Osteological clues for the presence of a sexual division of labour in the Eurasian Middle Paleolithic

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Osteological clues for the presence of a sexual division of labour in the Eurasian Middle Paleolithic

Type: Bachelor thesis
Title: Osteological clues for the presence of a sexual division of labour in the Eurasian Middle Paleolithic
Author: Saers, Jaap
Issue Date: 2011-08-31
Abstract: In this bachelor thesis I investigate whether Neanderthals had a sexual division of labour or not. I established three hypotheses: 1) Neanderthals had a sexual division of labour where males hunt and females gather plant foods and perform other activities, 2) Neanderthals had a sexual division of labour where males and females hunt but males perform the most dangerous tasks, 3) there was no sexual division of labour and males and females hunted and gathered in equal amounts. To find out if Neanderthals had a sexual division of labour, a meta-study of two osteological analyses applied to Neanderthal bones was performed. The first methods that was used was a comparison of the shape and robusticity of male and female Neanderthal limb bones compared to samples of modern human huntergatherers and sedentary populations. Secondly the distribution of trauma across the skeletons of male and female Neanderthals was compared. In both of the analyses the evidence pointed towards the first hypothesis. The evidence however was too limited. The small sample size of sexable Neanderthals was the largest issue. I concluded that according to the data gathered in this thesis hypothesis 1 is the most likely. However, none of the three hypotheses can be rejected confidently due to the limited evidence.
Supervisor: Verpoorte, A.
Faculty: Faculty of Archaeology
Department: Archeologie (Bachelor)
Language: English
ECTS Credits: 10
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/18779
 

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