Prehistory has been a patriarchal tale

Madrid, Sep 15 (EFE) .- Unlike what the history written by men has reflected, the prehistoric woman did not limit herself to collecting and staying in the cave, but was able to act as a hunter, artist and even a shaman, according to defends the French prehistorian Marylène Patou-Mathis.

The popular French researcher and archaeologist, director of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), has just published in Spanish “Prehistoric man is also a woman” (Lumen).

Patou-Mathis (Paris, 1955), an expert on Neanderthals, is in Spain presenting her new book and underlines in an interview with Efe that history has drunk “from prejudices that are based on today’s patriarchal society.”

Regarding these myths that have come down to us over the years about the women in the cave, the researcher points out that they were not limited to carrying out certain tasks, but they also hunted and went to war, like the Celts, of which there is scientific evidence.

“Now we have seen that in Peru hunters from 9,000 years ago have been found. Sometimes in the funerary furniture we can also find graves of hunters with their weapons and hunting gadgets,” adds the prehistorian, who emphasizes that “at the time looking at the past, it is very important to make people see that the evolution of the human being, the cultural one as well, has been carried out by both genders, and not only by men “.

Prehistoric rock art is another area in which an attempt has been made to make the role of women invisible. However, Patou-Mathis does not rule out that they were the ones who made the paintings, engravings or statuettes that have survived to this day.

“It has always been said, for example, that men painted the Lascaux cave (Dordogne, France) why? Where is the proof? They could also be women, there is no proof of one or the other, but It is always said that they were men because they painted, went to war, made the houses and the culture, “the scientist clarifies.

“The first prehistoric woman appeared in 1950 and prehistory appeared as a science in the 19th century. History has always been written by the victors, we must not forget it”, emphasizes Patou-Mathis, who also emphasizes that “physical anthropology did a lot of damage in the XIX century to the human being “when establishing superior races through measurements.


However, the researcher believes in the possibility of reversing all these preconceptions from school, since “if we show that things were not always like this we can change them, but if we think that the natural system is patriarchal then we cannot do it”, holds.

“I think it is important to rebuild another system in collaboration, not against each other. We cannot build something if there is a confrontation. We cannot continue to be dominated, but all this must be done little by little, making it understood. That is what I have written the book, to be able to provide arguments to people, scientists and current feminists as well, “he says.

The researcher places the birth of patriarchy in a sedentary lifestyle, 12,000 years ago.

When the clans are passed to families, “men begin to control women to be sure that their assets are passed on to their children,” he argues.

The author of “Neanderthal from A to Z” is bothered by the use of the word “matriarchy” and instead talks about the possible existence of “matrilineal” societies, that is, the transmission of tradition and culture to children through the mother, but without exercising any kind of dominance.

Patou-Mathis will be tomorrow, September 16, at the Espacio Fundación Telefónica, in Madrid, to participate in the cycle # RethinkingElMañana and continue spreading, as in “The prehistoric man is also a woman”, about the need to include the perspective of gender in prehistory and in history and thus dynamite the prejudices that are had about the roles of women of the time.

By Natalia Ibáñez Guinea


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