HOW DID WE MISS THIS
my brother just came into my room so excited to show me these photos of a pigeon he met
Are these sculptures of roman citizens or slaves?
The association of Black people with enslavement is an entirely modern invention, as in, chattel slavery in the…
Regarding the whole ‘men hunted, women gave birth’ thing (and wildly off topic from racism in classical Rome, sorry), it is looking increasingly like a load of nonsense (no surprise).
There are prehistoric hunting scenes showing hunts which (probably *1) show women hunting for one thing and despite this male researcers still declares that men hunted and men created these hunting scenes and were also the first artists. But now we know that these hunting scenes not only show women hunting in some cases but WERE PRODUCED BY WOMEN primarily!
So what evidence for male = hunter is there?
When you look at the evidence for male hunters you have gender bias (men obviously hunted because men hunt now), gender essentialism (men hunted because they had less body fat and didn’t need to produce babies and Reasons) and ethnographic evidence (indigenous Australian hunters were solely male in the 19th-20th centuries).
We assume that because violent activities today are associated with men while women nurtured young that has always been the way. We also assume that women who were not pregnant would be compelled to behave in the same way as women who were pregnant/looking after children. It also assumes that hunting was much more dangerous than it probably was, hunters were often as much scavengers as far as we can tell from archaeological evidence of kill sites and often employed tactics like driving pray off cliffs to die or into dead ends were they could be picked off more safely. That isn’t to say it was completely safe of course. But who is to say gathering was necessarily safe in an age where a simple cut could result in death from infection and there were no anti-bodies for the admittedly few venomous creatures in Europe or that the gatherers would be free from the attentions of now extinct predators.
Much of the ethnographic evidence comes either from African nomadic peoples which have still had thousands of years of contact with patriarchal cultures or Australian Aboriginal and Papua New Guinean groups. The ethnographic observations were made in the 19th and 20th centuries and are deeply racist because they were based on the assumption that these cultures were primitive and unchanging since settlement of Sahul (Australia + New Guinea when they were connected) 50,000 years ago! We know, for example, in the early nineteenth century the power structure of Australian indigenous populations shifted in favour of young men after various epidemics killed 90% of the Aboriginal population in the space of 50 years or thereabout (something we never learnt in school, funnily enough). We do not know who hunted prior to European colonisation of Australia. We guess and the further back in time you go the more problematic that becomes because the hundreds at least indigenous cultures in Australia have all evolved over time just like any other culture.
IF we accept the creators of the hunting scenes across Europe were hunters themselves then we have to accept that women were as likely to be hunters as men. If we do not want to accept that the people who made the art were hunters then we have no evidence beyond ethnographic evidence for males solely being hunters and then we have to look carefully at the ethnographic evidence and accept it is deeply, deeply problematic.
So, in my opinion as a humble archaeology undergraduate, we either accept we have no firm evidence to say men or women hunted, just that hunting was done. If you accepted the cave paintings as evidence of male hunters when they were believed to be produced by men you should also accept they are now evidence of female hunting.
If you think you can say with certainty that ‘women have always been subjected to men because Reasons’ then you have no clue what you are talking about.Sadly much of the scholarship on the subject assumes male = hunter and works forward from that, trying to justify the assumption rather than addressing the actual evidence. Because if we accept that there is no evidence for that then it undermines a lot of nonsense gender essentialism used to handwave away sexism in society today.
Australian Archaeology by Peter Hiscock
Lectures, seminars, lost media articles etc.
*1 Of course it is ‘accepted’ (read: assumed) that all the figures are male by default unless there are obvious feminine traits as opposed to just representing people in general.
Oh my god, I could not have said that nearly as well as you did.
This is such a concise and accessible explanation of why and how so much of what we “know” about the ancient world, prehistory, and a lot of history in general has almost EVERYTHING to do with looking for confirmation of reflections of our CURRENT SOCIETY, and any academic with a lick of honesty will tell you the same thing.My graduate adviser tells a story about doing her dissertation research in Normandy in the 1970s, where she delved into the civic archives of Caen to study the role of women in early modern commerce. The other academic working there was an older French man (my adviser is an American woman), and he guffawed at her research plans and greatly despised her working there alongside him, a “real” historian studying “serious” history. He insisted repeatedly that there were no women working in commerce in France at that time, and that there were only men.
My adviser soldiered on despite having to work while facing directly at this man every single day. As she began her research, she began finding women “hiding” in plain sight, listed right alongside men in the tax rolls and notarized sales that they were both studying. She found hundreds of women engaging in buying and selling, and happily shoved these documents right in the face of her detractor, who now insisted that these women, who had not existed in his mind the day before, were simply “unimportant”.
My point: our biases are so powerful that we can literally look at documents and not see the names on the paper, if we believe that those names should not be there. How much of our narrative self-perpetuates, as generations of scholars find support for preexisting biases by simply overlooking the contradictory evidence staring right back at them?
It’s not just historical academia, either.
My favourite Biology prof did sex studies on guppies when she was in grad school, like you do. It was all about male colour variation and the effects on female mate choice — during mating season, males go through colour change and get these bright, beautiful red or blue markings, and there’s a ton of research done on their role in female mate choice. Like peacocks, it’s generally accepted that bigger, brighter indicators cause females to choose the “fitter” males.
My prof noticed there was one fish in her study that was exhibiting a really atypical colour change. They usually go blue and red at the fins, but this one went a deep gold all over (they start silver). She was intrigued by this atypical morph, and was really interested in it, until it started swelling. Afraid that it had parasites and would contaminate the study population, she culled it and dissected it to see what was going on.
It was pregnant. It was a female.
Everybody knew that females didn’t change colour. So she’d assumed that it was a male. But it got even worse — looking back over her notes, she’d actually noted down that the females turned gold, but completely dismissed and overlooked her own note taking, because of the commonly-held facts. Despite the fact that she’d written it down, it never even processed.
So when she submitted her paper, she added a note in the discussion pointing out that despite commonly-held belief, females change colour too, and that future studies should investigate whether female colour change also plays a role in guppy mating behaviour.
Her paper was rejected, with a note saying “this academic journal is not the place for your feminist propaganda.”
Reblogging this one too because people are always asking “but what about science though”
A loaf of bread made in the first century AD, which was discovered at Pompeii, preserved for centuries in the volcanic ashes of Mount Vesuvius. The markings visible on the top are made from a Roman bread stamp, which bakeries were required to use in order to mark the source of the loaves, and to prevent fraud. (via Ridiculously Interesting)
(sigh) I’ve seen these before, but this one’s particularly beautiful.
I feel like I’m supposed to be marveling over the fact that this is a loaf of bread that’s been preserved for thousands of years, and don’t get me wrong, that’s hella cool. But honestly, I’m mostly struck by the unexpected news that “bread fraud” was apparently once a serious concern.
Bread Fraud was a huge thing, Bread was provided to the Roman people by the government - bakers were given grain to make the free bread, but some of them stole the government grain to use in other baked goods and would add various substitutes, like sawdust or even worse things, to the bread instead. So if people complained that their free bread was not proper bread, the stamp told them exactly whose bakery they ought to burn down.
Bread stamps continued to be used at least until the Medieval period in Europe. Any commercially sold bread had to be stamped with an official seal to identify the baker to show that it complied with all rules and regulations about size, price, and quality. This way, rotten or undersized loaves could be traced back to the baker. Bakers could be pilloried, sent down the streets in a hurdle cart with the offending loaf tied around their neck, fined, or forbidden to engage in baking commercially ever again in that city. There are records of a baker in London being sent on a hurdle cart because he used an iron rod to increase the weight of his loaves, and another who wrapped rotten dough with fresh who was pilloried. Any baker hurdled three times had to move to a new city if they wanted to continue baking.
If you have made bread, you are probably familiar with a molding board. It’s a flat board used to shape the bread. Clever fraudsters came up with a molding board that had a little hole drilled into it that wasn’t easily noticed. A customer would buy his dough by weight, and then the baker would force some of that dough through the hole, so they could sell and underweight loaf and use the stolen dough to bake new loafs to sell. Molding boards ended up being banned in London after nine different bakers were caught doing this. There were also instances of grain sellers withholding grain to create an artificial scarcity drive up the price of that, and things like bread.
Bread, being one of the main things that literally everyone ate in many parts of the world, ended up with a plethora of rules and regulations. Bakers were probably no more likely to commit fraud than anyone else, but there were so many of them, that we ended up with lots and lots of rules and records of people being shifty.
Check out Fabulous Feasts: Medieval Cookery and Ceremony by Madeleine Pelner Cosman for a whole chapter on food laws as they existed in about 1400. Plus the color plates are fantastic.
Bread is serious fucking business.
Man the bread fandom don’t put up with shit at all.
hand embroidered one-of-a-kind glowy bug pins!
each one inch
Ali Michael by Petra Collins for Oyster #104