Time for some good Sexism-Shaming on this week’s episode of Girl Snarkaeologist!! The American Schools of Oriental Research, normally a respectable institution and invaluable resource for archaeologists work in the Near East, decided to share this article about the discoveries at the Neolithic site of Boncuklu Höyük in Turkey today on their FB page: Keeping up with the latest fashion trends of antiquity
with the brilliant comment “Tale as old as time… excavations in the Central Anatolian province of Konya have shown women, even 10,500 years ago, went to great lengths to look good for the fellas.”
To quote my brilliant fellow girl archaeologist Kathryn O’Neil Weber’s reaction to this post, “Oh. My. God. No. In so many, many ways: No.”
I could rant for several pages about how much this article and the support of it by ASOR pisses me off, but for the sake of brevity let me just state, women do not wear jewelry and modify their bodies exclusively for the pleasure of “the fellas.” We don’t now, and we probably didn’t 10,000 years ago. There are many many explanations for women wearing jewelry. Maybe they liked it. Maybe they’re expressing their identities – family, clan, political, or religious loyalities, for example. Maybe they’re indicating their wealth to rival groups, or to the gods, or maybe they were even just buried with loads of bling to remove it from circulation, thus increasing the value to the bling that remained with the living!
And finally, archaeology fans, question, and question heavily, any conclusions that assume that behaviors in the past had the same reasoning behind them as behaviors in the present. Especially when the authors’ understanding of present behavior is so patently wrong. And seriously, ASOR? You should be ashamed of yourselves.