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Lecture 6

ANTHROP 1AA3 Lecture 6: Week 4: Lecture 1


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTHROP 1AA3
Professor
Tristan Carter
Lecture
6

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How do we know the sex of past peoples?
Rely on physical remains
Skeletons (preservation)
Teeth/hair
Genetics (DNA)
Why do skeletal features differ by sex?
Hormonally controlled
Sex hormones (estrogen, testosterone etc) increase at puberty
Not evident in infants/children
Varies within a population and between populations
Best Places on the Skeleton to Determine Sex
Cranium (#2)
Male chins square, female chins rounded
Pelvis (#1)
Females have wider pubic inlet
Different-shaped pubic arch
Low and broad
Males: high and narrow
Other bones (#3)
Height (by sex) bimodal distribution
Vertical Diameter of the Head:
Females <43mm
Undetermined 44-46mm
Males >47mm
Length of humerus
Epicondylar width
Limits of Skeletal Method to Determine Sex
Issue of individual’s age
Pre-adolescents’ bodies less distinct
infants/children = ???
Issues of preservation
If youjust’ have teeth
Some claim statistically significant size difference
Focus on incisor
Crown dimensions/length
Others less sure
If you just’ have teeth OR hair …
Genetic data (DNA)
Chromosomal data
Tells us sex of individual
How do we know about past gender roles?
Text: bias issues, doesn’t always deal with masses
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Iconography: rarely depicts ‘the masses’/propaganda
Bioarchaeology: how were the dead disposed?
Main insight of roles via body
Archaeology of death: cultural specific customs
Grave foods - index of gender roles?
Case Study: Reconstructing gender roles at Abu Hureyra
Transition to agriculture
Hunting & wild cereals
Who performed tasks?
162 burials - good sample
Seek activity-specific stress markers on bones
Prehistoric RSI
Focus on joint wear/tear
On upper vertebrae (neck)
Strains from carrying heavy loads on head
Grain, game, mudbricks?
Main adolescents
Male and female
On arms (biceps), knee, toe
RSI from squatting/grinding
Women = cereal workers
Case Study: Hunters at Nemrik
Cereals and hunting
162 burials - good sample
Pattern of developed gluteal and adductor muscles
Muscles from running
Related to chasing quarry
Men and women
Determining Gender Roles with Archaeology: patterns in association of sexed burials
with specific types/sets of material culture
Need a skeleton (or parts)
preservation/practice
Need ‘grave goods’
Need good sample size
Acidic soils - no skeletons
Case Study: The ‘Chief of Varna’
5th mill. BC (Bulgaria)
Richest tomb in prehistoric Europe
Represents ‘maleness, or ‘status’?
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