Archaeology as space technology: Digging for gender and class in holy land

in Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

Abstract

Contemporary archaeology offers three methodological options: the classlcal, the processual or scientific, and the post-processual. I propose a stance of "chastened realism" that integrates aspects of all three options toward a program for recovering information about non-élite sectors of ancient societies, and particularly for reconstructing their systems of gender, kinship, and labour The discipline of archaeology manipulates space in the effort to understand it. However the space that one seeks to understand - that is, to manage epistemologically - is space that already has undergone material, logical, and ideological management. Archaeology in the mode of "chastened realism" is a reflective technique for understanding multiply managed space. Examples taken from gender archaeology as conducted in the Amerleas suggest how questions of gender and economic organization might be investigated in Israel, with particular attention to the city of Sepphorts in Galilee in the era of the Gospels and the Mishnah (1-2 century C.E.).

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