Episode 108: How are archaeologists reinterpreting prehistoric mobility and gender identity in more nuanced ways?
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On today's episode, Dr. Catherine Frieman (Australian National University) is on the show to talk about archaeological theory, gender identity and the role of women in prehistory, and the current state of public engagement in archaeogenetics and archaeology.
With reference to the 'Egtved' individual, dating to the Nordic Bronze Age (c. 1390–1370 BCE), Cate helps us understand the history of archaeological thought surrounding the role of women in European prehistory. Not so long ago, a binary approach to interpreting sex and gender in the past sees women as passive in Bronze Age social economies. Her work and those of her colleagues challenge the field now to reintepret whether there is evidence that supports an assumption of heteronormativity, a lack of agency on the part of women, and whether drawing links between gender and idenity, status and economic roles are all that simple and unnuanced.
We also talk about aDNA analyses, and the loadedness of certain terms and ideas about the past genetic researchers have presented in recent decades. When it comes to migration narratives, or interpretations that speak about group belonging or unbelonging, Cate argues that it is important for archaeological scientists to take care in their communications. How can we ensure are not misinterpreted or misappropriated by racist and far-right readers of archaeogenetic studies?
You can find more information in the show notes under the episode on our website.
Cate is on Twitter if anyone has questions for her!
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