Lavish 5,000-year-old tomb belonged to woman previously thought to be high-status man

Video shows skeleton, dagger and elephant tusk found inside tomb

VALENCIA, Spain – An ornate tomb discovered in 2008 in Valencia, Spain was previously thought to belong to a high-status young man but new research shows it was actually the tomb of a woman.

Smithsonian Magazine reported that the single-occupancy grave, which was rare for the time, contained valuables like a rock crystal dagger inlaid with amber, high-quality flint, ostrich eggshells and ivory, including the tusk of an African elephant in addition to the woman’s skeleton.

Initially dubbed the “Ivory Man,” the 5,000-year-old skeleton is now being referred to as the “Ivory Lady.”

“She must have been (a) highly charismatic person. She probably traveled or did have connections with people from faraway lands,” archaeologist Leonardo García Sanjuán told CNN.

Researchers used a molecular method and examined tooth enamel from the skeleton in 2021, which led to the discovery, according to

“She was buried alone in a tomb with very special artifacts,” said Sanjuán. “That shows that she was a special person.”

“The Ivory Lady’s burial stands out, head and shoulders, above everyone else—there is absolutely no known male or female burial that compares to hers,” Sanjuán continued. reported that people reentered the Ivory Lady’s tomb around 80 years after her death and placed additional votive objects inside, including the crystal dagger.

Alison Beach, a historian at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, said the “research provides one more piece of evidence questioning old historical narratives. It’s not exclusively true that men have always been the most revered or held the most authority.”

The video at the top of this article shows stills of the tomb and its contents.

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