Activists urge archaeologists not to assume gender of ancient human remains

24 July 2022, 21:08

A group of activists have urged archaeologists not to categorise the gender of skeletons using only 'male' and 'female'
A group of activists have urged archaeologists not to categorise the gender of skeletons using only 'male' and 'female'. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

A group of activists have urged archaeologists to stop recording ancient human remains as either male or female, citing concerns over "projecting" modern-day categorisation on the past.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The Black Trowel Collective, a group of American archaeologists, claimed there are suggestions that many historical cultures had more than two genders and so archaeologists should be "wary of projecting our modern sex and gender identity categories onto past individuals".

The group claimed scientists have a "long history of imposing modern patriarchal gender and sexual norms onto the past".

"Human gender is highly variable and... human beings have historically been comfortable with a range of genders beyond modern 'masculine' and 'feminine' binaries," the group wrote in a blog post.

The Daily Mail claims that some academics are beginning to label ancient human skeletons as 'non-binary' or 'gender neutral'.

Read more: Woman killed and 3 people injured after caravan catches fire overnight at UK campsite

Read more: Hero dad feared dead after jumping into Lake Garda to save teenage son

The idea has been criticised by historian Jeremy Black, who said gender is key to understanding history.

"It is an absurd proposition as the difference between genders, just as the difference between religious, social and national groups, are key motors in history," he told the Daily Mail.

"This very ideological approach to knowledge means that we're in danger of making knowledge itself simply a matter of political preference."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

People Kevin Costner

Divorce of Kevin Costner and Christine Baumgartner finalised

Jonnie Irwin and his wife, Jessica

Jonnie Irwin's grieving wife Jessica breaks silence as she reveals his death 'still doesn't feel real' two weeks on

Prince William has called for an end to the Israel-Hamas war

Prince William ‘knew making plea for permanent peace in Gaza would cause controversy’ - but ‘felt he had no choice’

Alexei Navalny was 'murdered' by Putin

Putin plans to launch ‘killing spree’ against Russia critics in the UK after Alexei Navalny 'murder'

Defendant Ruby Franke looks on during court in St George, Utah

YouTuber Ruby Franke apologises at sentencing in child abuse case

Duane 'Keffe D' Davis in court during a status hearing at the Regional Justice Centre in Las Vegas

Ex-gang leader’s murder trial over Tupac Shakur killing pushed back to November

Ruby Franke will serve up to 60 years in prison

Parenting advice YouTuber and influencer Ruby Franke jailed for abusing her children

Shehbaz Sharif

Rivals of Pakistan ex-premier Khan name Shehbaz Sharif as joint candidate for PM

Palestinian crowds struggle to buy bread from a bakery in Rafah, Gaza Strip

UN World Food Programme suspends aid amid chaos in northern Gaza

The Security Council meets before voting on a resolution concerning a ceasefire in Gaza at United Nations headquarters

US vetoes UN resolution demanding immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza

Under the order, Lingham is banned from entering Holt Lowes between February 1 and October 1.

Shell-shocked: 'Addicted' Norfolk man 'illegally collected 3,000 native bird eggs'

In an apparent attempt to get ahead of another possible rebellion, Labour on Tuesday tabled its lengthy amendment, which will be voted on tomorrow.

'I want to do what is right': Labour's ceasefire motion is 'broader' and 'goes further' than the SNP's, says David Lammy

Prince William has called for an end to the Israel-Hamas war

Israel says Gaza war will only end when 'Hamas is dismantled' in direct reply to Prince William’s intervention

David Neal has been sacked by the Home Office

Home Office fires immigration chief inspector David Neal after claims about security risks at major London airport

Shahd Waleed is trying to leave Rafah with her parents and enter Egypt

'They want us to experience pain': Young woman trapped in Rafah with her parents tells of terror as Israel invasion looms

Gabriela was fired from her job cleaning at Devonshires

Cleaner ‘fired after taking leftover £1.50 tuna sandwich’ speaks out against ‘unfair bosses’ as protesters target law firm