Sex/gender system and social hierarchization in Bell Beaker burials from Iberia

I. Soriano*, A. M. Herrero-Corral, R. Garrido-Pena, T. Majó

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Queer theory has always questioned the uncritical transposition into the past of the categories linked with the heteronormative sex/gender system of the contemporary Western society. The binary and opposed division into two sexes and genders, the heterosexuality as a naturalized ideal or the nuclear family, are just some examples. The Bell Beaker phenomenon, despite being one of the most discussed topics in archaeology, has never been approached from this perspective. Therefore, in this study, 70 individuals with associated Bell Beaker grave-goods buried in 37 tombs from the main territories of Iberia have been analysed. Through an exhaustive statistical analysis of the archaeological and osteological data set, the existence of some clear differences among social adults (>16 years old) can be identified in terms of social ranking and sex/gender markers, within a complex and non-binary structure. Additionally, a fluid or non-existing sex/gender attribution is the most likely for non-adults younger than 15 years old.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101335
JournalJournal of Anthropological Archaeology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Bell Beakers
  • Burials
  • Copper Age
  • Grave goods
  • Iberia
  • Queer theory
  • Sex/gender system
  • Social hierarchization


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