James Adovasio to share insights on role of women in prehistory

Dr. James Adovasio - Director of Archeology Department
Even before women were positioned as the “hot ticket” demographic of voters throughout many of this year’s political campaigns, James Adovasio, Ph.D., has been championing women and their roles in society for years.

On Wednesday, Dec. 5, Adovasio, director of the Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute (MAI), will share his research challenging accepted historical views of women's roles during the Paleolithic period outlined in his book, The Invisible Sex: Uncovering the True Roles of Women in Prehistory. The presentation is a free offering of the cultural series at Mercyhurst University – The North East Campus and will be held in the campus’ Alex Theater at 7:30 p.m.

Throughout history, stereotypes of women, often negative, have endured and exist even today. Adovasio, who previously detailed a pivotal archaeological find that dates human habitation to 16,000 years ago in his book, The First Americans, argues that despite popular evaluations of women during this time, they actually played a much more significant role in day-to-day life.

In his presentation, Adovasio voices that much of archaeological research until recently has cultivated this perception of the brave, strong male, while the prehistory female was portrayed as weak and passive. This is in large part due to the discoveries of durable artifacts, such as spear points, stones, ivory and bones tied to the male roles. Instead, Adovasio's research indicates that women of this period made significant contributions to tooling design, communication, travel and food production as evidenced by perishable artifacts like string, nets and textiles.

“Most archaeologists now agree that the image of women in the past was severely distorted or totally ignored by generations of male archaeologists,” he said. “Female humans have been the chief engine in the unprecedentedly high level of human sociability; were the inventors of the most useful tools; have shared equally in the provision of food; almost certainly drove the human invention of language; and were the ones who created agriculture.”

Audience members are welcome to attend a post-presentation reception. For more information about this event, please contact Patti Sullivan, director of the cultural series, at 725-6277 or e-mail, psullivan@mercyhurst.edu.
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