Browsing All posts tagged under »bioarchaeology«

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 […]

“The Materiality of Everyday Life”: Commentary

April 29, 2012

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Back from the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, this year held in Memphis. I had been invited to be one of two discussants for a session organized by Cynthia Robin, professor anthropology at Northwestern University, and Lisa Overholtzer, finishing her PhD dissertation there. For me, the pleasure of seeing these colleagues, and […]

Where the Girls Are, Roman Edition

November 12, 2011

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Once upon a time, the kinds of things we could know about ancient populations were highly generalized. Now, through the work of people like Kristina Killgrove, that is changing– and you can be part of making it happen. I couldn’t be more happy. A while ago (a loong while ago) I started writing a blog […]

Dead babies still are bad evidence for a Roman brothel

August 9, 2011

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Last year I asked the rhetorical question “Are dead babies good evidence for a Roman brothel?” My post rehearsed a number of reasons to be skeptical of the widely reported story about a Roman British site being described as a brothel. Centrally, I objected to the claim that Roman women had “little or no access […]

“Exploring Sex and Gender in Bioarchaeology”: Some comments

April 2, 2011

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Just back from the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, where I had the pleasure of being a discussant on a session organized by Sabrina Agarwal and Julie Wesp. Since my comments run to 2200 words, no way to post them and no point either– who would read them? But here are some […]

British, Roman, or African? On race, ethnicity, and nationality

January 26, 2011

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The past was not full of homogeneous towns. People in the past were not uniform in their cultures, their sexualities, or their subjective experiences. If I have one goal in my teaching– one goal in my writing– it would be to get that point across, so that finding difference in past populations would be expected, […]

“The Woman of Las Palmas” and “Eve of Naharon”

July 30, 2010

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“She peeks out of the picture as a short, spry-looking woman with slightly graying hair”. This is how the AP described the widely reported reconstruction based on the 10,000 year old skeleton of a woman, recovered by archaeologists in northeastern Yucatan, Mexico. As I read the multiple news stories and blog posts inspired by the […]

Written in the bones: woman gladiator or upwardly mobile peasant?

July 4, 2010

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Or maybe not. The BBC headline blares Female ‘gladiator’ remains found in Herefordshire and the alarm in my head goes off. Are there weapons, are there any of the things specific to gladiators? well, no. So what’s the real story here? The lead: the archaeologists “have found the grave of a massive, muscular woman”. And […]

“Lady Di of the 10th century?”: Poor Eadgyth!

June 17, 2010

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“She was a beautiful English princess who married one of Europe’s most powerful monarchs and dazzled subjects with her charity and charm.” Thus did AP reporter Raphael G. Satter start a widely-reproduced story in January that the LA Daily News headline writer reduced to “Lady Di of the 10th Century“.  (The Huffington Post more soberly […]

Native North America: from bodies to practices

May 2, 2010

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The last case study that I incorporate into the middle section of my course, Archaeology of Sex and Gender, draws on the archaeological, bioarchaeological, historical and ethnographic record from Native North America. The emphasis on the widest possible range of disciplinary perspectives is critical, to remind students of the differences in perspectives and methods that […]

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