Historic England: Creating an Engendered Past in Iron Age Britain

Author(s): Jo Zalea Matias

Year: 2016


Artists’ reconstructions are one of many ways to present how people lived in the past, particularly in the case of cultural heritage. Specific ideas of gender are routinely perpetuated through such imagery, often reinforcing certain preconceptions of gender roles in the past within both public and academic consciousness. This paper presents a selection of archaeological reconstructions commissioned by Historic England representing life in Iron Age Britain. It addresses the visual language of the reconstructions, breaking down signs, patterns and influences to decide whether or not a definitive visual "code" exists for these illustrations and how they further the company's agenda, both in an educational and business sense. Ultimately, these and other reconstructions demonstrate how current gender theory and archaeological insight far outstrip the pace of the information and ideas being presented within archaeological reconstructions. Additionally, archaeologists must consider how to create alternative images and models that better demonstrate the complexity of past social lives, especially when they are being presented to the public.

Cite this Record

Historic England: Creating an Engendered Past in Iron Age Britain. Jo Zalea Matias. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405381)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;