Aarhus University Seal

Gender in becoming through the Neolithic/Bronze Age transition in Ireland and Scotland?

Activity: Talk or presentation typesLecture and oral contribution

See relations at Aarhus University

Mark Haughton - Lecturer

This contribution traces the development of gender representation in the burials of the later Neolithic and earlier Bronze Age in Ireland and Scotland. Although it is clear that a binary gender system did not replace a non-binary one during this transition, some wider trends do suggest a relation to the broader story developed by Robb and Harris (2018). However, hints of complication and dynamism suggest the negotiation of gender extending well into the Bronze Age and local pictures tell radically different stories.

This apparent contradiction will be resolved by a careful attention to the actions of local communities at the graveside. Taking a different approach to Robb and Harris, this paper investigates gender representations from the bottom up, privileging the local scale of lived experience. Burials are affective creations for those who partake in and/or witness them, and this realisation is key to understanding the gendered stories which they present. Overall, this evidence does suggest some relation to the broader narrative traced by Robb and Harris, but this is shown to be complicated and variable, in ways which hint at Bronze Age gender dynamics which are more open than is often acknowledged. Ultimately, this paper reflects on the privileging of grand narratives in the study of prehistory, and the consequences for our understandings of prehistoric life.
9 Sep 2021

Event (Conference)

TitleEAA 2021
Degree of recognitionInternational event

ID: 230704358