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ANAHITA  December 1999

ANAHITA December 1999

Subject:

Re: Young citation

From:

Susan Kray <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 29 Dec 1999 13:19:41 EST

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (85 lines)

Allison raises several interesting issues:

In a message dated 12/28/99 12:58:56 PM US Eastern Standard Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:

>  Isn't is true that the older generations of archaeologists
>  did some very sloppy work when excavating burial grounds.
>  They did not examine the skeletons to see if they were male
>  or female.
It can be even worse. In the "Holy Land" (according to archaeologist Wm.
Dever), they often discarded the human bones, making it impossible for their
successors to examine them in the light of new methodologies.

>They usually assumed that if there were rich
>  burial goods next to the skeletal remains, then that person
>  must have been male and a chief.

Some archaeologists still do this.

>Today, archaeologists have the
>  techniques to examine the pelvic bones and determine the
>  sex and the number of children the female may have had, if
>  it was a woman.
although sometimes, apparently, it is not possible to accurately sex-type
skeletons on the physiological evidence (due to, say, malnutrition leading to
underdevelopment) and archaeologists apparently sometimes (perhaps even now)
refer to the grave goods for information on the skeleton, then use the
skeleton to make inferences about the gravegoods. See

Morbeck, Mary Ellen (1991). "Bones, Gender, and Life History."  In Dale Walde
and Noreen D. Willows, editors, The Archaeology of Gender. Proceedings of the
Twenty- Second Annual Conference of the Archaeological Association of the
University of Calgary. University of Calgary Archaeological Association. ISBN
0 88953 140 4. pages 39-45.

This means the results of archaeological
>  digs from the first part of this century are unreliable about
>  the status of men and women.

and before, and since

>  Something else feminists and other critics of academic archaeologists
>  need to consider is:  perhaps patriarchy is the aberrant type of
>  social structure.

Why not? Or maybe all the forms are equally "aberrant."

Feminists seem to have missed the important
>  findings of current research that show the egalitarian role
>  that women played in pre-historic human societies.
These early
>  homo-sapien societies lasted for 50,000 to 100,000 years. I think
>  this egalitarian structure to human society is the "norm."

And your evidence that they were egalitarian is what, exactly? I know many
people think so, and many of the women's spirituality authors make claims in
this regard (although they sometimes say they mean "egalitarian" but with
women in charge), but none have offered any good evidence and I would love to
have some.

In fact, what would count as "egalitarian"? What criteria do we have? What
indicators are we looking for? (Equal spheres of labor? everybody doing the
same labor? equal control over distribution? over childraising? Courts with
judges of both genders? Or have I missed the relevant indicators and you are
thinking of something else?)

Susan Kray

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