Session: #353

Theme & Session Format

Archaeological theory and methods beyond paradigms
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Let's Talk about Sex
The socio-theoretical as well as the bio-medical research of recent years has revealed the complexity of the categories «sex» and «gender». Biological sex is not only shaped on different levels (chromosomal, gonadal, hormonal, epigenetical) but the manifestation of sex characteristics can – because of their polygenic regulation and the variety of influencing factors – be highly variable. The binary model of the sexes, which is prevalent in many countries of the Western world, represents only one possible way in which a society may translate the different manifestations of sex characteristics into the cultural sphere of gender. The category «gender», in the sense of a description of observations about the handling of the dead, mortuary rites as well as any accompanying artefacts in relation to bio(archaeo-)logical sex indicators – is a central topic of modern archaeological interpretation. The focus of this session lies on the interdisciplinary examination of the implications of these new findings for established concepts of «sex» and «gender» especially when reflecting those concepts against the backdrop of the social structures of past societies.
sex, gender, mortuary archaeology, archaeological theory
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Main organiser:
Laura Rindlisbacher (Switzerland) 1
Nicole Nicklisch (Austria) 2
1. Integrative Prehistory and Archeological Science, University of Basel
2. Danube Private University