My Story

Growing up in conservative West Michigan, I watched lesbian and gay friends and family members struggle to be accepted and be treated equally. There are gains and losses in this fight every day, and it is vital for LGBT individuals and their straight allies to stand up and to pay attention.

07 April 2011

Odd News: A Homosexual or Transsexual Caveman?

When I read that headline, I was completely disbelieving. I thought this bit of odd news would be an interesting change of pace before my next post (which will be about steps backward in the fight for equality).

Yes, you read the title right. It's being reported by Time that the Czech Archaeological Society discovered some 5,000-year-old remains of a cavemen. The researchers have said he may be 'Homosexual or Transsexual.' Why? He was buried strangely.

These Czech researchers are reporting that this male caveman was buried laying on his left side, with his head facing east. Also, domestic jugs and a egg-shaped pot were found buried with him.

What does this mean?

The caveman was buried in the way consistent with how women were buried. Time is reporting that this indicates this caveman may have been homosexual or transsexual.

Men were typically buried facing west with their knives and weapons.
More from Time:

"From history and ethnology, we know that people from this period took funeral rites very seriously so it is highly unlikely that this positioning was a mistake," Vesinova said at a press conference.  "Far more likely is that he was a man with a different sexual orientation, homosexual or transsexual."

This isn't the only instance of a gender-bending burial. Katerina Semradova told the Daily Mail that there was a female warrior that once had been found, buried like a man would have been. Sometimes Shamans were also buried in gender-nonconforming ways. The team has suggested that they are quite sure this particular find wasn't some sort of "witch doctor."

NPR allows for a few points of skepticism. Dr. Lemont Dobson, a historian and archaeologist at Drury University, noted that there is 90% accuracy when determining the sex of a skeleton by looking at the pelvis. Also, this archaeologist isn't convinced these remains were not those of a shaman or witch doctor.

I'm not sure what I think. What do YOU think? Is this real, or is this just archeological extrapolation?

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I'd like to point out also that in some cultures shamans and witch doctors were often genderqueer. An example would be some Heyokas of the Lakota Sioux--many were men who dressed as women. They were viewed as sacred because they had a unique perspective on the world.