November 2020
Vol 6, Issue 45

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER In contemporary hunter-gatherer societies, hunters are typically male and gatherers are typically female. While some scholars have suggested a role for women in prehistoric hunting, others have dismissed this notion even when hunting tools were uncovered in female burial sites. In collaboration with the local Mulla Fasiri community, Haas et al. discovered the remains of two prehistoric hunters at an Early Holocene site in highland Peru, including the 9,000-year-old remains of a young woman buried with a well-stocked big game hunting toolkit. Her burial included a comprehensive array of hunting and animal processing tools that together provided unusually robust support for her hunter status, including stone projectile points for felling large animals, a knife and flakes of rock for removing internal organs, and tools for scraping and tanning hides. Based on a further analysis of 27 individuals at sites associated with big-game hunting tools, Haas et al. concluded that between 30% and 50% of Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene big game hunters in the Americas may have been women, suggesting that this endeavor may have once been more gender neutral than previously assumed. [CREDIT: MATT VERDOLIVO, © 2020 THE REGENTS OF UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA DAVIS]