New and disheartening evidence that domestic abuse is prehistory
Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Out Front, Fall 1998
It wasn’t So Fred Flintstone flirted with waitresses in Rockapulco. And frittered away too much time at the lodge. But anthropologists are accumulating evidence that what Wilma endured barely scratched the surface of domestic
Novak first smelled offense five years ago while studying skeletons from a northeastern Utah dig. All of the female skulls recovered — belonging to members of the Fremont civilization, who lived there 1,300 years ago — had circuits of healed cracks and dents, while the male skulls were intact. Looking for modern evidence to corroborate her theory, Novak then planted
The weapon of choice hasn’t changed much, either: Whatever’s handy. “You’d be surprised how often cans of corn and telephones come into play,” Novak says. Likely prehistoric quick-grabs were walking staffs and clay bowls. Looks like the writing is on the cave walls.
Illustration by Gary Baseman