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Women in Prehistory (Oklahoma Series in Classical Culture Series) Paperback – March 15, 1990

ISBN-13: 978-0806122373 ISBN-10: 0806122374 Edition: Reprint
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Margaret Ehrenberg studied in the University of Wales. She has been a lecturer in European Prehistory in the University of Leeds and in the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and has taught archaeology, anthropology, and women?s studies.


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Product Details

  • Series: Oklahoma Series in Classical Culture Series (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; Reprint edition (March 15, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806122374
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806122373
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,808,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By P. Webster on March 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
It looks quite promising when the blurb on the back states that a central theme of this book is 'the relationship between the role of women and economic production'. And, indeed, this book largely lives up to that promise.

Ehrenberg puts forward three main arguments. Firstly, the part played by women in prehistory (that is, before the advent of written records) was much greater than mainstream archaeology has usually acknowledged. Secondly, for most of the time that human beings have existed, until only a few thousand years ago, there was almost certainly equality between women and men. As Ehrenberg herself puts it: 'So, throughout human history, the great majority of women who have ever lived had far more status than recently, and probably had equality with men.' Thirdly, women's status in any society depends largely on their economic role. The more important and independent their economic role, the higher their status.

For most of prehistory, humans lived by gathering plants and hunting wild animals. Because women would often be breast feeding young children or pregnant, it would be difficult for them to hunt large animals. Therefore it seems that in most hunter-gatherer societies, women tended to do the gathering and men the hunting. But this did not mean inequality for women, because their gathering would usually provide more than half of the food consumed. Their important economic role was a basis for their equality with men, in societies which were generally egalitarian.

The development of agriculture (the domestication of plants and animals) about 10,000 years ago brought about tremendous social changes. But in the early stages of agriculture women continued to have high status.
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Women in Prehistory (Oklahoma Series in Classical Culture Series)
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