Browsing All posts tagged under »history«

Debatable terms: “marriage”

February 5, 2012

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This one is going to be very meta: the focus of my discussion is my own writing in another blog. In response to a provocation from a politician with a loose hold on historical facts, yesterday I posted (on What Makes Us Human) a deconstruction of his claim that “marriage” had been a relationship between […]

Nuns with Dirty Dishes

January 29, 2012

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Archaeologists seem to have a love/hate relationship with sexuality. We are wary of the easy projection of modern sexual identification onto objects made in very different contexts in the past.  On the other hand, while sexualization is a form of exoticization, so, of course, is de-sexualization. What got me started thinking about the balancing act […]

Honoring Janus, looking backward and forward

January 2, 2012

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Happy New Year! Ever wonder why January 1 is observed as New Year’s Day in the Gregorian calendar? I went on a journey to find a rationale for this unusual choice; biased by years of studying ancient Mesoamerica, I found it odd that with the winter solstice so close, the year began at an apparently […]

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 […]

Bone deep: sex and the skeleton

August 27, 2011

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I have been waiting to see how long it would take the mainstream press to make the obvious joke about news the New York Times recently reported,  that a protein called osteocalcin, which is produced by bone-forming cells called osteoblasts, binds to a specific receptor on cells of the testes. Male mice that were unable […]

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 […]

Body Histories: “Expressive muscles” and women’s fatigue

July 8, 2011

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“Any doctor who saw how even experienced female athletes collapsed and were lying on the ground after the race could not support this kind of athletic competition for women.” Norwegian historian Kerstin Bornholdt cites this statement, by a German doctor, H. Franzmeyer, reacting to what he saw as the unsuitable participation by women in the […]

Making a Mark: From Graffiti by Coptic Nuns to Blogging

April 23, 2011

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Every scholar knows that professional conferences are where new research is first reported. By the time most research makes it into print, it is old news to us. Stories in the media can sometimes cut the time lag, either because a project circulates a press release, or there is a press center for the organization […]

Sex work and archaeology

March 5, 2011

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Why are brothels such a common focus of archaeologies of gender? This question was spurred by reading the most recent news coverage about research directed by Mary Beaudry of Boston University on artifacts recovered at the Mill Pond site during the “Big Dig”, massive excavations that were required to place freeways underground. Back in October […]

Collateral damage: Egyptian archaeology

February 5, 2011

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What are we to make of reports that “one of the few ancient Egyptian tombs devoted solely to a woman”, the tomb of Maia, wet nurse to Tutankhamun, was “completely destroyed”? First, I would not want to over-react, or be drawn into what is essentially a reactionary script that elevates the importance of things over […]