Ancient Queer Grave

Who used to watch the show Bones? That show always grossed me the hell out but I couldn’t help but watch it. Anyways, that’s only like vaguely connected to this piece of queer history, but I figured I’d lead with that because that’s what I immediately thought of when I learned about this.

So, in 2011 they were excavating some prehistoric graves outside Prague — the digsite was called Prague 6. The Stone Age culture that lived in the area at the time of these graves (roughly 2800 – 2500 BCE) had some pretty strict rules about burial — men were buried on their right side with their heads facing west. They’d usually be buried with weapons. Women were buried on their left side with their heads facing east, with oval containers buried next to their feet. Shamans, although men, would be buried on their left side with their heads facing east, but with different artifacts buried with them.

So, as they were digging they discovered the remains of a biological male, but buried on the left side, head facing east — with an oval shaped container at their feet. Of course, this is before writing had been invented so this led to a lot of speculation but it’s generally believed that this is the burial of someone of a third gender or someone who was transgender. I think it’s possible the person may have been intersex, but since the experts here never presented that as a possibility, I could definitely be wrong.

Katerina Semradova, one of the archaeologists suggested this was one of the first cases of a transgender or third gender grave but did point out that they’d found another grave from even earlier of a female buried in the tradition of a man’s burial but stated they believed the woman had been a warrior.

The Prague 6 dig site also contained two other graves that were more conventional.

(Adapted from this Facebook post.)

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