Bodies in Motion: Narratives and Counter Narratives of Gendered Mobility in European Later Prehistory

Catherine J. Frieman, Anne Teather, Chelsea Morgan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Normative notions of sex and gender were prevalent in discussion of European prehistoric societies until the last quarter of the 20th century. The progressive work that challenged a binary approach, published particularly in the 1990s, created an anticipation for further nuanced interpretation. This paper argues that, in contrast to this expectation, there was a surprising return to narrating a past of binary sex and gender. Societal roles have continued to be imagined as formalised through structures based on biological sex, with men seen as active mobile agents, while women were passive and static homemakers. We argue that not only is this unhelpful, the archaeological evidence renders it incorrect. We highlight the inherent conflicts in the data to show that investigating sex and gender in the past is difficult with imperfect and complex archaeological evidence. It requires careful and deliberate consideration to avoid normative explanations. In conclusion, we propose that investigating mobility is a particularly effective topic for examining past gendered societal roles.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)148-169
    Number of pages22
    JournalNorwegian Archaeological Review
    Volume52
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019

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