Over the next six decades, Czech archeologists expanded the excavations at Dolní Ve vstonice, painstakingly combing the site square meter by square meter. By the 1990s they had unearthed thousands of bone, stone, and clay artifacts and had wrested 19 radiocarbon dates from wood charcoal that sprinkled camp floors. And they had shaded and refined their portrait of Ice Age life. Between 29,000 and 25,000 years ago, they concluded, wandering bands had passed the cold months of the year repeatedly at Dolní Ve vstonice. Armed with short-range spears, the men appeared to have been specialists in hunting tusk-wielding mammoths and other big game, hauling home great mountains of meat to feed their dependent mates and children. At night men feasted on mammoth steaks, fed their fires with mammoth bone, and fueled their sexual fantasies with tiny figurines of women carved from mammoth ivory and fired from clay. It was the ultimate man’s world. Or was it?
Olga Soffer, James Adovasio, and David Hyland now propose that human survival there had little to do with manly men hurling spears at big-game animals.... it depended largely on women, plants, and a technique of hunting previously invisible in the archeological evidence—net hunting.
Net hunting is communal, and it involves the labour of children and women. And this has lots of implications.
Women and children have set snares, laid spring traps, sighted game and participated in animal drives and surrounds—forms of hunting that endangered neither young mothers nor their offspring. They dug starchy roots and collected other plant carbohydrates essential to survival. They even hunted, on occasion, with the projectile points traditionally deemed men’s weapons. I found references to Inuit women carrying bows and arrows, especially the blunt arrows that were used for hunting birds
life back then was a hell of a lot more egalitarian than it was with your later peasant societies...Paleolithic women were pulling their own weight
Before the fifth century b.c., no tribal hunters in Asia or Africa had ever dared make their living from slaying elephants; the great beasts were simply too menacing.... To her surprise, the famous mammoth bone beds were strewn with cumbersome body parts, such as 220-pound skulls, that sensible hunters would generally abandon. Moreover, the bones exhibited widely differing degrees of weathering, as if they had sat on the ground for varying lengths of time. To Soffer, it looked suspiciously as if Upper Paleolithic hunters had simply camped next to places where the pachyderms had perished naturally—such as water holes or salt licks—and mined the bones for raw materials.
But hunters at Dolní Ve vstonice could have set nets of this size to capture hefty Ice Age hares, each carrying some six pounds of meat, and other furbearers such as arctic fox and red fox. As it turns out, the bones of hares and foxes litter camp floors at Dolní Ve vstonice and Pavlov. Indeed, this small game accounts for 46 percent of the individual animals recovered at Pavlov.
In many historical societies, she observes, women played a key part in net hunting since the technique did not call for brute strength nor did it place young mothers in physical peril. Among Australian aborigines, for example, women as well as men knotted the mesh, laboring for as much as two or three years on a fine net. Among native North American groups, they helped lay out their handiwork on poles across a valley floor. Then the entire camp joined forces as beaters.
n light of these findings, Owen suggests that it was women, not men, who brought home most of the calories to Upper Paleolithic families. Indeed, she estimates that if Ice Age females collected plants, bird eggs, shellfish, and edible insects, and if they hunted or trapped small game and participated in the hunting of large game—as northern women did in historical times—they most likely contributed 70 percent of the consumed calories.
Originally posted by Thingol
Not sure if I agree that gender roles are purely social constructs and wrong.....we built civilization to where it is today based on these roles we played in the past[....they had some merit for the times obviously.
Your article also shows that gender roles weren't so cut and dry in the past either. That said, I would add to your statement by stating that forcing a child to act "girly" or "manly" against their will is wrong....not the idea of gender roles in and of itself.
I enjoy a lot of aspects playing the role of a "man". I like carrying something heavy for a woman or holding their hand as they walk across slippery ice in those god-awful pointy, heely shoes that have no grip what-so-ever.
Chivalry is cool, and I like it.
It's a way to show how much we men really appreciate everything women in our lives have done for us, because we LOVE to be nurtured and looked after, well, I do at least.
Anyways, just making the point that your whitewash of gender roles is descriptively inadequate, and needs a little fine tuning to reflect the truth of the matter,
which is so often a theme in opposing viewpoints....the black is wrong, the white is wrong and the truth is hanging out somewhere in the gray area.
Women, as well as men, should be free to pursue their own good in their own way as long as it brings no harm to another.
Originally posted by GreenGlassDoor
Only if you were getting your information from the Flintstones is this article groundbreaking. Otherwise it is fairly consistent with the current viewings of anthropolgy and archaeology.
The view of "natural gender roles" as defined by 'females clinging to males' is a myth and I am unaware of any academic literature that takes that view seriously. Most people get a simplified version of the narrative and never have to suffer through the actual reading in college.
One thing that is important is that male mortality was and is higher. From fetus onward. So while hunting implements are found in male burial mounds, the skeletons of males have rodeo injuries.
In an era before formal medicine a significant injury was a death sentence. These injuries typically coincide with large game hunts, where brute strength played a role in bleeding an animal to death (firearms typically involve killing an animal via hydrostatic shock).
Which ever way you want to spin it, male strength is often more pronounced than female strenght, even after you removal social pressures for muscle development. Moreover, male bones and ligaments are more dense than female's. This means that a rodeo injury is less likely to be fatal for a male, than a female due to the force needed to destroy the same structure.
Neanderthals, and possibly early homosapiens, were polyamorous. This would be a good survival trait, because when the transition happened from sustenance to surplus (that is enough meat from a rabbit to an excess from a bear), comparative anthropology puts forward that women probably used sexual selection for control -an activity we see today in primates and some tribes in the South Pacific. In fact, some of the women in those tribes engage in activity that would be fit for the Penthouse forum. Simply, the "natural" role of males in early humans was one of replacability.
It wasn't until humans began domesticating animals and plants for an agrarian society did women become relegated as property, but that is another story.
Originally posted by RedmoonMWC
In pre-Christian societies the sexes were much more equal than many historians and archeologists would like to believe.
While there were gender roles, specifically toward women of child-bearing age, the women in many of these societies held a lot of power.
It was the woman of the house who controlled the finances and food distribution.
Most men and women today would find it very difficult to live the way their ancestors did, performing the gender specific duties mandated by nature.
While women and men are for the most part able to perform the same duties, the separation of roles is logical when you consider the survival of the species.
Someone has to Hunt and Protect the Tribe; all could fight and in many societies all were trained in the use of weapons, but only women could bear children.
While a woman was pregnant her ability to perform many duties traditionally ascribed to men were severely restricted, purely by the fact that she was pregnant.
While women were restricted in what they could do, men were also.
My point is that the separation of gender roles was not a “man made” separation, rather one made by nature.
Originally posted by GreenGlassDoor
reply to post by SearchLightsInc
1. We've known about transgender graves from the early neolithic for years now. This robs you of that straw man myth your dispeling, as it shows that there were gender roles, but sex did not necessarily assign people to those roles. So if you're wondering why some men were buried with pots and in the orientation of a female (e.g. the way the body faces), the answer could very well be you're looking at somebody whose considered phenotype was potentially that of the opposite sex.
2. No, I did not skip over it, but apparently you did or do not understand the difference between small game and large game. 6 pounds of meat means you're catching something about the size of a large house cat with a net. When you consider that humans are carniverous apes and our early nutrition consisted of mostly meat sources, the need to switch from small game to large game becomes apparent.
3. Any anthropolgy source that cover "hetaerism" will get into the polyamory bit. The problem, is proving it, as we don't have writings from the paleolithic or upper neolithic, so a lot of the conclusions are drawn via comparative anthropology. If you want a popular book you can pick up at your local library try Ryan's Sex at Dawn.
Originally posted by GreenGlassDoor
reply to post by SearchLightsInc
Seriously, take an anthropolgy class if this stuff interests you. Any community college worth its weight will have one plus the lab work that goes along with it. You wouldn't have to ask me to prove anything because you'd already be familiar with things like the "killer ape theory".
So rather than having to play your silly game, let's just make it easy: what "myth" are you dispelling? Name it.