|26 May 2015
Bronze Age Egtved girl was not from Denmark
Egtved Girl was a Nordic Bronze Age girl whose well-preserved remains were discovered outside Egtved, Denmark in 1921. Aged 16 to 18 at death, she was slim, 160 centimetres tall, had blonde hair and well-trimmed nails. Recent analyses show she was born and raised outside Denmark's current borders, and travelled great distances the last two years of her life.
The wool from the her clothing, the blanket she was covered with, and the oxhide she was laid to rest on all originate from the Black Forest, 800 kilometres away in southwest Germany - as do the cremated remains of a six-year-old child who was buried with the her. The girl's oak coffin dates the burial to the summer of 1370 BCE.
Senior researcher Karin Margarita Frei, from the National Museum of Denmark and the University of Copenhagen, traced the last two years of the Egtved Girl's life by examining the strontium isotopic signatures in the girl's 23-centimetre-long hair. The analysis shows that she had been on a long journey shortly before she died.
Kristian Kristiansen, of the University of Gothenburg and the University of Copenhagen, says: "In Bronze Age Western Europe, Southern Germany and Denmark were the two dominant centres of power, very similar to kingdoms. We find many direct connections between the two in the archaeological evidence, and my guess is that the Egtved Girl was a Southern German girl who was given in marriage to a man in Jutland so as to forge an alliance between two powerful families."
Denmark was rich in amber and traded amber for bronze. In Mycenaean Greece and in the Middle East, Baltic amber was as coveted as gold, and, through middlemen in Southern Germany, large quantities of amber were transported to the Mediterranean, and large quantities of bronze came to Denmark as payment. In the Bronze Age, bronze was as valuable a raw material, so Denmark became one of the richest areas of Northern Europe.
A great number of Danish Bronze Age graves contain human remains as well-preserved as those found in the Egtved Girl's grave. Karin Margarita Frei and Kristian Kristiansen plan to examine these remains with a view to analysing their strontium isotope signatures.
Edited from Phys.org (21 May 2015), Wikipedia
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