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Title: "That which was missing" : the archaeology of castration
Author: Reusch, Kathryn
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Castration has a long temporal and geographical span. Its origins are unclear, but likely lie in the Ancient Near East around the time of the Secondary Products Revolution and the increase in social complexity of proto-urban societies. Due to the unique social and gender roles created by castrates’ ambiguous sexual state, human castrates were used heavily in strongly hierarchical social structures such as imperial and religious institutions, and were often close to the ruler of an imperial society. This privileged position, though often occupied by slaves, gave castrates enormous power to affect governmental decisions. This often aroused the jealousy and hatred of intact elite males, who were not afforded as open access to the ruler and virulently condemned castrates in historical documents. These attitudes were passed down to the scholars and doctors who began to study castration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, affecting the manner in which castration was studied. Osteometric and anthropometric examinations of castrates were carried out during this period, but the two World Wars and a shift in focus meant that castrate bodies were not studied for nearly eighty years. Recent interest in gender and sexuality in the past has revived interest in castration as a topic, but few studies of castrate remains have occurred. As large numbers of castrates are referenced in historical documents, the lack of castrate skeletons may be due to a lack of recognition of the physical effects of castration on the skeleton. The synthesis and generation of methods for more accurate identification of castrate skeletons was undertaken and the results are presented here to improve the ability to identify castrate skeletons within the archaeological record.
Supervisor: Schulting, Rick Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Geographic region ; Global ; Africa ; Asia ; Europe ; Middle East ; Near East ; Archeology ; Economic and Social History ; History of Africa ; History of Asia & Far East ; History of childhood ; History of medicine ; History of science ; History of the ancient world ; International, imperial and global history ; Late antiquity and the Middle Ages ; Endocrinology ; Medical Sciences ; Anatomy ; Music ; Opera ; Intergroup conflict ; Interpersonal behaviour ; Stereotyping and intergroup relations ; Church history ; Biblical studies ; Religions of antiquity ; Religions of the Far East ; Religions of the Indian subcontinent. ; Science and religion ; Social anthropology ; Children and youth ; Gender ; Families ; National identity ; Social cleavages ; Social mobility ; Social status ; Statistics (social sciences) ; castration ; bioarchaeology ; palaeopathology ; anthropometry ; social theory