The Invisible Sex by J. M. Adovasio
Uncovering the True Roles of Women in Prehistory

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Synopsis

Shaped by cartoons and museum dioramas, our vision of Paleolithic times tends to feature fur-clad male hunters fearlessly attacking mammoths while timid women hover fearfully behind a boulder. In fact, recent research has shown that this vision bears little relation to reality.

The field of archaeology has changed dramatically in the past two decades, as women have challenged their male colleagues' exclusive focus on hard artifacts such as spear points rather than tougher to find evidence of women's work. J. M. Adovasio and Olga Soffer are two of the world's leading experts on perishable artifacts such as basketry, cordage, and weaving. In The Invisible Sex, the authors present an exciting new look at prehistory, arguing that women invented all kinds of critical materials, including the clothing necessary for life in colder climates, the ropes used to make rafts that enabled long-distance travel by water, and nets used for communal hunting. Even more important, women played a central role in the development of language and social life—in short, in our becoming human. In this eye-opening book, a new story about women in prehistory emerges with provocative implications for our assumptions about gender today.

 

About J. M. Adovasio

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J. M. Adovasio, Ph.D., is the founder and director of the Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute in Erie, Pennsylvania. He is the author of The First Americans (with Jake Page). Olga Soffer, formerly a fashion industry insider, is a professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Jake Page was the founding editor of Doubleday's Natural History Press, as well as editorial director of Natural History magazine and science editor of Smithsonian magazine. He has written more than forty books on the natural sciences, zoological topics, and Native American affairs, as well as mystery fiction. He and his wife live in northern Colorado with six dogs and a steady supply of dog hair, available free.
 
Published October 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 320 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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The impact of fiber, for making tools like nets and baskets, had “profound effects on human destiny—probably more profound than any advance in the technique of making spear points, knives, scrapers and other tools of stone.” Satisfactory proof that the prehistoric war of the sexes was a standoff.

Dec 15 2006 | Read Full Review of The Invisible Sex: Uncovering...

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