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UnMan HiStory: Establishing womanhood in the Early Bronze Age

UnMan HiStory : définir la féminité à l’âge du bronze ancien
Sabrina Autenrieth

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1Narratives of the Bronze Age portray men as strong warriors, hunters, princes or chiefs. Women, on the other hand, are portrayed as dependent wives whose main contributions appear to be childcare, cooking, weaving, or making pottery. As a result, the biological coincidence that an individual is female restricts their roles within the Bronze Age society and makes their social position more passive and seemingly less significant. In addition, archaeological research succumbs to the misconception that gender was a binary concept in Bronze Age societies. This misconception is often expressed in how scholars recreate social roles with the help of certain object categories. While the emergence of bronze and other metalwork certainly created different hierarchical structures within groups, the common idea of an unambiguous sexual distinction in labour is a construct we now have to tackle. This paper will explore what grounds our understanding of Bronze Age societies in Central Europe is based on and investigate, with the help of anthropological data and Network Analysis, whether our current knowledge represents past reality.

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Sabrina Autenrieth, « UnMan HiStory: Establishing womanhood in the Early Bronze Age »Bulletins et mémoires de la Société d’Anthropologie de Paris [En ligne], 35(S) | 2023, mis en ligne le 14 janvier 2023, consulté le 28 janvier 2023. URL : ; DOI :

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Sabrina Autenrieth

Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands ; UMR 5199 PACEA, CNRS, Université de Bordeaux, Ministère de la Culture, Pessac, France

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