Curves were best for Stone Age women
- Curves were best for Stone Age women
- 12 March 2007
- From New Scientist Print Edition. Subscribe and get 4 free issues.
Stone Age men would not have been impressed by size zero women.
Female figurines dating back 15,000 years reveal that the preferred body shape for women was curvy with prominent buttocks.
Romuald Schild of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw and colleagues have uncovered 30 flint female figurines from an ancient hunting site near the village of Wilczyce in central Poland. Hunter-gatherer men whittled these voluptuous female figures in their spare time.
Preserved in ice, the figurines were part of a haul of over 10,000 artefacts, including animal bones, beads made from Arctic fox teeth, and bone needles (Antiquity, vol 81, p 97). The site is thought to have been an autumn or winter camp for a hunter-gatherer tribe.
All of the figurines were headless and had hugely exaggerated buttocks. Perhaps strangely, given their allure today, few of the figures had breasts.
This bottom-heavy shape ties in with northern European stone carvings and cave engravings of women from a similar period.
However, the figurines may have expressed more than just men's desires. "It is hard to say if this body shape was a social preference or if it represented a spiritual image," says Nanneke Redclift, a social anthropologist at University College London.From issue 2594 of New Scientist magazine, 12 March 2007, page 19