Title

Bodies in Prehistory: Beyond the Sex/Gender Split

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2005

DOI

10.1007/0-306-48652-0_9

Version

Citation

Publication Title

Global Archaeological Theory

Subject Categories

Anthropology

Abstract

My paper is about the theorizing of bodies in archaeology. Bodies are an important archaeological resource—from mortuary remains to figurative art, they reveal a great deal to us about people in past societies. In gender archaeology the visibility of bodies as archaeological evidence has lead to questions being asked of the very formulation of gender as a concept, of how gender is understood to operate through bodies and in society. The point I will argue in the course of this paper is that the sex/gender split naturalizes a binary division of bodies and hence naturalizes the exclusive division of bodies into male and female. Such a binary division may be a pertinent description of current ideals of the structure of bodies. Its establishment as a natural fact, however, is impeding the investigation of bodies in prehistory, preventing the questioning of how bodies gain significance, how bodies become sexed.

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