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AD the relatively autonomous categories of male and female equipment

were becoming
intermingled within individual graves. This erosion of gender
representations was also occurring in
the increasingly mixed cemeteries. Around AD 200 there was a major
reordering of funerary
practices, in line with changes in household organization, military
structure and industry. 93
Cemeteries were re-established as gender-segregated spaces and
women's elaborate costumes and
finery marked them apart from male dress styles. Yet by ad 400 the
spatial segregation in
cemeteries was once again breaking down.
Taylor's claim that gender distinctions in clothing became apparent in
Europe only with the
emergence of other forms of status differentiation in the Late Neolithic
and Early Bronze Age cannot
be sustained. 94 The evidence shows that in the Mesolithic period
gender differentiation was
probably greater than the marking of age differences. Mann's
proposition of stable gender relations
is similarly without foundation. The Danish prehistoric sequence
provides us with a remarkable
view of the dynamic and changing relationship between men and
women and the ways that genders
were constructed, dissolved and reformulated over time. These changes
coincided with significant
economic, cultural and political transformations, indicating that the
politics of gender were
inseparable from other social processes and practices.
As discussed in Chapter 4, Sue Shennan's analysis of the Early Bronze
Age cemetery at Branč (c.
2400-1700 BC) concludes with two opposing hypotheses about social
organization. 95 She suggests

whether symbolic or actual. The few 'rich' men. they were more likely to survive infancy than boys. in addition to achieved and ascriptive . men may have been brought in as marriage partners from outside. O'Shea develops the notion of associative status. 'While the metal wealth in female graves may indeed represent a male contribution.that if the high status of certain women was ascribed (inherited). in contrast to the many 'rich' women. Subsequently. Stephen Shennan and John O'Shea have interpreted the larger quantities of metal goods in women's graves (as opposed to men's) from Early Bronze Age cemeteries in the region as indicative of male wealth and prestige. Given the small size of the community represented by the cemetery (about forty people at any one time). Alternatively. are explained as polygamous husbands and the women's wealth derives from bridewealth payments or the use of wives as vehicles for displaying their husbands' wealth. Shennan was unable to decide between these two possibilities. the mortuary data alone do not allow determination of "ownership". she suggests that a different picture results from interpreting women's wealth as achieved (essentially as awarded at marriage). raising the possibility that descent may have been calculated through the female line and that female children were therefore vital to group continuity. In this scenario. 96 Their virocentric position is attacked by Rega who states. thereby supporting the second alternative.'97 Mokrin: status and gender Studies of gender and kinship are closely tied to studies of status and all need to be understood together. descent might be patrilineal and residence uxorilocal.

leading O'Shea to suggest that the wearing of head-dresses was relinquished in later life. 98 He gives as an example the burial of certain women in head-dresses in the Early Bronze Age cemetery at Mokrin. From this he suggests that they may have had an associative character and that this might reflect consanguineal or affinal ties to the holders of male offices. the use of these items other than as grave goods might be deemed inappropriate. for the life cut short. handed down or disposed of in other ways but. 100 Thus he perceives that the women wearing head ornaments owed that right to their relationships with particular men. where an individual holds or obtains a social position by virtue of a relationship (of kinship. personal possessions might be recycled. In . At the end of a long life. At the same time O'Shea argues that the general poverty of old people's dress accoutrements and grave goods is an indicator that this was a society in which status was accumulated by giving away wealth and possessions. marriage or adoption) to another individual or group. the lack of such items among the elderly may have related inversely to their status. 99 head ornaments are regularly found with adult and mature women but are rare among old women.status. 101 The situation may also have been complicated by the different responses of mourners to untimely deaths and to those dying in old age.