Women in...

Upper Palaeolithic

Between 30,000 and 10,000 BP groups of hunters, gatherers and fishers lived all over Mediterranean Europe, and were able to manage all of its natural resources.

Archaeology allows us to recognize their technical capabilities, the knapping of different types of stone (flint, limestone and other stones), and the work on bones to make tools for everyday tasks as sewing needles or bone points and harpoons to hunt for fish. In addition, we can identify the places they used to live either caves or outdoor camps.

This way of living in balance with nature, continued until the ninth millennium BP in the western Mediterranean, where a series of changes can be observed that announce the end of this lifestyle. Archaeological research still does not allow detailed knowledge of their social organization. However, the data suggest that they were societies with little or no division of labour.

Nor can we say that the predominant kinship model was based on the nuclear family. However, in some phases at the end of the Palaeolithic, the role of women and reproduction might has been especially valued as indicated by the large amount of female representations both on plaquettes and as figurines and in carvings on the walls of caves.


The Pastwomen Network co-organizes the International Seminar "Interdisciplinary Approaches to Gender Archaeology" at the University of Tübingen.

July 4-10, 2022

More information