Browsing All Posts filed under »archaeology«

Women as Leaders in Early Christianity: Fairy Tales?

November 21, 2013

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When I find myself approving of the Daily Mail, I have to pause and ask what in the world is going on. But that is precisely where I find myself: feeling like the Daily Mail, for once, is not sensationalizing a story with its headlines on the reopening of Rome’s Catacombs of Priscilla: Do these […]

Bonampak Sex Change: From Heir to Heiress

October 28, 2013

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An article in the Mexican newspaper La Cronica de Hoy reported last Thursday on a new book being presented in Mexico this week, The Spectacle of the Late Maya Court: Reflections on the Murals of Bonampak. Written by art historians Mary Ellen Miller and Claudia Brittenham, the book builds on a long-term project by Miller […]

Law of the Conservation of Gender

October 22, 2013

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Think of it as like the law of the conservation of momentum: the gender in a system is constant if there is no external force acting on the system. Here’s how it works: burial discovered with two skeletons; spear near one interpreted as evidence for that body being male. Analysis of bones show that this […]

Ancient Women Are Confusing

September 16, 2013

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At least, they are when they show up in positions of power. On Wednesday September 11, Fox News published a report, originally by the AFP, about the discovery of the tomb of Shangguan Wan’er, a Tang dynasty imperial bureaucrat in the Chinese court of Empress Wu Zetian. AFP is the credited source for Fox. But […]

Powerful Women Existed in Moche Society: Now Move On

August 9, 2013

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How long does it take for us to not be surprised that powerful women exist? I wonder about that question a lot: every time the tomb or portrait of a woman of the noble class in Classic Maya society is found, we hear about how surprising it is that there were powerful women. Usually, this […]

Sacrificial Virgins: Sex, Violence, and Imagination

August 7, 2013

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What is it with men who see sacrificed women and immediately begin to fantasize about their beauty and virginity? This was the story told about the Maya “Sacred Well”, the Cenote at Chichen Itza, as popularized by an interview Alma Reed conducted with Edward Thompson,  in 1923 in the New York Times, where Reed wrote […]

Amazing Grace: Deep Histories of Black Freedom in the US

July 26, 2013

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“She’s amazing, to be quite frank”. With that opinion, expressed by an archaeologist working on a site in Maryland’s Talbot County, I can only agree. Grace Brooks is amazing, and we should know more about her– and her family, friends and neighbors. Now, thanks to new archaeological work, we will. When she died in 1810, […]

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