Saturday, April 9, 2011

Even cavemen aren't immune from sexual stereotyping

Seen this story doing the rounds?

First known 'gay' caveman
Scientists say that they have uncovered the first known gay caveman 5000 years after his death. Archeologists have uncovered the grave of a man they believed to have died between 2900 and 2500 B.C. and was seemingly buried in a way that suggests he was homosexual.
The skeleton of the man, found during an excavation in the Czech Republic, was found on his left side with his head facing west, buried with household jugs and no weapons.
An oval-shaped jug was also found near the feet of the skeleton.
During that period, men were traditionally buried with weapons, hammers and flint knives, and their bodies were placed on their right side with the head facing east.
Women were interred with their bodies on the left, head facing west, and buried with necklaces made from teeth, pets, and copper earrings, as well as domestic jugs and an egg-shaped pot placed near the feet.
Scientists are certain that the body placement was not a mistake, as customs were very strict on burial and funerals at the time.
"From history and ethnology, we know that people from this period took funeral rites very seriously so it is highly unlikely that this positioning was a mistake," said lead researcher Kamila Remisova Vesinova.
"Far more likely is that he was a man with a different sexual orientation, homosexual or transvestite. What we see here does not add up to traditional Corded Ware cultural norms."
There had been previous skeletons discovered where a female warrior had been buried like a man, and Siberian shamans, or witch doctors, had been buried in a similar way to the "gay" caveman, another member of the archaeological team, Katerina Semradova, said.
"This later discovery was neither of those. We believe this is one of the earliest cases of what could be described as a transvestite or third-gender grave in the Czech Republic."


Is it just me or does this sound like rubbish?
Now let me say from the start, I have no problem with cavemen being gay. What two or more consenting adult cavepersons do in the privacy of their own cave is no business of mine.

But to label a skeleton gay, on the basis that he associates more with household jugs than weapons... well, that doesn't work for me. Ok, so our prehistoric friend might have preferred working in the kitchen to fighting off cave bears with axes and flint knives. So what? If you don't prefer cooking and serving drinks to fighting for your life against wild beasts, there is something wrong with you.

So it assumes that gay cavemen weren't into rugged manly stuff like weapons, and that straight cavemen weren't into anything domestic. I thought scientists were beyond such unimaginative stereotyping. Next they'll be claiming, "This skeleton possesses an unusually limp wrist and appeared to be heavily involved in the Neolithic fashion industry."

This reminds me of the time at university when a female classmate was convinced I was gay because I enjoyed cooking, was vegetarian, and carried a small tube of moisturiser in my bag. Ok, maybe that does sound a bit gay, but whatever the case, I'm not. Sometimes, people are just individuals and don't fit neatly into narrow gender role stereotypes. Maybe the caveman buried with household jugs was a rabidly heterosexual ladies-man who just, well, had a thing for household jugs. And how do we know that one of the uber-manly cavemen buried with axes and knives wasn't also mad for cock?

Incidentally, they are not even cavemen, technically. By 2900 BC, Europeans most certainly had farms and houses and maybe even closets.

4 comments:

  1. "Incidentally, they are not even cavemen, technically. By 2900 BC, Europeans most certainly had farms and houses and maybe even closets."

    Not exactly. Julius Ceaser found Germans living in the caves when he invaded the region..some of them could not even make a fire. Others, males and females were running around naked. Europeans and whites love to say that if they had not come to Africa and asked the indigenous man to come down from the tree, they would still be living in the tree! Similarly had Ceaser not asked Europeans to come out of the caves (in Germany) and civilized them, may be they wont be in Australia, they will still be living in the caves!

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  2. Ok, first of all, "caveman" is not a term that should be used, because it doesn't explain anything. I guess they mean prehistory.

    Now, as for the attributing sexual orientation based on artifacts in the grave, it... Oooh, it's so complicated, but let's just say that it makes no sense. Simply put, you can't make assumptions based on such facts.

    HOWEVER, this example shows the way archaeology worked, and, sadly, still works. MOST of what we think we know in archeology is based on stuff exactly like this one: drawing assumptions based on the objects found in the graves. Yes, that's right!

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  3. ummm its not just because he was buried with pots and pans....its that the way of life in the time peiod he lived in stated that if you were a woman you were buried with these items and if you were a man you werent. it doesnt say if you were a man who liked cooking you were buried with pots it says if you were a man you were buried with wepons armor ect. its not just an assumption people of earlier time periods were alot less educated and relied on customs/traditions/religion to live thier lives by.

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    1. for the record im not saying anyones opinion here is wrong...just that you should look at the facts of this timeperiod before you make your theories

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