April Nowell and Melanie Chang: Anthropology Looking beyond notion of erotica in prehistoric art

In an article called "Science, the Media, and Interpretations of Upper Paleolithic Figurines" in the September issue of the journal American Anthropologist, anthropologists April Nowell and Melanie L. Chang of the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, question these interpretations. Crediting scholars who also contested them in previous articles, Nowell and Chang offer numerous scholarly citations to prove that this sexualized vision of these figurines is still prevalent in academia. I noticed myself that when a new figurine dating to 35,000 years ago — "the Hohle Fels" figurine — was discovered in 2009, one archaeologist told The New York Times that the figure "could be seen as bordering on the pornographic" and went on to say in Science that our ancestors at this time "were sex-mad."

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