The 89th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2020)


Session 42. The Hidden Lives of Women: An Exploration of Women’s Roles and Life Histories in Ancient Times. Invited Poster Symposium. Chair: Christine Lee Co-organizers: Christine Lee, California State University, Los Angeles; Michele Bleuze, California State University, Los Angeles

April 17, 2020 2 p.m. - 5 p.m., Diamond 10 Add to calendar

Women’s identities in past societies were often interpreted through their roles as wives or mothers. Historically, information about their lives were edited or left out, such as their occupations, educational background, and even their own names. This has created a shallow, homogeneous and incomplete narrative of women in antiquity. Women’s lived experiences, however, were much broader, varied, and complex than many of these perspectives reveal. The main goal of this symposium is to recover some of this missing information. The research presented covers diverse theoretical frameworks and new methodological approaches aimed at examining the embodied identities, multidimensional lived experiences, and life histories of women in various past societies. By building on clues from historical accounts, the bioarchaeological record, and the archaeological record, we will uncover women’s roles as religious, ceremonial, governmental, and familial leaders, participants in trade, economy, tributes, and warfare, conduits of knowledge (especially in childbirth and midwifery), and long distance travelers/migrants. In addition, contextual biases will be addressed regarding the assumptions given to the gender associated with burial artifacts , elite burial contexts, what is socially accepted as women’s work, and that women’s work is not equal to traditionally defined men’s work. Human skeletal remains provide a rich cache of sociocultural and biological information, with the potential to uncover a more complete and balanced narrative. Hopefully this symposium will encourage scholars to take a closer look at the contribution of women to their respective sociocultural regions. This preliminary attempt at reclaiming women’s places in history has value in itself and in how we approach contemporary women’s issues.

1 Add to calendar Women of Zhenghan: documenting gender inequality based on skeletal assemblages from Eastern Zhou China. Aida Romera Barbera, Kate Pechenkina, Melanie Miller, Sian Halcrow, Wenquan Fan.
2 Add to calendar Sex, gender, and gendered roles among the Purisimeño Chumash: An integrative approach. Michele M. Bleuze.
3 Add to calendar Set apart from within: Articulated women in commingled tombs from Early Bronze Age Arabia. Lesley A. Gregoricka, Jaime M. Ullinger, Alecia Schrenk.
4 Add to calendar Surviving Raids in Small Scale Societies:  Finding Hidden Females Fighters in the Ancient Southwest. Maryann Calleja, Debra L. Martin.
5 Add to calendar Women Warriors among Central California Hunter-Gatherers. Kristen A. Broehl, Marin A. Pilloud, Al W. Schwitalla, Terry L. Jones.
6 Add to calendar Where are the women warriors? Evidence for Gender Equality on the Mongolian Steppe (209 BC-840 AD). Christine Lee, Yahaira Gonzalez.
7 Add to calendar Disputing Patriarchy: A Bioarchaeological Analysis of the Power of Ancient Maya Women. Katherine A. Miller Wolf.
8 Add to calendar Female Fortitude: Exploring the Pivotal Role of Women at the 18th century Fortress of Louisbourg, Canada. Amy B. Scott, Sarah MacInnes.
9 Add to calendar A bioarchaeological investigation of an obstetric death in Ancient China: Exploring the death and burial of an adult female with an infant at Huigou site. ai Zhang, Yawei Zhou, qian Wu, Wanfa Gu, Qingli Wei.
10 Add to calendar Fertility Magic and Childbirth During a Malaria Epidemic: An examination of sixty burials from a Roman infant cemetery. Jordan A. Wilson, Sierra W. Malis, David G. Pickel.
11 Add to calendar Female mobility networks in Central Europe during the Middle Ages: implications on the spread of cultural relationships through migration. Corey S. Ragsdale, Johnathan Justice, Petr Velemínský.
12 Add to calendar A biochemical approach to women’s identities and migration in the Moquegua Valley, Peru during the later LIP (ca. 1250-1476 CE). Danielle E. Carmody, Benjamin J. Schaefer, Bethany L. Turner, Nicola O. Sharratt.
13 Add to calendar Social Identities of Tributes during the Late Horizon (1470-1532 CE) in the Lambayeque Valley, Peru. Benjamin J. Schaefer, Bethany L. Turner.
14 Add to calendar She Knows Her Stuff: Modern and Ancient Expert Craftswomen in the Andes. Sara K. Becker.