A very fanciful news item made the rounds a few years ago: the discovery of the first gay caveman. When I saw the item, I figured the headline writers were just being salacious, as such writers are. However, the gay caveman was the conclusion of the lead archeologist.
A former newspaper editor of mine used to say, “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.” He was being sarcastic, of course. I can only imagine his words—most of them unprintable—if this story came across his desk.
The facts are that a man from the Corded Ware culture was found buried in a manner previously only seen in graves for females. According to the article, the society, sometimes called the Battle Ax or the Single Grave culture, typically buried people with gender-specific tools—weapons for men, pots and jugs for women.
So what does this mean? Well, apparently that the man was gay. Lead archeologist Kamila Remisova Vesinova said, “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. Far more likely is that he was a man with a different sexual orientation, homosexual or transsexual.”
Far more likely? Far more likely that the archeologist either is looking for publicity or she forgot to check her biases at the door. Almost all societies did—and do—take burial rites seriously.
I’m not saying that the man in question wasn’t gay. In fact, we have no idea who he was, what he was, or why he was buried as a woman—and that is a great plot bunny. As a novelist, I could spin quite a tale about how the man came to be buried in such a manner. I actually made notes about a man who attacked the lord’s daughter and was buried in such a manner as an act of revenge. I haven't written the story yet, but it's fermenting in my mind.
What about you? If you were going to use this incident in a tale, what would be the story behind it?
Keena Kincaid writes historical romances in which passion, magic and treachery collide to create unforgettable stories. You can find out more about her books here. Leave a comment for a chance to win one of her books.