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Sous l'angle du genre: analyse de nécropoles de l'âge du Bronze (15e-13e siècle av. J.-C.) d'Italie du Nord et comparaisons avec le nord des Alpes

Published inRivista di scienze preistoriche, vol. LX, p. 203-256
Publication date2010

The scope of my research is to examine the gender roles of women and men in parts of continental Europe during the Bronze Age. Northern Italy is a very interesting area from this point of view. It is divided into two cultural provinces: the Terramare culture east of the river Oglio and the Western province to its west. Many large cemeteries were established in the Middle Bronze Age and continued to be used in the Recent Bronze Age (Bronzo recente, the phase Bronze D of the Central European chronology and the first part of the Final Bronze Age in the British chronology). For the eastern area, twelve cemeteries are analysed, in addition to four necropolises for the western area. During the Middle Bronze Age grave goods are strictly gendered - women have jewels and men arms - with differences between adults and non-adults. Foetus and newborns were not buried with grave goods. Women were always better provided for with grave goods than men. This probably means that they played a prominent social role, perhaps by managing households or production of goods such as worked bone or antler, a special craft industry of the Terramare area. About half the men in each age group were provided with a sword, some of them had been injured by weapons. Technical analyses of swords show that they had been used. Swords seem to have been markers of horizontal social roles. Rather than warrior elite, these men could have been heads of families who were in charge of the security of the territory and of community property. A case of tuberculosis, a double oxen burial, ritual deposition of oxen and numerous cups with handles having a horned appendage show the importance of cattle breeding and of the symbolic and possibly religious significance attached to cattle in the male sphere. From the end of the Middle Bronze Age and during the Recent Bronze Age cremation in urns became the dominant burial rite. Weapons disappeared almost completely from grave goods and men become invisible in cemeteries. Women were still interred with ornaments in graves although the number of graves with grave goods gradually decreased. In Nogara, the number of graves of children aged less than 6 years old increased much at the same time. This evolution seems to be connected with a change in religion. In Casinalbo (province of Modena) burnt fragments of several swords and daggers were found on the floor of the necropolis and were not placed in urns. This indicates that men still owned weapons but they were barred from urns. On the other hand weapons are frequent in hoards and often deposited in water. The associations of grave goods confirm that grave offerings are strong, socially dependent cultural indicators which do not give a faithful picture of the individual and their daily activities.

  • Archéologie
  • Préhistoire
  • Protohistoire
  • Europe
  • Italie du Nord
  • Nord des Alpes
  • Age du Bronze moyen
  • Age du Bronze récent
  • Nécropoles
  • Mobiliers funéraires
  • Armes
  • Parure
  • Genre
  • Société
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - A l'ombre du guerrier? Statuts féminins et masculins à l'âge du Bronze en Europe occidentale
Citation (ISO format)
DAVID-ELBIALI, Mireille. Sous l’angle du genre: analyse de nécropoles de l’âge du Bronze (15e-13e siècle av. J.-C.) d’Italie du Nord et comparaisons avec le nord des Alpes. In: Rivista di scienze preistoriche, 2010, vol. LX, p. 203–256.
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Article (Published version)
  • PID : unige:19405
ISSN of the journal0035-6514

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