Sexuality Studies in Archaeology

Posted: 7 Jun 2008


Does sexuality have a past? A growing body of archaeological research on sexuality demonstrates that the sexual politics of the past were as richly varied and complex as those of the present. Further, investigations of past sexualities have much to say about conventional archaeological topics such as state formation, subsistence and settlement systems, and the emergence and elaboration of symbolic systems, as well as making methodological and theoretical contributions to the archaeology of social identities and visual representations. To date, most research has clustered into five groupings: reproduction management, sexual representations, sexual identities, prostitution, and the sexual politics of institutions. The most intriguing new development is the growing application of queer theory as an archaeological methodology for investigating non-sexual as well as sexual matters in the past. In particular queer theory provides a methodological bridge between archaeological research on sexuality and research on other aspects of social identity.

Suggested Citation

Voss, Barbara, Sexuality Studies in Archaeology. Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 37, October 2008, Available at SSRN:

Barbara Voss (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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