Alexis Jordan


The study of gender in archaeology has become a prominent aspect of archaeological theory and the contributions of women in ancient societies are an every growing topic. This paper addresses one such category within this topic, warrior women of the archaeological record. Assumed standard divisions of labor between women and men across cultures that oversimplify the manifestations of gender and sex and ignore variation within these roles have been shown to be outdated androcentric approaches to archaeology. The importance of reexaminations of gender roles in ancient history is that they have helped to shed light upon the significant variation in the previously overlooked or distorted contributions of women to history. Research into the many representations of the warrior woman in different cultures and time periods offers new opportunities into a better understanding of manifestations of gender and power. An understanding of the concepts of gender and the warrior in archaeological contexts, along with the various female warrior manifestations, are the two key components needed to thoroughly examine archaeological evidence for the presence of warrior women. With these components in hand archaeologists can begin to more effectively identify not only warrior women, but also the presence of individual agency in action, and the amount of flexibility and variation within the social roles of a culture.