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Becoming gendered in European prehistory: was Neolithic gender fundamentally different?

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journal contribution
posted on 06.07.2017, 15:41 by John Robb, Oliver J. T. Harris
It is notable how little gender archaeology has been written for the European Neolithic, in contrast to the following Bronze Age. We cannot blame this absence on a lack of empirical data or on archaeologists’ theoretical naivety. Instead, we argue that this absence reflects the fact that gender in this period was qualitatively different in form from the types of gender that emerged in Europe from about 3000 BC onwards; the latter still form the norm in European and American contexts today, and our standard theories and methodologies are designed to uncover this specific form of gender. In Bronze Age gender systems, gender was mostly binary, associated with stable, lifelong identities expressed in recurrent complexes of gendered symbolism. In contrast, Neolithic gender appears to have been less firmly associated with personal identity and more contextually relevant; it slips easily through our methodological nets. In proposing this “contextual gender” model for Neolithic gender, , we both open up new understandings of gender in the past and present, and pose significant questions for our models of gender more widely.

Funding

Funding for some of this research was provided by the Wellcome Trust (Grant 096510/Z/11/Z).

History

Citation

American Antiquity, 2018, 83 (1), pp. 128-147

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, ARTS AND HUMANITIES/School of Archaeology and Ancient History/Core Staff

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

American Antiquity

Publisher

Cambridge University Press (CUP), Society for American Archaeology

issn

0002-7316

Acceptance date

06/07/2017

Copyright date

2017

Available date

07/11/2017

Publisher version

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/american-antiquity/article/becoming-gendered-in-european-prehistory-was-neolithic-gender-fundamentally-different/061B7788A1633D9EF10918BA4FB15A5A

Notes

Also submitted to https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/286079

Language

en

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