Gender archaeology

Gender Archaeology

Gender archaeology

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Gender archaeology is a method of studying past societies through their material culture by closely examining the social construction of gender identities and relations. Gender archaeology itself is based on the ideas that even though nearly all individuals are naturally born to a biological sex (usually either male or female, although also intersex), there is nothing natural about gender, which is actually a social construct which varies between cultures and changes through time.

Gender archaeologists examine the relative positions in society of men, women, and children through identifying and studying the differences in power and authority they held, as they are manifested in material (and skeletal) remains. These differences can survive in the physical record although they are not always immediately apparent and are often open to interpretation. The relationship between the genders can also inform relationships between other social groups such as families, different classes, ages and religions.

The archaeologist Bruce G. Trigger noted that gender archaeology differed from other variants of the discipline that developed around the same time, such as working-class archaeology, indigenous archaeology and community archaeology, in that "instead of simply representing an alternate focus of research, it has established itself as a necessary and integral part of all other archaeologies."Trigger 2007. p. 14.

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