Gender Roles In Paleolithic Society

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The Paleolithic era occurred roughly from 250,000 to 9,0000 B.C.E. During this era, also known as the “Old Stone Age,” early humans utilized stone, bone and wood tools. There were three key features that characterized this time period: foraging, family and kinship relationships, and cultural creations and spirituality (McKay et. al., 2015).
Paleolithic man had to hunt and gather all of their food. In order to survive, this society had to forge weapons that enabled them to hunt for large game. Although meat was part of their diet, evidence indicates that they may have been primarily foragers, gathering or scavenging insects, fish and small animals. Modern foraging societies have established division of labors that enable each member of the
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Another key feature of the Paleolithic society was the group structure that emerged. Groups were small, comprised of about twenty or thirty humans, mostly interrelated, banding together under a hierarchical arrangement. Each band had members with varying degrees of power. Some relationships, particularly the parent to child relationship, gave some members considerably more power over others. Although traditional representations of the Paleolithic social structure present men as the most powerful members, some scholars believe that the important role that food gathering played may have elevated the status of women in society, thus making gender roles more equal than previously believed.
The third key feature of Paleolithic society was their cultural pursuits and attempts at explaining supernatural occurrences through spirituality. Paleolithic hand and finger markings exist all over the world in caves. Some of these include the finger marks from the Rouffignac cave in France, dating to 18,000-9,000 B.C.E. and the handprints from the “Cueva de las Manos” in Argentina, from around 8,000 B.C.E.
These cave drawings, along with Paleolithic artifacts such as flutes, carvings, and jewelry, suggest that this culture expressed themselves through art, music, dancing

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