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Challenges and perspectives for women’s studies in past populations: presentation of the WomenSOFar ANR project

Enjeux et perspectives sur l’étude des femmes dans les populations anciennes : présentation du projet ANR WomenSOFar
Gwénaëlle Goude, Guillaume Leduc, Stéphane Rottier et The WomenSOFar ANR project consortium

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1The WomenSOFar ANR project (2022-2026; ANR-21-CE03- 0008; Individual life histories and WOMEN Status at the Onset of FARming. Bioarchaeological perspectives in the French and Mediterranean Prehistoric context) proposes to discuss the place of women in first farmers’ communities by using a multidisciplinary approach and by integrating sociobiological perspectives. It aims at deciphering how individuals move, eat, care for and work and combines previous and new dataset on bioanthropology, biogeochemistry, bioarchaeology and archaeology. The project focuses on specific questions as: 1) Does maternal/allomaternal investment and food transfers differ according to their own experience and local subsistence economy? 2) Does parental/alloparental investment lead to female vs. male social distinction as early as childhood? Does a timing/pattern exist to get the role of "female" or "male" into these communities? 3) Why do women migrate differently from men and how does it influences their diet and its diversity? 4) Are women involved in specific activities affecting their health and morphology? Does this exist in connection with their place of origin? Does it have an impact on their diet/the emergence of their childhood socialization? The project investigates human remains and their cultural contexts from several sites located in different natural environments in France and North Africa, mainly dated to the 5th millennium BCE. Skeletal and dental records, cross-sectional geometry of long bones, multi-element isotope ratios, funerary records, dental calculus micro-remains and microbiome and kinship data will be compared. Examples of previous researches using this multidisciplinary approach illustrates the risk/gain of such study; among other things, data allowed to identify female individuals with specific life history and mobility pattern and male individuals with possible "disadvantaged" status. WomenSOFar expects to provide a new vision of the diversity and mutability of women status in Prehistoric times at the onset of major societal disruptions.

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Gwénaëlle Goude, Guillaume Leduc, Stéphane Rottier et The WomenSOFar ANR project consortium, « Challenges and perspectives for women’s studies in past populations: presentation of the WomenSOFar ANR project »Bulletins et mémoires de la Société d’Anthropologie de Paris [En ligne], 35(S) | 2023, mis en ligne le 14 janvier 2023, consulté le 21 avril 2024. URL : ; DOI :

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Gwénaëlle Goude

UMR 7269 LAMPEA, CNRS, Minist Culture, Aix-en-Provence, France

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Guillaume Leduc

UMR 7330 CEREGE, Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, IRD, Collège de France, INRAE, Aix en Provence, France

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Stéphane Rottier

UMR 5199 PACEA, CNRS, Université de Bordeaux, Ministère de la Culture, Pessac, France

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The WomenSOFar ANR project consortium

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Le texte seul est utilisable sous licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Les autres éléments (illustrations, fichiers annexes importés) sont « Tous droits réservés », sauf mention contraire.

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