Classical and anthropological archaeologists share many of the same interests and confront many of the same problems studying extinct cultures. Despite differences in background and training, scholars in these disciplines are all engaged in analyzing and interpreting the archaeological record. Traditionally, however, there have been few opportunities for classical archaeologists and anthropologists to discuss mutually beneficial perspectives in method and theory. The study of gender and its representations affords an opportunity for archaeologists and anthropologists to share information and increase our understanding of how people lived in the past.
Reading the Body contains current anthropological and archaeological research about the body and the archaeological record-both physical remains and artistic representations-from sites all over the world ranging in time from the European Upper Paleolithic to the Pueblo societies of the recent past. Essay topics include the reconstruction of the lives of Etruscan women from skeletal remains, gender symbolism in Inuit burials, the erotic clothing of Crete's Minoan culture, and gender identities in Maya ceramic paintings.
Alison E. Rautman teaches anthropology at Michigan State University.