gender archaeology

archaeological sub-discipline

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 idea that nearly all individuals are naturally born to a biological sex (usually either male or female, although also intersex). 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. Feminist theory in gender archaeology has presented a new perspective and introduced some biases in the overall archaeological theory. This new perspective that focused on feminist viewpoint in archaeology was initiated by the rapid evolution in the 20th century, of the Western Societies outlook and interpretation of gender. The development of this perspective commenced from the late 1960s feminist movement.Archaeologist Bruce 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."
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