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Matt & Andrej Koymasky
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November 29th, 2012

A prehistoric "third gender" burial found near Prague

ancient gay man

Five thousand years ago, a tribe of Stone Age humans lived near what is now Prague (now Terronska Street in Prague 6). We know little about them other than what we glean from their burial customs. Men were buried on their right sides with their heads facing east along with their weapons, flint knives, and tools like hammers. Women were buried with their heads facing west with their necklaces made from teeth, pets, copper earrings, and distinctive egg shaped jars.

In 2011 scientists dug up a male skeleton, dating back to between 2900 and 2500 BCk, buried in the female position without weapons but with household jugs and the egg shaped jar at his feet. There is no way to know how this man lived his life, if he was gay and loved men or transexual and lived his life as a woman. All we do know is that when he died his people gave him a respectful and traditional burial, as a woman.

Archaeologists do not think it was a mistake or coincidence given the importance attached to funerals during the period, known as the Corded Ware era because of the pottery it produced. "From history and ethnology, we know that people from this period took funeral rites very seriously so it is highly unlikely that this positioning was a mistake," said lead researcher Kamila Remisova Vesinova. "Far more likely is that he was a man with a different sexual orientation, homosexual or transvestite. What we see here does not add up to traditional Corded Ware cultural norms."

Another member of the archaeological team, Katerina Semradova, said that colleagues had uncovered an earlier case dating from the Mesolithic period where a female warrior was buried as a man. She added that Siberian shamans, or witch doctors, were also buried in this way but with richer funeral accessories appropriate to their elevated position in society. "This later discovery was neither of those. We believe this is one of the earliest cases of what could be described as a transvestite or third-gender grave in the Czech Republic."


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