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A critical analysis of the evidence for sexual division of tasks in the European Upper Paleolithic.

Abstract : This chapter provides a critical analysis of the evidence for technical activity specialization in the European Upper Paleolithic by sex. It reviews the arguments based on the kind of evidence researchers are likely to collect (e.g., direct, indirect, and analogical). Some hypotheses are based on suppositions generated by ethnographic comparisons, while others rely on direct or indirect indices (task diversification, activity zone locations, skill level identification, diversity of grave goods, and body evidence like handprints and skeletons). The aim of this chapter is to show that there was a reasoned distribution of activities within groups, accompanied by an emerging social hierarchy, but that it is very difficult to account exactly for what women and men did. And even if we suspect that some tasks were respectively performed by males or females, it is possible that there was also a certain amount of technical specialization that was not related to gender.
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Contributor : Sophie A. de Beaune <>
Submitted on : Thursday, June 11, 2020 - 10:47:04 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - 10:22:09 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 2:20:26 PM


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Sophie A. de Beaune. A critical analysis of the evidence for sexual division of tasks in the European Upper Paleolithic.. K. A. Overmann et F. L. Coolidge. Squeezing Minds from Stones: Cognitive Archaeology & the Evolution of the Human Mind., Oxford University Press, p. 376-405, 2019. ⟨halshs-02780243⟩



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