Faculty Publications


Feminine knowledge and skill reconsidered: Women and flaked stone tools.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Kathryn Weedman Arthur

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued

January 2010

Date Available

August 2014




Archaeologists continue to describe Stone Age women as home bound and their lithic technologies as unskilled, expedient, and of low quality. However, today a group of Konso women make, use, and discard flaked stone tools to process hides, offering us an alternative to the man-the-toolmaker model and redefining Western “naturalized” gender roles. These Konso women are skilled knappers who develop their expertise through long-term practice and apprenticeship. Their lithic technology demonstrates that an individual's level of skill and age are visible in stone assemblages. Most importantly, they illustrate that women procure high-quality stone from long distances, produce formal tools with skill, and use their tools efficiently. I suggest in this article that archaeologists should consider women the producers of Paleolithic stone scrapers, engaged in bipolar technology, and as such perhaps responsible for some of the earliest-known lithic technologies.


Abstract only. Full-text article is available only through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in American Anthropologist, 112(2), 228-243. DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1433.2010.01222.x Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.




Wiley-Blackwell Publishing

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.