Today, we’re learning about a bronze age twin pregnancy from the Vatya culture in central Hungary, which dates to 2200-1450 BCE (the early and middle Hungarian bronze age). In the Vatya culture, human remains were cremated and then interred in urns alongside simple grave goods.
At urnfield cemetery, gravesite 241 stood out to researchers because it contained fifty per cent higher bone weight than others, meaning the remains were very carefully recovered after cremation. Using new osteological (bone) sampling techniques, the researchers determined that there were three individuals in one urn: a female, 25-35 years old and her fetal twins around 28-32 weeks gestation. It is believed this woman died due to pregnancy or childbirth complications, however, with cremated remains that is impossible to confirm (it could have been an accident or violence, or illness unrelated to pregnancy).
The gravesite also contained high-status grave goods, including a golden hair ring and a bronze neck ring. Strontium isotope analysis showed that the woman wasn’t local, moving to the area between eight to thirteen years of age, which supports the theory that Vatya high-status women married outside of their community (exogamy).
Cavazzuti C, Hajdu T, Lugli F, Sperduti A, Vicze M, Horváth A, et al. (2021) Human mobility in a Bronze Age Vatya ‘urnfield’ and the life history of a high-status woman.