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Two skeletons known as The Lovers of Valdaro (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Activist Group Tells Archaeologists Not to Assume Gender of Ancient Skeletons

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Self-declared “anarchist archaeologists” are warning archaeologists not to assume the gender or race of ancient skeletons because they see the categorization of sexes as discriminatory to the dead and as enhancing “white supremacy.”

Wokeology and The Black Trowel Collective

Many people use the word “woke” without knowing what the word actually means. Added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2017, this African American vernacular English word describes someone who is sensitive or alert to issues of race and social justice. But has it gone too far?

So-called “trendy academics” have been labelling ancient human remains as non-binary or gender neutral because they say DNA only determines biological sex but not gender.

The controversy has been raised by The Black Trowel Collective of multiethnic and “anarchist” archaeologists based on the notion that attributing sex and race to skeletons is fraught with issues, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

Unidentified skeletal remains. The current controversy surrounds a collective of archaeologists who are questioning the gender categorization of human remains. (Microgen / Adobe Stock)

Unidentified skeletal remains. The current controversy surrounds a collective of archaeologists who are questioning the gender categorization of human remains. (Microgen / Adobe Stock)

Using Archaeology to Explore the Complexity of Sex and Gender

The word “woke” is being used this week in an archaeological context because the Daily Mail has claimed that a group of activists want the scientific community to stop categorizing human remains as either male or female because scientists “cannot be sure” which gender people identified themselves with when they were alive.

Writing on anthro{dendum} in August 2021, the team of ‘woke’ archaeologists warned against “biological essentialism” when it comes to categorizing ancient human remains. In their statement they asked professionals to be “wary of projecting our modern sex and gender identity categories onto past individuals… as this leaves aside the frequently contextual and contingent nature of gender variation.” Following this line of thought they argued that this kind of “anti-trans violence” shares a common origin with “white supremacist ideals.”

The Expanding List of White Supremacist Indicators 

Critics of the latest movement, however, told the Daily Mail that such ridiculous demands would “lead to a rewriting of history and imposing current ideology ‘where it doesn’t belong’.”

Nevertheless, so called “trendy academics” are increasingly labelling skeletons as “nonbinary” or “gender-neutral,” even when their anatomical features are clearly male or female.

Two ‘kissing’ skeletons in their grave. Source: Penn Museum

Show Us the Sexual Middle Ground?

In their statement published on anthro{dendum}, the Black Trowel Collective argued that throughout history human gender was “highly variable.” Furthermore, they explained that human beings have historically identified with many genders beyond “modern masculine and feminine binaries.”

Within the cosmology of most indigenous cultures, however, throughout all of the mountains, hills, rivers and lagoons, every living being was perceived as either feminine or masculine. While Native American cultures have people who identified as “Two Spirit,” these two spirits are male and female, rather than a “nonbinary” entity. They were, in fact, exceptionally binary spirits representing the two sexes.

According to Jeremy Black, professor emeritus of the University of Exeter, the proposed changes in archaeology are utterly “absurd.” He added that the two sexes were “key motors in history.” Dr. Black is supported by Professor Frank Furedi, emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Kent, who said “historical fact was becoming the latest ‘frontier’ for advocates of radical gender ideology.”

Top image: Two skeletons known as The Lovers of Valdaro (CC BY-SA 4.0)

By Ashley Cowie




My world view on gender.  I am curious what the IQ level of “The Woke” is?  35?

Such stupidity. Honestly it would be funny if these idiots weren't serious about it.

Why not go with it?

After all, archaeology, history and anthropology long ago gave up sovereignty of their disciplines to social engineering activists, so why back out now?

PS: Yes, that's sarcasm. Obviously.

Pete Wagner's picture

And the bones weren’t people.

Nobody gets paid to tell the truth.

IronicLyricist's picture

Since i cant edit.. its william coopers "behold a pale horse.. read it... N yes human mobs ARE that easy to manipulate... But i remain a positive influence ..not an electron

infinitesimal waveparticles comprise what we call home the earth
manipulatable by thought ability supressed in humans since birth


ashley cowie's picture


Ashley is a Scottish historian, author, and documentary filmmaker presenting original perspectives on historical problems in accessible and exciting ways.

He was raised in Wick, a small fishing village in the county of Caithness on the north east coast of... Read More

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