Gender and Material Culture: The Archaeology of Religious Women / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $29.54
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 38%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (7) from $29.54   
  • New (3) from $36.68   
  • Used (4) from $29.54   


Gender and Material Culture is the first complete study in the archaeology of gender, exploring the differences between the religious life of men and women. Gender in medieval monasticism influenced landscape contexts and strategies of economic management, the form and development of buildings and their symbolic and iconographic content. Women's religious experience was often poorly documented, but their archaeology indicates a shared tradition which was closely linked with, and valued by local communities. The distinctive patterns observed suggest that gender is essential to archaeological analysis.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415156561
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 4/28/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Roberta Gilchrist is a reader in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Reading, and consultant archaeologist to Norwich Cathedral. She has written widely on the topics of gender and church archaeolgy.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

List of tables and figures
List of Abbreviations
1 The Handmaid's Tale 1
1.2 The archaeology of gender 2
1.3 'The Handmaid's Tale': on history, archaeology and social theory 8
1.4 'Engendering' medieval monasticism: a theory of gender and material culture 15
1.5 Gender identity in medieval nunneries 18
2 Mapping Women's Religious Communities 22
2.1 Breaking androcentric traditions: an historiography of nunneries 22
2.2 Religious women in the Saxon landscape 25
2.3 Medieval religious foundations for women: numbers, status and distribution 36
2.4 An archaeology of patronage 50
2.5 Conclusions: common interest groups in the medieval nunnery 61
3 Nunneries in the Medieval Landscape 63
3.1 Gender identities and the monastic landscape 63
3.2 In a wilderness 65
3.3 The nunnery estate 69
3.4 Home farms and outer courts 73
3.5 Production, consumption and labour in medieval nunneries 85
3.6 Conclusions: isolation and dependence 90
4 In the Cloister 92
4.1 Standard plans 92
4.2 Form and function of nunnery buildings 95
4.3 Development and change 120
4.4 Conclusions: characteristics of nunnery planning 123
5 The Meanings of Nunnery Architecture 128
5.1 The north cloister 128
5.2 Women on the north: spatial opposites and body metaphors 133
5.3 The distribution of north cloisters: a Saxon monastic tradition? 136
5.4 Iconographic architecture: the Virgin at Christ's right hand 139
5.5 Collective identities: the nunnery seal 143
5.6 Conclusions: an iconography of many meanings 148
6 Symbolism and Seclusion 150
6.1 Gender and space 150
6.2 Religious imagery and the delineation of space 152
6.3 Formal spatial analysis of nunneries and monasteries for men 160
6.4 Sexual segregation and gender domains 167
7 An Archaeology of Alternatives 170
7.1 Beguinages: informal communities of urban religious women 170
7.2 Hospitals: a life of charity 172
7.3 Anchorages: the solitary religious woman 177
7.4 Hermitages: religious women beyond the pale? 182
7.5 Conclusions: the 'sinful woman' 186
8 Conclusions: Gender and Medieval Monasticism 188
8.1 Patterns in the archaeology of religious women 188
8.2 Gender and material culture: habitus, agency and identity 191
8.3 Gender as an analytical category: new perspectives for medieval archaeology? 193
Bibliography 194
Index 212
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)