Planned object

Title: Where do we stand? Exploring the contours of gendered archaeology


Pawleta, Michał

Date issued/created:


Resource Type:



Archaeologia Polona Vol. 44 (2006)


Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology Polish Academy of Sciences

Place of publishing:



24 cm


Feminist and gender theory has been infiltrating into archaeological theory since the 1980s. This paper traces the development of gender archaeology and aims to look at the current state of affairs. Gender archaeology has progressed from indicating male bias in archaeological writ-ing through hinting at the centrality of women in the past to establishing a rough outline of gender theory. However, the study of gender in archaeology has been constructed for the most part as the study of women. With the advent of third-wave feminism the situation has changed radically. Third-wave feminists reacted against the woman-centered tendency of much of the existing gender archaeology by rejecting essentialist definitions of women and emphasizing differences between them. Thus, they positioned gender as relational to a host of other social factors such as class, ethnicity, age, sexuality, etc. Consistent with the plurality and difference of third-wave feminism in archaeology are masculinist and queer theory. The author considers the impact of these new concerns which attempt to eliminate boundaries set up by gender archaeologies. Thus, the author explores the adoption and implications of these approaches by gender archaeology in the ways they address gender, sex, body, sexuality and/or identity. Finally, the author also suggests that interpolation of issues raised by third-wave feminists, masculinist and queer theorists offers a more representative picture of life in the past and a more dynamic relationship between the present and the past


Brooks, A. 1997. Postfeminism. Feminism, cultural theory and cultural forms. London-New York
Butler, J. 1990. Gender trouble: feminism and the subversion of identity. New York-London
Butler, J. 1993. Bodies that matter. On the discursive limits of "sex". New York-London
Casella, E.C. 2000. "Doing trade": a sexual economy of nineteenth-century Australian female convict prison. World Archaeology 32(2): 209-21
Claassen, C. 1992. Questioning gender: an introduction. In Exploring gender through archaeology: selec-ted papers from the 1991 Boone Conference, C. Claassen (ed.), 1-10. Madison
Claassen, C. 1994. (ed.) Women in archaeology. Philadelphia
Conkey, M.W. and J.M. Gero. 1991. Tensions, pluralities, and engendering archaeology: and introduc-tion to women and prehistory. In J.M. Gero and M.W. Conkey (eds), 3-30
Conkey, M.W. and J.M. Gero. 1997. Programme to practice: gender and feminism in archaeology. Annual Review of Anthropology 26: 411-37
Conkey, M.W. and J. Spector. 1984. Archaeology and the study of gender. In Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory 7, M. Schiffer (ed.), 1-38. New York
Connell, R.W. 1995. Masculinities. Berkeley-Los Angeles
Díaz-Andreu, M. and M.L.S. Sorensen (eds) 1998. Excavating women: a history of women in European archaeology. London
Dowson, T.A. 2000a. Why queer archaeology? An introduction. World Archaeology 32(2): 161-5
Dowson, T.A. 2000b. Homosexuality, queer theory and archaeology. In Interpretive archaeology. A reader, J. Thomas (ed.), 282-9. London-New York
Dzieduszycki, W. and J. Wrzesiński (eds) 2003. Kobieta — śmierć — mężczyzna. Funeralia Lednickie, Spotkanie 5. Poznań
Dzieduszycki, W. and J. Wrzesiński 2004. Dusza maluczka, a strata ogromna. Funeralia Lednickie, Spotkanie 6. Poznań
Fisher, G. and D.D. Loren. 2003. Introduction: embodying identity in archaeology. Cambridge Archaeo-logical Journal 13(2): 225-30
Foucault, M. 2000. Historia seksualności. Warsaw
Fowler, C. 2002. Body parts: personhood and materiality in the earlier Manx Neolithic. In Y. Hamilakis, M. Pluciennik and S. Tarlow (eds), 47-69
Fowler, C., 2003. The archaeology of personhood. An anthropological approach. London-New York
Foxhall, L. and J. Salmon (eds) 1998. Thinking men: masculinity and its self-representation in the Classical tradition. London
Gero, J.M. and M.W. Conkey (eds) 1991. Engendering archaeology: women and prehistory. Oxford
Gibbs, L. 1987. Identifying gender representation in the archaeological record: a contextual study. In The archaeology of contextual meaning, I. Hodder (ed.), 79-87. Cambridge
Gilchrist, R. 1991. Women's archaeology? Political feminism, gender theory and historical revision. Antiquity 65: 495-501
Gilchrist, R. 1994. Gender and material culture. The archaeology of religious women. London-New York
Gilchrist, R. 1999. Gender and archaeology. Contesting the past. London-New York
Gilchrist, R. 2003. Archaeology and the life cycle: a time and age for gender. A companion to social archaeology, L. Meskell and R.W. Preucel (eds), 142-60. Oxford
Gilchrist, R. (ed.) 2000. Lifecycles. World Archaeology 31(3)
Grauer, A.L. and P. Stuart-Macadam (eds) 1998. Sex and gender in paleopathological perspective. Cambridge
Grosz, E. 1994. Volatile bodies. Toward a corporeal feminism. Bloomington-Sydney
Gutmann, M.C. 1997. Trafficking in men: the anthropology of masculinity. Annual Review of Anthropology 26: 385-409
Halperin, D.M. 1995. Saint Foucault: towards a gay hagiography. New York
Hamilakis, Y., M. Pluciennik and S. Tarlow (eds) 2002. Thinking through the body. Archaeologies of corporeality. New York-Boston-Dordrecht-London-Moscow
Herdt, G. (ed.) 1994. Third sex, third gender: beyond sexual dimorphism in culture and history. New York
Hollimon, S.E. 1997. The third gender in Native California: two-spirit undertakers among the Chumash and their neighbours. In Women in prehistory: North America and Mesoamerica, C. Claassen and R.A. Joyce (eds), 173-88. Philadelphia
James, A., C. Jenks and A. Prout 1998. Theorizing childhood. Cambridge
Jenks, C. 1996. Childhood. London
Joyce, R.A. 2000a. Girling the girl and boying the boy: the production of adulthood in ancient Meso-america. World Archaeology 31(3): 473-83
Joyce, R.A. 2000b. A Precolumbian gaze: male sexuality among Ancient Maya. In Archaeologies of sexuality, R.A. Schmidt and B.L. Voss (eds), 263-83. London-New York
Joyce, R.A. 2001. Negotiating sex and gender in Classic Maya society. In Gender in Pre-Hispanic America, C.F. Klein (ed.), 109-41. Washington
Joyce, R.A. 2003. Embodied subjectivity: gender, femininity, masculinity, sexuality. In A companion to social archaeology, L. Meskell and R.W. Preucel (eds), 82-95. Oxford
Joyce, R.A. 2005. Archaeology of the body. Annual Review of Anthropology 34(1): 139-58
Joyce, R.A. and C. Claassen. 1997. Women in the ancient Americas: archaeologists, gender, and the making of prehistory. In Women in prehistory: North America and Mesoamerica, C. Claassen and R.A. Joyce (eds), 1-14. Philadelphia
Kamp, C. 2001. Where have all the children gone?: the archaeology of childhood. Journal of Archaeo-logical Method and Theory 8(1): 1-34
Knapp, B.A. 1998. Who's come a long way, babe? Archaeological Dialogues 5(2): 91-106
Knapp, B.A. and L. Meskell. 1997. Bodies of evidence in Cypriot prehistory. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 7(2): 183-204
Lesick, K.S. 1997. Re-engendering gender: some theoretical and methodological concerns on a burgeoning archaeological pursuit. In J. Moore and E. Scott (eds), 31-41
Lillehammer, G. 1989. Achild is born: the child's world in an archaeological perspective. Norwegian Archaeological Review 22: 89-105
Lillehammer, G. 2000. The world of children. In J. Sofaer Derevenski (ed.), 17-26
Lorentz, K.O. 2003. The cultures of physical modifications. Child bodies in ancient Cyprus. Stanford- Journal ofArchaeology 2. http://archaeology.stanford.edu/journal/newdraft/2003_Journal/Lorentz/ paper.pdf
Matthews, K. 2000. The material culture of the homosexual male: a case for archaeological explora-tion. In Gender and material culture in archaeological perspective, M. Donald and L. Hurcombe (eds), 3-19. London
Meskell, L. 1996. The somatization of archaeology: institutions, discourses, corporeality. Norwegian Archaeological Review 29(1): 193-216
Meskell, L. 1998. The irresistible body and the seduction of archaeology. In Changing bodies, changing meanings: Studies on the human body in Antiquity, D. Montserrat (ed.), 139-61. London
Meskell, L. 1999. Archaeologies of social life; age, sex, class et cetera in Ancient Egypt. Oxford
Meskell, L. 2000a. Writing the body in archaeology. In A.E. Rautman (ed.), 13-21
Meskell, L. 2000b. Re-em(bed)ding sex. Domesticity, sexuality, and ritual in New Kingdom Egypt. In Archaeologies of sexuality, R.A. Schmidt and B.L. Voss (eds), 253-62. London-New York
Meskell, L. 2001. Archaeologies of identity. In Archaeological theory today, I. Hodder (ed.), 187-213. Cambridge
Meskell, L. 2002. The intersections of identity and politics in archaeology. Annual Review of Anthropology 31: 279-301
Meskell, L. and R.A. Joyce. 2003. Embodied lives. Figuring ancient Maya and Egyptian experience. London
Moore, J. and E. Scott (eds) 1997. Invisible people and processes. Writing gender and childhood into European archaeology. London-New York
Nelson, S.M. 1997. Gender in archaeology. Analyzing power and prestige. Walnut Creek
Nelson, M.C., S.M. Nelson and A. Wylie (eds) 1994. Equity issues for women in archaeology. Archaeo-logical Papers of the American Anthropological Association 5
Nordbladh J. and T. Yates. 1990. This perfect body, this virgin text: between sex and gender in archaeo-logy. In Archaeology after structuralism, I. Bapty and T. Yates (eds), 222-37. London
Perry, E.M. and R.A. Joyce. 2001. Providing a past for "bodies that matter": Judith Butler's impact on the archaeology of gender. International Journal of Sexuality and Gender Studies 6(1-2): 63-76
Rautman, A.E. (ed.) 2000. Reading the body. Representations and remains in the archaeological record. Philadelphia
Roberts, C. 1993. A critical approach to gender as a category of analysis in archaeology. In Women in archaeology: a feminist critique, H. du Cros and L. Smith (eds), 16-21. Canberra
Rubin, G. 1975. The traffic in women: notes on the 'political economy' of sex. In Toward an anthropo-logy of women, R.R. Reiter (ed.), 157-210. New York
Scott, E. 1997. Introduction: On the incompleteness of archaeological narratives. In J. Moore and E. Scott (eds), 1-14. London-New York
Scott, E. 1999. The archaeology of infancy and infant death. Oxford
Schmidt, R.A. 2000. Shamans and northern cosmology: the direct historical approach to Mesoli-thic sexuality. In Archaeologies of sexuality, R.A. Schmidt and B.L. Voss (eds), 220-35. London -New York
Seifert, D.J., E.B. O'Brien and J. Balicki 2000. Mary Ann Hall's first-class house: the archaeology of a capital brothel. In Archaeologies of sexuality, R.A. Schmidt and B.L. Voss (eds), 117-28. London-New York
Shilling, C. 1993. The body and social theory. London
Sofaer Derevenski, J. 1997a. Age and gender at the Tiszapolgár-Basatanya, Hungary. Antiquity 71: 875-89
Sofaer Derevenski, J. 1997b. Linking age and gender as social variables. Ethnographisch-Archäologische Zeitschrift 38: 485—93
Sofaer Derevenski, J. 2004. The materiality of age: osteoarchaeology, objects, and the contingency of human development. Ethnographisch-Archäologische Zeitschrift 45(2—3): 165—80
Sofaer Derevenski, J. (ed.) 2000. Children and material culture. London—New York
Sørensen, M.L.S. 1997. Reading dress: the construction of social categories and identities in Bronze Age Europe. Journal of European Archaeology 5(1): 93—114
Sørensen, M.L.S. 2000. Gender archaeology. Cambridge
Stoodley, N. 2000. From the cradle to the grave: age organization and the early Anglo-Saxon burial rite. World Archaeology 31(3): 456-72
Thomas, J. 2002. Archaeology's humanism and the materiality of the body. In Y. Hamilakis, M. Plu-ciennik and S. Tarlow (eds), 29—45
Thomas, J. 2004. Archaeology and modernity. London-New York
Treherne, P. 1995. The warrior's beauty: the masculine body and self-identity in Bronze-Age Europe. Journal of European Archaeology 3: 105—44
Voss, B.L. 2000. Feminism, queer theories, and the archaeological study of past sexualities. World Archaeology 32(2): 180—92
Voss, B.L. 2003. Sexology, the sex/gender system, and performativity: theoretical paradigms in Anglo-American sexuality studies and their implications for archaeological research. Paper presented at the World Archaeological Congress, Washington DC, 22 June 2003
Voss, B.L. and R.A. Schmidt. 2000. Archaeologies of sexuality: an introduction. In Archaeologies of sexuality, R.A. Schmidt and B.L. Voss (eds), 1—32. London—New York
Walde, D. and N.D. Willows (eds) 1991. The archaeology of gender: proceedings of the twenty-second annual Conference of the Archaeological Association of the University of Calgary. Calgary
Watson, P.J. and M.C. Kennedy 1991. The development of horticulture in the Eastern Woodlands of North America: women's role. In J.M. Gero and M.W. Conkey (eds), 255—75
Williams, S.J. and G. Bendelow 1998. The lived body. Sociological themes, embodied issues. London —New York
Witz, A. 2000. Whose body matters? Feminist sociology and the corporeal turn in sociology and feminism. Body and Society 6(2): 1—24
Wylie, A. 1991. Gender theory and the archaeological record: why is there no archaeology of gender. In J.M. Gero and M.W. Conkey (eds), 31—54
Wylie, A. 1997. The engendering of archaeology. Refiguring feminist science studies. Osiris 12: 80—99
Yates, T. 1993. Frameworks for an archaeology of the body. In Interpretative archaeology, C. Tilley (ed.), 131—72. Providence—Oxford
Zihlman, A.L. 1978. Women in evolution. Part II: subsistence and social organisation among early hominids. Signs 4(I): 4—20


Archaeologia Polona



Start page:


End page:




Resource Identifier:



IAiE PAN, call no. P 357 ; IAiE PAN, call no. P 358 ; IAiE PAN, call no. P 356 ; click here to follow the link



Terms of use:

Copyright-protected material. May be used within the limits of statutory user freedoms

Digitizing institution:

Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Original in:

Library of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Edition name Date

This page uses 'cookies'. More information