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date: 30 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter aims to consider the relevance of gender within studies of death as a concrete, rather than an abstract, challenge. This means considering not just whether dead bodies have gender and how this matters, but also how to engage with such questions. The chapter argues for the importance of gender in mortuary studies and provides a brief overview of historical developments as well as considering some of the theoretical and methodological challenges that have arisen from gender archaeology with regard to the study of the dead body. In terms of current concerns, two major foci for the gendering of the dead body are identified: research focused on the treatment of the body itself and the use of its materiality to make meaning; and research investigating the use of burial constructions and grave goods, and how they may annotate the body as a social being. Some of the most recent developments, and challenges, caused by the use of new scientific techniques and theoretical arguments are also considered.

Keywords: gender, sex, queer, bodies, grave goods, materiality

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