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... En contra de la creencia académica tradicional que las definió como un «ideal de belleza prehistórico» constituido a partir de la mirada masculina, estas pequeñas y milenarias estatuillas descubiertas a finales del siglo xix podrían ser radicalmente reconfiguradas desde otra perspectiva no androcéntrica. Sus atributos exagerados (la prominencia del vientre, torso anormalmente delgado, pechos grandes y colgantes, nalgas y muslos voluminosos, piernas cortas, pies pequeños y ausencia de rostro o cabeza agachada) han servido como evidencia para autoras como Leroy McDermott y Catherine Hodge McCoid (1996) de que «estas aparentes distorsiones de la anatomía se convierten en representaciones adecuadas si consideramos el cuerpo visto por una mujer que se mira a sí misma» (McCoy y McDermott: 320) (vid. imagen 9). ...
... Entonces, ¿por qué no podemos plantear posibilidades que se escapen del binarismo de género en la sociedad precolonial del archipiélago canario? Pese a que Imagen 9. Comparación entre las figuras, entre las que está la Venus de Willendorf, con fotografías de una mujer moderna embarazada extraídas del trabajo de McDermott y McCoid (1996). ...
... Danielsson 2002 ; Díaz-Andreu 2005 ; Morris and Peatfi eld 2002 ). Bailey ( 2005 :197ff) hypothesises that anthropomorphic fi gurines suggest a community acceptance of the physical body as 'the primary site of the individual and the self' (Bailey 2005 :201), McDermott ( 1996 ;McCoid and McDermott 1996 ) suggests that some prehistoric fi gurines may actually depict specifi c people, although -frustratingly -deeper knowledge of the models themselves is denied to us. In all the above research 'the body', almost imperceptibly confl ated with 'identity', is effectively an object produced through cultural and social practice. ...
Chapter 7 corresponds to Stage 4 of the bioarchaeology of care methodology, the final stage of a bioarchaeology of care analysis. The central premise of Stage 4 analysis is that the behaviours making up the giving and receiving of health-related care (embodied in the evidence in human remains for survival with disease) express the agency of caregivers and care-recipients alike; if we can interpret this agency by deconstructing the steps taken in the ‘decision making path’ that resulted in care, this has the potential to illuminate aspects of the group, the individual and the contemporary lifeways. Chapter 5 laid out the background to and justification for this position, and Chapter 7 applies the conceptual framework for understanding care-related decision making developed in this earlier chapter to teasing out insights into culture and practice, social relations and collective and personal identity. Chapter 7 explains the processes involved in Stage 4 analysis, and describes the elements of the corresponding Step 4 of the Index of Care.
... In terms of sculptural art, there is no evidence to suggest that the statuettes were created exclusively by males, as this is not a human universal. In contrast, McCoid and McDermott (1996) suggested that the objects were made by women and for women, as a form of selfrepresentation. According to them, the statuettes and bas-reliefs could have functioned as obstetrical aides according to the authors, allowing females to keep track of their pregnancies. ...
Paleolithic art emerges in Europe around 32,000 years before present. It is found on cave walls and in the form of sculptures and pendants. Since its discovery in the late 1800s, interpretations of why the art was made and what it meant to our ancestors have been biased by the sex of the researcher and the sociopolitical climate. Early interpretations by males suggested that Paleolithic imagery was created by males and for males. Later, females challenged the assumptions of their male predecessors, suggesting that women may have created artwork and emphasized the strength of women. Recent evidence suggests that both sexes participated in creating art, and that even young children were active in this endeavor as well.
... Since the majority of the statuettes is female and is nude, this has led many researchers to suggest that the fi gurines were created for a uniform same purpose (Soffer and Praslov 1993 ). Early interpretations include to guard property (Von Koeningswald 1972 ), to promote alliance networks (Gamble 1982 ), for use as teaching or obstetrical aides (McCoid and McDermott 1996 ), for fertility magic (Reinach 1903 , Count Bégouen 1925 ), to represent Paleo-erotica (Guthrie 2005 ), or to represent a shared belief in a mother goddess (Hawkes and Wolley 1963 ; Levy 1948 ; Markale 1999 ; Hawkes and Wolley 1963 ). However, few studies (see Gvozdover 1995 for an exception) analyze the statuettes at an individual level and instead simply promote a hypothesis based on assumed stylistic similarities. ...
Numerous studies have interpreted the anthropomorphic " Venus " statu-ettes of the Gravettian. However, few of these studies have scrutinized the fi gurines at an individual level or used quantitative analyses in order to understand similarities within sites or between regions. This study tests two hypotheses. The fi rst one, by Leroi-Gourhan, suggests that the Gravettian statuettes share core similarities regardless of where they were created. If correct, statuettes should not be grouped according to the region that they were made. The second hypothesis, by Gvozdover, suggests a Kostenki-Avdeevo unity. Her hypothesis suggests blending among cultures in the Russian Plains and that there are " types " of statuettes that are not restricted to a particular site. Here cladistics methods are used in order to understand whether ethnogenesis (blending) or cladogenesis (branching) has occurred in the production of " Venus " making. Results confi rm and extend Gvozdover's hypothesis suggesting cultural and ideological connections for " Venus " making in the Russian Plains and also support the uniqueness of a few European statuettes.
In this book, Jennifer French presents a new synthesis of the archaeological, palaeoanthropological, and palaeogenetic records of the European Palaeolithic, adopting a unique demographic perspective on these first two-million years of European prehistory. Unlike prevailing narratives of demographic stasis, she emphasises the dynamism of Palaeolithic populations of both our evolutionary ancestors and members of our own species across four demographic stages, within a context of substantial Pleistocene climatic changes. Integrating evolutionary theory with a socially oriented approach to the Palaeolithic, French bridges biological and cultural factors, with a focus on women and children as the drivers of population change. She shows how, within the physiological constraints on fertility and mortality, social relationships provide the key to enduring demographic success. Through its demographic focus, French combines a 'big picture' perspective on human evolution with careful analysis of the day-to-day realities of European Palaeolithic hunter-gatherer communities—their families, their children, and their lives.
Gimbutas’ topicalisation of gynocentrism was of great significance in stimulating the study of figurines, influencing the humanities beyond archaeology, as well as a variety of international socio-political movements. The creations have a long tradition of being linked to fertility and suffer a predominantly one-sided treatment in research. In this context, the intellectual history of the interpretation of prehistoric social living conditions is analysed, critically questioned and the extent to which historically evolved role models are present in past and recent research is examined. On the basis of selected examples, the methods of ethnological analogy and stylistic analysis are used to contribute to the interpretation of the decorations of the SE European Neolithic material. Additionally, an application-related interpretation is proposed for the Cucuteni-Tripolye figurines of the Poduri set. The second part addresses the impact history of Gimbutas’ opus. Regardless of the justified methodological criticism, its various imprints on e. g. ethnography, feminist studies, as well as outside academia will be acknowledged. The contributions profoundly inspired a variety of societal currents in the USA, Germany and post-socialist Lithuania. Keywords: Gimbutas, Lithuania, figurines, tattoo, body modification, ancestors, feminist movement.
In the last 20 years, demography has re-emerged as a key research area within archaeology. This research has refined archaeological demographic methods and examined the relationships between demographic, cultural and environmental change. Here, I discuss how the results of the growing corpus of archaeological demographic studies can contribute to gender archaeology, aiding the incorporation of women into narratives of the past. By considering the important role of women in the demographic regimes of small-scale societies, I explain how archaeological demography can provide insights into the behaviour and lives of women, without relying on the often problematic identification of gendered artefacts, activities and/or places. Archaeological demography as a tool for gender archaeology also permits a move away from the female empiricism of simply adding women into archaeological narratives, to provide an alternative framework for the analysis of gender roles and practices. I demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of this approach using an example from the Upper Palaeolithic of southwestern France.
Whatever the origins of the impulse to care for others, canvassed in Chapter 4, the elements involved in providing health-related care are indisputably the products of conscious, purposeful, goal-directed behaviour by caregivers. The content and outcomes of this care will also be shaped by the care-recipient, through their actions in negotiating and cooperating (or not) with those offering this care. Chapter 5 elaborates the central role of theory from the archaeologies of agency and identity in bioarchaeology of care analysis. In doing so, it explicates the theoretical foundations of Stage 4 of the bioarchaeology of care methodology, which proposes a framework for organising and understanding the decision-making practices and interpersonal relationships that underlie the giving and receiving of care.
In the archaeological record of Paleolithic Europe, southwestern France stands out as a region of exceptional richness and complexity, known for its abundance of sites, detailed sequence of archaeological cultures, and rich inventory of parietal and portable art. In order to explain the extraordinary developments in this area, attention must be given to the unique combination of factors that set this region apart from the rest of western Europe. Some of these factors are local and will be mentioned briefly. Others, however, are regional, in that they may be discovered only by examining southwestern France in the context of a larger area. It is these latter factors that are the main focus of this discussion. Southwestern France will be viewed as a refugium for European populations during the last glacial maximum, and the implications of this view will be explored.
Upper Paleolithic Venus figurines are traditionally explained as symbols glorifying female fertility. This study suggests the hypothesis that Venuses represent women throughout their entire adult life, not just when they are pregnant; therefore, it is womanhood rather than motherhood that is symbolically recognized or honored. First an estimate is made of the age group (pre-childbearing, reproductive, post-childbearing) of each of the 188 extant Venuses. Contemporary hunter-gatherers are then used to estimate the age structure of Upper Paleolithic groups. A comparison of the proportions of both Venuses and contemporary hunter-gatherer women estimated to be in the three reproduction-related age groups results in statistically significant support for the womanhood hypothesis. Motivations for sculpting the figurines, and their functions, are suggested by considering the probable economic, social, and reproductive roles of Paleolithic women.
Whilst there is no evidence that human representations in Palaeolithic art are an accurate reflection of contemporary social demography, they can yield valuable data on Palaeolithic populations and their social organization. The paper analyses a group of Palaeolithic figures which show that women seem to have been accorded a privileged role in hunter-gatherer society, based on their physiological functions as mothers and sexual and social partners.
The recent field work of Soviet archeologists has produced many interesting examples of Paleolithic art. In particular, the material on sculptural representations of the female has been appreciably expanded.