Retrospective - Oral Presentation Session
The awareness that women had been largely overlooked in archaeology up to the 1970s (and beyond) brought with it the recognition that the people and cultures who left behind the debris we excavate are the result of complex social systems both like and unlike our own, and that it can be useful to consider categories such as gender when interpreting such contexts. Janet Levy was one of the pioneering scholars who contributed to this adjustment in the way archaeologists think about the past. Her writings on feminist archaeology demonstrate how appropriately and effectively focusing on gender contributes to reinterpretations of chiefly societies in Scandinavia and the American Southeast. Levy applies the concept of heterarchy in comparing and contrasting gender structures, which throws light on the often-biased concepts of power and authority. She shows that multiple sources of power and influence can operate in various spheres of the same society. Perhaps most important, she also recognizes the relationship between equity for women in the past and women archaeologists of today. Levy is an unsung risk-taker and a clear-eyed feminist whose work blazed a path for younger scholars interested in gender issues in prehistoric Europe as well as the southeastern US.