Social Relations and the Local: Revisiting Our Approaches to Finding Gender and Age in Prehistory. A Case Study from Bronze Age Scotland

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In many periods, our efforts to understand social relations from the burial record are frustrated by the small size of cemeteries and the relative poverty of grave good assemblages. This usually leads researchers to create large databases which can be used to identify broad trends in practice that serve as departure points for theorising about societies. This paper argues that such an approach fails to account for nuances in the archaeological record, and moves the discussion to a scale beyond the local, at which identities, such as gender or age, were experienced and contested. An approach that is firmly rooted in the local data is advocated and applied to the Earlier Bronze Age cemetery site at Dunure Road, South Ayrshire, Scotland, to demonstrate the types of insights into gender and age generated and how they articulate with wider European narratives.

4301 Archaeology, 4303 Historical Studies, 43 History, Heritage and Archaeology
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Norwegian Archaeological Review
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Taylor & Francis
My PhD research is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge, and Jesus College, Cambridge.