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Warrior Women

Warrior Women: An Archaeologist's Search for History's Hidden Heroines by Jeannine Davis-Kimball, Mona Behan

Reviewed by L. Bennett

The author sets out to reveal the lopsided interpretation of archaeological evidence for social status and warfare as found in burials located in Eurasian sites. Her re-examination of museum collections and archaeological reports, and her participation on archaeological excavations in Eurasia, allowed Davis-Kimball to expose a male bias that underplayed the role of women. From Amazons to Irish warrior queens, she pretty effectively revealed that women were central to societal health and success, and that they were also fighters with sword and arrows. The respect given them showed in their burials and were a testament to the high regard of their peers. But archaeologists chose to interpret the burial settings and contents through a patriarchal lens.

The publisher and other reviewers characterized Dr. Davis-Kimball's book as "delightful" and "engaging" and credit the author with transforming the way people think of archaeology. I don't agree. Instead, I had to hunt among her narrative for the data she discussed. For me her writing style was off-putting and obscured the points she strove to make. I think others will enjoy the book but it was not for me.

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