Gender and Gender Roles

Sam Lucy

in The Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199212149
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 Gender and Gender Roles

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  • Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology


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This article addresses how the current understandings of gender and gender roles have arisen, before investigating the possibilities for how it might be interpreted and understood through the archaeological evidence available today. The apparent gender division within early Anglo-Saxon burial archaeology arises from the inclusion of distinct grave-good assemblages. The studies outlined have helped to delineate the major patterning present in early Anglo-Saxon gendered grave furnishing: use of restricted sets of grave-goods, mainly limited to certain adult males and females, but with some adaptations for those aged twelve and over, and sometimes a concomitant decline in gender signaling in older age groups. Artefacts associated with particular types of craft production can give some indications as to the location of gendered activity. Historical and legal sources for the Anglo-Saxon period can also contribute to the picture derived from archaeological evidence.

Keywords: gender roles; gender division; Anglo-Saxon burial archaeology; grave-goods; artefacts; craft

Article.  6264 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

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