Gendered division of labour in 15th to 18th century Aalst, Belgium, and 19th century Middenbeemster, the Netherlands

Hlad, M. (Speaker), Sarah Schrader (Contributor), Menno Hoogland (Contributor)

Activity: Talk or presentationTalk or presentation at a conference


This study addresses gendered division of labour in the town of Aalst (Belgium) and the village of Middenbeemster (the Netherlands) from osteoachaeological perspective and in the historical context of the two sites. Diaphyseal measurements of long bones were taken to obtain data on cross-sectional geometry and bilateral asymmetry. The second aim was to evaluate the suitability of the method of external diaphyseal measurements to study activity. For this purpose, the results from Middenbeemster were compared to a previously conducted study that used computed tomography to examine cross-sectional properties of this population. The results show differences in activity between the urban Aalst and rural Middenbeemster and between males and females from both sites. In Aalst, both women and men were sedentary, but males were performing more tasks demanding manipulation of tools with one hand. In Middenbeemster, females were less mobile than males and they likely performed more manual work. The method used in this study can show the differences in activity. However, methods capable of quantifying multiple parameters in addition to shape, can show a more refined picture of the division of labour.
Period26 Apr 201928 Apr 2019
Event titlePostgraduate and early career conference in medieval archaeology: Conference for early career researchers in the field of medieval archaeology
Event typeConference
LocationPula, Croatia
Degree of RecognitionInternational