Women in Prehistory: North America and Mesoamerica / Edition 1

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During the 1960s, in such works as Man the Hunter, scholars constructed a model of cultural evolution in which men were characterized as "cooperative hunters of big game." Women fit neatly into this model, such books as Woman the Gatherer explained, as gatherers of plant food. In spite of evidence of hunting by women, this model—which incorporated the unexamined assumption that women in prehistory were "immobilized" by pregnancy, lactation, and child care and therefore needed to be left at a home base—came to dominate archaeological interpretation of the economic roles of men and women.

Women in Prehistory challenges this model and undertakes an examination of the archaeological record informed by insights into the cultural construction of gender that have emerged from scholarship in history, anthropology, biology, and related disciplines. Along with analysis of burial assemblages and of representations of gendered individuals, contributors study bone chemistry, assessment of skeletal pathologies, micro- and macro-scale distributional evidence, as well as analogical arguments from ethnoarchaeology and ethnohistory to discuss pottery, shell matrix sites, skeletal material, the domestic setting, and spinning.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812216028
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/1994
  • Series: Regendering the Past
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.01 (w) x 9.09 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Contributors include Jeffrey Bendremer, Hetty Jo Brumbach, Patricia Galloway, Susan Gillespie, Byron Hamann, Julia Hendon, Sandra Hollimon, Robert Jarvenpa, Lyle Koehler, Richard Lesure, Susan Prezzano, Alison Rautman, Mary Beth Williams, Diane Wilson, and the editors. Cheryl Claassen is Professor of Anthropology at Appalachian State University in North Carolina and is the editor of Women in Archaeology, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press. Rosemary A. Joyce is Director of the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Museum of Anthropology and Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Joyce is coeditor, with Susan D. Gillespie, of Beyond Kinship: Social and Material Reproduction in House Societies, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

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Table of Contents

List of Tables
List of Figures
1 Women in the Ancient Americas: Archaeologists, Gender, and the Making of Prehistory 1
2 Woman the Hunter: Ethnoarchaeological Lessons from Chipewyan Life-Cycle Dynamics 17
3 Women's Work, Women's Space, and Women's Status Among the Classic-Period Maya Elite of the Copan Valley, Honduras 33
4 Where Have All the Menstrual Huts Gone? The Invisibility of Menstrual Seclusion in the Late Prehistoric Southeast 47
5 Changing Venue: Women's Lives in Prehistoric North America 65
6 Warfare, Women, and Households: The Development of Iroquois Culture 88
7 Changes in Regional Exchange Relationships During the Pithouse-to-Pueblo Transition in the American Southwest: Implications for Gender Roles 100
8 Gender, Diet, Health, and Social Status in the Mississippian Powers Phase Turner Cemetery Population 119
9 The Archaeology of Maize, Pots, and Seashells: Gender Dynamics in Late Woodland and Contact-Period New England 136
10 Weaving and the Iconography of Prestige: The Royal Gender Symbolism of Lord 5 Flower's/Lady 4 Rabbit's Family 153
11 The Third Gender in Native California: Two-Spirit Undertakers Among the Chumash and Their Neighbors 173
12 Gendered Goods: The Symbolism of Maya Hierarchical Exchange Relations 189
13 Earth Mothers, Warriors, Horticulturists, Artists, and Chiefs: Women Among the Mississippian and Mississippian-Oneota Peoples, A.D. 1211 to 1750 211
14 Figurines and Social Identities in Early Sedentary Societies of Coastal Chiapas, Mexico, 1550-800 b.c 227
References Cited 249
Contributors 291
Index 293
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