|20 April 2011
'Gay caveman' is not gay and is not a caveman
Claims of discovering a 'gay caveman' might well be exaggerated. Excavations on the outskirts of Prague, in the Czech Republic, have uncovered skeletons dating back to 2,500 to 2,800 BCE. The skeleton in question is of a male of the 'Corded Ware' culture, who were very particular about their burial rituals. Their males were usually buried on their right hand side, with head facing east. This skeleton was buried on its left side, facing west, the female position. Lead archaeologist Kamila Remisova Vesinova, of the Czech Archaeological Society, kicked off the debate when she was quoted as saying "We found one very specific grave of a man lying in a position of a woman, without gender specific grave good, neither jewelry or weapons" and he may have been a 'third gender'.
The publishing of this ascersion has lead to a strong response, the first being a repost to the title 'caveman' which John Hawks, paleoanthropologist at the University of Wisconsin, USA, stares is totally inaccurate as the Corded Ware people were pre-Bronze Age farmers. The argument against a 'gay' label has been equally vehemently challenged, with questions over the uniqueness (or vice versa) of the find and the assumption that the remains are even of a male. Even if it were not proved to be a male, the assumption of 'third gender' is equally questioned by Rosemary Joyce, University of California anthropologist specialising in sex and gender archaeology, who suggests that a 'third gender' burial would have been unique and not just a reversal of the male/female position.
The whole argument for and against can be summed up in a statement made by Monty Dobson, an archaeologist working at Drury University, Missouri, USA, when he says "This might be much ado about nothing, or it might be something that tells us something very interesting. There simply isn't enough data right now to make that statement definitive".
Edited from CzechPosition.com (5 April 2001), Yahoo News, LiveScience (7 April 2011), Ottawa Citizen (8 April 2011)
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