Why is she called ‘Ava’, you may be wondering? How do we know what she was called, if she was alive 4,250 years ago and she spoke a different language to us?
That’s a very good question. We do not think that whilst she was alive this individual was known as Ava. The name Ava is an abbreviation of the village where she was found: Achavanich. The central three letters of the place name, is where her name came from.
There is definitely space for discussing the ethics of assigning a name to a deceased individual. Is this an acceptable thing to do? It is very likely this young woman did have a name and an identity within her community, and it is very easy for archaeologists to sometimes forget, or become detached from the fact, that the objects we are studying were once human beings who breathed, slept, walked, talked, laughed and loved. Assigning her a name both helps to reinforce her individuality in life and helps us to connect and to identify with her.
If you are interested in this topic, and would like to read more, please consider reading our discussion of it on page 78 of our published article here.