The general field, methodology, and teaching of archaeology are scrutinized from the perspective of feminism and its long-standing critique of the natural sciences. Ultimately the authors wish to see the development of a “gendered archaeology” which gives to women the role in human history which they have truly had.
One example that the authors use to demonstrate that the field of archaeology has begun to change is the increasing studies which have “[recognized] female labor in a broad range of activities” in what “were once considered exclusively male domains” (Conkey 415). They stress the importance of “looking for women” projects which specifically seek to identify the tasks done by women in ancient societies which have erroneously been attributed to men.
The specific issue of gender, according to the authors, has begun to give new and added focus on the role of women. Archaeological research into gender varies from an emphasis on class and occupation to an interest into the ways in which the meaning of gender has evolved over time. As well, the authors point to rise in biographies being written about female archaeologists as evidence that the field has begun to change. Interestingly the authors of the article claim that there is a correlation between research into gender inequities and work-place inequities within the field of archaeology itself. The idea that the field is sexist has, in their opinion, given rise to the increased interest and study into questions of gender.
Concerning methodology, and its relation to an “engendered archaeology,” the issue of gender as a social construct is put into perspective. According to the authors, gender has always been viewed as a social construct, though in varying degrees and depending on the given scholar. In their view, a gender-based archaeology would first and foremost seek