chapter  1
21 Pages

The forgotten things: Women, rituals, and community in Western Sicily (eighth–sixth centuries BCE )

ByMERITXELL FERRER

Introduction 1 Despite the importance that gender studies and feminist perspectives have achieved in archaeology in the last decades, their impact has been quite limited in Italian archaeology. This is especially true for Italian archaeology of the Iron Age, where only in the last decade have a few works begun to consider questions of gender and women’s lives (Robb 1997; Whitehouse 2001, 2013; Cuozzo 2003; Gleba 2008; Perego 2011). In the fi eld of the archaeology of Sicily during the fi rst millennium BCE , studies of the colonies increasingly focus on gender, especially on intermarriages (Hodos 1999; Shepherd 1999; Delgado and Ferrer 2007, 2011a, 2011b; Péré-Noguès 2008), but almost none considers the active participation of women in the everyday life and development of the colonies (Delgado and Ferrer 2007, 2011a, 2011b). Moreover, such studies almost completely ignore native Sicilian populations. In fact, most studies related to the Italian peninsula and Sicily reproduce traditional views of gender in which agency, that is the ability to act with consequence, is granted only to men, particularly those understood to have a higher rank or status, in contexts traditionally interpreted as masculine, such as trade, production, politics, and the public sphere. Conversely, women are denied any capacity to act and hence any role in the success and growth of colonies.