hunting tools. Out of those, 11 were women and 15 were men.
The researchers concluded that female participation in early big-game hunting was a common practice, and they believe that between 30-50 of hunters in these populations were women. The result is very contrasting to the one found in previous researches.
The women buried Wilamaya Patjxa represent the earliest-known hunter burial in the Americas.