Session: #343

Theme & Session Format

6. Material culture studies and societies
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

The Rise of Patriarchy. An Archaeological View [AGE]
Social injustice and environmental destruction are linked to patriarchal capitalist societies in the current global social discourse. Some decolonial feminists have even claimed that patriarchy did not really exist outside Europe before the advent of modern colonialism. Such discourse usually ignores archaeological research demonstrating that patriarchal systems appeared in different regions of the world long before the modern era. Gerda Lerner’s famous book ‘The Creation of Patriarchy’ situated its emergence in ancient Mesopotamia and made use of archaeological and written sources to support her thesis. Since then, other archaeological and anthropological works have provided explanations for the emergence of patriarchy and documented its presence in prehistoric and/or oral societies with the help of material culture.
We contend that archaeology has much to offer to the current debate on patriarchy and welcome discussions and case studies from all over the world that include (but are not limited to) one or more of the following issues:
What is patriarchy and how can we identify it using material culture? How can developments in different regions be recorded and reconstructed using archaeological methods?
Are there regions where turning points in the formation of patriarchy are recorded?
Are there cases where patriarchy existed without a material correlate that can be identified archaeologically?
How are patriarchy and material culture inter-related?
What is the relationship between patriarchy and gender? How does patriarchy create and sustain gender norms? How do people go work around them and what are the consequences? How are masculinity and femininity constructed under patriarchal systems?
Are unequal gender systems always patriarchal? Are there non-patriarchal unequal societies? Are there unequal societies without unequal gender?
gender, inequality, social archaeology, theory, material culture
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:
Session associated with CAA:
Session associated with DGUF:
Session associated with other:
EAA community Archaeology and Gender in Europe (AGE)


Main organiser:
Julia Koch (Germany) 1
Sandra Montón-Subias (Spain) 2
Natalia Berseneva (Russia) 3
Uroš Matic (Austria) 4
Tove Hjørungdal (Sweden) 5
1. Keltenwelt am Glauberg
2. Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona
3. Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences Chelyabinsk
4. Austrian Archaeological Institute Vienna
5. University of Gothenburg