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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Women and hide-working at the Little John Site (KdVo-6), Yukon Territory : a feminist application of use-wear analysis Handley, Jordan Danelle


Amongst the Indigenous peoples of northern North America, hide-processing is dominated by female labour. The toolkit used is technologically variable and frequently expedient in nature. Indigenous groups from throughout northern North America were reviewed that demonstrate this gendered division of labour. This thesis examines whether archaeological hide-working toolkits are also characterized by variability and expediency, and whether detailed analyses of hide-production activities using stone tools as proxies can illuminate the roles and contributions of women in the deep past. I examined an assemblage of 219 stone artifacts from the Little John site (KdVo-6), Yukon Territory, Canada, recovered from the Chindadn component, dating from the Late Bølling Allerød Interstadial to the Younger Dryas (14,300-11,900 RCYBP). A multi-stage lithic functional analysis was conducted to isolate hide-working tools. This analysis proceeded through: Stage I—application of ethnographic analogy to inform the sample selection and provide functional inference, Stage II—use-wear analysis to identify used tools, and deduce the use motion and worked materials of those tools, and Stage III—macroscopic analysis to attain additional functional reasoning and classify the identified toolkit. A hide-working toolkit consisting of two formal and seven expedient tools was identified. The results support the ethnographic observation that lithic hide-working toolkits can be characterized by both variability and expediency. Consistencies between the ethnographic record and the Little John Chindadn assemblage support the argument that regionally, women were likely responsible for hide-production activities in the distant past. Using a feminist-approach to use-wear analysis, this thesis was able to uphold inferences depicted and derived in the ethnographic record of northwestern North America by isolating a hide-working toolkit while also illuminating the roles and contributions of women in eastern Beringia from approximately 14,300-11,900 RCYBP.

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