Interpretations Essay

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Interpreting Interpretations It is safe to say that the differences in the interpretations of gender roles and status as scholars have examined shifting subsistence patterns are all across the board. It seems as though no scholar really agrees and most of the information is based off of invalid researching techniques. I first came up with this conclusion from reading the article written by Soffer, Adovasio, and Hyland on the “Venus” Figurines. This reading sparked many ideas as to how scholars construct their interpretations of the past. It is clear throughout the paper that there really isn’t any concrete evidence that shows what the figurines mean. I agree with the argument that Soffer makes when she says, “Gender differences in the past need be demonstrated rather than assumed” (523). Some of the arguments used to explain just who made these figurines are based off of iconography or symbolic representation, which, to me is more of an opinion than a proven fact. “The gendering of textile technologies must rely on parsimony, at best. Nonetheless, iconography and analogy with the ethnographic record clearly indicate that is was Paleolithic women who were most likely the weavers and basket makers in Gravettian times” (Soffer 524). What this quote is saying is that in order to place a gender on the makers of these figurines, one must hypothesize with a “less is better” concept, which to me could result in a faulty argument. It is almost universally agreed that women had the role of weaving and that men had nothing to do with it in Paleolithic times, but according to Soffer “there is ample evidence that certain categories of items, such as woven footwear and some kinds of nets and ritual cloth, are often made by males. Rather, we suggest that these male-based productions are the exception; for

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