Working farm women

September 11, 1998

Archeologists have unearthed evidence that women living in the Outer Hebrides in the 16th century did all the heavy farm work.

Joanna Sofaer-Derevenski of the University of Cambridge examined the spines of 110 middle-aged people from Hebridean crofting and farming families. Females' spines show the damage of manual tasks such as repeated heavy lifting or digging.

In medieval Yorkshire, men farmed with animal-led ploughs that would have been impractical on the Western Isles.

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