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Evidence for the Antiquity of Gender Roles in the Central Plains Tradition



Using the Direct-Historical-Approach Pawnee gender roles are traced back to 1300 A.D. in the Central Plains tradition. The roles' ideological foundation, the deities Morning Star and Evening Star, are documented using lodge layout and solar alignment, tool distribution and faunal remains. Also, information from a gardening, meat processing and hide cleaning area (historic female activities) has tools associated with those actions, especially knives and endscrapers although male tools, broken arrowheads from the carcasses, are present with hammerstones and chert debris. Flint knapping is traditionally interpreted as a male activity, but the most parsimonious explanation would have women making their own tools as well as resharpening and reworking them on the spot rather than waiting for males to perform those tasks. Such an interpretation would mean that flint knapping was not a male activity per se as it is traditionally seen, but an action performed by women in one context and men in another.

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