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Bioarchaeology of Frontiers and Borderlands$
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Cristina I. Tica and Debra L. Martin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781683400844

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9781683400844.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

Queering Prehistory on the Frontier

Queering Prehistory on the Frontier

A Bioarchaeological Investigation of Gender in Mierzanowice Culture Communities of the Early Bronze Age

(p.55) 3 Queering Prehistory on the Frontier
Bioarchaeology of Frontiers and Borderlands

Mark P. Toussaint

University Press of Florida

The Mierzanowice Culture (MC) is the name given to an archaeological complex that existed from about 2400/2300–1600 BCE, in the Early Bronze Age of Central Europe. Mierzanowice Culture cemeteries provide a unique opportunity to investigate and theorize the relationship between sex and gender in prehistory, due to their tradition of mirror-opposite, seemingly sex-differentiated burials. This chapter questions interpretations of these burial characteristics in terms of rigid, sex-based binaries, and investigates whether they may correspond more closely with social constructions of identity, including gender and status. Furthermore, it explores the relationship between salient biological and social categories and health in Mierzanowice communities. Although the case study explored in this chapter was based on a small sample of individuals, a few patterns have begun to emerge. Certain aspects of burial orientations may correspond more to gender than to sex. Furthermore, it is not out of the realm of possibility that some atypical burial orientations may correspond to a non-binary gender category. This preliminary study also indicated that while all individuals were at fairly equal risk of perimortem trauma, females were more likely than males to incur antemortem trauma.

Keywords:   Bioarchaeology, Gender, Prehistory, Bronze Age, Trauma, Central Europe, Mierzanowice

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