Bone needle

Parpalló Cave (Gandia, Valencia)

Gender stereotypes

Archaeological remains enable us to explore certain activities in the lives of the hunter-gatherer-fisher societies of the past, from our position in the present. Through the analysis of the traces of use observed on the needle, research has determined that this object was used for sewing. It was made from the metapodial of a goat, and from its stratigraphic context, it can be dated to 14,000 years ago. What archaeological research cannot tell us is if it was made or used by men or women. However, the interpretation we give it today is that sewing is a task associated with women and therefore, it must have been the same in prehistoric times. Thus, something which is impossible to know is automatically attributed to women in the past. The fact of so attributing certain duties to prehistoric women helps to reinforce the gender roles which in the past have underestimated women, excluding them from group organizational tasks, managing the household economy and the provision of food.