Household economy and gendered labor in the 17th century AD on Guam

James M Bayman, Hiro Kurashina, Michael Carson, John Peterson, David J Doig, Jane A Drengson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    The gendered division of labor in household economies is well known in documentary accounts of many societies, although archaeological evidence for it is often elusive. Our study compares ethnohistorical accounts of household organization with archaeological patterns at a 17th-century village on the island of Guam in the Marianas archipelago to determine if these different sources of evidence provide similar insights. We investigated archaeological assemblages from two latte (megalithic) buildings to document their economic activities. Unexpected differences in their assemblages revealed that economic activities varied between the two latte buildings. They were domiciles of a single economically integrated household, but their disparate functions likely signaled a gendered division of labor. This study reveals aspects of gendered labor that documentary accounts do not fully describe. Our findings suggest that the assumption that domestic buildings were functionally redundant in traditional societies must be tested on a case-bycase basis.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)259-269
    JournalJournal of Field Archaeology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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